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  1. #1
    Cute.5 Aaron King's Avatar
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    Default Good starter superhero comics.

    A friend of mine has seen a couple episodes of Comic Book Men and expressed some interest in reading superhero comics. She's intrigued by how they all tie together and go back so far (which goes against the "common wisdom" of making them standalone, I guess) and wants to read a few. It falls on me to curate her introduction, so I'm seeking advice.

    So far, she's expressed the most interest in Marvel and the X-Men; she liked the movies. She's 32. Her general tastes skew towards humorous and modernist, but they're pretty wide-ranging in general. She likes the show Archer, for instance, but she also liked the Harry Potter books. She works at a science museum and really loves science in general. I'm hoping to lend her stuff in TPB form just because it's easier to lend, read, and keep track of.

    So far, I'm considering:
    Excalibur (the Claremont/Davis stuff)
    -pros: funny, pretty accessible, ties to other books
    -cons: sort of sputters out

    New Mutants (Claremont run)
    -pros: mostly new characters but with ties to other books
    -cons: artwork starts out bland before dropping you into Sienkiewicz

    Dark Phoenix Saga
    -pros: almost every X-comic sort of issues out of this story; nice art
    -cons: the TPB starts in a weird place; is the emotional impact lessened by starting here?

    Blue Beetle (the modern Rogers/Hamner run)
    -pros: funny, easy to read, good at introducing continuity
    -cons: the first storyline is way weak

    Daredevil by Waid/Rivera/Martin
    -pros: slightly breezy with some soap opera
    -cons: relatively standalone, and if she likes Daredevil, most of the other major runs are vastly different

    So... I don't know. None of these seem to jump out and say "Yes! This is what she's looking for!" I'd love to hear more suggestions.
    All-Star Western, Casanova, Criminal, Daredevil, Dark Horse Presents, Funnies, Hellboy/BPRD, King City, Orc Stain, Snarked, Unwritten, Usagi Yojimbo

  2. #2
    Remember the Herculoids
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    I've recommened to others in similar circumstances the better volumes of Ultimate Marvel. I'm thinking she would like the stories and characters of Ultimate Spider-man, Ultimate X-men and the Ultimates. There's science up the gazoo there, though I couldn't tell you if it's good science or not. Characters are appealing, even the villians. Art is at least good, and reaches up into nearly superb in some places. Each volume is a self-contained story arc, but interacts with the others, too, just the way Marvel used to, once upon the ancient time of my childhood. Those three titles, especially the earlier volumes, I thought were the strongest in the Ultimate universe. I have the entire thing in hardcover and that's my assessment.

    For classic comics (I notice we all define that differently here), I've rec'd to new superhero readers the run of Lee & Kirby's FF, from about #40 to #100. The second omnibus collects that run. It has weird science to it, but how can you beat the cosmic powers unearthed by that run?

  3. #3
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    Some possibilities to consider...

    Not a classic comic, but based on her stated tastes I think she might enjoy the current Hawkeye series from Marvel by Matt Fraction, David Aja and others. Lots of tongue in cheek humor and sarcasm, Aja has a very modern minimalist art style.

    -If she enjoys the X-Men, Whedon's Astonishing X-Men with art by John Cassaday may be a good entry point. Whedon captures a bit of the classic X-Men feel but layers it with typical Wheodn wit and sensibilities. I know some here love the run and others dislike it, but as an entry point into the world of the X-Men for someone with your friend's states sensibilities, it could work well.

    -For science and superheroes mixing together, with a whole lot of love letters to pulp and sci fi thrown in, Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday might be interesting for her.

    -The early issues of the Giffen/Dematteis/Kevin Maguire Justice League were collected into a trade that features light-hearted super-hero adventure in a universe with deep roots and some laugh out loud moments. DC, not Marvel though.

    -the 4 issue Wolverine mini collected in trade by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. A self-contained story with deep roots in Marvel history featuring a character she is familiar with (and the story is partly adapted in the upcoming Wolverine movie this summer)

    -The Hickman Fantastic Four run is filled with way out wacky science and touching family moments, steeped in Marvel history but with a very modern story telling sensibility.

    Those are just a few off the top of my head.

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  4. #4
    Elder Member Shellhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    -If she enjoys the X-Men, Whedon's Astonishing X-Men with art by John Cassaday may be a good entry point. Whedon captures a bit of the classic X-Men feel but layers it with typical Wheodn wit and sensibilities. I know some here love the run and others dislike it, but as an entry point into the world of the X-Men for someone with your friend's states sensibilities, it could work well.
    Good choice. The Whedon run is a very good entry point to the X-Men, unlike almost everything involving Marvel mutants from the last 30 years. The Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne run is also great. Morrison's New X-Men has a lot of interesting ideas, but suffers from too many fill-in artists.

    If she really wants to experience a mixture of accessibility and continuity, DC's weekly 52 series from several years back is a lot of fun, except for the rushed artwork. And Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers is a set of seven self-contained minis with a lot of links between each other and bracketed by two bookend issues. However, the Mister Miracle issues and the finale are both challenging reads.
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  5. #5
    Cute.5 Aaron King's Avatar
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    Thanks for the ideas so far! I had considered Morrison's X-Men, but the art is so uneven. The Whedon stuff had completely slipped my mind, though, and there's a good chance I'll go with those. Maybe I can get them cheap or grab them from the library.

    52 is also a great suggestion that I hadn't considered. On the plus side, I already own it, and the TPBs are full of commentary, which I think she'd like. I actually don't mind the art. Maybe Rucka's Checkmate, too, or Batwoman.

    Hm. The wheels are turning. Keep the suggestions coming.
    All-Star Western, Casanova, Criminal, Daredevil, Dark Horse Presents, Funnies, Hellboy/BPRD, King City, Orc Stain, Snarked, Unwritten, Usagi Yojimbo

  6. #6
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    Is she comfortable moving through different eras of writing and movies, etc? If she is, then I'd go with the Kirby/Lee FF and Thor. If not, I'd go with MRP's suggestions, or at least the ones I have some familiarity with - Whedon's X-Men and especially Planetary (though I've read only part of each). [edit:] Morrison's Seven Soldiers is a great idea as well.

    What does she like in science fiction, if anything?

  7. #7
    ich liebe Leni stelok's Avatar
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    Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis & Kevin Maguire Justice League
    A N I M E

  8. #8
    Member theflyingfrogunderdog's Avatar
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    The Essential X-Men TPB's would be good...reprinting the first 100 issues from #94-up would give her the full early history of the New X-Men.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Ron Cuthbert's Avatar
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    The comic isn't that old, and is still on going but a good first-time comic is Invincible. It takes everything about comics and the superhero genre (good and bad) and just runs with it.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member The Beast Of Yucca Flats's Avatar
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    I'd go with NXM, aforementioned art issues aside.

    I'd also throw in Peter Milligan & Mike Allred's X-Force/Statix; and James Robinson's Starman (for somewhat the same reason 52 was brought up).

  11. #11
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  12. #12
    More human than human. Johnny P. Sartre's Avatar
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    Enigma
    Pros: A marvelous story about superhero identity and sexuality
    Cons: Demands a lot from a reader

    Morrison's Animal Man:
    Pros:An awesome existentialist superhero comic
    Cons: may be too weird for a casual superhero reader

    Moore's Swamp Thing and his ABC line:
    Pros:Great stories, great art, and great characters
    Cons: demands a lot and can be overwhelming

    Milligan and Allred's X-Force and X-Statix run:
    Pros: turns the superhero teen genre on it's head
    Cons: NOTHING AT ALLLL :p

    Starstruck
    Pros: great story backedy great art
    Cons: demands a lot and can confuse a reader

    Astro City
    Pros: great start for superhero comics and don't need a huge backlog of history
    cons: ummm, don't know
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  13. #13
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    If she likes science, superheroes, and all the link up stuff then Hickman's FF might be up her street - although I am loathe to recommend many modern DC or Marvel books because they take about 5mins to read into a headwind (and did we really need a 40 page blackbolt origin story). His image book about all the scientists, Manhattan Projects, might be enjoyable too (even though its not superheroes or continuity.

    Moores Swamp Thing, Gaimans Sandman, Milligans Shade and Morrisons Doom Patrol are the motherlode of "modern" superhero comics though as far as I am concerned (although none of them really link to much else in any significant way)

    and Tim Truman's Hawkworld mini which was a real mind melter to me and can be picked up off ebay for about $2 - then she can have all the fun in world trying to follow hawkman's history in comics
    Last edited by dr chimp; 02-12-2013 at 02:54 PM.
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  14. #14
    Cute.5 Aaron King's Avatar
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    A lot of these suggestions (Invincible, X-Statix, Enigma, Astro City) are awesome comics, but I think I'm going to stray away from them since they won't help my friend get into the wider universes, which seemed to be a key part of her request. Swamp Thing and Starman are great, though, and I hadn't thought of them before. They're both sort of self-contained, but they feature all sorts of guest stars and links to other comics.
    All-Star Western, Casanova, Criminal, Daredevil, Dark Horse Presents, Funnies, Hellboy/BPRD, King City, Orc Stain, Snarked, Unwritten, Usagi Yojimbo

  15. #15
    Amphibian Phil Maurice's Avatar
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    I'd suggest Busiek and Ross' Marvels. Universe and history-spanning, photo-realistic (like the movies), and just good comics IMHO. Not for everybody, but for a 32-year old neophyte, maybe.
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