What Are Your DC Must Read Stories?!

What are your all time must read stories for for DC? Please explain why!!
Thanks everyone!

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Superman Annual #11 “For the Man Who Has Everything” - just a great single issue, also happens to be done by the Watchmen team of Moore and Gibbons.

Flex Mentallo - Grant Morrison really got on one with this mini-series, but it’s a really honest appeal to the imagination that superheroes spark, that ‘magic’ that makes them remain special. And I love Frank Quitely artwork.

The Alan Moore Swamp Thing is my favorite series, especially in the latter half. I like the early horror stories as well, but the places Moore takes the series, especially towards the end, are some.of the most imaginative, lyrical, and beautiful comic pages I’ve ever seen.

The Jack Kirby Fourth World saga can be a bit much to recommend all in one go, but if you ever want to dive into the deep end, this is the deep end. You will be rewarding wil a pure, unfiltered modern day superhero epic myth. There are many, uh, detours, but when it focuses, there’s no matching the creativity of Jack Kirby in that era. Yeah, even the previous decade BOOM!

But the real reason to be familiar is so that you can read Tom King’s Mister Miracle. It’s astounding. Can’t understate just how floored I was, in a way I haven’t been since I’ve read some of the other big classics. I’m still letting it settle but it may, almost, just possibly be, like Watchmen good.

And for a random personal choice: The Jiro Kurata Bat- Manga! The Japanese Batman comic from the 60’s is…way better than you would ever expect it to be. I had to double take the comics page on the site when I saw it. I collected the recent omnibi run a few years ago, and gotta say, it really captures that go get 'em boisterous adventure spirit of the 60’s show. It’s goofy, sure, but dynamically kinetic and features some classic deductions, fist fights, and a couple great villains. The other curious thing about it is that all the villains are original. Although one, Lord Death Man, has since appeared in American books. Thanks for indulging me! I’m sure there will be plenty of (well-deserved) Dark Knight Returns, so I had to do something a little different!

Not on site, but have to mention Animal Man #5 ’ The Coyote Gospel’ and Hellblazer #27 ‘Hold Me’, both of which show the range of the mediumnof genre, and are emotional, thought-provoking tales that I’ve found to be touchstones.

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Watchmen
Crisis on Infinite Earth
Kirby’s 4th world
Denny O’Neil & Neal Adams run on Batman
New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

I think that gives a solid foundation to branch off of.

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A few favorites:

-The Death and Return of Superman. The greatest story of the greatest DC character.

-The Darkseid War. A rollicking adventure with gorgeous art.

-The Odyssey. A fun reinvention of Wonder Woman.

-Hush. The modern Batman classic.

-Divine Right: The Adventures of Max Faraday. Jim Lee’s underrated opus.

-JSA. The best Justice Society ongoing ever.

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All-Star Superman - because I’m a sucker for the sentimentality, and I love that it leans so hard into Superman’s Silver Age kookiness and shows that it can enrich the scenery without detracting from the more modern storytelling. If I had my way, all Superman would be like this again, with Ultrasphinxes and future Supermen and gravity guns! And like @DeadmanBrand said, FRANK QUITELY. And I endorse all @DeadmanBrand’s other picks, too.

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Batman endgame

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I mean I put “Man Who Laughs” easily at the top for its amazingly brutal and savage writing with a true flair for psychedelically tinged coloring and an amazing exploration into the eternal duality of the Bat and the Clown. I usually follow that with “Long Halloween”, I mean I’ll take anything that’s a Loeb/Sale work but it’s my favorite amongst them. The writing is like an nouveau modernist deco noir with a hard series of twists and the beautiful dynamic captures of Batman’s various villains by Sale’s just smashing ability to massively indulge in hyperstylized illustrations is just superb.
Besides the Bat I would say Pretty much any of the old Moore written gear for DC is a must. Don’t get me wrong there is a whole ton of great authors that have lent their names for various titles to the house but none who have truly dedicated themselves fully to their craft with a staunch desire to protect the originality of their work. Watchmen, Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, I mean these titles were pretty much some huge wins for DC back in the day and pretty much just acceptable as some of the top gear written for them throughout their existence.
Are counting vertigo? Cuz I will say that old vertigo has a slew of titles that just viciously slayed with their coolness, but I’m assuming we’re talking the standards.

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Also did I say Morrison’s Flex Mentallo? It’s some of the best almost vomit-inducing trippy visuals with a mind bending script that takes the reader on a screaming rollercoaster exploration into the concept of perception and creation, just unbelievable. I read it when I was 17 or 18 oh so long ago and it definitely was a large factor into my understand that comics could be so much more than just the tights and cape game. There’s a fair amount of Morrison’s work in DC, but this was my first. Also, seriously, if you haven’t seen Grant Morrison’s documentary or his hour long speech on “psychedelics and Sigil magic” then you are truly missing out on some fantastic insight to one of the two most intense writers/magic practitioners to ever come out of DC.

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Batman: The Long Halloween. A great mystery story with a cool ending. It’s a little ambiguous, but if you don’t expect the answer to be handed to you directly and you approach the information you’re given as a sort of logic puzzle, you can get a pretty good idea of the solution.

Also, Birds of Prey. If you want to cut to the chase, you can start with Gail Simone’s run, but I think Chuck Dixon’s run is really underrated and the others are all at least decent. I’d say there’s not a single bad issue in the first two volumes.

A few that I’m reading right now that I really enjoy are the post crisis series for Wonder Woman, the Question, and Captain Atom. One or two weird retcons aside, Wonder Woman is a series with almost no weak points. The plot is great, the writing is compelling (especially once George Perez started doing the script and not just the plot - the guy is obscenely talented), and George Perez’s artwork is always just beautiful to look at.

The Question is a cool, stylish, and intelligent series. The art’s a little messy, but it fits the tone and it’s not obnoxiously bad. Denny O’Neil is known for his tendency to get up on a soapbox every now and then, but he does it with such class that even I, as someone who normally hates authorial soapboxing (from either side of the political spectrum, mind you, and O’Neil-Question is a lot more subdued about that sort of thing than Ditko-Question, so thank goodness for small miracles), can forgive it.

Captain Atom is a series that likes to take standard superhero tropes and turn them on their head, but unlike a lot of series that do that, it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a place of hating superhero stories (e.g. Alan Moore’s work), but rather it’s just trying to do something interesting. And besides, Captain Atom himself is just a criminally underrated character.

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Whoops, you were asking for stories, not series. Sorry about that. My recommendations stand, though.

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Wonder Woman Year One 2016
Early Even Numbered Issued

Spoilers

Diana gets her power after leaving the island, showing she is clearly more powerful than the typical Amazons.

Not leaving island because of love of Steve Trevor.

Steve Trevor lieutenant Candy and professor Barbara Ann Minerva are all strong, complex and likeable characters.

The invisible plane and how it disintergrates on landing.

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@biff_pow How could I forget All-Star Superman! Issue #10, ‘Neverending’ can still bring a tear to my eye on the dozenth re-read. It’s a really powerful statement on Superman’s symbolic importance. Whenever people hate on Supes, I gotta remind myself they probably haven’t read All-Star.

And FRANK QUITELY! Did you catch his work on Jupiter’s Legacy? Oh boy…

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Kingdom Come by Waid and Ross, my favortie DC story of all time. Its unlike anyother comic Ive read, the art, the story, everything is so good.

The Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore
Batman Long Halloween by Loeb and Sale
Watchmen by Alan Moore
The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
JLA Rock of Ages by Grant Morrison
Superman Red Son by Mark Millar
Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello
The Return of Barry Allen by Mark Waid
The Coyote Gospel by Grant Morrison
Sinestro Corps War by Geoff Johns
All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison
Batman The Court of Owls by Snyder
Superman: For Tomorrow by Brian Azzarello
Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee
Superman: For the Man who has Everything by Alan Moore
Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerards
Death of the Family by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Wonder Woman: Earth One by Morrison

These are some of my favorite DC stories of all time. Some new, some older, its definitely modern age heavy. These are what came to my head first, most of these are very well-liked among fans, Id even go as far to say that all of them are pretty-well liked.

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@MajorZuma Rock of Ages is my favorite arc of JLA and my favorite part of Morrison’s JLA run. Primo pick.

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Im a big Morrison fan. Comics Legend, hes had a consistent career of top tier work. I think I prefer his Justice League stuff over his Batman.

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@MajorZuma I like Morrison’s Batman. I LOVE his JLA though. JLA Classified too.

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If you liked his Justice League, his recent Multiversity was great. Ive read a few issues of his current Green Lantern, because Ive heard how acclaimed it is and the idea of Morrison with Green Lantern is so perfect since he is such a sci-fi freak, and its really amazing. The art is so good too.

Morrisons Rock of Ages was one of the first DC comics Ive read once I started to really get into comics, it was recommended to me.

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@MajorZuma Multiversity is indeed a good read. There’s some Vertigo stuff of Morrison’s that I’ve yet to read, but all of his work in the DC Universe line is quite entertaining.

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I tend to think of the event books as my “must read books”. Comics, DC specifically, seem to distill their characters down to their essence in event books because there is not a lot of time to move personal story progression in a big event book. I remember when I first got into comics, reading Crisis on Infinite Earths a few years after it was published. I felt so lost but it also really peaked my interesting the DCU as a whole. The best event books make you want to check out characters you’d never read before. Zero Hour started my obsession with the JSA, Legends made me a huge Captain Marvel nut. Big events also have a way of setting up the universe for things to come. They are both horrible and great places for new readers to start.

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Totally seconding this. I got curious about Darkseid’s role in the DC lore after feeling the loss of his presence in Justice League. Glad I went to New Gods—Orion is probably my favorite DC character, for how striking he feels as a furiously real incarnation of the god of war.

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