Comics,  Uncategorized

Recommended Reading for New Fans of Marvel Comics

New to the Marvel Universe, but don’t know where to begin to read? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here’s a list of some of the most famous comic books from Marvel. This is by no means the only comics from Marvel that you should read. This is just meant to get you off to a good start. These books can either be found online or at your local bookstore.

Marvel Masterworks: Avengers Volume 1
Writer: Stan Lee
Artists: Jack Kirby & Don Heck
Summary: This book collects the first ten issues of The Avengers and involves The Avengers teaming up to face Loki and finding Captain America and thawing him from a block of ice. If you want to see where the Marvel Cinematic Universe got its inspiration for the first Avengers film look no further than this collection.

Avengers Kree/Skrull War

Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Sal Buscema, Neal Adams, John Buscema
Summary: This book collects Avenger #89-97, which was published in 1971-1972 and revolves around the Kree/Skrull War. The Krees and the Skrulls are alien empires that are at war and their war has put Earth in the crossfire. It’s up to the Avengers to end the war before it threatens to destroy the planet. Kree/Skrull War is considered one of the all-time great Avengers stories and its huge cast and complex storylines are emulated to this day.
The Ultimates 1 and 2
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Bryan Hitch
Summary: This book takes place in an alternate universe and is a modern-day retelling of The Avengers. This modern update proved to be popular with fans and The Ultimates would heavily influence the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection (Vol.1-4)
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artists: Various
Summary: When Christopher Priest was put in charge of writing the Black Panther in the late 1990s, he took the character to new heights. Priest highlighted T’Challa’s role as a king and diplomat in his stories. In Christopher Priest’s hands the Black Panther was a superhero comic, political satire, and spy thriller all rolled into one. To this day, Priest’s stories are considered some of the Black Panther’s best.

Marvel Masterworks: Captain America(Vol. 1)
Writer: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Summary: Shortly after Captain America was revived in the pages of The Avengers, he was given his own solo comic. These comics show that while Captain America maybe a man out of time, he hasn’t lost a step when it comes to facing bad guys.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Steve Epting
Summary: ‘The Winter Soldier’ story arc revolves around a seemingly unstoppable and untraceable assassin crossing paths with Captain America. The comic is not only the greatest Captain America story ever written, but it also took Captain America’s sidekick, Bucky and turned him into a full-blown superstar. If you want to know what inspired the film Captain America: Winter Soldier than this comic is right up your alley as the movie’s main story arc was ripped right out of these pages.

Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson (vol.1-4)
Writer: Frank Miller
Pencils: Frank Miller & Klaus Janson
Summary: When Frank Miller took over writing for Daredevil in the late 1970s, he was a minor superhero whose comic was on the verge of cancellation. Miller and artist Klaus Janson channeled the grim and crime ridden atmosphere of 1970s New York City into the Daredevil comic and sales skyrocketed.  Miller and Janson introduced many classic elements to Daredevil during this time like his martial arts background. Most importantly, the two men created Elektra who would become just as popular as Daredevil himself. As the series continued, Miller and Janson took Daredevil down a dark path that was rarely seen in comic books at that time.
Daredevil: Born Again
Writer: Frank Miller
Pencils: Dave Mazzucchelli
Summary: The premise of this graphic novel is that Matt Murdock’s life completely falls apart and is left a broken man by the Kingpin. The story follows Murdock as he slowly tries to claw his way back to sanity and rebuild his life.

Deadpool Classic (vol.1-4)
Writers: Various
Artists: Various
Summary: These volumes cover the early days of Deadpool in the early 1990s. Deadpool served as a parody of the grim and gritty comic books that were available at that time and eventually became an action comedy that parodied pop culture in general.

Cable & Deadpool: Split Second
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Reilly Brown
Summary: The premise for this comic involves Cable getting a vision of a horrific future due to the death of one man. Cable must protect him at all costs, but a certain Merc with a Mouth has been hired to kill him.

The Fantastic Four (#1-102)
Writer: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Summary: This is where it all began. When the Fantastic Four debuted in 1961, there was no superhero comic book like it. Unlike the Justice League who all got along, the Fantastic Four was a superhero team that fought each other as much as they fought super villains. The Fantastic Four introduced what would become the trademark of Marvel Comics, the heroes were deeply plagued by personal troubles in addition to having to fight supervillains.  One of the biggest factors in the Fantastic Four and Marvel’s success was the partnership between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. For over one hundred issues they redefined what superhero comic books could be. They introduced characters and concepts in that would be the key to Marvel and the comic book industry’s success. Jack Kirby’s artwork in particular is still astounding even by today’s standards. Kirby’s imagination could barely be contained by the pages he drew on.
The Fantastic Four(#232-295)
Writer and Penciler: John Byrne
Summary: After Stan Lee and Jack Kirby stopped working on the Fantastic Four comic, it quickly fell off the top of the sales charts as subsequent creators failed to recreate the magic that Lee and Kirby were capable of.  When John Byrne was brought in to take over the Fantastic Four, he was able to restore them to their former glory by taking them back to their roots by reemphasizing the family dynamic between the characters. He also took the Invisible Girl and redubbed her the Invisible Woman. Byrne also made her the most powerful member on the team.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artists: Paul Pelletier, Brad Walker, Wes Craig with Carlos Magno
Summary: This comic book served as the inspiration for the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. The premise involves a group of space outlaws banding together to save the galaxy.

The Incredible Hulk (Marvel Masterworks vol. 1)
Writer: Stan Lee
Artists: Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko
Summary: This collection tells the earliest stories of the Hulk and introduces us to his supporting cast. What made the Hulk so different when he debuted was that he tended to be more interested in destroying things than he was in saving the day. The Hulk was also different because his alter ego Bruce Banner hated changing into the Hulk because he could not control the transformation. The Hulk on the other hand, hated Bruce Banner because he views him as a weakling.
Incredible Hulk Visionaries (vol. 1-8)
Writer: Peter David
Artists: Various
Summary: When Peter David was brought on to write the Hulk comic in the 1980s, he gradually took the character on a dark path. David explored the psychological depths of both Bruce Banner and the Hulk. David used the Hulk to explore themes like child abuse and multiple personalities. The early volumes are also a reflection of what was happening in the comic book industry at the time. Stories were becoming less light-hearted and darker in tone. Also, the second volume of this series has a great fight scene between the Hulk and Wolverine. It’s highly underrated, but it is one of the best fight scenes in comic book history.

Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle
Writer: David Michelinie & Bob Layton
Pencillers: Bob Layton, John Romita Jr., and Carmine Infantino
Summary: Although Iron Man was a member of the Avengers and starred in his own solo series throughout the sixties and seventies, he never received a truly great solo story until 1979. This story arc concerns Tony Stark’s confronting a villain he cannot defeat: alcohol. Tony Stark’s alcoholism winds up being his downfall as his life winds up falling apart. This story’s realistic treatment of addiction was unprecedented in the comic book industry at that time. Demon in a Bottle is the greatest Iron Man story ever written and the character’s struggles with alcoholism is still revisited by creators to this very day.
Iron Man: Extremis
Writer: Warren Ellis
Pencils: Adi Granov
Summary: When the Extremis story arc was published in 2005 and 2006, technology was becoming even more powerful and advanced than ever before. This was reflected in the Iron Man comics as his power armor was given a significant upgrade. This story arc proved to be highly influential to the Iron Man films. The Iron Man armor in this comic would inspire the costumes in the films and Extremis was the main source of inspiration for Iron Man 3.

Jessica Jones: Alias (vol. 1-4)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Michael Gaydos
Summary: (WARNING: This series is recommended for older readers.) Alias stars Jessica Jones, a former superhero that retired to become a private investigator. Anybody who is a fan of the Jessica Jones TV show should read these series of comics.

Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank
Writer: Garth Ennis
Pencils: Steve Dillon
Summary: Throughout the 1990s, the Punisher floundered as a character and as a result, his comic book failed to sell and was later canceled. However, in 2000, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon were charged with restoring the character to his former glory. Needless to say, they succeeded. Welcome Back, Frank tells the story of Frank Castle’s return to New York City to take on the Gnucchi Family led by the evil Ma Gnucchi. This collection is everything the Punisher should be.
Punisher MAX: The Complete Collection (vol. 1-4)
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: Various
Summary: (WARNING: This series is recommended for older readers.) This series takes place outside the mainstream Marvel Continuity and this allows writer Garth Ennis to write some of the most violent Punisher stories ever written. The Punisher in this series wages his one-man war on crime against member of the Russian mafia, the IRA, human traffickers, and anybody else that breaks the law. If you’re a fan of the Netflix series, Punisher: MAX is definitely the book for you.

The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus(Vol. 1-3)
Writer: Stan Lee
Artists: Steve Ditko & John Romita Sr. (Volume 2 & 3 only)
Summary: (These volumes are expensive, but you get over a thousand pages in each one, so your money goes a long way.) Stan Lee and Steve Ditko forever changed what superhero stories could be when Spider-Man debuted. Instead of being a strong and bold hero, Spider-Man under the costume was a shy and insecure teenage boy named Peter Parker. Peter Parker was bullied, was unable to connect with girls, and had money troubles. In these three volumes, just about every classic Spider-Man story from his earliest years are collected in these volumes. Stan Lee’s writing is still imitated years later and Steve Ditko’s artwork isn’t larger than life like Jack Kirby’s, but it makes the character incredibly relatable. These volumes are a must have for any comic book fan.
The Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Masterworks(Vol. 13)
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: John Romita Sr. & Gil Kane
Summary: This comic may have been published in 1973, but it is still one of the most influential and emotional Spider-Man comics ever created. The premise involves the Green Goblin kidnapping Peter Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. The end result of this series shocked the comic book community at that time and marked the beginning of the comic book industry going in a darker creative direction. This story arc was a reminder to readers that Peter Parker would never lead a truly happy life.
Ultimate Spider-Man (Vol. 1-19)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man takes place in an alternate timeline and gave a 21stCentury update to Spider-Man. What makes these comics so great is that the old stories are told from a fresh perspective. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and penciller Mark Bagley would collaborate on Ultimate Spider-Man for over one hundred issues, becoming one of the comic book industries most celebrated teams. At its peak, Ultimate Spider-Man sold more copies than the flagship Spider-Man comic, The Amazing Spider-Man.

Chris Claremont’s X-Men

Summary: When Chris Claremont took over the X-Men comic book in 1975, the series was among Marvel’s lowest selling. When he left seventeen years later in 1991, The X-Men were cultural icons. During his run, Claremont oversaw the some of the most complex and famous story arcs that transformed the comic book industry. Chris Claremont turned superheroes like Wolverine, Storm, and Kitty Pryde into some of the greatest and most well rounded character in comics.  Chris Claremont’s run on the X-Men is so complex and epic that it’s just better to put a link HERE which properly explains which story arcs to follow.