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Episode 1811 Talkback - Top 5 Comic Books for Beginners

Let's start at the very beginning; a very good place to start. Something that we as comic book readers want more than anything else is to have others find the craft, and the joy within it, and start reading right along with us. With this episode, we give these new readers our choices for books that would/could be that foot in the door to the medium at large. Some pieces are instructional, some all ages, some for adults, but all of these Top 5 choices (and one in particular more than the others) are, as always our hill, and our beans. And even if you're already quite familiar with comics as a whole, hopefully you'll find these suggestions as good items to read, or for someone you know to read! (2:43:14)

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  • BrackBrack Posts: 864

    Give 'em proven hits and big sellers. Give 'em manga.

    1) My Hero Academia vol. 1

    2) Demon Slayer vol. 1

    3) Spy x Family vol. 1

    4) Chainsaw Man vol. 1

    5) Jujutsu Kaisen vol. 1

  • LeeNovaLeeNova Posts: 14
    edited June 11

    Another great Top 5. Thank you for providing such entertaining and thoughtful content as always.

    I don't think the comics below were picked by anyone in the main Top 5 or the alternates (I could definitely be wrong about that though), so I thought I'd recommend them as good titles for beginners.

    In no particular order.

    Giant Days

    Box Office Poison

    Afterlife with Archie

    Superman: Brainiac

    Black Hammer

    Bonus pick. This is not what I'd recommend to a new reader TODAY, but Green Lantern 78 was the comic that got me started as a fan when I bought it at my local Waldenbooks (I quickly checked the Yellow Pages for a local comic shop after that...simpler times).

  • i_am_scifii_am_scifi Posts: 713

    @LeeNova My introduction to Kyle was Green Lantern 100!

  • mwhitt80mwhitt80 Posts: 4,385


    I was thinking American/European only but Volume 1 My Hero Academia is fantastic.

  • ChrisMurrinChrisMurrin Posts: 219
    edited June 16

    Great episode. Since this post is my hill and contains my beans, I'm going to make two lists.


    Usagi Yojimbo (vol 1 for most, Grasscutter for history buffs like Chris)

    Strangers In Paradise

    Batman: Year One (changed from Justice League: A New Beginning)

    Ex Machina (for the politically-oriented)

    A Contract with God




    Any of the numbered, horizontally-formatted Garfield books (easier to learn how to read comics from newspaper comics)

    Marvel Adventures Spider-Man

    Scooby Doo Team-Up

  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 6,585

    For first-timers, I want to show what the medium is capable of in terms of art, storytelling, drama, emotion, and just plain fun, while still being easily accessible. Books that are sophisticated in their execution, but simple to read and immediately engaging. So, in alphabetical order:

    Bandette vol. 1 — One of the most charming comics you'll ever read, it's first and foremost a web comic, with each story arc then printed as a graphic novel. Enjoyable for readers young and old, with a tone much like the original Pink Panther movies.

    The Batman Adventures: Mad Love — Simply some of the greatest comic book storytelling (and straight up artwork) ever. Plus, it's super-accessible thanks to the cartoon.

    Bone — For all the reasons.

    Hawkeye (Fraction/Aja) — It's a great self-contained story, with loads of inventive storytelling techniques. A smart book that’s also a ton of fun.

    Saga vol. 1 — For all the reasons, and for being a straight-up roller coaster ride.

  • BrackBrack Posts: 864

    @mwhitt80 I think you're on a hiding to nothing with most direct market US comics. "Adult Graphic Novel" sales grew 30% last year, 80% of that growth was due to manga. Statistically you've a better chance of comics getting their hooks into someone with manga.

    The 3 non-manga in the US top 10 for 2020 were two volumes of Nathan Pyle's milquetoast alien cartoons that your friends force on you via Facebook, and all ages book "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" from British cartoonist Charlie Mackesy. The rest was 5 volumes of MHA, the first volume of Demon Slayer and Uzumaki.

    Most the recommendations here and on the podcast are recommendations you'd make a decade, two decades, sometimes three decades ago.

    I wouldn't even recommend my favourite manga One Piece at this point because it's 24 years old, still ongoing and nearly 100 volumes long, and Demon Slayer is right there, it's finite and currently a whirlwind of hype and marketing due to the success of the anime driving people to the manga.

  • mwhitt80mwhitt80 Posts: 4,385
    edited June 16

    I read a good bit of the manga. My brain just didn't think about it for the list. I was looking at my bookcases to come up with a list, and almost all my manga is either in my comics closet or to sell pile.

    There are books like 20th Century Boys or Monster that are great entry point books; I personally don't care for either of them. I prefer Pluto or Akira better, but I don't think either of those books are a good gateway comics.

    My Hero Academia, One Piece, Intial D, Dragon Ball Z, Food Ward or One Punch Man are also good choices.

    But I am going to have to think about it a little more before I finish my top 5

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