While there may be a lull currently in the superhero movie when 2016 rolls around so do the new movies. Marvel’s line up for 2016 includes Captain America: Civil War, and Dr. Strange, while DC Comics is releasing Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad. While comic book movie adaptions can be vastly different from their original material, it can still be thoroughly enjoyable to read comics based around the movies themselves. Movies such as Suicide Squad and Dr. Strange, are more mixes of general stories taken from the comics, or inspired by various comics mixed into one movie experience. Here are some comics that can provide background for new fans, and provide a better movie experience.
If you’re planning on seeing Suicide Squad read:
While the Suicide Squad was originally introduced in an issue of The Brave and the Bold in the 50’s the team didn’t truly take off until John Ostrander began writing the series in the 80’s. Ostrander’s modern day Suicide Squad sets the bar for Suicide Squad stories and includes some of the main characters from the upcoming movie such as Deadshot, Amanda Waller, Rick Flag, and Captain Boomerang. Ostrander’s run dealt with various political issues while digging into the character backstories providing development to previously third-tier characters.
Though doubtful that the upcoming Suicide Squad movie will include much of these original stories, they do provide a lush history that will undoubtedly fill out the movie. You can read the entire original run of Suicide Squad (which includes up to four volumes total not including the new volumes post-reboot) but starting with the first volume is a great introduction to the Suicide Squad franchise.
If you’re planning on seeing Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice read:
Batman vs Superman isn’t based off any specific comic event, or particularly story. However it’s been said that Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns has been inspiration for the movie. Its true there is a battle between Superman and Batman in the book, which also included an older version of Bruce Wayne. The series has a somber and serious tone which appears to influence the overall tone of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
You can’t go wrong with Grant Morrison who has written some of the best comics in the business. Justice League: New Order is a good starting point for new fans as it brings together a well-known team including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. Three of these characters are known to be appearing in Batman vs Superman, and Aquaman is rumored to appear making this story an even better jumping in point for new fans. It gives an overall backstory to the team, and while some of the history might be difficult the story is one of the best for new fans looking to learn some basic Justice League history and tone.
If you’re going to see Captain America: Civil War read:
Luckily Civil War is based on a comic event making it easy to simply collect the trade issues. Marvel has a set of core issues to read that provide the bare bones of the story. I’d recommend sticking to the core issues, as the event is extremely vast and would require a lot of backstory on numerous characters.
The Death of Captain America takes place right after Civil War and has been the cause of speculation on whether the third Captain America movie will be Chris Evan’s last. This story is recommended because it provides a great look into what Captain America meant to various other heroes and provided a great emotional backdrop to the event of Civil War. It might be a difficult read since it includes various characters, but since the focus is on Captain America solely it belongs on the list since Civil War is being made into a Captain America movie specifically instead of an overall Avengers story.
If you’re planning to see Dr. Strange read:
The problem with Dr. Strange is that he’s a second tier type character, meaning he doesn’t typically have many solo series to his name and mostly shows up in team books as a supporting character. Finding stories that are solely about Dr. Strange and are easy for new readers to start at. Fortunately there’s The Oath by Vaughan and Martin to provide a decent starting point for new fans. The story includes Night Nurse who is rumored to be included in the movie, along with one of the best presentations of Dr. Strange’s former-servant turned friend Wong. Furthermore it’s a nice and short series – only six issues long – which makes it even easier for new fans to dive in.
That’s it for now! Hopefully these movies either live up or surpass the comics they’re based on. Either way there’s plenty to read before spring time next year. Enjoy!