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  1. #1
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    Default Better investment: classic or current?

    Just dipping my toe very gradually into the Marvel waters, thanks to Avengers and its companion pieces. With limited funds, I have some tough choices to make.

    I see three approaches I could take: start from the beginning with either Masterworks or Essentials. This appeals to me since I am very interested in seeing where a lot of these characters and their stories are rooted.

    Or

    Essential storylines. Say with Iron Man, that would be collections of Demon in a Bottle and Armor Wars. With Thor, it would be Simonson. With Hulk, Peter David.

    Or

    Just get caught up with the current stuff. Brubaker on Cap, Avengers Dissembled, Civil War, etc.

    I am just looking for opinions on where my money would be better spent and where maximum enjoyment of the story and grasp of the characters would come from.

    Hit me, please.

  2. #2
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    Um, both. There are good classic stories and there are some good modern ones. Personally, I'd say that Brubaker's Cap is better than both Avengers Disassembled and Civil War, but that doesn't mean there isn't some good modern stories to balance out the more classic runs.

  3. #3

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    If you're just looking to read, I'd look into Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

    It's annoying, but vast and cheap.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeweasel View Post
    If you're just looking to read, I'd look into Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

    It's annoying, but vast and cheap.
    Mac/iPad user, so that rules that one out for me right away, unfortunately. I do my best comic reading lounging in bed relaxing or just before bed. No idea why.

    I should mention that I have the pb Masterworks first volumes for Fantastic Four (Skrulls are cool but... cows?), Hulk and ASM. As for current stuff, aside from Avenger movie tie ins, I only have Marvels and just this afternoon I tried out Avengers Disassembled. Quite good that one. Even if I did not "get" all the characters, who the Scarlet Witch was and where she is going (I know, House of M) is an arc I could really sink my teeth into.

    Please continue to advise, I get the feeling this could get expensive, but rewarding.

  5. #5
    Elder Member XPac's Avatar
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    The thing with a lot of the older stuff is that in can look and feel very dated.

    If you're into older comics, it can be fun. But not everything written 50 years ago (or whatever) reads as well today. There are a few classics that stand the test of time quite well... but a lot of the other stuff frankly doesn't hold up as well. I still read a lot of the older stuff too, but to a degree a lot of the really older stuff is an acquired taste.

  6. #6

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    Like has been said, I'd try both.

    Find a good jumping on point for whatever new series you're looking to get into, and pick up some of the classic trades as you can afford them. That's what I'm doing with Batman right now. I'm pretty familiar with the character, but never really read or collected the comics. I've jumped on a couple of the New 52 Batman titles and just picked up all the classic trades and it's been great.

    You were right about the expensive part though.

  7. #7
    Cute.5 Aaron King's Avatar
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    Go the library! Nearly every library I've been to has at least a smattering of Essentials and modern books on hand, and there's a very good chance that they can get whatever you're looking for through interlibrary loan. This means you can try out tons of series for free. Then, if you decide you really like something, you can buy the next volumes for keepsies.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Paladin King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XPac View Post
    The thing with a lot of the older stuff is that in can look and feel very dated.

    If you're into older comics, it can be fun. But not everything written 50 years ago (or whatever) reads as well today. There are a few classics that stand the test of time quite well... but a lot of the other stuff frankly doesn't hold up as well. I still read a lot of the older stuff too, but to a degree a lot of the really older stuff is an acquired taste.
    This is my feeling as well.

    Generally, I'd recommend just going for the critically praised, contemporary runs on the character: JMS' Thor, Fraction's Iron Man, Brubaker's Cap, Pak's Hulk.
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  9. #9
    Avengers Assemble! Telos's Avatar
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    The problem with starting with the essentials and trying to read everything is that a lot of stuff is uncollected. There are huge gaps in Marvel's collected editions, since the Masterworks and Essentials usually only go up to around issue #150.

    You're better off looking for acclaimed stories for each character/team. I agree that the Silver Age stories are an acquired taste.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Paladin King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telos View Post
    The problem with starting with the essentials and trying to read everything is that a lot of stuff is uncollected. There are huge gaps in Marvel's collected editions, since the Masterworks and Essentials usually only go up to around issue #150.

    You're better off looking for acclaimed stories for each character/team. I agree that the Silver Age stories are an acquired taste.
    Particularly if, like the TS, your interest started thanks to the recent movies.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member passer-by's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mperiolat View Post
    Essential storylines. Say with Iron Man, that would be collections of Demon in a Bottle and Armor Wars. With Thor, it would be Simonson. With Hulk, Peter David.
    This would be my choice if I wanted to collect trades with limited funds.

    If you don't insist on actually owning the books, going to the library is a good option too, and even if you want to own them the library gives you the opportunity to test the storyarcs before buying, as Aaron King said. As for digital, an e-comics reader like Kindle Fire when it gets cheaper, perhaps?

    Re: the Silver Age - what XPac said. I'd recommend that modern readers check it out only after they've become fans, but not at beginner level.
    Last edited by passer-by; 05-05-2012 at 09:26 PM.
    I don't know what to consider canon anymore :(
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  12. #12
    Sad Hawkguy in the snow CyberHubbs's Avatar
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    Like others have said, libraries are a great resource.

    I'd say start with current (the last ten years or so) books and work your way back. You can also fill in the blanks with the internet just so your mind isn't boggled completely.
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  13. #13
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    Yeah, Silver Age stuff is... a bit trippy. (Again, Skrulls = cows?) But I will say I made a VERY good choice by reading Avengers Disassembled as that has made me curious about Scarlet Witch, which has me working both forwards and backwards through Avengers and dipping my toe EVER so gingerly into X-Men. So I'll be hitting up my local libraries to see what they have (we're in central KY, so my expectations are appallingly low) plus checking my LCS and B&N to see what they have.

    Something on my mind - hearing VERY good word of mouth on Alias, but since that was a MAX title, I get the feeling my local library may not have it. Just want to check it out as well as Pulse as the character is intriguing.

    My wallet is wailing already, but I have much to consider. We'll see what the path ahead holds and, if interested, I'll provide updates and thoughts, just for conversation and potential debate on stories and characters,

  14. #14
    Junior Member Algus's Avatar
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    You can get swept away in reading that older stuff. I'm not saying don't do it or that there isn't anything good from back then (just the opposite, I have quite the collection of older stuff) but if you really want to learn about a specific character, just check them out on Wikipedia or some similar site.

    Even just trying to catch up on Marvel from the start of the big event era (lets say starting at House of M) is a monumental task. Better to just dive in and Wiki or ask on a forum if you are really confused about a plot point. Most modern comics do a good job of bringing you up to speed on what is currently going on in a title.

    If you want to read that older stuff, go buy it and read it because you like that style of comic or you like that era/author/whatever. Definitely don't read it because you want to start from the beginning and read all the way through.

    Getting into X-Men is definitely something you slowly have to absorb lol. Watch the 90s cartoon and play the X-Men Legends video games to get familiar with the characters. Way better than trying to start that from the beginning (this coming from a guy who's read every issue from the 60s). It isn't to bad if you know some of the classic late 80s/early 90s crew and who you like of those people, because you can just get the books they are in. The metaplot ever since House of M is a mess though.

    Try to find Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men. Timeline wise it happens just before House of M and while some plot points might be confusing if you weren't reading X-Men in the late 90s/early 00s, by the end of the run you'll be up to speed on how things were before House of M. Plus the art and story are both sexy. Then you can dive into the madness that has been X-Men since House of M.
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  15. #15
    Cute.5 Aaron King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mperiolat View Post
    So I'll be hitting up my local libraries to see what they have (we're in central KY, so my expectations are appallingly low)
    I was a public librarian in rural Wisconsin and we had all sorts of comics. If anyone wanted anything we didn't have there, we could get it within a couple days from other libraries in the state or within a couple weeks from other libraries in that nation. Just about every public library is connected to a national interlibrary loan system.
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