COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT [OCT 15] BOOKS, PART TWO: Warbucks, Smythe, Lothar, Sprang, Bhob, Ploog, and al Ghul: Attorneys at Law

KC Carlson in a purple mood. Artwork by Amy Carani.

KC Carlson in a purple mood. Artwork by Amy Carani.


by KC Carlson

BOOKS ABOUT COMICS

The Art of Ploog

The Art of Ploog


The Art of Ploog (FPG): Originally a Kickstarter-funded project, this book is now being offered to the general public in a standard edition. It sounds like a fantastic book about a fantastic artist. I don’t have enough space here to cover Ploog’s entire career (including much film and animation work and PS magazine for the military), but he’s best known in comic book circles for his 70s horror work for Marvel Comics, including Werewolf by Night, The Monster of Frankenstein, the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider, and my favorite — Man-Thing with Steve Gerber. He’s also worked for Warren, Malibu, Crossgen, and Image, among other comics publishers. In gaming circles, he’s known for illustrating Magic the Gathering and Guardians cards.

In this 300+ page oversized book, we see hundreds of pieces of artwork from all these projects and more — including his work on films like Wizards, Shrek, Lord of the Rings (animated), Little Shop of Horrors, and X-Men. Ploog provides a running commentary, as do people he worked with, including Ralph Bakshi, John Carpenter, Frank Oz, and Roy Thomas. A lot of Ploog fans (like myself and Roger) have been patiently waiting for a book like this. Highly recommended. 320-page 9” x 12” color hardcover. A signed and numbered edition, limited to 250 copies, is also available.

The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood

The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood


The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood (Fantagraphics): Who was Wallace Wood? The maddest artist of Mad magazine? The man behind Marvel’s Daredevil? The independent publisher who created witzend? And Cannon? And Sally Forth? This “new” book is an incisive look back at the life and career of one of the greatest and most mythic figures of cartooning. Written and edited over the course of thirty years by former Wood assistant Bhob Stewart (a former co-worker of mine at DC Comics), this is a biographical portrait, generously illustrated with Wood’s gorgeous art as well as little-seen personal photos and childhood ephemera. Also: remembrances by Wood’s friends, colleagues, assistants, and loved ones, including Bill Gaines, Larry Hama, Paul Kirchner, Trina Robbins, John Severin, Tom Sutton, Al Williamson, and many others. This collective biographical and critical portrait explores the humorous spirit, dark detours, and psychological twists of a gifted maverick in American pop culture. This book substantially updates a previously published (by TwoMorrows) volume about Wood, Against the Grain (also by Bhob Stewart and now out of print), with nine new chapters in a revised and redesigned oversize format. 304-page 10” x 12” partial color softcover. Available in March 2015.


ARTIST/GALLERY EDITIONS

IDW’s Artist’s Editions present complete stories with each page scanned in color from the actual original artwork, printed the same size as first drawn. IDW’s Artifact Editions (like an Artist’s Edition) also present pages scanned from the actual original artwork. Unlike an Artist’s Edition, these will present books even if all the original artwork cannot be obtained. They can also include extras such as advertisements, portfolio pieces, color guides, and more. Graphitti Designs Gallery Editions are somewhere in the middle, striving to present complete stories (when possible), while also providing a selection of available pages and other artifacts. Everything is scanned from the original artwork. So far, they are exclusively producing work from DC Comics and its imprints.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Frank Miller Gallery Edition

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller Gallery Edition


Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller Gallery Edition (DC Comics/Graphitti): Commemorate the 30th anniversary of one of the most defining works in comics history with Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller Gallery Edition. Sourced from the original art, scanned from collectors worldwide, this is the collection pretty much everybody’s been waiting for. Featured within the hardcovers of this Smythe-sewn edition is Miller’s artwork from DKR #1-4, scanned in full color from the original black-and-white pages. Also included are covers, related art, and previously unpublished pieces. Though DC/Graphitti were unable to locate every original from this story, they are pleased to present to fans everywhere the best presentation of the artwork from this historic series ever seen. 216-page 13” x 20” B&W (but scanned in color) hardcover. Available in February 2016.

Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents: Artist’s Edition Portfolio (IDW): Wally Wood is rightly recognized as one of the finest talents to ever grace the comics medium. In the 1950s, he was one of the brightest stars in the legendary E.C. stable of artists, including being one of the key artists on the ground-breaking MAD. In the 1960s, Wood reinvigorated Marvel’s Daredevil, including designing the classic blood-red costume. Soon after, Wood turned his sites on a new superhero team: the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, including the iconic Dynamo. Now IDW presents a selection of gorgeous Wood art, all scanned from originals and printed at full size. Wood’s art is increasingly rare and sought after by collectors, and few have even seen his originals. (I haven’t!) Don’t miss this opportunity to own this next-best-thing, at a fraction of the cost! Hardcover portfolio: 12 individual 15″ x 22″ B&W plates, including a couple of covers.

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS

Complete Little Orphan Annie Volume 12

Complete Little Orphan Annie Volume 12


Complete Little Orphan Annie Volume 12 (IDW/LoAC): It’s hard to keep a good man down, and Oliver Warbucks is no exception. With reports of his death greatly exaggerated, “Daddy” is back. With World War II over, he has to fight off a cadre of international businessmen who want him to hand over the secret of the atomic bomb! (Waitaminute!?! He’s connected to the atomic bomb? Does this make Annie Dr. Strangelove?) Meanwhile, Annie discovers that lying dogs don’t always stay put when she has to stand trial for murder! (What? She killed a dog?! Jeepers!) And in a classic Harold Gray tale, the little redhead finds respite on a seemingly bucolic farm run by a young woman and her grandfather — but all is not what it seems. (Is it ever? I finally get “Hard Knock Life” now. It’s hard writing about these strip books without first reading them!) Volume Twelve reprints all the daily and Sunday strips from April 15, 1945, to January 11, 1947. 296-page 11″ x 8.5” B&W (with color Sundays) hardcover.

James Bond: The Spectre Comic Strips

James Bond: The Spectre Comic Strips


James Bond: The Spectre Comic Strips (Titan Books): The daring and debonaire international spy James Bond is back, now in a lavishly designed collection of his famous 1960s British comic strip by Ian Fleming, Jim Lawrence, Yaroslav Horak, and John McLusky. This volume celebrates/compiles the iconic and rip-roaring SPECTRE storylines — including Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, and The Spy Who Loved Me. These fully restored and thrilling stories are based on the original Ian Fleming James Bond novels and were originally published in the UK between 1962 and 1968, with international syndication. 304-page 8.3” x 5.9” B&W hardcover. NOTE: Shipment might be shaken, but not stirred.

Mandrake the Magician: The Sundays Volume One: The Hidden Kingdom of Murderers

Mandrake the Magician: The Sundays Volume One: The Hidden Kingdom of Murderers


Mandrake the Magician: The Sundays Volume One: The Hidden Kingdom of Murderers (Titan Comics): From the very beginning in 1934, these are the original adventures of the famous comic strip magician/detective (imagine that business card!) — collected in full for the very first time. Mandrake is a master of hypnosis, whose ability causes his opponents to encounter wild illusions, giving the heroes the upper hand in a fight. His enemies include gangsters, mad scientists, alien creatures, and Rich Uncle Pennybags (that guy from Monopoly — Mandrake stole his hat!). His greatest ally is Lothar, “Prince of the Seven Nations” who gave up his crown to join Mandrake in his globe-trotting adventures. They are accompanied by the beautiful Narda, princess of a European nation and Mandrake’s romantic interest. (Not really big on last names in this strip, are they?) Mandrake’s exploits are among the most stunning and exciting in the realm of comic strips. You’ll believe a man can “gesture hypnotically!” 160-page color hardcover. Available in March 2016.

The Phantom: The Complete Sundays Volume 3: 1945-1949

The Phantom: The Complete Sundays Volume 3: 1945-1949


The Phantom: The Complete Sundays Volume 3: 1945-1949 (Hermes Press): This volume collects seven storylines, all by Lee Falk, Ray Moore, and Wilson McCoy, including “Queen Pera the Perfect” and “The Haunted Castle”, plus the usual documentary materials and a detailed essay by somebody. (Too bad “details” don’t always extend to Hermes’ solicitations of their products.) Might be available in January 2016, although we don’t know for sure.

Prince Valiant Volume 12: 1959-1960

Prince Valiant Volume 12: 1959-1960


Prince Valiant Volume 12: 1959-1960 (Fantagraphics): This latest volume of Fantagraphics’ award-winning book series begins with Prince Valiant attempting to bust Sir Gawain out of prison! There’s a lot of the two heroes fighting bullies, brigands, and a despicable earl, but events soon turn very serious. Charged by King Arthur, Prince Val sets out on a quest to find the legendary Holy Grail. Should his mission fail, the very foundation of the Fellowship of the Table Round is at stake. This volume of the acclaimed Sunday newspaper strip concludes with the Misty Isles under attack and Queen Aleta perilously close to death. 124-page 10.25” x 14” color hardcover.

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The Daily Newspaper Comics Volume 2

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The Daily Newspaper Comics Volume 2


Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The Daily Newspaper Comics Volume 2 1940-1942 (IDW/LoAC): From the Disney Vaults! These early Donald Duck daily strips are collected for the first time ever! This second volume includes 750 sequential daily comic strips from 1940 to 1942, drawn by Al Taliaferro and written by Bob Karp, and reproduced from pristine original material in the Disney Vaults. These are so funny and well-drawn, you can practically hear Donald’s distinctive cartoon voice in your head as you read! 272-page 11″ x 8.5″ B&W hardcover. Available in January 2016.

BIG BOOKS

Batman and Superman in World’s Finest: Silver Age Omnibus Volume 1

Batman and Superman in World’s Finest: Silver Age Omnibus Volume 1


Batman and Superman in World’s Finest: Silver Age Omnibus Volume 1 (DC Comics): Superman and Batman team up in these classic stories that guest-star Robin, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and the Joker! Written by Edmond Hamilton and others, with art by Curt Swan, Dick Sprang, and others. Cover by Darwyn Cooke. Collects stories from Superman #76 and World’s Finest Comics #71-96. These stories were first restored for the now OOP World’s Finest Archives Volumes 1 and 2. There was a WF Archives Volume 3 which restored more stories up to World’s Finest #116 (March 1961), but that’s all that ever got restored. So there might be a second volume of this series, someday. (One hopes DC learned a lesson from making their Omnibi too big! I know I stopped buying them once they became too difficult to lift and hold.) 640-page oversize color hardcover. Available in March 2016.

Marvel Universe by John Byrne Omnibus

Marvel Universe by John Byrne Omnibus


Marvel Universe by John Byrne Omnibus (Marvel Comics): Bob Greenberger is covering this very interesting book in detail elsewhere on the blog, so it’s “Just the facts, ma’am” time for me here. Collects Champions #11-15, Marvel Preview #11, Avengers (1963) #164-166 and #181-191, Power Man #48-50, Marvel Premiere #47-48, Captain America (1968) #247-255, Silver Surfer (1982) #1, Incredible Hulk (1968) #314-319, Wolverine (1988) #17-23, and material from Marvel Fanfare (1982) #29 (Hulk story). It’s all drawn by John Byrne (did you not catch the title of this book?), but he had a little help here and there from writers Bill Mantlo, Chris Claremont, Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, Steven Grant, Mark Gruenwald, Roger Stern, Stan Lee, and Archie Goodwin. Inkers don’t seem to count for much in Marvel’s solicitations these days, but Terry Austin, Gene Day, Klaus Janson, Bob Layton, Tom Palmer, Joe Rubinstein, and others inked Byrne on these issues. (It seems wrong to leave them out, doesn’t it?) Cover by Byrne. 1,120-page oversize color hardcover. Available in April 2016.

Showcase Presents: Batman Volume 6

Showcase Presents: Batman Volume 6


Showcase Presents: Batman Volume 6 (DC Comics): Hooray! Showcase Presents… is back — and blacker and whiter than ever! In this new collection of tales from Batman #229-244 and Detective Comics #408-426, originally published in the early 1970s, Batman returns to his roots as the Dark Knight Detective, operating on his own in the shadows of Gotham City. With Robin away in college, Batman faces new foes and old, including Two-Face, Man-Bat, and Ra’s al Ghul, who makes his debut appearance. These revolutionary stories were the first efforts in transforming Batman from the buffoonish 60’s TV character into what would become the Dark Knight Detective — The Batman! Written by Dennis O’Neil, Frank Robbins, and others, and art by Neal Adams, Irv Novick, Dick Giordano, and others. Cover by Adams. 584-page B&W softcover. Available in January 2016.

Also Available:

Absolute Transmetropolitian Volume 2

Absolute Transmetropolitian Volume 2


Absolute Transmetropolitian Volume 2 (DC/Vertigo): Outlaw journalist Spider Jerusalem learns of the vicious murder of political consultant Vita Severn, one of the few people he liked, which leads him to delve into the corruption of the city’s police. Then, Spider is hot on the trail of the horrifying truth behind the newly elected president’s campaign. Written by Warren Ellis with art by Darick Robertson and Rodney Ramos. Cover by Geoff Darrow. Collects Transmetropolitian #19-36. 560-page 8.25” x 12.5” color hardcover. Available in April 2016. Mature Readers.

The Walking Dead Omnibus Volume 6

The Walking Dead Omnibus Volume 6


The Walking Dead Omnibus Volume 6 (Image): Includes 24 issues of the crazy-popular series by Robert Kirkman, Dave Stewart, and Charlie Adlard. I think zombies are involved somehow. And maybe presidential candidates… Too much going on in the “real” world right now — I might be confusing things… Collects The Walking Dead #121-144. 560-page 5.9” x 8.3” color hardcover.

Available Again:

Daredevil by Frank Miller Omnibus Companion

Daredevil by Frank Miller Omnibus Companion


Daredevil by Frank Miller Omnibus Companion (New Printing) (Marvel Comics): Collecting all the important Frank Miller Daredevil stories from his latter Daredevil (writer only) issues, as well as important miniseries, graphic novels, and even Miller’s first artistic interpretation of the Man Without Fear. Collects Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #27-28, Daredevil (1964) #219 and #226-233, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #1-5, and Marvel Graphic Novel: Daredevil: Love and War. Written by Frank Miller & Bill Mantlo. Art by Miller, John Buscema, David Mazzucchelli, Bill Sienkiewicz, and John Romita Jr., who also provides the cover. 608-page oversize remastered color hardcover. Available in April 2016. Note: This is not a First Printing.

X-Men: Age of Apocalypse Omnibus

X-Men: Age of Apocalypse Omnibus


X-Men: Age of Apocalypse Omnibus (New Printing) (Marvel Comics): Just in time for the new 2016 film of the same name (anybody placing bets on the story similarities between the two projects?), this collects one of the biggest original Mutant Events ever, originally published in 1995-96. Written by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, Fabian Nicieza, Jeph Loeb, Larry Hama, John Francis Moore, Warren Ellis, and Howard Mackie. Art by Roger Cruz, Andy Kubert, Steve Epting, Chris Bachalo, Joe Madureira, Adam Kubert, Steve Skroce, Ken Lashley, Tony Daniel, Salvador Larroca, and more. Cover by Billy Tan. Collects Uncanny X-Men (1981) #320-321, X-Men (1991) #40-41, Cable (1993) #20, X-Men Alpha, Amazing X-Men (1995) #1-4, Astonishing X-Men (1995) #1-4, Factor X #1-4, Gambit and the X-ternals #1-4, Generation Next #1-4, Weapon X (1995) #1-4, X-Calibre #1-4, X-Man #1-4, X-Men Omega, Age of Apocalypse: The Chosen, and X-Men Ashcan #2. 1072-page oversize remastered color hardcover. Available in April 2016. Note: This is not a First Printing.

ZINES

Back Issue #86

Back Issue #86


Back Issue #86 (TwoMorrows): A big look at Marvel’s Giant-Size line of the 70s, as well as other reprint collections (Fireside Books, digests, etc.). Plus, the last days of the “old” X-Men. 84-page full-color magazine.

Charlton Spotlight Magazine #9

Charlton Spotlight Magazine #9


Charlton Spotlight Magazine #9 (Argo Press): A special interview and features on the work of Charlton war comics writer Willi Franz (The Lonely War of Willi Schultz and The Iron Corporal). Also features work and comments by artist Sam Glanzman, writer Joe Gill, and editor/artist George Widman. Plus — a detailed look at the rarest 125 Charlton comic books. (I’m surprised there are that few. Charlton had some notoriously low print runs, as well as iffy distribution.) I always learn new things from this great magazine. 60 color pages.

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KC CARLSON: Thinking of changing my name to Ferd Berfel. I don’t really know why.

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

 

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