Comic Books To Read and Collect!

As you may have guessed from my website, I collect comic books. How many have I collected over the years? How many do you think is a lot...10? Okay, I guess I've collected...10 comic books. In my time of searching/collecting/reading, I've come across many different comics, some of them good and some of them bad. So if you're looking to do some light reading or some hard-core collecting, here's where I'd recommend searching for!


Series About Characters

The series below center around different characters. Most are longer series, but a couple are miniseries. You may find a new favorite superhero!


lotdk

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight

Batman is super popular, and DC knows this, so they publish 10+ Batman comics every month. Over all these years, that's a lot of comics...where do you start? Introducing Legends of the Dark Knight, or LOTDK! It's is made of short story arcs, and each arc is independent of the others, so you can read only one and understand the plot. The series kind of acts like "Batman's Untold Adventures," giving writers the chance to write stories and just wedge them into earlier history. I'm not a Batman fan because it's so difficult to keep up, but I really like this series because you can pick and choose the issues you want!

Collecting Format: I'm sure you can get some of them in paperback, but it's probably easier to get them individually, and you can pick up only the ones you want.



rebirth

Green Lantern: Rebirth

In 2004, Kyle Rayner was the lone Green Lantern and Hal Jordan had been dead for almost ten years, but all this was about to change... This story was created to resurrect Hal Jordan, along with explaining why he went crazy and more importantly, why green lantern rings were powerless against yellow. I don't want to spoil too much for you, but know that writer Geoff Johns changed the status quo of the Green Lantern series, and set the stage for some unbelievable stories in the years to come!

Collecting Format: Definitely pick this up as a paperback! I'm sure a local library has a copy!



resurrect

Resurrection Man

This series has a really interesting concept. There's this guy, Mitch Shelley, who doesn't remember where he came from. And within the first issue or so, he dies. That would be the end of the series, except he's resurrected...with a superpower. And every time he dies, he's resurrected with a different superpower. The series is interesting, because Mitch is trying to figure out who he is and how he came to be that way, while avoiding people who are trying to capture/kill him for some unknown reason. It's always cool to see what superpower he develops in each new story!

Collecting Format: You can get the first volume in paperback, but it only went for two years so it's not too many issues to pick up. The series was revived in the New 52, but only lasted for a year.



firestorm

Firestorm the Nuclear Man (1980's series)

This series is great! It tells the story of teenager Ronnie Raymond, who becomes fused with nuclear physicist Martin Stein into the superhero Firestorm! The series follows the hero as he fights numerous villains while trying to balance his football career and life as a high schooler. The series starts getting stranger around issue #60, with a much more political stance, caused by the story being written at a time of possible nuclear armageddon. The stories are a commentary on politics, nature, and even the trials of high school bullying.

Collecting Format: The series is 100 issues long and not really in paperback, so it's best to pick it up individually, if possible. Try borrowing from a friend?



booster

Booster Gold

If you read the page 10 Best DC Superheroes, then you most likely met self-serving hero Booster Gold. The original 1980's series shows him from the start, a hero who will save the day, as long as it gets him on the front page of the paper. Even though he's totally a jerk, Booster is hard not to like. Fast forward to 2005, when Booster has matured A LOT and become the protector of the time stream. In his new series, he works with Rip Hunter to repair holes in the time stream. We finally get to see a side of Booster Gold that we can genuinely like!

Collecting Format: The old series is collected in Showcase Presents: Booster Gold and the new series is collected in a bunch of separate paperbacks.



atom

Captain Atom

Another hero who made my list, Captain Atom is a personal favorite of mine. Accused of treason, he was wrapped in alien metal and placed over an atom bomb...which was then detonated. He was thrust 20 years into the future, now coated in alien metal and a full-fledged superhero. The series follows him as he tries to regain his previous life, which is tough since his children are only a little younger than him. Plus, the man who blew him up with the bomb? Yeah, that guy married his widow and is now his children's stepfather...what a pain! But Captain Atom pushes through, and kicks butt, both villain and alien alike!

Collecting Format: This is definitely a series you'll have to collect on your own, but it's not super in demand. If you like Captain Atom or 1980's comics, this is definitely the series for you!



martian

Martian Manhunter

He's on the list too! He's the last surviving member of his race, he's from a different planet, and he's got loads of superpowers...but he's not Superman. The Martian Manhunter has always been sort of Superman's understudy, never really getting much time in the spotlight. In this series from the late 1990's, he finally gets his chance to shine. The series explores his origins, shows what he does when he's not fighting in the JLA, and describes his long-standing rivalry with his evil brother...weird, right? It's a well-written story, and I personally enjoy the artwork too.

Collecting Format: The series ran for les than three years, so you can totally pick them up individually. Sadly, it has not been collected in paperback form...yet.



lobo

Lobo

If you're looking for something wildly violent, innapropriate, and completely ridiculous, this is the series for you. Lobo, is like Superman, being the last survivor of his planet. Except Superman didn't cause the death of his race...Lobo is an intergalactic bounty hunter, and his stories are ridiculous and in your face. He's an "antihero," fighting for or against heroes, depending on the bounty. Lobo had his own series for a little bit, but also had a number of miniseries and other random issues. If you're sick of Superman and the other well-behaved heroes, check out Lobo!

Collecting Format: You can easily find a short miniseries or one-shot to read. I think there's one where he takes on Santa Claus, but that's not one for the easily offended...



aquaman

Aquaman (New 52)

Yeah, Aquaman's a joke, he talks to fish...go ahead, laugh it up! Although he's king of over 2/3 of the planet, he's always been treated as a second-string hero. After the massive DC reboot with the New 52, writer Geoff Johns has worked to show that Aquaman should definitely not be brushed aside. This new series has really shown how awesome Aquaman is. He has new allies, new enemies, and takes every opportunity to show why he deserves the title "King of the Seven Seas."

Collecting Format: There are at least three volumes published so far, in both hardcover and paperback.



birds

Birds of Prey

This series was a really cool concept. Most comics involve men, so why not create a team made solely of females, to pick up the demographic with two X chromosomes? The did much better than expected, and pulled in all sorts of readers. The idea is that Oracle (the former Batgirl, Barbara Gordon) runs a team of superheroes such as the Huntress, Power Girl, and Black Canary, and sends them on different missions. The series features appearances by many of the other female superheroes in the DC Universe. The stories were very well-written, and were a nice change of pace from the usual male-centric characters. If you're looking for comic that's not just a pissing match, this one is for you.

Collecting Format: I'm pretty sure the whole series is in paperback form, which is much easier than picking up each copy. It's not too difficult to jump into the middle of the series, as long as you start at the beginning of the storyline.



sb

Superman/Batman

It's the teamup we've all been waiting for! Everyone's two favorite superheroes, together in one great book! This series is along the lines of LOTDK, because there are short story arcs that are self-containing. The first few storylines have huge repercussions for the DC Universe, such as the downfall of President Lex Luthor (can you believe it!) and the introduction of Supergirl! There are lots of other great stories too, so don't skip the rest!

Collecting Format: You can pick up most of the stories in paperback, but you may also want to check out the different issues, especially the later ones (which I don't think are in collected format).



Teen Titan Titles

These are my two favorite Teen Titan-related series, and the best part is that they connect to one another. If you're a Teen Titan fan, you'll definitely enjoy these series!


young

Young Justice

Imagine if the Justice League had younger counterparts, and they had their own superteam. You might call said team...Young Justice! The team is made up of Superboy, Robin, Wonder Girl, and a bunch of other new faces! This is a really funny series, poking fun at comics, pop culture, and loads of other things. It's a pretty good read whether you're young or old, and it's always amusing!

Collecting Format: There is one paperback, so you'll have to collect the rest on your own...sorry.



teen

Teen Titans

This series continues where Young Justice, but with a more serious tone. It combines some of the newer heroes from Young Justice with heroes from the original Teen Titans, such as Cyborg, Raven, Beast Boy, and Starfire. These stories are super well-written, and they get into some interesting predicaments that you're sure to enjoy.

Collecting Format: You can pick up pretty much every issue in the series in paperback form! Awesome!




Best Elseworlds Stories

Not all comic books take place in the "normal universe." These miniseries take place in a different realm, giving writers the freedom to write stories that don't affect the flow of the normal monthly series. I would not recommend these comics to beginners, because they require at least a basic knowledge of the characters, and they are at a more mature level than most other comics.


returns

Dark Knight Returns

One of the most famous Batman stories, this doesn't even take place in the normal comic book timeline. It's the future, with Batman retired...but he comes out to again bring order to a Gotham controlled by strange anarchistic teenagers. But not everyone approves of his war on crime...including Superman! You'll have to read it to find out more! Also, it is followed by the Dark Knight Strikes Again, featuring a larger cast of heroes, but I don't like it as much because I think the artwork can be hard to follow at times.

Collecting Format: Get it in paperback!



kingdom

Kingdom Come

Another futuristic timeline along the lines of Dark Knight Returns, this story focuses on Superman. The world's greatest hero has retired after the world showed it wanted a more proactive brand of hero. However, now the world is being overrun by new heroes and villains who don't really follow the rules like the heroes of old. But even if Superman intervenes, will it be enough? Read more to find out!

Collecting Format: Paperback, need I say more?



watchment

Watchmen

People talk all about the literary merits of Watchmen; how it's a metaphor for human existence and a commentary on our current state of affairs...blah blah blah. Guess what: it's still a comic book, complete with superheroes. No matter your reason for reading, it does make you think. This is one that you'll have to read more than once before you really understand every nuance of the story, but each read makes it more enjoyable. It's interesting to note that the characters are based off other DC heroes: for example, Dr. Manhattan is meant to be Captain Atom!

Collecting Format: Pretty much every library in the world has a copy of this.




DC Comics Crisis Stories

Often, there comes a threat in the comics that is more than one superhero can handle. These crises are often found in separate miniseries, or occasionally crossover into the summer's annuals. These stories are always fun, because they involve lots of heroes and can often be read without following the normal monthly comics, although those often tie-in to the stories.


cosmic

Cosmic Odyssey

This is a little-known miniseries from the late 1980's. I really like it, because it teams up Superman and Batman with some less famous heroes. It describes heroic triumphs against evil, and even worse failures. The story shows that even the greatest heroes have their faults. It's definitely a good read!

Collecting Format: It's easiest to pick it up in paperback.



invasion

Invasion!

Superman is from Krypton, but the Kryptonians aren't the only alien race in the DC Universe! Imagine what would happen if these different aliens formed an alliance with each other. Now imagine what would happen if they decided to attack Earth...see the problem? I love this miniseries, because it shows Earth's heroes kicking major alien butt! The first two issues detail the fight (guess who wins), then the third is more of a stand-alone story, detailing the fallout of the war. It's a great read, with many different heroes making an appearance throughout.

Collecting Format: I'm not sure if there's a paperback version (try Amazon). There's only three issues in the miniseries, so it's not too hard to find. There are lots of tie-in issues, but they're not hugely necessary to understand what's happening.



armageddon

Armageddon 2001

The Earth has been conquered by Monarch in 2001 (now the distant past). The superhero Waverider knows that Monarch was once a superhero, and has traveled to the past to figure out which hero becomes the villain. The annuals from that summer tell different stories, with Waverider touching a different hero and visualizing a potential future. The miniseries consisted of two issues, which came before/after the summer's annuals. The stories are super interesting, because they are all "what if" scenarios that are lots of fun to read and don't require much backstory. Also, the mystery of "who is Monarch?" will have you trying to figure out which heroes have not been checked off Waverider's list!

Collecting Format: Pretty sure there's no paperback for this. There's only two issues in the miniseries to find, plus you can pick up as many annuals as you'd like!



identity

Identity Crisis

What happens when an unknown killer starts killing heroes' loved ones? This was the question posed during Identity Crisis, which revealed that the heroes of the DC Universe aren't as perfect as they seem... Identity Crisis really turned the world of DC Comics upside down, and everyone felt the repercussions. I can't tell you much about it without revealing the excitement, so I guess you'll have to trust me that it's good...it is.

Collecting Format: You can easily get this in paperback, or hardcover if you'd prefer.



infinite

Infinite Crisis

This story is a little more complex, but bear with me. If you've compare comics through the years, you'll notice that they become darker (one might say more realistic). The premise of this story is that the Superman of a parallel Earth believes his world to be perfect, and that he wants to replace the present earth with his, so that everyone will live happier lives. Of course, the usual heroes are not happy with this. You'll have to read the story to find out more...I'd also advise reading the tie-in miniseries: Day of Vengeance, Villains United, OMAC Project, and Rann-Thanagar War, along with Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

Collecting Format: You can pretty much collect all these miniseries in paperback form.




My Favorites!

I like all the comics on this page, but the ones below are my super favorites! I can read these over and over again, because they're so awesome! Go on, take a look!


jla

JLA

What could be better than a comic all about the world's greatest superheroes? This series focused around the "magnificent seven": Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter. The team eventually grew and changed as the series went on, but the idea remained that the Justice League should consist of the most powerful heroes around. The team faced off against the scariest bad guys throughout space, time, and elsewhere/when.

Collecting Format: Grant Morrison's stories are the best, and you can totally get them in paperback. My favorite is Tower of Babel, go read it now!



annual

DC Annuals from the 1990's

Ok, this last one is kind of different. In the 1990's, DC used to publish an annual for each of the running titles. Originally, the stories tied into a bigger storyline such as Armageddon 2001 or Eclipso, but for 1994 onwards, each summer had a theme:

1994, Elseworlds: Each annual was a made-up tale about the titular characters

1995, Year One: It wasn't an origin story, but a story from the early years of the characters

1996, Legends of a Dead Earth: This was kind of like elseworlds, but instead it was stories about aliens or whatnot in the future, inspired by tales of heroes from the past.

1997, Pulp Heroes: These annuals were throwbacks to old pulp stories, except they starred heroes in capes and spandex.

1998, Ghosts: Each of these stories showed the main hero haunted by ghosts from his past.

1999, JLApe: Gorilla Grodd enacts a plan to turn all the humans into apes, including the Justice League. My least favorite year, because you need to collect all of them to get the whole story.

2000, Planet DC: Each annual featured new heroes from countries around the world.

Collecting Format: Sadly, you'll have to pick these up one at a time, but the good news is that most comic stores have random ones everywhere you look!



legion

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds

The whole Final Crisis event was kind of weird; there were a bunch of different stories all tying together somehow in a weird way. But there was one miniseries which I truly enjoyed reading, and could read again and again.

The Legion of Superheroes is like the Justice League, but 1,000 years in the future. They've been rebooted twice, producing three different versions throughout the years. Now imagine that their supervillain counterparts have breached the parallel earths and have amounted an attack, using infinite villains. So what does the LSH do? Find their other two counterparts, and gets ready to kick villain butt! But they need a little extra help, one that's been waiting 1,000 years to give a hand... Who is it? Read the story to find out!

Collecting Format: You can totally pick this up in paperback for an easy read. You'll definitely want some background with the rest of Final Crisis, along with many of the events leading up from the previous years.



secret

Secret Origins

This series is a must-read, especially for a new reader! As described by the title, each issue gave the origins for one or more characters. The series ran from 1986 to 1990, in order to give revised origins for the recently rebooted universe. The series gives the origins for both well-known and obscure characters. The best part is that the stories are often told in the form of flashbacks or other perspectives, to make the stories more interesting.

Collecting Format: I would recommend reading each one individually, especially if there is a story you are interested in. Since each issue focuses on a different origin, one issue will have nothing to do with the next (which is nice).



million

DC One Million

This is one of my favorite stories! Imagine the Justice League of today is visited...by the Justice League of tomorrow! Justice Legion A is from the 853rd century (one million comic book issues in the future...get it?) and has come to switch places with the 21st century Justice League so that they can attend a celebration involving future Superman leaving the sun (just read it, okay?). But all is not well...villains are planning on destroying the world in both centuries! You'll definitely enjoy finding out how the JLAs from the present and future can work together through time to fight their enemies! This storyline has one of the best endings I have ever read.

Collecting Format: The paperback collects the miniseries plus some information that helps it make more sense. However, collecting is also good because DC released the one millionth issue of every series they were printing. Some of them directly tie in, others don't really relate.



incarnations

JLA: Incarnations

Want to take a look at the incarnations of the Justice League, but don't feel like collecting every issue since the 1960's? Then take a look at JLA: Incarnations! This 7-part miniseries features a different team (incarnation) in each issue, and showcases the uniqueness of each one. The stories are linked together by a reporter who follows the stories throughout the years, to interesting results. The best part is that the stories give you a super-condensed history of the Justice League in 7 great issues.

Collecting Format: There doesn't seem to be a paperback version, but this is definitely a great series to have in your collection. I may just have to go read my copies now...