Comics Creators

A Good Intro Graphic Novel for your Fave Character!


Here’s a thing we were talking about in another thread and it’s so odd as pretty much no character has a great intro book. By intro book I mean a graphic novel for around 15 bucks you can hand to a civilian to see if they like the character.

Batman has a few from Killing Joke to Dark Knight Returns to the most perfect of the lot in Year One. Superman has Red Son, but very few with mainstream simplicity where you don’t need prior knowledge of the character or comic-books. Wonder Woman possibly has the Perez post-Crisis revamp, but I’m not sure if it’s still in print. Are there any others that you could literally hand as a complete volume as an introduction for a newbie? Kingdom Come does require some prior knowledge, but I think it’s so brilliant and beautifully conceived that you understand it all pretty easily so it’s a great introduction to the Justice League.

Any others? I’m astonished there’s so few and always like to buy comic gifts for friends. Marvel Civil War I think is Marvel’s best selling collection ever, followed by Old Man Logan and Ultimate Spidey Vol 1, which are all great intros. Any other good Marvel books that could just be bought as a gift? A classic Captain America collection? A great Thor hardcover? I love the idea of this, but struggling a bit for pals who have asked. Is there a great Blade collection? A great Ghost Rider for newbies?

What do you reckon?



Captain America has Winter Soldier which I think is a pretty good introduction to the modern version of the character.

With Iron Man I think Extremis holds up pretty well.

Birthright is probably my favourite modern Superman origin, regardless of what parts are still in continuity.

Man Without Fear is a good Daredevil intro, with the caveat that you don’t really see a fully-formed DD until the very end.

Matt Fraction’s “Thor: Man of War” series from a few years back is a good continuity-light introduction to the character (although it leans more heavily on the mythological stuff than the superhero side).


Oh, and I think they did put the Perez Wonder Woman run out in TPBs recently, which I agree is a good place to start. They also just released an omnibus of all the issues that he wrote and illustrated.


I wish they’d put Born Again back into print. I paid 35 quid (about 60 bucks) for it last year!



Wolverine has been my favorite superhero ever since I was a kid. The Claremont/Miller mini is obviously great, as is Barry Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X. But for an intro to the character, I don’t think you can beat Essential Wolverine Vol. 1. Claremont & John Buscema are firing on all cylinders, with the noir-infused narration cutting down on Claremont’s penchant for stilted info dumps, and a stellar supporting cast (including Jessica Drew!) balancing out the bloodshed (of which there is a lot). Plus, after Claremont’s 10 issues, it includes two excellent arcs, the first by Peter David & Buscema (a very funny vampire story) and the second by Archie Goodwin & John Byrne.

The Goodwin/Byrne arc is probably my favorite Wolverine story after Weapon X and the Claremont/Miller mini. It’s a crazy storyline that incorporates everything from Tiger Shark and Roughhouse to a South American drug cartel to the Celestials, a Nazi cyborg with a shaving obsession, and a brilliant cameo by Magneto.

I reread this volume recently; it remains all killer no filler. One of my oldest comics and one of my favorites. Some may be turned off by the black & white art, but those people are probably crap.


They just did another reprint of Born Again (as well as Man Without Fear) not long ago I think - probably around the time the Netflix series came out:

So if you’re buying copies for friends, stock up now!


I’d happily hand out Azzarello’s New 52 Wonder Woman to people who I think would like it. It was the first Wonder Woman comic I ever read.


It’s probably also worth mentioning DC’s Earth One books and Marvel’s Season One graphic novel books here too - not because they’re particularly good (I haven’t read all of them, but the ones I have are ok), but because they both seem to be an acknowledgement that there’s a need for accessible bookshop-ready starting points for the companies’ biggest characters.

DC seems to have fared better with Earth One - possibly because they’ve put higher-profile creators on them that will attract longtime fans as well as newcomers - but I’m still not sure that I’d recomend any of them to newcomers. Because when you’re recommending a book to someone, you want it to be a top-quality story as well as an accessible jumping-on point.


Plus the Batman in those books and his world is so different to the regular comics that you may as well show your friends the Nolan movies and then Snyder’s Batman at them.


Well here go my picks per character (based on story, but also great art):

Iron Man: Extremis TPB (Ellis / Granov)
Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation TPB (Ennis / Crain)
DD: Guardian Devil TPB (Smith / Quesada), but tbh, there are plenty of good intro DD stories and trades/GNs
F4: Imaginauts TPB (Waid & Wieringo) or 1234 (Morrison / Lee) for a more somber look I suppose…
Punisher: Welcome Back Frank (Ennis / Dillon)
Spider-man: Marvel Knights Spider-Man v.1 & 2 (Millar / Dodson) this, primarly because it had a lot of classic villains and characters and is pretty contained as a story.
Thor: Vol.1 TPB (Straczynski & Coipel) or God of Thunder works as well…
Namor: Sub-Mariner: The Depths (Milligan / Ribic)
GotG: Guardians of the Galaxy by Abnett & Lanning: The Complete Collection Volume 1
Hulk: Return of the Monster TPB (Jones / JRJR)
Avengers: I’d just get Ultimates… for civilians :smile:

Edit: D’uh forgot Astonishing X-Men (Whedon / Cassaday)… but yeah, that one… the most complete one =P

I’d have to refresh my mind for other characters, but I think that’s a solid list above…

Marvel Should really create a deluce line or whatever to publish some of those stories in a special format and sell them everywhere… =/

Oh, btw, for WW I’d give the Who is Wonder Woman TPB (Heinberg / Dodson) as an intro book…


My one friend wanted to get into Batman and he had no idea how to get into him, I had to make big ass list of his best stories! I really do wish there was big intro books for people :frowning: Comics can be very fickle on how to get in, I had to learn the hard way.


Daredevil: Born Again

Batman: Batman: Year One

Green Arrow: Green Arrow: Year One

Fantastic Four: I’m going to agree with @Jacowboy here. I think that a bit of Waid and Wieringo is the way to go by way of introduction.
Superman: All Star Superman or Birthright.

Justice League: JLA: New World Order (or the first volume of the Morrison/Porter run).

Avengers: Ultimates volume 1 (naturally). My wife also really enjoyed the Al Ewing and Greg Land Mighty Avengers book, so that might be an option.

Thor: Thor the Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee.

Spider-Man: Some of Ultimate Spider-Man might be a good choice, but I would probably go with something like the Death of the Stacy’s.

Iron Fist: The Immortal Iron Fist Vol 1.

Deadpool: Classic Deadpool vol1 and whatever one the Gail Simone run is collected in (Edit: I checked. It’s Classic Deadpool Vol 9). I always liked that both Joe Kelly and Gail wrote a hilarious book, but gave us a flawed, self-loathing and very poignant Deadpool.

X-Men: Ultimate X-Men v1: The Tomorrow People or New X-Men: E for Extinction

Wolverine: Enemy of the State perhaps for civilians…It is a pretty action packed read and gives a good idea of what Wolverine is capable of.

Doctor Strange: The Oath by BKV and Marcos Martin. It has that crazy Ditko like vibe but is contemporary enough not to put new readers off.

Captain Britain: Is the Alan Moore/Alan Davis book still in print? That one.

Captain America: Man without a Country. Waid and Garney firing on all cylinders.

I’m struggling with other books/characters. I am trying to suggest something for Legion of Superheroes, but am not sure how the Great Darkness Saga would play for someone not versed in DC history. Not well, I might expect.

I will probably add to this list once I spend time looking through my bookshelves.


I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned New Frontier.


Yes. 100% yes. That’s a brilliant suggestion which I completely endorse.


It’s Simple…
The Flash (Barry Allen) - Wednesday Comics

Wednesday Comics is the best Barry Allen story of the modern era, I think.


Good call there. This is the book that got me in to comics as an adult.


Superman has Moore & Swan’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. Yes, it references a ton of continuity, but does it in a way that I think lets you read it even if you’ve never read a Superman comic in your life. I mean, it tells you everything you could possibly need to know about Superman right there on page one. And the story is really, really simple.

Plus: Curt Swan.


Immortal Iron Fist is a great shout for the kind of semi-obscure characters that Mark mentions in the first post.

Similarly, I think Inhumans by Jenkins/Lee is a great introduction to those characters.

And the Huston/Finch Moon Knight series works well as a primer for that character (more so than the later Bendis or Ellis runs).

Silver Surfer: Requiem is a good summation of the character and his place in the MU, even if it is a “last” SS story.


What do people think about the Jim Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff. It is very much of it’s time, but I think that it captures that sort of late 60’s spy craze era rather beautifully? (although it features a white guy as Nick Fury and he looks nothing at all like Samuel L Jackson…what gives?)

I bought a Warlock by Jim Starlin book a while back as well covering his 70’s Adam Warlock stuff. That might be a good intro for someone into something a little bit trippier than the normal superhero stuff.


Warlock is an interesting one. Marvel put it into two Masterworks volumes, with the second volume being all of Starlin’s stuff, and everybody really ought to start with volume 2. You don’t need to know Warlock’s preceding stories, but Starlin summarises them all perfectly in four pages of his first issue anyway.

The main problem is that the story is wrapped up in issues of The Avengers and Marvel Two-In-One. These are also collected in the Warlock Masterworks, so you do get the complete story, but you suddenly get all these other Avengers thrown at you with no background or explanation. It’s jarring if you’re trying to read Warlock as a single contained “graphic novel”. It’s one of those cases where being part of a shared universe doesn’t do the story any favours.

But despite that, I would still recommend volume 2 of the Warlock Masterworks as one of the best complete “graphic novels” in the Marvel line, and yes I think it works as an introduction to the character. (Actually, can it technically be an “introduction” when you have no need to read anything else with the character in it? :wink: )