These days, we’ve seen something quite remarkable: Superhero movies that are actually good. Or better, I suppose. It’s not as if a high bar has been set.
With these movies appearing, there has been, of course, a sudden interest in the associated comics. However, it can be kind of difficult to figure out what you should read, if you’re interested in checking out some of these stories.
Also, in some cases, it’s pretty much impossible to read them, or you’d probably be overwhelmed by the utter Silver Age cheesiness. Or perhaps not impossible to read. More like impossible to read with a straight face.
With that having been said…
Let’s talk about comics. Specifically, let’s talk about comics relating to some recent movies. We’ll just consider this a reading list; it may be updated from time to time. My expertise is Marvel comics, for the most part, so that’s what will be focused on here. There will be a few notes here and there indicating what you can expect to get out of reading the stories. I’ll also focus on getting the stories out of the “Marvel Essentials” series, since they’re a cheap way of getting a whole bundle of old comics.
- Spider-Man movie series (The Sam Raimi films)
- Amazing Fantasy #15– Just kidding.
- Essential Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 – Origins, Dr. Octopus, other villains.
- Essential Amazing Spider-Man vol. 6 – The Green Goblin and the Death of Gwen Stacy (which was averted in the first movie, with Mary Jane in her place).
- Saga of the Alien Costume (TPB) – The black costume.
- Spider-Man vs. Venom (TPB) – Venom, obviously.
- Batman Begins
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (TPB) – Not a direct inspiration, but some of the same sort of ideas are there.
- The Dark Knight
- Batman: The Long Halloween (TPB) – Harvey Dent.
- Batman: The Killing Joke (Hardcover) – Joker’s confused origins.
- The Dark Knight Rises
- Batman: Knightfall (TPB) – Bane and the breaking of Batman’s back.
- Watchmen (Ha ha…okay, yeah, that wasn’t funny.)
- The Fantastic Four film series.
- Essential Fantastic Four vol. 1 – Origins and anything dealing with Dr. Doom.
- Essential Fantastic Four vol. 3 – Silver Surfer and Galactus.
- Iron Man film series
- Essential Iron Man vol. 1 – Origins, The Mandarin.
- Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle (TPB) – Drinking problems, Whiplash.
- Iron Man: Armor Wars (TPB) – Some of his armors introduced here.
- Iron Man: Iron Monger (Hardcover) – Obadiah Stane (Iron Monger).
- Iron Man: War Machine (TPB) – Should be obvious.
- Thor film series.
- I don’t really know a whole lot about Thor comics. So…moving right along. Although reading Essential Thor vol. 1 will probably get you things.
- The Incredible Hulk
- Essential Incredible Hulk vol. 1 – Origins, etc.
- The X-Men (First Bryan Singer movie series)
- Essential Uncanny X-Men vol. 1
- X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
- The Dark Phoenix Saga
- The Avengers
- Essential Avengers vol. 1 – Loki was the whole reason that the Avengers exists, didn’t you know?
- The Avengers: Kree/Skrull War – The whole “Chitauri” thing.
- Hellboy (The first movie, the second movie was a wholly original story.)
- Hellboy: Seed of Destruction (vol. 1)
- Hellboy: Wake the Devil (vol. 2)
- Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Others (vol. 3)
- Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom (vol. 4)
- …just read all of Hellboy.
And some recommended reading:
- Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars (TPB) – the first major Marvel crossover.
- The Infinity Gauntlet (TPB) – What was that glove with gems all over it in Odin’s hall anyway?
- Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos (TPB) – Let me tell you about Thanos…