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Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Old 12-03-15, 02:20 PM
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Help me decide on a massive reading plan

No, not the great Dark Horse series, The Massive; I read that last year and it was glorious.

Brief comic life synopsis and current quandary:

Huge comic fan from the early 1970s to about 1992, mainly a DC fan, but also a good amount of Marvel and all the independents. Accumulated maybe 40 long boxes in those years. Went on and off again cold turkey until maybe 5 years ago, but still bought a fair amount.

Have finally accumulated most of what I want that I missed over those years, mostly digital, so I'm sitting on a backlog of 20,000 books maybe. I'll eventually read them all, but right now I just want to get to 'the meat'.

My chronological OCD compels me to read things 'in order' for the most part, although I do read some current stuff occasionally.

I really want to 'catch up' on both the main DC and Marvel histories. I in no way imagine a 'complete' historical re-read of even the main books of either company; that'd probably be at least 10,000 books for each company and I am not that industrious.

So I'm thinking maybe some sort of plan of maybe a couple thousand books for each. Current idea for Marvel is to read every mainline Avengers book in order, adding in all of the crossover events and tie-ins as they occur. Same thing with DC but using the Justice League.

Surely I'm not alone in a plan like this. Anyone here ever try something similar? Or have links to websites detailing such plans/reading orders?
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Old 12-03-15, 02:32 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

I am not sure reading Justice League and Avengers from those periods gives a great idea of each universe's history. Both are enjoyable reads, I've read in order several different runs from each series. But I don't feel the need to read everything in complete order from issue 1 to whatever. I think one or two books are maybe just not enough, I don't know.

Crossovers were very limited and team books rarely impacted what was happening to each character in their own books. While both were shared continuities, you need to read several books from each company to get a decent sense of what was happening.
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Old 12-03-15, 03:48 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
Crossovers were very limited and team books rarely impacted what was happening to each character in their own books. While both were shared continuities, you need to read several books from each company to get a decent sense of what was happening.
Crossovers are a huge reason I rarely read comics. I collected from like '82-'95ish. Then a few years ago tried to jump back in. WAY too many crossovers and WAY too many different comics for each character or team.
Mostly only read things from Avatar lately. Providence is pretty good.
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Old 12-03-15, 04:15 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

you sound like me (but i have far less knowledge under my belt) I recently stopped reading the marvel order that i linked to awhile back to just focus on titles i liked and skip crap that was driving me insane like the torch solo book

i also decided Im going to read the new weekly books marvel has restarted and then pick different runs to check out from the past or else ill just sit a figure out what to read then actually reading.

we can always start a reading group
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Old 12-03-15, 04:23 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

I think the plan makes sense. Some might prefer the Fantastic Four as a flagship title, but the Avengers will give you a broader sampling of characters, and you have to pick something to start with, right? Are you thinking of alternating blocks of Avengers and JLA to keep things fresher?
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Old 12-03-15, 04:27 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

I can't speak to DC as I've only read a handful of pre-crisis books. However, I have been working my way through the history of Marvel over the last year or two. While I would like to just read everything in order starting from the beginning, I've found that bouncing around and cherry picking certain characters/runs works best for me. I don't really have a specific plan, but I do have a general idea of what I want to read. Of course the thing with comics is that everything I read seems to reference some earlier story that makes me stop and go back before continuing on. It really does feel endless sometimes.

This site has been very helpful to me, but it mostly focuses on the 2000's. Of course that's when things get really difficult to follow. The 90's can be difficult to follow as well due to all of the crossovers (and the sheer quantity of titles), but they mostly all sucked so you can almost just skip the 90's altogether. And I say that as someone who started reading comics in 1991.

Pre-90's I would just pick and choose the best runs from each character. I don't know that just reading the Avengers will give you a very broad overview of the Marvel Universe. I'd only do that if reading through the Avengers was my primary goal. When I get a chance later, I'll list some of what I have read/plan to read.
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Old 12-03-15, 04:43 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Having recently gotten back into comics myself I find it harder to carry out a plan; just read whatever strikes you and don't dedicate yourself to any certain series or order beyond what strikes you at that moment - otherwise you risk turning a hobby into an obligation or chore when your present series starts to feel stale with marathon reading or due to a slump in quality. I've been reading storylines here and there so while I also have a big catalog Geoff John's Green Lantern series struck me with Sinestro Corps Wars so I'm planning on following up from there until I get bored with it then shelving it for a while.

Personally I've found it easier to work around flagpole events researching early lead-in prerequisites then enjoying the event and those items from the aftermath that seem interesting... those often make good jumping on points.
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Old 12-03-15, 05:18 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Remember this is Trevor we're talking about.
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Old 12-05-15, 07:57 AM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
I am not sure reading Justice League and Avengers from those periods gives a great idea of each universe's history. Both are enjoyable reads, I've read in order several different runs from each series. But I don't feel the need to read everything in complete order from issue 1 to whatever. I think one or two books are maybe just not enough, I don't know.

Crossovers were very limited and team books rarely impacted what was happening to each character in their own books. While both were shared continuities, you need to read several books from each company to get a decent sense of what was happening.
Good points. I know that I'll have to pick and choose other key runs here and there to get a true chronological overview of what was happening in that company's universe(s). I just want a crash course of the entire basic history, then later when I read older stuff or read long runs of individual titles I'll have the basic historical framework in my memory.
Originally Posted by rocket1312 View Post
I can't speak to DC as I've only read a handful of pre-crisis books. However, I have been working my way through the history of Marvel over the last year or two. While I would like to just read everything in order starting from the beginning, I've found that bouncing around and cherry picking certain characters/runs works best for me. I don't really have a specific plan, but I do have a general idea of what I want to read. Of course the thing with comics is that everything I read seems to reference some earlier story that makes me stop and go back before continuing on. It really does feel endless sometimes.

This site has been very helpful to me, but it mostly focuses on the 2000's. Of course that's when things get really difficult to follow. The 90's can be difficult to follow as well due to all of the crossovers (and the sheer quantity of titles), but they mostly all sucked so you can almost just skip the 90's altogether. And I say that as someone who started reading comics in 1991.

Pre-90's I would just pick and choose the best runs from each character. I don't know that just reading the Avengers will give you a very broad overview of the Marvel Universe. I'd only do that if reading through the Avengers was my primary goal. When I get a chance later, I'll list some of what I have read/plan to read.
Reading all of Avengers is actually a big goal of mine, as it was a favorite as a kid, I've enjoyed the spots of a few modern runs I've read, and, most importantly, I've bought the entire run. I know that large swaths of it will likely be horrible and hard to trudge thru, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of reading thru 500+ issues, hopefully within a year.

Thanks for that link. Looks like it'll be useful for things like the various event reading orders.
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Old 12-05-15, 08:35 AM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Sounds like an dreary undertaking. Most superhero comics are shit, and the most you can get out of them is a sort of thrill waiting to see what's coming next month when you're reading them new.

It's been my experience that most of this stuff doesn't date particularly well and can get really tedious when "binged."

I used to love Claremont's X-Men when I was younger, but when I tried a re-read, most of it was just dreadful.

Not to say there aren't some runs and story arcs that hold up or are historically important (Lee/Kirby runs), but the bulk of Marvel and DC superhero output is forgettable.
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Old 12-05-15, 09:16 AM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

I actually tried reading The New Teen Titans a couple of years ago. I started with DC Comics Presents #26 and actually got through the first 12 issues of the series and stopped. It was still actually pretty good but I lost interest. Maybe, it was pulling it out the individual issues that got tiring...I don't know. I just couldn't keep going.
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Old 12-07-15, 08:23 AM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

I love when people tackle reading projects like this, but if you plan on reading any long running series there are going to be many points where getting through the books becomes a slog. I would suggest you not try to power through them, and instead take your time reading them so you don't get burned out on reading classic comics.
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Old 12-07-15, 10:40 AM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Sounds like an dreary undertaking. Most superhero comics are shit, and the most you can get out of them is a sort of thrill waiting to see what's coming next month when you're reading them new.

It's been my experience that most of this stuff doesn't date particularly well and can get really tedious when "binged."

I used to love Claremont's X-Men when I was younger, but when I tried a re-read, most of it was just dreadful.

Not to say there aren't some runs and story arcs that hold up or are historically important (Lee/Kirby runs), but the bulk of Marvel and DC superhero output is forgettable.
I'd like to think that Trevor, of all people, would be pretty familiar with the general quality of superhero comics of the last 50 years. My experience is that the "good stuff" still holds up pretty well today, but one has to approach it with the proper perspective. In fact, I'm surprised at just how much I enjoy a lot of the older Marvel stuff I've been reading. It's not high art or anything, but if you're a fan of the genre, it's fun to see it develop over the decades. It's also kind of fun to see what really talented writers/artists can do working within the strict parameters of mainstream superhero comics. However, the minute you stop enjoying it and it starts to feel like homework, move on to something else. Unless you have some real nostalgic ties to the material, the really bad stuff is just not worth the time.
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Old 12-07-15, 01:28 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Yeah, I don't think it's going to do much good to tell Trevor not to read the superhero books he's purchased.

Early Avengers is a slog for me, as is most of that early Marvel superhero stuff, but it has some great stuff once it gets going, and I can reread it easily.

Early Justice League--and really most Silver Age DC--is tough for me to binge on. Too repetitive.
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Old 12-07-15, 02:02 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

I have no problem reading older comics if I like and enjoy the characters. What I do find tough to get through are the older DC and Marvel comics that tended to stray from mainstream superhero fiction. Most of those come off as culturally dated social commentaries with little entertainment value.
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Old 12-08-15, 12:18 AM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
I have no problem reading older comics if I like and enjoy the characters. What I do find tough to get through are the older DC and Marvel comics that tended to stray from mainstream superhero fiction. Most of those come off as culturally dated social commentaries with little entertainment value.
I just find purple Silver Age prose to get wearing after a very short time.
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Old 12-08-15, 09:29 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Sounds like an dreary undertaking. Most superhero comics are shit, and the most you can get out of them is a sort of thrill waiting to see what's coming next month when you're reading them new.

It's been my experience that most of this stuff doesn't date particularly well and can get really tedious when "binged."

I used to love Claremont's X-Men when I was younger, but when I tried a re-read, most of it was just dreadful.

Not to say there aren't some runs and story arcs that hold up or are historically important (Lee/Kirby runs), but the bulk of Marvel and DC superhero output is forgettable.
That's your opinion, and clearly Trevor knows what he's getting into.

Originally Posted by rocket1312 View Post
I'd like to think that Trevor, of all people, would be pretty familiar with the general quality of superhero comics of the last 50 years. My experience is that the "good stuff" still holds up pretty well today, but one has to approach it with the proper perspective. In fact, I'm surprised at just how much I enjoy a lot of the older Marvel stuff I've been reading. It's not high art or anything, but if you're a fan of the genre, it's fun to see it develop over the decades. It's also kind of fun to see what really talented writers/artists can do working within the strict parameters of mainstream superhero comics. However, the minute you stop enjoying it and it starts to feel like homework, move on to something else. Unless you have some real nostalgic ties to the material, the really bad stuff is just not worth the time.
I tried doing a read of the first few years of Fantastic Four. The dialogue is unbearable, the sort of "gee whiz!" stuff and endless exposition that writers like Frank Miller and Alan Moore did away with for good. But the art is so exceptional that I would find myself skipping the dialogue completely and would gaze in wonder at the pages. I'd love to see the drafts of those.
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Old 12-09-15, 03:43 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

I wonder if anyone has ever undertaken a project for fun of editing those Silver Age comics to remove all of the unnecessary Stan Lee caption box quips and thought bubbles that are redundant in the "show don't tell" sense. It seems like it might be an interesting project, but I have no idea if it would make reading the Silver Age stuff any better in this day and age.
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Old 01-30-16, 03:57 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Just to follow-up, belated thanks to everyone again for the advice and conversation, lots of good thoughts.

Yes, for the Stan Lee writing era of Marvel, I'd love to see an edited version with modern dialoguing.

For the record, I decided to delay the DC and Marvel 'complete' plans for at least a year and focus 2016 on other things. My main goal is to read all of Swamp Thing from the 1971 House of Secrets issue to today, averaging at least one issue a day.

Swamp Thing has always been my favorite character, yet sadly, as part of my save-the-best-for-last philosophy, I still haven't read much of the series since Rick Veitch was kicked off the book.

In conjunction with that, I'm reading other of my 'best' stuff that is not continuity-dependent. So some Marvel and DC books that sort of exist outside main continuity, but also lots of independents like Nexus and Zot and Saga.

I'm way behind already, but 5 books a day is my goal for the year.
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Old 01-30-16, 04:31 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

That's a sound strategy, I like the focus on one primary character. Swamp Thing has been around continuously for most of that time but doesn't have the dozens of side books that would make it a much more difficult task.

Somewhere in the middle you'll also need to watch the Swamp Thing movie.
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Old 01-30-16, 04:35 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
That's a sound strategy, I like the focus on one primary character. Swamp Thing has been around continuously for most of that time but doesn't have the dozens of side books that would make it a much more difficult task.

Somewhere in the middle you'll also need to watch the Swamp Thing movie.
Good call! I haven't seen the film since the theater. What about the TV series?
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Old 01-30-16, 04:42 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

I only vaguely recall the television series and haven't seen it aired in years.
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Old 01-30-16, 06:27 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Good call! I haven't seen the film since the theater. What about the TV series?
Trevor, your OCD commands you to buy both movies and the TV series. And then you might as well check out the Man-Thing movie as well (shudder).
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Old 01-30-16, 06:31 PM
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Re: Help me decide on a massive reading plan

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
Trevor, your OCD commands you to buy both movies and the TV series. And then you might as well check out the Man-Thing movie as well (shudder).
You're cruel. Did I ever tell you the story of how I lived in Birmingham when I was 4? I was convinced the devil himself lived under this one specific manhole cover. It was you, wasn't it?

But yeah, I already own them all.
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