Top five comics to get you started

This list is just a small step into a larger universe. Preface photo/Neil King
This list is just a small step into a larger universe. Preface photo/Neil King

Columnist/Web editor
@neilk34neil or

The world of superhero comics started almost 80 years ago with the appearance of Superman. For a curious would-be fan, it can be an overwhelming world to try to step into.

Here’s a list of the top five books you can buy at most any chain bookstore that are great introductions into the world of caped crusaders. Each selection is a collected volume, so you don’t have to look for individual books.

The fifth comic book on my list is the original “Secret Wars.”

This is a really good introduction to the Marvel comic book world. All the major players in the Marvel universe are in this book. The X-Men, Avengers, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and a group of villains are all pitted against each other in this series.

Neil 2   It came in fifth for me because the dialogue is a bit dry and forced, not to mention cheesy, but this comic series is from 1984 and it’s a comic, not Hemmingway.

In short it’s a lot of fun and a great introduction to a wide breadth of characters.

Up fourth are two series that really run as one, “Flash: Rebirth” and “Flashpoint.”

The combination of these two books not only sets up the rehashing of the entire DC universe in the “New 52,” but also serve as in-depth introductions into the character of the Flash that step well beyond the fact that he can run really, really fast.

Both are written well, but “Flashpoint” is by and large one of the best superhero comic books I’ve ever read.

The third title on this list is “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.”

Frank Miller is a gigantic name in the comic book industry and penned this Batman story.

Miller is also responsible for “Sin City,” “300,” the first Wolverine solo series, and arguably the best Daredevil stories ever written.

But what makes “Dark Knight Returns” a good book for starting on comics aren’t all of Miller’s accolades. It’s that he nails DC comics’ biggest two characters – Superman and Batman – so well in the story.

Also, the story and dialogue are great.

“Civil War” by Marvel is second.

In “Civil War” the characters of the Marvel universe are torn over whether or not heroes should have to reveal their secret identities to the U.S. Government.

Lines of morality and responsibility are blurred. Heroes are fighting heroes and not even sure which side they really agree with.

It’s a great story.

This series really shakes up the Marvel universe and is a deep look into just who these characters are when the masks and gloves are off.

“Kingdom Come” is number one.

This is a similar introduction to “Civil War” but for DC comics. The biggest reason I’m putting it as my number one is the artwork.

“Kingdome Come” isn’t done in the typical ink and color of comic books. Alex Ross does each page or frame as a painting.

The writing is also really compelling, and the introduction to the moral fiber of these characters is as well defined in Miller’s “Dark Knight,” but there’s many more of them.

There are a whole room of superhero comics that could have made this list, and if you disagree feel free to drop me a line and let me know what five you would suggest and why. My email and twitter are at the top of the story.

Here are a few honorable mentions: “Spiderman no More,” “X-Men: Age of Apocalypse,” “Death of Superman,” “Batman: Knightfall” and “Astonishing X-Men” with Joss Whedon.

By The Preface at IUSB

IU South Bend's Official Student Newspaper

Leave a Reply