DC’s “True Fan” Reading List

DC All Access logo

I am leery of anyone who uses the phrase “true fan” unsarcastically, since judging whether or not anyone’s level of fandom is sufficient is a stupid thing to try to do, but I was interested in finding out what DC was promoting as key reading these days. Here’s the video from their DC All Access YouTube show, entitled “Top 10 DC Books Every True Fan Needs”, a list of “undisputed classics”.

As expected, it’s superheroes, with the two best-known Vertigo titles added. As also expected, it includes Watchmen — but not at number one. More comments to follow.

  1. DC Universe: Rebirth The Deluxe Edition
    This series “reinvigorated the entire publishing line and led to record-breaking sales”. I guess? For modern era expectations? Anyway, KC liked it, although he pointed out that a number of hints in the story are still waiting to be followed up on, nearly a year later. The newest book on the list, only three months old in collected version.
  2. Green Lantern: Rebirth
    This confused me, because I thought it was a tie-in to the above, but then I realized that this was Geoff Johns’ first take, before he became president of the company. It’s the 2004 return of Hal Jordan, putting back the “right” version of the character and kicking off the era where that happened a lot.
  3. Preacher Book One
    Described as “one of the most iconic Vertigo series ever published”, which I can’t argue with. Big philosophical ideas wrapped up in violence and shock value.
  4. Wonder Woman by George Perez Volume 1
    Kind of a shame that the best Wonder Woman stories are thirty years old now, but people are still struggling with what to do with the character. Also a shame it doesn’t have a better cover, since it kind of looks like tentacle porn. Great read, though, if a little time-bound in its fears of pending nuclear war.
  5. Batman: The Long Halloween
    The only character with two titles on the list, as suits the modern mainstay of DC Entertainment. A good choice, since it’s a stand-alone story that roams through the wide-ranging gallery of Gotham villains.
  6. DC: The New Frontier
    An acknowledgement of the wide appeal of DC history and beautiful art by the much-missed Darwyn Cooke.
  7. The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes & Nocturnes
    The series is super-important but I’m not sure I’d start with that volume. Although with superheroes in it, maybe that’s a good place to launch for the audience for this video.
  8. Batman: The Killing Joke
    The most overrated pick. The Dark Knight Returns does not appear on this list, which means it’s fallen out of favor, so I hope in a few years the same thing happens to this nihilistic toss-off.
  9. Watchmen
    There’s “no conversation about great graphic novels” without this title, says the narrator, without mentioning writer Alan Moore’s name.
  10. All-Star Superman
    I like seeing a more hopeful work at the top, and Grant Morrison doesn’t cause the problems for the company Alan Moore does, but I’m not sure I would call this the single best DC book ever. It’s described as “timeless, vital, and a masterclass in first-rate superhero storytelling”.

What’s missing? Some of the comments mention V for Vendetta and Kingdom Come.

I also note that six of the ten have movies (many animated) or TV shows. I know the Sandman project has been struggled with for years, but now I’m wondering when we’ll see a Batman: The Long Halloween adaptation.

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