In a sidebar to my December CBG column on good reading for Silver Age fans in 2010, I suggested five collections that I wanted to see in 2011. Amazingly enough, between the time I wrote the column and it was published, TWO of those collections (Sugar & Spike and SSOSV) were announced!
That’s a pretty good average, and it indicates either that the publishers are listening to their readers or we all agree on where the gaps are (and that most of the low-hanging fruit has long been picked). So what other collections do we still need?
Long-time AMSA fan Tom DeWitt suggested a few to me in an e-mail, leading me to add a few more to my own list. Here’s what would be coming soon, if I were in charge:
Essential Sgt. Fury #1: This lapse stands out more every day. Jack Kirby and a key Silver Age Marvel comic unreprinted? Houston, we have a problem.
Essential Not Brand Echh: Virtually timeless and hilarious, especially when the writers and artists parody their own comics. What’s the hold up here? Are they afraid DC will complain?
Go-Go Archives: Charlton’s groovy 1966 series starring Miss Bikini Luv (on which Jim Aparo made his comics debut in #6) is little seen and pricey when it does show up. It’s crying to be reprinted! At least, I’m crying that it hasn’t been.
Scribbly Archives: Once that S&S volume takes off, they’ll no doubt want to get more of Mayer’s work into print. This would be my A #1 way to go. It’s hilarious stuff with excellent art. It’s truly a long shot, but considering some of the oddball stuff that Marvel is putting out from approximately this same time period, this would be a great one for DC to try.
Capt. Savage & His Leatherneck Raiders and Combat Kelley & His Deadly Dozen: I have to admit, as I was not a major War fan back in the day, I’m not too familiar with either of these. But that’s a good reason to get them out there now, as I’d definitely be curious enough to buy a b&w collection of either.
Mark Marlin: It was not my suggestion, but we all know it’s just a matter of time.
Essential Westerns. Likewise, I was not much interested in the Rawhide Kid Masterworks collection, as it was too little bang for the buck, IMO—and apparently others agreed, as no more have followed. But as Essential volumes, I’d buy Kid Colt, Rawhide and Two-Gun for sure. There are other shorter-run westerns that might make up a good collection after these run their course, too.
Brave & Bold also-rans: We’ve mentioned this one before on the AMSA board. I’m not sure how you position it, but we all know the issues we’re talking about here: the ones that weren’t popular enough to get their own series and seldom get reprinted as a result. Heck, they’d have several volumes worth of Viking Prince, Robin Hood, Suicide Squad, etc. to print in succession before they even had to start leaving out anything when the JLA arrived in #28. Maybe they could run the covers to those issues and continue with Cave Carson, more Suicide Squad and Strange Sports Stories. I think those would be great volumes. But what do you call it? The Worst of Brave & Bold?
Rip Hunter: I’m surprised this one hasn’t already been produced, considering he has some name recognition. The Sea Devils is a more iffy proposition but falls into the same category, no doubt. They both have the same demographic make-up as most adventure teams back then, but they are unlike any other comics from that time and deserve some time in the sun.
1950s Batman: It’s a shame that the collections began with the “New Look” stories, which is so late into the Silver Age, but it’s understandable that those show the most recognizable Batman. Even so, all those wacky 1950s stories deserve to be reprinted, if only because so many fewer of them have ever been reprinted. And it’s apparent that the Archives will never get there.
How about the Superman stories prepared for the German market after the first Reeve Superman movie? Some appeared in English in the 80s, but there may be enough that didn't for a collection. I couldn't say.
I would add my voice to a collection of Kurt Schaffenberger comics, preferably an Archive or Chronicle. Or even just a collection of his Lois Lane work.
Has the 70's run of Black Orchid been reprinted? Also the 60s Batman newspaper strip.
Schaffenberger's Lois Lane work is being collected in the SP: Superman Family book, or at least it will be. We haven't seen one of those for awhile, though so maybe sales are falling off. As I noted earlier with these core DC artists, there's a lot of his LL work reprinted all over the place; I'd be more interested in seeing a collection of his Captain Marvel work, or even a sampler, because he's so well known for LL and that work is easy to find.
The '70s BO run would be a great collection, especially since it was mostly backups in Phantom Stranger issues (which I've never seen, which make me interested for sure). Those may not be possible to collect due to that creator's agreement, but I think a 4/c TPB like the Suicide Squad one that is out now would be a good way to go.
I imagine there's some problem with the rights to collecting the 1960s Batman strip. It's little seen and would certainly be of interest. I'm not sure how good it was, but that's probably of lesser concern with something so rare.
>>The first twenty something issues of Sgt. Fury can be found in the digital comics section at Marvel's website.
That doesn’t really do it for me. Sadly, it may be part of the reason they haven’t produced a volume, figuring they’ve undercut their own sales. I want a book—and I’ll bet a lot of the people who are interested in reading those issues do, too.
Preach it, Brother SA!!!
Does anyone know whatever happened to DC's planned Creeper Showcase?
And what about all the orphaned features from the original Showcase comic book?
"Essential Sgt. Fury" tops my list, too. Also would like "Essential Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD." I have the two trades that reprinted all the Steranko stories in color, but the series was around for more than a year before his debut. I've never read those issues.
I'd also go for a "Brand Echh" collection, because my issues from the '60s are also "ancient, raggedy, worn-out (and) dog-eared." It's nice to have reading copies of comics you're leery of taking out of the plastic bags, for fear this will be the time the cover comes off or the pages fall out.
I know it won't happen, but Marvel should reprint "Patsy Walker" and "Millie the Model," if only for historical value. These comics lasted longer than many superhero titles. I'd also shell out cash for western, romance and war Essentials.
And I'd like to see those late '50s/early '60s "Strange Tales," "Tales to Astonish," "Tales of Suspense," etc., in a more affordable format than Archives. DC has reprinted a good sampling of its weird anthology comics in Showcase volumes. Why can't Marvel put out an "Essential Journey into Mystery"?
OTOH, there's the "be careful what you wish for" syndrome. I remember being excited when DC announced "Showcase Presents: The War That Time Forgot." I fondly remembered those from childhood. Then I bought the book, read the stories and ... they were awful. Kanigher at his absolute repetitious worst.
I'll take the Sgt Fury and Not Brand Ecch, thank ew very muchly - Especially if you could get Garth Ennis to do an intro to the Sgt Fury one.
I've also said this before, and I'll say it again - with The Grim Ghost and Phoenix coming back, I want an Atlas/Seaboard reprint/archive edition - and yes, I'll even grin and bear with The Beast for that!