Just something I wrote for a "How-To Article" assignment in my Composition class last winter, which I keep flashing back to whenever I have to explain anything about DC Comics to non-readers. The looming reboot in September will probably render a lot of this advice moot, but eh, at the very least it'll remain marginally useful in the interim.
I was thinking of accompanying this text with recommendations of good "jumping-on point" books for each major DCU character, but it's been a long time since I've read most of them (and some characters, like Wonder Woman, I still haven't managed to get to yet in my reading
), so instead I'm including a list of General Reading Recommendations, bearing in mind not only that these are all based on my own opinions, but also that I'm a lover of humor, so just about all of these titles/volumes contain some level of humorous elements.
Series-es and volumes that, to the best of my recollection, seem like they would be easily accessible to new readers will be marked in bold
.CRACKPOT'S GENERAL DCU READING RECOMMENDATIONS:
-Approximately anything by Paul Dini (especially Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames And Demons
[recently reprinted as Batman: Mad Love And Other Stories
], and his Detective Comics
run [collected in trade form as pretty much any of four books that starts with "Batman:" and has his name on it, but Batman: Private Casebook
is a particular favorite]). He's great with characterization and interesting ideas for plots.
-Approximately anything by Gail Simone (especially Birds Of Prey
[reprinted in MANY different volumes and continuity-dependent enough that they're best read in order, which I won't type out here but will add if asked to in the comments], though I have to give a content warning for Secret Six
, it's INCREDIBLY filthy but in such a way that the content almost never seems gratuitous unless that's what makes it funny). AWESOME characterization, especially with female characters.
-Approximately anything by Chuck Dixon (especially Robin
, and The Joker's Last Laugh
, which is great and hilarious and engrossing and, for a DC Universe-wide crossover, EXTREMELY accessible for new readers). He just writes so well, period.
-EVERY SINGLE THING TY TEMPLETON HAS EVER WRITTEN, EVER.
Not even joking. If his name is on it, pick it up, because it will be the best thing you have ever read until the next time you pick up something with his name on it. He mostly worked on comic adaptations of the Batman
cartoon shows (more info on those below).
-Anything based on a DCU cartoon show (most especially the Batman
-related ones, even including, surprisingly enough, The Batman
, where the comics are better than the show itself). Unfortunately most of these have never been collected, but they're always relatively cheap in back issue bins if you can find them at comic stores or conventions, and well worth the money. They're almost always extremely well-written and well-drawn, often more so than the canon stuff. Batman adaptations: The Batman Adventures
and Batman & Robin Adventures
(based on Batman: The Animated Series
); Batman: Gotham Adventures
(based on The New Adventures Of Batman
); The Batman Strikes
(based on The Batman
); Batman: The Brave And The Bold
and The All-New Batman: The Brave And The Bold
(self-explanatory); Batman Adventures
(a self-contained origianal series taking place approximately during the run of the Justice League
cartoon...partially reprinted in Batman Adventures Volume 1: Rogues Gallery
and Batman Adventures Volume 2: Shadows And Masks
).Other: Superman Adventures
, Teen Titans Go!
, the current Young Justice
-Geoff Johns's run on The Flash
(though I'd avoid Flashpoint
, personally...) and on Teen Titans
. He's great with characterizations, especially with the villains of Flash's Rogues Gallery.
, a vaguely parodic series aimed at young readers that's adorable and witty, and although it runs largely on running gags and canon references, you don't have to get either in order to understand and find it funny...you just have to get them if you want to find it twice
-90's kid-hero comics like the original Young Justice
(which inspired the Teen Titans
cartoon more than it did the current cartoon show that bears its name), Robin
, and Impulse
. Given the ages of the characters, they're usually pretty witty and always pull you in with the struggle of the underdog against situations that normal kids shouldn't even be involved
with, much less completely taking care of.
-Silver Age Flash
(collected in Showcase Presents: The Flash
and The Flash Chronicles
); though, since it runs mostly on made-up science and ridiculous plots, like the Adam West show you probably won't enjoy it if you can't have a sense of humor about it.
, in approximately any of his incarnations, though the best by far are the original 1940's Jack Cole stuff (reprinted in The Plastic Man Archives
) and the more recent Kyle Baker stuff (reprinted in volumes like Plastic Man: Rubber Bandits
). Always funny and always fascinating, and, in Jack Cole's case, fascinatingly beautifully drawn.
-Justice League International
, which has been collected in six volumes so far. Always hilarious, and with surprisingly engrossing plotlines.
I may add more as I think of them, or do a journal entry or something if there's sufficient interest. Which I doubt, but whatever.