Read it before you see it: 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'
The number of comic book-based movies and TV shows hitting screens in the past couple years is overwhelming. Just thinking about the dozens yet to come can make anyone's head spin. Fear not, fellow nerds, head geeks over at the Times have you covered.
More than 20 movies based on comic book characters and storylines are planned to hit theaters between 2016 and 2020. Many of these characters have hundreds of different comics that explain their origins, their enemies and sometimes their downfalls.
It's not necessary to read the hundreds of Captain America comics before seeing Captain America: Civil War in May, or try to research the various origin stories for every villain in Suicide Squad.
We created guides to essential comics and graphic novels you should read before or after seeing the movies Marvel and DC will bless us with in the next four years.
Note: These lists are by no means comprehensive nor are they set in any particular order. They are simply staff favorites and recommendations from fellow comic book lovers.
First up: 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'
In the movie and the comics, Batman and Superman not only battle each other, but those who seek to destroy them and see them not as heroes but as threats to society.
Check out Times movie critic Steve Persall's review of Batman v Superman
Superman Batman: Public Enemies
Published in 2003 as an update to the World's Finest comic series, Public Enemies explores the relationship between two of DC's most famous characters. The first seven issues focus on a Lex Luthor presidency and the dangers it entails for the public and our two heroes. A Kryptonite asteroid is heading straight for Earth, and Luthor blames Superman, declaring both him and Batman enemies of the state. This series is great for first-time comic readers looking for a glimpse of the friendship and sometimes antagonism between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel.
Batman vs. Superman: The Greatest Battles
These caped crusaders are usually allies, but they've also gone head-to-head many times throughout their comic book histories. The Greatest Battles collects — you guessed it — epic battles between Batman and Superman, from escaping Poison Ivy's mind control to dealing with Parademons and the secret identity of The Flash. This set collects the ultimate battles of brains versus brawn.
Collecting Luthor: Man of Steel #1-5, Luthor gives us a glimpse into the mind of villain Lex Luthor and how he views Superman and Batman. Lex Luthor sees Superman as a threat to the human race, someone who's too dangerous to live among us. He manipulates and coerces others, including Batman, to turn against Superman, even going so far as to create a new superhero to replace Superman. This collection shows a ruthless killer as kind and charitable, while portraying our heroes as dangerous and unworthy of trust.
New 52 Justice League vol. 1: Origin
In al all new origin story for the Justice League, superheros are a relatively new phenomenon, operating mostly under the radar. When Batman discovers an evil threatening to destroy the Earth (something is always trying to destroy this planet) he has to bring together the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Cyborg to save humanity. That is, if they don't destroy each other first.
Get more of your favorites
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: This collection from master writer and artist Frank Miller explores the legend of Batman and his return as the Dark Knight alongside a new Robin.
Batman: Hush: Perfect for fans of Batman's arch enemies the Joker, Riddler, Harley Quinn and Ra's al Ghul, among others. Batman not only has to contend with notorious villains, but also the mastermind controlling them.
Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood: This collection features the Amazon princess learning a secret from her own mother that will shatter her world.
JLA Vol. 1: Only the world's greatest superheroes can stop a group of faux heros from causing destruction. Bringing together Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter.
Have better suggestions for Batman v Superman or suggestions for the next Marvel and DC movies? Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.