What is missing in 'The Golden Age of Reprints'?

Anyone who reads my stuff (or that of Jeff of Earth-J) has heard the phrase "Golden Age of Reprints."

Because it is. I've been collecting comics since 1963, and for many decades finding a reprint from before the Silver Age was hard to come by. I have many hundreds of those reprints, of course, from a variety of venues, like Fantasy Masterpieces or DC Super Specials. But there are hundreds of thousands of stories from before (say) 1960 that the Young Cap'n, the Young Adult Cap'n, and now the Middle-Age Cap'n simply had no way to read. Even the crappy back issues of oddball comics still cost too much to buy.

This was so distressing to the 1963 Captain that he actually wept when he saw the (high) issue number of certain copy of an 80-Page Giant Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. (True story.) How could I read everything that I needed to read? How could I collect what I needed to collect? How could I be knowledgeable in this field, when there was so much denied to me?

But now, so much has become available. My collection of '60s Gold Key is spotty, and I was never going to fill in the blanks, especially when the price of a back issue of Doctor Solar Man Of The Atom always kept pace with a car payment. But here comes Dark Horse, which has not only collected every superhero comic Gold Key ever published, but also every superhero comic ACG ever did! And the Archives editions of those series cost as much as a SINGLE back issue. Bliss!

Then there's all the non-superhero stuff which -- before the Silver Age -- was the overwhelming bulk of American comics. There is tons of this stuff, which I'd never read. But now I'm getting to read it. By the Spork of Odin, it's wonderful!

But what about what's missing? From my own perspective, there's plenty of stuff that's not published yet, or may never be published. Where is it? I'm not getting any younger, you know. Let's have it!

So here's an off-the-cuff list of things I want reprinted that I haven't seen yet. And I want to hear from each of you what YOU want reprinted, and haven't seen yet.

Here's my list (again, off the cuff):

* 1950s Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman: Yeah, these characters are getting reprinted like crazy these days, and I'm grateful for that. But the Archives/Showcase/Chronology books for all three characters are lapping each other, and not covering any new ground. All are working on two tracks: Early stuff, starting with the debut of the characters, and Silver Age to present. In all three cases, the early stuff has only hit about 1946, and the Silver Age starts in 1958 (or in Batman's case, 1964). There's this huge gap between 1947 to 1957 that I haven't read, from Action, Batman, Detective, Sensation, Superman, Wonder Woman and World's Finest. For God's sake, reprint those books before I retire!

* Jughead Archives: Dark Horse says it's going to start reprinting all Archie material from 1941 to present. Cool. However, I haven't seen any of those books. And Archie and Dynamite are doing "Best of" and holiday collections. And that's cool, too. But there's a lot of other Archie material I want to see: The Collected Bob Montana. The Collected Dan DeCarlo. And the Jughead Guy.

Who? Well, I used to collect Jughead in the 1960s and '70s, specifically because of the writer/artist on the material. Who was he? I don't know. No credits. And I never saw him on any other Archie titles, and he disappeared around 1985. But I sold my Jugheads and I want to see that guy's work again. C'mon, dudes, reprint 1970s Jughead!

* Crime Does Not Pay: One of the most famous and pivotal comic books of all time, and I have not read a single issue.

* Romance Comics: Not just the Simon/Kirby stuff. Give me a whole run of something, so I can see how the genre changed, and which writers and artists came and went. Think of it: There's tons of Buscema, Romita and Infantino stuff out there. Bring it on!

OK, that's just a taste of what I want. (Yes, Mrs. Captain, I DO want to own every comic book ever published!) But what would YOU guys like to see? Sound off, and maybe we can find a consensus and push for something. Who knows? Just a decade ago I wouldn't have given odds on Mighty Samson getting reprinted, but here it comes!

Views: 282

Comment by Figserello on March 28, 2010 at 5:54am
Crime Does Not Pay, eh? Get thee to this golden age thread and check out Luke’s links. I *think* your man is in there somewhere.

Given that all Archie comics look very ‘production-line’ to me, I’m wondering how the Jughead guy was so different to the norm. Especially as a writer. Writing is a lot harder to spot repreated themes and motifs over time than the lines etc of art.

I’m big into long-defunct licensed toy comics these days. Some of them were better than the majority of their superhero stable-mates. I’m in the middle of reading runs of Rom, Micronauts and Zoids these days and ramble on about them here. They’re the high points, in my view, although Transformers is lauded as an ambitious, heroic epic. Optimus Prime seems to be a perfectly realised archetype of the Heroic Self-sacrificing Leader. Comics featuring toys are much sneered at – not least by me along the way - but these series all used the toy concept to tell stories that were wonderfully different to standard superhero fare, and had the built in audience that innovative work rarely has in the genre, so they got long runs.

The licensing problems mean they might never be reprinted, which is a pity. Rom and Micronauts are probably the best longform work Bill Mantlo ever did, and collections of them would be a good monument to his comics career. I’m sure he and his family would appreciate the income too.

As he’s currently in institutional care, I’d love to see the Legionnaires get behind the push for Mantlo’s inventive extended toy adverts to get the collected treatment.

I’d love to see more Superboy stories collected systematically too. They look every bit as inventive and charming as the Superman stories I’ve read. However, I have the feeling that log-jam may be breaking. DC has just published a Superboy team-ups collection, with ‘Superboy’ even used in the title...
Comment by Luke Blanchard on March 28, 2010 at 6:11am
I like some of the Geo Papp Green Arrow stories from the 50s. "Moccasin Foot's Strange Treasure" has a killer opening (I wonder if it was stolen from some popular mystery). "The Mechanical Archer" and "The World's Three Most Dangerous Arrows" are two more good ones. The GCD tells me the last was reprinted in The Brave and the Bold #113 in 1974, so you might remember it. (GA believes he has radium poisoning, so to finish what he believes will be his last case he uses three flawed trick arrows which are potentially fatal to the user.)

WW lost her slot in Sensation at the end of 1951. DC reprinted a number of Kanigher/Peter Wonder Woman stories in the 70s. They're stiffly drawn and written at a fairly young level.
Comment by Luke Blanchard on March 28, 2010 at 6:26am
Fig, you're aware that IDW publishing has reprinted some of Marvel's Transformers material? Including some of the British stories (the British Transformers weekly needed more material than the US was producing for its monthly).
Comment by Luke Blanchard on March 28, 2010 at 7:10am
I've seen artist Jimmy Thompson's work on "Robotman", from the mid to late 40s, highly praised. Apparently one of his stories was reprinted in The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told, but I haven't read that.
Comment by Figserello on March 28, 2010 at 8:19am
Comment by Luke Blanchard 1 hour ago Fig, you're aware that IDW publishing has reprinted some of Marvel's Transformers material? Including some of the British stories (the British Transformers weekly needed more material than the US was producing for its monthly).

Oops. I didn't mean to include Transformers in 'comics that should be reprinted', just as examples that toy tie-in comics could occasionally be better than most superhero comics.

I'd heard a lot about them, but they were after my time, really. I did get one of those collections, but I've never read it. Transformers looks like something that you need to follow the whole monumental thing to enjoy, rather than little bits of it. I don't know if I could still enjoy Transformers at my age, but I would've said the same thing about Mantlo's two licensed epics before I started looking at them.
Comment by Figserello on March 28, 2010 at 8:20am
I'd buy Transformers Essentials in a flash, though...
Comment by Philip Portelli on March 28, 2010 at 9:13am
Certainly Pre-Silver Age DC and important Golden Age stories, like the Shade's 1st App or the complete S. olomon Grundy saga. It doesn't have to be a TPB either. How about a monthly reprint book with 4 to 5 features for $4.99?
Comment by Jeff of Earth-J on March 28, 2010 at 10:58am
I would like to see a complete collection of Steve Ditko's Mr. A.

From Timely/Marvel, I would like to see the post-war issues of Captain America from issue #59 (Nov 1946) through #74 (Oct 1949). I did buy #59 on microfiche after seeing the actual comic book priced at $425.00 in fair condition. Of these, the one I would like to see most is #66 (April 1948) in which Bucky is shot by the female criminal Lavender and replaced as Cap's partner by The Golden Girl. While they're reprinting those, they might as well also throw in Captain America's Weird Tales #75 (February 1950), which doesn't feature Cap at all, but is in fact an attempt to ride the coat-tails of EC's success.

Along those same lines, I would also love to be able to read Sub-Mariner Comics #32 (June 1949), the last issue of the Golden Age, which features a story of Namor's father, Leonard McKenzie. In both of these case, I'm sure Marvel will get around to them eventually as their respective series of Marvel Masterworks progess. And if Cory Sedlmeier (editor of the Marvel Masterworks line) should happen to be reading this, please don't think I am at all unappreciative of the complete run of Human Torch, Sub-Mariner and Captain America stories from the "Atlas Age" that has already been reprinted!

On the National/DC side, I'd like to see further volumes of Superman: The Man of Tomorrow Archives (two volumes so far), reprinting from the commonly accepted start point of the Earth- One adventures (Action Comics #241 (June 1958), but what I'd really like to see are the stories of the "Swanderson" era, whether that means starting a new series or the continuation of the one already started.

Speaking of which, I wouldn't mind seeing additional volumes of the Dynamic Duo Archives (two so far) reprinting the comics of the "New Look" era. Also, I remember when Commander Benson first posted his "Titans of Relevancy" columns back on the old board. Those articles made me eager to read those stories, but at that time DC had only reprinted on volume of archives. The Commander recently reposted those Deck Logs here on the new board, and although I am no less eager to read those stories, DC has still not released more than one DC Archive edition. I'd like to see more of that series, too.

There are more I'd like to see, but those'll do for starters.
Comment by Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) on March 28, 2010 at 1:05pm
Cap: Could this be your Jughead guy: Samm Schwartz?
Comment by Chris Fluit on March 28, 2010 at 1:23pm
I can't even keep up with all of the stuff they're reprinting now.

However, there are a couple of thing that haven't been reprinted that I've love to see. I'd love to see Marvel work out the rights issues so that they can reprint Master of Kung Fu. I'd also love to see Marvel reprint Spider-Man in the '80s- Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco, Peter David, Rich Buckler, Ron Frenz, JR JR, yeah that would be fun.

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