Looking Forward to Looking Back
We're more than a few decades removed from the 1930s and 40s, but this really is the golden age for the comic book fan! I say this not because of all of the video games and films based on comics or because The Disney Corporation just bought Marvel Comics, but because there's such a wealth of incredible material both new and old for fans to read! For me, the "old" material is mostly what I'm after, and thanks to the numerous reprint, archive, and masterwork efforts going on today, even though I have reduced the number of regular comic books I buy I never go without something to read! I also have plenty to go on about when it comes to discussing this material which brings me to this post on the Comix Connection blog. This my inaugural edition of a regular column to discuss my love for classic comic material in reprint or original form along with some other things classic and cool, and if I'm lucky it'll prove of interest to some of our site's fine visitors!
So what's up for this first edition? Well, the new Previews is here, so I think I'll start with talking up some of the goodies from the September listings for items which begin shipping in November!
Dark Horse Comics is offering the first of a two volume Archives Series featuring Barry Windsor-Smith's work on marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian. This material has been offered up before in the softcover Chronicles of Conan volumes, but this is the first time this work gets the hardcover treatment. I'm passing on this collection, but for Conan fans this is the stuff! Volume two will close out with issue #24, which while featuring the last of BWS's art, it also holds the distinction of being the first full Red Sonja story. Artist-centric collections such as this often skip any other artists' work, so I wouldn't expect to see John Severin's work on Kull or Gil Kane's work on issues #17-18 as part of the book. 200 pages of full color Conan for $49.95!
DC Comics gives me only one item to have on my Previews order this month with Showcase Presents: Wonder Woman Volume 3 TP. Collecting issues #138-156, this boasts almost 500 pages of Silver Age goodness for a mere $17.99! Gotta love the value of the Showcase series!
It's worth mentioning there's a nice Absolute Green Lantern:Rebirth collection offered this month featuring the mini-series that reestablished Hal Jordan and all the wonders of the Green Lantern Corps to the DC Universe again! If any recent material deserved Absolute treatment, this is it! This edition also includes the GL preview story from Wizard Magazine and material from Green Lantern Secret Files 2005. This collection can be yours for $75.00!
Green Lantern fans should also note, GL Chronicles Vol. 2 TP, collecting Green Lantern(vol 2) #4-9, is available to order in this Previews! Lots of key Silver Age material there, including battles with The Weaponers of Qward, Sinestro, Hector Hammond, and the 1st appearance of fellow Lantern, Tomar Re!
Now onto the reprint slate for Marvel Comics...
Marvel is the powerhouse when it comes to reprints, and this month is no exception! They have two amazing Masterworks editions, a softcover Masterworks, two spectacular Marvel Premiere Classic HCs, another Essential... volume, and a new Visionaries TP!
Starting with the Masterworks, this time out Marvel offers Golden Age Daring Mystery Comics Vol. 2, which reprints Daring Mystery Comics #5-8 and then a post Silver Age volume of Fantastic Four reprinting FF #117-128! Some fun stuff there! The FF Masterworks is significant as this volume sees the culmination of Stan Lee's run on the book, having stayed on after Kirby's last work on issue #108!
The softcover series of Masterworks soldier on this month with the Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1, collecting Giant-Size X-Men #1, and X-Men #94-100! If I have to explain the importance of these issues to you, then you need to waste no more time on this post and read some classic X-Men!
The Marvel Premiere editions this month are both really top-notch stories and come highly requested from fans of this line. So because we demanded it... The Avengers: The Korvac Saga(Avengers Vol. 1, #167-168 & #170-177) HC and Fantastic Four: In Search of Galactus (Fantastic Four 204-214). Byrne fans should note this now reprints his earliest work on FF! Also features the 1st appearances of Terrax the Tamer and H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot! Yay!
Keeping the Fantastic Four theme rolling this month, there's a FF Visionaries:Walter Simonson, collecting another chunk of his work on the book(FF#347-350 & #352-354)!
Essential Moon Knight is the lone black and white phone book thick reprint book this month, and features 528 pages of goodness!
Ghost Rider fans, particularly on Danny ketch, will want to note the listing for the first Ghost Rider Classic book reprinting issues #1-10.
My final Marvel note is they're offering the first of their efforts to reprint The 'Nam in this Previews. This book reprints #1-#10. Glad to see that series on the reprint list!
IDW has a variety of worthwhile books offered in Previews. First up, there's the Art of Ditko HC, promising a collection of Steve Ditko's most innovative and rare work, an introduction by Stan Lee, essays by Jerry Robinson, John Romita, and P. Craig Russell in a large format full colour book designed by Craig Yoe! In fact, this book kicks off an entire line of Yoe! Books, so keep an eye on IDW in future for other offering by Yoe!
IDW's efforts to produce deluxe reprints featuring classic comic strip material, introduces two new lines of books in November with a focus on family, as both Bringing Up Father and The Family Circus join The Library of American Comics line! IDW's first volume of The Family Circus offers the first chronological reprint ever done for Bil Keane's strip, starting at February29th, 1960, and compiles two years of material for this first volume in the series.Bringing Up Father however skips ahead to 1939-40 for its first volume to reprint the much beloved "From Sea to Shining Sea" storyline, rather than starting with the initial start of George McManus' book in 1913. This storyline sees Maggie and Jiggs treating their daughter and her new husband to a trip across America that's full of funny gags and comic hijinx from start to finish! I'm really anxious for this collection, especially after reading the recent collection of the earliest Bringing Up Father strips published by NBM.
If classic British comic material is your cup of tea, then Book Palace has two fine examples of British comic magazine work in November. The first is another fine collection of Frank Bellamy's work, The Story of World War I. I have Book Palace's books which reprinted his Hulton Press' Swift work in The Complete Adventures of King Arthur and The Complete Adventures of Robin Hood, and Bellamy's such an amazing draftsman that I can't pass on this book. Bellamy's a self-taught artist whose talent can't be denied. I can only hope Book Palace also publishes The Complete Swiss Family Robinson to further highlight his top notch adventure comics work!
The other Book Palace release for November is the Complete Adventures of the Three Musketeers illustrated by Chilean artist, Arturo del Castillo. After starting his career working for ad agencies and South American magazines, Del Castillo became well remembered in the UK for the comic strip adaptations of Alexandre Dumas' novels, such as The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask, he illustrated for British magazines in the late 1950s. He also drew a number of key British western comics such as Top Spot ('Ringo') and Ranger ('Dan Dakota - Lone Gun') and for the Cowboy Picture Library.
Pure Imagination has the second volume of Bill Ward's Torchy in their listings! If Theakstonised black and white reprints of America's blond bombshell from Modern Comics and Torchy Comics sounds appealing, this book's for you!
TwoMorrows Publishing has two artist books of note to mention here. First up, Sal Buscema: Comics' Fast & Furious Artist and then the newest edition to the Modern Masters series, Volume 21 with Chris Sprouse! The book on Sal will be available as a 172 page SC for $26.95 or as a 192 page HC for $46.95.
And my final note for this Previews...
In August, Fantagraphics released their first deluxe volume of Prince Valiant strips, and it was a truly beautiful reprint effort worthy of Hal Foster's pages. Now Fantagraphics brings us Brian Kane's Definitive Prince Valiant Companion, a 160 page hardcover, reprinting the out of print and highly sought after showcase expanded with new material! I am very excited for this new edition! Brain Kane's examination of Hal Foster's significance as an illustrator and creator, in Hal Foster: Prince of Illustrators is my favourite documented book of an artist, as well as his book on James Bama. Mr. Kane visited our store in Mechanicsburg on vacation more than a summer ago, and he was even nice enough to send me a replacement dust jacket for my copy after I confessed my original took on a bit of paint and damage from being on my drawing table at home. I thank you Mr. Kane! You are a true gentleman and scholar! This collection is also dear to me as the proceeds of the sale of this book will go to an organisation I joined a number of years ago, The Friends of Hal Foster Society, which has been raising money for the creation of a statue of Prince Valiant to be erected at the site of Foster's birthplace in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Well, that's a lot for now! Thanks for reading! Check in next week for a new post!