In previous years, this was a memory box so we didn't miss any good nominations for the Cappies. With the Cappies hypertimed away, that doesn't mean we have to discontinue these threads. I've always liked going back at the end of the year and seeing the books and stories and moments that people really champion -- including plenty of stuff that I've forgotten about come Christmastime. 

So have at it, Legionnaires! It's a bold new year! What in 2017 has knocked you out?

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This volume (v23) shipped today. I can hardly believe I own every Prince Valiant Sunday from 1937 through 1982 in these handsome... no, these beautiful... hardcover collections! If you don't have any, don't start with this one, though; start with the Hal Foster stuff. Truly, one of the greatest examples of the comic book art in existence. 

When I visited the Billie Ireland Cartoon Museum in Columbus Ohio they had the original art for a Hal Foster Prince Valiant Sunday strip on display. It was much larger than expected which helps explain the detail. It was truly a work of art.

Yes, I've seen photos of him next to his original pages. They're HUGE! And he put so much thought into, not only the composition of each panel, but the composition of the entire page as a whole. 

This Basil Wolverton retrospective collects the ultra-rare classics Scoop Scuttle, Mystic Moot, Bingbang Buster, and Jumpin' Jupiter as they've never been seen before! When first published in 10 comic books, Wolverton's intricate line work was routinely obscured. In this collection, every effort has been made to restore the art to its original splendor, and to at last present the uniquely detailed graphics of this justly revered comic book master.

The Marvel Treasury Edition that celebrated 200 years of the United States of America is back, as big as life and better than ever! From the unparalleled imagination of Jack Kirby, it's a time-spanning adventure featuring Captain America on an incredible journey through his nation's past - from the American Revolution through two world wars...and more! Steve Rogers meets major historical figures, makes quite an impact on Benjamin Franklin - and takes inspiration from two centuries of American struggle and progress! Reprinted in all its oversize glory along with suitably patriotic special features, this is one of the Sentinel of Liberty's wildest adventures of all, without which no Cap collection is complete! Collecting MARVEL TREASURY SPECIAL: CAPTAIN AMERICA'S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES and MIGHTY MARVEL BICENTENNIAL CALENDAR 1976.

I couldn't enjoy Kirby's 1970s Captain America work when I read some of it in my teens, including the above volume (except for the first part of the Night Flyer story. I've never read the conclusion). The treasury was inked by several inkers: Barry Windsor Smith, Herb Trimpe, John Verpoorten, John Romita and Dan Adkins, and possibly Frank Giacoia in places, the GCD tells me. My recollection is the art looked consistent except for the opening Smith pages.

The story is a series of American history snapshots. It didn't work for me as a story but there are some good moments. There's a bit with a Depression newsboy who might be a self-portrait. The treasury also has some non-story splashes, which are Kirby whimsies. I don't know it has much to offer people who aren't Kirby tragics.

I used to own the 1976 tabloid-size Bicentennial Battles. I don't think it did much for me. I was glad when I finally sold it and some other tabloid-size square-bound books. Keeping them safe from damage in that unwieldy size (and still floppy!) is a pain you-know-where. 

I still have my original copy of Captain America's Bicentennial Battles, but with it being 45 years old (!), it's quite yellowed with age. 

I'm not the biggest (or even the smallest) fan of Jack Kirby, so I have it more for the novelty of the giant tabloid size. 

I picked up an original of this at NY Comicon 2019, and was really taken by it! I've started to pick up more tabloids now and then -- they give me the impression I had of reading comics when I was young and small -- they're so big and glorious to look at! 

I'm not sure if I have my original King Kong tabloid comic anymore -- certainly without its cover, if I do -- but I can tell you I read this one to shreds when I was a kid.

The Art of Sushi by Frankie Alarcon. I will fully admit my interest in the subject may cloud my judgement on this book, but I really loved it.

With the increased popularity of sushi in France, Frankie and some of his friends/co-workers travel to Japan to do research on this very book. Not only do they eat sushi at different sushi restaurants. They also go to the main fish market in Japan, a sake brewer, a rice farm, etc.

Everything they experienced was interesting to me. Like the progression of a sushi meal. Upon their return to France they go to more sushi restaurants there. And of course, different fish is used there because of where they can source it.

It also had some nice additions in the back like a few recipes, sushi restaurants to go to in Japan and France. Sites to buy equipment.

I was telling a friend about this book, and she thought it sounded good too, so I think sold another copy. Now I kind of want to read his book on chocolate.

From their inception in 1935, comic books - starring Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel - had been primarily written for and aimed at adolescents. There were always the occasional outlier artists who pushed back against the commercial constraints of comic books and envisioned the next evolutionary artistic leap in the artform: Charles Biro was one of those artists.

In 1949, the ambitious Biro - who had previously co-created the realistically brutal comic Crime Does Not Pay- edited and wrote an oversized comic aimed at adults, called Tops. Like several other radical adult comics projects that would follow, it proved to be a commercial failure and lasted only two Life magazine-sized issues. The original comics have since become a legendary holy grail among comics fans and historians, fetching as much as $6,000 on the collector's market: written about but rarely seen and never reprinted. Until now.

Fantagraphics' Tops collects both issues of these oversized experimental comics in their entirety. Some of the best craftsmen working in comics at that time drew these pulpy, sexy, and melodramatic stories: Dan Barry, George Tuska, and others. It includes two stunning pre-EC crime tales illustrated by Reed Crandall, reminiscent of his Crime SuspenStories work. Actor Melvyn Douglas (believe it or not) takes the reader on a tour of utopia, entitled "How Would You Live Under A World Government?" - a positive spin on global Socialism!

A treasure trove of fascinating and revelatory comics history for scholars and fans, this compilation includes an introduction by the editor, the historian and cartoonist Michael T. Gilbert, as well as several other essays providing background on the creation of the series and the publisher, editors, and cartoonists who realized it. It includes a chronicle in essay form of experimental, adult comics endeavors throughout the first half of the 20th century. Tops is a landmark work of historical importance and a mind-boggling reading experience from a bygone era meticulously restored and reproduced in a deluxe hardcover in its originally published dimensions.

I suspect I am going to have (much) more to say about this in the days to come.

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