Tag Archives: Marvel Masterworks

Please Don’t Hate Me As I Scrutinize The Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer and The Inhumans

Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Volume 5
Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Volume 5

Many of your know that I’ve been reading Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s epic run of Fantastic Four #1-102 by way of the Marvel Masterworks series. I finished it a few weeks ago and although I had a few problems with the early stories I have come to realize that Stan and Jack were just getting the Marvel Universe off and running and the characters themselves had yet to come into their own. The best of the FF was came in Volume Five where the team met The Inhumans, The Black Panther and Galactus and his herald, The Silver Surfer. The latter half of the run where – again, while great – had a few bumps in the road. The stories seemed forced with too much bickering between Johnny Storm, The Human Torch and Ben Grimm, The Thing. Sue Storm (Invisible Girl) was still the lady-in-waiting even though she was married to Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic). Always the clod, Reed treated his three extended family members like has-beens. Going into the run I had always disliked The Thing for his self-loathing, but I have now come to have no respect for Reed. Empty promises and lies to Ben, giving no credit for Johnny for saving Earth from Galactus and being a terrible husband to Sue. Even in the pages of Fantastic Four in comic shops right today, Reed is a liar and self-absorbed. And that will always be his problem – not trusting in his fellow team members or family. Shame on him. It also didn’t help that one of the Fantastic Fours greatest adversary Namor, The Sub-Mariner, did not appear between #33 and #102.

But it was Fantastic Four #98, May 1970, that had me the most dumbfounded. This issue celebrates the Apollo 11 moon landing from July 1969 (you must forego any continuity to real world time). With all his brilliance; with all his scientific know-how; with all his “I must help and save the human race”, it seems that Reed has never bothered to share his achievements with the US government or more specifically, NASA! We as readers know that the Fantastic Four had already traveled to the moon on more than one occasion to visit The Watcher. We also know that the Earth has been visited by alien species (the Kree and The Skrulls) and the Human Torch and The Thing has traveled half way across the cosmos on separate occasions! But noooooo, Reed has some sort or Prime Directive with his own planet and thus gives no tech or guidance to the astronaut crew. The ending makes it seem that Neil Armstrong is the first man on the moon, however we know Reed was first — in April 1963 (oh and the human villain The Red Ghost was also on the moon.

Marvel Masterworks Silver Surfer Volume 1
Marvel Masterworks Silver Surfer Volume 1

But now that my FF is done I went ahead and picked up Stan and Jack’s other creation in Masterwork form – The Silver Surfer Volumes 1-2 (this time with pencils by John Buscema). Collected here is the full run of #1-18 from August 1986 – September 1970. It was not a lighthearted read by any stretch. The premise is a sequel to The Galactus Trilogy (Fantastic Four #48-50, March – May 1966) and deals with the Surfer’s exile on Earth. Most of all it’s a prison story. The Silver Surfer is confined to Earth and some space above our planet, but how far out is never told. It is here that we learn more about the man Norrin Radd. Every comic is that of despair. He longs for space travel and to see his beloved Shalla-Bal from his home planet of Zenn-La. The Silver Surfer, is good-hearted and forgiving even though he keeps running into diabolical humans, monsters, witches, and super villains like Doctor Doom who have it in for him. He even fights with Thor, Human Torch, and Spider-Man for no real good reason. It’s upsetting to see that the Silver Surfer’s faith in humanity fades with every turn of the page. In the pages of #17 it looks like Mephisto may finally get his way with him. Transporting Shalla-Bal to Earth, he and makes a deal with the Surfer that if he destroys Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. he will be free and be with his woman forever more. However Mephisto places Shalla-Bal in S.H.I.EL.D. HQ in hopes that the Silver Surfer will kill her too by mistake, and thus go bat-shit crazy and destroy the Earth leaving Mephisto ruler of a dead world. The plan is thwarted but Mephisto may have gotten closer to his master plan without even realizing it. In #18 we meet the Silver Surfer in mid-fight with The Inhumans! How he got there we do not know, but it’s good to see Jack Kirby back on the pencils. At the end, our “hero” is so enraged at the human race that he vows to finally take matters in his own hands. This is what Mephisto wanted all along. Unfortunately the series abruptly ends and we are left with perhaps the biggest cliffhanger the Marvel Bullpen has ever created. As you know the Silver Surfer would calm down and become a hero here on Earth (with The Defenders) and in the vastness of space thanks to the 1982 one-shot by John Byrne and Stan Lee.

Marvel Masterworks Inhumans Volume 1
Marvel Masterworks Inhumans Volume 1

Speaking of The Inhumans, that is where I turn to next in my extended Fantastic Four/Lee & Kirby family of Marvel Masterworks. But I’m a bit perplexed as to why Silver Surfer #17 (September 1970) is not included in The Inhumans Volume 1. After all this Two Volume Masterworks series collects all the Inhuman back up stories from Thor and Amazing Adventures. It would have been easy to add in SS #17 and place it in between Marvel Super-Heroes #15 (July 1968) and Amazing Adventures #1 (August 1970). Yes, it is more of a Surfer story then Inhuman, but it would have given context to just where Black Bolt & Co. have been with their ongoing fight with Maximus. It should be pointed out that on September 18, 2013, Marvel will release a more comprehensive Inhumans collection with Inhumans: The Origin Of The Inhumans TP, Fantastic Four (1961) #36, #38, #41-47, #54, #62-65 and Annual #5, plus portions of #48, #50, #52 and #55-61; and material from Thor (1966) #146-152, $39.99. A Volume 2 would start with the aforementioned Marvel Super-Heroes #15. We’ll have to wait and see if Silver Surfer #17 gets included.

6 Collected Editions Worthy Of Your Attention #8

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), and I (@ChrisCCL) are sharing six comic book collected editions, reprints and/or graphic novels released this week that you may be interested in.

Teen Titans Omnibus By Geoff Johns HC (DC Comics)
Teen Titans Omnibus By Geoff Johns HC (DC Comics)

Picked by @AndrewJTom
Teen Titans Omnibus By Geoff Johns HC (DC Comics)
For some reason I felt the need to get in shape for the spring. So…this past week, I started a daily exercise regimen consisting of a run on the treadmill and weightlifting. Subliminally though, it may have had something to do with seeing this massive heavyweight tome on the release list for this week. Back in the days before Infinite Crisis, Geoff Johns stepped into some pretty big shoes formerly worn by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Not only did he have to live up to the reputation and expectations that Marv and George had set on Titans back in the 80s, but he had to do it without using mainstay Titans Dick Grayson, Wally West, and Donna Troy. Regardless of facing a gargantuan legacy, Johns crafted some outstanding stories which elevate his run to one of the most enjoyable books of it’s day. It’s really a fantastic run and gets collected (deservedly so) in this Omnibus format alongside Johns’ Flash volumes and Hawkman Omnibus. The Teen Titans Geoff Johns Omnibus clocks in at a whopping 1440 pages. It collects the entirety of Johns Titans run and takes the characters all of the way up to Infinite Crisis. This heavyweight contender will set you back about $150 at regular retail (before discounts), but be assured that you’ll get your money’s worth; and after a read it may even claim the coveted top prize of Heavyweight Champion.
Collects Teen Titans #1/2, #1-26, #29-46 and #50, Legends Of The DC Universe #2, Titans Secret Files #2, Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003, Beast Boy #1-4, Teen Titans/Legion Of Super Heroes Special #1, Outsiders #24-25, Robin #147-147, Infinite Crisis #5-6 and Teen Titans Annual #1, 1,440 pages, $150.00

Punisher By Greg Rucka Volume 3 TPB (Marvel)
Punisher By Greg Rucka Volume 3 TPB (Marvel)

Picked by @ChrisCampbell8
Punisher By Greg Rucka Volume 3 TPB (Marvel)
Frank Castle is one of those characters that has enjoyed a great deal of popularity over the years, but yet seems to get his title relaunched constantly, whether in a new volume or a new mini-series. As a Punisher fan, I’m of two minds on the issue, but the upside for Marvel readers is that almost every time we get a new series, we get a new, or at least fresh, approach on the character. And Greg Rucka’s tour with Frank Castle is no different. This is certainly not FrankenCastle (worth reading, by the way) or Ennis or Baron, or any other recent approach on the character. No, this is Gotham Central meets Punisher and I am happy for that. We see Rachel Cole accepting her new role as she becomes hunted by the NYPD. This 3rd volume marks the final installment of the series, but is still worth reading for the glorious art by Marco Checchetto and the conclusion (or is it?) of Rachel’s story. As with many of my favorite Frank Castle stories, the plot is just a framework to tell the real story. I highly recommend this collection.
Collects The Punisher (2011) #11-16, $16.99

Avengers vs. Thanos TPB (Marvel)
Avengers vs. Thanos TPB (Marvel)

Picked by @adambesenyodi
Avengers vs. Thanos TPB (Marvel)Collecting nearly 500 pages of Marvel cosmic goodness, Avengers vs. Thanos is a great introduction to the Mad Titan and his initial epic clashes with Earth’s heroes. Regardless of whether you had to ask the geek next to you who the purple-skinned lover of Death was when you first saw him on the big screen, or you read these as single issues when they originally appeared in the early ’70s, it’s great to have these stories collected under one cover. Marvel has made it clear that Thanos is important to their universe and their future with the first post-credits stinger in the Avengers movie and with the first Avengers Assemble story arc last summer. That should be reason enough to pick up this primer on the would-be god, but the bonus is getting to revisit some great storytelling from likes of Jim Starlin and others.
Collects Iron Man (1968) #55, Captain Marvel (1968) #25-33, Marvel Feature (1971) #12, Daredevil (1964) #105-107, Avengers (1963) #125, Warlock (1972) #9-11 and #15, Avengers Annual (1967) #7, Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, and material from Logan’s Run #6, $34.99

Tales From Beyond Science HC (Image)
Tales From Beyond Science HC (Image)

Picked by @Dief88
Tales From Beyond Science HC (Image), $34.99
Tales from Beyond Science is a collection of early-’90s one-off stories from 2000 AD, drawn by Rian Hughes and written by Alan McKenzie, John Smith, and a young Mark Millar. Similar to 2000 AD’s Future Shocks, these stories take on bizarre mysteries ranging from the Bermuda Triangle to the thirteenth calendar month. Maybe most exciting, though, this collection is completely re-lettered and includes newly colorized artwork and brand-new spoof covers by Hughes. For fans of the creators involved (or off-the-wall stories in general), Tales from Beyond Science should make for a worthwhile addition to your shelf.

Alter Ego #115 – 3-D Comics (TwoMorrow's Publishing)
Alter Ego #115 – 3-D Comics (TwoMorrow’s Publishing)

Picked by @ChrisCCL
Alter Ego #115 – 3-D Comics (TwoMorrow’s Publishing), $8.95
When you think of pop culture in 1950’s one of that comes to mind is 3-D movies. There were a gazillion of them made! Some good but mostly bad. Well the 3-D genre even crossed over into the comic books and what a hit it was! Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego magazine takes a “look” at the craze with this special issue featuring the work of  Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Mort Meskin and Joe Kubert just to name a few.  It even comes with its’ own pair of 3-D glasses and if you decide to get the digital version of the mag, TwoMorrows will send you a the glasses for free!


Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Jungle Adventure Vol. 3 HC (Marvel)
Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Jungle Adventure Vol. 3 HC (Marvel)

Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Jungle Adventure Vol. 3 HC (Marvel)
Ever since Tarzan, the African jungle has been a place of wild beasts, warlords and women. Wait! What? Yes, that’s right! Woman is the sex that you don’t want to mess with in deepest, darkest Africa. Presented here is the third Masterworks that showcases the Atlas Era Jungle Adventures of Lorna, Jann and Leopard Girl. Not to be out done, some of the manliest of men are also presented: Greg Knight (Lorna’s companion), Lo-Zar (a close look-a-like to Ka-Zar) and Waku, Prince of the Bantu (who may just remind you of T’Challa, The Black Panther). If it’s scantily mildly clad, postcode action you want, then Jungle Adventure is what you need! Featuring the great work of Joe Maneely, Don Rico, Syd Shores, John Romita, Carl Burgos, Don Heck, Jay Scott Pike and Christopher Rule.
Collects Lorna The Jungle Girl #13-16, Jungle Tales #5-7 and Jungle Action #4-6, $74.99

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.

CCL Podcast #347 – Going Solo, The DC Way

Solo Deluxe HC, colects Solo #1-2, 568 pages, $49.99, June 5, 2013
Solo Deluxe HC, collects Solo #1-2, 568 pages, $49.99, June 5, 2013

Collected Comics Library Podcast #347
35.2Mb; 38m 23s

Now here’s an upcoming collected edition that everyone can get behind: Solo Deluxe Hardcover. This was a 12-issue series that ran from 2004-2006 and featured several tops writers and artists.
It won three 2006 Eisner Awards:

  • Best Anthology: Solo, Edited By Mark Chiarello
  • Best Short Story: “Teenage Sidekick,” By Paul Pope, Solo #3
  • Best Single Issue: Solo #5, By Darwyn Cooke

I talk about why the book is so important, who all was involved, where you can find some of the comics collected already and lament on why it didn’t come it sooner.

If you didn’t know already, there’s a movement on Facebook to get a definitive library of Moebius with the full English translation. I first found out about it on The Comics Journal, but it seems that it’s picking up steam.

The new Star Wars ongoing series started from Dark Horse last week and I wonder how it’s connected to the Vader’s Quest trade paperback and Star Wars #35 from Marvel or is Brian Wood rewriting Star Wars (comic book) continuity.

The top-selling book for the month of December was The Walking Dead Volume 1 TPB. That may not be a surprise, however, Image has announced that the price will increase from $9.99 to $14.99 on all new, future printings.

There’s a few Marvel Masterworks to talk about including Fantastic Four Volumes 4 and 5; Ka-Zar Volume 1 and the upcoming Doctor Strange Volume 6 (Variant Vol. 196). That book will collect Doctor Strange #10-22, Annual #1 and Tomb of Dracula #44, $69.99, July 17, 2013

Finally, Impulse Vol. 1 Runs In The Family TP has been canceled by DC for unknown reasons. It was scheduled February 27, but now it is not expected to be resolicited.

That’s a lot to go over. Enjoy the show!

Chris Marshall

CCL Podcast #346 – Adopt A Character 2013

marvel masterworks fantastic four volume 6
marvel masterworks fantastic four volume 6

Collected Comics Library Podcast #346
23.6Mb; 25m 43s

It’s that time of year again! Time to pick a character or creator to immerse yourself in for 2013.

This is one of my favorite shows of the year because it forces me to read material I probably would have skipped. For 2013 I’m choosing The Fantastic Four starting with the original epic run by creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. I’ll be reading from my own 14 Volume set of Marvel Masterworks. In my ten years of owning these books, I have never read them! So this year I’m dusting them off, literally, and doing something that every comic book fan should do!

For fun let’s recap what I adopted the past few years:

2007: Thor
2008: Luke Cage and Iron Fist
2009: The Spirit Archives Volumes 1-27
2010: Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man
2011: Silver Age X-Men
2012: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I hope you, too, pick a character(s) or creator(s) to learn more about and to let me know who it is.


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Uncanny Avengers Vol 1 The Red Shadow Premiere HC
Hellblazer Vol 5: Dangerous Habits (New Edition)
Day of Judgment
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Peter Panzerfaust Vol 2: Hooked
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Not A Fan Of The New Marvel Masterworks Dustjacket

The mail just came 15 minutes ago and in it I received my Marvel Masterworks Thor Volume 11 from In-Stock Trades. Upon opening the box, I could plainly see that Marvel has added something to the dustjacket design:

As a Masterwork completist you can imagine my horror at the sight. OK It may be anal of me, but I like my books in uniform. You can now see how it lines up on the shelf:

I should point out that I don’t yet own Uncanny X-Men Volume 8, the overall 175th Masterwork so I don’t know if Marvel made the change with that book. If you know, please pass that info along to me. Thor Volume 11 is 176th and we’ll have to wait until next week when Marvel releases Masterwork 177, Golden Age Young Allies Volume 2 to see if this the design sicks.

And just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with the new look. I do have a problem with the new look on an already current series. If Marvel wanted a new design they should have put it on a new Volume 1.