Marvel Comics in Order: Where to Start Your Reading Journey

The year 1961 was a gamechanger for the comic-book world. It was the year that Marvel comics released the first issue of Fantastic Four and kickstarted what would become the Superhero golden age. But, though caped crusaders have been an integral part of nerd culture for decades, it’s only recently that they’ve entered the mainstream.

Marvel movies and TV shows have taken over pop culture, drawing fans from all walks of life to the iconic characters. However, most of all, these movies have reawakened interest in the original comics. If you’re a Marvel fan looking to dive into the comics that started the cinematic universe, here are all the marvel comics in order to start your reading journey!

Marvel Comics in Order: Where to Start Reading

Though the Marvel cinematic universe is complex, the comic universe is even more so. Starting all the way back in 1939, there have been over 27,000 Marvel comics to date. They chronicle a vast cast of over 7,000 characters, whose storylines span decades and sometimes even extend into alternate timelines!

The sheer volume of comics is enough to give even Marvel veterans a headache, let alone a newcomer. So, if you plan on diving headlong into this universe, here is a comprehensive guide on all the Marvel comics in order.

1. The Golden Age (1939‒1956)

Golden Age

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The Golden Age is a period when Marvel comics were just getting their footing and trying to figure out the direction of their storylines. While this era was mostly known for more obscure heroes, it was also the age Marvel introduced Captain America in his first standalone issue. Other notable titles from this period include:

• Marvel Comics #1: Introduced the original Human Torch, not to be confused with Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four.
• Marvel Mystery #8 and #9: Established a shared universe between the original Human Torch and Submariner.

2. The Silver Age (1961‒1970)

Silver Age

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Possibly the most famous era of Marvel comics, this was the period when the company created its most iconic heroes like the X-Men, Spiderman, Thor, the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and many others. The most famous issues to add to your reading list include:

• Fantastic Four #1‒7: Feature the introduction of Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four
• Incredible Hulk #1‒6: Chronicles the adventures of everyone’s favorite green rage monster.
• Amazing Spider-Man #1‒12: The Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman joins the Marvel family!
• The Avengers #1: The First time Earth’s Mightiest Heroes joined forces.
• The X-Men #1‒5: The mutants join the scene.

3. The Bronze Age (1970‒1985)

Bronze Age

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While the Silver Age introduced many heroes, the Bronze age centered events that would completely alter their lives. But the company didn’t neglect to introduce new faces to their worlds, such as Morbius, the living vampire, Luke Cage, and the powerful Warlock. Titles to check out include:

• Thor #182–#205: Features storylines where the Asgardian faces his most dangerous opponents yet, like Mephisto.
• Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1–#11: Introduction of the bullet-proof hero.
• Tomb of Dracula #1–#9 and Werewolf by Night #1–#12: Marvel passed the code, allowing iconic folk monsters like vampires and werewolves into the universe.
• The Uncanny X-Men issues #141–142: Recounts a dystopian future where the X-men are rounded up and locked inside internment camps. These comics served as the basis for the 2014 X-Men, Days of Future Past movie.

4. The Modern Age Begins (1985‒1997)

Modern Age Begins

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The least defined era in Marvel’s history, experts can’t really agree when this period even began. However, the Modern age does have a few standout titles, such as:

• Ms. Marvel #1: Introduced the first Muslim Female hero, Kamala Khan.
• Ultimate Spiderman #1: A fresh take on the web-slinger.
• Hawkeye #1: Possibly the least famous avenger finally gets his standalone series.
• The Infinity Gauntlet #1: The iconic storyline that inspired the last two installments of the Avengers movies, it sees the Mad Titan Thanos obtain all six infinity stones.

5. Heroes Relaunched (1997‒2004)

Heroes Relaunched

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Features the aftermath of the Earth-Shattering Onslaught Epic, the Heroes Relaunched era sees many caped crusaders deal with major changes in their lives. It’s also the age when new groups, like the Thunderbolts, assemble. Comics to read include:

• The Incredible Hulk #446‒448: Featured a plotline where Bruce Banner had to deal with being separated from his green alter ego.
• Thunderbolts #1‒2: The Creation of the first antihero team, the Thunderbolts, which consisted of several reformed villains.

6. Marvel Disassembled (2004‒2012)

Marvel Disassembled

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This period is loaded with some of the most iconic storylines in Marvel comics’ history, including the famous Civil War saga, a conflict between the Avengers. This is also the era when the Young Avengers assembled. Notable titles feature:

• Young Avengers #1–#6: Teen relatives of the original Avengers members join to create a team of their own.
• The Road to Civil War collection: A compilation of several comics, all of which lay the ground for the Civil War.
• Civil War collection: Another compilation, this time covering the conflict itself. Notable titles include Civil War #1, Amazing Spider-Man #533, and Iron Man #13, and they all served as inspiration for 2015’s Captain America: Civil War.

7. Marvel NOW! (2012‒2015)

Marvel NOW

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This period was marked by a relaunch of several older comic storylines. The company’s most talented writers teamed up to reinvent old heroes. The best titles from this series include:

• Uncanny Avengers vol 1‒3: A new take on earth’s mightiest heroes.

8. All-New, All-Different Marvel (2015‒2018)

All-Different Marvel

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The All-New, All-Different Marvel period represents the company’s branding for their entire mainline of comics. The plot takes place after the “Secret Wars” storyline, and it outlines the new Marvel Universe. The most noteworthy issues include:

• Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D #1‒ #10: The series focuses on the fictional intelligence and espionage service in the Marvel universe.

9. Fresh Start (2018‒Current)

Fresh Start

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Last but certainly not least in the Marvel comic collection is the Marvel Fresh Start. As the title suggests, it’s yet another relaunch of comic book publications. However, this time, the storyline starts after the Marvel Legacy relaunch.

• Collector’s edition of Infinity Countdown: Features several issues covering the aftermath of the Secret War, including how the Avengers dealt with the Infinity Stones.

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Nicole Middleton
Nicole calls herself a typical millennial girl and thrives on her share of social media, celebrity gossip, and all things viral content. She’s a big fan of pop music and plays the guitar as a hobby.