As if the DC Universe wasn’t convoluted enough, along comes a book to help clarify the situation.
DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology 2015 attempts to list all of the most important graphic novels of the year and create a timeline for all of the major events happening within the overall mythology of DC Comics and other imprints. Written with a novice comic-book fan in mind, these are the best gateway stories for learning about each of the main characters. All of the power players (along with their individual titles) are here, including: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and the Justice League.
The book is organized by subject matter, highlighting important pop-culture events, origin stories and more. Some of the messier aspects are covered as well, including Tales From the Multiverse and The New 52.
Questionable mandatory subject matter includes the collections of Harley Quinn and the Teen Titans. Is the DC Universe running so thin that minor characters and groups must be included in this collection? Maybe there’s just not that many must-read titles at the comics studio.
Having read five of the Top 25 Essential Graphic Novels, I wouldn’t mind reading one or two others, but the rest of the books on this list don’t interest me in the slightest. Also noteworthy inclusions: Vertigo Essential Series, Fables and MAD Magazine!?! I don’t see how, exactly, these titles would ever be involved with the Dark Knight or Man of Steel, but cross-promotions are the name of the game, here.
The best chapters are From Page to Screen (showing which titles influenced their TV, movie and video-game adaptations), along with the profiles of Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman. What’s not so great about the book is the Suggested Reading Order list that literally features hundreds of individual comics, trade paperbacks and collections. It’s not exactly user friendly.
For the comics fan old and new, you can grab yourself a copy of this book at your local comic store or dealer for free. That’s right, FREE! The price point is absolutely right, since this book is basically a promotional tool used to order older books.
Strength: A best-of list that includes many prominent and well- written titles.
Weakness: Many lesser-known books are also included, for some reason.
WTF Moment: There’s some questionable titles included in this must-read list, that’s for sure.