COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS FOR FEBRUARY 2015: PART 2: BIG BOOKS, STRIP COLLECTIONS, MUTANT ANNIVERSARIES, AND PUNS – 99% CARBON MONOXIDE-FREE EDITION

KC Carlson

KC Carlson


by KC Carlson

BIG BOOKS

Captain America: Return of the Winter Soldier Omnibus

Captain America: Return of the Winter Soldier Omnibus


Captain America: Return of the Winter Soldier Omnibus (Marvel): Ed Brubaker’s award-winning Captain America run concludes! In the aftermath of Fear Itself, Bucky is the Winter Soldier again. When Russian sleeper agents awaken and old enemies resurface with new identities, Winter Soldier and Black Widow clash with Dr. Doom — and Bucky must save the Widow from her own past! But even with help from Wolverine and Hawkeye, must he sacrifice everything to save his love? Meanwhile, Captain America takes on Scourge and the Discordians. Collecting Captain America and Bucky #620-628, Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America, Winter Soldier #1-14, and Captain America (2011) #11-19. Featuring work by Ed Brubaker, Marc Andreyko, James Asmus, Cullen Bunn, Chris Samnee, Francesco Francavilla, Jackson Guice, Michael Lark, Patrick Zircher, Scot Eaton, and Steve Epting. Cover by Epting. 752-page oversized color hardcover. Available in May 2015.

Giant-Size X-Men 40th Anniversary

Giant-Size X-Men 40th Anniversary


Giant-Size X-Men 40th Anniversary (Marvel): On a fateful day in 1975 (most likely around April 1st, ironically), comic book history was changed forever with the publication of Giant-Size X-Men #1. Reviving a not-very-fan-favorite series originally canceled in 1970, Giant-Size X-Men #1 replaced the original team of mutants with mostly new and soon-to-be-fascinating characters by Len Wein, Chris Claremont, and Dave Cockrum. Within a couple of years, the series was one of the hottest in the industry, not only spinning out thousands of related mutant titles but quite possibly a similar number of toys, action figures, role-playing games, computer games, posters, portfolios, and probably more items than there are mutants — not the least of which are several animated television series and major motion pictures. It was a cultural phenomenon not seen in comic books since… well, maybe Superman.

The X-Men’s 40th Anniversary is celebrated in this book by collecting all of the various Giant-Size X-Men publications over the years — plus many of the stories that later expanded upon and added new details to that original origin story, including the 2006 miniseries X-Men: Deadly Genesis and alternative What If? stories. Along with the trio of X-creators above, this book also features work by Joss Whedon, Ed Brubaker, Roy Thomas, Kurt Busiek, John Bolton, Neal Adams, Rick Leonardi, Trevor Hairsine, Mark Texeira, Pete Woods, Rich Buckler, Rodney Ramos, Pat Olliffe, and Jorge Molina. Works collected are: Giant-Size X-Men #1 and #3-4, Classic X-Men #1, X-Men Origins: Colossus #1, X-Men Origins: Wolverine #1, X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1-6, What If? (1989) #9 and #23, and material from X-Men Gold #1. I think it’s a great idea to collect all these origin stories in one place. 440-page oversize color hardcover. Available in May 2015.

Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 2

Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 2


Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 2 (Marvel): A huge chunk o’ Original Star Wars goodness in the Mighty Marvel Manner. Collecting Marvel’s Star Wars (1977) #45-78 and Annual #2, which covers post-The Empire Strikes Back material. Lovable rogue Han Solo is lost, frozen in carbonite! But as the search for Solo begins, Imperial Forces and other troubles keep getting in the way. Princess Leia clashes with Darth Vader! Luke Skywalker goes on trial for treason! C-3PO and R2-D2 face danger on a droid moon! Lando Calrissian finds Cloud City deserted! Plus, a new member joins the rebels, with a crush on a certain handsome Jedi! Meanwhile, the discovery of a gold statue of Han reveals a hidden story from his and Chewbacca’s past. And who are the Hoojibs? Hoo knows? Featuring work by Archie Goodwin, Larry Hama, David Micheline, Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Carmine Infantino, Al Williamson, Ron Frenz, Gene Day, Kerry Gammill, and more. Available with two different covers: one by Gene Day and the other by Greg Hildebrandt. What a choice! 848-page oversized color hardcover. Available in May 2015.

Uncanny Avengers Omnibus

Uncanny Avengers Omnibus


Uncanny Avengers Omnibus (Marvel): Rick Remender’s epic saga is collected in one volume! In the wake of Professor X’s death, Captain America creates a new Avengers unit comprised of Avengers and X-Men, humans and mutants working together. But things don’t always go as planned when folks like the Red Skull and his bizarre S-Men cause all sorts of bad things to happen. Then, the Apocalypse Twins arrive, the new Four Horsemen of Death are unleashed, and Avengers begin to die. Meanwhile, years in the future, Kang the Conqueror’s Chronos Corps arrive on Planet X — can the shattered remains of the team salvage the past? Art by John Cassaday, Olivier Coipel, Daniel Acuna, Adam Kubert, Salvador Larroca, Steve McNiven, and others. Available with two different covers, both by John Cassaday. 672-page oversized color hardcover.

ARTIST/GALLERY EDITIONS

Superman/Batman: Michael Turner Gallery Edition

Superman/Batman: Michael Turner Gallery Edition


Superman/Batman: Michael Turner Gallery Edition (DC Comics/Graphitti Designs): This spectacular new book collects the “Supergirl” epic from Superman/Batman #8-13, written by Jeph Loeb with stunning artwork by Michael Turner, which, of course, is the star of this project. Rounding out the book are numerous Turner covers from Identity Crisis, Justice League of America, The Flash, and other DC Comics titles that helped establish him as an artistic force to be reckoned with. This Gallery Edition is reproduced directly from uninked pencil art, showcasing Turner’s art with subtleties and details that have never before been captured in this fashion. Each high-quality, Smythe-sewn hardcover book reproduces the art at actual size and is printed at 200 line-screen on a rich, heavy paper stock, replicating the original art. Graphitti Designs’ Gallery Editions are the next best thing to holding the original art in your hand, it says here… 208-page 12” x 17” B&W (but scanned in color) hardcover. Available in April 2015.

Steranko Nick Fury and Captain America: Artist's Edition

Steranko Nick Fury and Captain America: Artist’s Edition


Steranko Nick Fury and Captain America: Artist’s Edition (IDW): The first volume was a runaway critical and commercial hit (although we still have a copy or two)! Available for order now is this new volume, featuring the second half of Steranko’s Marvel work (the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. and his issues of Captain America) from when he was at the very peak of his artistic powers. Plus, this book will also feature the legendary S.H.I.E.L.D. four-page foldout as a massive double gatefold! Contained in this volume are Strange Tales #163-168, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1-3 and 5, and Captain America #110, 111, and 113, as well as select extras. As with the first Steranko Artist’s Edition, the artist is handling all the design chores himself, making this truly a complete Steranko production! The original art has been scanned at full-size and in color, to clearly indicate paste-overs, blue pencils in the art, editorial notes, art corrections, and other creative ephemera. Available with two differnt covers: one featuring Nick Fury and one featuring Captain America! 256-page 12″ x 17″ B&W (but scanned in color) hardcover. Available in March 2015.

Frank Thorne’s Red Sonja Art Edition Volume 3

Frank Thorne’s Red Sonja Art Edition Volume 3


Frank Thorne’s Red Sonja Art Edition Volume 3 (Dynamite): The third and final volume in the Red Sonja Art Edition line featuring art by Frank Thorne! The defining She-Devil artist shares his original artwork from issue #7 through #11 of the 1970s Red Sonja comic book series, originally published by Marvel. 104-page 12’ x 17’ B&W (but scanned in color) hardcover. Limited to 199 copies. Available in March 2015.

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS

Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan Volume 2: Tarzan vs. The Barbarians

Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan Volume 2: Tarzan vs. The Barbarians


Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan Volume 2: Tarzan vs. The Barbarians (Titan Books): The second of four exclusive volumes, authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, collecting the entire run of the legendary Tarzan comic strip by one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century, Burne Hogarth (with Don Garden). Restored and collected for the first time in its entirety! Collects the stories “Tarzan and the Peoples of the Sea and the Fire”, “Tarzan Against Dagga Ramba”, “Tarzan and the Fatal Fountain”, and “Tarzan and the Barbarians”, all originally published between 1940 and 1943. 192-page 10” x 14” color hardcover.

Complete Little Orphan Annie, Volume 11

Complete Little Orphan Annie, Volume 11


Complete Little Orphan Annie, Volume 11 (IDW/LoAC): In the depths of the Second World War, Harold Gray paints a dark vision of stateside America when Annie encounters a boarding house full of thieves, forgers, and mind readers. To Annie’s initial joy, “Daddy” Warbucks comes home from war, but this time it’s not to be with his beloved adopted daughter, but… to die. With Daddy gone, Annie ends up terrorized by the wretchedly evil Mrs. Bleating-Hart, who robs Annie of her liberty in a very real and personal way. Volume 11 of The Complete Little Orphan Annie reprints all daily and Sunday strips from August 8, 1943, to April 14, 1945, in the darkest hours before the dawn. 288-page 11″ x 8.5″ B&W (w/color) hardcover. Available in March 2015.

Hurricane Isle and Other Adventures: The Best of Captain Easy and Wash Tubbs

Hurricane Isle and Other Adventures: The Best of Captain Easy and Wash Tubbs


Hurricane Isle and Other Adventures: The Best of Captain Easy and Wash Tubbs (Fantagraphics): More of a brick than a book, full of slam-bang action, boisterous humor, dangerous villains, even more dangerous women, and the promised treasure in this collection of Roy Crane’s classic Captain Easy and Wash Tubbs. A companion volume to Fantagraphics’ Eisner Award–nominated series of Roy Crane’s Captain Easy Sunday strip collections, this best-of features Wash running a dinky railroad in a comic-opera version of Eastern Europe, the gripping narrative of Easy waging total war against The Phantom King, battles with pirates in the South Seas, and the harrowing story of Easy and Wash as prisoners on the infamous Devil’s Island. Roy Crane mixes imagination, romance, and thrills in a masterful storytelling style that entices you over the next mountain, across the next ocean, toward the next horizon — and always to the next thrill-packed adventure! 324-page 10.5” x 8.5” B&W hardcover. Available in March 2015.

Prince Valiant Volume 10: 1955-1956

Prince Valiant Volume 10: 1955-1956


Prince Valiant Volume 10: 1955-1956 (Fantagraphics): The tenth volume finds Val’s band of heroes making their way back to the Kingdom of Thule by way of Constantinople and Eastern Russia. Soon they are attacked by a tribe of barbarians who kidnap Aleta for the great Dragada Khan, who wants to make her one of his wives. After nearly being killed in battle, Valiant returns to his homeland only to find the threat of hunger hovers over Thule. As Val explores new ways of feeding the kingdom’s growing populace, raiders threaten the lives of his family and friends. The volume ends with Val’s return to Camelot, a tournament of champions, and the threat of new treachery in Cornwall. This volume also includes an introduction by legendary comics artist Timothy Truman and a special gallery containing more of Hal Foster’s incredible Mountie paintings annotated by comics historian Brian M. Kane. 120-page 10.25” x 14” color hardcover.

Secret Agent X-9: By Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond

Secret Agent X-9: By Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond


Secret Agent X-9: By Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond (IDW/LoAC): When Secret Agent X-9 premiered in January 1934, King Features could proudly boast that its new adventure strip was written by the world’s most famous mystery writer — Dashiell Hammett, the man who virtually invented the hard-boiled detective in such novels as The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man. The artist chosen for this dailies-only serial was less well-known then. At this point, Alex Raymond was merely an uncredited assistant on Tim Tyler’s Luck and the humor strip Blondie, but 1934 was the turning point in Raymond’s career. From that cold January forward, Alex Raymond would become as famous as Hammett, thanks to his Sunday comics double-header, Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim. This volume collects the complete Hammett/Raymond strips, plus the subsequent stories by Raymond and Leslie Charteris, writer of The Saint novels. Included are strips from January 22, 1934, through October 31, 1936. 304-page 11″ x 10″ B&W hardcover. Available in March 2015.

Terry and the Pirates: The George Wunder Years Volume 2 1948-1949

Terry and the Pirates: The George Wunder Years Volume 2 1948-1949


Terry and the Pirates: The George Wunder Years Volume 2 1948-1949 (Hermes Press): Milton Caniff’s masterpiece, Terry and the Pirates, perhaps the most influential action/adventure comic strip every created, returns! After Caniff left the strip in 1946 to create Steve Canyon, he was succeeded by George Wunder. Under Wunder’s stewardship, the strip continued for almost another 27 years. Volume 2 picks up with the story “Ancient Greed” and presents three complete continuities. The dailies and Sundays run in continuity, and all of the Sundays are printed in full color. 256-page 10” x 14” B&W (w/color) hardcover. Available in March 2015.

Wallace and Gromit Newspaper Strips Volume 3

Wallace and Gromit Newspaper Strips Volume 3


Wallace and Gromit Newspaper Strips Volume 3 (Titan Comics): I haven’t finished reading Volume Two yet, so of course Volume Three is already on the way. (It’s somewhat weird to complain about too many great books, so I’m trying to avoid that.) The world’s most loyal and long suffering dog, Gromit, and his owner and wannabe inventor, Wallace, are back with another year’s worth of pun-tastic silliness and nonsense-filled comic-strip shenanigans! Packed with even more jokes, gags, and gadgets than last time, plus puns aplenty! (They’re very keen on puns, trust me.) This volume collects the entire third year’s worth of material, when the strip went from six strips a week to seven. So there was absolutely no escaping those puns, then, was there? 112-page 7.5” x 9.5” color hardcover. Available in April 2015.

BOOKS ABOUT COMICS

DC Comics: A Visual History

DC Comics: A Visual History


DC Comics: A Visual History (DK): I’ve already got a copy of this on my desk, and it’s an amazing year-by-year history of DC publications, with what seems like thousands of illustrations by hundreds of top artists from 75 years of DC Comics. This is a re-titled and revised version of what was originally published in 2010 as DC Comics Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle, with this new volume updated to include the last five years — which as most of you are aware, covers the somewhat controversial birth and evolution of The New 52 version of the DCU. Of course, there’s not much controversy about it in these pages (this is a DC-controlled project, after all). What you find in the new section is mostly cheerleading for projects by Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, David Finch, or projects featuring Batman, Superman, and the Justice League getting major coverage.

Much better is the information about DC’s work in the 1960s, which was both historically important and wonderfully wacky. Former DC Editor (and my friend and colleague) Michael McAvennie wrote this section (as well as the 1970s one), and he has packed his pages with horrible puns, fitting the breezy mood of the era with the “reverence” that it deserves. Frequent DC/DK contributors Daniel Wallace, Alex Irvine, Matthew K. Manning, and Alan Cowsill cover the other 50+ years admirably. Former DC Publisher (and President and Editor and Writer… ) Paul Levitz provides the Forward. Virtually every entry (and there are hundreds!) includes at least one illustration, and they’re provided by a virtual Who’s Who of comics artists! Believe it or not, there’s still plenty of room for glorious two-page spreads of some of DC’s most wonderful, memorable, or just plain historical artwork that will blow you away.

I love these kinds of year-by-year books, because you can see how some amazing publications or characters launched during the same period. How many people remember that The New Teen Titans debuted in their own title the same month that both Mongul and the Creature Commandos made their first appearance (in November 1980)? Or that Batman femme fatale Poison Ivy first appeared in the same month as the Inferior Five (June 1966)? Or that the classic DC characters Kamandi and Swamp Thing both debuted in November 1972? Or that Barbara Gordon took on the mantle of Oracle in Suicide Squad #23 the same month that Neil Gaiman’s Sandman returned to the Dreaming in Sandman #1 in January 1989? DC Comics: A Visual History is a great reference book that will entertain for years and years. 378-page 10” x 13” color hardcover. Note: Has already been available in bookstores and from other non-Direct Market retailers.

Will Eisner: A Sprited Life Deluxe Edition

Will Eisner: A Sprited Life Deluxe Edition


Will Eisner: A Sprited Life Deluxe Edition (TwoMorrows): This is an expanded, full-color deluxe edition of the out-of-print biography that explores the fascinating life of Will Eisner, detailing a more-than-70-year career where he spearheaded comics for adult readers and created the first widely accepted graphic novel, A Contract with God. From his childhood, to famously turning down a proposal for Superman, to his creation of The Spirit, to educating Army soldiers in P.S. Magazine, Eisner’s personal and professional life is told in dramatic detail. Author Bob Andelman spent almost three years interviewing Eisner prior to his passing, researching his life and work and interviewing friends, family, and colleagues including Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Neil Gaiman, Denis Kitchen, Joe Kubert, Stan Lee, Jules Feiffer, Neal Adams, and Patrick McDonnell. In addition to hundreds of full-color images from Will’s archives and private collections (not found in the original edition), this expanded Deluxe Edition also includes a series of new interviews with Drew Friedman, Howard Chaykin, Darwyn Cooke, Sergio Aragones, Michael Uslan, and others, which clear the air on some topics left unfinished by the first edition and add depth to the reader’s knowledge of Eisner’s body of work. Featuring an insightful introduction by Michael Chabon. 256-page 8” x 11” hardcover. Available in April 2015.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon & Groot

Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon & Groot


KC CARLSON SEZ: There’s also a bunch of new audio versions of major Marvel works like X-Men: Gifted, The Death of Captain America, New Avengers: Breakout, Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon & Groot, Secret Wars, and Iron Man: Extremis. I like to listen to these as I’m just going to sleep, letting all the Marvel characters enter my subconscious overnight, so they can talk to me all day long the next day. (Especially Groot saying “I am Groot!” for 8 to 10 hours in a row.) Hey, that’s not weird!!!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. I saw Mommy kissing Groot, underneath the mistletoe last night. Yeah… gonna have a weird Christmas this year…

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