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 @adambesenyodi
March Volume 1 GN (Top Shelf Productions), $14.95
I like it when this medium I love tries to do more than just entertain. It might not always be 100% successful, but there is something to be said for even making the attempt. In this case, Congressman John Lewis, with help from staff member Andrew Aydin, is using the format to tell his story through Nate Powell’s art. It’s ambitious not just because this is only the first of three volumes that will comprise the body of work, but also for the era it’s attempting to cover. Lewis is an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, and telling his own history in this manner somehow seems bold, if not entirely unique (The Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story comic book was published in 1957). There is opportunity here to expose a huge cross-section of readers to both an important part of our country’s history, and the power of the graphic novel. A story like this has the potential to ultimately fall somewhere between Brian K. Vaughn’s Pride of Baghdad and Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
Picked by Shane
Doc Savage The James Bama Commemorative 5-Pack Collection (Sanctum Productions), $49.95
I have had a love for the pulp heroes of the thirties for as long as I can remember. My first introduction to science fiction was watching Flash Gordon serials rerun on PBS. Characters like Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, The Shadow and Doc Savage were around before Action Comics #1 first hit the stands and that first appearance of Superman is considered by many to be the first real superhero comic book. Doc Savage is a superhero in his own right. A bit like Batman in that his body and mind are his super powers, Doc is highly educated and has conditioned himself to near superhuman status. Along with his team of five, he fought criminals and had some incredible adventures. After the original run of pulp novels, the character’s appearance was sporadic over the years. There were book and comic runs as well as reprints of those original pulps. Marvel (he teamed up with The Thing for one notable Marvel Two-in-One appearance), DC and Dark Horse all tried their hands at comic series. DC tried to “reboot” Doc and other classic pulp heroes with their First Wave series, even teaming him up with Batman. Unfortunately this only had a short run. A lot of people know the character from the cheesy 1975 film with Ron Ely. My personal favorite stories were the Marvel magazines printed in the early seventies. These magazines were reprinted as a DC Showcase edition and it is well worth tracking down. If you really want to start at the beginning, the pulp novels are the way to go. This beautiful volume is being released in honor of the 80th anniversary of the character and collects Sanctum books’ first four James Bama variant editions (1, 2, 14 and 17). James Bama did 62 of the Doc Savage pulp novel covers in the sixties when they were being reprinted by Bantam books and his art is spectacular. Sanctum has done a beautiful job of again reprinting some of these original stories in nice oversized volumes introducing the character to a modern audience. This book not only includes some of the early pulp stories but an interview with Bama, some exclusive art prints, commentary and much more. If you never read Doc Savage, he is a fun character for comic and adventure fans alike and this volume should be a nice starting point and a beautiful piece to display on your bookshelf.
Picked by @ReverendLove
Prince Valiant HC Vol. 7 1949-1950 (Fantagraphics), $35.00
The new comics arrived today and buried deep in one of the last boxes was the latest volume in Fantagraphic’s collection of Hal Foster’s graphic masterpiece, “Prince Valiant”! I’d only ever seen pictures over the years of Foster’s magnum opus and had always wanted to get my hands on some kind of collection of these Sunday comics. Thankfully, Fantagraphics Books has obliged with this wonderful set of hardcovers with colour reproduced from original syndicate proof sheets restoring the vibrant and rich colours that previous reprints of the strip seem to have lacked.
“Prince Valiant” is a classic adventure comic that follows the exploits of the nordic Prince, who becomes a Knight of Arthur’s court and roams the medieval world with the singing sword Flamberge by his side fighting evil and injustice in all it’s forms. The artwork is beautifully detailed and it’s obvious that Foster dedicated a lot of time on research and in the comic’s final execution. The storytelling is paced with expertise and care, giving a feeling like you’re sitting at the knee of the great Prince as he regales you with wild tales of his travels and his many adventures.
I recommend that you give “Prince Valiant” a try and you will experience legends from the edge of time, still wrapped in the magic of Camelot and a world wide open for exploration, danger, romance and tragedy. In terms of the classic adventure comic strips of old, you’re not going to get anything much better than this timeless gem!
Picked by @chriscampbell8
Transformers 30th Anniversary Collection HC (IDW), $49.99
I’m a huge Transformers fan, including the cartoons, the toys and most definitely the comics. The movies, not so much, but that’s for another day. IDW has released a “best of” collection celebrating the franchise, and one notable aspect of the collection is that it collects material from all of the publishers that have held the license over the years – Marvel, Marvel UK, DreamWave, and IDW. It contains obvious choices such as Transformers #1 from Marvel, but also contains fan-favorite issues from All Hail Megatron and Last Stand of the Wreckers (a must-read series). To be fair, this collection may not be for everyone because it contains highlighted issues, but not the complete series of, for example, Last Stand of the Wreckers. But for fans of the brand, this is a beautiful hardcover that celebrates the best of Transformers. A great item to check at the local LCS.
Picked by @CaptDS9E
Amelia Cole and the Unknown World TP (IDW), $19.99
Over the last year, there have been many digital first comics released via Monkeybrain . My favorite of the bunch is Amelia Cole and the Unknown World written by D.J. Kirbride and Adam Knave, with Art by Nick Brokenshire . Amelia lives her life between two worlds, the Magic and the Non Magic. After Amelia faces a creature in the non magic realm that should have never appeared there, she visits her Aunt Dani in the magic realm to help get help figuring out what is going on. However as soon as she returns, the police on show up and to take action for the problems she has been causing by crossing over between worlds so much. This leads to her Aunt revealing a big secret to Amelia’s past , and sending her to a place she did not even known existed. A place where magic is highly regulated, and that Amelia has no way of leaving. However Amelia the strong character she is, quickly get’s involved in the worlds affairs, get’s into some trouble (see a pattern here), and a fun ride of mystery commences. The series get better and better as it goes on, and is a great book for comic readers of all ages.
Smallville Season 11 Vol. 2: Detective TP (DC Comics)
Collects Smallville Season 11 #5-8, $14.99
I picked Volume 1 of Smallville for one of my first Pick Six choices, and I mentioned you wanted to read it because of things to come later in the series. Well what starts right away in Volume 2 . In the TV show, the Justice Society of America played a big part in the later seasons. However because of movies deals, animated series, and other legal stuff, the main Justice League characters were never introduced (though hinted at). The great thing however, is that Brian Q. Miller does not have to worry about those issues in the comic series. and he is taking full advantage of it. This trade finally introduces Batman AKA Bruce Wayne to the Smallville Universe. Things do not start out well between Clark and Bruce, as these young heroes get in a few altercations over differences on how to handle things. However, in great comic book fashion they realize they must work together if they are to stop a plot by those involved in both of their rogue galleries. Throw in Green Arrow, Lois, Martian Manhunter and Barbara Gordon as Nightwing, and you have one of the funnest comic arcs in the last few years. This is one DC digital first series not to be missed.
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.