Marvel Comics has a publication history over 70 years deep, which can be daunting for any newcomers to the world of comic books. Luckily, we've got your back! We've picked out five must-read graphic novels that will propel you into the exciting world of Marvel's costumed superheroes—and, what luck, you can write your best comment below and enter for a chance to win all five from us! Here's the lowdown on this week's five prizes:
1) Fantastic Four Masterworks Volume 5: Starting in the early '60s, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby produced one of the most acclaimed runs on any title in comic history. The Fantastic Four were the first group of superheroes who interacted like a family—because they were a family. Here, in this volume that collects issues #41-50 of their series, the Four first encounter the world-eater Galactus and his herald the Silver Surfer. Even 50 years later, that story stands as a must-read for any comic aficionado.
2) X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga: Here, in this nine-issue run from the mid '70s, the X-Men must fight against one of their own as Jean Grey inherits the cosmic power of the Phoenix and turns evil. Regarded by some as the greatest story ever put into the comic form, The Dark Phoenix Saga has inspired numerous spinoffs, including various X-Men cartoons and movies.
3) Marvels: This is the series that introduced superstar artist Alex Ross to the world. In it, we follow photographer Phil Sheldon as he catalogs the first appearances of all these super-people we know and love. Ross' painted panels make every page feel like a work of art, and celebrated author Kurt Busiek's script is jam-packed with insight into what it might be like for regular people living in a world of superhumans. If you only ever read one book from Marvel Comics, it should probably be this one.
4) Ultimate Spider-Man volume 1: In 2000, Marvel launched a new line of superhero comics aimed at attracting new readers. Gone were the decades of confusing history and unfriendly plots; these books were designed to feature each character at their most iconic, making an easy jumping-on point for anyone interesting. Ultimate Spider-Man was the first in that series, and its back-to-basics interpretation of our favorite web-head would go on to influence Sam Raimi's popular movies, not to mention a decade of Spider-Man fans.
5) New Avengers volume 1: In 2005, fan-favorite comic creators Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch released what would go on to be probably Marvel's biggest comic in the last decade, New Avengers. The philosophy behind it was simple: take all of Marvel's biggest superheroes and put them on one team. This book stars greats like Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the Sentry as they come together to tackle threats that none could face alone. Bendis' sharp wit makes these books feel ultra-modern and hip, and David Finch's detailed pencils are among the best you'll find. In this first volume, the New Avengers take on a supervillain prison breakout that leads them to the prehistoric Savage Land and a super-terrorist conspiracy.
Which sounds most interesting to you? Comment below and don't forget to ******ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ALL FIVE BOOKS!******
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Sweeps begins 3/6/12 at 11:59 a.m. and ends 3/11/12 at 11:59 a.m.