Getting into comics is a scary notion, have you ever actually sat and thought about all of the convoluted mess the universes of the “big two” go through on a yearly basis? However with superhero’s reaching the pop culture landscape there are more and more new readers breaking into the medium all the time. I can’t tell you how many posts on /r/DCcomics & /r/Comicbooks I see about “Wanting to get into comics, where do I begin?” or “Batman is my favorite character, what are some good stories?”
Now I have to admit as a long time reader, that type of question irritates me, but only because of how often I see them posted. So I decided to write a guide into the DC Universe and comics in general.
1. Read what you like
This is honestly how I got started reading comics. I love Batman; he has always been my favorite since I was a kid wearing a batman cape & cowl watching the animated series. Find a character that you enjoy or that looks interesting and pick up a story, any questions while reading can be answered by a simple google search.
2. Be Diverse
The best thing about comics is the sub-genre’s that are written. Are you interested in horror? Read Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore. Is comedy more your taste? Justice League International by Keith Giffen & J. M. DeMatteis. It’s not all beat ‘em up, superhero stuff, branch out and be diverse and you will continue to go down the comic rabbit hole.
3. Don’t let Continuity boggle you down
Continuity, in my opinion, is THE best thing about comics. I love reading a story and knowing an event is happening alongside something else for different characters, but for new readers continuity can really draw you out of a story. In the 90’s Grant Morrison rebooted the Justice League with the original seven members (Barry Allen & Hal Jordan excluded), however once the JLA had come upon its second story arc Superman had undergone an Electric transformation. A new reader would be left scrambling wondering what it was that you missed that explains this questionable change. Take my advice, roll with the story elements that are “continuity based” and don’t let them overwhelm you, the more you read the more you will learn about the time line of events within the universe.
4. Events are fun
This ties into my previous point, Universe wide events are “continuity based” they draw on a lot of assumptions that the readers are aware of a multitude of things happening in other books. DO NOT LET THIS DETER YOU. The first event I read when I first started to seriously get into comics was Final Crisis by Grant Morrison, the premise interested me and I had loved everything I had read of Grant’s to that point. However, if you are knowledgeable in the DCU, you know Final Crisis is very convoluted and not suggested for new readers. It doesn’t matter. If you want to read it, read it! Events are a blast; they use a grand scale of characters and usually epic in scope. Events can help new readers gain interest in characters that never clicked with them before, or if you’re like me you back track to stories leading to the event. Events can be a great gateway into a comic universe, and most writers do their best to make the story new reader friendly. Also Final Crisis is still the best “Crisis”. Don’t @me.
5. Follow your favorite creative teams
Is there a writer or an artist you like? Or a pair that works really great together? Follow them to different stories! It’s a great way to learn about other characters in the universe. Personally, I’ll read anything Tom King puts on the shelves, it doesn’t matter if it was a maxi-series about the Joker’s Daughter I’d give it a go. Be loyal to your favorite creators and your knowledge of the universe will grow.
Getting into comics is difficult but if you dive in and are willing to learn then you will have no problem navigating the Multiverse and while I have provided a starting point for new readers, it’s honestly all subjective, approach comics however you want to! Keep an eye out for recommendations every Saturday and feel free to leave any suggestions for new readers in the comments below!