Superhero comics, specifically those published by Marvel Comics and DC Comics, are a fascinating, infuriating, enjoyable world of insane stories just waiting to be explored. If you recently saw X-Men: Days of Future Past or Guardians of the Galaxy and now have an insatiable craving to read comics about chiseled adonises wearing uncomfortably tight pants, this guide is for you.
Pick a character that interests you and ask a friendly comics shop employee to recommend a book starring that character. Contrary to popular belief, most comics shop employees are not sarcastic, bespectacled snobs intent on demonstrating the depth of their knowledge in order to belittle you. Many are sarcastic, bespectacled snobs intent on demonstrating the depth of their knowledge in order to help you find a book you'll enjoy.
In most cases, you don't have to start with issue #1. Starting with Amazing Spider-Man #1 in order to read Amazing Spider-Man #700 is like watching that Lumière Brothers movie from 1895 that's just fifty seconds of a train passing the camera in order to watch The Polar Express. Just jump in and you'll soon develop that essential comics reading skill: discerning between information that has not yet been explained and information that was explained in an issue you haven't read.
If you're still intent on starting at #1, you're in luck: the latest trend in comics publishing is to restart every series at issue #1 every 1-3 years, so there will be a "number one" issue of something on the racks on any given week. (Author's note: this does unfortunately also mean that we are approaching what scientists call "Comics Prime", in which every issue is a #1 issue).