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CCL Podcast #372 – Adopt A Character 2014

Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Heroes Volume 3 Namor, The Sub-Mariner
Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Heroes Volume 3 Namor, The Sub-Mariner

Collected Comics Library Podcast #372
29.6Mb; 31m 42s
Well it’s that time of year again, time to Adopt a Character, creator, genre or just about anything else in the world of comic books and get acquainted with it all year long. It’s more of a challenge than anything else, and it’s been a fun way to read something out of the norm or try something new.
Here’s the rundown of what I have picked in past 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.
2013: Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

As you can see, it’s been mostly Marvel and that’s no different this time around. I’m going with Namor, The Sub-Mariner. I have all of the Masterworks, but I am going to forgo the Golden Age for now and start with Namor’s appearances in the Atlas Era and then move to his solo Silver Age adventures. Namor, of course, was created by the great Bill Everett and was with him all the way up until his death, a death that came all too soon. You may recall that Blake Bell has put together a very nice two-volume set of The Bill Everett Archives and the biography Fire & Water over at Fantagraphics. I read Volume 1, but have yet to read Volume 2. I think that is where I will begin. I will keep you posted throughout the year on my progress and for fun I will also be reading more of the Classic Valiant universe. More on that in the podcast.

Also on the show there’s a great question that I received from LinkedIn, of all places, on “What are the best Omnibus’ to buy?” – a loaded question, if there ever was one! That’s leads me to the unofficial announcement of the Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus due out in July. Here are the particulars (which are different from the Wikipedia entry):

Silver Surfer (1987) 34-38, 40, 44-60; Thanos Quest 1-2; Infinity Gauntlet 1-6; Cloak & Dagger (1988) 18; Spider-Man (1990) 17; Incredible Hulk 383-385; Dr. Strange, Sorceror Supreme 31-36; Quasar 26-27; Sleepwalker 7; 1248 pages; July 15, 2014

Lastly, I do a rundown of the contents included in Batman: The TV Stories. This book is on the heels of the excellent Batman ’66 comic and the companion book will add a “Biff! Bam! Zonk! Pow!” punch to your collected editions library. You’ll be surprised just how DC put together this very affordable, very fun trade.


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Sunday Review: Fire and Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics

It’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of classic comic books and thanks to the Marvel Masterworks and DC Archives for their Golden Age reprints, I got to enjoy these rarely seen comic books of the past. It’s no surprise why, these days, they are largely forgotten, the writing was simplistic and the art is sometimes a mis-mash, so it takes a different level of appreciation. Today, we the reader, expect more, but that’s due in large part of the evolution of the comic.

Image my surprise when I first came across the Masterworks Atlas Era Heroes books. Here I thought I was getting the greatness that I came to expect from guys like Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in the Silver Age, but no, it was just a rehash of Captain America, Human Torch and Sub-Mariner. But today, I have come to repent from my sins and bad reviews, thanks in large part to, the 2011 Eisner nominated (Best Comics-Related Book), Blake Bell’s Fire & Water: Bill Everett and the Birth of Marvel Comics. My view, just a few sort years ago, was skewed on the way I saw “classic” Cap, Torch and Namor because I didn’t understand the era, the 50’s revival and the creators. As I said, comics are ever changing; influences from current events, politics, war, science, and a whole host of other subjects. Comic books are a reflection of our lives and Bill Everett took us through time with his signature character, The Sub-Mariner.

Everett created the Sub-Mariner for Timely Comics in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly (April, 1939) and later in Marvel Comics #1 (October, 1939), two years before his National (DC Comics) counterpart Aquaman. Namor, along side Human Torch by Carl Burgos, Angel by Paul Gustavson and Ka-Zar by Ben Thompson fought crime, corruption and later Nazi’s in their own tales of heroism. Looking back on it now, it was who’s who of talent! Namor would go on to have a wonderful Golden Age run including 80 issues of Marvel Mystery Comics, 32 in his own Sub-Mariner Comics and be featured in The Human Torch (40 issues) and All-Winners (20 issues). But like all things the demise of superhero books came the end of Namor. Or so we thought!

Bell is our guide into this rich history of Bill Everett; good times and in bad, out of work and overloaded with deadlines even on the brink of death at a young age thanks to tuberculosis. He not only created Namor at age 22, but also is one of the few men to begin at Timely, survive Atlas and prosper at Marvel Comics. That’s right, The Sub-Mariner would be revived along with Captain America and Human Torch in 1953’s Young Men. Namor would go on to head his own title, Sub-Mariner Comics #33-42 (April 1954 – Oct. 1955), with Everett at every step of the way. A good thing, too, because of all the Atlas Heroes work, the Sub-Mariner is the best of the lot! Namor would return yet again in the Silver Age pages of Fantastic Four #4 (May 1962), getting saved by Johnny Storm’s Human Torch and then just a two years later Namor would help revive the original Captain America, Steve Rogers, in Avengers #4 (March, 1964). Everett at this time co-created and worked on Daredevil #1, but would do pencils, writing and even inking his signature character in Tales To Astonish and Sub-Mariner in the 1970’s. Bill Everett passed away at age 55 on February 27, 1973.

Bell includes several pieces of artwork and comics that has rarely been seen. A true testament to a man who lived comics throughout his entire life and loved it with a passion, especially when it comes to Sub-Mariner. The book is split up in to five chapters and includes an introduction, art gallery and endnotes. One fascinating piece of information is, that only once did Everett do pencils and inks for DC Comics: the six-page, “Diary Of An Ace!” written by Bob Haney in All American Men of War #77 (1966).

As I look back on the Golden Age and Atlas Era, yes it was a more simple time with more simple comics, perhaps not with horror, but definitely with superheros. The guys who were drawing and writing were young and inexperienced, but they paved the way for the Brian Michael Bendis’ and Geoff Johns’ of today. This includes the greats like Lee, Kirby, Joe Simon, John Romita, and Russ Heath all of whom helped shape Marvel Comics into the company and characters that we love. I reiterate, it’s important not only to remember the characters, but the men behind them. Bell’s book here on the life and times of Bill Everett, and his other biographical material on Steve Ditko, is a testament to that. More Everett is on the way from Bell in Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Volume 1, which will collect work from Amazing Mystery Funnies, Amazing-Man Comics, Target Comics, Heroic Comics and Blue Bolt Comics. I believe it will debut at Comic Con in July so dust off your shelf and save a place next to your Steve Ditko Archives.

Fire and Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics
By Blake Bell
216 pages, $39.99, Fantgraphics

Recommended reading:
Golden and Silver Age Sub-Mariner
Atlas Era Sub-Mariner

CCL Podcast #208 – Trading The Invaders

Collected Comics Library Podcast #208
28,179Kb; 29m 47s


Today on the show, I focus on one of the “super-groups” of the Marvel universe – The Invaders. What’s interesting about this team, consisting of Captain America, Namor: The Sub-Mariner, The Human Torch and Bucky, is that it was created retroactively in 1975, with all their adventures taking place in World War II. Their series lasted 41 issues and they appeared in only a few other titles throughout the years which included two limited series that revived the team. Today in 2009, The Invaders can be found in two series: Avengers/Invaders and in the pages of Captain America. These important characters, whether they are adventuring as individuals or as a team, are the cornerstones of the Marvel Universe, come learn more about them.

Also on the show, I touch a few news items including the Nexus Archives going black and white and digest size and the Creepy Archives going to 26 volumes.

All this and the New Releases of the Week.


Addendum: I did record audio to talk about Invaders Classic Volume 2 (Invaders #10-21 and Annual #1) and Invaders Classic Volume 3 (Invaders #22-23 and #25-34), but the audio did not come through as I had hoped.

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CCL #191 – Trading The Defenders

Collected Comics Library Podcast #191
29,254Kb; 30m 56s

In preparing for the show this week, I decided that I would cover the 100th Marvel Masterworks The Defenders Volume 1. Little did I realize that it was actually missing the first three try-out pseudo teams-ups from Doctor Strange #183, Sub-Mariner #22 and Hulk #126, all of which was included in the Essential Defenders Volume 1. It then seemed wise to compare the books as part of my When Trade Collide series that I do from time to time. After writing up my notes for that, I began to speculate on what a MMW Volume 2 might look like and that’s when the Marvel Premiere Classic edition of The Avengers/Defenders War came into play. It got to be too much and my initial review of one single book leads me to a whole gambit that is today’s feature presentation. I look at all the collected editions of Marvels first anti-team and a few runs that have yet to be collected and yes, I do dive head first into the chicken soup that would be a Volume 2 of The Defenders Masterworks series.

I also cover a bit on the upcoming Trinity Volume 1 trade paperback (DC Comics), the 2008 Ignatz Awards, the Product and Shipping Changes and the New Releases of the Week.

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