How to Read Marvel Comics in Order. What to Read First?

How to Start Reading Marvel Comics

While we all know that reading comics can be an amazingly entertaining experience, it’s sometimes hard to figure out the right order for reading them in order for the story to make sense. Learning how to start reading Marvel comics can make a huge difference both in terms of the actual experience and in terms of how well you get to appreciate the story. 

Here at Basmo, we support reading in all its shapes and forms. Whether you prefer to read classic novels or Marvel comics, you can count on us to support you with all the information you may need. Regardless of whether you need to learn about advanced reading strategies to maximize your performance, or simply the correct order for reading Marvel comics, we have got your back.

Where to Start Reading Marvel Comics?

So, you’ve decided to give Marvel comics a try. With a history that started back in June 1961, Marvel comics are probably some of the most popular ones in the world and are responsible for some of the most amazing superhero stories that were ever written. 

Since 1961 until today, more than 25,000 comics have been released, so your chances of ever running out of things to read are quite slim if you start going down this path. But one thing that is well-known is the fact that Marvel comics have a complicated storyline and sometimes the plot can be somewhat confusing especially if you don’t follow a certain order reading them. 

So, what are the best Marvel comics to start with? Well, there are several schools of thought in regard to what your first titles should be, and comics lovers have actually developed different strategies for beginners. Here are some of the most popular ways you can get started.

1. Identify Your Interests

As you probably know already, there are plenty of characters and stories you can choose to follow. One of the best ways to get started with Marvel comics is to try and figure out what sparks your interest. 

Do you find the X-men exciting? Get started there. Are you a Spiderman fan? There are around 575 titles in the Marvel collection featuring this hero, more than enough for you to read and become a rather seasoned Marvel fan.

This is probably the easiest way to get started: choose your favorite superhero and start reading the comics he is featured in. You do have a challenge ahead of you though, the Marvel universe is absolutely huge, so don’t set your hopes up too high that you will be able to read everything. 

2. Follow Certain Events in the Marvel Universe

One thing the Marvel universe definitely doesn’t lack is action-packed storylines for you to follow. While most of the comics that have ever been released do come with an intricate storyline and a plot so exciting you won’t be able to put the comics down until you’re done reading them, there are a couple of notable major events you can focus on. 

Here are the 5 most important events that can be a great starting place if you want to start reading Marvel comics and you have no idea where to start.

1. Secret Wars (1984-1985): This is one of Marvel’s first big crossover events, written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Mike Zeck. The plot revolves around a cosmic entity known as the Beyonder, who takes many of Earth’s heroes and villains to a faraway planet known as Battleworld to compete for dominance. This event first introduced Spider-Man’s black costume, which later evolved into the alien symbiote Venom.

2. Infinity Gauntlet (1991): Written by Jim Starlin and drawn by George Pérez and Ron Lim, it is mainly focused on Thanos as he gathers all six Infinity Gems in order to become omnipotent. Earth’s heroes must join forces with cosmic beings to prevent Thanos from destroying the universe. This plot was the inspiration for the Marvel Cinematic Universe films “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

Infinity Gauntlet

3. Civil War (2006-2007): This is another crossover event written by Mark Millar and drawn by Steve McNiven that divided the Marvel Universe. Following a terrible event involving superheroes, the government enacts the Superhuman Registration Act, requiring all superheroes to register and divulge their true names. Iron Man, who supports the act, is pitted against Captain America, who opposes it, resulting in a war between two whole factions of heroes.

4. House of M (2005): This is yet another crossover story combining the Avengers and the X-Men, written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Olivier Coipel. The plot revolves around the Scarlet Witch’s other universe, in which mutants are the dominant species and her father, Magneto, governs. The event has long-term ramifications, notably for the mutant population, as it concludes with the Scarlet Witch saying, “No more mutants,” resulting in a large decrease in the number of mutants in the Marvel Universe.

5. Secret Invasion (2008): This one, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, is about the long-term invasion of Earth by the Skrulls, a shape-shifting extraterrestrial species. The plot revolves around the discovery that numerous Marvel heroes and crucial individuals have been replaced by Skrull imposters, resulting in a titanic fight between Earth’s heroes and the Skrull invaders.

As you can see, a lot is happening in the Marvel Universe and choosing one of these important events to focus on first would be a great way to get started.

3. Go Chronologically 

There is always the option to simply read them in chronological order. The problem with this approach is that you are quite unlikely to be able to ever catch up.

With more than 25,000 titles released since the 60s and new ones being written and illustrated probably as you read these words, unless you have a clear strategy or focus on a certain character or storyline, your chances of ever reading everything and getting up to speed with the most recent releases are close to zero. 

How to Read Marvel Comics in Order?

One thing is certain when it comes to reading Marvel comics. If you are just getting started now, you are quite unlikely to be successful unless you go in prepared and have a clear strategy in mind.

Luckily, you are not the first who is just getting started. Many have faced your issues before you and this resulted in a whole variety of different reading guides for Marvel Comics

Follow the Important Eras

In order to make the best of the experience and to manage to make the whole story make sense, a good approach would be to start working your way up through the Marvel eras.

  • Golden age: 1939-1956
  • Silver age: 1961-1970
  • Bronze age: 1970-1984
  • Modern age begins: 1984-1997
  • Heroes relaunched: 1997-2004
  • Marvel disassembled: 2004-2012
  • Marvel now!: 2012-2015
  • Anad Marvel: 2015-2018
  • Fresh start: 2018-2021
  • Timeless: 2021-2023

Each of these eras contains more than enough titles to keep you occupied and entertained for quite some time. Reading them in order, from the earliest eras, and working your way up to the present day is going to be an amazingly rewarding experience. 

Not only will you have a rewarding reading experience, but you will also have an amazing opportunity to see how the Marvel universe changed over time and how it evolved in complexity.

Use Reading Guides

If you are looking for a different approach, you can always use one of the several fan-created reading order guides. These explore different ways of approaching the Marvel Universe and they can lead to pretty intense reading experiences. One thing you need to understand is that reading Marvel comics doesn’t have to be a 100% correct process.

While for some it makes more sense to read the comics in chronological order, others tend to believe that the better experience comes from following a certain character, a certain era, or the important events I mentioned above. It is up to each reader to decide which order makes more sense and what reading style brings them more pleasure.

For reference, here are some of the most popular reading order guides in the fandom universe:

The Alternate Universe Approach

Another great option to start reading Marvel comics in an order that makes sense is to focus on each universe separately. As we know, the storyline from the Marvel comics explores several alternative universes. These additional levels of reality have enriched the Marvel universe with rather exciting sidestories or backstories for some of the most beloved characters.

Exploring these stories can not only provide a reading order that makes sense for a particular character or event, it can even make reading Marvel comics more exciting and interesting. 

For example, a good suggestion would be to focus on reading all the issues related to the “Age of Apocalypse” or “House of M”, as both these major events take place in different universes.

How to Read Marvel Comics With Basmo

When it comes to reading Marvel comics, the challenge that awaits is going to be a considerable one, especially if you take into account the fact that overall there are more than 25,000 titles in their collection. 

One thing that can make the experience better and the challenge ahead more manageable is using a reading-tracking app. With Basmo, you get access to a whole bunch of features specially designed to make reading more entertaining, and rewarding, and to improve your experience and overall performance.

Here’s how Basmo can help you with reading Marvel comics.

Creating reading lists. One thing you simply cannot go without when it comes to reading Marvel comics is having a clear list of the titles you are about to go over. Regardless of the strategy you choose, having reading lists prepared in advance will help you stay on top of things. With Basmo, you can create as many reading lists as you please, and you will be able to organize them however you see fit. 

AI ChatBook

Chat with AI. Probably the most exciting feature, our BookChat encourages you to take advantage of the endless possibilities brought to us by AI. Now you can access our AI chatbot in any of the books/comics in your collection and you can simply chat with it about whatever you need. You can ask the BookChat about certain developments of the plot, how long it should take you to read a certain piece, ask for a summary, or whatever else you might need to know. 

Take notes. If you decide to dedicate yourself to reading Marvel comics, the chances are you will, at some point, get entangled in the evolution of the plot and you will have a hard time keeping up with the storylines. That’s why we always suggest readers take notes whenever they feel like they need it. With Basmo, taking notes is easy and rewarding. You can take your notes right within the book or comic you are reading and you can format them however you see fit. That way you can easily keep them organized. 

Final Thoughts

Learning how to start reading Marvel comics can be challenging at times, especially if you consider the huge amount of comics at your disposal. Using Basmo will make things considerably easier and if you choose to also take advantage of our AI BookChat, you are certainly in for a treat.

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