DC Essential Graphic Novels 2016 is a recent guidebook to help you break into DC Comics, or to continue reading the cream of the crop. The brilliant thing about this catalog is that it’s free as an ebook on Amazon. Anyone can pick it up. The book starts with a list of the top 25 graphic novels produced by DC Comics, and I can agree with every one of them. The catalog then lists some of the best graphic novels for individual characters, including those that take place in chronological order, and those considered standalone comics (out of continuity).
Now the obvious purpose of a catalog like this one would be to sell more graphic novels, particularly the ones that are relevant today. So I expected to see a lot new comics that couldn’t really be counted as “classics” just yet. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that DC’s assessment of their “best” graphic novels was pretty spot on. A group of DC fans would probably have come up with the same results. So it didn’t feel like advertising for DC’s recent products; instead it provided a decent list of graphic novels that I myself would recommend to anyone. Having read a lot of the graphic novels listed in this book, I agree with most of what it suggests.
Another great thing about this catalogue was the presentation. It’s not just a list of good graphic novels like my own recommended events and reading order (hashtag shameless plug). But it’s also quite pretty to look at. The artwork is well-arranged and the information is laid out in such a way that it catches the eye nicely. But if you’re more of a fan of the list of information approach, you’ll find that in the back of the book.
Overall, this is exactly the kind of book that I love to have around. As a chronology geek, and a lover of reading lists, I could not be happier with DC Essential Graphic Novels 2016. It was right up my alley. For those who want to know where to start in DC Comics, or who want to dig deeper into that universe, I highly recommend it. Plus it’s free! So what do you have to lose?