With all of the comic book properties invading TV and movies over the last decade, it’s easy to want to jump headfirst into the medium and read everything within grabbing distance. There's a problem, though: Since the industry pumps out dozens of new issues per week, and thousands per year, it’s almost impossible for new fans to know where to begin. Rarely can you go to a comic book store and pick up a single issue of Batman or The Avengers without having to know what came before it in order to actually understand what’s going on presently. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

There's no reason why collecting comics should seem more like a second job than an enriching hobby. That’s why we've compiled a list of the absolute best examples of the medium from over the years, spanning every genre available. This isn’t a “Best Comics of All Time” list—it’s more of a primer course for where to start.

From classic superhero books to politically-charged thrillers and cynical, autobiographical titles, this list of The 25 Comic Books you Need to Ready Before you Die will start your habit off right.

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Written by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)