Just like the superheroes we see on pages and screens, everyone has an origin story when it comes to reading Marvel comics. For some, they’ve been reading ever since they were kids. Others picked up comics because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). But as different as everyone’s start in reading comics is, what comes after is always the same. Readers are introduced to an expansive narrative universe that’s brimming with larger-than-life characters and captivating stories.
However, there are plenty of people out there who are still outside looking in and want to get into Marvel comics themselves. After all, the Marvel universe is huge. In the +80 years of Marvel being in business, the company has created over 8,000 different characters across over 27,000 published comic books. Not knowing where to start in all that is a common and understandable sentiment to have. If you’re someone who feels that way, we’re here to tell you that getting into Marvel comics is much easier than you think! The beauty of Marvel being so vast is there is no wrong place to start and it all depends on what you like. There’s a little something for everybody!
The following guide features simple steps to help kickstart your journey into the crazy universe of Marvel comic books:
When first getting into Marvel comics, you should know you do not need to read everything out there. One of the most common perceptions people have about reading Marvel is that there’s too much history to catch up on. Consider the X-Men. While there are 60 years worth of X-Men comics out there, most of those comics are not necessarily required reading. Knowing that the X-Men are a bunch of superpowered mutants is all you need to know to pick up a book and enjoy the ride.
The X-Men, however, is just one little corner of Marvel. There’s still a whole universe of characters and storylines to explore. Want to know more about the adventures of Spider-Man across New York City? Or see what crazy spells Dr. Strange can cook up in his adventures through time and space? Having all these superheroes to choose from means you have the power to pick where you want your journey to start.
Let’s keep things simple. What is it about Marvel comics that you think is cool? Is it the fun of seeing superheroes win over evil? Or is it the amazing costumes and character designs that fly out of the pages? Knowing what it is that attracts you to Marvel will help make your exploration of the universe feel more natural and fulfilling. Take your pick of who you want to start with because there are plenty of great stories to find.
To start, ask yourself these questions to get a feel for what you’re interested in:
One of the best parts about reading Marvel comics is investing in the lives of these superheroes. It’s exciting to experience your favorite characters develop into better, or sometimes evil, versions of themselves.
Now, with a character or story in mind to start with, where to next?
There are no wrong questions to ask when it comes to getting into Marvel comics. With so many avid readers out there, they are more than happy to welcome new people into the world of comic books. Whether your interest started from watching the MCU or Marvel was part of your childhood, there's always so much great content to explore.
The more you get into comic books, we recommend joining forums like Reddit or dedicated Discord servers. These online spaces are filled with readers who love to share their thoughts and insights on the crazy world of Marvel comics.
Here comes the very fun part. The Marvel Universe is brimming with great characters, most of which have a bunch of titles to read through. But, as we said earlier, you don’t need to read from the beginning to enjoy the ride. To make your experience of getting into Marvel comics as exciting as possible, we recommend checking out these titles that resonated with us on a personal level.
Here’s our own list of recommendations to help you get started:
While Marvel is known for their massive crossover events, these may be a bit hard to follow if you're a new reader. These stories often involve heroes from all over the Marvel universe teaming up to fight a big bad or even, sometimes, each other. There’s plenty of spectacle in these books, but they can get messy because of all the converging characters and storylines. These events are treated as a big deal because they are the culmination of stories that have been built up for months or even years.
If you’re focusing on getting to know just a handful of characters, then we recommend sticking to comics that are self-contained. These titles are less concerned with the bigger picture of the Marvel universe and are more focused on telling their own distinct stories. You’re able to better understand what makes characters like Peter Parker or Clint Barton (Hawkeye) tick when they’re not being called up by the Avengers to help save Earth.
Once you’ve spent time getting to know more characters in the Marvel universe, then you’ll have a better idea of which crossover events to dive into. The relationships you build with characters are what makes these crossovers feel so impactful as a reader. Seeing your favorite heroes team up and kick ass will always be an awesome experience.
This next step is important for when you start diving deeper into the world of Marvel comics.
Once you find a comic that clicks with you, a good practice to have is to take note of who the creators were behind that book. With Marvel comics, and DC as well for that matter, creative teams are constantly shifting. There’s never one writer or artist tied to a property forever. Captain America has had so many different writers throughout the years, with some standing out more than others. By following the careers of creators you like, you will naturally have threads to follow that stretch across the far reaches of the Marvel universe.
The best part about this practice is that it extends beyond the Marvel universe. Many creators today have extensive bodies of work outside of the Big Two. This opens the door to the wide universe of creator-owned comics, a topic we’ll explore another time.
Now, what comes next is the fun part. Remember earlier how we talked about dialing in your focus towards only the best of the best? Well, the funny thing about comics is that there are plenty of great books to go around.
The Marvel universe is only the tip of the iceberg in the world of comic books. That may sound overwhelming, but there’s plenty of fun to be had along the way. Much like how you listen to music, watch movies, and even enjoy food, your taste in comics will change and develop the more you consume the different stories that are out there. While there are so many great superhero stories, comic books have plenty more to offer to every kind of reader. Constantly discovering new comics is an adventure on its own.
Next thing you know you’ll have a massive backlog of books on your to-read list. Sounds a bit daunting but it’s a good problem to have. Just take things one book at a time and enjoy the ride.
If there’s one thing comic book readers love to do, it's to talk about comic books. Whether on Reddit, TikTok, or Youtube, you can easily find other like-minded comic book lovers sharing thoughts about their favorite books. By exploring these communities, you not only get to meet new who share the same passion as you, but you also end up discovering more great books to read along the way.
Want to know more about comics? Follow GONKBONK on TikTok and join our Discord server for all the latest news and discussions about your favorite comic book characters!