Superhero Reading Challenge 2022 : Get To Know Some Capes
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Superhero Reading Challenge: Get To Know Some Capes In 2022!

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BY January 10, 2022

Who doesn’t love superheroes? Spider-Man, Aquaman, Iron Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Wolverine, Superman? They’ve had more impact on our culture than American sitcoms and Rock’n’roll (fight me on it!). But even though there are close to 10,000 superhero characters, we generally see the same ones over and over again. However, in recent years, that’s changed a bit. Who would have expected Shang-Chi to be a household name? Or that Doctor Strange would lead a blockbuster franchise? Or that Rocket Racoon and Groot would even exist on the screen? There are so many great heroes out there. Heroes, anti-heroes, villains-turned-heroes, villains reluctantly being the hero and going right back to villainy, heroes turning into villains and redeeming themselves, and plenty of other archetypes are out there. We just need to find them! So, here’s a superhero reading challenge to make your 2022 … super.

How to Complete the Challenge

Superhero Reading Challenge, Behold the Vision! (The Avengers Vol. 1 #57-58) Image: Marvel Comics

We’re going to recommend 52 superhero reading challenges in four categories: Big Timers, Rising Superheroes, Underrated Superheroes, and Non-Marvel or DC Superheroes. This works out to about one superhero each week…mostly. We might be a week late on this challenge. There will also be a bonus challenge, adding another thirteen characters who might seem like strange choices, but are awesome, nonetheless.

But, really, you can change the heroes within. Feel like reading more Thor, swap him out, or add him into the Big Timers. Have no interest at all in Martian Manhunter? Well, there are plenty of underrated heroes out there. Silver Surfer, for instance, even though he was really popular back in the day. The goal is to explore more characters and have fun. However, you want to do that is all up to you. So, let’s begin!

2022 Superhero Reading Challenge Category One: Big Timers 

Wandavision episode 8 Image via Disney+.

There are more Superman, Batman, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Hulk, Iron Man, and Spider-Man comics than people on Earth (rounding up a little). But there are also big names that we say we love, but don’t get the recognition they truly deserve. Some are starting to, definitely. And some, you could argue, are already there. But still, while we love the movies, the comics need more love too. So, here are our Superhero Reading Challenge suggestions for the Big Timers:

  • Batgirl
    • From best run on Batgirl, Volume One: The Darkest Reflection, by Gail Simone and Adrian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes
  • Batwoman
    • Elegy by Greg Rucka and JH Williams III
  • Black Cat
    • Grand Theft Marvel, by Jed MacKay and various artists
  • Black Panther
    • The Client, by Christopher Priest and Mark Texeira
  • Black Widow
    • The Ties that Bind, by Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande
  • Captain Marvel
    • Higher, Faster, Further, More, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez
  • Catwoman
    • The Dark End of the Street, by Ed Brubaker and various artists
  • Doctor Strange
    • Way of Weird, by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo
  • Harley Quinn
    • Hot in the City, by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
  • Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
    • My Life as a Weapon, by Matt Fraction and David Aja
  • Scarlet Witch
    • Witches Road, by Nathan Edmonson and Javier Pulido
  • She-Hulk
    • Single Green Female by Dan Slott and various artists
  • Supergirl
    • Reign of the Cyborg Supermen by Steve Orlando and Brian Ching

Category Two: Rising and Recent Superhero Stars

Black Adam, Justice Society, Shazam, Power of Shazam, Jerry Ordway, Geoff Johns, Wizards, DCeU, The Rock, Atom Smasher, Doctor Fate, Cyclone, Hawkman, Dark Age, Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke Image via DC Comics

For this part of the 2022 Superhero Reading Challenge, we’re looking at superheroes who we’ve recently come to love, ones we’re learning to love, and ones we’re learning to love again. So, we have classic characters like Shazam and Vision, and much newer ones, such as Naomi and Ironheart. Some of them, like Miss Marvel and Miles Morales, you could argue are already Big Timers, but they debuted only about a decade ago. Yeah, if you remember their debuts like they were yesterday, and that made you feel old…you’re probably right. But we can still discover what the kids love! As soon as we learn how to turn on these new internet telephone thingamabobs.

  • America Chavez
    • The Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Riviera and Joe Quinones
  • Black Adam
    • The Dark Age, by Peter J Tomasi and Doug Mahnke
  • Echo
    • Phoenix Song: Echo, by Rebecca Roanhorse and Luca Maresca
  • Ironheart
    • Those With Courage, by Eve L Ewing and Luciano Vecchio
  • Superman (Jon Kent)
    • The Truth, by Tom Taylor and John Timms
  • Hawkeye (Kate Bishop)
    • Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero
  • Spider-Man (Miles Morales)
    • Straight Out of Brooklyn, by Saladin Ahmed and Javier Garron
  • Miss Marvel (Kamala Khan)
    • No Normal, by G Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
  • Naomi
    • Season One, by Brian Michael Bendis and David F Walker
  • Shang-Chi
    • Brothers and Sisters, by Gene Luen Yang, Philip Tan, and Dike Ruan
  • Shazam!
    • The Power of Shazam, by Jerry Ordway and John Costanza
  • Green Lantern (Sojourner Mullein)
    • Far Sector, by NK Jemisin and Jamal Campbell
  • Vision
    • Little Worse Than a Man, by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta

 

Category Three: Underrated Characters Who Deserve More Recognition

superhero reading challenge, thor ragnarok bisexual thor love and thunder finished filming Image via Marvel Studios.

So, these characters are of two kinds. Either they’ve never been popular, but are outstanding characters, or they were popular, and faded into obscurity. There are also dozens of characters who can fit here. But, here are just a few Superhero Reading Challenges to make you a more knowledgeable geek.

  • Angela
    • Asgard’s Assassin, by Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez, and Stephanie Hans
  • Animal Man
    • The Hunt, by Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman
  • Blue Marvel
    • Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel, by Kevin Grevioux, Roberto Castro, and Matt Broome
  • Etrigan the Demon
    • Demon Knights: Seven Against the Dark, by Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves
  • Ghost Rider
    • Hell Bent and Heaven Bound, by Jason Aaron, Roland Boschi, and Tan Eng Huat
  • Patsy Walker: The Hellcat
    • Hooked on a Feline, by Kate Leth and Brittney L Williams
  • Lois Lane
    • Enemy of the People, by Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins
  • Manhunter
    • Street Justice, by Marc Andreyko and Jesus Saiz
  • Martian Manhunter
    • Identity, by Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo
  • Mister Miracle
    • Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads
  • Mockingbird
    • I Can Explain, by Chelsea Cain and Ibrahim Moustafa
  • Silver Surfer
    • Thanos Quest, by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim
  • Valkyrie
    • Fearless Defenders Volume One: Doom Maidens, by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney

Superhero Reading Challenge Category Four: Beyond Marvel and DC

Superhero Reading Challenge, Comic Retailers, Coronavirus, Image Comics, Todd McFarlane, Spawn Image Via Image Comics

Yes, there are plenty of great superheroes that don’t fall under the Marvel or DC logos, and some are even more popular. In fact, the longest-running series without changing writers? That’s Spawn! He’s still going strong, too, recently launching a whole universe of titles (Gunslinger Spawn is the best). You’ll see some other classics in this part of the 2022 Superhero Reading Challenge, but some new faces too.

  • Abe Sapien
    • The Drowning, by Mike Mignola and Jason Shawn Alexander
  • The Darkness
    • Origins Volume One, by Garth Ennis and Mark Silvestri
  • Eternal Warrior
    • Sword of the Wild, by Greg Pak and Trevor Hairsine
  • Faith
    • Hollywood and Vine, by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, and Marguerite Sauvage
  • Hellboy
    • Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola
  • Invincible
    • Family Matters, by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker
  • Livewire
    • Fugitive, by Vita Ayala and Raul Allen
  • Quantum and Woody
    • World’s Worst Superhero Team, by James Asmus and Tom Fouler
  • Savage Dragon
    • Baptism of Fire, by Erik Larsen
  • Spawn
    • Origins Vol 1, by Todd McFarlane
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    • Change is Constant, by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, and Dan Duncan
  • Witchblade
    • Origins Volume One, by David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, and Michael Turner
  • X-O Manowar
    • By the Sword, by Robert Venditti and Cary Nord

Superhero Reading Challenge 2022 Bonus Round! Villains

X-Men, Giant-Size, Magneto Image via Marvel Comics

Some Villains turn into heroes, some are just bad to the core. Some of them starred in their own ongoing series! Here are a few:

 

  • Deadshot
    • Beginnings, by John Ostrander and Kim Yale
  • Deathstroke
    • God of War, by Tony S Daniels
  • Doctor Doom
    • Books of Doom, by Ed Brubaker and Pablo Raimondi
  • Doctor Octopus
    • Superior Spider-Man Volume One: My Own Worst Enemy, by Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman
  • Joker
    • The Joker Volume One, by James Tynion IV and Guillem March
  • Lobo
    • Portrait of a Bastich, by Keith Giffen and Alan Grant
  • Loki
    • Journey into Mystery Volume One: Fear Itself, by Kieron Gillen and Doug Braithwaite
  • Magneto
    • Infamous, by Cullen Bunn, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Javier Fernandez
  • Mystique
    • Drop Dead Gorgeous, by Brian K Vaughn and Joseph Michael Linsner
  • Sinestro
    • The Demon Within, by Cullen Bunn, Rags Morales, and Dale Eaglesham
  • Superior Foes of Spider-Man
    • Getting the Band Back Together, by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber
  • Thanos
    • Thanos Returns, by Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato Jr
  • Venom
    • Rex, by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman

So, how many of the characters in the 2022 Superhero Reading Challenge have you already read? Any that you are excited to learn about? Any you haven’t heard of at all? Tell us below as you read!

(Featured Image: DC Comics)

COMICS

Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.

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