I think most of us got into it by just grabbing a comic off the shelf, because the cover pulled us in (at least that was what I used to do), but here is a good resource, if you want to read from beginning to end…
I should say that despite my previous ramble, I actually agree with this. A longwinded chronological reading order is something that’s great and useful if you personally think it’s fun to read like that. By and large, my advice for a new reader would be much closer to Vroom’s.
Aside from what others have suggested above, you could also just pick something and go with it. I started the same way as you (with far more limited resources from the sound of it) and I turned out like this. (Bad example). You can try to go with the time-line or you could just pick up issues with characters you like. That’s still what I do even with the whole database available.
I’d never discourage anyone from consuming as much as they want. That said, I’d pick out essentials only from Pre-Crisis. Everything since Crisis is 35 years of reading. That alone will keep you busy for about 10 years of serious daily reading. I like the list from @TurokSonOfStone1950 myself.
Let me swim against the current here. Grab what looks good to you. Don’t worry that you might miss a nuance here or an obscure character reference there. I don’t want you to think “I’ve got to get through all this, before I get it.” This is a big warm ocean to swim in, explore and find the little surprises. Some thread from your story leads you elsewhere, follow it. You can beat the trodden both or you can roam. You’ll like the surprises of roaming.
I agree w/ @msgtv. I usually just grab what looks interesting and do a bit of research if I want more or if something/someone (a character, artist, writer, a ref I didn’t understand, etc) piques my curiosity. Otherwise it is a daunting task to try and collect every narrative and specificity. That might make you feel disconnected, but it’s a journey, one far more enjoyable if you let it meander a bit. Filling in the blanks is the fun part, so don’t worry. That’s what google is for! and there are more than enough people here to talk to when you land on something you like.
I’d suggest doing a bit of read by era. You mentioned you were readings some Golden Age stuff. Go and check out some Silver Age books. 1956-1969 I’d suggest Flash 105 and the Silver Age Green Lantern and the early JLA.
Then on to the Bronze Age, I’d focus on the O’Neil/Adams runs in Batman & Green Lantern/Green Arrow.
That is a real foundation of DC pre-crisis. There have been plenty of post crisis recommendations. So I’ll only add these DC Universe Presents s& the Sinestro Corps War.
I do think getting a foundation of Golden, Silver & Bronze Age helps. Especially for characters you like. Plus they have fewer crossovers/tangents than more modern era stuff.
But, try to enjoy the books themselves and worry less about continuity. The storyline section is good for a continuity fix for that sphere of character(s) for that main arc. The rest is generally not that important from a tie-in standpoint. (And I say this as someone who is a but of a continuity obsessive.) I enjoy (and some times don’t enjoy) books, as themselves. They can be viewed as self contained islands. Unless you are dealing specifically with crossover storyline, and the more significant of those you can find in the storyline section.
There is no right way or wrong way to get into and explore comics. As Joseph Campbell famously said: Follow your bliss, and doors will open that you did not even no were there.
It’s funny, When I was starting to dive full-time into reading DC’s Superhero Titles I really just started with Batman and bought a lot of the books that were available at the time. Now this was in 1988-89 so there was a lot being put out at that time.
When 1990 rolled around and DC started The Who’s Who Binder Format Series I really used that as a reference to get an idea of what else I’d like to read. From there my collecting really took off full force. I didn’t read everything DC put out. But I did least have some kind of familiarity with what was going on at the time so I didn’t feel completely lost.
The Binder format Who’s Who’s aren’t currently available digitally but the original Who’s Who is. I would recommend going through that series and seeing what catches your eye. At the very least,it’s a good starting point. (There’s also The Who’s Who Podcast at Fire and Water Podcast that covers the series that’s very helpful as an additional resource.)
While it is hard to fight thoughts of fitting all of this available reading into one lifetime, try to embrace having way too much. Don’t be afraid to drop books and story lines when you’re not feeling them, even if they are held as crucial, different strokes completely apply to four colors. The ability to create lists is great, I have a few with organizations ranging from hero/villain, to story arc, to holiday, haha. I also personally jump around (jump jump) to different eras and points of the multiverse constantly and only worry about reading issues in a linear fashion if they are a specific arc or shot. You can always go back and read full runs what i call “Tarantino” or “Memento style,” provided you’re not spoiling anything major.
Yeah bud is a little daunting at first, I would recommend picking a character you like, then following a story line (the app has them all nice and laid out for ya now). Jumping on at a reboot is good to although you’d be pretty far behind. I really enjoyed the new 52, but I’d say at this point start with Rebirth titles. Hope that helps, there’s almost too much to enjoy on here!
Well…I started with the beginning of Batwoman because she is the character I am most interested in, the Smallville Comics because that is the only Superman storyline I cared about. Doom Patrol I am reading from the beginning, and 52 because not long after Batwoman was introduced a Crisis happened which I read that one as well as 52 which was an aftermath to get more context to the Batwoman story. From what I have seen the year in the comic series section for the individual story sections I read helps to a point and finishing one will automatically go to the next one of that particular Comic Series for that year making it somewhat more chronological in that sense…but because the different Crisis story lines after a few years it gets confusing trying to make sense of that particular storyline when it makes everything before that outside of those events interesting. It is connecting an older cannon to a Crisis story that rewrites the reality for the characters past present and future going forward from that crisis story to the next crisis story that will change the cannon but the change to the cannon still in my opinion makes everything still cannon because the crisis stories that create each new cannon are in itself cannon. From what it seems the various writers use crisis stories as an excuse to do new things with the universe bit still manage to make the old cannon cannon…sooo if you want to say understand the entire story of Batman for example like hard core fan style then you would ultimately have to understand all those changes made to the cannon of that character throughout their many cannons as a whole. If any of that makes sense but I would never be that serious…the only Characters I am that serious about are Doom Patrol even though the oldest ones are soooo Adam West Batman level cheese and writing.
That used to bother me, the little asterisks saying as seen in issue so and so. But you are correct theres a big ole dc ocean and such a great community to get help from. I’ve only just started reading comics since I joined the app (I did have a few growing up but mostly just batman and some marvel )
my process is just to read the characters story lines I enjoy (jason blood, batwoman, constatine) and then I joined some book clubs to dip my feet into stuff I normally wouldn’t read. (Looking at you teen titans…which surprisingly I really enjoyed!) Well shoot good luck!
You know, I think this is EXACTLY how most people get into comics. When I was a kid I never had enough money or patience to follow every title I was interested in. I just went to the shop and grabbed stuff with characters I liked or cover art that looked cool. As you said, the DC universe is overwhelming, it’s massive, you’re never going to get a handle on all of it. As long as you know the basics of the main character you can just start reading and you’ll probably understand the important stuff. You’re never going to understand every reference or be able to read every crossover so just roll with it. Start with the stuff that looks interesting to you and pay attention to the creative team. Eventually, you will find writers and artists that appeal to you and you can dig into their body of work. Hope this helps.
Sorry if this is a little off-topic, haha. Best of luck with your search no matter what you do
I’m usually the first on the “Just pick something and read it” bandwagon, but I do want to play a little Devil’s Advocate here since I did talk about my reading list.
First: Note that I call it a reading list and not a reading order. It’s for organization and clarity, not a straitjacket to keep me from reading things that catch my attention. For example, the reason I’m so much further ahead on the Flash than other stuff I’m reading? Because I was enjoying it and wanted to read more. Nothing fancier than that to it. Conversely, I originally skipped Deathstroke, but other series referenced events in it enough that I recently backtracked to get caught up. And hey, it turned out to be a much better read than I expected, so I say curiosity about continuity stuff is a good thing and can lead you to other books you might like.
Second: The reason I keep such a detailed list is because I like having a strong sense of history and continuity. I find this stuff interesting even if the books themselves aren’t good. For someone who also finds it interesting (which isn’t everyone but is certainly some people), doing all that reading in an organized, chronological manner is quite helpful. Based on the original post, I get the impression that ghostofnikki is interested in that stuff.
Third: As you hear about things through recommendations and other word-of-mouth channels, you’ll eventually want to start writing down stuff you want to read somewhere. So, why not organize it chronologically?
But there is absolutely nothing wrong with just picking up whatever catches your attention, and even despite everything I just said, I still sometimes do a quick impulse read just to cleanse my palate.
I definitely can relate to going to the library after school and picking up the collected editions they have there. To my surprise I was shocked how I found that one story led to another story. I’ll put my journey of DC in the modern era (before the new 52) down here in chronological order.
Green Lantern: Rebirth (Event not series)
Sinestro Corps. War
Flash: Rebirth (Event not series)
Battle for the Cowl
The storyline section on the app has the main event entries as well as the spin-off event entries in chronological order. Hope this helps.