Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Collect This! A Wishlist

One of the most awesome/frustrating things about comics is that while millions have been collected in some form or another, zillions have not. So if you ask any comics fan what they'd like to see in trade (provided that fan isn't David Paggi) you're gonna get a long, interesting list. So when I thought about that question and asked some buddies the same, we came up with an eclectic range of suggestions that would make for one killer bookshelf. Mine come first (because I'm writing the post), but keep reading even after experiencing blogging ecstasy via my solid gold picks to humor some of the other Cool Kidz who contributed to this biz-natch...

While the highlights of what most consider the definitive Iron Man run of all-time have been collected with Demon in a Bottle, Armor Wars and Doomquest, I want to read the whole thing sequentially, start to finish, and it's gonna be a little while before the Essentials series gets there. Using New Teen Titans as an example, I love "Judas Contract," but would certainly be subconsciously bummed out had I never read "A Day in the Life." I know Bob Layton and David Michelinie probably churned out dozens of quiet time one-shot issues and forgotten two-parters and I wanna read them all!

Kinda the same deal as with the Layton/Michelinie Iron Man, except that I've already read (just about) this whole run, but it really deserves to be collected sequentially. The Wally West Flash (my favorite DC character) was fortunate to have two incredible, lengthy, awesome runs back-to-back from Mark Waid and Geoff Johns. At this point, Geoff's entire run has been collected in convenient chronological volumes, but while much of Mark's has been traded as well (Born to Run, The Return of Barry Allen, Terminal Velocity, Dead Heat and Race Against Time), there is also a lot that isn't (or is out of print). It's a body of work I definitely think deserves to be out there without any gaps and put in the proper order with aligning trade dress and all that good stuff.

Last year, my colleagues over in the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe put together a very cool hardcover collection called Annihilation Classic (softcover available in February) featuring early appearances of Annihilation stars like Nova, Star-Lord, Quasar and even Rocket Raccoon and Groot! Hell, there's even an issue of Logan's Run with a Thanos back-up story! Anyhow, Avengers: The Initiative is one of my favorite ongoing titles out there right now, and a big reason for that is the way Dan Slott and Christos Gage pull in random cool characters from disparate corners of the Marvel Universe and put them all together. It's a cast that would lend itself perfectly to this format as you could compile a nice collection of old stories where readers could get to know characters like War Machine, Tigra, Taskmaster, Typhoid Mary, et al. a bit better.

I've heard Earthwar referenced in dozens of Legion of Super-Heroes stories and letter columns, but have never had the opportunity to read it because it's not exactly clogging the quarter bins and it's not collected. Basically, it's the biggest Legion story I've never read. I don't know much more about Earthwar, but I know that Paul Levitz was involved and I know that I love pretty much every Legion story with any acclaim (and even those without much). Collect it!

The old 60's and 70's Guardians stuff is actually being collected, and at some point I've been meaning to check it out, but I'm actually interested in the 90's series by Jim Valentino. That was the book where Valentino really opened up the Guardians' future and showed what became of the various Marvel heroes and their legacies. I love stuff like that and hey, the book was good enough and garnered enough of a following to land Valentino among the Image founder, so I wanna see why!

This was *the* big DC event of my childhood, and I definitely want to see it not only collected, but being given a truly special treatment. I'm talking about a big ol' hunk of book with not only the Zero Hour mini, but the lead-in stuff from Showcase, the best of the tie-ins, and every zero issue. Heck, make it two volumes and pad out the second book with the "Hunt for Extant" storyline from JSA and any other storylines from the past 15 years that spun in some way out of Zero Hour. You get a big, sprawling, important collection and some really cool and kooky stuff as there were some real diamonds in the roug with those tie-in and zero issues.

Over Christmas break, I read a Return to the Amalgam Age trade I snagged recently and holy crap, dude, it was some of the most fun reading comics I have had in quite some time! At the time Marvel vs DC and the original Amalgam stuff went down, it all seemed a bit excessive and almost commonplace, but given over a decade to age and with the comics industry being back in a climate where interaction between the "Big Two" is rare (actually more or less non-existent), seeing this stuff would be not only a good time, but also really special. However, I'd go the extra mile and, in addition to collecting all the Amalgam books, try and wrangle as many creators involved as possible and hear the stories behind what went into creating characters like Niles Cable or Iron Lantern. I want the full scoop on the Legion of Galactic Guardians complete with Ladronn sketches. I want the untold tale of Prez, Master of Kung Fu! Rad!

David Paggi
100 Bullets hardcovers a la Y The Last Man and Preacher (upcoming)

T.J. Dietsch
I'd like to see someone work some lawyer magic and get Flex Mentallo collected. I read it once, but don't really remember it.

I'd like to check out The Dreaming too. Oh, also Will Pfeifer's Finals mini was pretty rad and I don't think it's gotten the trade treatment yet. Actually, now that I think about it, I want Pfeifer's HERO and Aquaman in omnibus form.

I'd also like to see Peter David's Aquaman, Supergirl and of course Young Justice collected. I already have every issue of that Aquaman, but I'd still like to see him get some DC trade love. I also want to try and actually understand what the hell was going on in Supergirl.

I'll also throw in Steel and Superboy's ongoings because, why the hell not? I couldn't afford to keep buying them when they launched.

Also, I'd like to see more characters who had multiple books or appearances get the Superman: Man of Steel treatment. I'm not sure who I'm thinking of besides Batman, but I really really like how they're printing all the post-Crisis Superman stuff in near chronological order (as they actually came out for the most part) along with any crossover or tie-in issues that make sense.

I also want a classic Creeper collection because I love that character and have no idea why!

Rickey Purdin
I'd like to see some of the Vertigo anthologies like Weird War Tales collected. And that series Flinch. It was an anthology of odd shorts from all kinds of creators.

Kamandi in that Jack Kirby HC style they're doing.

Miracle Man!

An Across the DCU-type book with James Robinson's random shit.

All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc.

Um, Impulse.

Oh! An Al Columbia collection with all his work in one place!

Absolute All-Star Superman.

A full run of Perez and Wolfman's Teen Titans in TP.

I second Dave's 100 Bullets request but with the addition of extras that include a guide to all of Graves' cameos in other books

Finals! And HERO! YES!

Maybe an Aquaman BEST OF would be good. Of course, that'd be dependent on who chose the issues.

Enigma, this Vertigo mini from Milligan and Fegredo back in the '90s, blew my mind and was never collected. But it's this wonderful schizo story about a guy discovering he's a hero.

Sean T. Collins
Soldier X by Darko Macan and Igor Kordey. Wonderfully weird. It's like superheroes by Samuel Beckett--existentialist/absurdist stuff. Sadly it JUST missed the point at which Marvel began collecting literally everything it published.

I second the Al Columbia collection.

I also second the great lost works, Miracle Man and Flex Mentallo.

A Chrome Fetus collection from Hans Rickheit.

Another giant King-Cat hardcover from John Porcellino, this one collecting his later, better stuff.

A Jordan Crane anthology-contribution/short story/minicomic career-spanner collection in the vein of Ron Rege's Against Pain, David Heatley's My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down, etc.

Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns: all of their Batman, Action Comics, Green Lantern, and Final Crisis stuff...in SOFTCOVER already, for crying out loud!

Nice, complete, one-volume softcovers of things like All Star Superman and New Frontier that should be one softcover.

Amazing Spider-Man Ominbus Vol. 2--complete Stan's run already, yo.

Kiel Phegley
I'd like to second Mark Waid Flash/Impulse stuff.

Original Batman & The Outsiders as an Archive Edition.

They should totally end that Kirby hardcover line with a collection of all his weird ass one-offs like his issue of Justice Inc., his First Issue Specials like Manhunter and Atlas and his issue of Richard Dragon: Kung Fu Fighter (fucking insane). God, I love '70s DC Kirby so much.

James Robinson/Joe Casey and Ladronn's run on Cable.

Absolute Books of Magic. Not the Gaiman stuff, but the ongoing series. A man can dream.

(Matt Powell could not be reached for comment)


Sam said...

I'm totally on board with the notion of getting Flex Mentallo into a trade. One of you make that happen. I also second Rickey's vote for Flinch--it was the first series I ever read and what got me into comics. Make that happen too.

Anonymous said...

Essential ROM: Spaceknight

Everyone knows my love of Rom, but I also know it's a cult favorite among many comic creators. I'd love some of today's fans to have the chance to check this book out.

New Teen Titans: Starfire

We've had New Teen Titans trades that have focused on Raven, Terra, and Donna Troy, I want a trade focusing on Starfire as the Titans go into space to help her with issues on Tamaran.

Hulk Visionaries: Bill Mantlo

PAD is generally seen as the Hulk's finest writer but a lot of what he worked with came from the run of Mantlo so I'd love to see his work payed forward and printed.

Manhunter (Ostrander)

One of the best non-League books out at the time, Mark Shaw keeps showing up through the decades for a reason: his story is one of the best.

Bots'wana Beast said...

Yo! Cool kids, Enigma WAS released as a tpb, but is now sadly out of print. I have it, it has a G-Mo intro. You could probably still get it off Amazon second-hand and shit, though.

shags said...

Enigma needs to be released again. It was one of the best things Vertigo ever released. And speaking of Peter Milligan, I would love to see the rest of Shade the Changing Man collected. At least up until Bachalo left the series with #50.

DC also had a great and under-appreciated series, Young Heroes In Love.

KP said...

Rickey, I forgot to mention this in the original thread, but I could put together a fucking amazing Aquaman Best Of.

Anonymous said...

What I'd love to see collected is Jim Starlin's 1970s run on WARLOCK--the Magus Saga. That storyline has often been credited as aong the very best of cosmic superhero comics, but I don't think its available. (An earlier Marvel Masterwork covers the pre-Starlin Warlock, though. So maybe there's hope that they'll someday get back to collecting the later, Starlin issues...)

Rickey said...

Bots'wana Beast and Shags:

How GREAT was Enigma?! I'm not imagining that, right? I put together a run back in the day by searching through quarter bins and when it all came together, unlike most of my quilt-work collection, it blew my mind! Thanks for the backup here.


Get me a LIST! A list of, say, 8 great Aquaman single issues to include in a trade. GO!

Sean Phillips said...

Enigma was collected as a trade years ago. It's out of print but there's a few second hand copies on Amazon

Rickey said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sean!

I think I may have to pick up that Enigma TPB, then. For the Grant intro alone. Dang it. :)

Ben Morse said...

That better end up a blost post and not an e-mail, Phegs!

Richard Hancock said...

"What I'd love to see collected is Jim Starlin's 1970s run on WARLOCK"

Good news: "Marvel Masterworks : Warlock Volume 2: Collecting Strange Tales issues #178 to 181, Warlock #9 to 15, Marvel Team-Up #55, Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, written by Jim Starlin and Bill Mantlo, penciled by Starlin and John Byrne; features cover artwork by Starlin. Marvel, hardback, 320 pages, published June 2009"

Chris Rice said...

The Enigma collection was one of those books that never sold well when it was in print, even in the stores that specialised in that sort of material, so I'd be really surprised if it reappeared from DC. I could see it maybe switching to another publisher, a la Outlaw Nation & Cruel & Unusual, though.

I know Fantagraphics have been trying to get Al Columbia to agree to a collected edition for years, maybe someday.

I second the call for a Jordan Crane collection, although I suspect Jordan might not be too happy with some of his his early Non stuff now.

I'd also love to see a complete Plastic Forks, surprised it's not part of Shadowline's McKeever Library (although I really dislike the format they're using).

As for the mainstream publishers, Howard Chaykin's Twilight, and the Helfer/ Baker Shadow really should be in print.

Rickey said...


I totally picked up a Helfer/Baker Shadow trade a few months back! I dunno if it's still in print, but I got it at a show for about 5 bucks. Bad-ass.

Rickey said...

Also, Chris, good call on Twilight. I found the single issues for cheap a while back and I can't believe how fun it is. I bought it while going through a Kamandi phase and I recommend it to anyone else who enjoys '70s DC space stories.

Anonymous said...

What I'd recommend for an Aquaman trade:

More Fun Comics #73 (1941): "The Submarine Strikes", first appearance of Aquaman.

Adventure Comics #260 (1959): "How Aquaman Got His Powers!", Silver Age emergence of Aquaman.

Aquaman #18 (1964): "The Wedding of Aquaman!", Mera and Aquaman wed, which maybe the first super-hero marriage of the Silver Age.

Aquaman #23 (1965): "The Birth of Aquababy", Arthur Jr. is born.

Adventure Comics #452 (1977): “Dark Destiny, Deadly Dreams", Black Manta unmasks for the first time and the death of Arthur Jr.

Aquaman: Time & Tide #2 (1994): "Fish Tales", origin of Post-Crisis Aquaman.

Aquaman #2 (1994): "Single Wet Female", Aquaman loses his hand to piranha ala Charybdis.

Aquaman #21 and 22 (2004): "With the Fishes", Aquaman deals with an emerging mob in Sub-Diego and faces perhaps his greatest foe in the Eel.

For another trade, there's Aquaman: American Tidal which is the initial story arc of Pfeifer's acclaimed Aquaman run.

Rickey said...

WOW, Jerry!

Thanks! I didn't even realize Pfeifer's Aquaman was collected.

Ben Morse said...

Ok, Jerry, now gimme a matching Namor trade--GO!

Anonymous said...

lol Namor's got like the first appearance, battle with GA Torch, re-appearance in FF, team-up with Doom... that's about it. lol

Jesse T. said...

What's up, thugs. Here's the big man wants to see:

America vs. the JSA mini-series from the '80s ... more for nostalgia's sake than for the story's quality (Or has this been collected? God, I'm outta touch...)

And while I'm on a nostalgia kick, all of the Masters of the Universe comic stories from the '80s - the DC mini, the DC Comics Presents issue where Superman and He-Man team up, the Star Comics/Marvel series, the movie one-shot from Marvel, ALL of the mini-comics from the toys, and the stories from the MOTU magazine. Hell, throw in all of the paintings that adorned the toy boxes, magazine covers and posters, and I'll be in heaven.

DC Challenge! (a gimmicky maxi-series from the 80s, but lots of fun with random characters tossed in)

A complete Spider-Ham collection, with the Marvel Tails one-shot, the Peter Porker series, and all of the backups from Marvel Tales. None of that JMS or Civil War shit, though.

Adventures of Kool-Aid Man ... the Marvel and Archie issues.

Most of you cats are aware of my love for all things Mignola, so what's a guy gotta do to get a complete "Art of Mike Mignola" hardcover? Hell, let Marvel, DC and Dark Horse each put out their own. "The Art of Hellboy" had a few random covers from other publishers in its intro, but I want the whole shebang.

I just saw where the Vigilante: City Lights, Prairie Justice mini - a great story by James Robinson featuring the cowboy version of the Vigilante taking on the Dummy in Vegas - is getting collected in Feb. 'Bout damn time!

Ben Morse said...

Jerry...you made the Sub-Mariner cry.

Ben Morse said...

Yeah for JSA vs America and DC Challenge! Yeah for Jesse Thompson!

Sam said...

I'm intrigued by this 'Adventures of Kool-Aid Man' book...It sounds like it could be life changing.

Anonymous said...

lol I love Subby, but it just seems like Namor can't be written more than an angry, stubborn guy people can't connect with. It takes something like Defenders or FF for him to work because it's more about him mucking things up due to his brashness than anything actually character driven. In recent years, he's toned it down a little (as evidenced in Civil War and Invaders/Avengers), but it seems to have only served to turn him into a wuss.

Say what you will about Aquaman, at least the dude has gone on a journey. Started out as some guy that wore orange and talked to fish to a break away success due to Filmation, one of comic's first married men, one of comic's first fathers, and somebody that has experienced almost as much tragedy as Batman or Spider-Man.

BTW, if you want a personal favorite for Namor, I believe there was a John Byrne issue of his series that dealt with Master Man and the original Human Torch that was really good.

Oh, and Rickey, I meant the Pfeifer Aquaman run should be collected.

Rickey said...

Jesse, I've been looking for that JSA vs. America for forever in single issues! And that He-Man Omnibus sounds spectacular! I had these illustrated He-Man HC books back in the day that I just saw when I was home for Christmas. They wouldn't fit in this collection because they were prose with spot illos, but I still want them in a side collection. :)
And, of course, I'd also like a kool-aid man collection. Mostly for Sam.

And, my bad, Jerry. I misunderstood. Indeed, Pfeifer's stuff should be collected.

Jesse T. said...

Rickey, for reals, where are those "America vs. the JSA" issues? I have, like, issues 2 and 4 of that mini, and of course have never read them 'cuz I want the full set. They've been reprinting all kinds of bonkers JSA stuff for years, but no dice here. Ah well. At least I have all of those Oz-Wonderland War issues.
I have some of those He-Man prose books, too! I think there's one man called "The Wrath of Stinkor" ... so awesome. Best kids book title ever. "Pizza Zombies" is a close second, though.
I think Dan DeCarlo or some other legendary Archie Comics dude drew some of that Kool-Aid Man stuff. Some of the later issues you could only get by sending in points to the Wacky Warehouse. They don't run those promotions anymore ... boooo.
Sorry if I derailed the conversation by talking about crappy books that need to be collected. It's what I do.