Sci-fi month: A Newbie's Guide to Graphic Novels



I'm pretty new to the graphic novel/comic book scene. I was never a comic book collector when I was a kid, and I was just so overwhelmed about figuring out where to start that I didn't get into graphic novels until last year!

One of the things that make graphic novels harder to break into is how interconnected a lot of different series are. Especially with DC and Marvel superhero comics, there are so many cross-overs and reincarnations and references to past volumes and events happening in other series. I still haven't quite figured all of that out yet (like I said, I'm still new!) but I have found other comics that are more newbie friendly!

Here are my recommendations for standalone graphic novels and entrypoint series without a lot of cross-overs! I've enjoyed them all and I didn't feel like I was missing out on too much.


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Saga
I absolutely love this series! I have only read the first volume so far, but I am really excited to keep reading. It has amazing art and lots of incredible characters and worlds, and best of all you don't need any prior knowledge of the universe to get started!
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Watchmen
This was the first graphic novel I ever read, and it definitely lived up to the hype. It's such an incredible story, with a lot of morally ambiguous characters and superheroes that may not be as "heroic" as we'd like to think. Plus it's a standalone, so it's a great place to start.
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The Flash: Rebirth #1
I wanted to read the Flash comics since I really enjoy the TV show. The latest DC Rebirth universe was a little confusing without having read anything previously, but I thought it was a pretty good place to start. You just have to read DC Universe Rebirth #1 before The Flash: Rebirth volume, which wasn't too bad! A more comprehensive guide to the DC Rebirth universe here
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Bone
One of my friends recommended Bone to me, and the premise sounded kind of silly. Little creatures made of bones having adventures in the woods? Um..
But the story is actually really intricate and intriguing. Things get intense really quickly, but there's always a good mix of humor and what's-happening-I-can't-put-this-book-down. Featuring some badass ladies and adorable bone-creatures, this story was a lot of fun!
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Paper Girls
Disclaimer: I haven't actually read this one yet, but it's by the same writer as Saga (Brian Vaughan) so I'm positive it will be just as amazing. Like Saga, it's a series that doesn't tie into any others, so it's great for newbies.
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Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel was a great entry-point into the Marvel universe for me. I'd only seen the Marvel movies and a couple of TV shows, but never read any comics. Ms. Marvel ties into a few other series like Spiderman and X-men, but it isn't too confusing for a newbie reader because Kamala Khan is figuring everything out too!
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Sandman
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, so naturally I wanted to check out his comic series once I'd read most of his novels. Sandman is really dark, but it's full of the same sort of creativity and imagination that makes Gaiman's novels so good! I haven't read all 10 yet, but I hear they tell an incredible overarching story. It's a little confusing to figure out the order of the volumes, so I would recommend looking at this post for more information on the different spin-off series and reading order.
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V for Vendetta
This is one of my favorite movies, and I wanted to check out the source material (especially since it's written by Alan Moore, the same brilliant mind behind Watchmen). It was different from the movie for sure, but absolutely worth a read!
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