The iFanboy Letter Column – 05/30/2008

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s the last work day before a well deserved weekend. For others, Friday is the day they run crying from The Void (while running the same joke from last week because they didn’t read the copy).

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —


Through the usual podcast find techniques (someone mentions X that leads to Y etc.) I have stumbled across your podcast. I literally mainlined #1 -35 over the course of a weekend and still going. Great work by the way. It brought me back to the days of massive discussions/debates in my buddies basement in school. Anyway that was about the last time I even picked up a book. Like most of the stories I have come full circle and it’s time to rejoin the fray as well as passing on the torch/books to my oldest son. “Long story short, too late” my question. What would recommend as the core books to start off with concerning the following characters:

• Batman
• Green Lantern
• Spider-Man
• X-Men


Without a doubt, the questions we get more than any others are requests for personalized comic recommendations. For those of your who aren’t in the know, outside of the various shows we do every week recommending comics, there is also an excellent thread on the Revision3 forums specifically for this purpose. You’ll get a much faster response from those folks than you will from us, and we certainly think you should take advantage of that resource.

Now, the reason I’m answering this question, is because it involves passing the torch, as it were. You’re looking to get younger people into comics, and I’m willing to help with that noble, if not possibly futile, effort. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no real “necessary” books with ongoing superhero books. You should be able to pick up most ongoing books, and go from there. But, there are excellent books out there, which really show you the best of what these books can be. I’ll give you a few, and you can go from there.

Batman: This is possibly the easiest, because I’m going to say The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, both written by Frank Miller. Look for a video show in the near future with some other stories that aren’t those 2. But if you want to know Batman, those are the best places to start. There are nearly endless amounts of Batman stories, and I suppose you could start reading the “Batman RIP” stories going on right now, you might want to wait until the event is over before jumping in, because it’s anyone’s guess where this is going.

Green Lantern: For the sake of ease, I’d just start with Green Lantern: Rebirth, by Geoff Johns, and then get to the “Sinestro Corps War.” Right now, in the issues, the third part of Hal Jordan’s origin was just released. They’ll get you right up to speed on Hal, and that’s about all you need to know.

Spider-Man: While there is “Brand New Day,” which is The Amazing Spider-Man now, and you can get caught up by pretty much going in and picking up recent issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. If it was my call, and others disagree to be sure, I’d just read Ultimate Spider-Man, and call it a day. There are great trades of the book available everywhere, and it’s just been consistently good for years.

X-Men: You got me dude… But seriously, you really only need to read The Dark Phoenix Saga. I truly believe everything else stems from that. It’s a keystone of the Marvel universe, and it’s also very good. After that, I’d say to go pick up the trades from Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men. Other than that, you’re just sent into the muck of years of continuity and pain. Some might say to check out Grant Morrison’s run, but I’m not one of them. Also, see the letter below.

So that’s enough books to keep you busy for a while, and give anyone a handle on what these characters are. If you need to find them, please feel free to use the Store on the site, and I very much hope your son finds something he can grab on to.

Josh Flanagan


With the upcoming G.I. Joe movie, do you know if Marvel has any plans on re-printing trades from the legendary Larry Hama run? I have been able to find trades 1, 3, and 5 in stores. I checked eBay for the others but they cost an arm and a leg. In addition, I don’t believe you can get all of the issues in trade form.

Steve B. from Ann Arbor, MI

Oh, Steve, your e-mail stabs me in my very heart.

As far as I know, and I certainly have no inside knowledge on this, but Marvel has no plans to reprint the G.I. Joe trades. It is entirely possible that they will when the movie hits, but the fact of the matter is that for years and years people were clamoring for those classic Larry Hama comics to get reprinted in trades and Marvel finally got all the rights worked out and they announced their plans to reprint them with much fanfare and then they actually came out and they landed with a thud, sales-wise. Marvel only ever made it to volume 5 which is about halfway through Hama’s run and that’s sad.

I’d hope that the movie generates renewed interest in those books and then the first five volumes can get reprinted and then maybe the rest of the run, because those are some classic stories and it’s one of my favorite all-time comic books. Man, I’d kill for a G.I. Joe Omnibus series. But I’m probably one of only five people who would and that’s not fiscally feasible for Marvel.

Looks like Cobra wins… this time.

Conor Kilpatrick

I just got into reading comics for the first time about two months ago, and I’m already knee deep in books. After realizing that most of my stuff was DC Comics or independents, I decided I wanted to get some Marvel stuff. So I picked up Secret Invasion. The is a lot to absorb but I find it very interesting. I wanted to to focus on following a current X-Men and Avengers book as they are my favorites.

So my question is… which Avengers book? And which X-Men book?

I’m having a hard time discerning the difference between all of the different X-Men and Avengers books, but having followed your advice in purchasing my graphic novels I can say I trust your opinion completely.

Which X-Men book, and which Avengers book do you feel is the best read to follow in issue form right now? And should I pick up the current issue or start on an earlier one?

Chris H.

We’ve actually been getting this question a lot Chris, so I’m glad you asked. Many people are really interested in jumping into the comics universe, be it Marvel, DC or Image or any other “universe” out there and often, I imagine, it can be overwhelming as to what to read in order to get it. I always advise people to narrow it down to a line of comics or characters that you are attracted to, so good for you Chris for narrowing it down to The X-Men and The Avengers.

My advice, at this current point in time for the X-Men is to wait and jump on with Uncanny X-Men #500. Issue #498 just came out yesterday, so it will only be 2 months until issue #500, but this is the ideal jumping on point for a new fan. Sure issue #500 is daunting to jump on with, you might feel like you need to read the previous 499 issues, but you don’t. Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction are kicking off the new status quo for the X-Men with issue #500 of Uncanny X-Men, so the timing is right and besides, Uncanny X-Men is the flagship book of all the various X-Men comics out there. So grab issue #500 and jump on! If you don’t know who someone is, don’t worry, I bet they’ll explain it to a certain degree and if you still don’t know, just look it up on the Internet!

As for the Avengers, it’s rough ever since they got rid of the simple, plain old “Avengers” title. Now with two titles, The New Avengers and The Mighty Avengers, it’s difficult as to which one to choose. Plus, with Secret Invasion occurring, it’s not the easiest time to be an Avengers newbie. But you said you bought Secret Invasion, so you’re somewhat aware of what’s happening, so I would say to go with The New Avengers. It’s the more established title and honestly, there’s rarely ever been a bad issue of that comic, it’s kinda creepy in that way. So unless after Secret Invasion they cancel The New Avengers, my bet for you is that The New Avengers is the way to go.

Good luck!

Ron Richards


  1. In regards to G.I. Joe, there is a new article over at newsarama with Chris Ryall of IDW who will be taking over the Joe License this October.

    In it it says that now IDW has the rights to reprint all of the old material, and while he can’t get into specifics they have long term plans to reprint everything. Yo Joe indeed.  

  2. I just hope IDW forgets the last 2 years or so of Devil’s Due Continuity and starts fresh.  I loved the G.I. Joe stories for a while, then they decided to kill it dead.

  3. I agree, but I did think that World War III was pretty good. I can’t say so for sure, but I have a feeling that WWIII is going to end the regular continuity and IDW is going to have to reboot. Maybe starting at the end of the Marvel series again?

  4. I just hope that IDW doesn’t reprint GI Joe like they are doing with Transformers in single issues for 3.99 each. I’m glad that I have the original Marvel run of Transformers (US and UK) in trade from Titan Books. I was so disappointed when Marvel stopped reprinting the original GI Joe run half way through, but not as sad as I was when Rhino lost the license to the GI Joe cartoon half way through putting it out on DVD.   

  5. I was picking up issues here and there of the Devil’s Due GIJOE series, it wasn’t really doing anything for me, but Larry Hama on Storm Shadow was a must read for me everytime it came out.  I doubt IDW will continue that book, but aside from the article that Nate pointed out, there has been next to nothing for news on this changing of the guard, has anyone read anything else on the subject?

  6. I don’t think there has been much more than that interview and the press release about the license.  I am guessing that they will hold further detail about the books creative times, individual comic line names, reprints, etc until San Diego where they can get bigger press.  IDW has known that they had the license for awhile so I would imagine there is lots of work in progress.

  7. @comicdork37, I agree, those single issue reprints are a rip, but I did see something at Borders yesterday that gives me hope. It was the first 20 issues of the Marvel Transformers in a trade (in color!) published by IDW and the kicker? It was only $20! I never saw this solicited and I’ve never seen it in a comics shop (though admittedly I don’t really look for Transformers stuff).