Going Through My Graphic Novels: Cull or Keep? (SPOILERS)

I've got rather alot of graphic novels, most of which sit on my bookshelves or in boxes in my closets from one year to the next, never being looked at. So, I've decided to go through them all, re-reading each one and deciding whether to keep it or to cull it. Culls will be donated to the local public library.


As I re-read each one, I'm going to try to present my impression of each one, and then announce the verdict: Cull or Keep?


There will be spoilers here, so beware. I most likely won't read one every day, but I 'm going to try to keep up a steady pace.


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I seem to remember the Shield appearing in Iron Man comics of the early 80s?  Certainly a Marvel comic anyway.  Was it the same character?  Or was it 'The Blue Shield'?  I liked the character design at any rate, but see now he was some kind of rip-off/tribute to DCs Guardian (or Vice versa).

Wikipedia says he first appeared in Dazzler and has made sporadic appearances since then. Simon and Kirby made Guardian in 1942. Guardian was a "tribute" to their earlier Captain America.

Dazzler would make sense.  It was in one of the weekly compilations that Marvel UK used to put out.  I remember that much.

I remember the Blue Shield. Kind of a third-stringer, as I recall.

Read The Adventures of the Fly, containing stories from the Double Life of Private Strong #1-2,  and Adventures of the Fly #1-4, by Joe Simon with Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, Paul Reinman, Al Williamson, Jack Davis, Ted Galindo, Chic Stone, the Joe Simon Studio (including one panel by Neal Adams) and Sol Brodsky.

This was fairly entertaining stuff - not deep, or anything like that, but an amusing enough kid super-hero book. Plus, there's an amusing introduction where Simon seems to be obliquely suggesting that Stan Lee stole the idea for Spider-Man.

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Read The Mighty Crusaders - Origin of a Super-Team, containing stories from Fly-Man #31-33 and The Mighty Crusaders #1. No writer or artist credits on any of these. Essentially this tells the story of Fly-Man (as the Fly is now known), Fly-Girl, the Shield, the Black Hood and the Comet coming together to form a team.

The only real problem with this is that it's not very good.  It's as though someone read some Marvel books and decided that having heroes fight for no apparent reason was the story behind Marvel's success, and then did a bad imitation of it. Overall, a book interesting only for its historical significance.

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

The GCD lists Jerry Siegel as writer and Paul Reinman as artist and inker. Interesting Archie is still putting out comics with no credits.

It's clear from stories like these that the superhero industry, which Siegel had started, had left him far behind by this point.

The Baron said:

Read The Adventures of the Fly, containing stories from the Double Life of Private Strong #1-2,  and Adventures of the Fly #1-4... This was fairly entertaining stuff - not deep, or anything like that, but an amusing enough kid super-hero book.

What I've seen of the material also compares well to the other superhero stuff being done at the time. When the issues came out only DC was doing superheroes, apart from a handful of comics featuring masked western heroes and funny animal superheroes. DC's Silver Age was still getting going: the series started five months after the Flash's title and two months after Supergirl's debut in Action Comics, and Green Lantern's try-out in Showcase overlapped with the collection's issues. Captain Atom debuted a couple of months after #4, and Fantastic Four #1 came out a year and nine months later.

Read Superman & Batman: Generations, by John Byrne, an "Elseworlds" in which he posits Superman and Batman actually existing form the 30's through the early 21st Century. Interesting stuff. I don't always agree with every direction he took the characters in, but it was a fun story nonetheless.

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

I once read John Byrne’s various “Generations” series in the order in which the stories occurred rather than the order in which they were released. I don’t recommend reading it in that order. Regarding the direction he took the characters, I do agree with how he presented (or rather, didn’t present), Bruce Wayne’s wife. I suppose the two likely candidates were Selina Kyle and Kathy Kane, and by not showing her face, he let his readers decide which it was. I have a clear preference, and I know who Bruce Wayne’s wife is on Earth-J.

I did that, too. It's kind of headache-inducing, but the story does hold together -- at least it does in the first and second miniseries. The third one, though ... oy!

I remember one character (Kyle Rayner Green Lantern maybe...?) who appeared before his "official introduction" when read in that order. Although not part of the official "Generations" continuity, I also fold JB's "Capatain America/Batman" one-shot in.

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