COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS FOR APRIL 2014

Cosmic KC. Art by Stuart Immonen.

Cosmic KC. Art by Stuart Immonen.


by KC Carlson

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC BOOK COLLECTIONS

Afterlife With Archie Volume 1: Escape From Riverdale

Afterlife With Archie Volume 1: Escape From Riverdale


Afterlife With Archie Volume 1: Escape From Riverdale (Archie Comics): This doesn’t fit my usual criteria for this column (which covers either classic material from over 20 or more years ago or mega-books over 400 pages), but it’s here because it’s the most bizarre thing I’ve read in ages. You should read it too! In the first issue, Jughead becomes a zombie. For reals.

Afterlife With Archie is the first Archie comic series ever published that wasn’t meant for kids. (And they mean that!) Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and very creepily illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, this book collects the first five issues (a self-contained story) in a limited-print-run comic-shop exclusive printing before the probable mass-market edition. Even if you think Archie is “stupid”, you should read this story. You’d be stupid if you didn’t. This is a comic that everybody’s talking about. Aren’t you the least bit curious why? 160-page color softcover, with a limited print run.

The Complete Sabrina the Teenage Witch: 1962-1971

The Complete Sabrina the Teenage Witch: 1962-1971


The Complete Sabrina the Teenage Witch: 1962-1971 (Archie Comics): I’m very excited by this collection, as it’s going to be one of the rare Archie reprints of vintage material that collects an entire series of a character, in chronological order. Plus, in this book, we get a rare look at one of the major Archie characters before her character was fully developed. Did you know that Sabrina began her comic book career as a bad witch? It’s true!

Archie's MadHouse #27

Archie’s MadHouse #27


In her earliest stories, in an irregularly published series in the pages of Archie’s MadHouse, Sabrina is portrayed as a notorious teenage bad girl, stealing boyfriends and undermining rivals with spells at the drop of a pointed hat (which she actually didn’t wear that much). She was created by longtime, prolific, and actually funny Archie writer George Gladir and designed by Dan DeCarlo as a teenage femme fatale. (Her look draws from DeCarlo designs from his then-secret career as a cartoonist for men’s magazines — SHHH! Archie doesn’t want you to know about that! — although Sabrina is fully clothed in stylishly sexy teen designs of the era, and always Code Approved!) Many longtime Archie aficionados have been waiting a long time for these stories to be collected!

"Bad Girl" Sabrina

“Bad Girl” Sabrina


By 1968, the Sabrina stories in Archie’s MadHouse had trickled to a halt, probably because by then Sabrina had been tapped as a potential breakout character for Saturday morning cartoons. She appeared in The Archie Comedy Hour and became even more popular when the character spun out into her own show. In the comic books, the newly reimagined, typical good-girl teenager Sabrina would first regularly appear in the Archie anthology title Archie TV Laugh-Out (1969) before receiving her own Sabrina, the Teenage Witch title in 1971, which ran until 1983. The earliest stories from these two series will probably also be included in this new collection. Many of them continued to be written and drawn by Gladir and DeCarlo.

I’m not sure why all the stories in this volume are in black and white. I’m guessing this is meant to experiment with a value-for-less format similar to Marvel’s Essentials or DC’s Showcase Presents (although at a smaller 5 x 7 size). The vintage DeCarlo art will look stunning regardless. 512-page B&W softcover.

Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Frank Quitely

Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Frank Quitely


Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Frank Quitely (DC Comics): This seems to be replacing the previously canceled Vertigo Visions: Frank Quitely book and will include some of the material originally scheduled for that book. Quitely is best known for his work on Flex Mentallo, JLA Earth 2, and Sandman: Endless Nights. This book will collect all of Quitely’s Big Book stories (originally published by Paradox Press), his All-Star Superman and Batman & Robin covers, and much more (which apparently hasn’t been finalized yet). 368-page oversize (8.625 x 11.625) color hardcover. Available in June. Hopefully.

Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 14

Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 14


Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 14 (Marvel): Collecting Avengers (1963) #129-135, Giant-Size Avengers #2-4, and material from FOOM #12 — the bulk of the classic Celestial Madonna storyline, spotlighting Kang the Conqueror, Rama-Tut, and Immortus; Swordsman and Mantis; the return of Hawkeye; the origin of the Vision and his marriage to the Scarlet Witch; the Legion of the Unliving; and the death of an Avenger! These quintessential Avengers stories are written by Steve Englehart with Roy Thomas and drawn by Sal Buscema and Dave Cockrum with George Tuska and Don Heck. 264-page color archival hardcover. Available in July.

The Spectre Volume 1: Crimes and Judgements

The Spectre Volume 1: Crimes and Judgements


The Spectre Volume 1: Crimes and Judgements (DC Comics): Collecting the most-excellent Spectre stories by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake from The Spectre #1-12 (1992-93). Bob Greenberger will have more on this, but let me chime in that I originally read this fascinating series years ago, more or less in one sitting, and it is amazing! It’s a crime that these two gentlemen don’t have more regular work, as the material here is heads above much of DC’s current output in terms of quality and engaging, memorable stories. 320-page color softcover. Available in May.

Also Available:

Creepy Archives Volume 19

Creepy Archives Volume 19


Creepy Archives Volume 19 (Dark Horse): Collects Creepy #89-93 and featuring work by Frank Frazetta, Russ Heath, Carmine Infantino, John Severin, Bernie Wrightson, Bruce Jones, Richard Corben, and others. Includes all the original fan pages, plus a new introduction by current Creepy writer Jack Butterworth. 280-page B&W hardcover. Available in June.

Judgment Day and Other Stories

Judgment Day and Other Stories


Judgment Day and Other Stories (Fantagraphics): Collecting 23 of artist Joe Orlando’s best sci-fi stories, mostly written by Al Feldstein, from the classic EC Comics series. The title story is one of EC’s most famous stories, with a memorable anti-racism message. Two stories written by Ray Bradbury are also included. 184-page B&W hardcover.

Tarzan: Burne Hogarth’s Lord of the Jungle

Tarzan: Burne Hogarth’s Lord of the Jungle


Tarzan: Burne Hogarth’s Lord of the Jungle (Dark Horse): The master illustrator takes on two of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ most beloved Tarzan novels! The color Tarzan of the Apes and the B&W Jungle Tales of Tarzan are combined into one deluxe hardcover of dazzling classic adventure. 264-page color and B&W hardcover. 8 3/4 x 10 7/8. Available in June. For more Hogarth — read on!

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS

Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan Volume 1: Tarzan in the City of Gold

Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan Volume 1: Tarzan in the City of Gold


Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan Volume 1: Tarzan in the City of Gold (Titan Books): The first of four oversized volumes collecting the entire run of Tarzan by the legendary illustrator (and written by Don Garden), beginning with the title story and including five more complete full-color stories, out-of-print for over a decade. Restored and published in the popular oversized format (allowing full page reproduction), similar to the current Prince Valiant and Popeye collections. Extras include historical articles from Scott Tracy Griffin, author of Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration. 168 (some sources say 208) – page oversize (9.5 x 12.75) color hardcover. Available in May.

Buck Rogers: The Complete Murphy Anderson Sundays 1958-59

Buck Rogers: The Complete Murphy Anderson Sundays 1958-59


Buck Rogers: The Complete Murphy Anderson Sundays 1958-59 (Hermes Press): Quickly following up on Anderson’s B&W Buck Rogers strips, this collects Murphy’s wonderful full-color Sunday strips from 1958 and 1959, both written and drawn by him! Stories include “Search for Impervium”, “Supernova Threat”, and “California Earthquake Plot”. These stories have never been collected and should be a big treat to both fans of Buck Rogers and Murphy’s Silver Age DC Comics fans! Also includes essays, original artwork, and other extra material. 96-page oversize (10 x 13) color hardcover. Good stuff!

The Complete Little Orphan Annie Volume 10

The Complete Little Orphan Annie Volume 10


The Complete Little Orphan Annie Volume 10 (IDW/LoAC): Collecting dailies and Sunday strips from 1941-1943. When America entered World War II, Annie protected the homefront by forming the Junior Commandos, a group that inspired tens of thousands of real-life children to collect newspapers, scrap metal, and other items needed for the war effort. Meanwhile, Daddy Warbucks — true to his name — is making munitions and leading a mysterious army overseas. 296-page oversize (11 x 8.5) B&W (w/color) hardcover. Available in May.

The Complete Peanuts: 1991-1992

The Complete Peanuts: 1991-1992


The Complete Peanuts: 1991-1992 (Fantagraphics): The magnificent Marcy graces the cover of the latest volume, as the strip heads into its final — and most critically overlooked — decade. That’s a shame, as creator Charles M. Schulz caught a second wind, revitalizing the strip with unrestrained humor after a period of not-so-greatness. This volume also features an introduction by Tom Tomorrow, as well as scholarly essays about this era of the classic comic strip. 344-page B&W hardcover.

BIG BOOKS

Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City

Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City


Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City (Dark Horse): Every blood-soaked page of Sin City to date, collecting all seven of Frank Miller’s landmark Sin City volumes. All black and white and red (and read) all over! 1,360 pages in an oversized (8 x12) hardcover. Available in June. Also in June: the long out-of-print Frank Miller: The Art of Sin City will be available in a new softcover printing, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is back in hardcover for the first time in years — just in time for the release of the film! To repeat, Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City: 1,360-page oversize color (red!) hardcover. Available in June.

Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus Perez Cover

Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus Perez Cover


Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus (Marvel): For me, Infinity Gauntlet was the first satisfying major Marvel event with its own title after almost a decade of largely disappointing events (both Secret Wars) and quite a few confusing crossover stories (Evolutionary War, Atlantis Attacks, Acts of Vengeance, etc.). I’m pretty sure that the reason this project was so exciting was that Jim Starlin was at the helm of what was to become his trademark — a sweeping epic of good vs. evil featuring dozens of characters and go-to Marvel heavy Thanos, one of the best characters ever (except when overused). Adding to the excitement was that another epic-happy artist — George Pérez — was joining Starlin on this project, after a stint working at DC.

Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus Starlin Cover

Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus Starlin Cover


Unfortunately, Pérez seriously overestimated his ability to produce quality work in a timely fashion at this point in his career, and he left the project fairly early on (after finishing a couple of amazing issues). Ron Lim, who had worked on Silver Surfer, ably stepped in, and his work here elevated him as well. The Infinity Gauntlet core event has been frequently collected, but this volume is the first time that all of the major crossovers are included in the same volume. Here’s what’s in this huge book: Silver Surfer (1987) #34-38, 40, and 44-60; Thanos Quest #1-2; Infinity Gauntlet #1-6; Cloak and Dagger (1988) #18; Spider-Man (1990) #17; Incredible Hulk (1968) #383-385; Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #31-36; Quasar #26-27; and Sleepwalker #7. Available with two different covers: one by Pérez and one by Starlin. 1,248-page oversize color hardcover. Available in July.

Steranko Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition

Steranko Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition


Steranko Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition (IDW): Yipes! I knew it was coming, yet it still snuck up on me! This fantastic volume features the first Marvel Comics work by Jim Steranko, the “Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” series from the pages of Strange Tales, first published in the mid-sixties in issues #151-162. If you don’t know the history, Steranko first worked over some Jack Kirby layouts, before he burst out as one of the most innovative comic artists of the era. So this particular IDW Artist’s Edition will be unique, in that you can actually follow Steranko’s phenomenal progress from some beginner’s clunkiness to full-blown innovator and superstar. Plus, this book is super-scanned from the original artwork so you can see all the blue line pencils, paste overs, and editorial markings and follow Steranko’s development at multiple levels. This is going to be an AWESOME Artist’s Edition! Order now — you may not get another chance at this one! Writing by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas. 176-page oversize (15 x 22) B&W (but scanned in color!) hardcover. Available in May.

NOW IN SOFTCOVER

The Chronicles of King Conan Volume 8

The Chronicles of King Conan Volume 8


The Chronicles of King Conan Volume 8 (Dark Horse): Featuring “The Road to Empire” and other stories, originally published in Conan the King #36-41 by Don Krarr, Judith Hunt, Mike Manley, Al Williamson, and others. 208-page color softcover. Available in June.

Nexus Omnibus Volume 5

Nexus Omnibus Volume 5


Nexus Omnibus Volume 5 (Dark Horse): Over 400 pages of classic Nexus by Mike Baron, Steve Rude, and their friends: Paul Smith, John Nyberg, Les Dorscheid — and featuring early work by Adam Hughes, Peter David, and Phil Hester! Horatio Hellpop resigns as Nexus, leaving a void to be filled by the vengeful and dangerous Loomis sisters. But when they become corrupt, the nigh-omnipotent Merk must supplant them with a new, nobler host! 440-page color softcover. Available in June.

Marvel Masterworks: Captain America Volume 3

Marvel Masterworks: Captain America Volume 3


Marvel Masterworks: Captain America Volume 3 (Marvel): Collecting the first 13 issues of Cap’s brand new 1968 series by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Jim Steranko. One of the foundations of the modern Marvel Universe, featuring the Red Skull, Batrok, the Hulk, the death — and return! — of Bucky Barnes, and the death of Captain America! ‘Nuff said! 296-page color archival softcover.

Showcase Presents Super Friends Volume 1

Showcase Presents Super Friends Volume 1


Showcase Presents Super Friends Volume 1 (DC Comics): Collecting almost 500 pages of one of the greatest kid-friendly superhero comics series ever, by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ric Estrada, Ramona Fradon, and others. Not sure how this will hold up for new readers, since it’s based on (several) old Saturday morning animated shows (all available on home video by now), but this will be a huge nostalgia read for a whole generation of DC readers. Includes Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog and Zan, Jayna, and Gleek! What more could you want! 448-page B&W softcover. Available in May.

BOOKS ABOUT COMICS

Genius, Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth Volume 3

Genius, Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth Volume 3


Genius, Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth Volume 3 (IDW/LoAC): The final book in the acclaimed series on the life and career of the great Alex Toth is now available for order. This volume is a little different than the previous two books, concentrating on Toth’s celebrated career in animation and his design and concept work for some cult-favorite animated shows — many for the celebrated Hanna-Barbera Studio. Some of Toth’s designs have been previously published, but newly discovered work from the HB Archives will be presented in this book, including work on Space Ghost, Shazzan, and Super Friends. Plus rarely-seen or never before published work from the beginning (Space Angel) to the end (Bionic 6) of his animation career. Includes not only Toth’s commentary about his cartoon work, but comments and observations from other animation professionals. Written by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell. Highly recommended. 328-page oversize (9.5 x 13) color and B&W hardcover. Available in May.

Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay

Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay


Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay: Part of the Great Comics Artists Series published by the University Press of Mississippi, this is the newest book from Katherine Roeder (The Comics of Chris Ware: Drawing Is a Way of Thinking) and is an engaging look at the classic newspaper strip and creator. Here’s what caught my eye: “Wide Awake in Slumberland connects McCay’s work to relevant children’s literature, advertising, architecture, and motion pictures in order to demonstrate the artist’s sophisticated blending and remixing of multiple forms from mass culture. Studying this interconnection in McCay’s work and, by extension, the work of other early twentieth-century cartoonists, Roeder traces the web of relationships connecting fantasy, leisure, and consumption.” 240-page illustrated (partial color) hardcover.

Wonder Woman Unbound: The History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine

Wonder Woman Unbound: The History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine


Wonder Woman Unbound: The History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine (Chicago Review Press): Now seems to be the (long overdue) era for examining the history and the importance of this groundbreaking character, and this new book may be one of the better ones. Here’s what Trina Robbins had to say about it: “I’ve never seen more information about Wonder Woman than in Wonder Woman Unbound! Author Tim Hanley tells us everything we’ve never asked about Wonder Woman because it simply never occurred to us: from her mythic Golden Age origins through her dismal Silver Age years as a lovesick romance comic character, and worse yet, when she lost her costume and powers in the late 1960s. Our favorite Amazon’s saga becomes upbeat again with the 1970s advent of Gloria Steinem and Ms Magazine, and Lynda Carter’s unforgettable portrayal of her on television. And it’s all told with a dollop of humor, thanks, Tim!” 304-page softcover.

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KC CARLSON: Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Comic Books!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you.

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