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1:  What is the order?
The goal of the order is to put all the comics of the main Marvel universe in a readable order. To have the events form issues flow in a way that makes sense, so if an event or comic is referenced in one issue, you have already read the comic being referenced. The Order also tries and keep all the characters where they should be. So if the Hulk is wandering around in Siberia, he isn’t seen intermittently in Nevada at the same time. There are of course times with the convoluted nature of the Marvel universe will make this impossible, but the goal is to get it as close as we can.
This is first and foremost a community project. No one person can put all this stuff together. If you see anything wrong with the order, out of place, or needing a change….let us know.
2:   Why not just read in the order they were published?
While this order does follow closely to a published order, and that works fine in the early days of comics, once you get story lines that take multiple issues to complete, reading comics by publishing order doesn't quite work.
It comes off as a bit confusing to read part 1 of this Daredevil story, part 2 of a Spider-Man story, then say a stand alone X-Men before going back and reading part 2 of the daredevil story. That is the main goal of this order, to allow you to read comics in the way they were intended by also in an order that is readable (so story lines are intact and characters are in as good a place as we can place them). We also try and take pacing and readability into account when placing comics from the same time period, of course after continuity and story lines are accounted for.
3:   Aren't there already chronological orders out there?
Yep. There are several of them in fact. But that is not what this project is. While chronology and continuity have a place here, it is trumped by readability (you will find many chronological orders break single issues up by page) and by intent of the writer (no mixing comics written 40 years apart because one is a flashback). Chronological orders have their place, and are great tools, but for me it isn't how I want to read comics. This order is about reading, not just listing.
4:   Why in the world are you trying to do this insane project?
I was always one of those guys that scoffed at comics, until recently. After reading my introduction into how good comics can be (mostly through Preacher and The Walking Dead), and reading through the Ultimate series, I decided to go back and take a look a the main Marvel Comics line.
The problem I faced was, where to start. I am a completist, to the point of OCD. So I don't want to just read Spider-Man or the X series. I want to read all of the Marvel Comics, and I want to read it in order. But where to start. I have scoured the internet, and while I see many people asking about a complete reading order, I have never been able to find one. There are reading lists for specific story arcs (which I used as a help in building this list) and Dimlan put together a really good chronological order going up to about the 1980's but this splits up several arcs that should be read together, and of course I want the whole thing.
So, It was left up to me to do it for myself. Since that start I have gone down the rabbit hole and this thing has become a passion all by itself.
5:   What determines if a book is going into the order?
I had to set up a couple of rules to make the list by, mostly to keep it manageable. Since this is a community project, there have been some exceptions to these rules when enough users (usually represented by those visiting the forums) demand for them.
I am starting with books set after Fantastic Four #1 that are part of the main marvel universe. There are some short run flashback issues that are set pre Fantastic Four #1, and these are addressed on a case by case bases. The WWII books (Sgt. Fury, The Invaders), golden era books, westerns, 2099, and ultimate series are all considered outside the scope of this order. There will however be an alternate order for these titles coming along in due time.
The order will take publishing date as a priority above setting date to maintain the original writers’ intention for the story. So a flashback issue to Captain America’s adventures with Bucky during WWII will show up during the time the comic was published, and not at the start of the order.
Story arcs take precedence over chronology. It’s difficult to read a story arc jumping back and forth, just because there is some mention of events in a book that does not involve that arc. In these cases the story arc will be put together, followed by the book that is referenced along with a note on that books details page explaining the reference.
Complete reprint issues will be ignored. These issues have already appeared in the order and don’t need to show again. This doesn’t cover “flashback” issues which are predominately reprint but have capping pages on either in pulling that story into the current arc. The one exception to this rule is Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #1, which is left out of the order, and reprinted in Amazing Spider-Man #116-118. The issue of Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine has only 1 outside reference, while Amazing Spider-Man has the events in context with the ongoing Amazing Spider-Man story line and is heavily referenced.
    Here are the general rules for what goes into the Main Order:
    1) Any comic that has a confirmed 616 appearance (including characters introduced through in-universe non-comic sources such as the Outlaw Files but not out of universe sources) and the comic was published or cross/published by Marvel (but not solely published by a non-Marvel publisher).
    2) Comics directly attached to 616 through a 616 character (if only reference to a book being 616 is a non-comic source such as a handbook, and there is no 616 character in it, it's in the expanded order).
    3) If one part of a story arc is included because of a 616 character, that entire story arc comes into the order.
    4) In universe framing around a non-universe story still count as an appearance.
    There are a few exceptions to this (many of these exceptions WILL be in the expanded order):
    1) Character/comic isn't already shifted to a sub-order (see below for sub-orders).
    2) Appearance can't be ONLY an easter egg appearance (meaning not part of the story, just in the background)
    3) Comics can not be advertisment strips
    4) Comics can not be only comic strips. (books collecting comic strips however will be in the order)
    5) Comics can't be promotional/educational unless there is more than a handbook connection (The Marvel handbook isn't enough to get it in the order).
    6) Comic's can not be non-english.
6:   What Other Orders are Planned?
There are 4 main orders planned, plus a collection of sub orders. The Main orders include:
    1) The Essential Order: Pulling off the Complete/Main order (described above), it lists just those issues considered a must read, either because of quality or because it contains important background for understanding current day marvel. This is by far the smallest of the comic orders containing between 5,000 and 7,000 comics.
    2) The Core Order: This is a streamlined version of the complete/main order, containing all the mainstream titles, but leaving out the more obscure stuff that isn't overally important to the universe as a whole.
    3) The Complete Marvel Reading Order: The main order. It is described above.
    4) The Expanded Order: This combines the complete/main order with all of the sub-orders as well as even more obscure stuff that is considered boarderline.
The Sub Orders (This should be all of them, but this list changes from time to time):
    1) The Ultimate Order: Those issues published in the Ultimate Universe (excluding some where an Ultimate character crossed into the main universe).
    2) Silver Age WWII Order: Those comics that are set in the WWII era and published in the 60s and 70s (comics in the WWII period but published after the 70s are in the main order)
    3) Western Order: Those comics that are set in the western time and published in the 60s and 70s (comics in the western time period but published after the 70s are in the main order).
    4) Golden Age Order: Those comics published by Marvel and it's earlier incarnations prior to FF #1.
    5) Romance Order: All of the "romance" books published in the 50s and early 60s that are connected to the Marvel universe (mostly through the character of Patsy Walker)
    6) Hyborian Order: All the comics that are connected to Marvel's printing of Conan the Barbarian, which is considered as early history for the main Marvel universe.
    7) New Universe Order: All the comics that are part of the New Universe continuity.
    8) Ultraverse Order: Covering all the comics that are part of the Ultraverse continuity.
    9) 2099 Order: Covering all the comics in the 2099 continuity.
    10) Zombiverse Order: Covering all the comics that are part of the Marvel zombiverse.
    11) MC2 Order: Covering all the comics that are part of the Marvel Comics 2 universe.
7:   How far will the Order go?
There is no end to the order. Each year more books come out, and so the order will have to continue on and add those books in. At some point there will be a lag in adding books. At least a year separation will be needed from the end of the order to current published titles in order for placements to be properly evaluated.
8:   How do you handle crossovers outside of normal marvel universe?
Generally any comic that has a main 616 character cross-over into it that is considered canon by Marvel itself will be in the main order, except for those issues that exist in sub-orders.
9:   What about movies, cartoons, books, etc. in the order?
Mediums other than comic books, trades, and graphic novels are considered outside of the scope of this project and have been left out.
10:   How do I contribute to the order?
We always need people to help with the order. The biggest help would be to join the conversation in the forums. Help point out where errors have been made in placement of books, missing characters, or incorrect information.
If you are dying to get more involved than that, we always need book blurbs (short synopsis for the list view), full issue synopsis, and reviews of issues. These help users get more information about the issues they want to read.
Also, leave comments and become part of the Complete Marvel Reading Order community as we talk about comics from the early days to the present.
11:   Can you list what books are not in the order?
An exact list of all the comics that Marvel has published and are not in the Order would be enormous, and hard to put together. Most of Marvel's licesnced titles over the years will not be in, for example.
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