One reason I love being a part of Marvel is our incredible Collected Editions department and our immense backlog of trade collections, both because I can fairly easily access some of the best comics ever and because that in itself is something to be proud of.
In particular, I’m a big fan of our Visionaries series, devoted to collecting the key works of marquee creators on characters that made them famous (and in many cases vice versa). Again, the folks responsible for these fine books have done an excellent job covering a significant breadth of Marvel’s immense history, but the pursuit of perfection is one that never ends, so thusly here are a few more classic runs I’ve both read and want to check out that I think merit Visionaries status.
SILVER SURFER VISIONARIES: STAN LEE
Of all the numerous characters that Stan Lee has had some hand in creating, he has often cited The Silver Surfer as his very favorite, and it shows in the laborous love “The Man” applies to Norrin Radd’s pathos and prose. Now you can get Surfer’s debut by Lee and Jack Kirby in the classic Galactus Trilogy in several Fantastic Four collections and pick up his origin by Lee and Gene Colan in Essential Silver Surfer, but it sure would be neat to have both those tales, plus some more Kirby FF goodness, as well as the early Surfer solo stories Lee wrote topped off by his classic collaboration with Moebius all in one handy set.
ADAM WARLOCK VISIONARIES: JIM STARLIN
I got to see cosmic kingpin Jim Starlin play plenty with Adam Warlock as well as his friends and foes with the Infinity trilogy in the 90’s and other subsequent follow-ups, but I’ve longed wanted to check out the gonzo stuff from the 70’s that established both the character and creator as mainstays. Gimme the stuff from Strange Tales and that kooky Warlock ongoing that transformed him from tossed-off Lee/Kirby creation to put-upon interstellar messiah and introduced The Magus as well as ignited his feud with Thanos.
CAPTAIN AMERICA VISIONARIES: MARK GRUENWALD
The much-beloved and greatly-missed late Mark Gruenwald spent a whopping 10 years chronicling the adventures of Steve Rogers and company, and as one would expect, had his ups and downs as anybody would over the course of a decade on one title. Gru’s swansong, Fighting Chance, has been collected, but I want to see the goods from his first five years in particular, including the establishment of the second Baron Zemo, the Sourge saga, the introduction of Flag Smasher, and of course Rogers’ replacement by John Walker and stint as The Captain; cherrypick for a first volume and then we’ll see what’s left for a second.
AVENGERS VISIONARIES: ROGER STERN
A lot of folks know Roger Stern for writing one of the very best Avengers stories of all time in Under Siege, but the guy spent 75 issues with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, starting with the trial of Hank Pym and ending with an assault on Olympus itself. In between, he brought some wild members like Starfox and Doctor Druid onto the team, established both The Wasp and Captain Marvel as impressive female leaders, and crafted some fine stories alongside one of my favorite artists of all time, John Buscema, that I’ve love to see all in one place.
SHE-HULK VISIONARIES: JOHN BYRNE
John Byrne already has one impressive multi-volume Visionaries collection to his name displaying his awesome run on Fantastic Four, a tenure greatly aided by his bringing the boisterous She-Hulk on the team as a replacement for The Thing. Following the end of his FF sting, of of Byrne’s next opuses was a lengthy period on Shulkie’s solo series—albeit one broken up by a hiatus of 22 issues. From all I’ve heard, it was Byrne at his funniest and She-Hulk at her sassiest, but no decent trade exists and I’d like to see that change.
BLACK PANTHER VISIONARIES: CHRISTOPHER PRIEST
For 62 issues over five years, Christopher Priest’s Black Panther was widely hailed as one of the most critically-acclaimed comics on the racks, yet despite every effort on the part of both creator and publisher, it never quite achieved commercial success and always hovered near cancellation level before finally caving. It’s a shame, because having read all 62 of those issues, I can assure you it’s one impressive body of work from start to finish; a true epic with a great beginning, exciting middle, and satisfying end, albeit one that came a bit too soon. With the Panther enjoying some renewed success in print and on the small screen, it would be great to get Priest’s work out there, as he’s responsible for introducing so many characters and components contributing to that resurgence and left an indelible mark on Wakanda.