Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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Retired from library work a little over a year ago, but I'm still a big fan (and user). I do a lot of my current comics reading using the Hoopla service, which I heartily recommend. Check to see if your local library offers it. If you've got a reasonably large tablet (I have a Fire HD 10) you can download your loans on there, and it's just like using Comixology. Of course most libraries also collect physical graphic novels, too. 

Something's wrong with the emoji.

I was kidding you about your typo, pubic library.

OMG!

I didn't even realize I had such a typo until just now. Sorry folks.

Haha! It's all good, man!

Lee Houston, Junior said:

OMG!

I didn't even realize I had such a typo until just now. Sorry folks.

First I’ll start off with a couple of reprints before moving on to this week’s originals…

MMW HULK v13: Back in 1976/77 I gave up comics… for 15 whole months… because I thought I had outgrown them. This volume overlaps 11 of those months and goes two beyond. It represents that last of Len Wein’s run and the beginning of Roger Stern’s. Ending with #222, this volume sets up a great jumping on point for v14. Also included in v13 is Annual #6 (which I read last night), by DAK and Herbe Trimpe, introducing the Enclave’s “Paragon” (who later became “her”).

HULK #324 (“True Believers”): Every once in a while I buy one of these TB reprints because they’re such a good bargain. I don’t usually buy one if I already own a reprint on nice paper stock, but Al Milgrom’s Hulk has yet to be reprinted. Sandwiched between two classic runs (John Byrne’s short one and Peter David’s lengthy one), Milgrom’s is often over-looked. I didn’t care much for his run in general, or this issue in particular, when initially released, but both have since grown on me. #324 is the first appearance (since issue #1) of the gray Hulk. Marvel is spotlighting Hulk’s “strange transformations” in it TB line to complement the “Devil Hulk” story currently running in Immortal Hulk.

THE ORVILLE #3: “The Word of Avis.” Part one of a two-parter about faith and religion.

HASHTAG: DANGER #5: My favorite of the AHOY! Comics titles.

INVADERS #9: Will wait for Richard Mantle’s “Complete Invaders” to comment.

POWER OF X #4: I’ve read it; now I’m waiting for ‘Tec to explain it to me.

I had to smile  at your comment about outgrowing comics. Maybe it's universal? I had the same mental process in the  late 1970s and early '80s, when I found I wasn't really enjoying much from the Big Two. It all seemed so ... repetitive and pointless. I thought about quitting. "When my monthly bill at Westfield goes over $200," I thought grimly, "I will quit cold turkey."

Then the indies like Grimjack, Cerebus, American Flagg! came along, forcing the Big Two to get better as well, and I realized I hadn't outgrown comics -- I had just outgrown bad comics. Needless to say, I didn't quit.

I kinda have a question for the group. I have always intended to replace my SIlver/Bronze comics with hardback collections (and sell the original floppies), but of course Marvel and DC keep throwing me curves. I stopped buying Marvel Masterworks when the Omniboo came along, but to my consternation they started coming out really grudgingly. The Masterworks are well into the Bronze Age -- the MMW Hulk you describe, Jeff -- but the Hulk Omnibus line is still at ... volume 1? I'm kinda considering returning to the MMWs, and waiting for the Omnibuses to catch up (back-issue MMW are ridiculously overpriced). What do y'all think? Will I end up wasting money again?

Meanwhile, what I'm reading:

I just finished the latest PS ArtBook, which collects Space Action #1-3 and World War III #1-2 from Ace (1952-53). And boy, are they bad.

Space Action is fairly typical of space opera at the time, which has rocket ships and "rays" that do whatever the plot requires. Meanwhile, the plots are basically medieval stuff with kings and queens and scheming advisors and all that sort of stuff, with ray guns replacing swords and space ships replacing horses.

It really doesn't age well. I mean, the stories are dopey, but even worse is the bad science -- bad even for the time. Bad like people living on Jupiter, the vacuum not being really so bad, breathable air everywhere and having to pass every single planet to get to Pluto, like they're always lined up all the time.

Like I said, I think this is fairly typical for the time. Most of the other SF I've read from other early '50s publishers -- PS ArtBooks is branching out into SF and crime -- is about at the same level. But wow, it's almost unreadable now. I wonder if it was then, too, given how short run most of these titles are.

Meanwhile, World War III is outright propaganda AND bad science.

First the propaganda. The covers and intros shriek that this sort of thing will happen if we aren't ALERT and WATCHFUL and don't find Commies under every bed. It also will mention once in a while how we'd do better in this war if Congress wasn't failing to pass billion-dollar budget supplements. Hmm.

So you have to have a high tolerance for jingoism to get through that sort of crap. Meanwhile, the action is very World War TWO.

That's the bad science. Basically these are World War II stories, if we had fought the SOviet Union and they had sprung a sneak attack. All the story beats are familiar, with the chicken guy who gains his courage and the competitive brothers who learn to appreciate each other's unit. The combat is strictly conventional, despite everyone putting "atomic" in front of everything. The atomic bombs the Russians drop on us are like really big bombs, that only destroy parts of cities and there is no discussion of radiation at all. Instead of the reality, of course, where a single nuclear bomb can wipe out an area the size of Ohio, and there will be multiple targeted on major cities, and no one will survive and the areas will be irradiated for millennia. And the bombs have to be delivered by airplanes, as if missiles don't even exist. (Maybe ICBMs didn't exist yet -- I'd have to look that up.)

Anyway, since the "atomic" bombs really aren't, America is able to rally after the sneak attack and return the favor. (But we, of course, don't target civilians.) There are dogfights, "ramming" airplanes, really big aircraft carriers, and ground battles that could be lifted from a Charlton war book of the time (only putting "atomic" in front of "hand grenade" and "mortar" and "land mine" and so forth). And despite all that "atomic" hardware on the battlefield, none of those weapons seem any stronger or different than the non-atomic variety. Also, of course, there is no radiation.

This is propaganda, too, in that it suggests we could survive an atomic war. New flash, 1950s people: Nobody will survive a nuclear exchange. Some will die quickly, but everyone will die from lack of food (nuclear winter) or radiation poisoning of the air and water worldwide. I get kinda angry when anybody suggests anything else, because the suggestion makes the possibility that much more likely.

The Harlem Hellfighters - A graphic novel by Max Brooks and Caanan White about the African American  369th Infantry Regiment, who fought in World War I. It was terrific, although a fictional story it does include events that actually happened, and some of the characters were actual soldiers. It is something I knew nothing about honestly. Highly recommended.

The Terrible Elisabeth Dumn Against the Devils in Suits - A man makes a deal with the Devil to become rich and successful. After 25 years the Devil gets his son's soul as payment. Well times up, and the Devil comes to collect. The dude make him another offer, takes his daughter Elisabeth instead. The Devil agrees, and a story ensues. Another really good comic. There a bunch of "deal with the Devil" stories, but this one has its own spin on it, and has some new elements. There is also a Robert Johnson-like character and that was fun.

"Take my daughter instead!" What a d*ck.

Skipper, World War III sounds a lot  like  Invasion USA (1952), which was featured in the sixth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000,  It portrays World War Three as being  like World War Two, down to using footage of the  London Blitz to portray a nuclear attack on New York City.  (It does feature Noel Neill and Phyllis Coates in a scene together, so there is that.)

For most people  in the 1950's, World War Two was their only referent for a global war, so that's why they tended to see it in those terms.

Cap:

For what it's worth, I hang on to my original issues whenever possible.

Collections of Silver and Bronze Age material don't include things like house ads, letter columns, or reprints; especially in regards to the 48, 52, 80, and 100 page issues.

All those volumes offer is what was then the new material plus the cover, so you get the "main event" of that issue without the true flavor of the times involved.

Now if you're talking in regards to anything published past the original Crisis On Infinite Earths, that's a different matter.

If the collection is about the same price as the sum total of the original floppies involved or you can buy it on sale, I'd say "go for it", because a lot of publications today just don't have the "feel" of their predecessors, if you know what I mean.

Just my 2 cents on the subject.

Lee Houston, Junior said:

Cap:

For what it's worth, I hang on to my original issues whenever possible.

Collections of Silver and Bronze Age material don't include things like house ads, letter columns, or reprints; especially in regards to the 48, 52, 80, and 100 page issues.

All those volumes offer is what was then the new material plus the cover, so you get the "main event" of that issue without the true flavor of the times involved.

Now if you're talking in regards to anything published past the original Crisis On Infinite Earths, that's a different matter.

If the collection is about the same price as the sum total of the original floppies involved or you can buy it on sale, I'd say "go for it", because a lot of publications today just don't have the "feel" of their predecessors, if you know what I mean.

Just my 2 cents on the subject.

I hear you, Lee.

My situation is that I have Marvel and DC more or less complete from 1962 to 2010. I have most Silver Age superhero comics from other publishers as well. That's more than 120 longboxes packed as tight as I can pack 'em.

I no longer pull out those old Silver Age books for any reason whatsoever, despite needing to scan the covers for one column or another. They just keep getting older and more fragile. The worth of those books keep going up, but the condition keeps deteriorating, bringing that worth down. At some point those factors will reach equilibrium, and then the books will start to lose value.

I need to sell them before that happens.

There is also the chance of a catastrophic event; a fire or roof failure or earthquake. Then they're not worth anything.

I need to sell them before that happens.

As I said, they are no longer useful for research. I have most Silver Age material replaced in one collection or another, and intend to continue that process. There are also online sites where I can read old books, some authorized and some not, but the material is there. I don't need the books for that.

I could stop the deterioration by CGCing them, but it's a LOT of books, and that's expensive. I see no reason to spend a lot of money for essentially making the same amount when I sell them.

I would sell them today, but both the wife and I are employed, so we will be taxed at the maximum for any sudden influx of cash. So I intend to hold on to the books until I'm retired, and my income is more or less zero, and then sell them. The tax will be considerably less, and the profit maximized.

Yes, the collections don't include the letters pages, ads, inside covers and the like. Actually, when Marvel started its Omnibus line, they DID include those things. That's why I initially shifted to them from the Marvel Masterworks, a decision I've come to regret.

But I've made the decision that letters pages, et al, aren't as important as the considerations I've listed above. So I'll just eventually not have those things.

Will it matter? I'm a lot closer to the end than the beginning, and can see most of the 20 years or so I have left, and don't see any reason I'd ever need, say, the letters page to Amazing Spider-Man #19. Maybe I will, but does that "maybe" outweigh the certainty of the risks I've listed in hanging onto the books?

I dunno. I've got my plan, and intend to stick to it, barring any serious changes in the factors I'm weighing.  But I am listening to other opinions, like yours, Lee. I could change my mind.

Regarding collections (and which kind) vs. originals, I have long since run out of room for my originals (which I call “periodicals,” BTW, never “floppies”) and I would be happy to liquidate anything I have duplicated in hardcover collections. There are two things stopping me, though: 1) I don’t have the time, and 2) I don’t think I’d be patient enough to get what they’re worth. My plan right now is imply to let Tracy deal with them after I die. (Actually, my wish is to be cremated on a pyre of longboxes, but that’s probably not going to happen.)

I never did get the impression that it was Marvel’s intention to transfer all of their classic series into omnibus format. The first 100 or so issues of Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and “All-New, All-Different” X-Men, yes, but beyund that? I wouldn’t hold my breath. (The next Hulk omnibus will be a Peter David volume.) I continue to collect Marvel Masterworks, but I’ve either dropped or am fixin’ to drop several of the series. For example, I have Kirby-era mid-‘70s Captain America in omnibus format, so I’m not going to duplicate it in Masterworks format. (I plan to resume once they get to the Gerber era after, say three volumes.)

Similarly, I have all of the Byrne-era Fantastic Four in two Omnibus editions, so after one more Masterwork, I’ll be done for a while. Spider-Man, too. There’s just one volume to go before it gets to the Roger Stern Spider-Man omnibus.

On another note, I am so far behind on my PS Artbook reading (I have all of those, too) I don’t even want to think about it. Sometimes I am in the mood to read “bad” comics, but I am currently leading four discussions of comic books I actually enjoy, so I’m going to keep doing that as long as the mood lasts.

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