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
Willard Mullin’s Golden Age Of Baseball Drawings 1934-1972 HC (Fantagraphics), $29.99
I just want to throw this one out there for you all to see. Otherwise, I can totally see how this book will go unnoticed by the masses. To be perfectly honest, I have little to “no” idea what is in the body of this 200 page book. But what I DO know is this… Fantagraphics publishes REALLY high quality books, Willard Mullins was a FANTASTIC cartoonist who focused on sports (primarily baseball). Charles Shultz respected Mullins so much that Lucy once claimed she was gonna’ sue Willard Mullins in a Peanuts strip. The last thing that I “know” about this book is that if all of you baseball fans out there order this book from my LCS, they’ll probably run out and I’ll have to order one and practice a seldom used skill… patience.
Mark Schultz’s Xenozoic Complete TP (New Printing) (Flesk Publications), $39.95
This is a special week for me. It’s not because I get to write about a book that I am especially excited about. It’s because I have the opportunity to share my love for a book with all of you; and (thanks to a new printing with an all new cover) you now have the chance to experience this book for yourselves. The book I’m talking about is Xenozoic by Mark Schultz. Xenozoic reprints the entirety of Mark Schultz creator owned series Xenozoic Tales (also known as Cadillacs and Dinosaurs). I’m not gonna’ run down the story synopsis for you (you can go over to www.instocktrades.com and read it in the solicit). I will tell you that in this tome you’ll experience something that we rarely see in a cartoonist. You’ll see Mark Schultz grow as a storyteller and as an artist. If you compare the first and last page of this book, you’ll see the strides that Mark has made during his run on the series. And make no mistake, this is some of the most beautiful art you will see on the printed page. The biggest error one could make in the next few months is to let this book go out of print without procuring a copy for yourself. I was fortunate enough to score a first printing of this book a few years ago, but soon afterward, it was out of print and unavailable. I was no longer able to recommend this to any of my friends (until now). In addition, IDW will be releasing a Mark Schultz Xenozoic Tales Artist Edition in the next few months. But if you want to enjoy Mark’s stories and craftsmanship in a more economical format, you should definitely pick this up. Flesk has made a wise decision by making this book available again on the dawn of IDW’s Mark Schultz Artist Edition. Lastly, I’ll leave you with this bit of wisdom… I believe it was Vince Bonavoglia who once said that the measure of an artist is directly in correlation to how well they draw a dinosaur. Mark Schultz draws one heckuva’ nice lookin’ dinosaur.
Picked by @ReverendLove
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan: The Sunday Comics 1931-1933 HC (Dark Horse)
Collects every Tarzan Sunday strip from September 1931 – September 1933, $125.00
When it comes to the comic strip, anything with the legendary Hal Foster’s name attached to it, is worth buying! This week, Dark Horse has put together for us a beautiful over-sized collection of Foster’s Sunday strips from 1931 to 1933 and it is one book that I will be, without a doubt, buying this week.
Now, regular fans of Foster may find his early material disappointing when compared to his later work on Prince Valiant but I have always been a fan of the process as much as the product and actually really enjoy seeing the first steps of a future master of the art form. Foster’s figures and faces, even with his early work, are solidly constructed and sizzle with beauty and grace that few in the comic strip business could match.
Hal Foster began illustrating the weekly Tarzan in 1929 and did so for only 7 months before he was replaced by Rex Mason. Almost two years later, Foster returned and took the reins of the Tarzan Sunday colour strip in 1931 and continued on until May of 1937 when he was replaced by Burne Hogarth. Foster had reportedly grew weary of working on other people’s characters and set to creating his own strip, the now classic Prince Valiant which began a few months before he was relieved of his Tarzan duties. If there is any down side to this fabulous tome of Foster’s work, it’s the $125 price tag which may scare away the novice collector…but not myself!
When it comes to comic strips…there are few adventure strip artists as talented and skilled as Hal Foster.
Superman: The Silver Age Newspaper Dailies, Vol. 1: 1958 – 1961 HC (IDW)
Collects almost 800 strips from December 15, 1958 – July 1, 1961, $49.99
The summer sun was as oppressive as Superman’s heat vision today as I walked into my local comic book shop and found the first volume of Superman: the Silver Age Dailies 1959-1961 from IDW’s Library of American Comics waiting for me. Right from the start, I was smitten.
I loved the brightly coloured Swanesque art that adorned the cover with it’s strong Silver Age design vocabulary. I sat down with the book in hand, began to peruse the opening chapter and found myself lost in a simpler time of heroes and their wild deeds of daring-do! I have always been a huge fan of Curt Swan, considered by most to be the penultimate Superman artist, and this book, in that regard, will not disappoint the seasoned Swan-meister! They have the innocent quality and corniness as the Superman comics that I loved as a kid and it was a sheer joy to experience that feeling all over again! It’s classic Swan!
Swan was replaced on the dailies by the quirky and campy Wayne Boring, who’d become famous with his barrel chested Superman. I myself, don’t mind Boring’s style but there are a lot of Superman fans out there who don’t share my affection for this particular manifestation of the Man of Steel. I think this book is well worth the read and at only $49.99…it’s a steal!!!
All things considered, Superman: the Silver Age Dailies 1959-1961 is yet another fine addition to the award-winning Library of American Comics label and is one book that this very night, will find its own Fortress of Solitude on my shelves.
Picked by @adambesenyodi
Kevin Keller Volume 2 Drive Me Crazy TP (Archie Comics Publications)
Collects Kevin Keller #5-8, $11.99
The gang from Riverdale never appealed to me growing up, and I never read an Archie comic before Kevin Keller came along. I admit I initially checked out the character because my oldest son is gay and when stories like this get buzz I tend to take notice, but the stories Dan Parent has been creating with Kevin Keller are so enjoyable I have continued to read the comic long after that early hype pulled me in. I’m always happy to see characters like Young Avengers’ Wiccan and Hulkling, and Alpha Flight’s Northstar show up on the pages of my Marvel comics, but there is something to be said for a gay character headlining his own book the way Kevin Keller is. And for that character to not be a superhero, for him to be so ordinary (inasmuch as the denizens of Riverdale High School can be considered ordinary), is what makes the book’s success so remarkable. The issues collected here include stories about first cars, first dates, and teenagers being inspired by their heroes (in this case, Kevin by Star Trek’s George Takei). There is as much value in straight kids picking up a mainstream comic and seeing Kevin Keller among the personalities, as there is value in gay teens being able to find a character that reflects who they are on the pages. That Parent has crafted a character that is just so inherently likable simply makes it all the more satisfying.
Capote In Kansas HC (Oni Press), $19.99
What Ande Parks pulls off with his 2005 Capote In Kansas graphic novel (referred to as “a drawn novel” on the cover) is a perfect echo of what Truman Capote did with In Cold Blood forty years earlier: crafting a riveting nonfiction (and in Parks’ case, graphic) novel. Fictionalizing Capote’s trip to Kansas to research the Clutter Murders for what would become In Cold Blood, Parks projects his own version of Capote’s experience. While using the specter of one of the victims in the storytelling ends up diminishing the actual contributions his childhood friend Harper Lee likely made in the journey Capote took researching In Cold Blood, it’s the juxtaposition of Capote’s New York socialite persona trying to insinuate himself into small town Middle America that’s most compelling. Although I prefer artist Chris Samnee’s work elsewhere more so than here (particularly his runs on Queen & Country, Daredevil, and Thor, The Mighty Avenger), his stark black and white approach is a good fit for the story at hand, reprinted here in hardcover format by Oni.
and a bonus collected edition recommendation from last week…
Picked by @Dief88
Avengers: Heavy Metal TP (Marvel)
Collects Avengers (1963) #286-293, $24.99
In a way, Roger Stern is like Marvel’s forgotten son of the 1980s. The writer had long tenures on several prominent series, including Amazing Spider-Man and Avengers, but for the longest time, there were only a few scattered collections of his work. One of those was the classic Avengers: Under Siege, collecting Avengers #270-277. It’s only in the last year or so, though, that we’ve seen collections of the issues that came immediately after that story, and Avengers: Heavy Metal is the final book in that series (following Avengers: Assault on Olympus, published in 2011). In these issues, Stern completes his run and passes the reigns over to writers Ralph Macchio and Walt Simonson (yes, that’s Simonson writing, not drawing!), with the incomparable John Buscema on art. Although the cast of characters may not be comprised of the A-listers we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in current takes on the Avengers, this book is worth a look just to see how other writers attempted to pick up where Stern left off with his still-celebrated creative run.
and now for something completely different…
Picked by @CaptDS9E
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-Ray DVD (Warner Home Video and DC Comics), $24.98
In a first for DC’s animated division, they decided to make a feature based on a very recent event. Flashpoint was the story which transitioned the old DC to the new 52. I really enjoyed the comic series, so I was very interested how they would take a story that spanned a miniseries, and a ton of spin-off books into one feature. Barry Allen AKA The Flash wakes in an alternate timeline where he is no longer the Flash. He has no powers, his mother is alive, and the entire planet is different from how he remembers. Atlantis and Themiscyra are at war, most of Europe lies in ruins, parts of the world are ruled by other super beings, there is no Superman, Batman is not the same man, and no one knows who the Flash is. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as everything is turned upside down. Barry needs to find out what is going on, and who caused this. He joins up with this alternate Batman and Cyborg to create a group of super beings to stop the new worlds destruction, and to get things back to the way they should be. I really enjoyed the film as it holds nothing back that was in the comics. Parts of it are very brutal, and it is one of the more adult of the DC animated features. I enjoyed that they tried to stick as much stuff in there as possible, but it’s also the one small issue with the film. Some of the stuff they could have cut, and it would not have been missed. Some other things would really have been great if more expanded upon, or added from the comics. However I really enjoyed it, and it put my fears to rest on using a work that is very recent. Stay tuned afterwards for a tease for the next animated film JL: War based on the first arc on the New 52 Justice League.
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.