Monday, March 15, 2010

Reader Question: What DC titles can win over a Marvel girl?

While my book case sports quite a few Vertigo trades, including the full run of The Losers and Y:The Last Man, there's no denying that I'm a Marvel fan. I tell myself that my reasons for rarely straying outside the warm and snuggly confines of the Marvel Universe (okay, so Norman Osborn is currently running much of it, but there's comfort in familiarity) are all reasonable. I defend my near phobia with claims like "I don't like legacy characters," "multiverses are stupid" or "crises give me migraines," but are these just excuses? Come to think of it, there was that one traumatic Superman incident from my childhood...

You see, I wasn't always so hesitant about the DCU. My first introduction to superhero comics as a child was Superman, which I read regularly for at least two or three years. If it hadn't been for the fact that Superman and Spider-Man were the only well-known titles that were published in my native Swedish, I'm sure I would have branched out further, but I didn't understand English at the age of ten and even if I had, the local supermarket didn't carry imported comics.

I loved Superman though, whether on screen (I'm a year older than the first Superman movie) or in print, and was quite content to make do with what I had. That would all change the day I got my hands on an issue that scared me so badly that the image of the page in question remains with me to this day, more than twenty years later. I don't remember the issue or the backstory, but the page featured a dystopic image of a dead Earth - real or imagined - which saw Superman come face to face with a girl, a presumed last human survivor. As she came closer, her clothes turned to rags and her skin began to rot and fall off her bones. I was freaked out to the point where my mom had to throw the comic in the trash. That was the end of reading Superman for me, and some time later, they stopped publishing Superman in Swedish.

Many years later, I would take up reading comics again, this time mostly Marvel titles like X-Factor, Thunderbolts, Daredevil (of course), and a several others. I never really gave the main DC titles much of a chance, though fear of rotting flesh was - quite obviously - never really the reason. Perhaps it's something as simple as laziness that prevents me from throwing myself head first into yet another fictional universe, not counting the usual browsing at the comic book store or what one might glean from much too frequent visits to CBR or Newsarama.

But there's still room for an expansion of my pull list, and I'm starting to get an itch for something new. I'm officially willing to give DC a real chance, and that's why I need your help. In return, I promise to review every new book I pick up right here at the The Weekly Crisis. While I won't be able to bring a "beginner's perspective" to this experience (I'm a little too entrenched in the world of comics in general to mimic the random person on the street in this regard), I gladly offer myself as a subject to test just how accessible modern comics, and DC comics in particular, really are.

What DC titles are you reading and enjoying? Which would you recommend to someone who is moderately well-versed in the mythology of the universe and the characters involved, but who possesses less than the encyclopedic knowledge of continuity of someone who's a longtime DC fan? And if anyone could figure out what issue of Superman scared the crap out of me in the mid-80's, that would be terrific too. I think I have some stuff to work through...

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Flip The Page said...

Power Girl can win over anyone. It's shameless fun, and ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek naughty. It's also the most successful pull for me when I was trying to read more DC instead of just Marvel, so I have faith in it in this sorta thing

Dickey said...

Secret Six x6, everyone I know who tries this series loves it. Gail Simone is just awesome with that gang of misfits. Batman: Streets of Gotham is pretty good too, but that's only when Paul Dini is writing it. Hopefully he's back to the grind this month.

CasinoGrande said...

If you're going for something that doesn't require lots of knowledge of continuity, I would think Batman: Year One and All-Star Superman would be great takes on DC's biggest icons.
Blue Bettle was certainly a fun series, and while it has a bunch of other characters, it should be relatively easy to get into and to help you get acquainted with the wider DCU.

Of course, for me, the best introduction to the DC Universe was Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.

Scott Roberts said...

Green Lantern is a must. Flash is relaunching with a new #1 with Geoff Johns so that should be worth checking out. Brave and the Bold is a great stand alone series.

Francis said...

I highly recommend picking up THE FLASH: SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS 2010 #1 on March 24th, 2010. It's the beginning of a new Flash comic, Geoff Johns (DC's star writer in my opinion) is writing it and Francis Manapul's artwork is amazing. It will be the beginning of something amazing and it's only one comic.

Ricky said...

I'm also not a huge DC fan, but I recently decided to give Secret Six a shot, (mostly through trades) and I have not been disappointed! Great series!

Matt Ampersand said...

I don't know if Green Lantern is a title I'd recommend to Christine right now. It's certainly not a bad title (neither is it's sister title, Green Lantern Corps), but I can see how it could be really confusing to a new reader. There's a BUNCH of characters running around, two related titles right now, with two more on the way (Brightest Day, GL: Emerald Warrior), not to mention that a lot of Geoff Johns strength as a writer come from using his encyclopedic knowledge of the DCU and references to other/past titles.

Like I said, I find it to be an enjoyable title, but I am not sure I'd recommend it as an introduction to the DCU. That being said, considering it is about to finish a big payoff to five years worth of stories and a new status quo on the way, it could actually be the very best moment to jump on the title.

JP said...

As of right now in DC, alot of the "big" names are embroiled in storylines that go back atleast two to five years, (i.e., Superman>>World of New Krypton, Batman>>The Return of Bruce Wayne, Green Lantern>>Blackest Night, etc.) so you may be a little confused if you were to jump onto any of those titles right now.

Therefore, here are my suggestions:

If you want to get into Superman, I would recommend start in June when the World of New Krypton ends and the amazing JMS starts with a clean slate.

If you want to get into Batman, you could start with the return of Bruce Wayne, but you could find it confusing if you have not read "Final Crisis" or "Batman and Robin," therefore I would recommend "Streets of Gotham" by Paul Dini of "Batman: The Animated Series" fame. His stories are straight forward Batman stories that are not tied into Grant Morrison's work, and Dini is a big fan of one-and-done stories, which makes them easier to get into and enjoy.

For Green Lantern, one of DC's hottest properties right now, I would recommend any one of Green Lantern series (Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and the soon to released Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors and Brightest Day). On that note, the bimonthly "Brightest Day" series is not just a Green Lantern story, but also a DC Universe story, so it might be a good place for you to expand your DC horizons.

On a final note, I would like to recommend my personal favorite DC book, R.E.B.E.L.S. The simplest way to describe it to you would be to compare it to Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy." The cast is composed of mostly of DC's B-list to C-list cosmic characters, so there is not alot you need to know about them, and writer Tony Bernard pretty much tells what you need to know about them to understand the story each issue. Next month's issue, #15, would be a great jumping on point as Bernard just wrapped up the storyline he was telling for the first 14 issues.

Those are my suggestions, I hope they were helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Gail Simone is relaunching Birds of Prey in May with a new #1. It should be a good book.

Anonymous said...


That and The Shield, Jonah Hex, maybe Doom patrol

Anonymous said...

Power Girl and Secret Six are both fun and not bogged down in continuity. Agreed that REBELS is also fantastic.

Christian said...

Secret Six
Bird of Prey when it relaunches
Power Girl
Tiny Titans
Adventure Comics
Detective Comics/Batwoman

Lucho. said...

Christine: I recommend this titles:

* Sandman #1-#75 (Vertigo). -Available in TP.
* Animal Man #1-32 (Grant Morrison Run). Available in TP.-
* Batman: Year One (Available in TP).
* Superman: Brainiac (Available in TP).
* Batman: Officer Down (Available in TP).
* Batman: Bruce Wayne Murderer? (Available in TP).
* Batman: Bruce Wayne Fugitive!(Available in TP).
* Batman: Hush.(Available in TP).
* All Star Superman (Available in TP and soon in Absolute format)
* Batman: Arkham Asylum (GN).
* Frank Miller´s Ronin.
* Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
* Green Lantern: Rebirth (TP).
* Green Lantern: No Fear (TP).
* Green Lantern: Revenge of the GL (TP).
* Green Lantern: Wanted Hal Jordan (TP).
* Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War (TP).
* Green Lantern: Secret Origin (TP).
* Swamp Thing: American Gothic. (TP)
* Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits (TP)

Hope you find these useful. There are a lot more of wonderful stories. You´ll really enjoy these.

Iambic said...

If you can find it, the Giffen/DeMatteis run of Justice League International/America is a good starting point. The characters don't come in weighed down by acres and acres of backstory, the plot is action-packed but lighthearted most of the time, and the art is really well-done. Not to mention the team itself is a real classic group, not all hugely major characters, but really likeable.

I got my start via Identity Crisis, but I wouldn't recommend that - I understood it well enough, but when I reread it with more knowledge of the canon, I realised there were so many more things going on that I had simply missed.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I also had an aversion to all things non-Marvel (to the point of considering DC the "bad guys"...stupid, I know).

I recently got into reading DC comics since I was able to pick up issues 1-26 of Booster Gold for about $12 bucks at my LCS. The character sounded hilarious and very original. He is, and it was a fun read.

Since then, I've picked up a few TPBs at a used book store including Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn, and Superman: Red Son. I highly reccomend all of those as a good place to start as origin stories and "what if...?" stand-alone stories require virtually no knowledge of continuity or the DCU as a whole.

The only on-going DC title I'm reading is Brave and the Bold, and that's only because I wanted to keep following JMS after he left Marvel. It's a great series for me (and probably for you) since each issue serves as a stand alone story between a well known character (e.g. Flash, Batman, Green Lantern, and The Joker) and a lesser-known but well-introduced character (Blackhawk, Dial H for Hero, Brother Power the Geek (WTF???), Dr. Fate, and the Atom).

Add it to your pull list immediately.

Daryll B. said...

Well actually I wouldn't recommend Power Girl right now since Palmotti and Conner are off the book with #12.

As far as current books go, I'd suggest Secret Six and Detective Comics since neither are involved in big convoluted storylines and are great, interesting fun.

As far as past storylines, most of the gals I know loved the Preacher and Y The Last Man Runs. I would also suggest the first 5 trades of the Johns Titans Run, the Nightwing trades (gals love Grayson) and Simone's Wonder Woman run.

jonathan said...

Starman 1-81 robinson

i generally don't find DC very interesting but this was great so was
hawkman 1-25 by geoff johns
Suicide Squad 1-66.
JLA - morrison
Geoff johns on flash, green lantern, and JSA
current titles

I only get green lantern morrison stuff, and vertigo titles
everything else is weak sauce. Marvel Rules.

Scott Roberts said...

Yeah I'd wait until JMS comes on board Superman to start reading that. I agree that Green Lantern is not perfect to pick up in singles right now but its so easy to catch up. Rebirth, Secret Origin, Sinestro Corps, are all anyone really needs to jump into reading GL in Blackest Night. Rage of the Red lanterns and the Orange Lantern stories were also good but not necessary.

Gaz said...

I'm going to Nth Power Girl and the upcoming Birds of Prey. It is true that PG is losing it's great creative team soon, but that's not until May, whereas Detective is losing the Batwoman story as of this month. I'd highly recommend the upcoming Rucka/Williams Batwoman solo though, also, of the back of their work in Detective.

Simone's Wonder Woman has also been quite strong and accessible, plus both it and Superman are being given to JMS in the summer, so possible jumping on points there.

And I'll throw up a not-mentioned series: Batgirl. It's just fun. A teen book that's light on, but not absent of, the usual angst, has an appealing pair of heroines and isn't concerned with being grim, gritty or 'mature'. The writer wants to tell good stories about a girl in a bat-costume that fights crime.

Anonymous said...

I agree too, R.E.B.E.L.S. is great.

Miller said...

Try Warlord. It is pretty much by itself and the only thing you need to know is that Travis Morgan's son is taking over as the Warlord.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Don't forget, fanlads and fangals, Christine is talking about adding comics to her pull list and seeing how they stand up as new additions to her non-DC mind.

As much as many of us would love to add Y: The Last Man to our pull list for each month I think we'd be waiting a hell of a long time for it to come. We need to think of titles shipping now not back catalogue stuff.

I'm interested to see what DC titles DC readers think the 'common person' could jump onto and simply enjoy. For Marvel, I'd say that people could jump onto the FF lately and enjoy it but something like Secret Warriors is a bit harder to launch into halfway through.

It seems, at this time, that Christine should probably add Secret Six. Other than that, DC, to me who picks up no DCU books at all, seems so continuity heavy. I'd add The Return of Bruce Wayne because it looks awesome and most of us on the internet roughly know what went down anyway and so the story should just be enjoyable fun.

lucho said...

I also recommend Grant Morrison´s whole run on Batman.

Indentity Crisis (TP) (GREAT!).
Paul Dini´s run on Detective Comics.

Garth Ennis´ Preacher.
Death The High Cost Of Living.
and Hellblazer: Rake At The Gate of Hell.

Some stories that you can begin and end that are very enjoyable (available in TP):

Batman: Gothic (Morrison & Janson).
Batman: Venom (O`Neil, Braun).
Batman: Prey (Moench - Gulacy).
Batman: Night Cries (GN).
Green Lantern: Esmerald Twilight (TP).
The Death of Superman (TP)
World Without a Superman (TP)
The Return of Superman (TP)
JLA: The Obsidian Age (TP)
JLA: The Tornado´s Path (TP)
JSA: The Next Age (Geoff Johns top notch).

Kirk Warren said...

Secret Six is the book I'd recommend to anyone. It's not too far along that you cant grab a trade or two and be right up to date with it and, while the first issue or two might be tough on a new reader, I think the post-Blackest NIght issue we just had could be good to get in on fresh as well.

GL and GLC are actually really tough to get into. You almost have to go back to Sinestro Corps War and move on from there at this point. Guy Gardner series might be more reader friendly though, not sure. They're worth the effort though, but if it has to be something you can add to the monthly pull list, I'd leave these alone for the time being until you can afford ac ouple trades to get your feet wet on this one.

As Christine is a big Daredevil fan, I'm tempted to recommend the new First Wave imprint DC is putting together. Spirit, Doc Savage and a pulp Batman seem to channel some Daredevil in one form or another.

Flash #1 could be a great jumping on point for Flash, but it's a crapshoot figuring otu if we get Saint Barry/Flash Rebirth Geoff Johns writing or Blackest Night: Flash for his interpretation of Barry Allen. Neither is required to understand the new status quo, so you could go in fresh.

I was waiting on Red Robin trades as well and was going to jump in around issue 13 (so I could get first two trades roughly), but now I hear Yost is leaving, so not sure if what to say about that. Fabian is solid replacement, but may not be the same book anymore. Think it'sworth checking out still.

Steven said...

Grant Morrison's JLA is being released in nice, slightly oversized hardcovers and is great.

The JLA/I/E humorous books are also being released in this format.

Both versions are easy to get into and good entryways into the characters of the DCU.

I'd also probably throw the collections of Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans into that barrel.

As for the issue of Superman. I haven't seen anyone else address it, but I am thinking it was a John Byrne issue.

Anonymous said...

I know what superman comic you read! That panel of the girl turning to rags and skin rotting off the bones was from the story arc red glass of action comics 665-667... Yup, that really looked creepy... I'm only reading a few dc titles so I would recommend SECRET SIX... That don't neccessarily tie up to the whole dc universe (or I pressume as i'm not really so "in" to the dc universe) so I think you can get started there...

Anonymous said...

I'm with everyone who suggested Power Girl, its been one of my favorite titles since the first issue. Its true the current creative team is leaving and honestly will probably see a decline in quality, but pick up the trade when it comes out for sure. I also always recommend any of the Batman books.

Black Ice said...

Identity Crisis and Cry for Justice... wait this isn't Earth 3. Scratch that, just pick up Secret Six and Tiny Titans. They're like chocolate and peanut butter.

PastorAarn said...

Jump in with the new Flash title. I guarantee it will be awesome.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

I agree with Kirk that the First Wave title would probably be a good shot, though it's not heavy DCu, more a pulp spin-off/flashback, but it still counts as it's got the Batman in there and so a perfect feet wetting place for those of us not down with the DCU.

brandon said...

I find that almost every current DCU title is too difficult to "jump on" to (even when starting as a number one) without a lot of prior knowledge.

Though Green Lantern (and Corps) is a good book I've been reading it for 30 years and know I cant in good faith suggest to someone to start reading it now. Personally speaking I find it to be written for the hardcore fan and not a newbie.

DCU is just not a new reader friendly universe.

Perhaps try Jonah Hex or Brave and the Bold. They seem to be one shots.

Erica said...

Based on the comics you mentioned as your Marvel pulls, try out Manhunter by Marc Andreyko. There are five volumes in tpb & currently a backup story in Batman: Streets of Gotham, which that story will be collected into tpb in the fall if you want to wait.

Anonymous said...

Secret six, Batman and Robin, REBELS and Both GL titles.

Christine Hanefalk said...

I want to start by thanking ALL of you for contributing to this thread! You've been most helpful and are demonstrationg (once again) that The Weekly Crisis has some of the nicest readers in the comics blogosphere.

I definitely have enough to put together a DC pull list from your suggestions though I can't try them all obviously (I don't have that kind of cash...). My goal is to sample both continuity heavy "hard to get into" books as well as titles that might be easier to digest.

As I mentioned, I'll keep you posted on my progress and will be posting plenty of reviews here in the coming months!

Farseer said...

If you like Vertigo, Fables is a must read. It deserves to be read from the beginning, though, so you'd have to look for the trades.

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