Growing up I was a huge comic fan, reading everything I could get my hands on, but something horrible happened: I got a job. Bills started mounting. Bills people expected me to pay! (Yeah, college was over.) My reading slowed down a bit. Then I got married and had kids. More bills to pay and longer hours at work. Gradually, my comic purchasing days came to an end. My friends accused me of just giving up comics; I preferred to label it as a temporary (albeit long) hiatus. But in the last few years, the hiatus has ended, as I’ve tried to get back into comics. The only problem I’ve encountered is where to start?
Honestly, that was a hard question to answer. My favorite characters had been rebooted . . . then rebooted again since I last read them. When I turned to my comic loving friends for advice, they each gave me a different starting point and different title to begin with, and even when I tried to limit their advice to just my favorite DCU characters, their instructions became no more coherent. There was just so much material out there no one really knew where to begin.
But then I found some help in the DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology 2015. This great guide is exactly what I was looking for! In it, DC has 145 pages of lists to help people (whether comic newbies or die-hard comic fans) get a grip on all the amazing comic material out there and present them with a proposed reading map of the essential graphic novels in the DCU. Honestly, if you’ve ever wanted to start or pick back up with a DC title, this guide is a must have!
And for those who are already thinking it, no, this guide isn’t just for fans of Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman or the Justice League. Sure, each of the “big” titles have their own section, but this guide covers all the bases from kid-friendly comics to serious, adult fare with descriptive blurbs that really lets a reader decide if a particular comic is something they’d be interested in.
Essential Graphic Novels. Modern Classics. New 52. Vertigo. Neil Gaiman. Alan Moore. Grant Morrison. Fables. And the very clever From Page to Screen. All these sections and more are packed into this guide. Then there are the character specific sections on Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and all the rest, which serve as amazing spreadsheets of each characters evolution through the decades, allowing a prospective reader to pick what epoch interests them and plot their own reading journey.
Now, normally, I am not big of “guides.” Hell, I don’t even read instruction manuals. I’m a guy after all. I learn by trial and error. (Lots of error if I’m telling the truth.) But this is a guide that overwhelmed me with its ease of use, wealth of information, and ability to simplify difficult reboots (The New 52 for me), making my reinsertion into the DCU much easier than it was before I stumbled upon it. For those reason, I highly recommend this one.