Let's assume I know almost nothing about Captain America or Avengers or MCU. I know he has a vibranium shield, and was a product of drinking super-serum during WWII that turned him from a geeky dweeb into a superhero. I'm generally familiar with many other Marvel characters, mostly from this site or reading Marvel's Wikis.

Are there any comics (old time or recent) that I should read first to allow meaningfully better understanding of what is happening in the film, or its enjoyment?

When I say "meaningfully" I mean that the comic adds more information than would simply be imparted by a 2-sentence summary about a character or event on Marvel Wiki.

This includes things that illuminate the backstory, or any film details - even if the comics are in a different non-MCU Earth canonically.

  • 2
    I would say offhand that the most relevant comics are the first couple years or so of Ed Brubaker's run writing the Captain America comics, as they were largely the basis for the style and mood of the Cap movies. The problem with that is, Brubaker started off his run with the "Winter Soldier" story arc, which gives away about half of the plot of the second Cap movie. So I'd suggest watching the movies first, then going back for those comics.
    – recognizer
    May 27, 2016 at 2:28
  • 1
    There’s been talk of adding tags for the first movie in each series: meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/9640/…. Nobody’s gotten around to it yet, but now is a fine time to start.
    – Molag Bal
    May 27, 2016 at 3:08
  • 2
    Nah, the movies are largely self-contained and have his entire origin story in the first one. You really don't need to read any of the comics to gain sufficient understanding of what's going on, nor will greater reading give you any special insight into the events of the films.
    – Valorum
    May 27, 2016 at 8:41
  • 1
    “Let's assume I know almost nothing about Captain America or Avengers or MCU.” Which universe are you from? May 28, 2016 at 9:08
  • 2
    Where the hell is Thaddeus when you need him? :-P
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jun 16, 2016 at 11:03

2 Answers 2


There is no need to read any comics to understand the MCU movies.

The MCU is structured and presented in such a way that you know everything you need to know about each successive movie so long as you've seen the previous movies (and whether you prefer release order or chronological order is a personal decision, but in my experience release order tends to make more sense with after-credits scenes and such.) It's not necessary to read the comics to understand the movies. You are given all the information you need in order to understand them, so long as you watch (most of) the films

However, various people involved with the film like to insert easter-eggs.

Various movies have various comic callbacks. Most movie storylines in the MCU are derived from comic storylines, but have their own tweaking so as to make them more appealing to a viewing audience and create an over-arching plotline that allows massive team-ups such as Avengers: Infinity War (2018) or Avengers: Endgame (2019). Thanos's blade that he fights with is similar to the blade of the Thanos-Copter (from the comics), for example, and Howard the Duck makes multiple appearances in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and in What If...?. There are countless other comics references in the MCU, but they're generally meant to appeal to those who read the comics prior to the MCU or are just comic fans in general.


Don't listen to this guy he is only half right. There is a timeline you should try to follow, like star wars it didn't release in the order they actually are to be watched in. Like many I have also spent the last few months preparing my movie and series list including MCU prequels, comic releases, shorts and even web links for just about each movie. I'm currently working on each prequel putting the comics into an audio visual to make everything simply click able an playable. Its alot of work trying to find each series throughout Disney, neflix, hulu, freeform and even Google free online multi ad streaming mirror sites but they do work and they are all online. . Currently. There is only one accurate timeline online an it is an excel spreadsheet 0it into a sophisticated web url. Coppy an paste that an choose your filters a few times to get the hardcore fan version. Good luck watching all of this before dr strange


your welcome. Oh an start here


  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This seems like massive overkill, and I'm not even sure it's responsive. The question was, what pre-MCU comics are required reading specifically before Captain America: The First Avenger. Listing a bunch of MCU properties isn't even relevant.
    – DavidW
    Apr 30, 2022 at 23:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.