COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS FOR SEPTEMBER 2014: Indies & Gift Books

Jedi Master KC Carlson.

Jedi Master KC Carlson.


by KC Carlson

Hard to believe that it’s only June, yet we’re going to be dealing with some holiday gift books this time around. Since there are so many interesting items to talk about this month, it’s another two-part column. This week we concentrate on items from publishers other than Marvel and DC, and we’ll spotlight the Big Two next week. But don’t worry — there’s some Marvel and DC stuff being offered from other publishers (what madness is this?), so their presence will be felt here this week, also.

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC BOOK COLLECTIONS

Bob Powell's Compete Cave Girl

Bob Powell’s Compete Cave Girl


Bob Powell’s Compete Cave Girl (Dark Horse): Collecting the lesser-known jungle girl work of Golden Age cult artist Bob Powell (best known for his work on Sheena for Fiction House). This features Powell’s work on Cave Girl and Thun’da from the early 50s, largely written by Gardner Fox. Featuring (it says here): “campy and sexy ‘jungle girl’ genre material at its leopard-skinned finest!” as well as an introduction by Mark Schultz and an historical essay by James Vance and John Wooley. 176-page color hardcover. Available in November.

The Chronicles of Conan Volume 28: Blood and Ice and Other Stories

The Chronicles of Conan Volume 28: Blood and Ice and Other Stories


The Chronicles of Conan Volume 28: Blood and Ice and Other Stories (Dark Horse): Collecting, for the first time, Marvel Comics’ Conan the Barbarian #215-223, featuring work by Charles Santino, Val Semeiks, Gary Kwapisz, Alfredo Alcala, and with a cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams. 224-page color softcover. Available in November.

Popular Skullture: The Skull Motif in Pulps, Paperbacks, and Comics

Popular Skullture: The Skull Motif in Pulps, Paperbacks, and Comics


Popular Skullture: The Skull Motif in Pulps, Paperbacks, and Comics (Dark Horse): That’s one of those great titles that really describe the contents. This is a collection of the oddest, creepiest, and weirdest skull covers from the 1930s to the mid-50s. Featuring work by Wally Wood, Graham Ingels, Bill Everett, Matt Baker, Norm Saunders, and other great artists of the era. Edited and designed by Monte Beauchamp, introduction by graphic design guru Steven Heller, and presented by Denis Kitchen — lover of old and weird things. The perfect Christmas gift for Grandma! 176-page skulltastic color hardcover. Available in November.

Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 2

Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 2


Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 2 (IDW): Collecting more of the original run of the Star Trek 1960s comic book series by Gold Key Comics. Fully remastered (including new coloring), this collects issues #7-12 of the classic crew, featuring work by Len Wein, Alberto Giolitti, and Michael Stribling. You’ll believe you can hear a “whoosh!” in outer space! 168-page color hardcover. Available in October.

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: The Seven Cities of Gold

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: The Seven Cities of Gold


Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: The Seven Cities of Gold (Fantagraphics): Carl Barks inspires Hollywood in this collection of the always-fantastic series of duck tales. In the title story, Scrooge, Donald, and the boys set out on a perilous journey for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold! This story famously inspired Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for sections of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then, in “The Mysterious Stone Ray”, Uncle Scrooge’s pores fill with gold dust from his money bin, and it makes him so ill he needs a vacation (a situation similar to one in the James Bond film Goldfinger, although more deadly there). Also, Scrooge decides to run for Treasurer of Duckburg, but it seems the only way to get votes is to spend a lot of money. (See any recent election.) And you know that rubs Uncle Scrooge’s feathers the wrong way! Guaranteed to be packed with clever plot twists, laugh-out-loud comedy, and all-around cartooning brilliance. 240-page color hardcover. Available in November.

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS

The Epic Chronicles of Hagar the Horrible Volume 6: 1980-81

The Epic Chronicles of Hagar the Horrible Volume 6: 1980-81


The Epic Chronicles of Hagar the Horrible Volume 6: 1980-81 (Titan Books): Continuing the adventures of the world’s mildest marauder in his quest to put food on the family table and loot in his coffers. He’s arguably the most famous Viking in history. Collects every daily strip from July 1, 1980, to December 31, 1981, with a introduction by Lynn Johnson and a feature by Chris Browne about his father, Dik. 248-page 5” x 6” B&W hardcover.

Johnny Hazard: The Complete Sundays Volume 1: 1944-1946

Johnny Hazard: The Complete Sundays Volume 1: 1944-1946


As usual, Hermes Press is resoliciting one of their books: Johnny Hazard: The Complete Sundays Volume 1: 1944-1946 is supposedly shipping later this year (although it should be noted that even Amazon doesn’t have a new ship date for this). All previous orders have been canceled. Please reorder if you still want this 208-page hardcover collection of Frank Robbins’ classic action/adventure strip.

Mickey Mouse Volume 6: Lost in Lands of Long Ago

Mickey Mouse Volume 6: Lost in Lands of Long Ago


Mickey Mouse Volume 6: Lost in Lands of Long Ago (Fantagraphics): Decades before Jurassic Park, Doc Dustibones brings Mickey to Cave-Man Island — a lost world where fossil monsters survive alive! From stampeding brontosaurs to saber-tooth tigers, all of Goofy’s least favorite Stone Age scares are here… and Dustibones is building a blimp to carry them to America! What could possibly go wrong? Writer/artist Floyd Gottfredson produced a canon of legendary, rip-roaring tales starring Mickey as a daring, two-fisted hero in a world-famous series of legendary adventures! Lost in Lands of Long Ago also includes several other stories and more than 30 pages of prehistoric extras. You’ll enjoy rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity materials, and fascinating commentary by a clan of Disney cave bears! Also available in a decorative box set with Mickey Mouse Volume 5. 288-page 10.5” x 8.75” B&W (w/partial color) hardcover. Available in October.

Nancy Loves Sluggo: Complete Dailies 1949-1951

Nancy Loves Sluggo: Complete Dailies 1949-1951


Nancy Loves Sluggo: Complete Dailies 1949-1951 (Fantagraphics): Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy: Corny or zen-like? Vintage American military experiment? Or just a bad trip on a very loopy road? Possibly all/none of the above. Remember, these people are big fans: Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Scott McCloud (creator of the “Five-Card Nancy” game), Denis Kitchen, Joe Brainard, and Andy Warhol. Plus, The American Heritage Dictionary can’t be wrong, can it? They use an illustration from a Nancy comic strip to illustrate the phase “comic strip”. This volume features three years of primo Nancy strips. Imagine what that could do to your brain if you read them all in one sitting! Here’s your chance, America!!! 336-page, 8.5” x 8.5” (square, daddy-o) B&W (w/partial color) hardcover. Available in October.

Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be!

Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be!


Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be! (IDW/LoAC): When I was in high school and beginning my (apparently life-long) study of all things comics, I would constantly see references to the classic Puck political satire magazine. Then, I wished that I could see more than the occasional sample or two in the classic comic histories of that era. Now, decades later (never you mind how many!), I’m going to be able to read a full-blown history of “America’s First and Most Influential Magazine of Color Political Cartoons”. Puck is now regarded as the most important political satire and cartoon magazine in American history. It’s said that the magazine was so influential, it’s credited with single-handedly thwarting the third-term ambitions of Ulysses Grant in 1880 and electing Grover Cleveland to the presidency in 1884.

They did it with art. It was the first American magazine to publish color lithographs on a weekly basis, many of them full-page or two-page centerspreads. (This book contains nearly 300 full-color plates.) Led by artist and co-founder Joseph Keppler, Puck published work by Bernhard Gillam, Livingston Hopkins, Frederick Burr Opper, Rose O’Neill, and many other notable artists of the era. Puck was also published in several international editions from 1877 to 1918. Years later, even Mad magazine noted its influence, parodying its famous motto as “What food these morsels be!”

Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be! is written by Michael Alexander Kahn and Richard Samuel West, with a forward by Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes). Probably not for everyone, but this book will be sweet panacea for comic history wonks like me. 328-page 12” x 11” color hardcover. Available in October.

Superman: The Golden Age Sundays: 1946-1949

Superman: The Golden Age Sundays: 1946-1949


Superman: The Golden Age Sundays: 1946-1949 (DC Comics/IDW/LoAC): Collecting nearly 170 full-color sequential Superman Sunday pages from August 11, 1946, to October 16, 1949, which have never been collected until now! Most likely featuring artwork by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye (and probably others), this volume contains 18 complete adventures from around the globe as well as through time and space. Includes Supes becoming a rival for Cleopatra’s affections in ancient Egypt, battles with a prehistoric “Paleomatzoball” (?!?), encounters with an ancient civilization in the lost valley of Ru, aid for war veterans, an invasion from Mars, getting turned into a baby (again?), and Lois Lane marrying Clark Kent — or does she?!? Cover by Pete Poplaski. 180-page fully restored 9.25” x 12” color hardcover. Available in October.

ARTIST’S EDITIONS

John Buscema’s Silver Surfer Artist’s Edition

John Buscema’s Silver Surfer Artist’s Edition


John Buscema’s Silver Surfer Artist’s Edition (IDW): Big John Buscema is the next great classic Marvel Comics artist to get the Artist Edition treatment for some of his very best comic book work: Silver Surfer. Spotlighting two classic double-size issues of the legendary series (#5 and #6), plus other stories, a cover, a classic page gallery, and more! Shot directly from the original art, with the full endorsement and cooperation of the Buscema family. This great Stan Lee/John Buscema work will be once again available in the breathtaking oversize format in October. 144-page, oversize (12” x 17”), B&W (but scanned and printed in color to reveal details) hardcover.

Will Eisner’s The Spirit Volume 2 Artist’s Edition

Will Eisner’s The Spirit Volume 2 Artist’s Edition


Will Eisner’s The Spirit Volume 2 Artist’s Edition (IDW): The first volume of Will Eisner’s classic Spirit stories was nominated for a Eisner Award and flew off the shelf, so don’t wait too long to get this collection of classic post-war (1946-1950) stories by the master. Plus, because this work was conceived during a time when artists were allowed to work large on their original art, this volume is massive! Some of the best comic stories ever produced, now in the ultimate presentation. No kidding — don’t wait! 144-page, oversize (15” x 22”), B&W (but scanned and printed in color to reveal details) hardcover. Available in October.

BOOKS ABOUT COMICS (including GIFT BOOKS)

Batman Year By Year: A Visual History

Batman Year By Year: A Visual History


Batman Year By Year: A Visual History (DK): I’m really looking forward to this one. This is the publishing history of Batman told in chronological order, similar to the previous DC Comics: Year by Year, except focusing on this particular character and series/character offshoots. It starts in 1939 with the creation of the character by Bob Kane and Bill Finger (who probably won’t be “officially” mentioned, but we’ll know better, since he was left out of the sell copy…) and proceeds with a detailed history of all of Batman’s greatest stories and events, accompanied by hundreds of iconic or rare illustrations from the top artists from all Batman eras. Covers storylines, heroes, villains, writers, and artists, and also includes information on Batman’s media appearances and series. Forward by Frank Miller. Written by Matthew K. Manning and Matt Forbeck. Also includes two art prints, of which we have no details. 352-page oversized (10” x 12”) color hardcover w/slipcase.

The Batman Files

The Batman Files


MORE BATMAN BOOKS: 2011’s hardcover The Batman Files (Andrews McMeel) is now available as a more moderately-priced softcover. This is an oversized 308-page compendium of (I think) Bat-artifacts and text that tells the history and adventures of the character. (The hardcovers were sealed and I’ve never seen an open copy) . . . The World According to Batman and The World According to the Joker (Insight Legends): These appear to be small (64-page) all-age compendiums of information on the characters, including some removable artifacts. The Joker book is written by Matthew K. Manning, but there seems to be some confusion in the promotional material about who wrote the Batman volume (possibly Daniel Wallace). All of these books are available in October.

Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue

Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue


Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue (Andrews McMeel): Hard to believe that it’s been almost 20 years since we last saw Calvin and Hobbes regularly, yet its presence in the American consciousness has barely faded. Its collections are endlessly reprinted. It is one of the most beloved, studied, and re-read strips in history. And its creator Bill Watterson still makes headlines — recently, by just contributing a few anonymous panels to a current strip (Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine). This book is a collection of classic Calvin and Hobbes strips that were part of the exhibit of the same name at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum at Ohio State University, which opened in March 2014. The show is Watterson’s personal exploration of how the wonder of Calvin and Hobbes came to be. For each strip, the book includes the original art, along with Watterson’s commentary. The show (and book?) also includes art from cartoons and cartoonists that Watterson has identified as influential in the development of his art, including Peanuts, Pogo, Krazy Kat, Doonesbury, Pat Oliphant, Jim Borgman, Flash Gordon, Bloom County, and Steadman. 144-page 11” x 8” B&W and color softcover. May be available in some retail outlets before we get our copies.

Marvel Vehicles: Owner’s Workshop Manual

Marvel Vehicles: Owner’s Workshop Manual


Marvel Vehicles: Owner’s Workshop Manual (Haynes Manuals/Insight Editions): This one’s for the gearheads! The Haynes Manuals are a series of practical manuals aimed at both DIY enthusiasts and professional garage mechanics, primarily focusing on maintenance and repair of automotive vehicles and appliances — but occasionally they get a bit silly and do ones on Star Trek or Thomas the Tank Engine. Now it’s the Marvel Universe’s turn. Soon everybody can build their own Marvel vehicles including the X-Men’s Blackbird, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Hellicarrier, the Green Goblin’s Goblin Glider, and last and least — the Spider-Mobile! This looks like much fun! Where’s my socket wrench? (I’m hoping for a potential sequel on Marvel’s Gadgets, so I can build my own working Cosmic Cube and Ultimate Nullifier!) 160-page 8” x 11” hardcover. Available in October.

Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book Volume 2

Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book Volume 2


Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book Volume 2 (Harper Collins): The second volume of the all-ages graphic novel version of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed book about a young boy who lives in a sprawling graveyard and has unusual friends. It’s adapted by artist/writer P. Craig Russell and illustrated by a host of excellent graphic novelists, including Russell, David Lafuente, Scott Hampton, Kevin Nowlan, and Galen Showman. This volume covers the second half of the book from Chapter Six through the conclusion. 176-page 6” x 9” color hardcover.

Neil Gaiman: Hansel & Gretel

Neil Gaiman: Hansel & Gretel


Neil Gaiman: Hansel & Gretel (Toon Books): An all-ages reimagining of the classic Grimm Brothers tale by mega-popular author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti. Be brave, be bold, and keep your wits about you — Gaiman and Mattotti are welcoming you into the woods. Available in a 56-page 5” x 7” B&W standard hardcover format or a deluxe 60-page 9” x 12” B&W hardcover edition with a larger print size, die-cut cover, and additional content. Available in October.

75 Years of Marvel Comics

75 Years of Marvel Comics


75 Years of Marvel Comics (TASCHEN): This is the HUGE book of this Christmas season for comic book fans. Like the similar 2010 75 Years of DC Comics, it’s physically huge (11.4” x 16”), over 700 pages, weighs over 16 pounds, requires a table to read it (or you will break your lap, and probably your forearms), and comes in its own cardboard suitcase for ease of moving it around. Unlike that book, it’s all about Marvel Comics, not DC, and will most likely become the most lavishly illustrated history of Marvel Comics ever produced. It’s written by Roy Thomas, the acclaimed writer/editor of Marvel during the Silver and Bronze Ages (arguably their most exciting time) and beyond, and a noted historian of all the other comics eras as well. (If you didn’t know, he edits and primarily writes TwoMorrows’ Alter Ego magazine, digging deep into the comics history of the Golden and Silver Ages, not just Marvel’s.)

Marvel has very rich (and interesting) history, dominating comic books (and now films) over several decades with dynamic characters and popular storytelling innovations. The company’s early, freewheeling history is just as fascinating, with an unscrupulous publisher, a few iconic characters (Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Human Torch), and some incredible creators (many largely unsung). They were a scrappy little company during the period when superheroes faded away, developing other characters and concepts through lean times. Even their most documented era (the “Marvel Age” beginning in mid-1961 with Fantastic Four #1) wasn’t the overnight success that most people today think it was. Faced with limited distribution controlled by their biggest competitor (DC Comics), Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and a multi-talented Bullpen of creators changed the rules of superhero comics, eventually becoming the #1 comic company in the early 1970s, and almost never looking back.

With over 2,000 illustrations — including vintage comic books, one-of-a-kind original art, behind-the-scenes photographs and film stills, as well as rare toys and collectibles — this will be (as they say) awesome. Also included are two seven-foot (two-meter) fold-out timelines that chronicle the entire Marvel history from the dawn of comics to the present day. Biographies of more than 300 artists, writers, editors, directors, actors, and famous fans who helped shape the Marvel Universe and beyond are also included.

75 Years of Marvel Comics is a 720-page oversize (11.4” x 16”!) color art book. It may come in its own box (the DC book did), but this has not yet been confirmed. Available in December.

Marvel Comics: The Poster Collection

Marvel Comics: The Poster Collection


MORE MARVEL BOOKS: Marvel Avengers Poster-a-Page Book (Disney): Pretty self-explanatory, I’d say, but it includes “posters” of Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, and “all your favorite Marvel characters” (but Hawkeye’s my favorite! He never gets mentioned!) as well as nine “supersize” posters. 128-page 8” x 11” color softcover . . . Marvel Comics: The Poster Collection (Insight Editions): This sounds slightly more upscale than the previous. Presenting 40 easy-to-remove 12” x 16” posters of iconic images from throughout Marvel’s history, including the covers from Amazing Fantasy #15 and Secret Wars #1. 40-page 12” x 16” color softcover.

AND, JUST BECAUSE…

The Uncanny X-Men 100 Project

The Uncanny X-Men 100 Project


The Uncanny X-Men 100 Project (Marvel/Hero Initiative): Another wonderful fund-raising project that aids comic book professionals in times of need. This edition of the wildly successful “100 Project” series features all of Hero’s 104 covers for Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men #12, spotlighting the work of John Cassaday, Alan Davis, Dale Keown, Adam Kubert, George Pérez, John Romita, Joe Sinnott, and dozens more. Maybe they’ll draw your favorite X-Person! 120-page B&W softcover.

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KC CARLSON: Now has another column to write, about DC and Marvel’s books for September and (mostly) beyond. Including five huge Marvel Omnibi-style books (overkill much?) and a big $75 DC anniversary edition of Teen Titans which mentions nothing about its contents other than obvious creator inclusions. (Our hero, Bob Greenberger, is taking steps to rectify this information lack soon.) More positively, DC is introducing a new (yet familiar) format that many fans will find exciting, and Marvel is reprinting some of their very best classic material in their newly remastered Epic collections. See you here next week! Don’t forget to take out that second mortgage!

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

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