Is there one book that is a “must have” that came out this week? My friends Andy Tom (@AndrewJTom), Chris Campbell (@ChrisCampbell8), Marc Diefenderfer (@Dief88), Shane Hannafey, Adam Besenyodi (@adambesenyodi), Joey Nazzari (@CaptDS9E), Wallace Ryan (@ReverendLove) and I (@ChrisCCL) are sharing some comic book collected editions, reprints and/or graphic novels released this week that you may be interested in.
Picked by @AndrewJTom
Superman: Phantom Zone TP (DC Comics)
Collects Phantom Zone #1-4 and DC Comics Presents #97, $14.99
Every comic reader has a memory buried deep within their mind of a comic that you remember fondly, but haven’t read in years, and has never been reprinted in any form. For me, that comic was a Superman miniseries from the early 80s (maybe late 70s) called “The Phantom Zone”. At this time in comic history the mini-series was a fairly new concept. DC had just finished a story called Krypton Chronicles and followed it up with a four issue story about Superman being trapped inside the Phantom Zone and having to escape. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t much of a Superman fan back then (I was a Batman kid) but the appeal of seeing General Zod and company really appealed to me. I bought this series from the spinner rack loved every page of it. As an adult, I can now look back and understand why it was such an outstanding story, Phantom Zone was written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by Gene Colan. This is a creative team that influenced much of my youth (whether I knew it or not). At a price of $14.99 (and probably about $9-$10 at DCBS or Amazon), this is an absolute “must buy” for fans of Superman or Bronze Age comics.
Picked by @CaptDS9E
Killer Omnibus Volume 1 TP (Archaia Entertainment), $24.95
I have read a lot of comics the last few years about mysterious spies, government agencies, and the other people that do all sorts of dirty work. The best of the bunch is The Killer written by Matz, with art by Luc Jacamon. This Omnibus collects the first two volumes of the series. We follow along with a professional assassin (no name is ever given) as he is doing a job he was hired for. It’s one of the few tales of this type, that really gets you inside the mind of a single individual, and how he deals daily with this dark profession he has chosen. As his mission moves along, we learn his inner thoughts on how he does things, how his time alone affects him, and how he slowly starts to think he is loosing his mind. As with any book of this type, his job is not what is seems. which leads to the second fantastic volume, as he tries to figure out who has done him wrong. I usually read books in small chunks, but The Killer is one of those that was must read until I was done. I was determined to find out what happened to this nameless Killer.
The Legend Of Korra: The Art Of The Animated Series Book One – Air HC (Dark Horse), $34.99
One of my favorite animated series on TV right now is The Legend of Korra, which is a spinoff of the brilliant Avatar The Last Airbender. The story of the series is fantastic, but it’s really the art/animation that is a wonder to behold. It’s so good, you will want to feast your eyes on the art even if you have never watched the show (but why wouldn’t you?). There are hundreds of pieces of art (most never seen) from the development of the series, with captions and tales by the shows creators created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. I can’t lie, I have only bought a few art books over the years , as I would rarely feel the urge to go back to them. This is one I am sure will get many viewings over the coming years. Happy to have this on my bookshelf.
Picked by @ReverendLove
Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Vol. 6 HC (Variant Vol. 196) (Marvel)
Collects Doctor Strange (1974) #10-22 and Annual #1, and Tomb Of Dracula (1972) #44, $69.99
The good doctor Strange graces the bookshelves this week with the sixth volume in his Marvel Masterworks series and it’s one that will be gracing my book selves by the end of the day! I have the first five volumes of the Dr. Strange Masterworks and I have loved every single one of them, which feature the work of a wide range of talent from the mysterious Steve Ditko and Stan Lee to Gene Colan, Barry Smith and Frank Brunner.
This volume picks up with Dr. Strange #10 and with the team of Steve Englehart and Gene Colan helming the adventures of the Sorcerer Supreme! Most Dr. Strange fans will remember Colan’s landmark tenure on Dr. Strange during the late 60s and with his return to the title in the mid-70s, he picks up where he left off artistically. Gene Colan was perfect for Doctor Strange with his flawless lighting, efficient storytelling and that great touch with the mist that enveloped so many mystical moments, Although the first story is inked by Frank Chiarmonte, the rest are handled by the man most consider Colan’s greatest delineator, Tom Palmer and they match the stunning work both were turning out at the time for the award winning “Tomb of Dracula”. Steve Englehart’s scripts for Dr. Strange were some of my favourite stories of the Doc since the early years of Ditko and Lee and he brings Stephen Strange to a metaphysical and philosophical level undreamed of by some of the earlier scribes on this title. Englehart, Colan and Palmer ended their run with the 18th issue of “Doctor Strange” and the remaining issues in this volume are written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by the late master, Alfredo Alcala and by Rudy Nebres.
But my favourite story in this volume by far, is the Archie Goodwin and P. Craig Russell story featured in Dr. Strange Annual #1 and titled “And There Will Be Worlds Anew”. I remember well buying this comic as a teenager and the many hours I spent pouring over the lush high art stylings of Mr. Russell, whose work on “Killraven” had already cemented in me a life long love of the lyrical maestro. This was one of the comics in my childhood comic book collection that I wished I had not sold and picking up volume 6 of the Dr. Strange Marvel Masterworks will be like finding a long lost friend whom I should never have let go of as I grew older.
Tales of the Batman: Archie Goodwin HC (DC Comics)
Collects Detective Comics #437-443, Detective Comics Annual #3, Showcase ’95 #11, Batman Black and White #1 and #4, Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #132-136, and Batman: Night Cries, $39.99
One of my all-time favourite good gosh comic book short series of them all, is the Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson 70’s classic “Manhunter” and when I seen that it would be included in this collection of Goodwin’s greatest Batman tales, I was elated! But to be honest, I was disappointed when I seen that they’d used the artwork from the “Manhunter: Special Edition” with the questionable re-colouring job. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy to have it in hardcover but I can’t believe they used the recoloured stories over the originals.
The “Manhunter” series received several Shazam Awards in the early 70’s and at the time, it was a rarity for a back-up feature in a comic to receive such richly deserved recognition. “Manhunter” reminded me of the late 60’s and early 70’s spy movies filled with international intrigue, foreign locales and exotic characters. The “Manhunter” in this story is Paul Kirk, a man brought screaming into a world that had left him behind and yet found a nefarious use for him that rivals anything seen on the silver screen. The sophisticated art and storytelling was years ahead of itself at the time and I knew that this young whippersnapper Walt Simonson had a promising future ahead of him and especially if he continued to be able to work with such giants as Archie Goodwin.
This volume also contains several other classic Goodwin “Batman” stories including “Death Flies the Haunted Skies” drawn by the comic art maestro, Alex Toth. This was to me, one of the quintessential Batman stories of the 1970’s with Toth’s solid and simple blacks framing Goodwin’s classic tale of mad revenge. Toth always had a way with drawing aircraft in dogfights and this story does not disappoint in that regard either. There are several other stories featuring artists like Jim Aparo, Howard Chaykin, Marshall Rogers, Gene Ha, Jose Munoz, Gary Gianni and Scott Hampton and almost all of them are on my list of great Batman tales. I was surprised to see that they’d included the Marshall Rogers drawn series “Seige”, considering the fact that it had graced the recently published “Tales of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers” but I guess it does also fit the criteria for a collection of Archie Goodwin’s Batman stories. Despite my minor reservations, “Tales of the Batman: Archie Goodwin” is a great buy and a fabulous collection of the one of the most beloved writers in the comic book field over the past 50 years, the late great Archie Goodwin!
Picked by Shane
Kolchak The Necronomicon SC (Moonstone), $23.95
This book has me intrigued! There is not a lot of information available on it right now, but I love the Kolchak character. Kolchak: The Night Stalker is one of my earliest memories of horror television. Though it only lasted one season, its influence on horror and science fiction television can be seen in a number of other series like The X-Files and very recently in Fringe. The early 70’s series followed a newspaper reporter, played by Darren McGavin (long before A Christmas Story) who investigated weird and mysterious cases that usually involved supernatural elements. If you haven’t ever seen the series, grab the DVD box set. It is cheap and well worth the watch. Then you’ll be hooked and start seeking out more material like this graphic novel. Kolchak The Necronomicon mixes Kolchak with the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft, seemingly a match made in heaven. In the television series, he matched wits with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and countless other creatures, but never has he entered this realm. Can’t wait to see how he handles it!
Two extras that were layovers from Week 26…
Picked by @Dief88
X-Files Classics, Vol. 1 HC (IDW)
This first collection features stories like “Not to be Opened Until X-mas,” “Firebird,” “Trepanning Opera,” “Silent Cities of the Mind” and more, $24.99
In conjunction with the beginning of its new comic The X-Files: Season 10, which picks up where the cult-favorite TV show left off, IDW has begun releasing new collections of Topps Comics’ original X-Files series. First published in the mid-nineties, when the show was in its heyday, the issues in this book have been long out of print and feature the artwork of Charlie Adlard, who would of course go on to become the regular artist of The Walking Dead (beginning with issue 7). And luckily, IDW seems to have fast-tracked this series – a second X-Files Classics volume has already been announced for September!
Venom: The Enemy Within TP (Marvel)
Collects Venom: Funeral Pyre #1-3, Venom: The Madness #1-3, Venom: The Enemy Within #1-3 and Incredible Hulk & Venom #1, $24.99
A few years ago, Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker made some Venom trade recommendations in the letters column of an issue of Amazing Spider-Man. But more than half of the titles he mentioned were out of print, some of them for over a decade! In fact, at the time the most recent Venom series began its run, there were only a very small handful of collected editions in print featuring the character. It’s taken a while, but Marvel has finally stepped up to the plate – after putting Venom: Lethal Protector back in print last year, they’ve now gathered three never-before-collected Venom miniseries in Venom: The Enemy Within. These comics were published at the height of Marvel’s mid-nineties attempt to make Venom into a likable anti-hero, rather than just a villain, and while the results are sometimes mired in the typical excesses of their time, there are some worthwhile stories here. One that holds some nostalgic value for me is Venom: The Madness, a miniseries written by Ann Nocenti and with art by Kelley Jones. As a kid, I read the final issue of this series over and over, and I continued to trace over its artwork until long after the comic had completely fallen apart. I’m very much looking forward to owning a new (hopefully longer-lasting) copy of that story, along with the others collected in Venom: The Enemy Within.
Now it’s your turn. What books that came out this week do you recommend? Take a look at the sidebar to see this weeks collected edition releases.