You’re not supposed to move it Mr Jones.
I think the reprint might improve on that. With the new paper and production techniques that Marvel has been bringing in over the last couple of years, I think the new version might be a bit less unwieldy.
You chain it to a lectern, like an old community Bible.
Expect 5 of them too as Hell on Earth has racked up 15 trades!
EDIT: The Edelweiss listing for Marvel to Dec 2017:
One new item was the next Thor OHC from Aaron & Dautermain, along with a Waid-Garney Cap omnibus.
Ooohh, a Waid/ Garney Omnibus? That’s my favourite Cap run by a country mile. Could be one to pick up!
Hellboy In Hell Library Edition? I’ve resisted the temptation to buy trade up for any of the earlier LE’s. But, for HiH … Awfully tempting. That was an awesome series.
A single volume Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus is insane. I’ll stick with my lovely four volume Omnibus set from a few years ago, methinks.
One financial issue with the Cap omnibus - RRP $125.
Nor at $50 will Hellboy In Hell be cheap now either, for that’ll come out at a online price, at best, of around £30. My view is it’ll be pricey, at a cost of £15 per trade collected, but worth it.
The most depressing thing about that, is there’s no Vol 1 next to it. I’d love Moore’s run in Absolute, for example. Or a collection of Robinson’s various work.
I might be interested in that. I’ve never really read any Simonson but people sure do love his Thor run.
I love it. It is big and full of energy. No idea is too off the wall. This is the run that gave us Beta Ray Bill - alien horse and other person worthy to wield the hammer of Thor - and the Thor frog.
A lot of stuff in the movies comes straight out of this run (as far as I know).
It it very much of its time (the 80’s), so your mileage with that sort of style (with captions, thought bubbles, lots of dialogue etc.) may differ.
I am going to single out these pages because I thought they were fantastic.
A lot of that’s already popped up on Amazon, but I did spy a new Complete Collection of Tomb of Dracula. 512 page trade, so that’s an Epic collection in all but name and presumably they’ll do the whole run this time.
Also, Jim Lee X-Men Epic Collection, a Punisher Epic Collection and Jason Aaron Dr Strange OHC.
Looking at the way my trades bill has become, over the last 6 months, despite my bagging every single deal I can, there is but one inescapable conclusion: This cannot continue.
So, the solutions? There will be a number:
- Series end and are not replaced - this has proven effective, though yes, it means experimentation goes out the window in favour of known quantities.
- Save for the Ms Marvel / Thor OHCs I’m unlikely to be buying Marvel OHC / Omnibus unless something very exceptional turns up, as their opting for a price point of $125 places the cost at £65-70 even with a major discount.
- I won’t be starting the DC Rebirth OHCs, or indeed any other new series ones. When I started buying OHCs years ago the cost relationship of trades to OHC was such that buying the OHC was cheaper than buying the individual trades, this has now reversed. Image has been quite canny in tending to combine 3 trades into 1 OHC, IDW have done similar so those’ll be retained where they are an existing series - Saga / Transformers.
- Cutting back on upgrading paperback runs to hardbacks, the one exception here will be the Mignolaverse because DHC’s hardbacks are frequently fucking fantastic.
The idea is to move the bulk of the buys to paperbacks only, with a core set of hardbacks that will reduce over time as the series end. Looking at it, this could be very effective as a lot of series are ending anyway, but normally I’d have found replacements at both TPB and OHC levels, not anymore.
Opting for paperbacks lowers and distributes the cost per volume over a longer timespan, so makes things easier in terms of buying, whereas the OHCs concentrate spend into one month, which is fine when it’s 1 or 2, but it has gotten quite a bit higher than that for me.
April to August will be busy months, but from September onwards it’s looking far better and far more manageable.
Lately I’ve been reading Fantastic Four: Strange Days Epic Collection. This is (presumably) the last FF Epic Collection, chronologically at least, and collects the issues running up to Onslaught.
That period’s got a really bad reputation all round, but these FF issues are perfectly decent actually. It’s the tail-end (I assume) of Tom DeFalco’s run, with Paul Ryan pencilling. Most of the volume is concerned with powerful new villain Hyperstorm, but while he’s not a classic, I’ve read worse elsewhere. Ryan’s one of my favourite penciller’s but he’s not at his best here. The inking doesn’t do him many favours, especially when Danny Bulandi is replaced, but the bigger problem is a more esoteric approach to panel lay-outs. You often get characters from panel A over-lapping into panel B, even though panel B is framed over panel A, which is borderless. I think that and the mediocre computer colouring are the biggest debts the comic owes to the reviled time period it was made in, really.
That said, I’ve not got to the actual Onslaught issues yet, which I assume will be terrible, but I don’t feel I can blame that on the comic itself, given it was forced into it.
Justice League of America: Power and Glory HC
Reading this as, er, monthly? Probably not the right word, but certainly in episodic form would be a pain. Is reading it in collected form any better? To a degree yes, but it’s a double-edged sword that cuts both ways.
My overall conclusion is that Hitch is far better as artist than writer. Some artists pull off the transition to writer-artist but it’s hard one to succeed and, though he gives it a good go and “maximum effort”, I don’t think he pulls it off, especially with the final resolution.
Approached as a mind-frelling time travel story that you don’t expect to make much sense because time travel rarely does, it works fine. Approached as something more serious and it falls apart. It sets up mysteries that don’t get resolved like the Infinity Foundation and what they were actually up to, though there is the get-out clause of them doing whatever the stones told them to and those stones ha their own ideas they didn’t share with anyone else.
The idea of Rao existing and turning up is a good one and it’s well-executed, the only problem is the benevolent-saviour-who-tuirns-out-not-to-be-so isn’t that new an idea and you expect how it turns out - it’s just the details you lack. Due to that I couldn’t really credit anything that came out of Rao’s mouth and later on the messed-up element of religion was brought to the fore with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The way the characters get separated and distributed across time and space isn’t bad, but the way it’s explained is, as is the way Wonder Woman and Aquaman escape a death trap.
No, the big success here is Hitch’s forte for big, ambitious art sequences that really work for superpowered punch-ups on a vast scale. These sequences, as are the scenes of Rao’s cathedral arriving, are excellent. Wonder Woman’s God-level defibrillation of a dead Superman was also a great sequence.
That final chapter? Well, going to the shop and getting that as the finale would have really irked - no Hitch, either on script or art, Bedard does what he can as Dc’s script go-to guy, as does Derenick, but he’s not Hitch and can’t pull the big sequences that Hitch had in mind for this finale. It’s OK, it doesn’t kill the overall series but does weaken it, though the bulk of the weaknesses were already present in the earlier issues too. The worst offender is the last page which is a clear nod to Rebirth and a pile of continuity bullshit.
Was it an enjoyable read? Yes, but is that enough given that it’s Hitch? Well, that’s just it. I don’t feel ripped off, a 9 issue hardback for under £17 isn’t bad going these days, though it was advertised just about everywhere as having an Annual included which isn’t here.
Go in expecting a flawed but good story and your expectations will be met, along with some really excellent art.
Is it enough for me to consider picking up the Rebirth trades of Justice League? Nope.
The story was originally supposed to be wrapped up in the annual but it ended up wrapping up in the last issue and there was no annual. It was slightly disappointing but I loved the book so much and it segues straight into the current book. The Infinity Foundation is in the current story arc.
Astro City: Volume 14: Reflections HC
So, this volume opens with a strange titled story called In Dreams 2015. 2015? Why tag that on? Well, turns out, way back when, the first issue was titled In Dreams. 20 years and 14 trades later, it’s still going so why not make the anniversary issue a follow-up to that opening tale? It also weaves in the book’s hallmark features too: The passage of time and changing relationships, of different perspectives. The second story also picks up on that last point by giving us the alien’s viewpoint of the Furst Family, in a story that ends on a very dark note indeed. The last tale is a Steeljack trilogy and again weaves in ideas of time passing, of relationships old and new.
This was a real return to form for the book after the lackluster previous volume. Oh, other artists are fine but Anderson’s art is a big, big part of what makes the book work and it’s really noticeable when it’s not there.
Overall, this felt like a special read and, arguably, it should. Not many comics make it to 20 years, certainly not many independent books either. Yet, while the big two do various events and reboots, continuity splicing and re-splicing, Astro City has stayed doing what it started out doing and, by means of that, it’s got a small story patch all its own, one it’s nowhere near done with either. I’ll be looking forward to getting Volume 15: Everyday Heroes in December now.
Great to see DC soliciting a Night Force Complete Collection HC again. Hopefully this one will actually go to print.
America’s Best Comics TPB
I’m on a bit of an ABC kick at the moment, so in-between finishing up the Terrific Tales collections and starting on Tomorrow Stories I thought I’d check out this TPB, comprising a few odds and ends that didn’t make it into those other series collections.
First up is a reprint of the America’s Best Comics: 64-Page Giant issue, which was released to promote the ABC imprint ahead of its launch. It’s a great little primer for the entire line, including lots of short stories highlighting various individual characters and series.
Highlights are a fun Top Ten yarn about vampire gangsters, a Promethea-oriented take-off of Little Nemo that’s about as accurate and perfect a pastiche of McCay as I’ve ever seen, and an amusing strip that’s presented as a reportage-style behind-the-scenes look at ABC comics being produced (which gives Alan Moore the chance to chuck in quite a few in-jokes about comics writers and artists, including a self-effacing take on his own pretentiousness and pomposity).
There are also countless little minor offerings in here that are great fun for ABC fans (including an amusing LoEG board game that I’d love to try and actually play, and a Tom Strong strip that presents an interesting prototypical version of the character who doesn’t quite feel like the final version that Moore created with Sprouse), and several other strips that introduce characters that would go on to have runs of their own short stories in Terrific Tales and Tomorrow Stories.
After that, it’s on to The Many Worlds Of Tesla Strong one-shot, a cracking oversized single issue that makes use of lots of guest artists to tell a story that’s part-anthology, part-complete-story, with an overarching plot about King Solomon getting lost in the multiverse and Tesla setting out to rescue him on her cosmic multiverse-traversing surfboard.
With art from such luminaries as Art Adams, Frank Cho, Adam Hughes, Bruce Timm, Chris Sprouse, J. Scott Campbell, Michael Golden and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (each of whom illustrates a different alternate universe), it’s a really great showcase for a broad range of talents, with a script that has a lot of fun with the alternate-universe/variant versions of characters gimmick, and which also manages to tie a broad offering of ideas together with a decent central thread to keep things moving forward. Some of the vignettes are serious, some are silly, and some are more like straight action-adventure comics, but they’re all enjoyable.
Finally, the book wraps up with a sketchbook/artist-spotlight section that provides a wealth of behind-the-scenes material from across the entire ABC line, with early production sketches, pin-ups, alternate or never-used artwork, and much more. Given the quality of artists that ABC attracted, this is a great gallery to flick through, with some beautiful pieces that never made it to the final comic page but which are thankfully preserved here.
Given that this book can be picked up for just a few quid second-hand, I’d definitely recommend it, whether you’re a fan of the ABC line or not. There’s a lot packed in here: a huge variety in art style and tone, which has all the strengths of the anthology format with very few of the main weaknesses (namely, the inconsistent quality).
Like the ABC line as a whole, this collection of bits and pieces benefits from a strong single vision behind it, and is a real treat for anyone like me who was a fan of the ‘core’ ABC books but never bothered to track down this pair of bumper-sized anthology issues. Some of this stuff has cropped up on other collections over the years (I think the Top Ten and Promethea stories made it into the Absolutes), but it’s nice to have it all in one place here.
From DC’s June 2017 solicits
JUSTICE LEAGUE BY GIFFEN AND DEMATTEIS OMNIBUS VOL. 1 HC
Written by KEITH GIFFEN and J.M. DeMATTEIS
Art by KEVIN MAGUIRE, KEITH GIFFEN, MIKE McKONE, STEVE LEIALOHA, TY TEMPLETON, ADAM HUGHES, BART SEARS and others
Cover by KEVIN MAGUIRE
The classic 1980s super-team series is collected in a giant Omnibus starring Batman, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Ice, Fire and dozens of other colorful heroes! This first volume includes JUSTICE LEAGUE #1-6, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #7-25, JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #26-46, JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE #1-21, SUICIDE SQUAD #13, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1-3, JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA ANNUAL #4, JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE ANNUAL #1 and more!
On sale SEPTEMBER 27 • 1,080 pg, FC, $99.99 US
That can’t be right, can it? That’s 73 issues.