From Panel to Panel to Screen

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I usually just assume that everyone reads comic books. It’s the smart thing to do. I will randomly start up conversations with strangers about The Avengers because I expect them to know comics. If you don’t read them, I encourage you to pick up a book and take a peek. There is action, adventure, romance, mystery, suspense, art and tons of fighting.

Okay. PSA done.

A new generation of super hero movies based on comic book characters is coming to the big screen. But before we delve into that, I need to stick up for the traditional hide-under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight comic books before we talk about how amazing these movies are going to be.

Though comic movies are not completely independent stories with no connections to other stories, they pretty much stand alone. For example, if you never saw the movie “Thor,” you should still be able to watch “Thor 2” and know what is going on because the stories told in the movies are self-contained. But if you would like to know more about the series, you can go back into the comics on which the film was based to find out more. For example, seeing the Casket of Ancient Winters or the Infinity Gauntlet in Odin’s treasure room. There is more to each film than meets the eye and the full experience of the story can be sought out, if you like, through the comics.

For those who would like to prepare for some of the upcoming super hero movies by reading about them, we at CV Weekly have scoured the archives and come up with some of the best suggestions of story arcs for you to read to familiarize yourself with the characters or just to see them in action in a cool story.

Superman is back in a new film, hopefully trying to reboot the franchise to be successful again. “Man of Steel” is due in theaters June 14, and it stars Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. To get set for the film, read “Superman: Birthright” by Mark Waid. It is essentially the origin story of Supes, up through Smallville and into Metropolis to become the ultimate DC superhero. “Superman: Red Son” is an Elseworlds tale (parallel universe) that explores the question, “What if Superman had landed in the USSR instead of America?” And finally, any of the “Crisis” series would be great for Supes and all of DC comics for that matter.

“Thor: The Dark World” is coming and it will be nerd paradise. Christopher Eccleston is cast as Malekith the Accursed, leader of the dark elves of Svartalfheim. The Doctor vs. Thor equals the best space fighting ever. The movie “Thor: The Dark World” is due out Nov. 8, and to get ready for it there are some great comics to pick up. Of course the first appearance of Malekith and the dark elves is good if you can find it – Thor #344-349 from 1984. It’s hard to come by nowadays but it’s a great arc. Then to familiarize yourself with Thor, Asgard and the rest, take a look at “Thor” by J. Michael Straczynski, volume 1. It was a reboot a few years ago and it’s a great comic.

For “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” there is one thing to read: “Captain America: Winter Soldier.” It shows the origin of the elusive Winter Soldier and his showdown with Cap. Great comic with a real twist that nobody sees coming the first time. This film is due April 4, 2014.

Ant Man is a lesser know Marvel super hero, yet he is one of the most important. As a founding member of The Avengers, he was on and off with the team for decades. He also created The Avengers’ greatest enemy – Ultron. His film is due out on Nov. 6, 2015. It will be the last movie before “Avengers 2,” when they battle Thanos. To read up on Dr. Henry Pym and his amazing shrinking science as Ant Man, check out “Ant Man Season One.” It’s the origin story and the best place to start because many readers don’t know his beginning. I didn’t until this collection came out. Most of the other Ant Man stories are about one of the other heroes who donned the Ant Man costume, but Hank Pym is the best of them all.

This is a short start. To read more about comics, movies, games and everything else nerdy, check out our new website and digital publication in April. It can be found at, and will feature all the best nerd news.

Check back in CV Weekly for more details as we get closer to launch.