Well, I've been stuck indoors with Covid for a week, and I've availed myself of some comics!
For one thing, I reread JLA * Avengers for the first time since its publication. And what a tour de force that is! Perez and Busiek's love for the characters and the universes shines through on every page, and the climax of issue 3 -- where the heroes had to confront their forgotten histories, such as Hal remembering killing his fellow corpsmen, Hank and Jean reliving the slap, Vision and Scarlet Witch discovering what happened to their kids -- was so moving it brought me to tears. I hope one day to get a gorgeous Absolute volume of this series; it's a superhero masterpiece, with a new wonder in every panel.
On DCU Infinite, I read a few Neal Adams-drawn Teen Titans issues, which I have reprints of (in 1981's Blue Ribbon Digest 18, featuring the Teen Titans). These stories are pretty much the ur-Titans text for me; by the time the New Teen Titans were in their heyday, I'm pretty sure these were the earliest Titans stories I'd read at the time. I'm gonna follow the series for a while, up through the Rozakis revival, which I've already re-read.
I also read a handful of issues of Superman/Batman written by Paul Levitz with art by Jerry Ordway. The storyline was called Worship (72-74), and it dealt with a cult that worshipped Superman kidnapping Lois Lane for choosing to marry Clark instead, but it also followed Lex trying to make a distant planet worship him & hate Superman (from afar), creating Lexor. It's didn't really work for me, but it was still fun to see that talent on that book. And the next issue, 75, has a Legion appearance I hadn't seen before, so that was a treat.
I read Catwoman: Lonely City 3, by Cliff Chiang. This is an INCREDIBLE series, one of the best DC is putting out right now. It's basically a Dark Knight Returns for Catwoman instead of Batman, and it's wonderful. And best of all... there's at least one more issue! I'd thought it was ending with issue 3, but as I got deeper into the book, I was like, Hey... there's still a LOT to wrap up here...
Also in Black Label, I read issues 1-2 of Suicide Squad: Blaze. This is by Si Spurrier and Aaron Campbell, who did an incredible run of Hellblazer a couple years ago. I'm not quite as fond of this one -- Campbell's art is tough to read in some places -- but their Hellblazer run is simply a really hard act to follow. This is still really good, no doubt about it.
I've also read the first two Wrong Earth one-shots, Trapped on Teen Planet and Fame & Fortune. They're both worth reading, but I liked the lighter Teen Planet (shifting over to an Archie-like universe) better than F&F (which compares the building of a stadium on Earths Alpha and Omega). That said, Fame & Fortune has a stronger message -- that whether a project is helmed by a nice billionaire or a sleazy billionaire, it's the little guy who gets stepped on either way.
Plus, I wrapped up The Good Asian, the closest modern comic to Sandman Mystery Theater. I'm glad it'll be coming back for a second story, although probably not until 2023.
Crossover ltd series has ended and I have enojoyed its run. Issue #13's ending suggests that it can continue and I hope so. One of the bestCROSSOVER events ever in comic books.
Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:
I hope one day to get a gorgeous Absolute volume of this series.
I think there is one, because I've got a boxed set that includes a JLA/Avengers Collectors Edition HC and an Avengers/JLA Compendium HC with a bunch of words and sketches. Is that different than what you're asking for?
That's exactly what I'm asking for, Cap. I know they're out there, but they're damned expensive, when you can even find one. But I hope to have one one day.
But unless they reprint it and drive the price down, I can't pony up $700 for a hardcover comic.
700 bucks? Yikes! (That one's on my "re-read list" but I'm currently re-reading the Waid/Perez B&B.)
Thanks for bringing that Levitz/Ordway S/B to my attention; I wouldn't have know about it otherwise.
Back issue market prices for individual titles are bad enough.
Marvel Masterworks started out at around $20 a volume with DC's Archives a bit more, but $40-60 US dollars (today's current cost) for the average, "no thrills" hardcover collection is ridiculous! What alternate reality are publishers living in where they think we can spend $700 on one lone book instead of food, utilities, etc.?
Would love to see DC Showcase and Marvel Essentials collections continue, but I'm on the fence about reprinting in color though. There were moments when Jim Aparo's art really stood out on The Phantom Stranger Showcase volume in black and white, yet there are times when you need color, like night scenes, Green Lantern's power ring creations, etc.
For the record, the first Marvel Masterworks (Spider-man, 1987) was $29.95; the first DC Archive (Superman, 1989) was $39.95. The two-volume, oversized, slip-cased JLA/Avengers was $75.00 when new (2004). My pre-order discount is 35%, which made my total $48.75. That's not a bad deal in comparison. Publishers charge whatever they think they need to in order to make the best profit. I have no idea what kind of algorithm they use, but they apparently figure they can make a higher profit selling fewer copies at a higher price point than more copies at a lower one.
My advice is to strike up a rapport with your local retailer and negotiate a discount. I based my offer on what I could get the same product for on Amazon.com. We arrived at a discount (which varies from publisher to publisher in my case, depending on the discount my retailer gets) which allows my retailer to make a profit he's happy with and I get a discount I'm happy with. In any case, my point is, if there's ever a product you think you might want to own someday, buy it new (regardless of discount); don't try to buy it on the backissue market 25 years later.
I'm more likely to complain about the lack of product than the price point.
To Jeff of Earth J, et al...
The first prices mentioned in my previous post were based on 1990s purchases at my local comic book shop of the day.
I got the first two Marvel Masterworks' Fantastic Four volumes (only title I was interested in at the time since Spider-man had been reprinted in Marvel Tales and the Avengers between Marvel Triple Action and Marvel Super Action) for $19.99 each a couple of years apart and the DC Archives then/there selling for at least $24.99 each, with price depending upon title.
It should be noted that I consider myself more a voracious reader than a collector, although I do keep/still have everything I buy/bought.
Anyway—between the pandemic, the Big 2 (DC and Marvel) reworking their distributorships and the elderly couple who were operating the last LCBS I frequented retiring and closing outright without a buyer to take over, I've been without a brick and mortar store to patronize since late 2020.
ATOM #1 (1962): First appearance of Jason Woodrue (the Floronic Man). I read this one to supplement my Swamp Thing reading project.
BATMAN ODYSSEY v2: Bonkers, just absolutely, totally apeshit bonkers. It's a mish-mash of continuity implants, EYKIWs and "neat ideas." If you've ever wonder what a totally unrestrained Neal Adams would be like, this is it. (Whether you want to go along for the ride is another question entirely.) For example: Deaman was friends with The Flying Graysons before they were killed; they were killed, not by sabotaged ropes, but by the same assassins' guild that killed Boston Brand; Ra's Al Ghul was friends with Thomas and Martha Wayne before they were killed; and Ra's Al Ghul didn't discern the location of the Batcave on his own, but rather Man-Bat discovered it accidentally and told him. One truly neat "neat idea": the jazz magicians.
A few weeks ago I picked up The Secret History of the War on Weed by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Scott Koblish... and when I read it last night, it was not at all what I expected. For some reason I thought it would be a historical overview, but explained in a funny way (considering this is one of Deadpool's most popular creative teams). Instead, it's basically an action comedy, like Deadpool, with a Punisher-style commando for the US Government who gets converted to the cause of cannabis through a hallucinogenic experience -- and then has to fight off OTHER government commandos to defend a pot farm in Northern California. Done-in-one* and a lot of fun -- if you like Deadpool, you'll enjoy the hell out of this one, too. Plus, it's double-sized for the price of a normal comic!
*With the possibility of a sequel
THE SHAOLIN COWBOY: CRUEL TO BE KIN #1: It's hard to imagine a Wednesday that saw the release of a Shaolin Cowboy that wasn't my Pick of the Week.
THE MARVELS #10: One of these days I'm going to have to sit down and re-read this.
THE X-CELLENT #3: In this issue, they take on Dr. Strange. I'll read pretty much anything Mike Allred does. He's got a Superman project coming up I'm really looking forward to.
THE WRONG EARTH: PURPLE: On every known Earth but ours, there is a Richard Fame, billionaire civic leader of fortune City. Every known Richard Fame secretly operates as a dragonfly-inspired character. The art this issue (by fred Harper) looks like a cross between Steve Pugh and Richard Corben.
SHAM COMICS v2 #2: Based on a Dover Boys comic from 1950. The "MST3K" of comics (but instead of host segments they run ad parodies).
MARVEL MASTERWORKS: DAZZLER v3: I have read every issue of Dazzler and there are only five of them (#38-42) worth reading. Unfortunately, none of those are in this volume. The introduction (by Ralph Macchio) however, is very interesting and informative. I started buying Dazzler with #38 and was so impressed, I bought #1-37 (#2-37, actually; I had the first issue) as backissues in a fit of enthusiasm. (I'm quirky that way.) Actually, I think I bought all the ones with Sienkiewicz covers first because I was a HUGE Moon Knight fan back then. All of those are in this volume. By the time Marvel Graphic Novel #12 ("Dazzler: The Movie") came out, I had already dropped the line. It's included in MMW Dazzler v3, though.