Series vs. Story Arc

10 Mar


Welcome back my new comic book readers! 

In my previous post I made mention of the difference between reading a series and reading a story arc. Well, now, I’ll go a bit further into depth with that idea. After this post, I think I’ll start delving more into depth with specific writers, series, story arcs, etc.

But again, I started this blog for those who are interested in getting into comics for the first time and from my own experience, this is one of the most important things that I’ve been dealing with. 

When it comes to deciding whether to read a series or a story arc, I’ve decided to go about it by doing both at the same time. On the DC side, I’ve been using the New 52 as a way to start a series from the beginning. On the Marvel side, I’ve decided to start my reading with the story arc Civil War. So, what are the pros and cons of each? And which should you choose to do? 


What a series is, that’s pretty basic. It’s the entire catalog of a comic book. For example: The Avengers. All of the Avengers titles fall under the Avengers series umbrella. Different series are split into different volumes. For example, Spiderman: Vol. 2. means that the series has been restarted from the beginning. So, if you want to start Spider-Man from the beginning but don’t want to go all the way back to 1962 to do so, simply look for the newest volume and start with the number one issue of that volume. 

So far, I’ve started two series from the beginning: Batman and the Green Lantern. Both DC titles underwent a series relaunch with the release of the New 52 and I’ve taken the advantage to jump in from the beginning. 

In the New 52’s case, not all of the titles were completely rebooted. For example, Batman’s origin story remains the same, sidekicks such as Night Wing and Batgirl are already present and the history of some villans such as the Joker have remained unchanged. Other titles have had serious changes done to their history. 


I don’t get a new origin story. Why? Because I’m the damn Batman, that’s why.

Each time a new volume is created for a comic book things like this are done. Little or major changes are made. Depending on where you want to dive into the story line of a comic book character will determine which volume of that comic you pick. 

Story Arc (Event)

I’ve also seen story arcs called “Events” but for the purposes of this article I’m going to call them story arcs since that’s what they’re labeled as under the Marvel and DC electronic comic book store.

A story arc is exactly what it sounds like, a continuing story that carries through multiple comic books for example, Batman: Knight Fall and Marvel’s Civil War. 

Knight Fall would be an example of a title wide story arc, affecting characters within the Batman family. Marvel’s Civil War is an example of a universe wide story arc, affecting almost every major character in Marvel’s universe. 

Starting a new story arc will not give you any backstory on a character and could cause you to get a bit confused if you aren’t familiar with the history of the characters. Because of this, I have no idea how Peter Parker got hooked up with Tony Stark or why Stark built a new Spiderman suit for Peter. 


I’m not sure how this happened. But it looks awesome.

So which should I choose?

In my humble opinion, if you’re new to comic books, start with the beginning of a series. Find the number one issue of a volume and dive in.

While I am not having a huge issue reading Civil War, I do find it annoying that I have no backstory or history to help me along, unless I want to dig through Wikipedia articles.

Not only am I getting the backstory, but story arcs often take place over many different titles. For Civil War, I’m buying comics from Spiderman, Iron Man, the Avengers, Captain America, etc.

While doing this does give me a nice look at different characters that I may be interested in, it also means that I have to catch up with other backstories and I don’t get to explore the in-depth stories and characterization that I get from one series at a time. 

Hopefully, this has been helpful to you. Please, leave some comments and let me know how you think I’m doing with this blog so far and what you as a reader would like to see. And please, if you like the blog, let your friends know and help get the word out.

Also, I’ll be heading to the Lexington Comic and Toy Con this upcoming weekend and I’ll plan to have some updates from there and will hopefully be able to get some interviews down there for all of you to enjoy. 

Until then, let your nerd flag fly my friends. 


One Response to “Series vs. Story Arc”

  1. Erik June 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    I found this article very informative. Thanks for writing it.

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