Graphic Novels I Recommend

Well, you found your way to my site, and for some reason, you've arrived at the comic book section. There's only one problem: YOU'VE NEVER READ A COMIC BOOK BEFORE. So where to start?

Fortunately, I have read many a comic book, and I have tried to compile a list of books you may enjoy. These are graphic novels, which are a bunch of comic books in paperback form, and can usually be found at most libraries. I have chosen the comics that will help introduce the characters, especially those that are appropriate for non-adult readers. So take a look and pick one up now!


The Man of Steel

In 1986, this miniseries by John Byrne became the definitive origin story for Superman. DC Comics decided to rewrite all of its characters' origins after the Crisis on Infinite Earths series, and of course had to start with Superman. Even if you no nothing about the Man of Steel, this is the place to start. It explains where Superman comes from, how he was raised, and how he came to meet Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, and many others.


Superman: Birthright

Something that often happens in comic books is a reboot, which means that the previous storylines are erased and a new one is begun. Although The Man of Steel was Superman's origin for almost 20 years, it was "rebooted" in this storyline from 2003. Although I really enjoy John Byrne's origin, Birthright is extremely well done, and has an amazing ending. After reading The Man of Steel, I highly recommend reading this one as well.


Batman: Year One

Now that we've looked at Superman's origins, we need to check out Batman's as well. Year One is considered the definitive origin story for Batman, and will explain how he came to be the dark, brooding superhero he is today. It also introduces a few of the other characters found in the Batman comics.


Batman: The Long Halloween

This super-long Batman story is great, because it involves many of his major villains without too much backstory. It involves Batman tracking down a villain who is killing off members of the mob on a different holiday throughout the year. It is an extremely good mystery, and you'll be sitting on the edge of your seat until the end!


Batman and Superman: World's Finest

Now that you know the origins of the two greatest superheroes, take a look at this book! World's Finest takes a look at Batman and Superman throughout their history, starting with their first meeting and moving through the years. It shows how they became partners and friends, and also features appearances by the majority of their supporting cast. The only problem may be that you do not recognize many of the characters, but it is not always necessary to follow along with the story.


Justice League of America: Year One

This is by far my favorite graphic novel! It tells the story of how the Justice League came together to fight their first major battle and save the world. It introduces many characters, but does so in a way that non-comic book readers can pick up easily. I also enjoy it because it features appearances from almost every superhero you can imagine. It's extremely well written, and has numerous plot twists that will keep any comic newbie wondering whether the world's greatest superhero team is going to make it beyond its inaugural mission.


History of the DC Universe

Now that you've learned some of the major characters, where can you find out more about everyone else? Look no farther than the History of the DC Universe, a two-part story that contains the rewritten history after the 1985 reboot. Almost every character is referenced, giving you info about where they come from and a little bit about their superpowers. If you ignore the narrator's ramblings about "the essence of a hero," it's a pretty good read, and the artwork is great. It gives you a great jumping point to explore the rest of DC Comics.


Crisis on Multiple Earths

During the 1960's, there were multiple Earths, each with their own super team. These Earths were either destroyed or combined during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Before this, the Justice League who lived on Earth-1 would often have adventures with the other teams, and these stories are collected in the Crisis on Multiple Earths. These stories are great, because they introduce all the characters to you multiple times, and make it easy to follow. The adventures are short, and each new group of characters makes for an amusing read.


Showcase Presents: Booster Gold

I love me some Booster Gold! This volume includes the entire 24 issues of his original series, which introduces his origins and shows how a man from the 25th century masquerading as a superhero tries to make it in the 20th. Dan Jurgens is a great writer and artist, and always finds ways to interject humor into the action. Appearances from Superman and a few other heroes are a definite plus. Showcase volumes exist for many different series, but Booster Gold's is the only one that is about post-Crisis comics.


Ultimate Spider-Man

Ok, enough of the DC, how about some Marvel? Everyone knows about Spider-Man, but with all the comics in the past 50 years, where do you start? My personal favorite is Ultimate Spider-Man, which is actually a rewriting of his origin and story, independent of the ongoing comics. It makes his origin a little more modern, and I feel that the storylines are extremely well written. Each volume tends to introduce a different villain, and there are the occasional appearances by other heroes like the X-Men or the Ultimates.


Marvel Essentials

If you're REALLY looking to start from the beginning, check out Marvel Essentials. These collect the original series from the 1960's in groups of 25 comics, and are a great way to start from the very first issue of a series. They exist for pretty much all the Marvel characters, and extend for ten volumes or more. The only drawback is that the comics are in black and white, but it's not the worst thing ever.


DC vs. Marvel Comics

One of the big questions comic book nerds like to ask: who would win in a fight between Superman and the Hulk? This question was answered, in part, during the DC vs. Marvel miniseries. This standalone storyline shows that the two universes have collided and only one can survive because some crazy reason (you'll have to read it to find out). The heroes from both worlds battle it out to ensure their own survival. But there's a twist near the end: the universes are COMBINED, and you get to see what you get when you combine the Justice League and the X-Men, for example. It's a very amusing read, featuring characters from both major companies!