29 Sep

Reading Marvel and DC Comics for Beginners

Comics, Reviews By No Response

You would like to read Marvel and DC comics. But where to start? If you look around in a comic shop as a beginner you are a bit shocked by the variety you can read. For every hero there are multiple series. But once you start to deal with the matter it’ is not as complicated as it seems at first.

As new Marvel and/or DC reader you should not be scared by the long history of both publishers who brought out their first comics in the 1930s. Throughout the years there have been perfect starting points for new readers, but in fact you can start wherever you want. If you get a number 1 of a series, that’s fine. If not then just start in the middle.

What do I want to read

The first thought that comes to your mind should be: with what do I start? Single heroes like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or Thor? Or do you prefer teams like the Avengers, X-Men, Justice League or Green Lantern Corps? Of course the genre you’re most interested in does count too. Science Fiction like Guardians of the Galaxy or mystical stuff from Greek mythology like you can read in Wonder Woman? Detective stories, horror, spy-thriller or good old action comics – you have to decide.

In most cases the comic beginners or restarters already know something about the heroes because they have already seen movies and tv shows and want to know more about their origins now. For example I watched Batman – The Animated Series as a kid and Lois & Clark – The New Adventures of Superman. At this time I only got comics from the library, but no superhero comics. I read Franco-Belgian stuff like Asterix, Spirou et Fantasio and Tintin. Collecting Marvel and DC comics I started with X-Men after I saw the first movie in cinema.

Run over the pages helps

If you don’t have any idea where you want to start, just flip thorugh a few comics as you would do when buying a book. Many will first orientate at a drawing style they like.

As I already mentioned you can easily start right in the middle of a series. Panini always prints a little summary of the previous events you need to know and the most important characters are introduced. There is always an editorial part on the last pages which shows earlier appearances of some characters. This part is always very interesting. After you read a few comics you can start to read crossover events or parallel universes if you’re interested.

Everybody started small

Of course collecting comics is no cheap hobby, but everyone started with just a few issues. I also started with two comics a month when I still went to school. Now I have many hundred comics, although I made a few breaks with collecting. Often you find larger amounts of issues on flea markets or if someone decides to stop collecting and sells his collection.

My suggestion: Always look out for bargains. You often find cheap second hand comics on ebay or in special Facebook groups for buying and selling comics. Also in the official Panini forum users sell their second hand Marvel and DC comics.

Marvel vs. DC Comics

The two biggest US publishers are of course competitors and Marvel and DC would prefer if readers only were loyal to one company. Sadly like in many other fandoms there are the fighting fans who believe only their merchandise is good like you hear very often from so called die-hard STAR WARS or Star Trek fans. Both publishers have their advantages and developed some of their characters to real icons. Of course it is also appealing to read lesser known comics. Before the film adaption few persons knew the Guardians of the Galaxy and these not so popular heroes also experienced a renaissance in comics through the success of the movie.

My suggestion: Just read what you want. I read comics at random from many different publishers and not only the two big ones.


US  or German publication

For readers who can understand English the question comes to mind to read the US comics or the German publications by Panini. Panini publishes a lot, but not everything. So you have to decide what’s most dear to your heart. There are monthly series at Panini which are published again later as trade paperback, but sometimes they are not complete. But of course paperbacks don’t use as much space as single issues. All versions have advantages and disadvantages. I collect mainly the German translated DC and Marvel comics and only buy in German unpublished US material in addition.

The price does not make much of a difference. Panini usually published two US issues in a German comic book. At the moment you pay 5,99 € for a German issue. When I buy a current US issue at my comic book dealer I pay 2,99 €. Readers of the German translations have to be aware that they are half a year or sometimes even more behind the story of the current US issues.

You will get US issues in large comic shops or online shops. Most dealers offer a subscription service.

Reading order of Marvel and DC Comics

Persons collecting more than one comic series want to know how they are arranged in order in the correct timeline. In the collector database of COLLECTORBASE.net we plan a timetree. On the contrary of the well know timeline the comics are not placed one dimensional in their proper order. Of course you will see the order, but also when stories split and come back together or run parallel. For this project I started to connect them in our database.

For the future I plan to present you single heroes or crossover events. If you have a special wish with what hero I shall start please leave a comment.


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