Box office reports from this weekend suggest the following things are probably true:
1. You saw The Avengers.
2. You liked it.
So... what now? Last week we wondered why lots of folks will go see a superhero movie but not move on to the related comics. One major reason people do so is that it seems impossible to know where to start when you're looking at characters with, in some cases, 70+ years of publication history. But that's why we're here! If you liked the Avengers movie, check out these graphic novels that'll give you a second fix of superhero goodness!
To see where it all began you should check out The Avengers, Vol. 1 Marvel Masterworks edition. This epic volume reprints the first ten issues of Marvel's original landmark 1963 Avengers series, created by the legendary team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In fact, the first issue of the series follows the Avengers film plot pretty closely: Loki, the god of mischief, decides to turn the world's superheroes against the Incredible Hulk in a bid to destroy them all. Lee's classic writing combined with Kirby's kinetic visuals make this an essential part of any Avengers collection.
For a more modern take (that includes those Chitauri aliens) you'll want Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's The Ultimates volume 1 and volume 2. These action-packed comics from a decade ago provide a sharp update on the classic Avengers concept, as a team of super-powered misfits come together to save the world from a massive alien plot that practically no one believes. In this series, Millar and Hitch basically set the tone for most of Marvel's work that followed, including all of their movies.
If it's the humor and character interaction of the Avengers film you liked pick up Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch's New Avengers vol. 1: Breakout, an easy contender for one of the most entertaining Marvel comics ever. Though some of the characters aren't typically who you'd think of as Avengers... Spider-Man, Wolverine... Marvel star Brian Michael Bendis has a blast putting them through the ringer as a new group of Avengers unites to stop a massive supervillain prison break-out. Watch what happens to Carnage!
If the first post-credit scene piqued your interest read The Infinity Gauntlet. But perhaps we've said too much.
If you want to keep up with a current comic that's very new-reader friendly jump on-board Avengers Assemble, a brand new ongoing series from Marvel starring all the characters from the Avengers movie (even Hulk!). The book's written by the excellent Brian Michael Bendis and features gorgeous art from Mark Bagley, and since the first issue just came out a few months ago, you don't have too much catching up to do! In fact, you can get the first issue for $3.99 on Comixology and see if you like it.