Where to start reading Marvel comics

Marvel’s truly massive universe can feel overwhelming if you’re new here. What makes it even more difficult, is that there isn’t one single, definitive Marvel Comics chronological order because the Marvel Universe is a complex web of interconnected stories with multiple timelines, alternate realities, and reboots. But don’t be afraid all that much, here’s a glimpse of Marvel reading order that may be useful for you:

  1. What are the best Marvel comics to start with? Well, it actually depends on you! Who’s your favorite hero? Do you like Spider-Man? Or Thor? Grounded crime-fighting with Daredevil? Identify your favorite heroes or themes. Marvel’s got something for everyone!
  2. Recent “jump-on” points like “Marvel Fresh Start” offer new #1 issue for ongoing series, perfect for diving in without any prior experience. Check out “Immortal Hulk” for a dark, introspective take on the green rage monster, or “Miles Morales: Spider-Man” for a modern spin on this hero.
  3. For a taste of Marvel’s history, try iconic runs like Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s “Amazing Spider-Man” or Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s “Fantastic Four.” These comics hold up surprisingly well and let you experience the birth of legends.
  4. Do you want a complete story arc? Graphic novels like “Ms. Marvel” by G. Willow Wilson or “Hawkeye” by Matt Fraction and David Aja pack a satisfying punch in one self-contained volume.
  5. Marvel Unlimited, a subscription service, offers a massive library of comics to read online or download. It’s a great way to explore different characters and series before committing to physical copies.

Despite the difficulty finding the correct Marvel comics reading order, the Marvel Universe is so huge it has something to offer to everyone. From something rather kids-friendly to something that will surprise even horror-movies lovers.

How to read Marvel comics

You know where to start, but HOW to start? That’s the question. And here are some options for you:

  1. Stay local! If you’re unsure about what to read, visit our comic book shop. We are proud to have a team of hardcore fans who are always eager to help you get started.
  2. Go online. Already mentioned Marvel Unlimited is a good option. Though you might get lost in more than 30,000 issues available at once. Besides, reading too much using your screen is bad for your eyes!
  3. Classics. Basically the same as option 1 – just go and buy a physical copy. It is so satisfying to read comics the way it was meant to be.

What to choose exactly? Well, it largely depends on you and your preferences!

Marvel chronological reading order

When did Marvel Comics start

Marvel’s story actually starts back in 1939, but not quite under the name we know today. Back then, they were called Timely Comics, publishing pulp magazines and Western stories. When superhero comics started booming, Timely hopped on the bandwagon with Marvel’s first comic, “Marvel Comics #1” featuring the Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner.

Think of Timely as Marvel’s grandpa. Over the next few decades, they published tons of comics under different names like Atlas Comics, but didn’t quite hit the heights we know today.

The real Marvel era kicked off in 1961 with the Fantastic Four. This comic, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, was a game-changer. It had heroes with flaws and relatable problems, not just squeaky-clean do-gooders. This “New Age” of Marvel brought us iconic characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Hulk, paving the way for the Marvel universe we know and love today.

So, while Marvel technically started in 1939, the “Marvel we know” truly began in 1961 with the Fantastic Four.

When did marvel comics start

How many Marvel Comics are there

Estimates range from 25,000 to 35,000 issues, depending on how exactly you evaluate different issues, spin-offs, etc. Here’s why it’s tricky:

  • Marvel’s been around since 1939. Counting every single issue from all their series, specials, and different imprints is…not all that possible.
  • Marvel likes Multiverses! Think of the multiverse like a cosmic kaleidoscope with infinite Earths and alternate realities, each potentially having its own set of comic titles. Marvel has dozens of these! This adds a whole new layer to counting. If you still don’t understand this concept, you can check the “What if…” animation series. It’s all about the Multiverse.
  • Reboots and events like Secret Wars renumber series and create new timelines, making it hard to track individual issues across different continuities.

So, a precise number is not all that obvious. Though starting is always difficult, we’re actually ready to help you! At Comic Buying Center we sell comic books that will become a staging point for you, paving the way to understanding such a global and unintuitive thing as the Marvel Comics Universe.

  • Pete Przysiezny

    Pete Przysiezny, owner of Comic Buying Center, has been buying and selling comics and collectibles for over 30 years. He lives in Northern Illinois and specializes in buying large comic book collections. He has a vast knowledge of all eras and types of comic books ranging from the 1930s to the 2000s. Pete spent his childhood going to comic book conventions with his father, so you could say he was raised in the industry.