Originally meant to post this before I saw The Avengers, but WordPress decided to say NO so you’re getting it now. OK? OK.
Really, I’ve read more of the individual Avenger stories than the Avengers comics themselves. I’ve read the first issue of the current Avengers book by Marvel superstar Brian Michael Bendis and legendary artist John Romita Jr. It’s a great first issue, but seeing as how it, like all Marvel books, cost $3.99 and I can really only afford one, it had to go. I might start buying the trades pretty soon, though.
Boiling it down to the team seen in the movie, I haven’t really read anything with Hawkeye or Black Widow. I know their significance, but I just haven’t gotten down to reading any of their stories yet. It’s a similar deal with Thor: I know how important he is, I just haven’t read anything really with him. I have a ’90s issue and an issue published as part of Marvel’s .1 initiative to draw new and lapsed readers in; they’re both good, but I haven’t, despite promises to myself, gotten into the run yet written by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Stracynski.
Iron Man and Captain America, I’ve read quite a bit of. With Iron Man, it’s mostly the old issues of Tales of Suspense from the point Cap was added as a backup feature. Ironically, I sought those stories out to read the Cap material by Avengers creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and while that is a lot of fun, the Iron Man headlining feature by Lee and artist Don Heck is even more absorbing.
I actually follow the current ongoing Cap series by Ed Brubaker and Steve McNiven and it is GREAT. Worth the $3.99, it’s got spy hijinks, intrigue, action, and strong character development. Brubaker and McNiven are the team that famously killed Steve Rogers a few years ago–he came back, obviously–so they’re old pros at this by now. But it’s still a great ride.
Now, as for Nick Fury…I’ve read quite a bit of the Ultimate version (whose appearance was inspired by Samuel L. Jackson, in a weird case of art begetting life) but not so much of the original. I DO want to get a copy of the legendary Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury 1960s series; too bad it’s so expensive…:(
Since seeing the movie, I HAVE started reading the old-school ’60s Avengers by Lee & Kirby. On issue 8 or so right now and loving it. Classic Silver Age comics, with all the melodrama and cool art intact! Highly recommended.