David B. sent me a couple questions in email about the Recommended Reading Order.
I’m reading along your “Recommended Reading Order” list, with great enjoyment. I’ve only just started and am about to finish most of the Jonah Hex stories. (I’m relatively new to the DC Universe, as I grew up on Marvel comics) I had a question about whether or not you were going to include comics that have yet to appear in a trade paperback. For instance, I would like to read more about Jonah Hex, in the “Hex” series, but it is only available individually as comics, and therefore does not appear on your guide. Do you plan on adding such titles to this list?
Also, I would love to learn more about Superman/Batman and other heroes in the gold and silver age, but I noticed that these stories are cut off by the beginning of the modern era. (We have a good run of Gold/Silver Batman and then we start year one) Is there anyway to add more of these goodies from the past? I would be cool to even have The Brave and the Bold 1-23 with the Viking Prince story, and so on.
I know you probably have a lot on your to do list, but if there is anything I can do to help out, please let me know. Thanks again for your work on this great site.
These are all slightly complicated issues to deal with quickly, but I sent back a slightly rambling 2am response. David, or any of you, feel free to ask me to clarify if anything remains unclear! I’ve added a few extra comments for the blog post in brackets [like this].
Let me hit that first point before anything else – basically there are just too many comics out there for me to keep track of and there are a lot of people who have created issue reading orders for events, etc, so I’m not really going to add issues that haven’t been collected, even if they’re important. [The main goal of this list is to present a series of books that could be set up on a bookshelf and read from one end to the other. I won’t, really, say there will never be a place for issues on this site, but not in this list at this time.]
What you might see, though, is a set of issues that was solicited as an upcoming trade but was never collected. I’ll take it out eventually if it seems it’s really never going to happen, but there are a few books like that in there right now – Showcase Presents Jonah Hex Vol. 2, SP Suicide Squad, etc. [I’m still crossing my fingers that they will release these ones!]
As for the rest, letsee – I think you’re running into a couple separate things. The first is that there are a bunch of Golden Age and Silver Age titles still currently in the Unplaced Books that I’m currently working on adding to the reading order. Once those are in, every book that has been released thus far collecting Pre-Crisis stories should be there.
But it’s possible you’re seeing something else too – you mention the “Year One Era” style retcons that cut in at the end of the Golden Age.
Basically, this is because in my Recommended Reading Order, I consider Golden Age Batman (for example) to be one character and Silver/Modern Age Batman to be a separate character. It’s not a perfect system, but I enjoy letting Golden Age have its run before bringing in the retcon books, because then you get to see all the original introductions and then the second set. The Silver Age doesn’t really have its introductions for Superman/Batman so I use the Modern Age ones. This way, when events unfold across multiple earths and in CoIE, we’re left with the one Batman and one Superman (Modern Age). [Golden Age Batman is on Earth-2 and Silver/Modern Age Batman is on Earth-1, and then the Post Crisis Earth]
So those Modern Age books come in for year one era, which is basically a bunch of introductions [and interesting backstory, especially for Batman], and THEN the rest of the Silver Age books start showing up again, right around where Robin is introduced in the retcon books. That’s around the same time as JLA: Year One (which is dated to 1960, in the Silver Age, when the JLA first premiered) and so on. From that point you should be reading some retcon and some Silver Age back to back… then mostly Silver and Bronze Age, and then CoIE, and the Modern Age after that. [In terms of the silver age mixed with modern, I’ve actually read most of these books through in this order, all of the modern age, non-showcase pre-crisis books, and more than a few of the showcase volumes, and I’m very happy with it. I think it works really well.]
The alternative way to look at this (and some people prefer this) is Golden Age Batman, Silver Age Batman, and Modern Age Batman are THREE separate characters. Then you’d want to put all the Modern Age retcon books in right after Crisis on Infinite Earths, to explain the new origins and personalities for our characters. All the pre-crisis books would be sorted just about chronologically, but the Modern ones would be in reading order right after CoIE. I call this the Split Crisis Reading Order and it will be on my site as well, but won’t work properly until the database is totally populated. So that’s gonna be a tiny bit until that list is up.
The reason I don’t like that one as much is because there are events that still happened to those heroes that have not had a modern version written. For example, the Swamp Thing or New Gods stuff still happened, and it happened to the same superman that we have now. That’s why I consider him to be Silver Age superman, for reading order purposes. You still see Golden Age Superman (with the white in his hair) later on in the story.
[alternatively, the Chronological Reading Order will place ALL books in by the date of their contents, ignoring completely when they are designed to take place. It should be fine too, if you don’t mind reading stories that take place in the past once in a while, though I prefer to read all the year one era Batman, for example, in a row… it’s just more fun to me.]
I hope some of this helped clear up confusion instead of bring more of it. Let me know your thoughts!
I think a lot of these site issues might be popping up just because the reading order system isn’t really done yet – especially those two alternative reading orders that will be generated through other data (the Recommended Reading Order is sequenced manually). It won’t be fully functional until all the tags and dates in the back-end are added. So, honestly, this first year might really have to be considered a public Beta Test. The main list is online to get feedback and so I can go through and use it and see how everything is working, but it’s going to be some time until the site is really living up to its full potential. Hopefully, though, in the meantime it will still be useful in many ways!