When it comes to the Marvel Universe, I have watched almost all their movies and watched or follow a lot of their shows. But I have never read any of their comics. Recently, I’ve been wanting to get into reading Marvel comics but I was not sure where to start. So, I decided to look it up. If you’re in the same boat as me then read on!
How long would it take to read EVERY Marvel comic? Assuming there are 37,000 comics published to date and on average it took you about 15 minutes to read a comic, if you read 8 hours a day, every day, then it would take you 1,156 days to finish them all.
This is hypothetical since I couldn’t find the correct number of comics ever written in the Marvel Universe. The number may be more or less.
Can You Read Every Marvel Comic to Date?
Yes, you can read every Marvel comic to date if you really wanted to. It may take you a long time to finish them all, but if you really put your mind to it then it can be done. However, there are a few issues with doing just that. These are:
Playing Catch Up Can Be Hard
Considering the fact that while you’re reading the old comics and playing catch up, new comics are being published. By the time you actually get caught up to 2019, you still have another 3 years or so, of comics to catch up on and the cycle continues.
You Can Get Overwhelmed
There are roughly 37,000 comics (I’ll explain the math below) if not more. Just thinking about reading so many comics is making me re-think my decision.
I feel like by the time I get through 1000 I will be burnt out and will not want to pick up another comic again.
Hard to Know Where to Start
There are 80 years’ worth of comics to go through. It’s one thing if you want to start out by reading from the first comic that was ever published. But finding that first issue can be hard.
Also, what if you don’t find all the issues from the first day till today. So, this idea won’t work.
What if you chose a specific character and started reading their story, but the issue I ran into was knowing which “series” to read since there are old comics books of the same character and newer ones as well. So, this was a bit confusing.
However, after researching everything over and over again, I think I was able to figure out how to go about this in a way that makes sense and won’t be too overwhelming.
But before I get into that, it’s time for some math lessons.
You’re probably wondering how I got to the number of Marvel Comics if there isn’t any record of it? Well, I’ll try my best to explain it here and hopefully, it makes sense.
Of course, the math below is hypothetical and is just to give you a rough idea. It is by no means an accurate representation of the number of comic books actually published.
There was an Official Index to The Marvel Universe published in 2009 which stated that there were 32,000 comics in total at that time. This list was a compilation of all comics from 1939 to 2009.
So, to get a rough idea of how many comics were published each year, you divide 32,000 comics by 70 years that gives you 457 comics per year. Now let’s say if Marvel kept producing the same amount of comics year after year.
That would mean from 2009 to 2019 there would an additional 4570 comics published. Add that to the 32,000 comics already printed and you get a grand total of 36,570. I just rounded up the number to get 37,000 comics to make things easier.
Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, let’s continue.
How long does it take to read a comic?
There are many factors to take into consideration when trying to answer this question. For instance, how long does it take you to read the wording? Do you take time to look at the graphics? Do you reread a block? How many pages does the comic have? How wordy is the comic? Etc.
Some comics have more illustrations then they have words, while others are wordier.
Once you have all these things factored in and say you’re an average speed reader. I would say it would take someone between 10 to 20 minutes to read a comic.
In What Order Do You Start Reading the Marvel Comics?
This is a really hard question to answer since there isn’t a right or a wrong answer. It really depends on personal preference. But here are some things you can look into that will help you make your decision.
One thing that helped me understand the Marvel Universe better is watching YouTube videos. There are so many videos dedicated to explaining the different series within the Marvel Universe and that helped a lot.
There is also an hour-long video (if you type the exact title of this post on YouTube it will be the first video that pops up) that gives you the whole history of the Marvel Universe with commentary by Stan Lee, one of the original writers of Marvel Comics.
If you’re not into YouTube, then there is a book called Marvels that is written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by Alex Ross. This book is a great way to start reading Marvel Comics. It gives you a history of all the comics from 1939 to 2010, that was when the book was published.
There is a newer version available, published in 2018. That adds on to the original book. These books are a must-read if you’re brand new to the Marvel Family.
If for nothing else, read the book for its beautiful illustrations, that were hand-painted, by Alex Ross.
Pick A Character and Jump in
This is what I did.
Like I mentioned before, it was very confusing because there were multiple series of the same characters. What I discovered is that I preferred the modern comics over the older ones. The writing style and the illustrations are better in the newer comics.
The way I started reading the comics was: I picked a series, let’s say Fantastic 4 and started with Volume 1, of that series.
As new characters or events were introduced, I would pause Fantastic 4 and read about the new characters and/or events. Once I got the back story and I was introduced to the new character, I would go back and continue reading Fantastic 4. I kept going back and forth.
Doing this became a bit too much after a while. I kept losing track of who was who and everything started blending in together.
At this point, I kinda had an idea of what I liked and what I didn’t. There were certain characters that I wanted to read more about and others that didn’t catch my fancy so I would ignore those unless they played a big role.
This way I was able to start and actually enjoy reading the comics.
The great thing about the Marvel writers is that they will always give you the backstory of recurring characters to make sure that you know what’s going on, just in case that was your first comic book.