Comic Book Prep For The 2016 Comic Book Movie Season

The Best Comics to Read to Enhance the Movies

01
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Deadpool - February 12, 2016

Deadpool in his first movie
Fox Movies

Secret’s out: People love Deadpool. Comic fans have known this for years, as the Deadpool mags started to rival Spider-Man and Wolverine, and writers began poking fun at the merc’s overexposure with the pages of his own comic.

Nonetheless, it’s great to see Deadpool finding a connection with comic book movie lovers, and hopefully the film’s success will inspire additional alternative visions for the genre moving forward.

For those of you looking to enjoy some more Deadpool via comics until Deadpool 2 comes out, I recommend checking out Joe Kelly’s formative Deadpool run (the series launched with a new #1 issue in 1997), as well as Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher’s work on Cable & Deadpool (series launched in 2004).

 

02
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Daredevil Season Two - March 18, 2016

Daredevil Season two on Netflix
Marvel Studios

I'm already trying to figure out how to watch the first round of March Madness basketball and Daredevil Season Two at the same damn time. The glorious glut of 2016 comics entertainment comes for us all.

Sure, DD isn't a comic book movie, but it might as well be. Marvel's Netflix game has been spectacular so far, and the shows are ever so lightly tied into the fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Add in the MCU first appearances of Punisher, Elektra, and possibly Bullseye (come on, Bullseye!), and this could easily be the biggest development in the MCU since Tony Stark met Thunderbolt Ross in a seedy bar.

For fans seeking more Daredevil comics, Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s Daredevil #168 to #191 are all-time great Daredevil comics, and some of the best Marvel Comics of all time. You’ll also get plenty of great Elektra and Bullseye action here, plus pay particular attention to Daredevil #183 for the Punisher and Daredevil’s complicated relationship.

03
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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice - March 25, 2016

Batman vs. Superman movie
Warner Bros

There have been plenty of great Batman vs. Superman fights and team-ups in the long history of DC Comics. My picks for comics to read in line with what will likely be the most important movie DC and Warner Bros. will release this decade:

New 52 Justice League -- The most recent Justice League origin story to come from DC Comics, and quite possibly an Apokoliptic bit of foreshadowing of what’s to come in Dawn of Justice.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns -- Simply put, Frank Miller’s seminal 1986 graphic novel is one of the most essential Batman stories ever told, and one of the better graphic novels in the entire comic book medium. It’s a clear influence on Batfleck’s Super armor, and features the standard bearer for Bats vs. Supes fights.

Batman: Endgame -- While not a Superman-oriented story, this Batman vs. Joker showdown from the unbeatable Snyder and Capullo begins with a brilliant rendition of Jokerized Superman wreaking havoc, with only Batman to stop him.

04
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Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016

Marvel Civil War
Marvel Studios

Since Captain America: Civil War is quite clearly named for Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s 2007 Marvel Comics event, your first suggested reading is quite clear: Yeah, you should probably read Civil War.

That said, everything we know so far showcases that there is a lot being featured within this film. My two best bets for influencers on the plot and overall story are Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s run on Captain America (you’ll want to start with Captain America #20 if you’ve already done your Winter Soldier reading), and Christopher Priest’s 1998 Black Panther.

05
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X-Men: Apocalypse - May 27, 2016

X Men vs. Apocalypse
Fox

As any fan of the X-Men: Animated Series from the 90’s knows, Apocalypse is the coolest.

My personal favorite, and best recommendation for additional comic book reading, is Age of Apocalypse. In 1995, the entire X-Men line of comics was blown up as reality shifted into an era ruled by Apocalypse. It’s a thrilling change of pace for 1990’s X-Men, and one of the best Marvel alternate realities of all time.

For more Apocalypse, I’d also point readers to Rick Remender and Jerome Opena’s work on Uncanny X-Force, one of Marvel’s best comics of the 2010’s.

06
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows - June 3, 2016

TMNT 2 Villains
Warner Bros

Listen, I know Michael Bay directed films get instant scorn from the comic book fan community, and much of it is clearly deserved. Nonetheless, there's a surprising amount to like about the TMNT 2 trailer, including Arrow as Casey Jones (I'm in), Beebop and Rocksteady (Yep, count me in), and a Run-DMC soundtrack (Always in).

If nothing else, this is your friendly neighborhood reminder that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles actually began as some pretty great comics. If you've never checked out the original Black and White runs by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, I highly recommend.

 

07
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Suicide Squad - August 5, 2016

the Suicide Squad in action
Warner Bros

Yes, DC’s Dawn of Justice will set the stage for the next decade of DC comic book movies (or toll the death knell, but I doubt it). Nonetheless, Suicide Squad may be the best sign of DC’s potential challenging Marvel’s now 5 year unthreatened claim to the crown.

The DC expanded universe hasn’t had much of a chance to shine on the big screen, unless of course you’re counting the glow from Ryan Reynold’s animated Green Lantern suit. Suicide Squad is looking to be the bold, weird villain’s showcase that highlights one of the most compelling group of anti-heroes in comics.

Readers will want to check out the groups first solo series from 1988, produced by John Ostrander, Luke McDonnell, and Kim Yale. For more modern flavor, The New 52 Suicide Squad features a Harley Quinn led squad that more closely resembles the one we’ll see on screen.

08
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Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016

Doctor Strange art by Gabriel Del Otto
Marvel Comics

I’ve tried thinking of things that could make me happier at the end of a year, and aside from a declaration of world peace or a new, second Christmas, I can’t imagine much beating a Doctor Strange movie.

I’m tentatively nervous about Marvel beating the origin story to absolute death (can we start en media res for a character?), but Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange has enormous potential.

New Strange fans should read Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin’s “Doctor Strange: The Oath,” as well as Greg Pak’s “Doctor Strange: Year One.”