Have you ever thought, “Man, I wanna start reading Batman… but where do I start?” Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there, wanting to penetrate that thick barrier to entry that surrounds superhero comics. While not every comic needs you to know that obscure story from Batman #156, some do. There are definitely stories that are better than others when it comes to welcoming new readers, and there are also ones that make you want to read more. These are the gateway comics.
But with so much out there to read, and not all of it good, it can be really hard to find out where to start. That’s what New Reader’s Guide is for — introducing new readers to franchises or characters, with an emphasis on new reader-friendly material. The recommendations will usually not be steeped in or beholden to continuity, so you don’t have to worry too much about not getting a gag or catching a reference.
Almost as important is how a franchise or character is presented. There are stories that do a good job of presenting a certain side of a franchise or character, but everything has a different approach. Maybe you don’t like the rebellious approach of Uncanny X-Men — that’s okay, there’s the noir detective approach of X-Factor! Everything has more than one side after all, so we’re going to look at all (well, most) of them, so new readers can pick what sounds like it’s to their tastes.
Recommendations are based mostly off my own experiences, but there will be occasions where I’m going by what I’ve heard or been told, which I’ll note when they come up. Luckily (for you), most of the big superhero franchises I’m into are steeped in continuity, so the hard stuff is mostly up to me. And if you don’t like something or feel that it’s not for you, that’s okay too; I try to cater to everyone in some way, but I’m only human, and tastes can vary. If you have any thoughts or opinions, let me know.
Anyway, enough obligatory summary page, here are the currently completed New Reader’s Guide recommendations: