by KC Carlson
THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC BOOK COLLECTIONS
Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom Archives Volume 2 (Dark Horse): Reprints the classic Gold Key Doctor Solar #8-14 by Paul S. Newman, Frank Bolle, and George Wilson. Solar finds his powers evolving and his fight against arch criminal Nuro intensifying. Forward by Jim Shooter. 216-page color softcover. Available in January 2014.
EC Archives: The Vault of Horror Volume 3 (Dark Horse): 24 terrifying tales illustrated by timeless artists, including Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Joe Orlando, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen, and George Evans. Features digitally remastered colors, based on the Marie Severin originals. New introduction by Mike Richardson. Collects The Vault of Horror #24-29. 216-page color hardcover. Available in January 2014.
Eerie Archives Volume 15 (Dark Horse): Collecting Eerie #70-74, featuring painted covers by Ken Kelly and Sanjulian, with the continuing adventures of the undead Coffin in the wild west. Includes all stories, text features and fan pages from the acclaimed Warren magazine. 294-page B&W hardcover. Available in January 2014.
Forbidden Worlds Archives Volume 3 (Dark Horse): Collects issues #9-14 of the bizarre 1950s anthology featuring wax sculptures of Hitler, snake goddesses, and forced marriages to swamp monsters. Includes work by writer Richard E. Hughes and artists King Ward, Harry Lazarus, Charlie Sutton, Jay Disbrow, Charles Nicholas, and others. Introduction by Timothy Truman. Includes all original ads, text pieces, and lettercols. 224-page color hardcover. Available in January 2014.
Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders Volume 4 (Marvel Comics):
There’s something happening here…
But what it is ain’t exactly clear…
There’s an Elf with a Gun over there…
Telling me I got to beware.
–original lyrics by Stephen Stills
More Steve Gerber/Sal Buscema Defenders greatness, featuring the Sons of the Serpent and the hot, hot, HOT Guardians of the Galaxy (including the debut of Starhawk)! Plus, the most-discussed subplot in comic book history — It has its own Wikipedia page. Really! — alluded to in the musical parody above. (I see the Muppets singing it in my head…*) From the Defenders classical period, collecting Defenders #22-30, Giant-Size Defenders #5, and Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1st appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy — BONUS!). This volume also includes work by Bill Mantlo, Arnold Drake, Gerry Conway, Roger Silfer, Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Gene Colan, Don Heck, and a cover by Gil Kane. 248-page color hardcover. Available in February 2014.
*The Muppets actually did perform the original version of “For What It’s Worth” on The Muppet Show.
NOTE: Many new Deluxe versions and TPB versions of previous PS Artbook collections are also available on the website this month.
THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS
Li’l Abner Volume 6 (IDW/Library of American Comics): This volume is packed with both buxom beauties — Daisy Mae, Wolf Gal, Moonbeam McSwine, and Lena the Hyena (one of these things is not like the other!) — and calamitous celebrities (Boris Karloff, Frank Sinatra, Salvador Dali, Frank Sinatra, and Kate Smith). Plus Fearless Fosdick, Joe Btfsplk, and six thousand ham sangwidges. Hold the mayo! All of Al Capp’s daily and Sunday strips from 1945 and 1946. 272-page B&W (w/color) hardcover.
The Phantom: The Complete Newspaper Dailies Volume 1: 1936-1937 (Hermes Press): Available Again! Out of print for over three years, Hermes is reissuing this book with additional documentary material and revisions. Features the origin of the Phantom and two other stories, spanning the first two years of the strip. Includes essays by comics historian Ron Goulart and the late Ed Rhoades, a Phantom expert. 288-page B&W (w/color) hardcover.
The Phantom: The Complete Sundays Volume 2: 1943-1945 (Hermes Press): The long-anticipated second volume of the Phantom’s full-color Sunday strips by Lee Falk, Wilson McCoy, and Ray Moore! Every strip is “digitally reconstructed” (we think that means “remastered”). This volume will include eight complete adventures, including “Castle in the Clouds” and “The Strange Fisherman” — which would be cool if it was a crossover with Popeye (but it probably isn’t). 176-page color hardcover. Available in January 2014.
Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Volume 2: 1969-1971 (IDW/Library of American Comics): Second in a four-volume series collecting the entire run of the Tarzan newspaper strip by Russ Manning. This volume contains five complete storylines and five complete Sunday adventures. The dailies run from October 29, 1969, through March 31, 1971, and include Tarzan meeting the Stone Pharaoh while his son Korak encounters the Gryf Worshippers. Sundays run from May 18, 1969, through January 17, 1971, and include the secret of how Tarzan first met Jane. All strips are reproduced from the original Edgar Rice Burroughs file copies. 296-page B&W (w/color) hardcover. Recommended.
NOW IN SOFTCOVER
Creature Commandos (DC Comics): Collecting the original 1980s stories of the strangest war heroes ever — WW II military superhumans based on Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, the Werewolf, and the Gorgon (and originally created by the same Project M that gave us G.I. Robot and the Golden Age’s Miss America). Plus, if you’re weird and you’re in WW II, eventually you end up on Dinosaur Island! Stories are from Weird War Tales #93, 97,100, 102, 105, 108-112, 114-119, 121, and 124. Originally created by J.M. DeMatteis and Pat Broderick. Their work, plus stories from Mike W. Barr, Robert Kanigher, John Celardo, Fred Carillo, and others, are included in this 288-page color softcover. Cover by Joe Kubert.
Deadman: Book Four (DC Comics): More adventures of Deadman continuing his quest to bring his killer to justice, including stories from DC Special Series #8, DC Comics Presents #24, and his series from Adventure Comics #459-466 by Bob Haney, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, Ric Estrada, José Luis García-López, Jim Aparo, and others. Guest stars include Superman, Batman, and Sgt. Rock! 168-page color softcover.
Essential Hulk Volume 7 (Marvel Comics): The Jade Giant in affordable black & white! The Hulk battles the Corporation, Moonstone, Machine Man, Goldbug, Tyrannus, and the not-dead-yet Captain Mar-Vell. Guest appearances by Captain America, the Falcon, Quasar, the Angel, Power Man and Iron Fist, and Sasquatch. Special appearance by the corpse of Jarella, the Hulk’s long-lost love. You gotta love comics… Featuring stories and art by Roger Stern, John Byrne, Doug Moench, Sal Buscema, Steve Ditko, Carmine Infantino, and others. Collects Incredible Hulk #226-248, Annual #7-9, and Captain America #230. Bring lots of green and purple crayons!
Marvel Masterworks: Ant-Man/Giant-Man Volume 1 (Marvel Comics): Marvel’s biggest and tiniest hero — all the same man: Hank Pym! Collecting the earliest adventures of Ant-Man, Giant-Man, and introducing the winsome Wasp against some of Marvels greatest commie and cold-war creeps! Also, the Scarlet Beetle and the Black Knight. Plus, learn the secret of the “Man in the Ant Hill!” Collecting stories from Tales to Astonish #27 and #35-52, featuring art and story by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Dick Ayres, and Ernie Hart. Cover by Kirby and Richard Isanove. 288-page color softcover. Guaranteed not to ruin your picnic!
Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics Volume 2 (Marvel Comics): Re-presenting a comics classic! The first hero vs. hero battle (a foundation of the Marvel Universe!) occurs when the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner cross over into each other’s series for the very first time — in their stories in Marvel Mystery Comics #8, collected here, along with issues #5, 6, and 7! See the concept of the Marvel Universe unfold before your very eye! (Or eyes, if you are not a cyclops or eye-impaired). Plus, the Human Torch joins the police force, and Sub-Mariner gets the electric chair! (It tickles.) Plus, the Angel, Ka-Zar, Electro, and Professor Zog — although none of these are the same characters you’re probably thinking of. (Especially Professor Zog! Whoever he is.) Features classic work by Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, Paul Gustavson, Irwin Hasen, and others, with a cover by Alex Schomburg and Richard Isanove. 280-page color softcover. Highly combustible if left near fire or water. Available in December.
Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 5 (DC Comics/Vertigo): Collecting Alan Moore’s award-winning run on Saga of the Swamp Thing. This reprints issues #51-56, with art by Rick Veitch, John Totleben, and Alfredo Alcala. Guest starring Batman, Lex Luthor, and the G.C.P.D. 168-page color softcover. Mature Readers.
Showcase Presents: Strange Adventures Volume 2 (DC Comics): This collection of early 1950s science fiction tales has been resolicited for December release. If you want it, you must reorder now, as all previous orders have been canceled.
Superman vs. Mongul (DC Comics): Relive the excitement of the early stories of a great new (Bronze Age) villain who could actually stand up against Superman. Most of these are classic stories, including Mongul’s first appearance (featuring Supergirl) in DC Comics Presents #27-28 in a kick-butt story by Len Wein and Jim Starlin. Plus, there’s the classic “For the Man Who Has Everything” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (which not only appeared in Superman Annual #11, but was adapted into an episode of the animated Justice League Unlimited). Rounding out the book are other Mongul battles from DC Comics Presents, by Starlin and Paul Levitz (#36) and Levitz and Curt Swan (#43). Also guest starring Batman, Wonder Woman, and that crazy sci-fi Starman (Prince Gavyn) with the cosmic staff! 144-page color softcover.
Golden Age Captain America Omnibus Volume 1 (Marvel Comics): Just in time for the new Captain America movie, here’s a brand-new mega collection of the original 1941 Captain America series. What do you get in Captain America Comics #1-12? The entire original run of the legendary Joe Simon and Jack Kirby Cap (before they were unceremoniously fired by Timely Comics!). Plus, the first appearances of Captain America, Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and the Red Skull! And — the first published comic book story by Stan Lee. All in one deluxe, oversized, and remastered volume! Two covers to choose from: One by John Romita Jr. or a vintage Cap cover (from issue #3) by legendary cover artist Alex Schomburg. 848-page color oversized hardcover. Available in February 2014.
John Romita’s Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 Artist Edition (IDW): This format has been around enough that we’re going to assume that everyone now knows what an Artist Edition is. (If you don’t, that’s what the internet is for.) This one features seven more (apparently undetermined) fantastic John Romita (Senior) issues from Amazing Spider-Man. Scanned and printed at original art size. 216-page, technically color, but B&W oversize hardcover. Available in December.
The Planetary Omnibus (DC Comics): Compiling the complete series that turned modern superhero conventions on their heads, with the appropriate crossover stories. Planetary was written by Warren Ellis with art by John Cassaday, Jerry Ordway, Phil Jimenez, and Andy Lanning, with the coloring by Laura Martin a standout element of the series. Ellis does some incredible universe-building, focused on the superhero genre itself, rather than just the heroes. In addition to its core characters — Jakita Wagner, The Drummer, and Elijah Snow — the series itself presents many iconic (and “squintably” recognizable) characters and elements within its investigation of a “secret history”. Longtime fans remember the frustration of long delays in completing this series, caused by illness and other creative commitments. Now, the entire saga can be read in a single (long) evening. Collecting Planetary #1-27, Planetary/Batman #1, Planetary/JLA #1, and Planetary/Authority #1. It isn’t mentioned in the solicitation, but let’s hope DC doesn’t forget to include the Planetary preview story from Gen 13 & C-23. Often reprinted, this is the first time the complete Planetary saga has been collected in one book. 864-page color hardcover.
BOOKS ABOUT COMICS
Carl Barks’ Donald Duck: Your Average American (Uncivilized Books): Written by Peter Schilling, Jr. For over 20 years, Carl Barks drew Donald Duck comic books. He took what should have been a bland franchise and turned it into a classic of comics. Drawing on his own experiences (most notably a brief stint as a chicken farmer), Barks created a character who was remarkable . . . for not being remarkable. In his pursuit of a good job, his boredom with suburban life, his temper, his squabbles with neighbors, and his resolve in the face of his many failures, Barks’ Donald Duck was truly your average American. 120 pages. We’re guessing that this is not authorized by the Walt Disney Company, so don’t expect to see any artwork in this slim tome.
Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists: 1896-2013 (Fantagraphics Books): Trina Robbins has spent the last thirty years recording the accomplishments of a century of women cartoonists. Pretty in Ink is her ultimate book, a revised, updated, and rewritten history of women cartoonists, with more color illustrations than ever before, and with some startling new discoveries (such as a Native American woman cartoonist from the 1940s who was also a Corporal in the women’s army, and the revelation that a cartoonist included in all of Robbins’ previous histories was a man!). Although the comics profession was (and is) dominated by men, there were far more women working in the profession throughout the 20th century than other histories indicate, and they have flourished in the 21st. Forget Robbins’ previous histories: Pretty in Ink is her most comprehensive volume to date. 200-page hardcover w/B&W illustrations and 48 pages of color.
Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe (Chronicle Books): Written by Tim Leong, editor and founder of Comic Foundry, and design director at several major magazines, including Wired, which recently ran an excerpt from Super Graphic. Not surprisingly, the book is graphic-heavy, featuring lots of bar graphs and pie charts. So it’s also very statistic-heavy, something that will most likely appeal to a huge population of comic book fans who love to debate who’s stronger than who and use statistics to clobber each other. But Super Graphics is not this kind of a book. It’s actually very amusing — a circle chart of “The Hulk’s Outfit” (as based on fans cosplaying the Hulk at San Diego) had me laughing for minutes. I think this book really isn’t for comic book stats geeks. I think it will ultimately tick them off. (Maybe that’s not a bad thing.) Actually , I think it’s a book for comic book hipster doofuses. Or hipsters. Or doofuses. I’m not that picky. We are all DEVO.
To get the best out of this book, you have to love comic books and the crazy world that surrounds it, but not be one of those “Why so serious?” folks. The more you are in touch with the absurd side (side? maybe the whole polyhedron!) of comic books, its fans, and its worlds (both real and fictional), the more you will get out of Super Graphic. Paul Pope, Matt Fraction, and Mark Waid have already read it and liked it — except Mark, who wants to quibble… he always wants to quibble…
I think I know two things about it. First, lots of comics people are going to be talking about it in a couple of months. And second, its ultimate place in the comic book cosmos will be somewhere between “love letter to the industry” and an amusingly malfunctioning H-Dial. Or a drunken Impossible Man. It also may be the strangest, disjointed history of comic books ever written. I can’t wait.
KC CARLSON: Wrote most of this while his brain was in the shower. Hottest day of the year, and I have a cold. How does this happen?
WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you.