#1 Posted by Safetyman (3 posts) - - Show Bio


I started reading DC comics last week and so far I've been reading up on a lot of the background to the DC universe and trying to get a feel for which are the 'important' books to read. I'd like to get a feel for the general timeline, knowing full well that it gets tossed about several times. What I'm wondering now is, how much Pre-New 52 stuff is it worth reading as 'background'? I mean, there's a tonne of it available and there must be some great moments in there, but ultimately, as an ongoing DC-reader, would it be better just to focus my attention on the newer continuity? Even if this is the case, I think I'd still quite like a whistle-stop tour of some of the highlights of the older stuff, as I think if I don't read it now, I probably won't want to go back to it once I start on the New 52 - so I'd appreciate any suggestions on a pre-2011 reading list.

As a starting point I went with Crisis On Infinite Earths, as from what I can see this is meant to be the watershed moment in the modern DC era. This also gave me a very brief introduction to a lot of the DC universe characters and themes (along with 'History of the DC Universe'). I've just started looking into the 1986 'Legends' crossover (with tie-ins) to try and get a bit more in-depth with that era. Once I've finished that, I'm planning to just move on to Zero Hour, and then most likely just go Infinite Crisis - Final Crisis - Flashpoint - New 52 regular books.

Does anyone have any opinions on this approach? Is it pointless/ ambitious/ misguided? Can anyone suggest any key books/ arcs I should definately look into to supplement this approach, with the ultimate aims being both seeing the best of the old stuff but also setting up for the New 52 continuity.

Thanks for your time - bet you guys get sick of these 'help I'm new, suggest me stuff!' posts huh? ;)

#2 Posted by Squalleon (4041 posts) - - Show Bio

@Safetyman: The new 52 doesn't have any background,except for batman and green lantern.For Batman read Grant Morrison's Batman and for green lantern the Geoff Johns run.

#3 Posted by roboadmiral (537 posts) - - Show Bio

I think perhaps you're a tad too focused on continuity. Even if most pre-New 52 stories are now out of continuity, it doesn't reduce their validity as good stories worth reading. The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most celebrated and influential comics of all time and has always been out of continuity. I would advise just looking for the characters and stories you want to read.

#4 Posted by Safetyman (3 posts) - - Show Bio

Hey guys, thanks for the advice. I'll definately check out The Dark Knight Returns. I'll add it onto my to-read list along with Watchmen.

Any other suggestions on good starting points?

#5 Posted by impossibilly (883 posts) - - Show Bio

@Safetyman: If you read any pre-New 52 DC comics, I'd put James Robinson's Starman on the top of that list. I'm reading it right now for the first time and it is AMAZING. Get the omnibuses. They include tie-ins, annuals and mini-series, all in the right order for reading it best.

#6 Posted by briangsharon (147 posts) - - Show Bio

There are LOTS of great pre 52 stories. Some of the best, which the new 52 cannot even touch.

However that being said it would be a waste of time / effort to re-read that stuff at this point. Take advantage of the opportunity you have this moment to catch up on monthly titles and then delve into trades to get a flushed out history.

#7 Posted by SoA (4671 posts) - - Show Bio

infinite crisis and 52 (not to be confused with the new 52 ) plus the geoff johns run of green lantern , war of loght , blackest night are all great reads and what got me into the new 52 , flashpoint was fun too

#8 Posted by impossibilly (883 posts) - - Show Bio

Depending on what characters you like, I'd recommend:

  • Superman: Birthright
  • Batman: Year One
  • Green Lantern: Start with Rebirth and continue on through Johns's entire run on the series.
  • Green Arrow: Year One
  • Justice League: Anything from Morrison's run

I'd recommend skipping Zero Hour. I read it again recently. It has not aged well at all. It was a series designed to clean up continuity gaffes at the time. It's pretty irrelevant and confusing today.

#9 Posted by JLDoom (2310 posts) - - Show Bio

@SmashBrawler said:

The following DC animated movies have available comic book counterparts:

  • Superman: Doomsday - Superman: The Death and Return of Superman Omnibus
  • Justice League: The New Frontier - DC: The New Frontier Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
  • Wonder Woman - Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Gods and Mortals
  • Superman/Batman: Public Enemies - Superman/Batman Vol. 1: Public Enemies
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths - JLA: Earth 2
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood - Batman: Under the Hood
  • Superman/Batman: Apocalypse - Superman/Batman Vol. 2: Supergirl
  • All-Star Superman - All-Star Superman
  • Green Lantern: Emerald Knights - Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 1/Green Lantern: In Brightest Day
  • Batman: Year One - Batman: Year One
  • Justice League: Doom - JLA: Tower of Babel
  • Superman vs. the Elite - Justice League Elite Vol. 1
  • The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 (and 2) - The Dark Knight Returns

I'm stealing this post from SmashBrawler. Its from a thread I made back when I was a complete comic book newbie, level 1 (I'd say I'm level 2 or 3 now :P)

Anyway, he recommended these stories that inspired different DC animated movies and I liked them all (especially All Star Superman and The New Frontier)

#10 Posted by RoyHarperBLOW (1493 posts) - - Show Bio

@Safetyman: If you read The Dark Knight Returns DON'T read the sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again!!! It is HORRIBLE.

#11 Posted by cbishop (6948 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been around long enough to have read Crisis on Infinite Earths as it was coming out, so I'm a fan of all that stuff you mentioned. However, the New 52 doesn't play off of that. It's in question whether or not the Crisis even happened, as far as New 52 is concerned. Basically, New 52 is a reboot to the franchise ...<sigh> except for Batman and Green Lantern <deep sigh>.

Other than Wonder Woman, I have not been a fan of the New 52, but I cannot deny that it has improved sales for DC. So obviously, someone likes it. That said, you should just pursue it like you would books at the bookstore: if you pick it up and it looks interesting, read it.

With DC on the reboot, and Marvel on a major rearranging of things (*not* a reboot, they keep saying) this is the perfect time to skip around and read whatever you want. So just have fun with it.

#12 Posted by Safetyman (3 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks guys, plenty to work with here. That's one of the great things about getting into comics I guess - there isn't exactly a shortage of material available.

A few conflicting opinions but that's only to be expected. I'm big into music and know that the truly great stuff is never widely appreciated. I guess I have to find my own likes and dislikes ultimately.

I'm seeing Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns' names popping up quite a bit though, suggesting they've produced some good stuff. The question is, are they consistent? Can I go wrong with a 'look for Morrison/Johns' approach?

#13 Posted by Manwhohaseverything (1783 posts) - - Show Bio

All-Star Superman, IMHO, is a MUST. Green Arrow: Year One, was awesome. Batman has a lot of stuff. A lot of folks didn't like it when Winnick brought Jason Todd back, but I loved that story-line. Of course, individual taste will vary.