Markley’s Fevered Brain: I Can Dream…

Wayne Markley

by Wayne Markley

As we approach the end of the year I thought I would devote this blog to things I would love to see in the world of comics in 2019. I have no idea if any of these will happen, but I hope they will. In addition to my dreams of things to come, I will also suggest some books that will fill in the gaps between these dreams. So if I cannot get the books I would love to see, I will offer great reading that is almost as good, if not better, so you will not be left with nothing to read.

Monsters Vol. 01: The Marvel Monsterbus By Stan Lee, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby HC

Monsters Vol. 01: The Marvel Monsterbus By Stan Lee, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby HC

Last year, Marvel published two fantastic omnibuses collecting all of Jack Kirby’s Monster stories from all over the Marvel Universe. Well, most of the stories were from the Atlas Era, that being the 1950s and pre Fantastic Four, but some of the stories did roll into the early 1960s when they had formally changed their name to Marvel. At the time, I highly recommended both of these omnibuses (and I still do) but I lamented that Marvel had not done the same for Steve Ditko, who had also done a ton of work during the Atlas Era on a number of titles from the traditional ones such as Tales of Suspense and Strange Tales but also their lesser known titles like World of Fantasy and Spellbound. Like the Kirby stories, these were mostly 5-10 page stories but while Kirby focused on monsters, Ditko did stories about monsters as well horror stories, suspense stories, and crime stories. There is a wealth of material here that needs to be brought to light of day for all of us to enjoy!

Marvel Masters of Suspense: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 1

Marvel Masters of Suspense: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 1

Happily, Marvel has announced (via Amazon) that next summer they will be releasing an omnibus of almost 800 pages filled with Steve Ditko’s stories from everything I mentioned above as well as stories from Battle, Gunsmoke Western, and more. This tome will be called Marvel Masters of Suspense: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 1. I could not be happier.

All-American Western #122 featuring Jonny Thunder by Alex Toth

All-American Western #122 featuring Jonny Thunder by Alex Toth

Following the idea above, I would love to see DC mine their rich history and expand their omnibus editions and do omnibuses of so many of the characters that do not get any love. There are a lot of characters that come to mind, such as a complete Simon and Kirby Golden Age collection reprinting all of their work on Sandman, Manhunter, Boy Commandos, and the Newsboy Legion (which they have done collections of, but not all of it and not in omnibus format) and other short stories including his Green Arrow. Or how about a collection of all of the Spectre or Dr. Fate stories from More Fun Comics? Or the Vigilante? Or Aqauman from the beginning? Sgt. Rock? Johnny Quick? How about a set of omnibuses collecting all of Alex Toth’s work for DC. You could collect Jonny Thunder from All-American Western, Black Canary stories from Adventure Comics, Rex the Wonder Dog, Eclipso from House of Secrets, and so much more. I would love to see a set of Russ Heath’s DC work. From all of his war books, most notably his amazing work on the Haunted Tank in G.I. Combat to Sea Devils, to the Shining Knight in The Brave and the Bold. Speaking of The Brave and the Bold, how about omnibuses of the first 24 Brave and Bolds, which were all action stories (Viking Prince, Robin Hood, Shining Knight, etc.). Or B&B issues #25 through 49 which were all try out books, similar to Showcase. Or B&B #50 though the beginning of the all Batman run. There are some amazing, and odd, team ups here and include stories by Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, Alex Toth, and so many more. I could go on for days. (How about a Sugar and Spike Omnibus? I know it will never happen.) I was very hopeful we would see a series of this type of collections when DC announced Detective Comics #1-26 hardcover set. Historically very important material, which may have had a limited audience, but it deserves to see print. Sadly, DC has cancelled this book. There are not a huge amount of books I can recommend that are currently in print that feature any of this material,l but here are a few. DC has been doing series of omnibuses reprinting classic Golden Age material in sequence, so far there have been multiple volumes of the Golden Age Superman, Golden Age Batman, World’s Finest Comics, and the Golden Age Wonder Woman. There is also a great collection of Green Arrow, called the Green Arrow Omnibus which collects Green Arrow stories from his first appearance from More Fun Comics #73, as well as all of GA appearance from More Fun Comics, Adventure Comics, and Worlds Finest Comics, all from the late 1940s and early 1950s. Coming next summer there is also a DC Universe Bronze Age by Jack Kirby Omnibus which collects all sorts of Kirby work, but mostly from the ‘70s, including the First Issue Specials, Sandman, Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter and more. Almost all of these omnibuess have later been printed in cheaper paperback collections if you prefer to wait.

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #4

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #4

My final wish would be someone picks up where BOOM! left off by reprinting the complete Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. BOOM! published one volume of the WDC&S Archives, which reprinted the first two issues of this classic comic. While the Carl Barks ducks stories have been reprinted a number of times, there is so much great material that has never been reprint. There are tons of stories with Chip and Dale, Scamp, Bucky Bug, Walt Kelly’s Gremlins, Lil Bad Wolf, and so many more. Plus there are years and years worth of Carl Barks and Paul Murry stories which are just wonderful. While I wait for the complete run to come into print (and I will be waiting forever) there are a number of collections that are currently available to give you your Disney fix. Thanks to Fantagraphics books, there are a number of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck/Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge hardcover collections reprinting all of Carl Barks Duck stories. Fantagraphics also has been doing Disney Masters, which are full color hardcover collections devoted to one creator and character. This includes a number of the great European Disney artists, and a sequential collection of Paul Murry’s Mickey Mouse stories from the pages of WDC&S. (These were volume 3 and Volume 7 so far and they reprint the Murry stories in order.) IDW also has a number of great newspaper strip collections of Disney characters, including the Donald Duck daily and Sunday strips, Walt Disney’s Treasury of Classic Tales and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies. There really is no shortage of Disney material out there, but I would still love to see the complete Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories!

This wraps it up for this time. It is a wide mix and I suspect, hope, a few of these projects will come to pass. (Well, one of them has already been announced.) What would you like to see in 2019? Books? Characters? Formats? I would really like to know. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. Just for the record, everything I have written here is my words and do not reflect the thoughts or options of Westfield Comics or their employees. As always…

Thank you.


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