It’s that spooky time of year, especially if you live in Detroit! Come on in and grab a scary book!
Before I get to this year’s “spooktacular” show, I go over the crazy, fun weekend that was the Detroit Fanfare. Held at the Adoba Hotel in Dearborn, MI, I hosted the TwoMorrows Publishing booth. I had asked John Morrow if I could do it last April and I didn;t take much convincing. It turned out to be a great show, not only for TwoMorrows, but overall. It was well attended and had a plethora of top notch talent. And the even better news is that I will be hosting for TwoMorrows at the 2014 C2E2!
…and now on to something really scary…
Anyone, who knows anything about comic books knows that Spider-Man originated in Amazing Fantasy #15. That said, can you name the back-ups of that comic?
No? Well, you’re in luck because tonight I go over 3 suspenseful classics from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. I culled it from the Amazing Fantasy Omnibus, which was on my Top 10 book for 2007.
There’s even a neat letter from the Marvel Editor’s (Stan?) explaining the name change from Amazing Adult Fantasy to Amazing Fantasy — and we know how well that lasted.
Is there one book that is a “must have” collected edition 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 @ReverendLove Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman Omnibus Vol. 1 HC Published by Marvel Collects Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1-5, Fantastic Four #570-588, FF #1-5 and material from Dark Reign: The Cabal #1, 800 pages, $100
I have always loved the Kirby-Lee run on the Fantastic Four and besides that classic run, thought the only other FF stories worth their salt were the 1980′s comic book tales by John Byrne…that was until a couple of years ago.
It was on a casual visit to my local comic book emporium, that I discovered Jonathan Hickman’s soon to be classic take on the first family of comics. I was astounded to see that there was still life in the old cosmic quartet and that these new stories were different from the usual FF fare as of late. Hickman brought to the Fantastic Four a whole new vision of Kirbyesque proportion and complex plot lines that could have been wrought by the cosmic master Jim Starlin, himself.
With Hickman at the wheel, we see a universe of uncertainty and menace where Reed Richards and his other dimensional doppelgangers try to “fix” the universe. We see Reed and the others, including members of his own family, as they attempt to play God and bring peace to a world tired and beset by strife between the heroes, mutants, Inhumans and the human population.
This is not the Fantastic Four of your parents day…this is a Fantastic Four that brims with possibilities and probabilities and stories that lead us down paths both new and unexplored. The only thing that’s certain in this volume is the rampant imagination and verbal stylings of one of the brightest stars to shine down upon the Marvel Universe in many a year.
You owe it to yourself to experience Mr. Hickman’s interpretation of the “World’s Greatest Comic Book Magazine”!
Picked by @Dief88 Fantastic Four Omnibus Vol. 1 (New Printing) Published by Marvel
After much lobbying from hardcore collected editions enthusiasts, Marvel’s collections department has decided to roll out new printings of some of its earliest Omnibus editions. The first-ever Omnibus gets reprinted this week, and it’s a great one. Fantastic Four Omnibus Vol. 1 collects some of the best superhero comics ever created, as well as some of the best work by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. These stories were at the very beginning of Marvel’s early-‘60s superhero comics revolution, and that adventurous spirit pervades the thirty issues collected here.
Many fans point to the series’ second thirty-issue block as the heyday of the Lee/Kirby FF, and those stories are certainly excellent as well, but to my mind these earlier issues are a lot more interesting. They’re rougher in certain ways, but it’s fascinating to see Lee and Kirby constantly trying out different things with the artwork, characterization, and plot structure. A few of these experiments fail – the issue introducing the Impossible Man, for example, is quite possibly the worst Stan Lee comic I’ve ever read – but many others are brilliant. Fantastic Four #5, which introduces Dr. Doom, is in my opinion one of the best single issues of the Silver Age (ranking second only to Amazing Fantasy #15), and it’s in roughly equal company throughout this collection. This is a book that all readers of superhero comics should definitely consider having on their shelves.
…and a bonus recommendation….
Wolverine: The Return of Weapon X Published by Marvel Collects Wolverine (1988) #159-176 and Annual 2000-2001, $44.99
I have been waiting for this trade for more than a decade, and I can’t be more thrilled that it’s finally a reality. The issues collected in this book were among the first comics I bought after setting up my first pull list. I had subscribed to Wolverine’s ongoing series on a whim (purely because I needed to have a fifth title on my list), never having read it and knowing nothing about the creators. Little did I know that my first issue, #162, was essentially the ground floor for what would become – and what remains – my favorite Wolverine story of all time.
This isn’t just nostalgia talking. Frank Tieri’s run on the book with Sean Chen takes elements from all the best Wolverine stories (Weapon X, the Claremont/Miller miniseries, you name it) and blends them with the writer’s own off-kilter sensibilities. “The Return of Weapon X” is more than just an ode to Wolverine stories of the past – it’s also, at times, a biting satire of early-2000’s American popular culture. Tieri is also one of the few writers to successfully portray Wolverine as an introspective and truly intelligent man, rather than simply a mindless killing machine. This is one of the great Wolverine stories, and it’s wonderful that a new generation of readers now has the chance to experience (or re-experience) it.
Picked by @adambesenyodi Mystery Society Deluxe HC Published by IDW $27.99
This hardcover collects the five-issue series and the 2013 Special into one oversized book.
Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) offers up an entertaining enough story about Nick and Anastasia, a hipster mash-up of The Thin Man’s Nick and Norah and The Avengers’ John Steed and Emma Peel, and the couple at the center of the Mystery Society. They end up recruiting a few more members along the way (including a robot with the brain of Jules Verne!) on their quest to recover Edgar Allen Poe’s missing skull. It’s a crisp story with plenty of action sequences balanced by quippy repartee. But the real superstar of the series is Fiona Staples art. If you only know her work from Saga with Brian K. Vaughan, you owe it to yourself to go back and check out some of her earlier efforts. This or Wildstorm’s North 40 is a great place to start. The new Mystery Society Deluxe Hardcover collects the original five-issue series from 2010, plus the March 2013 one-shot that was written by Niles but with art duties taken over by Andrew Ritchie. Definitely worth a look!
Picked by @CaptDS9E MacGyver: Fugitive Gauntlet TP Published by Image Collects MacGyver: Fugitive Gauntlet #1-5, $14.99
It’s been 19 years since Richard Dean Anderson played MacGyver on television, and fans of the character like myself have been hoping for more. Amid rumors of possibly a feature film, it was finally announced that we would get more of this great property in comic book form. Written by Tony Lee/MacGyver creator Lee David Ziotoff , with art by Will Sliney we get a fun miniseries called Fugitive Gauntlet. An old Biology Professor of Macs believes he has found the solution for world hunger. He contacts MacGyver, hoping the Phenonix Foundation can help with the many issues that could arise from such a world changing discovery. Namely companies trying to steal his idea for their own monetary gain, before it can be brought before the world for free. However like all things in MacGyver’s life, things go crazy quickly, the data is stolen, and his friend is killed. It forces MacGyver to go on an international crusade to figure out who stole the data, and who leaked the discovery to the thieves. As if he didn’t have enough problems, someone has put a sizable bounty on MacGyver’s head, putting many bounty hunters on his tail. Yes it is crazy as it sounds, just like episodes of the TV show were. We get the voice overs, the on the spot inventions to get out of tight spots, and plenty of the cliches we have grown to love. If your a fan of the show, then this is worth the read.
Picked by Shane Fables: Werewolves Of The Heartland TP Published by DC Comics $14.99
Fables is by far my favorite comic series out there. Still going strong with over 130+ issues, aside from the monthly series there has been a lot of other content out there for fans of this universe. There have been two spin-off series (Jack of Fables and Fairest), a prose novel, a couple of mini-series with the character Cinderella and some stand-alone graphic novels. The latest of which is Werewolves of the Heartland, which makes its trade paperback debut this week. This graphic novel is a solo tale for Bigby (the Big Bad Wolf), one of my favorite characters in the series. Bigby goes off on a quest to find a new location for Fabletown (the town where the exiled fairy tale characters live in the real world). In his quest he stumbles upon a small town of werewolves who seem to have a link to Bigby’s past. If you’re a fan of the series, this is a must buy. If you haven’t read the series yet, get the first trade paperback and begin your own quest now!
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.
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 @ReverendLove The Mighty Thor Omnibus – Volume 2 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby HC (Marvel) Collects Journey Into Mystery (1952) 121-125, Thor (1966) 126-152, Thor Annual (1966) 2, Not Brand Echh (1967), $99.99
One of the first Marvel titles that grabbed my attention when I began to buy up Silver Age comics in the 70′s was “The Mighty Thor” and this second Omnibus of the God of Thunder’s adventures contains most of the comics that first drew me to the fabled gates of Asgard. This volume is graced with the art of the King of Comics, Jack Kirby and for the most part, his pencils are inked by the much maligned Vince Colletta with one issue by “Wild” Bill Everett. The Inhumans stories that were back up stories for some of the later issues in this volume were inked by Joe Sinnott, but I don’t think those are included in this volume.
The stories begin with Thor’s troubles with the Absorbing Man and a little side trip to Vietnam in one of the last “Commie Bashing” tales that Stan Lee was known for in the early 60′s Marvel titles. The title begins to take us to other locales both foreign and fantastic from the Underworld to the far reaches of outer space where he meets up with one of the greatest Marvel “villains”, Ego, the Living Planet. I loved these stories with their wild organic landscapes that writhe with life to the super cool “anti-bodies” with those weird square heads that helped protect the Living Planet.
Thor returns to Earth where he encounters another great Marvel character, the High Evolutionary and his mutated animal Knights of Wundagore. The following stories flit from one new villain to the next for a few issues and this volume ends with Issue #152, which is the first part of the legendary Man-Gog
arc, that to this day, is still one of my favourite Thor stories of all time. I’d first came across this story in Marvel Treasury Edition #10 from 1976 but it was a few years until I’d found copies of the original comics and could read the entire epic including the several pages edited out of the Treasury Edition.
These stories bristle with magic and myth and modern day legends that today, still stride like giants through the Halls of the Palace that is known as Marvel Comics.
Picked by @CaptDS9E X-O Manowar Volume 3 Planet Death TP (Valiant), $14.99
The first two volumes of the series that relaunched the Valiant comics universe, has built up to this huge turning point. Aric a Visigoth who was abducted by an Alien race called the Vine. has returned to present day Earth. He has become one with the X-O Manowar armor which he merged with during his escape from his captors. With some help from Ninjak and others, he has stopped the secret Vine invasion of earth. Next on his agenda, is taking the battle to the Vines home planet of Loam, to get revenge for what happened to him and his people. He arrives on the Loam with the desire to destroy the entire planet. However his mission takes on a shape he did not foresee. With unlikely alien allies, and help from the last people he thought he would meet, his mission takes on a new meaning not only for him, but the results will shape the Valiant universe in the year to come. If you have not yet jumped into the Valiant universe, this would be a good place to start, as things are getting more interesting all the time. Writer Robert Venditti has not only built a great story that builds every issue, but also one where you can jump on between arcs, and get you into the flow of things.
Picked by @ChrisCCL Green Lantern: Sector 2814 Vol. 2 TP (DC Comics) Collects Green Lantern #182-183 and #185-189, $16.99
Why is DC collecting these Green Lantern stories, Chris? We’ll sit back and let me tell you. As the title of the book states, Green Lantern: Sector 2814 is a Volume 2, but that is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually the 4th volume of Dave Gibbon’s Green Lantern run. The first two books were Tales of the Green Lantern Corps and collected all the back-ups he did from Green Lantern including Mogo Doesn’t Socialize with Alan Moore (#188, 1985). The first volume of this Sector 2814 series collects Green Lantern #172-176 and #178-181, which sets up Hal Jordan’s removal from the Corps and John Stewart’s ascension, which is coming out this week. So there you have it. Glad I could set it straight.
Nightwing: Old Friends New Enemies TP (DC Comics) Secret Origins #13 and Action Comics Weekly #613-618 and #627-634, $14.99
In 1988, DC turned Superman’s title into a weekly book to directly compete with Marvel Comics Presents. DC (and Marvel) churned out a lot of content with these mini storylines that carried over week to week, thus forcing kids and adults to buy more to keep up with their favorite characters. It was also a tryout book as a few of them would go on to headline their own title. But before Dick Grayson did that in 1995, he held his own in the back pages of Action Comics. The “Weekly” only lasted from #601 (May 24, 1988) to #642 (March 14, 1989) but Nightwing got in two popular runs. First is a team-up with his Titans buddy, Speedy as they chase down Cheshire, from writer Marv Wolfman. One their second adventure, the duo head to Ireland to take on drug lords, but make no mistake, it’s much more of a Speedy story, then Nightwing. BTW, do you like the cover of this trade? It was done by the great Mike Kaluta.
American Comic Book Chronicles HC The 1950s (TwoMorrows Publishing), $40.95
The third book is this excellent, informative retrospective series is out this week. For the comic book novice or for the serious historian and anyone in between. This is an indispensable guide to American comic books. There isn’t much more to say other then: go buy it.
Finally we have a retro recommendation circa 2004…
Picked by @andrewjtom Light Brigade TP (DC Comics), $19.99
Y’know there aren’t very many comics out there that are based around Christian theology. Many of the comics out there typically only show up in artists’ alleys and the occasional Christian bookstore. It’s pretty rare that you find a Christian themed book published by one of the “Big Two”, but that’s exactly what I’m gonna’ talk about today. One of my favorite collected editions over the last several years is a book called Light Brigade. Light Brigade is the brain-child of Pete Tomasi with amazing art by Peter Snejbjerg. The story focuses on a company of US soldiers in Europe during WWII. I won’t get into the plot, but expect Zombie Nazis, Warrior Angels, and a quest for the soldiers that leads to an opportunity to save mankind from the forces of evil. The great thing is that the book uses Christian theology as a story telling platform. It’s not “preachy” and doesn’t try to teach you a Sunday School lesson. It uses Christian faith to tell an entertaining story. This story is great for people who are non-Christians as well as Christians, but; you may get a little more out of the material if you can recall some of those Bible stories that you learned in Sunday School.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, well, I finally got around to reading Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s epic run of Fantastic Four. This past week I finished it and today I want to share with you all the fun, extra, bonus material from Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Volume 6-10.
Also on the show I talk a little bit about Marvel Premiere Classic: Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller just in time for The Wolverine movie and TwoMorrows Publishing The Star*Reach Companion. Just what was Star*Reach, why it was so important and how can you collected it – one word: BitTorrent.
Lastly there is a great question from Zac about how to find DC and Marvel anthology books.