A Guide to Marvel Comics

a-guide-to-marvel-comics

This is a companion piece to my So… You Want to Start Reading Comics and Graphic Novels post. If you’re brand new to comics and want to find out where to buy them and want to know what terms like “trade paperback” mean ect. then I’d definitely recommend checking that out first!

A disclaimer that I’m still a baby when it comes to comics. I’ve only been reading them for a few years. There’s a lot I don’t know because I either haven’t read it or because I’m not interested in it. If there’s any mistakes in this post I apologise!


Where to Start.png

I touched on this briefly in my other Comic/GN post, but I feel like it needs to be said again when delving into Marvel or DC because of how many characters, issues and universes there.

It’s also important to note that whilst the Marvel Cinematic Universe is based on the comics and characters of the Marvel Universe it’s almost an entirely different canon.

When I decided to read Marvel comics I was overwhelmed to the point where I almost decided to not even start. I feel like this is a feeling a lot of other people have and it’s why people can be so hesitant to dive into to comics and I completely understand.

lets do this reactions liz lemon its on

Again, the most important thing to remember is THAT YOU DON’T NEED TO READ EVERYTHING. Marvel started in 1939. So. I was really worried that I would have to read every issue ever to 1) be considered a fan or 2) understand what was happening, but I have good news friends:

YOU DON’T!!!!

Absolutely no one is going to care if you haven’t read a comic from the 1950’s or every single issue of the Avengers. You don’t need to read every single character that exists in the Marvel universe. If ANYONE tries to tell you otherwise fight them. Okay, maybe not, but just ignore them because they suck.

One of the best things to do is choose a character your most interested in and start from the most recent volume.

In the world of comics there is a term called “Retcon” this is both a blessing and a curse. If you’re not aware of what retcon is it’s when creators completely ignore all previous canon and start afresh. This is good because it means you don’t need to read YEARS of backlog, but it has downsides too because you’ll just start getting used to the current state of the Marvel unvierse AND THEY’LL CHANGE EVERYTHING.

I fell victim to this myself. I was just starting to feel comfortable with Marvel when they introduced the Secret Wars event, which was so boring and pointless that I’m not even going to BOTHER mentioning it in this post. Fortunately, it was retconned (I think? I don’t know. Or care) and everything went back to normal. I’m also not going to talk about Civil War 2 because 1) it’s not finished and 2) it’s pointless and I hate it.

stop stop it quit it neil patrick harris  

Helpful Links:


 events

An “Event” is when a story arc happens that affects the entire universe and all the characters in it. 

Events can be annoying because a lot of the series you read will be intertwined with them. So if you’re enjoying a current story during a major event that’s taking place prepare for everything to go to Hell. It’s also confusing when you don’t read certain series that are included in the event because they tend to span across multiple issues.

Thankfully though Marvel combines these events into one single trade paperback. There are normally Trade Paperbacks of spin off tie-ins to the event, but unless you’re extremely involved in the character you don’t need to read them. For example with the Civil War event there were also trades of Civil War: Spider-Man ect.

Another thing I’m not really going to go into in this post because I don’t really know how to explain it is: Multiverses. Within the Marvel universe there are other universes. These are kind of like parallel worlds. Sometimes they merge together, but then other times they’re completely separate.

One of the main multiverse examples is Spider-Man. In the 616 Universe Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but in the 1610 Universe Miles Morales is Spider-Man.

robots aliens halle berry extant so confused

Don’t worry – so am I.

Another thing to note is story arcs and locations. Story arcs aren’t necessarily an event, but a lot have become popular and are combined into trade paperbacks. There’s also locations like Asgard where Thor lives and Attilan where the Inhumans live.

I’m not going to go into these too much in this post because it’s long enough as it is.

Helpful Links

Events Reading Recs.png

Of course there are  A LOT more events than the ones I’m mentioning, but to keep this post relatively shorter than an encyclopedia I’m just listing a few and ones that I’ve read or enjoyed.

My recommendations are also listed in chronological order!

Covers = Goodreads 


House of MHOUSE OF M – 2006

The Marvel event of the decade is here! The Avengers and the X-Men are faced with a common foe that becomes their greatest threat: Wanda Maximoff! The Scarlet Witch is out of control, and the fate of the entire world is in her hands. Will Magneto help his daughter or use her powers to his own benefit? Starring the Astonishing X-Men and the New Avengers! You know how sometimes you hear the phrase: and nothing will ever be the same again? Well, this time believe it, buster! Nothing will ever be the same again!

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki


AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED – 2006

Avengers: DisassembledIt begins with the return of a team member thought dead and by the time it’s over, everything you know about the Avengers will have changed! It’s the worst day in team history, as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes try to deal with the shocking tragedy around them. Who is behind this, and why? Will it tear the team apart? Who will fall at the hands of the Avengers’ greatest enemy?

** This is a story arc that follows the events of House of M **

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki


CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER – 2006

Captain America: Winter SoldierCap is awakened in the dead of the night by agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., who need the kind of help only he can provide. But the corpse he finds on the Heli-carrier brings him face-to-face with an unthinkable return, and opens doors to terror and manipulation he never dreamed possible!

** This is the Story Arc that Captain America: The Winter Soldier was based on **

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY


CIVIL WAR – 2006

Civil WarWhose side are you on? A conflict is brewing that threatens to pit friend against friend, brother against brother and all it will take is a single misstep to cost thousands their lives and ignite the fuse! As the war claims its first victims, no one is safe as teams, friendships and families begin to fall apart and the Marvel Universe super heroes go to war against each other.

** Captain America: Civil War is loosely adapted from this. I say loosely because it’s extremely different and mostly just uses the concept of the internal conflict and the whole Iron Man Vs Captain America thing **

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki


SECRET INVASION – 2009

Secret InvasionThe shape-shifting alien race known as the Skrulls has secretly infiltrated every super-powered organization on Earth with one goal – full-scale invasion! Filled with shocking revelations and powerful action, this adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat as Marvel’s greatest heroes and villains ask – Who do you trust?

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki

 



AVENGERS VS X-MEN – 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men: Collected EditionThe Avengers and the X-Men – the two most popular super-hero teams in history – go to war! It’s Marvel’s biggest event ever – but will the Avengers or the X-Men emerge triumphant?

** Personally, I would suggest only reading Avengers vs. X-Men #’s 0-12. **

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki

 


AGE OF ULTRON – 2013

Age of UltronHumanity’s time is over. Submit or perish, because the Age of Ultron has arrived! The artificial intelligence known as Ultron has fought for years to eradicate mankind — and now, it has all but succeeded. The few remaining heroes are battered, broken, almost beaten and left considering desperate measures — some more desperate than others. But when Wolverine breaks ranks and pursues his own plan to defeat Ultron, will his drastic action cause more problems than it solves?

** This is the Story Arc that Avengers: Age of Ultron movie was based on **

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki


INFINITY – 2014

InfinityThe mad titan Thanos makes his world-shattering return, and his armies fire the opening shots of a galactic war that will be fought both on Earth and in deep space – with our heroes caught between both battles! As Thanos’ secrets are revealed, the Inhumans’ city of Attilan falls, and the Illuminati find themselves on the front line! And as every Origin Site on Earth goes active, the Builders enter the Marvel Universe. But can the Avengers return to Earth in time to save it, when betrayal in the Galactic Council has left them prisoners of war? Galactic empires will fall as Thanos’ crazed plans come to fruition!

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki


SPIDER-VERSE – 2014

Spider-VerseWhen the evil Inheritors begin exterminating spider-characters throughout the multiverse, every single Spider-Man ever is needed to save the day! An interdimensional spider-army gathers to fight Morlun and his deadly family, but none of them is safe as the Prophecy comes to fruition! What will this brutal war for survival mean for Peter Parker and the rest of the spiders?

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki


INHUMANITY – 2014

InhumanityAfter the fall of Attilan and the Terrigen Bomb explosion, thousands of people across the globe have transformed into Inhumans! Their new powers are dangerous and terrifying, making them targets. With Black Bolt believed dead, who can these new Inhumans turn to? As the Avengers face Karnak, who has discovered the Inhumans’ secret, Medusa struggles to rule her vastly increased population.

BUY ON COMIXOLOGY

Read about the event on Marvel Wiki

 

Notes

  • My personal “must read” events are Civil War and House of M. Even though I wasn’t a fan of Civil War it is such an important part of Marvel history. The House of M event and the Avengers Disassmbled story arc are some of my favourites. I know nothing about X-Men, but still understood and enjoyed it.
  • The Winter Solider is a must read too if you’re a fan of Cap and Bucky.

Character Reading Recs.png

As I mentioned above if you’re new to Marvel then the easiest way to get started is reading the latest volume of a character you’re interested in. Marvel recently did a thing called Marvel Now and All New Marvel Now. This wasn’t a retcon as such, but was implemented as a way for new fans to have a starting point if you wanted to jump into the comic world.

Not surprisingly there are a million characters in the Marvel universe, so again I’ll just be focusing on a few that I love and feel most people would be interested in. If there’s a character you’d like to read about that I haven’t listed feel free to let me know!

Helpful Links

Title = Goodreads page of my recommended volume to start with
* = Good place to start if you’re brand new

TEAMS

A-Force.png avengers guardians-of-the-galaxy
A-Force • AvengersGuardians of the Galaxy 

runaways x-men young-avengers
Runaways* • X-MenYoung Avengers*

CHARACTERS 

captain-america black-widow captain-marvel deadpool
Captain AmericaBlack Widow* • Captain MarvelDeadpool*

hawkeye hellcat iron-man jessica-jones
Hawkeye* • Hellcat* • Iron ManJessica Jones*

moon-girl-and-devil-dinosaur ms-marvel silk spider-gwen
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur* • Ms. Marvel* • Silk* • Spider-Gwen

spider-man spider-woman Thor.png The Winter Soldier.png
Spider-Man  • Spider-Woman* • ThorThe Winter Soldier

Notes

  • The VERY FIRST comic I ever read was Runaways. It’s an awesome place to start because it’s pretty disconnected from the rest of the Marvel universe, but it helps you get used to everything.
  • If you want something fun then I can’t recommend Hellcat enough.
  • If you want something dark then definitely check out Jessica Jones. The ALIAS run is intended for more mature audience because of the themes it deals with.
  • If you want some diversity then Moon Girl, Ms. Marvel, Silk, Runaways and Young Avengers is where it’s at.

sep

I hope this post was helpful and not too overwhelming!

Do you read Marvel comics? Or do you think you’ll start? What’s some of your favourites?

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day xx

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55 thoughts on “A Guide to Marvel Comics

  1. I’LL FOREVER LOVE YOU FOR THIS POST LAUREN !! ❤
    I've been thinking a LOT about starting but I'm an intimidated little potato that needs a clear path to start haha and even though information is still jumbled up in my confused little brain, your post helped A LOT.
    I think I will start with Ms. Marvel, because I'm really curious about the fact that she is muslim and want to see how that will be played out.
    Anyway, THANK YOU !!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post is going to be my holy grail when I finally start those marvel comics, I definitely always feel such a big pressure and steer clear of them because i’m like who are all these people, teams, what does this mean!
    Amazing helpful post Lauren! Also love your graphics that match Marvel

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such an amazing post! I wish there was something as helpful as this when I got into comics years ago! It’s so difficult to navigate the comic world, but once you get into it, it gets a little easier. The only problem is if you don’t stay on top of the issues, it’s so hard to get back into them. I had to stop reading for a few months because the university semester began and once the holidays hit, I was overloaded with so many missed issues and paperbacks. Being a comic reader is so freaking hard!!! I love that you made this post to help others 😀

    Like

    1. Aww, thank you so much ♥ I remember feeling so confused and overwhelmed, haha. I honestly had no idea what I was doing when I started reading them so I really wanted to try and help make it a little easier for other new readers. And I know what you mean!! I’ve fallen a bit behind myself and there’s so many back issues I need to get through.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG thank you so much! I’ve been wanting to get into Marvel comics properly for ages, but I had no idea where to start. Have you read any of the Daredevil comics? If so, where’s a good place to begin?

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      1. I definitely can’t wait to read more comics, I am about to read Harley Quinn Hot in the City! Dabbled in Marvel, now I need to try DC and go from there :). Thanks heaps for your informative posts, I definitely found it helpful!

        Like

          1. That’s super awesome to hear! I keep going Marvel and DC at the start, just to get the gist of what I like! I want to try Black Panther after that because I think he’s pretty damn cool and want to know mor backstory from him!

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              1. I really loved Black Panther in Civil War, so hopefully the comic delivers just as much!!!!! Finding time is always a problem, I am enjoying comics more as they are breaking up the big reads and kind of like cleansing the pallet, thoroughly enjoying!!!

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  5. I love this! I already kind of know everything in this post but thats just because my husband has had to explain comic book storylines to me a couple of times hahaha. Even with the explanations, I guess I have that FOMO feeling if I don’t read the RIGHT storyline at the RIGHT time. It makes to sense >.< ANYWAYS, This was very helpful 😀

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

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  6. Great post! 😀 I personally don’t read Marvel comics (or every other western comics in that matter haha) but I LOVED MARVEL! Like, the movies are all amazing and as a reader, there’s always that part of me who wants to read the books too 😛 But like you said, the number of volumes already exist is intimidating! And the thought of having to read something from 1950s is downright horrifying :’) I love The Avengers so if I ever want to start reading comics, I’ll probably start there ❤

    Like

    1. Thanks, Puput!! It definitely is intimidating. You don’t need to read any of the old stuff though, haha. I know I’m not ever worrying about it 😂😂 Most of the volumes I read only came out a few years ago. I’m glad you enjoy the movies though 😀 The cinematic universe is awesome!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such a fabulous post! My hubby is obsessed with Marvel but I never understand anything he says, hahaha. I’m such a newnewnewbie to the world! Well, the Marvel bug hasn’t bitten me yet but I’ll make sure to bookmark this post if I ever want to try!

    Like

  8. This was honestly such an informative introduction! I’m terrified of diving in, because yeah, it’s scary with how much there is! I’m just worried I won’t be able to find the arc I’m after – do you browse comic book shops or anything or do you do it digitally or…?

    Like

  9. Okay, so I’ve just read all of this and I can’t thank you enough Lauren for even trying to explain the Marvel comics etc. But I have to be honest, THIS WENT RIGHT OVER MY HEAD.

    That is definitely because I don’t read the comic books. I’m not too sure if I want to try because this is all so confusing to me. I mean I get so confused with the Marvel movies and the Marvel TV shows and how they link together. But then I ALSO get confused with DC, and who is Marvel and who is DC. And then when film studios are buying the character or film rights off of each other and remaking superhero films I GET SO CONFUSED. I mean I totally thought Spider Man was DC, until he appeared in Avengers as a whole new actor because the studio bought the character rights.

    (Also, I really really wanted another Spider Man with Andrew Garfield as Spider Man!!)

    Like is it Quicksilver who I think is in the Marvel universe, but the rights to his character were owned by one studio and then only partially bought by another studio, so he’s in the Avengers and also X-Men movies but played by different actors with completely different personalities due to issues surrounding the rights to the character? Confused. And someone already explained that to me lol.

    I definitely feel like I need to speak to someone who knows about all of this stuff and get them to sort it all out for me and perhaps even make me a family tree thing lol. Even just for the movies and TV shows alone.

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift

    Like

      1. Haha, no omg, that’s totally understandable!! It’s definitely super confusing and overwhelming because there’s just SO MUCH.

        The movie studios confuse me ENDLESSLY. Spider-Man has always been Marvel, but I think the Spider-Man movies with Andrew Garfield were a different movie company so he couldn’t be in The Avengers or anything which is why they’re remaking it. Fox owns rights to X-Men and the term “mutant” so because Marvel is a Disney company they’re not allowed to use The X-Men or the word “mutant” in their movies which is why Marvel created “Inhumans”.

        I know even less about DC 😂 and I’m like 2 seasons behind on all the TV shows, but I think the easiest way to understand it is to think of the DC Universe as a country. Then all those cities are states that exist within it. So Arrow is in Starling City. The Flash is in Central City and Super Girl is in Metropolis. Then you have Batman who’s in Gotham. The Multiverses is something different entirely though and are like parallel universes/worlds and I know nothing about those lmao.

        I have no idea if this made any sense or helped, but hopefully it did 😂 Honestly the main thing I do in regards to DC/Marvel is just pretend I know what’s happening and roll with it 😂

        Like

  10. OKAY WHAT WAS I DOING? I jumped from this glorious blog post to your previous one and asked a question I knew was going to be answered in this one. OR are you telepathic and you knew EXACTLY what my question was going to be? This answers IT ALL and thank you so so much for it! While reading I’m going to need this very post by my side because its so helpful and any confusion is going to be dealt with and that is so great and awesome! Is this the same take for the DC comics as well? Seeing you love Harley Quinn so much I want to start but I don’t know if I can just begin with any random one? THANK YOU INFINITELY AND MORE for this post! ❤

    Like

    1. Haha!! I’m sooo glad I could help ♥♥ It can definitely be overwhelming knowing where to start. I don’t know as much about DC as I do Marvel, but the premise is definitely the same! DC actually has a pretty easy jumping on point with their The New 52 run. Any #1 issue from that series is a great place to start. Funnily enough, my next comic post is going to be all about Harley 😅 I recommend you start with this one here: https://www.comixology.com/Harley-Quinn-2013-Vol-1-Hot-in-the-City/digital-comic/146961?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9pdGVtU2xpZGVy which is Volume 1: Hot in the City!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is so so helpful, thank you so so much again! I’ll definitely try and get my hands on a copy of a series from the New 52 and read it! Hopefully I can snatch a copy at the library hahaha! i’ll also try and get Hot in the City! I can’t wait for it! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahaha no problem! They really are so helpful for me so thank YOU! Its so interesting and wonderful to read and I love it! Awww that is the sweetest, thank you so much! If there’s anything specific that comes to mind that I want to read, I’ll be sure to ask for your advice! Thank you again so much! ❤

        Like

  11. After watching the Civil Wars movie I really wanted to start reading the comics but it was so overwhelming so I decided to start with the Civil Wars bindup. I guess I wasn’t really prepared for it to be so different to the movie but I ended up really enjoying it! I’ve already bought Xmen vs. Avengers (bc it’s actually a DREAM of mine for that to be turned into a movie) so hopefully I’ll be reading it soon 🙂

    Like

    1. Ahh yeah, the movie is SO different to the comic. The only thing the movie really keeps in is the whole internal conflict thing. I actually really dislike the comic so I was glad they made changes hahaha. Oooh yay!! I haven’t read that one yet, but I hope you enjoy it 😀

      Like

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