Comics Creators

The Trades Thread - Hardcovers, Graphic Novels, and More


Finished reading MTMTE vol 4 and 5. This series continues to be such an engrossing read. The Overlord arc was my favourite of the run, with a truly scary villain, and massive stakes. The Ultra Magnus revelation, on the other hand, was a little weird - but, I guess that’s my brain trying to parse these events with the character from my childhood and failing to do so. But, the crazy mix of characters and wacky hijinks continues to be really hard to put down.


You should look out for the Joe Kelly run, when it’s collected. Definitely worth reading. I think it’s right up your street - funny, yet with a darkly serious streak running underneath it all.

Which continues into his recent Spider-man/ Deadpool run, that I will continue to mention here as an under rated epic until somebody starts believing me!


Dealer Alert

Books Etc are offering the Berlin hardback for £19.85!

They took Volume 3 down to £10.79, so requested cancellation of last night’s order, which they’ve just confirmed and then spotted the omnibus at an incredible price.


Thought I’d drop this in here, finally To The Death goes to print! This is the prequel , a complete story (that I’ve had sat in my inbox for over a year now!)

£15 for a 300 page annual with lots of stories in there. No idea what the other content is though.


Quick heads-up for SpeedyHen users - the code AUTUMN2018 gets you 8% off on any single order, apparently with no minimum price.

I’ve saved around £15 by cancelling a few pre-orders and replacing them with a single group order using the code.

Edit: actually, it looks like it works multiple times. Even better.


Damn Dave, this is fantastic. I just bagged the second Jurgens Thor omnibus for just under £56, the Deadly Class OHC for under £25 and Sixth Gun HC 5 is now under £30.


Absolute Killing Joke is just over £23.

I’ll take that!


Tec OHC3 can be got for £17.

Dark Justice: Dominion HC for just under £14


It’s quite handy - I saved about £3 on a couple of pre-orders - but 8% is an odd amount. Is there a significance to it?


I wondered that too. I couldn’t think of any particular significance to it.


I suspect it’s what they’ve calculated is their safe margin to give away across the line without damaging their profits. In other words their lowest margin on any book could be 10% so to offer 8% means they always make at least some money.


Couple more SH preorders have gone active for exploi… ahem, preordering:

Harrow County: Library Edition 1

Black Hammer: Library Edition 1


Doctor Strange: Afterlife

The interesting thing about the Epic Collection’s dedication to completeness is getting to see the material Marvel probably wouldn’t have otherwise bothered to reprint. By which I of course mean the mid-90s stuff from when they were circling the drain of bankruptcy after the speculator bubble burst and thought out-sourcing to Image was a good idea.

I’ve read a few trades of pre-Onslaught material and none of its been that awful, really. Waid/Garney Captain America’s fine. The end of Fantastic Four v1 is perfectly decent. Teen Tony is, ignoring how it came about, not a terrible idea, even if it’s pushing him into Spider-Man’s traditional niche. The Dr Strange run at the start of this volume though is truly dire.

Well, nearly at the start of the volume. It actually opens with a painted special called Strange Tales, teaming Doc up with the Thing and the Human Torch, cos they used to share Strange Tales (with a small appearance by Nick Fury too, obvs). Despite being written by Kurt Busiek, it’s pretty rough going. It doesn’t help that I don’t really like most painted comics - they’re usually striving for an aesthetic that’s more pretentious than it is interesting frankly. I can kind of see why an exercise in formal nostalgia like this existed though (beyond the anniversary of Strange Tales, I guess) in the dark days of the mid-90s, as the traditional takes on Marvel characters were frequently unavailable, replaced by garish redesigns.

Speaking of, here’s Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme from 1995, presenting a new take on Dr Strange. He’s got a new costume, funky new glasses, ill-defined new magic powers that come from the Earth itself or something and yeah, this is all desperately wanting to be a Vertigo series so much it hurts. Strange’s new design is pretty awful. The cloak’s still there, but over a blank black body suit. His facial hair’s gone, he’s got long hair with white streaks (misunderstanding how greying temples work) and the stupid glasses, all of which conspire to make him look nothing like Dr Strange.

None of this compares to the fact that the first (main) issue here is completely impenetrable. Now, in its defence, it’s clearly the last part of a big story arc, tidying up various ongoing plot threads and big changes the title’s undergone. But on the other hand, it does absolutely nothing to explain anything that is happening at all. The dialogue might as well be in Mandarin for how much meaning I gleaned from it. It is so obtuse that I can only assume the writer, David Quinn, was trying to do a deliberate satire on the Vertigo house style. Or he’s just a hack.

From the next issue, Quinn’s plots are scripted by Evan Skolnick, who was previously the title’s editor. It feels like an editorial decision to just try and make the title work. They stick with it for a handful of issues as Strange finds himself running a company, dealing with corporate intrigue and remember when I said Iron Man was trying to be Spider-Man with Teen Tony? Well, this is Dr Strange trying to be Iron Man and it’s just weird. I’ve no idea how and why Strange ended up in the identity of Vincent Stevens and running Tempo, but it does not work on any level.

So it’s a nice change of pace to have Warren Ellis come in and basically trash it all. I’m not a huge Ellis fan, but his disdain for superheroes has its uses sometimes, and drawing a line under Quinn’s nonsense run in red marker pen is definitely one of them. He skips forwards four months with Strange reappearing from an entirely off-panel (but previously mentioned) higher dimensional magic war. His time away has burnt out his hippy powers and left him unkempt. Cue redesign by new series artist Mark Buckingham! The new design is the one on the trade cover and I almost unreservedly like it. The jacket is awesome. I like the nondescript trousers and white shirt, but the gold design on the shirt is odd. It’s so intricate that Buckingham (or the colourer) digitally reproduces it rather than draws it. It just feels a bit odd, stuck on the (buttonless) shirt like that. I’d have given Strange a gold patterned waistcoat instead.

Ellis also rejigs Strange’s powers too, using a syzygy (an alignment of the bodies in the solar system) to give Strange “catastrophe magic”. This is unfortunately another ill-defined source of power, apparently relying on coincidence and something? I’m not sure what’s really meant to make it any different to the previous Gaian power or his old Vishanti stuff, but there you go.

Catastrophe magic lasts only a little bit longer than Ellis himself, who goes down to just plots for his second and third issues and then is gone. His abortive run doesn’t really get to go anywhere, but at least does have a decent story, even if it feels like it should have been a Hellblazer one.

Ellis is eventually replaced by JM DeMatteis, who sidelines catastrophe magic (by revealing it to be drawn from some evil creature) and picks the right approach of just not bothering to explain what is powering Strange’s spells, because who cares, he’s magic. DeMatteis has a more traditional take on Dr Strange (while keeping Buckingham and his cool new design) which makes for an adequate, fairly entertaining comic for half a dozen issues before cancellation. DeMatteis does at least attempt to tie up the loose ends from Quinn’s run (and before) and leave Dr Strange in a place that is fairly back to basics for whoever got to use him next.

There are some good stories in here, but I think it’s value is mostly in a curio of how much of a mess Marvel was during the mid-90s. The series is marked up as “Marvel Edge” for about six issues near the end and I honestly couldn’t tell you what that was or what significance it had on the title (if any).

(There’s also What Is It That Disturbs You, Stephen? at the end, which I’ve not read yet).


Super Sons Omnibus £26


Just to add this is a big RRP $50 OHC edition, this will probably be the best price short of SH 8% off trick.


Speedyhen currently have it listed as ‘coming soon’ for £24.28 even without the discount code, so well worth jumping on that when it goes live.


Let’s hope they still have the offer running in October.


Until the end of November, apparently.


Anyway, at the moment I’m still ploughing through the Seven Soldiers Omnibus and really enjoying it.

For anyone else who picked it up, you might find this old CBR feature interesting - a series of articles on each and every issue of the whole project, which helps point out some of the various links between all the stories (some of them direct crossovers, some more thematic).

Beware, it does assume you’ve read it all before and is fairly liberal with spoilers.


Well, I’m going to be placing a lot of SH preorders at the opportune moment then!

Thanks for the tip-off Dave.