COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS FOR OCTOBER 2014 PART 1: COMIC BOOK COLLECTIONS: BIG AND NOT-SO-BIG

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.


by KC Carlson

I HAD A BAD CODE, BUT NOW I’M OVER IT AND FEELING BETTER, THANKS

Comics Code Authority Mug

Comics Code Authority Mug


The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Comics Code this month with a variety of logo merchandise items. This seems odd to me, since I’ve never met anybody who thought the Comics Code was anything to celebrate. Except maybe John L. Goldwater, editor and co-publisher of Archie Comics of the era, and famous comic book hater and “fact-fudger” Fredric Wertham. Both of whom I never met, now that I think about it. (I have met Goldwater’s son Jon, current CEO of Archie Comics. Nice guy and (I think) making good (and tough) choices for his company for the future.)

Comics Code Authority Tote

Comics Code Authority Tote


I ran afoul of the Comics Code only once during my editing stint at DC Comics, over something nonsensical. When I asked if I could call somebody at the Code office to explain that we actually meant no malice, I was told (by Bob Greenberger, no less) that “Oh, no. Nobody ever talks to the Code.” DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!!! Talk about freezing cold fingertips crawling up my back. I made the change as requested.

Bill Gaines Was Right T-Shirt

Bill Gaines Was Right T-Shirt


When the Comics Code finally went belly up in 2011, the intellectual property rights to the famous/notorious Comics Code Seal of Approval were acquired by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), and they’re the folks behind the current exploitation of the Code Seal for mugs, tote bags, and even iPhone covers. It’s a pretty good excuse for fundraising for this important  comic book defender. Plus, they’re savvy enough to market “Bill Gaines Was Right” merchandise alongside the Code swag. I love having it both ways! Buy some of both “brands” to support CBLDF’s continued free speech legal work. After all, they’re “Code Approved”!

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC BOOK COLLECTIONS

The First Kingdom Vol. 6

The First Kingdom Vol. 6


The First Kingdom Volume 6 (Titan Comics): The climactic conclusion to Jack Katz’s epic science fiction tale! With this volume, this is the first time the entire storyline has been collected in book form. Kudos to Titan Comics for getting this important, historical early graphic novel back into print. 112-page 8” x 11” B&W  hardcover.

Haunted Horror Vol. 2: Comics Your Mother Warned You About

Haunted Horror Vol. 2: Comics Your Mother Warned You About


Haunted Horror Vol. 2: Comics Your Mother Warned You About (IDW/Yoe Books): Back from the opened grave are more masterpieces of the macabre from the horror comics of the 1950s. Genius horror artists of the known — such as Jack Cole, Bob Powell, Steve Ditko, Mike Sekowsky, and Ross Andru — and the unknown variety poured their tortured souls into these comics. All these best and rarest stories are lovingly restored and presented in full-creepy color. BTW, my mom never warned me about any of these stories. She had her own unnerving reading matter — copies of the National Enquirer and Weekly World News stashed under sofas and mattresses all over the house! Now, that was creepy! 160-page 8.5” x 11” color hardcover. Available in November.

MARVEL EPIC COLLECTIONS (Marvel Comics): These are big, chunky (they collect approximately two original Marvel Masterworks volumes) collections of classic characters and series, featuring remastered art and coloring in a big, relatively inexpensive (at least in comparison to the Masterworks series) softcover volume. This month’s three offerings:

Silver Surfer Epic Collection: When Calls Galactus

Silver Surfer Epic Collection: When Calls Galactus


Silver Surfer Epic Collection: When Calls Galactus: Collecting Fantastic Four (1961) #49, #55, #57-60, #72 and #74-77 — plus material from Fantastic Four (1961) #48, #50, #56, and #61; Fantastic Four Annual (1964) #5; and Tales To Astonish (1959) #92-93. Classic material by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (with a little bit by Marie Severin!).  Bob Greenberger will be previewing this volume soon, right here at the Westfield blog. 320-page remastered color softcover. Available in November.

Iron Man Epic Collection: The Golden Avenger

Iron Man Epic Collection: The Golden Avenger


Iron Man Epic Collection: The Golden Avenger: This collects all the earliest Iron Man material from Tales of Suspense (1959) #39-72, including the origin tale, featuring Hawkeye and the Black Widow’s first appearances, and the ever-lovin’ evolution of the Iron Man Armor. (Yellow? Why did it have to be yellow?!?) Mostly by Stan Lee and Don Heck, with bits by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Robert Bernstein, Larry Lieber, and others! 520-page remastered color softcover.

Avengers Epic Collection: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

Avengers Epic Collection: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes


Avengers Epic Collection: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: This is where the Marvel Universe begins! Just when you’re excited by seeing Marvel’s greatest solo characters together (Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp, plus early modern appearances of Captain America and the Sub-Mariner), crazy Stan pulls the plug, and almost everybody leaves, only to invite the inexperienced Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch (all formerly villains!) to join Cap in the craziest Avengers tales ever! Collecting Avengers #1-20, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, with Don Heck, Dick Ayers, Larry Lieber, and Larry Ivie. Page after page of classic Marvel Universe history! 456-page remastered color softcover.

Marvel Masterworks: Avengers Volume 6

Marvel Masterworks: Avengers Volume 6


Marvel Masterworks: Avengers Volume 6 (Marvel Comics): Featuring classic stories from the incredible Roy Thomas/John Buscema era of the book. How classic? How about the first appearance of Ultron (who I hear is going to be a big movie star next summer). Or, the Black Panther joins the team, as does the Vision (in the classic story “Even an Android Can Cry”). Plus, there’s a battle with the X-Men that crosses over into both titles (both collected here), the debut of a new Masters of Evil, the current Avengers vs. the originals, and (for the first time) details about the tragic death of Bucky Barnes — much elaborated upon in the modern era of Mighty Marvel. Collects Avengers #51-58, Annual #2, and X-Men #45 with work by Don Heck, Werner Roth, and Gary Friedrich. Cover by John Buscema. 256-page color softcover. Cover available in two designs.

Marvel Masterworks: Uncanny X-Men Volume 9

Marvel Masterworks: Uncanny X-Men Volume 9


Marvel Masterworks: Uncanny X-Men Volume 9 (Marvel Comics): This collects material from the X-Men’s height of popularity in 1982. Highlights of this volume include the classic Marvel Graphic Novel God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson, which inspired much of the plot for the second X-Men film (X2), and the complete four-issue Claremont/Frank Miller Wolverine miniseries. Meanwhile, back in the actual Uncanny X-Men series, Rogue debuts as an X-Man, Callisto and the Morlocks also debut (underground), Kitty and Colossus’ romance blossoms, as does Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor’s — who tie the knot! Uh, oh. I know where this is going… Collects Uncanny X-Men (1981) #168-175, Uncanny X-Men Annual (1970) #7, Marvel Graphic Novel #5, and Wolverine (1982) #1-4, and, besides the creators listed above, includes work by Paul Smith, Walter Simonson, and Michael Golden. 432-page remastered color hardcover. Cover available in two designs. Available in January 2015.

Nelvana of the Northern Lights

Nelvana of the Northern Lights


Nelvana of the Northern Lights (IDW): Nelvana of the Northern Lights returns from the lost pages of Triumph Comics! Created by Adrian Dingle, Nelvana was one of the world’s very first superheroines, predating Wonder Woman by several months. She’s among the ranks of the first Canadian superheroes to emerge after Canada placed an embargo on US luxury goods during WWII. Using the powers of the northern lights, Nelvana could fly at incredibly fast speeds, become invisible, and even turn into dry ice! She used her great powers to ward off Nazi invaders, shady fur traders, subterranean mammoth men, and interdimensional ether people. And this is the first time her complete adventures have been collected, with over 320 pages of artwork by Dingle. Also includes text material discussing the history and impact of the strip. 352-page color hardcover. Available in November.

The Kickstarter Edition is also available as a softcover. Quantities are limited.

Wally Wood: Torrid Romance

Wally Wood: Torrid Romance


Wally Wood: Torrid Romance (Vanguard): Following up on the publisher’s previous Wally Wood: Strange Worlds and Wally Wood: Eerie Crime & Horror, this is a new collection of kitschy Golden Age Romance comics stories from the early 1950s, none of which have ever been previously collected in a book. 176-page 8.5” x 11” color softcover.

Zenith: Phase One

Zenith: Phase One


Zenith: Phase One (Rebellion/2000 A.D.): Available for the first time in 20 years (reportedly due to copyright issues). Created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Steve Yeowell, with original character design by Brendan McCarthy, Zenith first appeared in 1987 in 2000 AD #535. The son of 1960s superheroes who became hippies and psychedelic fashion icons, Zenith used his unreliable powers not to fight evil, but to promote his career as a pop singer — until he was reluctantly dragged into a conflict against malevolent, supernatural entities. (Isn’t that always the case?) He’s the only superhuman left, and frankly more interested in women, drugs, alcohol, and fame, so he steers clear of the conflict. But the superhumans of the past have other plans! 112-page 8” x 11” color hardcover. Available in October, with Phase Two scheduled for December and Phase Three planned for April 2015. Longtime fans are hoping the series is successful, as Phase Four has never been collected.

BIG BOOKS

Future’s End - Five Years Later Omnibus

Future’s End – Five Years Later Omnibus


Future’s End – Five Years Later Omnibus (DC Comics):  Collecting all of the Future’s End one-shot comics (the ones with the covers that do tricks when you prompt them) that are shipping in September. Since I’m not a (licensed) time traveler, I’m sort of hard-pressed to talk much about them. I’ll guess bad things are going to happen. Fates will be shocking… Shocking, I tells ‘ya! (“Huh?” points go to DC for writing their copy about this book like these events already happened. Julie Schwartz wants his Cosmic Treadmill back.) Actual cover and dimensions to be announced later! 912-page color hardcover. Available in December.

Genius Collected: The Alex Toth Slipcase Set

Genius Collected: The Alex Toth Slipcase Set


Genius Collected: The Alex Toth Slipcase Set (IDW/LoAC): Collecting the critically acclaimed, award-winning Alex Toth series of books (two volumes of extremely well-researched biography and one of mostly all artwork, largely Toth’s design work for 1960s/70s Hanna-Barbera animation). Includes Genius, Isolated; Genius, Illustrated; and Genius, Animated, all by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell, all in a handsomely designed slipcase set. Slipcase (with three color hardcovers) is 9.5” x 13” x 4.5”. The combined books are 1,016 pages.

Original Sin

Original Sin


Original Sin (Marvel Comics): The comics series that inspired those evil glow-in-the-dark rubber eyeballs that follow me around the house and won’t let me sleep! (They play poker all night!) Seriously, I expected to hate this “event”, but that evil bastard Mark Waid and his cronies Jim Cheung (I miss his Young Avengers) and Paco Medina (current Nova series) won me over in #0 with the bizarre (yet touching) friendship between young Nova and the mysterious Watcher. And then Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato Jr. sealed the deal in the regular series by making Nick Fury and a guy wearing a giant eyeball for a head the lead characters in a good ole fashioned murder mystery where it looks like almost anybody could have “dunnit” (i.e. killed The Watcher and stole his eyes). It’s my first read on the weeks that it comes out (even ahead of All-New X-Men), and the new twists and turns every issue keep me both eagerly interested and constantly off-balance (and I’m one of those annoying guys who usually figures out the end of the movie ten minutes in). I have no idea where this is ultimately going and am loving it. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a Marvel “event” so much. (Hint: it’s the “light touch” moments that make or break a story for me — not the overused “big reveal”.)

Original Sin -- Hulk vs. Iron Man

Original Sin — Hulk vs. Iron Man


This book collects the nine issue (#0-8) Original Sin series, the short story anthology Original Sins #1-5 (hint: so far the two-page stories have been the best), and the pre-series material from Point One #1. Besides the folks mentioned above, other creators include Charles Soule, Dan Slott, James Robinson, Ramon Villalobos, Mark Bagley, Ty Templeton (yay!), and more. Cover by Julian Totino Tedesco. 352-page oversize color hardcover. Available in October.

Thor and Loki: The Tenth Realm

Thor and Loki: The Tenth Realm


Also, the two spin-off miniseries from Original SinHulk vs. Iron Man and Thor and Loki: The Tenth Realm (featuring Angela) — are also being collected this month as individual softcovers.

Showcase Presents Unknown Soldier Volume 2

Showcase Presents Unknown Soldier Volume 2


Showcase Presents Unknown Soldier Volume 2 (DC Comics): Another huge helping of this acclaimed cult series about the Unknown Soldier’s undercover missions in World War II behind enemy lines. I’ve always kicked myself for not reading these stories when they were first published. Now’s my chance (and yours!). Collects Star Spangled War Stories #189-204 and Unknown Soldier #205-226, written by David Michelinie with art by Gerry Talaoc, Dick Ayers, and others. 552-page B&W softcover. Available in November.

Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus

Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus


Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus (Marvel Comics): Well, this is an interesting turn of events… Disney now owns Star Warsand Marvel! So the original Star Wars comic books have returned to their origins and will be published in Marvel Comics’ wampa-sized Omnibus format! This first volume begins with A New Hope and ends with The Empire Strikes Back. In between, the rebels face a wealth of new perils, from space pirate Crimson Jack to the bounty hunter Beilert Valance, as well as a surprisingly svelte Jabba the Hut (one “t”). Luke goes back to Tatooine, Leia battles alone, Han and Chewie play the deadly Big Game, and Darth Vader hunts for answers! Writers include Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Archie Goodwin, Jo Duffy, and Chris Claremont, and artists include Chaykin, Carmine Infantino, Walter Simonson, Herb Trimpe, Michael Golden, Al Williamson, and Mike Vosburg. There are two covers — one by Chaykin (that guy gets around!) and one by Greg Hildebrandt, so some of you have a tough choice ahead! Collects Star Wars (1977) #1-44 and Annual #1. Available in January 2015. Make sure you all stop hyperventilating and breathe occasionally until then, okay? Thanks!

Superman Unchained Deluxe Edition

Superman Unchained Deluxe Edition


Superman Unchained Deluxe Edition (DC Comics): Collects the entire nine-issue series by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee in a deluxe format. For some reason, the big mystery is why satellites have stopped falling out of the sky. (?) Hopefully Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Batman, Wonder Woman, eco-terrorists, the U.S. Army, the mysterious Wraith, or maybe actually Superman will figure that out! Also features work by Scott Williams and Dustin Nguyen. 304-page oversize (7.0625” x 10.875”) color hardcover. Available in December. Hope the series is finished by then!

Tales of the Batman: Len Wein

Tales of the Batman: Len Wein


Tales of the Batman: Len Wein (DC Comics): This looks like a great collection of Wein’s back-to-basics take on the Batman in stories from the 1970s and 80s, including his excellent Untold Legends of the Batman miniseries. (That was one of DC’s earliest miniseries, by Wein and Jim Aparo, with John Byrne penciling the first issue. Byrne/Aparo art is very interesting.) Bob Greenberger will be looking at this collection in depth very soon. Collected from Batman #307-310, #312-319, #321-324, #326-327, Detective Comics #408, #444-448, #466, #478-479, #500 and #514, and Untold Legends of the Batman #1-3. 560-page color hardcover. Available in December.

Terry Moore’s Echo: The Complete Edition

Terry Moore’s Echo: The Complete Edition


Terry Moore’s Echo: The Complete Edition (Abstract Studios): Collecting this 30-issue series in one hardcover volume! Julie Martin is in the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes an unwilling participant in a web of murder and deceit that becomes nuclear. She is forced to find the maker of the atomic plasma that has rained down on her, forming a quicksilver body armor. As the plasma grows, she gets closer and closer to answers with the help of the original owner of the atomic suit she now wears. A lunatic with powers from the plasma is determined to take Julie and her suit for his own, destroying everything that stands in his way. 632-page B&W  7” x 10” hardcover.

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NEXT WEEK: CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS, ARTIST’S EDITIONS, and BOOKS ABOUT COMICS, including Modesty Blaise, The Phantom, Silver Age Batman, Joe Kubert’s Enemy Ace, Harvey Kurtzman, and the man who created Captain Klutz.

KC CARLSON: Born on a Thursday, unlike Solomon Grundy. Also born one week after Showcase #4 supposedly shipped. The first issue of the Barry Allen Flash, and, for many, the birth of the Silver Age of comics. Glad I didn’t miss that. I’m actually surprised that I didn’t hop right out of my crib and start crawling around town looking for it!

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

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