Today marks the beginning of the launch week for the penultimate season of Stranger Things, season 4, which will be arriving on the 27th of May. Since 2016 Stranger Things has become a cultural phenomenon, spawning a plethora of companion content from Comics to Games, Novels and even a full Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
While all this content only adds to the show’s overall experience, it can also be super confusing and daunting to know where to start, which, if I’m being candid, is the only reason I never picked up the comics before, as much I wanted to.
So without further ado, here is the complete list of all of the Stranger Things media available and where they fit into the timeline set up by the TV Show. Enjoy.
Everything Before Stranger Things Season One:
Book: Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds is not only the first novel based on the Netflix series, but it’s also the first form of media in the timeline. Serving as a prequel to the series, Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds is set in 1969, years before anything stranger started happening in Hawkins. The book focuses on Eleven’s mother and her time as an MKUltra test subject.
Book: Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town
The second entry into the timeline is also the second official book, Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town. The book is all about Jim Hopper revising his past. Set in New York City in 1977 when Jim finds himself in the process of starting his life over after returning home from Vietnam. We see him as a doting father to a young girl, a loving husband and an NYPD detective.
Comic: Stranger Things: Six
Stranger Things: SIX is a short-mini series consisting of four issues and follows another of the test subjects from Hawkins National Laboratory, SIX. The series dives into the mysterious Project MKUltra and the events that led to opening the door to the Upside Down.
Comic: Stranger Things: Into the Fire
The next comic that should be read in the timeline is Stranger Things: Into the Fire. The series consists of four issues and focuses on two of Dr. Brenner’s former subjects, who, after escaping Hawkins Lab, try to live normal lives.
Comic: Stranger Things: Halloween Special
The fourth entry in the timeline is a single comic issue that takes place six days before the events of season 1 of Stranger Things begins. Set on Halloween night in Hawkins, Will, Mike, Lucas, and Dustin gather in Castle Byers to eat candy and scare each other with a spooky story, revealing the quaint town’s deepest secret: the Child Eater of Hawkins.
TV Show: Stranger Things Season 1
The first season of Stranger Things starts in 1983 when researchers from the Hawkins National Laboratory open a rift to the “Upside Down”, which is an alternate dimension that reflects onto the real world. One of the creatures that calls the “Upside Down” home ends up escaping and abducts a boy named Will Byers. A young girl who goes by the name “Eleven” escapes from the Hawkins National Laboratory. Using her psychokinetic powers helps Will’s friends, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas, find Will and bring him back.
Everything Before Stranger Things Season Two:
Game: Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set: Stranger Things
If watching Stranger Things has you longing to start playing your own Dungeons & Dragons campaign similar to the one the kids play in the show, look no further. The Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set contains everything players need to embark on a Stranger Things adventure, including the essential rules of the roleplaying game. Players will experience the same Dungeons & Dragons adventure that Mike Wheeler created for his friends in the show.
Comic: Stranger Things: Zombie Boys
Stranger Things: Zombie Boys picks up after the events of season one of Stranger Things and sees the main characters struggle with returning to everyday life once again. With summer break over and school back in session, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Will find their friendship group has started to fracture under the stress of the last few months. When a new kid shows up at the AV club with a Betamax Camcorder and an idea to make a horror movie, he is beyond excited to discover that his new friends are the perfect inspiration.
Comic: Stranger Things: The Other Side
Stranger Things: The Other Side is the perfect companion comic to dive into after binging through the first season of Stranger Things. The comic takes you through the first season’s events, but this time we see everything through Will’s eyes. When Will finds himself trapped in a dark and twisted version of the world he knows, the “Upside Down”, he is more frightened than he can imagine. However, he soon realises this is only the start of his fear when he discovers the creatures that share this nightmare world with him.
Comic: Stranger Things: The Game Master
Set after season one of Stranger Things and Eleven’s disappearance, Nancy finds herself deeply worried about her brother, Mike. He has secluded himself down in their basement. Reaching out to Steven for help, Nancy tries to reconnect with Mike and help him return to some version of normal life once more.
Game: Stranger Things: The Game
Without going into spoilers, Stranger Things: The Game is divided into six chapters. The game starts with Hopper receiving a call late at night telling him that the Byers boy and his friends have gone missing. Players will then follow Hopper as he goes to the Hawkins National Laboratory to search for the missing boys.
TV Show: Stranger Things Season 2
Set in 1984, Will Byers once again finds himself the target of the Upside Down he fought so hard to escape. Along with others in Hawkins, Will finds himself being terrorized by a creature called a Mind Flayer. The whole group ends up coming together, with the addition of a newcomer to the group Max, and it’s up to them alone to find and stop the Mind Flayer before things get even worse.
Everything Before Stranger Things Season Three:
Comic: Stranger Things: Tomb of Ybwen
Set in the aftermath of the group having survived their battle with the Mind Flayer, Will and Joyce are still reeling from the death of Bob Newby. When Will discovers a mysterious map Bob left in a box of old nerdy memorabilia, he rallies the crew to investigate.
Comic: Stranger Things: The Bully
Stranger Things: The Bully takes place almost exactly a year after the events of Stranger Things season one. Troy is still dealing with the constant nightmares from Eleven snapping his arm, and his parent has had it with him waking up at night screaming. On Halloween night, Troy decides to get his revenge, and when he sees Elven walking on her own, he follows her. When Troy throws a rock and hits a creature he believes to be a squirrel, he soon realises he was very wrong when the creature starts to multiply and swarm around him – now his only chance at survival is to rely on the group he has terrorized and bullied for years.
Comic: Stranger Things: Science Camp
Stranger Things meets B-movie style horror in Stranger Things: Science Camp. When Dustin arrives at camp, he has to navigate the new social hierarchy without the support of his usual Hawkins adventuring party. When camp counsellors start to disappear, the solution won’t take rocket science, but Dustin will have to get on the same wavelength as Suzie and the other campers before tensions reach a boiling point.
Book: Stranger Things: Runaway Max
If you want to know more about the mysterious “new girl” Max, this is the place to start. Stranger Things: Runaway Max explores Max’s past, the good and the bad, and explains how she came to find her newfound sense of home in Hawkins.
Book: Stranger Things: Rebel Robin
Set at the start of sophomore year, Stranger Things: Rebel Robin goes all about Robin’s realization that the only person she needs to be accepted by is herself. When school starts, Robin’s group of friends have decided this is their year and this year, they’re finally going to fit in. With her friend group obsessing about acting “normal”, Robin discovers a part of herself she never knew about – her attraction for girls.
Robin becomes convinced the only way she will be able to experience real life and explore her sexuality is by fleeing Hawkins for the summer. But with no money, no permission, and no one to share the adventure with, it will take a lot more than “want” to escape Hawkins in one piece.
TV Show: Stranger Things Season 3
Stranger Things season 3 takes place in the summer of 1985, and the newly opened Starcourt Mall has become the town’s focal point. Hopper is having a hard time accepting Eleven and Mike’s budding relationship. Joyce strongly considers moving out of Hawkins to start a better life for herself and her children. However, plans are put on the back burner when Joyce notices something strange with all her magnets. Before long, the entire group starts to fear that they are once more in danger from the “Upside Down”.
Everything Before Stranger Things Season Four:
Comic: Stranger Things Summer Special
Officers Powell and Callahan patrol the mean streets of Hawkins with the enthusiasm of two hefty dachshunds pretending to be bloodhounds. Typically, they don’t have to chase down more than the occasional petty theft and teenagers smoking reefer, but lately, the town has been getting weirder, and while they might not get to the bottom of it, they might be lucky enough to survive it.
Comic: Stranger Things: Erica the Great!
At this point, Hawkins has been plagued by strange events for years now. With the Starcourt Mall’s recent destruction, Erica has lost her favourite hangout spot and her “free Ice cream for life” deal at Scoops-Ahoy. To make matters worse, her brother is too busy for her, and her mom won’t let her play Dungeons and Dragons anymore. Stranger Things: Erica the Great! is the story of an ambitious, bossy, brilliant ten-year-old dealing with boredom and the complexities of maintaining friendships through tough times.
Game: Stranger Things 3: The Game
Stranger Things 3: The Game is the companion game to the third season of Stranger Things. Play through familiar events from the series while uncovering never-before-seen quests, character interactions and secrets. This adventure game blends a distinctively retro art style with modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist.
Book: Stranger Things: Lucas on the Line
Stranger Things: Lucas on the Line starts where season three left off, and for the first time, Lucas Sinclair is telling his own story in his own words. Lucas has been fighting against the evil forces in his town since the beginning, but he is tired of feeling like an outsider. When the start of high school presents Lucas with options beyond being bullied, he wonders if he can be more than invisible.
Game: Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales
Dive into supernatural mysteries and immerse yourself in brand new, original storylines starring your favourite characters from the Stranger Things series. At the same time, explore a unique Puzzle RPG experience.
Comic: Stranger Things and Dungeons & Dragons
We’ve seen the friendship group from Hawkins take on the “Upside Down” time and time again, but there is one thing that they do even more than save the world – play Dungeons & Dragons. Set years before a dreaded Demogorgon would drag one of them to the terrifying “Upside Down” Mike, Lucas, and Will bond with Dustin for the first time over the game that would define their childhood.
Comic: Stranger Things: Kamchatka
Stranger Things: Kamchatka is where horror and espionage meet. When a leading Soviet scientist is abducted to work on a top-secret project, he comes face-to-face with the Kremlin’s new ultimate weapon, a Demogorgon. What his captors didn’t count on was the resiliency of his children. While their father has been dragged into weaponizing a monster brought back from the US, the two young teenagers embark on a harrowing and perilous journey to find him.
Hopefully, this post has given you a solid reference of how all the various forms of Stranger Things media fit together, from the comics, books, and games to the main TV Show. With Stranger Things season 4 fast approaching, head over to Critters and Comics or click the link here if you find yourself in the mood to delve into some of the Stranger Things comics before the new season arrives.