by KC Carlson
Well, it’s Christmas in July, as publishers are getting a jump start on the holiday season by scheduling a whole bunch of interesting books and gift ideas for October and November release, forcing us all to think about holiday giving (and hoarding) while it’s still 90 degrees outside. Sheesh! I’ll forgo most of my usual grumbling about the comic book market being a Two Season sales cycle, with the second (Holiday Season) beginning before the first cycle (the Comic Convention Season) is even over. Double Sheesh! Anyway, I’ll be back next week with more tips on great comic collections, but for now, there are some great projects lurking just beyond my crabby introduction. Happy Krimble!
THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS
Johnny Hazard: The Complete Sundays Volume 1: 1944-1946 (Hermes Press): This collection of Frank Robbins’ classic adventure strip has been resolicited for December release. If you want it, you must reorder now, as all previous orders have been canceled.
Miss Fury Sensational Sundays: 1941-1944 (IDW/LoAC): The first IDW Miss Fury book reprinted the heroine’s Sunday comics from 1944 through 1949. This companion prequel fills in the gap, reprinting every Sunday strip from the comic’s beginning in April 1941 through April 1944. Which means these are the adventures which introduce the panther-suited lead and all the major characters. Plus, the original Miss Fury book is back in print and available for reorder! That book was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Archival Collection. Edited by Trina Robbins and designed by Lorraine Turner. 164-page color hardcover.
Peanuts Every Sunday: 1952-1955 (Fantagraphics): I’m very happy that Fantagraphics are doing these books. The Peanuts Sunday strips are already included in their The Complete Peanuts series (albeit in a much smaller format and in B&W), so this isn’t strictly an essential purchase, but it most certainly is a desirable enhancement. It’s published in a large format (12.75” x 10”) and will be in full, vibrant color, based on the original beautiful shades, full of rich background pastels balanced by bold character coloring. Since this first volume features all the Sunday strips from the series’ first five years (before the characters were assigned more-or-less permanent, consistent, and identifiable coloring), you’ll get to see some pretty unusual colors on Charlie Brown’s trademark zigzag shirt (before it was officially yellow). Plus, sharp-eyed readers will be able to spot many of the strip’s most popular characters, (including Schroeder, Lucy, and Linus) introduced into the strip as babies. Also, as you’ll be getting a full five years’ worth of Sunday strips, you can see the evolution of Schulz’s early art style. This is the first in a series of 10 projected volumes collecting all of the Sunday Peanuts strips in color. Introduction by author and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum. 288-page oversized color hardcover. Available in November.
Pogo Volume 3: Evidence to the Contrary (Fantagraphics): Two more complete years of Pogo (1953-1954), introducing the bold political character (caricature?) who pretty much sealed the deal on why Pogo is one of the classic American comic strips, and why Walt Kelly is considered one of the country’s leading satirists. Folks across America had little trouble equating the insidious wildcat Simple J. Malarkey with the ascendant anti-Communist senator Joseph McCarthy. The subject was sensitive enough that by the following year a Providence, Rhode Island, newspaper threatened to drop the strip if Malarkey’s face were to appear in it again. Kelly’s response? He had Malarkey appear again but put a bag over the character’s head for his next appearance. There’s more to this story, but you should experience it for yourself inside this beautifully remastered collection of Kelly’s Pogo, also featuring 104 Sunday strips, all fully recolored. You’ll also not want to miss the story of one of the characters attempting to corner the market on water, as well as two rousing choruses of “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie”. Plus, lots of annotations and much more! Just last weekend, Volume Two of this series won an Eisner Award for Best Archival Collection/Project — Strips. (Yay!) This volume is certain to be nominated for next year. Don’t miss it! 344-page oversize B&W & color hardcover. Available in November.
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Color Sundays Volume 2: Robin Hood Rides Again (Fantagraphics): Another collection of Floyd Gottfredson’s classic Sunday Mickey Mouse stores, all fully restored and presented in full color. Lots of different adventure genres are presented here as Mickey and the gang battle medievals in “The Robin Hood Adventure”, with western action galore in “Sheriff of Nugget Gulch”. Plus, the ever-sneaky Mortimer Mouse in “Mickey’s Rival!” (Which was also a Mickey Mouse animated cartoon in 1936.) More than 30 pages of extra features, including non-mouse Disney comics by Gottfredson and commentary by Disney scholars. 280-page color hardcover. This book is also offered in a attractively decorated Color Sundays Gift Box Set with Volume One of the series.
BOOKS ABOUT COMICS
The Best of Comix Book: When Marvel Went Underground (Dark Horse/Kitchen Sink): Celebrating not only the return of Kitchen Sink Press as an active publisher (Yay, Denis!), but also the official documentation of when Marvel went insane in 1974 and thought it might try publishing underground comix. Although technically not an official Marvel publication, three issues of Comix Book were published as a B&W magazine by Marvel offshoot Magazine Management Co. before it was unceremoniously canceled. After a long negotiation, Denis Kitchen was able to publish the already completed issues #4 & 5 through his own Kitchen Sink Press in 1976. There are a lot of great stories (and fascinating publishing firsts) associated with this project, that I hope Marvel publisher Stan Lee (in his Introduction) and underground pioneer Denis Kitchen (in his Forward) share some of them with us. The bulk of the book will be great underground comix by Joel Beck, Kim Deitch, Justin Green, Trina Robbins, Skip Williamson, S. Clay Wilson, and Art Spiegelman (with the first national appearance of Maus). 184-page B&W & color hardcover.
Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics (Exterminating the Angel Press): It’s probably a good thing that I occasionally talk to my wife Johanna about things that I’m currently writing about, or I never would have known that we had an advance proof copy of this in the house. (We occasionally forget to share what we get in the mail.) This definitely looks much cooler than a 100-word blurb in Previews. It’s a collection of B&W reprints of some of the more obscure (and public domain) female adventure characters in Golden Age comics. I actually know a few — like Lady Satan, The Woman In Red, Amazonia, and Mysta of the Moon — but I’m intrigued by Madame Strange, The Sorceress of Zoom, Betty Bates: Lady at Law, The Blonde Bomber (not famed Roller Derby Queen Joanie Weston), and the tantalizingly named Pussy Katnip. Author Mike Madrid (The Supergirls) has sought out these extremely obscure comic book heroines, found representative stories, and annotated each of the almost 30 characters, as well as ferreted out (some) information about the women creators who slid back into anonymity when their characters did — when the male artists returned from WWII. A nice tribute to a forgotten era of comics. 240-page B&W softcover.
Iron Man Manual (DK): Not to be confused with the Marvel-published Iron Manual, which is filled with Eliot R. Brown schematics of key armors and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier from the comic books. The Iron Man Manual is a new volume from DK about everything Iron Man. But which Iron Man? The skimpy information we have on it seems to indicate that it may be mostly the movie-based IM, as the description we have reads “Based on Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Marvel’s The Avengers, and Iron Man 3, this immersive in-universe book transports readers into the amazing world of Tony Stark and offers an exclusive glimpse into both his civilian and Super Hero lives. Delving into the history of Stark Industries and the forging of the very first Iron Man suit, Iron Man Manual also explores Tony’s Malibu mansion and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s confidential files on the ironclad hero, his armor, and the global threats he has faced.” So your guess is as good as ours. Written by Daniel Wallace. 160-page color (we assume) hardcover book.
The Secret History of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman’s Empire (Fantagraphics): This looks to be a sideways/parallel history to the early Marvel Comics (Timely). They were just a small part of the Martin Goodman publishing “empire”, which included lurid pulps, men’s magazines featuring sexually-charged detective and romance short fiction, and celebrity gossip scandal sheets. Those sensationalist publications were released side-by-side with comic books primarily aimed at eight-year-olds, and a number of famous comic book professionals worked for both, including Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Alex Schomburg, Bill Everett, Al Jaffee, Dan DeCarlo and others. That might have caused a scandal back then, had anyone known (although nowadays, we understand that publishers might target different audiences at the same time). Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo author this book, which includes rare pieces of comic art. 300-page hardcover with color and B&W illustrations. Available in November.
The Superman Files (Andrews McMeel): I’m very intrigued by the apparent premise of this book. On the surface, it appears to be be a fictional history of a popular superhero: Superman. Packed with clippings from the Daily Planet, journal entries, surviving artifacts from Krypton, schematics for the Fortress of Solitude and other technology, files from Stryker’s Island Prison, as well as hundreds of “photographs” of Superman’s enemies and allies culled from modern Superman comics, it purports to tell the complete, in-depth life story of the Man of Steel, from his birth as Kal-El, to his lives as both Clark Kent and Superman, and even onward into the future. Funny, that word: “future”. The twist of the book is that it’s purportedly written by the 31st Century Legion of Super-Heroes member Brainiac 5, who also happens to be a descendant of one of Superman’s greatest foes, Brainiac. As all good LSH fans (like me) know, official 31st Century records about the 21st Century are sketchy, at best, so, Brainiac 5 takes it upon himself to compile a tribute to his hero and friend (with the help of research assistant Matthew K. Manning). Published to resemble a 21st Century book (sorry, Omnicom fans!), this is a 312-page color hardcover. Available in November.
NOW IN SOFTCOVER
The Judas Coin (DC Comics): One of the best graphic novels in recent years, written and drawn by Walter Simonson. It follows the history of one of the silver coins Judas was paid to betray Jesus, as it passes throughout DC history and many surprising hands, including Batman, Two-Face, and Bat Lash. Simonson draws each of the six chapters in a different style. Fascinating to study! 104-page color softcover.
Marvel Masterworks: Sgt. Fury Volume 1 (Marvel): Collecting the first 13 issues of the war comic for people who don’t like war comics! A rare look at a two-eyed Nick Fury! (That doesn’t last long…) The origin of the Howling Commandos! Major WWIII action, including battles with Barons Strucker and Zemo and some guy named Adolf! Guest starring Captain America and Bucky and featuring an early, actual, permanent, Marvel Universe death! Brought to you by Sgt. Stan Lee, Infantryman Jack Kirby, and Cpl. Dick Ayres. WAH-HOO! 320-page color softcover. Best thing you’ll read this year! That’s an order!
DC Comics: The New 52 Villains Omnibus (DC Comics): This collects all 52 Villains Month One-Shots. (Although not numbered or titled as such. Please go here for a complete listing.) The solicitation of the book does not mention the individual 3D motion covers that will appear on the original comics, so we are assuming that they will not be included. However, there is a new (and limited to the first printing only of this book) 3D motion montage cover for this collection. This is a 1,184-page color hardcover with a limited 3D cover enhancement. Quantities may be allocated by DC Comics, so although it’s likely that we’ll get enough copies to cover orders, we cannot guarantee that you will receive this limited cover enhancement, as this situation is determined by DC Comics and Diamond Distribution and is beyond our control.
Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus (Marvel): I just don’t “get” Deadpool. I hear that it is very funny. I’m told that very many people really, really enjoy it. I’m also told that it’s about both mercenaries and mouths. I’m confused about the mouths. I was accidentally hit in the head with a sledge hammer when I was six (true story). That may be why I don’t “get” it. Or maybe not. What was I talking about again? Oh, cookies…! This features work by Joe Kelly (the guy in the title), James Felder, Stan Lee, Ed McGuinness, Aaron Lopresti, Bernard Chang, John Romita, Sr., Rob Liefeld and manny, manny others. Hi Manny! It collects Deadpool (1997) #1-33, #-1 and #0, Daredevil/Deadpool Annual ‘97, Deadpool/Death Annual ‘98, Baby’s First Deadpool Book, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #47 and #611, and material from Deadpool (2008) #900, which, according to my calculations shouldn’t actually be published until 2083. (I’ll be dead by then.) See, I told you, I don’t really “get” Deadpool. You might like it, however. I hear that it’s very funny. Ha. This comes with two different covers, so you have to decide. I know it’s hard, because they are both by Ed McGuiness. Decide now! Thank you. 1,160-page color hardcover. Wow, that’s really big!
Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe Omnibus (DC Comics): This has been resolicited for December release. If you want it, you must reorder now, as all previous orders have been canceled. It’s also a great time to order it if you missed in in the first place. It probably has the most amazing line-up of talent ever assembled: Jim Lee, Chris Bachalo, Darwyn Cooke, Dave Gibbons, Gary Frank, Kano, Joe Kubert, John Buscema, Kyle Baker, Michael Wm. Kaluta, John Byrne, Stuart Immonen, Kevin Maguire, Sergio Aragones, Walter Simonson, Richard Corben, and more. Oh, yeah… and STAN LEE!!! All-new cover by Adam Hughes. 728-page color hardcover.
Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World – The Art of the Movie Slipcase HC (Marvel): Another in the great series of slipcased hardcover books about Marvel Studios major films. This one features everything you’d want to know about Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World (premiering November 8, 2013, directed by Alan Taylor and starring Chris Hemsworth). Featuring exclusive concept artwork, behind-the-scenes holographs, production stills, and in-depth interviews with the cast and crew. 240-page color oversize hardcover w/slipcase. Also check out the dozen or so Thor tie-in collections being offered this month, including a few new ones!
MORE COLLECTION LISTINGS NEXT WEEK!
KC CARLSON ASKS: Q: How many Omnibuses (Omnibi?) fit into a Christmas stocking? A: Depends. Are they the Hulk’s socks? Stumbo the Giant’s? Hank Pym’s? Big Bird’s? Big Show’s? Hobbits? (stop me any time…) Shaquille O’Neil’s? Paul Bunyan’s? Jolly Green Giant’s (ew, I bet his feet smell like vegetables)? Ronald McDonald’s (ew, I bet his feet smell like french fries)? Big Moose’s? Bigfoot’s? …
WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you.