“Essential Graphic Novels” by DC Comics

Artist: DC Comics
Title: “Essential Graphic Novels”
Label: DC Entertainment
Release Date: 5/28/2013
Genre: Illustrated Medium
Rating: 3.5/5

This free edition was available at the comic shops very recently and it seemed that you were allowed to take a copy with you if you had purchased the new Superman title that was also on the stands. Well, at least this was what I noticed when I caught a glimpse of it at Forbidden Planet in NYC. Now that this free edition is available in a digital format and can be enjoyed either via your Kindle or other mobile devices, I figured let me give it a glance and see what it’s recommending to the fans of this kind of medium. The opening section of the book gives you what the editors have determined to be “25” absolutely essential trade paperback editions and I am happy to report that I have personally read no less than eleven of them. I admit that I was shocked and felt that I would be closer to the complete run of twenty five must have reads but then I glanced over the list a little deeper. There are several that I consider “solid” reads and a nice addition to your collection but as far as “essential” goes? Not too much. Let me preface this by citing how “Watchmen”, “V For Vendetta”, “Dark Knight Returns”, “Killing Joke” and “Kingdom Come” are must haves in ones collection and fantastic reads that you will return to again and again over the years and even make as recommendations to your friends that might be looking to indulge in the medium. I’ll also add the “Saga Of Swamp Thing” and the “JLA” to the mix because from page to page they keep you focused on the story and the incredibly written characters. “Swamp Thing” is just gripping and with “JLA” we were returning to the original core seven greats of the team. Whew was all I could say during those first few issues.

Now since this list is coming care of the editors over at DC Comics they are going to have their favorites and with that being said here are some tomes that I myself view as absolutely essential to own or at least read if visiting a friend that might have it. First up “Green Lantern/Green Arrow”; this title changed the times and how a comic book could be delivered. “Man Of Steel” was the revamp of Superman as done by John Byrne and this is a must have. “Superman Batman Generations”, the first volume brings us a tale of the hero’s first meeting as youths and into their far off future time. It’s a bit of an Elseworlds tale but I loved it. There is also some magic to be found in the book I feel is a seminal tome for collectors with “Crisis On Infinite Earths”. This was the first company-wide revision of their characters and found some of the long standing cast not making it out alive. I’d like to add that there are numerous collected editions of the earliest stories of numerous heroes and based on who you like to follow, should be investigated from the humble beginnings.

The “Essential Graphic Novels” continues with many pages dedicated to the collected editions for the titles that launched with “The New 52” relaunch and from these I would most recommend “Batman”, “Justice League Dark”, “Aquaman” and perhaps “Justice League” as a starting point in terms of a single volume to begin with. With 52 titles to choose from you certainly have some nice options when it comes to their collected volumes. It then offers up a slightly more focused presentation of other good reads by character so you get Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash and The Justice League. It closes up by getting slightly sexist with “Women In Comics” as opposed to giving Wonder Woman and the rest their own nod and then comes the more mature reading of Vertigo Comics.

It all amounts to a commercial in some sense and as I have said there are several things that I enjoyed a lot omitted from the mix but don’t let that stop you from downloading this reference tool to your mobile device. It cannot do any harm but when it comes to the final purchase do some research into the characters that you like, and this goes across DC to Marvel Comics to Dark Horse to Valiant Comics as well – See what fans of those lines are jumping through hoops about and run from there. Happy reading.

The Listing:
1. Watchmen
2. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
3. Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
4. Batman: Year One
5. V For Vendetta
6. Saga Of The Swamp Thing vol. 1
7. Fables vol. 1
8. Batman: The Killing Joke
9. Y The Last Man
10. All Star Superman
11. Kingdom Come
12. Batman: The Long Halloween
13. League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 1
14. Batman: Earth One
15. Green Lantern: Rebirth
16. American Vampire vol. 1
17. Blackest Night
18. Final Crisis
19. JLA vol. 1
20. Identity Crisis
21. Batman: Hush
22. Joker
23. Flash: Rebirth
24. Superman: Earth One
25. Planetary vol. 1

Official Website: http://www.dccomics.com

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