Whether starting new from a number one or in the middle from the newsstand as many of us had to do with the established titles. For the former I would say 5-10 issues and at least 3 for the latter, barring the discovery of anything dreadful in the comic or it turning out not to be what I had thought. At Megacon I bought "Spawn" 1-3 on the strength of past oral interviews of Todd McFarlane and 200+ issues in an independent not being likely wrong, and "Fathom" 1 based on excerpts of later issues I'd read and a shapely, underwater heroine probably amounting to the right prescription for my fannish woes, limiting myself to only the one issue due to the variant covers aspect, which I regard as a double-edged sword, and to the incompleteness in availability of said covers and my ignorance thereof that day. In other words, I went for Spawn story unheard, figuring I could trade the well-priced issues if I don't like it. If any of you are moved to recommend an independent title, I would examine it but not Dark Horse; you might wish to know me better first, especially why I quit the big two. I would prefer a hero title and one that has or could have some longevity but would consider anything, particularly if I love the covers.
_____Slipping back to the old days, I began steady in Sep. 1966 with Thor (acquired from a Greenwich Village newsstand after school, to my mother's disappointment) owing to the slide-show cartoon, maybe two issues, but couldn't hack the Norse mythology on top of the sf with my 4th grade reading level so I switched to items more digestible when soon I could see what was available in "Heaven", where the coms were displayed in a pile and oh, the ecstasy of going through that stack! Initially, I must have thought I would buy random issues if I liked certain covers, but that approach quickly gave way to following titles as I discovered I loved some for their insides. I could probably establish a concatenation of those early purchases, and naturally, at one time, such resided in my memory bank. I never tackled anything which went back extant before 1950 except WW and in her case I needed only go back to where Charles Moulton ceased, as I despised his art to the point his issues were a nullity. WW was too good to pass up (both the mythos and the art), but I never deemed it officially part of my collection. Too inconsistent, including the changes wrought on her as in divesting her Amazon nature for a moddish kick - ridiculous! In my personally drawn coms (later) I don't think I gave her her own book despite her JLA membership.
_____The covers originally, as I've said, and later the appearance of one hero in another's title (GL in Flash, e.g.) or in B & B played a major role in my selection process. Perhaps "The Superman-Aquaman Adventure Hour" contributed, but I think my playing field was already established by its advent. DC emerged as my original stomping ground, and once I began to frequent back issue outlets for coms, already doing so for FM, etc., I would choose titles for their old covers (when the display at venues permitted observation or via ads in old issues) and nature and such became the rule. As you know, this was a period of upheaval for DC and the new issues were in flux after a very long duration of stability. I also bought nonhero titles, of course. Let me add that the two years beginning Sep. '66 were not a good period in my life, and coms constituted a remarkable haven.
_____Except for WW, which I did eventually stop years later, I never quit an established title as long as it didn't metamorphize. Of the ones I bought brand-new from #1 or the equivalent, none looms memorable in my consciousness for my relish except "The Hawk and the Dove" and "The Creeper" (actually bought used) whereas I did buy many new titles, Hero for Hire, Iron Fist, Doctor Doom, and of course, SS; maybe others. "Swamp Thing" was perhaps too new to have pinned itself, but I do love those covers. I'm not counting my last two years, when I did purchase much new stuff but didn't necessarily read it, given my situation. With regard to matter I borrowed from my friend, I quit quickly on Ka-zar, and Dr. Strange as being too murky or unreal and eventually on Tomb of Dracula, which he began from #1. He pretty much bought all the Marvels except the romance and I all the DC's 'cept the Bats and Supes related and a few of the miscellaneous or upstarts. I recall not digging his later Avengers and X-Men, perhaps because the drama was too diffuse and complicated when one couldn't read and reread passages at will or maybe the characters were subpar, at least for the former, but we did trade 2-5 issues of a title at once so short-term continuity per se wasn't a factor. Our time together included the era of "relevance", which largely hurt the Marvels I myself didn't buy, in both our views. Any questions on individual titles?