What is DC/Marvel Comics?
DC Comics is an American publishing house (known as a Premier Publisher) that publishes titles from the DC Universe (DCU). These titles include Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Arrow, Justice League America and Green Lantern just to name a few. I'm making this thread because my knowledge base in American comics mostly revolves around DC and I think I can help people out that want to know about the DC universe.
If you're a fan of X-Men, Deadpool, The Avengers or Spiderman, those are all Marvel IPs. Marvel is also a Premier Publisher and they just announced a huge Secret War arc for Summer 2015. I am not a big Marvel guy, and in fact - I only really care about Deadpool and X-Men (they often crossover these two titles). There are a couple of guys here that are more Marvel-inclined so I guess they can jump in if they want to.
If you want to talk about other independent stuff here, that's cool too. So "Independents" or "Other" publishers include stuff from Top Cow, Aspen Comics, Dynamite Entertainment and Zenescope Entertainment.
[DC] New 52? Wat?
In 2011, there was a major event in the DCU that caused all of the titles in DC being "reset" essentially. All the previous origin stories were reworked and some of the previous events were retold - resulting in the "New 52" label on some of the flagship titles. It's now 2014 at the time of writing, so it's been 3 years. Which is quite some time, but not that scary if you want to catch up. It's probably the best time to be a newcomer to comics - because it's new enough for you to hop on, but old enough that there's been a lot of TPBs (Trade Paperbacks) for you to get and immerse yourself in.
Look for this logo if you're a new comic book reader!
Where can I download comics?
As a preface, I just want to say that nothing beats reading a comic book as a physical book. I understand that some trades aren't exactly cheap either (especially if they are hardcover, or HC), but if you really like a series - consider buying the TPBs for that story's run. Not for any moral or righteous reason, other than to own and start building your collection on some dusty old shelf. For any other needs, I recommend using Comics Forest.
What is a Trade Paperback (TPB)?
Trade Paperbacks (TPBs), or "Trades" as they are commonly known, are basically a compilation of single issue comic books into a bigger book. They usually include around 6 comic books into one collection. Trades usually cover a "Run" which would be like a "Story Arc" or "Self-contained mini story". A Single is basically just a typical comic book issue. A Slab is a comic book that has been encased in plastic and given a CGC grade, these are used by collectors and investors. Other lingo includes HC (Hardcover) and SC (Softcover) to describe trades.
I just want to read Batman, because I'm Batman etc.
Scott Snyder's/Greg Capullo's New 52 Batman is considered to be the best comic book run in the New 52. This is going to sound crazy, but I haven't read it yet - but everyone I've spoken to can't stop ejaculating/getting wet over it, and the sales number back this trend up. I recommend you grab the first couple of trades from the New 52 Batman run, and I'm sure I'll get around to buying the books/reading them when I get the chance to.
The Dakshaunz Ongoing List / Recommendations
I buy my TPBs from Kinokuniya Malaysia and Singles from Ebay/Local vendors.
[N52] Red Hood & The Outlaws - Great story, gorgeous art and it's full of humour.
[N52] Batwoman - DC's first flagship lesbian superhero, and an ex-commando. Great run so far.
[N52] Batgirl - Pre-redesign of course. Gail Simone's Babs is a dark and gritty one.
[PRE-N52] Batman: Hush - Yeah, this one's a pretty famous run. It's essential reading, can't put it any other way.
[PRE-N52] Gates of Gotham - It's a 4-part miniseries and it's well written (Oh, it's Snyder again). Puts the spotlight on the synergy of the Bat-Family.
[PRE-N52] Powergirl - Amanda Conner brings this superhero to life well. Grab the "Power Trip" TPB (real or rar) and enjoy the ride.
[PRE-N52] Batgirl (1999) - The 1999 series features Cassandra Cain, my personal favourite Batgirl. Probably favourite DC heroine of all time.
[MARVEL] Deadpool & Cable - I don't think I've laughed harder reading any other comic. Full of boyish and immature charm that you can't help but love the chemistry between a retarded merc and a herald from the future.
The Fork Ongoing List / Recommendations
[VERTIGO] Y: The Last Man
Anyway, feel free to add your own recommendations for any of the publishing houses/series and I'll update the OP. Please tag the comics with [N52], [PRE-CRISIS] or [MARVEL] etc. In case the new comic book readers need some extra help finding where in the timeline certain runs occur, or what publishing house the comic books belong to.