This is going to be a bit of a long read, I ramble a little to get my point/thoughts across. But for the MVPs out there that will read all this and help will be tremendously appreciated.
I don’t know about anyone else, but when first getting into the DC Comics universe, it’s a bit overwhelming because of all the different types and spin offs of comics.
Years ago when I first started to try to read them (in my early teens about a decade ago, way before this glorious app), I didn’t know where to start, so I just went to the library and literally grabbed and read whatever comics caught my eye that involved my favorite supers at the time (Batman and Flash).
I know that’s not the way to get into the comic world (I was so lost and knew I was missing key moments due to diving right in the middle of a series), but I didn’t have any other resources that were free and I wanted more content that had my favorite superheroes.
Now with this wonderful app, I have soooooo many comics available at my finger tips. I absolutely love that, but it’s a bit too much at times. I know there are sections/categories that try to help with what I’m asking help for, but it’s still not that helpful for me.
So, my issues are that I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know how to stay in order with comics from the very beginning to current ongoing comics. I’ve been reading the golden age of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash as a start (I’m doing this because I want to see the original versions of the heroes I know of today, I would like to see how they have evolved and changed over the years ((especially the art work))& I want to see how they were first presented and created), but I know that there are crossovers, and spin offs and it’s hard for me to know what to read and when.
How do you guys know how to keep everything in order without getting into other issues and getting spoilers?
A good place to look, I think, for what you are looking for is in the comics section. There is the Storyline section which features huge events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and some more character-specific stories like Death of Superman.
If you are looking for more of an introduction type thing there is the Get To Know section.
On top of that, you can also utilize the Encyclopedia section. There are often key comics to read for many characters ranging from Lois Lane to Condiment King.
If you are wanting to read a story that changed the DC universe and flipped it on its head from the Golden Age comics you are reading, you can check out Crisis on Infinite Earths. There are events before and after but this was the BIG one. If you are looking for something a little more modern, you can check out Infinite Crisis. This was the sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths and about 20 years later.
I am not sure if that answers your question or not but I hope it points you in the right direction.
I think picking up random stories is a great starting point. Many of these comic books have been around for decades. You are about 80 years or more behind. However, I admire the dedication.
The best way to do it is to look up the history of DC as a company, it can be very benificial to understand. I would recommend doing research and watch a youtuber called Matt Draper, he talks about comics in amazingly styled video’s. As for where to start here’s a list for some Batman comics that form a some what cohessive timeline or are of great importance. It is mostly compossed of what is called the Post-Crisis Comtinuity, where this takes place after Crisis on Infinate Earths. To awnser your other question, I know how to keep everything in order because I look up things and search around to find out what works for me. Also ask around on where you should start and others will help guide you. I am a big Batman fan and me and @BatJamags will gladely help you. I will also put a list of important comics you should generally read. As for spin off’s or team ups, you should not worry about them too much in today’s comic’s, just lissen closely if they do happen.
Batman Year One
The Man Who Laughs
Legends of the Dark Knight #1-25
The Long Halloween
Catwoman: When in Rome
Robin: Year One
Batgirl: Year One
Batman: Sceond Chances
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
The Killing Joke
A Death in the Family
Batman #430: Fatal Wish
A Lonely Place of Dying
No Man’s Land
Important: Read because you can
Batman: The Black Mirror
Batman New 52/Rebirth Run (catch up to modern day)
Batman: Under The Red Hood
Swamp Thing (Original) by Lein Wein/Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Superman: Whatever Happend to the Man of Tommorrow by Alan Moore
All Star Superman by Grant Morrison
The Dark Knight Returns (Also watch moive) by Frank Miller
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison
Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman
Superman: Peace on Earth/Batman War On Crime/Wonder Woman: Spirit of Thruth/Shazam: Power of Hope by Paul Dini
Kingdom Come by Mark Waid
Zatanna by Paul Dini
Starman by James Robbinson
Aquaman/Green Lantern by Geoff Johns
Green Arrow by Mike Grell
Green Lantern Hard Travelin Heroes by Dennis O’Neil
New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfmen
Batwoman New 52 Run
Birds of Prey by Chuck Dixon and Gail Simon
Wonder Woman by George Perz
Flashpoint by Geoff Johns
Death/Reign of Superman Saga
The Question by Dennis O’Neil
This is a great list of comics. All-Star Superman is pretty much perfection and I cannot suggest this one enough. Kingdom Come is beautiful and amazing then there is Zatanna by Paul Dini. He loves this character and his series proved that.
Ah, yeah, I’ve tried to look through all the storyline section and still got overwhelmed and feeling like I would still be missing stuff for some reason.
But thank you! I have read Crisis, and started to read Infinite crisis before feeling (yet again, never fails) that I was missing previous issues, but I didn’t know it took 20 years after, so that helps!!
I have major FOMO, and if there’s a character that refers back to something that happened in a previous issue and I don’t know what it’s from, I instantly stop reading and go back to see what they’re talking about. I hate missing out on any moments lol
I get the feeling too, I’ve been puting together a TPB Batman timeline (from 1980’s-1990’s) and I want everything mentioned explained, and when it’s not, I spend 20 dollars to get the single issue on Ebay.
OK, so I don’t know how helpful what I’m about to say is, but I hope sharing my framework for how I organize my reading will be useful.
It sounds like you’re trying to build a chronological reading list. Having made an extensive one for myself, I know it can be frustrating. I’ll recommend a couple secondary sources:
DC Database is the most complete source of information on DC books I’ve found. They have pages like this that will tell you what series began and ended in a given year. That’ll be important further down.
Another that I use to track crossover events and such is Comic Book Reading Orders, especially their DC Event Timeline.
So, all I do is poke around, look for titles that catch my attention for one reason or another (seen a recommendation, like the character, referenced by other books I’m reading, whatever), and organize them like this:
I grabbed a big chunk of my list, so it's under this dropdown. I can share more of the list, but I just grabbed the time I'm reading stuff from right now for example.
1994 Detective Comics Batman The New Titans Wonder Woman Justice League America Green Arrow The Flash Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Green Lantern (Vol 3) Deathstroke the Terminator/Deathstroke the Hunted The Spectre Justice League Task Force Guy Gardner: Warrior Catwoman Robin Showcase ’94 The Ray Huntress (Vol 2) Starman Action Comics Adventures of Superman Superman Superman: The Man of Steel
1995 Detective Comics
Batman: October The New Titans Wonder Woman Green Arrow The Flash Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Green Lantern (Vol 3): October Deathstroke the Hunted/Deathstroke
The Spectre: October
Justice League Task Force: November
Guy Gardner: Warrior: October
Catwoman: November Robin
The Ray: October
Extreme Justice: October Showcase ’95: June Azrael
Impulse: [Start in April]
Batman Chronicles: [Start in July] Nightwing Miniseries: [Start in September]
Adventures of Superman
Superman: The Man of Steel
Superman: The Man of Tomorrow
1996 Detective Comics
Batman The New Titans
Wonder Woman Green Arrow The Flash
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Green Lantern (Vol 3) Deathstroke
The Spectre Justice League Task Force Guy Gardner: Warrior
Catwoman Robin The Ray
Starman Extreme Justice Azrael
Batman Chronicles Showcase ’96: [Start in January] Nightwing
Teen Titans: [Start in October]
Adventures of Superman
Superman: The Man of Steel
Superman: The Man of Tomorrow
So, some notes of the format:
I’ve split it into years. So, for example, The New Titans appears under every year because it was running during all of those years. Even if you don’t read totally chronologically (note how I got ahead of myself on The Flash and a few Batbooks), it still gives you a “big picture” of what was going on at the time.
I cross a title out when I’ve read all issues for that year. So here, I’m mostly working on 1995, but I’ve accounted for some stuff I’ve already read from 1996.
Italics means the title ended that year (or that’s the last issue DCU has digitized, as with Green Arrow).
A colon and a month means the issue cover dated from that month is the most recent I’ve read. I’ve started going one series at a time for each year because it’s faster than a month-by-month crawl, but I’ve been stopping in October '95 because I want to read Underworld Unleashed in order.
[Start in (Month)] means that was the month the first issue released. If you want to read month-by-month like I was doing before, that’s helpful, but for me it’s just an artifact of what I was doing when I wrote the list.
It’s completely arbitrary, but I’ve mostly ordered these by how old of a series it is. So Detective Comics is always first because nothing else started as early as 1937, (The exception is sticking the Superbooks at the bottom. There’s a complicated logistical reason for that involving the way they would cross over with each other during the '90s that’s not really important right now.)
DC Database is mostly helpful in figuring out what years a title ran in. Though some books don’t actually have a date on the cover, so DC Database can fill in details like that.
Past that, I can provide recommendations for certain characters or eras, but I’m not sure what to say about how to actually pick titles. My only other advice would be to not be afraid to try everything, because you’ll never know what obscure book will turn out to be really good (I have been extremely pleasantly surprised by titles I picked up on a whim like Birds of Prey '99, Captain Atom '86, or The Spectre '92 - all among my all-time favorites even though I didn’t read them on any particular recommendation).
Part of the reason I know so much continuity stuff is I spent years reading random DC Database articles before I started regularly reading comics. I was a kid and didn’t want to ask my parents to buy things for me, so it seemed like the next-best thing.
Well… something that helped me get into comics as a newcomer (I was introduced a bit late into the game) was to stick to one-offs at first. I would go into book stores and gravitate towards the graphic novel sections and pick up stories in larger format, so that I can start and complete a story all in one sitting. The Earth One books are a good example. Still love them now.
From there I started picking up the volume releases of existing series for a bit. Pretty much waited until arcs were released in volumes so that I can read them in bulk… while I was definitely behind on the current releases… this helped me get into some amazing stories…
Now, I follow only a few series on an issue-by-issue basis… But I still enjoy a good stand-alone story.
Hope my experience helps. I definitely still don’t have it figured out. Luckily now I work right by a Comic Book shop… so I head there almost every Wednesday with my coworker… hoping to get lucky and finding an interesting “issue #1”
As a relatively new reader (been reading comics for under two years still), I think the best strategy is not to care about chronology. To be honest, nobody reads complete chronologies of characters. If they do, they’ve probably been reading comics for 20+ years. Instead, start by reading the best stories. Look up a list of classics, or get some recommendations of stories that are worth reading from people here. From there, I would recommend following writers and artists instead of characters. The quality of a story most of the time is going to be determined by the creative team—not the character. Plus, this strategy will quickly introduce you to more characters so you can get a sense of the broader image of the DC Universe instead of being really well versed in one character in the DC Universe. Of course this is just something that worked for me, and everyone reads comics differently. All I’ll say is that I think that this is a better strategy for ensuring that you’re reading good stories. If you just run down the timeline of a character you’ll have to be prepared to sit through some not-so-great stories. Hope this helps
in Comic Books
Get To Know
There are start Reading Guides
The Teen Titans
Storylines in Browse can also be sorted
that makes it easier to find great Batman storylines among other characters.
The Encyclopedia may give you important titles and issues for the character you are interested in.
You can join.a Book.Club
A good link for Batman is
A good starting point is after Crisis on Infinite Earth
Man of Steel by John Byrne
Wonder Woman by George Perez
Batman Year One by Frank.Miller
Justice League International
Are great reads
f you are interested in recent comics
I suggest the following Titles
DC Rebirth 1 2016
Superman Lois and Clark followed by
Superman Rebirth 2016 followed by Super Sons
Wonder Woman 2016 Year One Issues 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Detective Comics 2016
Green Lanterns 2016
RedHood and the Outlaw 2016
New Superman 2016
Titans Hunt followed by
Titans with.Orginal Titans 2026
Earth 2 issue 17 on
Huntress Mini series followed by
Good new series
Justice League Dark 2018
Justice League Odyssey 2018 issue 6 on
If ypu want to start with earliest issues
Filter Comic by Era to get Golden Age
And read Only the following
Wonder Woman 1
Look.at Movie and TV to see if any videos interest you.
The DC Animation.Universe starts with
Batman The Animated Series
Superman the Animated Series
Justice League Unlimited
Also Wonder Woman TV series
Superman 1978 movie with Christopher Reeves
And original Content
Titans two seasons
(partially based on
New Teen Titans 1980
Tern Titans 2003
Young Justice (three seasons of original storylines)
Doom.Patrol (1989 Doom Patrol 19 Crawling from the Wreckage Grant Morrison)
Swamp Thing (1984 Saga of Swamp Thing 21 The Anatomy Lesson Alan Moore)
My short list of best DC stories is found at
My Super Hero Genre History lists significant DC Titles and issues
It is by year
Look.at the start of each post for starting year to
Find issue or titles that might interest you
After Crisis on Infinite Earth is year 1986
In my experience, the best thing to do when you come across something of interest is to just read it. Don’t worry at all about continuity, key appearances/ storylines, reading everything that came before, etc.
Way, way too many people sweat that stuff when they just don’t need to, they really don’t. Saying to yourself “Well, I need to read this, that, and the other before I even attempt this book over yonder.” does absolutely nothing but serve as a way to confuse one’s self, unnecessarily extend your reading list and make one think comics require more effort than they really do.
Read what’s of interest to you now, and worry about filling in the rest of the puzzle later on, as everything will eventually coalesce for you over time.
The priority is to have fun reading, and to not sweat the small things.