A few months ago I wrote a series called ‘How to Get Into Marvel Comics’, with a general introduction, and then specific tips for starting with crossovers, individual characters, and individual comic books themselves. Since then, I’ve continued to read and enjoy Marvel comics, but I’ve also read a lot of DC, inspired by Batman v Superman (which I really enjoyed) and DC’s various TV shows. In a world where Marvel far outperforms DC in the cinema, I don’t think DC’s comics are getting the recognition they deserve. This is a shame, because some of them are truly brilliant. In this one-off post, I want to turn the spotlight onto DC and try and encourage you to give them a go, even if you’re not as familiar with them as Marvel.
Where to Start?
As with Marvel, it can be hard to know where to dive in. Thankfully, DC make this fairly easy by resetting their titles every now and then. This summer they are, in fact, doing so in a company-wide event called ‘Rebirth’. Thanks to this event, you can pick up comics and know that you’re jumping in at the start of a story arc.
That said, Rebirth isn’t a total reset of the story. Many of the books are carrying over events that happened at the end of the last block of stories. Despite this, I’ve currently read the first issues of the new Batman and Green Arrow runs, and whilst I don’t know all of the characters, it’s been easy enough to grasp what’s going on.
Still, I don’t recommend ‘Rebirth’ as a starting point. I think the New 52, DC’s last relaunch, is the best place to go. My first DC graphic novel was volume 1 of the New 52 Justice League, which does a great job of introducing all of the main players, plus providing a gripping story and fantastic art. I strongly recommend that being your first book if you don’t know where else to turn. I have also read one or more graphic novels from various superheroes such as Green Lantern, Flash, Supergirl and Shazam, and all of them have been easy to engage with, visually excellent, and fun to read. Pick the Justice League, or pick a familiar hero like Batman or Superman, and start there.
Perhaps even more so than Marvel, DC is famous for massive events, many of which are crossovers, and many of which stand alone. If you don’t want to get into a character’s series, these could be great options to break you into the world. I have recently read the first 2 volumes of Injustice, the graphic novel prequels to the game released a few years back, and these books have been unbelievably good. You don’t need a lot of background knowledge as it’s set in an alternate timeline, and the story is just majestic.
I’ve also recently read Flashpoint, a Flash-based alternate timeline event where Flash changes the past and has to deal with the alternate reality he creates in doing so. Another plot that doesn’t require much, if any, background knowledge, this is another great one-off to jump into.
There are other events relating to specific characters, including famous Batman stories like The Killing Joke, and Death in the Family. I haven’t read these myself, but I know they’re supposed to be excellent. There are also big events from other characters who you might be familiar with, like Green Lantern, whose Blackest Night and Brightest Day books inspired the name of this blog!
Get to your Local Store!
There are loads of great choices out there, and if you’re stuck, head to your local store. If you’re lucky like me and have an independent graphic novels shop, head over there and chat to them – they’ll be happy to help you find something that you like. If you can’t find an independent, then head over to a Forbideen Planet or something along those lines to get some advice. Thanks to the TV shows and movies, comics have never been more accessible, so don’t waste the opportunity to read some fantastic stories!