by Jerry G, CMRO Guest Writer
The rise of blockbuster movies based on Comic Books has spurred new fans of the genre to visit their local comic shop to learn more about the characters they enjoy on the silver screen. They are often pretty surprised at how little of the history of these super-heroes are covered by the movies themselves. So, where do you start your reading? Here are some suggestions:
The Dark Knight Returns
If you love the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, then here is a Batman graphic novel that is right up your alley. Released in 1896, this story follows a middle-aged Batman that is called out of retirement to fight his long time nemisis, the Joker. A lot of the dark and gritty nature of the Batman movies draws inspiration from this Frank Miller classic, and elevated the movie version of Batman from the joking/campy Joel Schumacher version to the Batman we have in movies today. If you can’t wait for the next movie to come out, this is a good way for you to spend the time.
Batman: Year One
This trade puts together the events from Batman #404 through #407 that were published in 1987, and introduced many of the ideas of where Batman came from and really solidified his origin story. It helped set up the relationship between Gordon and Batman from before Gordon was commissioner and explains why they work so well together. Christopher Nolan used many of the characters and events from this story in creating Batman Begins, and for those who like the first of the modern Batman trilogy will really appreciate this story.
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
Marvel’s 5th attempt at a graphic novel. Considered one of Chris Claremont’s most powerful X-Men stories, this graphic novel largely inspired the events of the second X-Men movie. The book introduced the character of William Stryker, although with many notable differences from his movie counterpart. Since this novel is post the Dark Phoenix Saga, movie fans will note that Jean Grey does not appear in the graphic novel. This book is noted for being one of the first times the team did not face a super-powered menace.
The Death of Superman
While not directly connected to a super-hero movie per se, this comic is a must for any Superman fan. Spanning multiple issues, the story made major waves in the comics community when it came out, as it showed that Super-Man really could be killed. This comic was a giant success, quickly selling out at many comic stores and is still considered one of the best selling trades. It is also one of the few comics to gain non-industry exposure, being widely covered by both national and international press.
Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 1 – 4
The flagship of Marvel’s “alternate” world reboot of the Marvel Universe, readers of this series will find a lot of the source material for the Sam Rami Spider-Man movies. The story updates the settings and events of the Spider-Man story, while leaving the emotional core of the character that has drawn readers for so many decades intact. An excellent story by writer Brian Michael Bendis that will be enjoyed by fans of the movies.
Obviously these are just a few of the best comics new fans from the movie versions of these characters should check out. Hopefully these will be a gateway into a much wider world of comic books. With their amazing art and story lines much more in depth then you can find in a 90 minute movie, new readers will find that very few forms of entertainment can compare to a good comic.