Tuesday, August 23, 2011

52 Chances to Learn to Love DC

I have an idea, and I need your help.

I grew up a Marvel kid. I knew at least a little about the big guys over at DC of course. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman mostly: the franchises that enjoyed success on TV and/or the big screen. The three of them were so recognizable that I always considered myself as rooting for the underdog by buying Marvel. Sure, Marvel had its household names but none of them were as iconic as the Big 3 of DC.

As I got older and stopped caring about any competitive urges between comic book companies, I still didn't stray much. There were doubtless a few reasons for that, but one of the big ones was that I simply knew the history of Marvel's cooperative universe better than that of DC.

DC hasn't made it easy for me. Precisely because of how widely recognized DC's heroes are, it has never made sense to me that DC's crossover events relied so heavily on the changes in status quo. Crisis On Infinite Earths is practically impenetrable without a good deal of knowledge about what came before, as is Infinite Crisis. When I was a part of Trouble With Comics and was invited to something of a roundtable discussion of Final Crisis, I never even considered it a possibility.

Maybe at this point DC will always be somewhat impenetrable to me. At least in the sense that it may never be possible for me to feel the same about a book like Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? as someone who read it only after reading Superman and Action Comics as a child. Not to mention that with the massive reboot approaching, the DCU's history is about to get a lot more confusing.

Regardless, I still want to try. Plus, I'm a blogger, and I need something to blog about.

So, here's my idea. I need you - comics bloggers, fans, readers, etc. - to help me out. What I need to do is get a list together of DC graphic novels (and by "graphic novels" I simply mean any reprint collection) that are important to the history of the DCU. Now, to be clear, I'm not looking for a "Best Of" list. I'm specifically looking for books that are important in understanding the history of the DCU, regardless of quality.

And once we get this list together, I'm going to read and review 52 of them here at Poplitiko.

I'm not going to read and review 52 of them right away. It will take a bit, but I'll get it done.

So, let's get started. What've you got for me?

-Mick Martin


Michael May said...

I don't know how essential any of DC's past continuity is going to be after next week, but this sounds like a fun project.

Batman: Year One is not only an excellent comic; it also set the direction of Batman's corner of the DCU for the last 25 years. And since Batman's origin doesn't seem to be getting rebooted in September, Year One is likely to remain relevant.

Unlike Superman's. I could point you to some fine retellings of his origin, but they'll be moot once the new Action Comics #1 comes out.

Mick Martin said...

Hey point away! That's okay if they "don't count" anymore.

Michael May said...

I'm going to make you a list, 'cause I'm a big ol' nerd and I think it'll be fun.

It may take me a few days, so I didn't want you to think I'm ignoring you. :)

alex-ness said...

Oh Michael May is a nerd, and he is huge.

Gary M. Miller said...

Made a list and submitted it on the secret ballot, sir. Hope you enjoy.

I'm not too big of a pre-Crisis DC nerd, but I do okay. Been reading up a BUNCH for a series of articles I've done all about what DC is doing right and wrong about their relaunch.



Michael May said...

This took me a lot longer to finish than I wanted it to, but here's my list. I kind of cheated towards the end, because some of those (52 and Brightest Day, for example) are collected in multiple volumes. I wasn't sure how to handle that, so I erred in favor of squeezing in more recommendations.

1. Superman Chronicles, Vol. 1
2. Batman Chronicles, Vol. 1
3. Wonder Woman Chronicles, Vol. 1
4. All-Star Archives, Volume 1
5. Showcase Presents Flash, Vol. 1
6. Showcase Pres. Green Lantern, Vol. 1
7. Showcase Pres. Justice League of America, Vol. 1
8. The Greatest Team-Up Stories Ever Told
9. Crisis on Multiple Earths 1
10. Crisis on Multiple Earths 2
11. Crisis on Multiple Earths 3
12. Crisis on Multiple Earths 4
13. Crisis on Multiple Earths 5
14. Showcase Presents Teen Titans, Volume 1
15. Showcase Presents Aquaman, Volume 2
16. Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Hard-Traveling Heroes, Volume 1
17. Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Hard-Traveling Heroes, Volume 2
18. Aquaman: Death of a Prince
19. The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
20. Crisis on Infinite Earths
21. Batman: Year One
22. Superman: The Man of Steel, Volume 1
23. JLA: Year One
24. The Power of Shazam
25. Legends: The Collection
26. Justice League: A New Beginning
27. Millenium: Trust No One
28. Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters
29. Batman: The Killing Joke
30. Batman: A Death in the Family
31. Invasion!: Secret No More
32. Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying (Tim Drake becomes Robin)
33. The Death and Return of Superman Omnibus
34. Batman: Knightfall, Volume 1
35. Batman: Knightfall, Volume 2
36. Batman: Knightsend
37. Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight
38. Zero Hour: Crisis in Time
39. The Final Night
40. Superman: The Wedding and Beyond
41. Batman: Hush
42. Identity Crisis
43. Green Lantern: Rebirth
44. Infinite Crisis
45. 52
46. Final Crisis
47. Batman RIP
48. Green Lantern: Blackest Night
49. Blackest Night
50. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
51. Brightest Day
52. Flashpoint