Comics can be overwhelming – Where do you start? Superheroes? Independent publishers? The options are endless. That’s why I’m here! In previous posts I offered suggestions for where to start with DC Comics and Graphic Novels, this time we’ll be taking a look at my personal favourite…Marvel. Marvel has come out with some great titles for comic book newbies in recent years so let’s dive in:
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1. Ms. Marvel
Kamala Khan is a very popular recommendation for newbies, and with good reason. Ms. Marvel has quickly become one of Marvel’s biggest game-changers. Ms.Marvel follows Kamala Khan; a geeky, fan-fic writing Muslim teenager who after sneaking out one night is exposed to the terrigen mist. Exposure to the mist uncovers Kamala’s shape-shifting abilities (due to her Inhuman genes). Under the name Ms. Marvel, a name taken from her hero Carol Danvers, Kamala struggles with balancing life as a Muslim teenager girl, and her
superhuman Inhuman abilities.
Kamala Khan may be one of the most relatable new superheroines, and that’s one of the reasons she makes a great entry point into Marvel comics. Ms. Marvel is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously; and yet it still manages to break the mold of what we’re used to seeing in superhero comics. Everyone should read Ms. Marvel, but it’s especially great if you’ve been wary of superhero comics in the past. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Much like Kamala Khan, Doreen Green is a very different kind of superheroine. Possessing the mutant powers and features of a squirrel (strength, ability to talk to squirrels and command a squirrel army, you know the usual), Doreen takes on some of the most notorious villains like Galactus for example (she has the selfie to prove it). Oh, that’s not awesome enough for you? Well, she does it while going to college to get a degree in computer science. If that still doesn’t interest you she “borrows” iron man parts from Tony Stark and makes a custom Iron Man suit for herself and her squirrel companion Tippy-Toe which in my opinion, is pretty freakin’ awesome.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a different take on the usual superhero tale, this is another great place to start reading superhero comics, or Marvel comics and is particularly accessible to younger audiences. Squirrel Girl manages to infuse the superhero narrative with something for everyone; be it the use of social media, the freshman college experience, or self-confidence (hell yeah she’s curvy). At it’s core Squirrel Girl is just very real, something we don’t tend to get very often with hero comics.
Oh, look at me…mentioning Captain Marvel yet again. Seriously though, this is my go-to recommendation for anyone ever. Don’t like superheroes? Who cares, I’m going to recommend Captain Marvel to you anyways because Carol Danvers is SUCH A BADASS, SASSY, FANTASTIC FEMALE CHARACTER (sorry, I didn’t mean to yell…I just got a bit excited).
The Kelly Sue DeConnick run(s) of Captain Marvel that started in 2012 and ended this year, are in my opinion some of the best that Marvel has to offer. Carol is a character you can identify with. She has a life, hobbies and interests (nerdy ones at that), and as a former U.S. Air Force Colonel she’s a strong leader who stops at nothing to fight for what she believes in. While Carol has a history in the Marvel Universe, Captain Marvel is like a new beginning for her so newbies won’t need to be up to date on her past in order to read and enjoy it. I didn’t really need to write any of the above, because basically it comes down to READ THIS.
This is one of those titles that gets overlooked a lot, but if you’ve read it all you want to do is recommend it to everyone you know. Written by Nick Spencer, Superior Foes follows the Sinister Six – Boomerang, Shocker, Speed Demon, Beetle and Overdrive (yes, that’s only five members…), a group of down-and-out supervillians as they orchestrate a heists, commit petty crimes…and you know try and stay outta jail.
I can promise you that Superior Foes will have you laughing from beginning to end. It’s a hilarious peek into the lives of C-list Supervillians and great as a stand-alone introduction to reading comics – it’s only 17 issues long. Not really into superhero comics? Just check out the reviews for Superior Foes and you’ll see that this comic has found a place in the heart of die-hard Marvel fans, and causal comics readers alike.
Matt Fraction took Hawkeye to a whole new place when he started his run on the series. This is a story about what Hawkeye does when he’s not being Hawkeye (at least on his usual cosmic crime-fighting level). Clint is relateable, snarky, and quick witted; just as he’s meant to be. Despite the sparse dialogue in places, Hawkeye tells a very real story about the fan favourite, superpowerless superhero in his element. Fraction gives Clint the personality, and narrative that he deserves and creates a surrounding cast of characters (Kate Bishop anyone?) that add something special to the story. While the book can be action packed, it’s not overwhelming. It’s a smart, simple and beautiful book (David Aja’s artwork is amazing) for any kind of superhero fan.
This has been called one of Marvel’s best books by countless sources, and rightfully so. If you’re tired of the typical superhero story, or want something more down-to-earth without sacrificing action this is where you should start. Like the Avengers movies? Test the waters before you dive head first into the slightly more over-the-top, and harder to follow Avengers arcs with Hawkeye.
As always, let me know in the comments what Marvel comics are your favourites, or which ones you’d recommend to new readers and I’ll be back with a new Comics for Newbies post soon!