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
Creepy Presents Steve Ditko HC (Dark Horse), $19.99
Look, I’m not gonna’ go all “comics historian” on you; but even the most cynical comics fan needs to have a soft spot in their heart for Steve Ditko. I’ve never really been that much of a Ditko fan, much less Ditko purist (like the boss, Chris Marshall), but I respected the man and the contributions that he’s made to the medium over the years. Of course I knew that he was the creator of Spider-Man, but over time I went on to discover his other contributions that weren’t necessarily ripe for Saturday morning cartoons. Books like the Question, Dr. Strange, The Creeper, and Mr. A would eventually reinforce the greatness of Ditko’s legacy to me as I grew older and learned to appreciate him more and more. When the new solicits for this weeks collected editions came out I noticed that there was a new “Creepy Presents” HC coming… and it was a Steve Ditko collection. First of all, I had NO idea that Ditko ever did work for Creepy or Eerie. Obviously, I needed to talk to my good friend Zack (a Ditko historian) to get the low down on this book. I discovered that Ditko crafted sixteen stories with collaborator, Archie Goodwin (fifteen of which are printed in this volume). After my conversation with Zack I came to the realization that this format (produced by those classic magazines) was the perfect book to spotlight the genius of Steve Ditko. It’s a place that can let Ditko’s brilliance run wild, while dazzling us with dark, mind bending images that would’ve never seen print in a Marvel or DC book. It’s a place that allows he and Archie to craft their stories at a finite pace, without the confines of editorial control. Aside from the joy that is Steve Ditko, the “Creepy/Eerie Presents…” series being published by Dark Horse are currently one of the best values in the collected edition market. These are high quality books that retail for around $20 (except the Corben book at $30). The books are hardbound, oversized, and printed on quality paper. They’re a great alternative to the Creepy/Eerie Archives which can be a little bit cost prohibitive, but also are a great introduction to the stories of these classic magazines. One word of warning to you though, they’re highly addictive. If you haven’t started your collection of Creepy/Eerie books, this is the perfect one to start with.
Picked by @CaptDS9E
Star Wars: Agent Of The Empire Volume 2 – Hard Targets TP (Dark Horse)
Collects Star Wars: Agent Of The Empire Hard Targets, $19.99
Dark Horse has put out a lot of good SW books over the years, but the last few have seen many great ones. One of those is Agent of the Empire. The first miniseries introduced us to Johan Cross who is an Imperial Intelligence officer, who does whatever he needs to do, to get things done for the Empire. In other words he is a mix of characters like James Bond, Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, etc., however is not a good guy. In this second miniseries he returns to his home world of Alderaan for a celebration of the current Count Dooku (yes there seems to be many over the years). However an assassin kills the count, which sends Johan on chase where he does not know who he can trust, as he tries to protect the dead Count’s young son. Are people he trusted really his allies, and are enemies really the people who he should fear? It’s a fun ride, which also has cameos by some major players in the SW universe. Really fun read for any Star Wars fan, and another great character created by writer John Ostrander.
Picked by @ReverendLove
Camelot 3000 TPB (DC Comics)
Collects Camelot 3000 #’s 1-12, $19.99
Gather round ye Knights of Ole and share in the adventures of a reborn King Arthur and his court in a far-flung future brought to us by Mike Barr and the incredible Brian Bolland. It was published in 1982 for the direct market only and was DC’s first maxi-series, replete with glossy paper and a story to match. “Camelot 3000” tells the tale of King Arthur and six of his knights of the Round Table who are reincarnated into modern bodies and assume their old identities…except for Arthur and Merlin, who have somehow slept the centuries away.
As in the original legend though, disaster has already been sown for this new Camelot by the seeds of the old romantic triangle that trapped and destroyed the friendship and love between Arthur, Guinevere and the home-wrecker, Sir Lancelot. My favourite of the reborn Knights is the tormented Sir Tristan, who, unlike the others, was reborn into the body of a woman and struggles with his/her loyalty to Arthur when tempted by the villain, Morgaine le Fey to betray the Court in exchange for her old body. The writing is quick paced, imaginative and keeps you on the edge of your seat as King Arthur and his merry gang fight for the freedom of earth. Bolland’s work, is, of course, simply beautiful and serves the storytelling side of the series admirably. I’ve always loved Bolland’s covers and it seemed that after this series, aside from the classic “The Killing Joke”, that he has been relegated to been the King of Covers for DC Comics. Sometimes though, I wish he’d put them aside and give us some of that old-time Bolland magic!
I was always a sucker for legends and myths when I was a kid and as an adult I got to engage that passion once again with Barr and Bolland’s “Camelot 3000”.
Picked by Shane
Guild The Official Companion SC (Titan Publishing), $19.95
I’m a sucker for these companion books. On top of that, Titan has published some beautiful books. I’ve bought every one they’ve made about Firefly/Serenity. The Guild is a very fun web series. With the number of TV shows, movies and of course, COMICS that take up my limited free time, I usually don’t even bother watching anything on the web except the occasional short YouTube clip. I don’t remember what got me interested in The Guild, but it was getting a lot of publicity and I liked its creator Felicia Day. She was a Joss Whedon regular who starred in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and another great product of the World Wide Web, Dr. Horrible’s Sing- Along Blog. It wasn’t even about something I was into… online gaming. I didn’t have a PS3 (I do now) or Xbox, nor did I play anything on my PC. But this series hooked me right in. So far there have been six seasons and it just keeps getting better and better. If you get a chance, check out the web series about the online guild called the Knights of Good and both their online and very bizarre offline adventures. This book should be a good primer for the beginner and a great addition to the die-hard fan’s library. Can’t wait to read this one!
Picked by @chriscampbell8
Nightwing Vol. 2: Night Of The Owls TP (DC Comics)
Collects Nightwing #8-12 and #0, $14.99
As with many, I thoroughly enjoyed the Night of the Owls event that ran through the Batman family of books. And with this second volume of Nightwing, you get the best tie-ins to that event. The writing (Kyle Higgins) and the art (mostly Eddy Barrows) is all top-notch, but I have to applaud Higgins and his decision to introduce an ancestor of Dick Grayson as a Talon. So many possibilities! I hope everyone is already reading Nightwing (because Dick Grayson may be my favorite DC character), but if you’re not, this is a great TPB to pick up. And while you’re at it, grab the Night of the Owls TPB. Solid stuff here. And also included is the Nightwing #0 issue, which gives us a fresh (and condensed) origin of Dick. Turns out Dick was never a ward of Bruce’s!? Pick it up to find out more.
Picked by @adambesenyodi
Back Issue! #66 – Bronze Age Team-Ups (TwoMorrows Publishing), $8.95
If you’re a comic reader of a certain age, there is really no reason you shouldn’t be reading Back Issue! magazine. Published by TwoMorrows, the focus is squarely on the Bronze Age of Comics, that sweet spot loosely defined somewhere between the beginning of the 1970s through the mid-1980s. Some of the most prominent characteristics of that period in comics are team-ups and company crossovers, and this issue of Back Issue! focuses on both. Promising thoughtful commentary on titles like the Spider-Man-centric Marvel Team-Up and the FF’s The Thing starring in Marvel Two-In-One that helped define the period, Back Issue! does a great job scratching the nostalgic itch. Folded into this issue, look for additional features on the baxter-papered Chris Claremont written, Walter Simonson drawn, and Terry Austin inked Marvel and DC Present The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans, and Marvel’s Super-Villain Team-Up. Although Marvel was the standard-bearer for team-ups in the era, DC’s attempts don’t go unnoticed in this issue either. There are also features on the likes of DC Comics Presents, Super-Team Family, and Superman/Captain Marvel Smackdown. All this in digital or physical copy format under a new Austin-inked Gil Kane Marvel Superhero Team-up cover, you simply can’t go wrong! (Full disclosure note: Both CCL site proprietor Chris Marshall and I have contributed features to Back Issue! magazine over the years.)
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.