Let’s face it: Most of us started reading our comics from The Big 2. I’m talking about Marvel and DC. Some of us have grown to be more Marvel Fans, some are now more DC Fans. But regardless, most of our first comic books were of spandex and super powers. But we have those times. Money is too tight, falling out of love with the characters, or you just don’t have the time to keep up with all of the madness that happens in these universes. Don’t worry, it happens! But now you want to get back in? What have you missed? What if there are new characters? New artists? New writers? What is happening!?
Calm down. Take a breath. It’s all going to be okay.
The nice thing about the Big 2 is that they are very marketed characters. I don’t have to tell you the origin of Spider-Man or Batman. It is easy to pick up the stories and not have to know entire back stories. There is also wonderful things called Trade Paperbacks that have become your best friend when it comes to playing catch up.
Let’s start with Marvel. Marvel has an advantage as they have more marketed characters. Any kid that comes in tells me how much they enjoyed the Avengers, or the latest Iron Man movie. People come in after seeing the movie and want to play catch up with Thor or Spider-Man. More characters are listed to me that are Marvel then DC, but we’ll talk more about that later. Something that is nice about Marvel is that Marvel Now! has just begun, making it easy for me hand over Number Ones as a starting point. Personally, I go for the self contained stories since I don’t have to hand out 5 other books with it. I aim for Superior Spider-Man, with the explanation that Spider-Man isn’t quite himself these days. I tell them about Deadpool, Indestructible Hulk, Thor: God of Thunder, Daredevil and Hawkeye. These stories are self contained, with familiar characters and I don’t really have to tell much of a back story. Its an easy way to lead yourself back into the Marvel universe. If they want to get more in depth is when I’ll hand them the current Age of Ultron series with the tie ins, or lead them to the Ultimate Universe. I did discover that it is easiest to start off with the self contained things and move in from there. If they want to know more is when I lead them to trades. Lately, Deadpool and Wolverine are the big characters that Marvel is marketing. I enjoy giving people the trades of Merc With A Mouth or Monkey Business for Deadpool. Wolverine Origins and Old Man Logan are ones that I’ll hand over for the big X-Men. There is a lot out there, and it is just a matter of finding what they are looking for. It’s not easy bringing people into the Marvel universe, because they like their tie ins, but if you start small you’re more likely to have a Marvel fan.
DC is a totally different bag. While each story is pretty self contained, depending on their universe there could be cross overs. Recently, Superman crossed with Superboy and Supergirl for Hell on Earth, Batman crossed over with Batgirl, Teen Titans, Nightwing, Suicide Squad, Detective Comics and Catwoman for Death of the Family. But I noticed that you don’t have to read the crossovers to get the story. It can still be a self contained story without reading the other books. The problem DC has is that their characters aren’t quite as marketed. Their movies and cartoons are not aimed to children, leaving them with a less broad audience. But with that said, start them with the characters they would know: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are easy jumping on points with characters that are well known. If they want to start getting more into things, Green Lantern just started as a whole new chapter with a whole new team of writers and artists. Green Arrow starting with issue 16 started over. Justice League America is only a few issues in at the moment. DC has made it easy to start over, and have put out trades if they want to start from the very beginning of the New 52.
Hopefully I helped ease you back into what is a difficult market. If you have more questions, don’t be afraid to ask! Most of us comic book clerks are pretty darn friendly, and we just want to help you get as excited as we are about comics. Next week I’ll talk about my current obsession, Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Until then, keep on reading!
Tags: Comics, Misc