Sunday, December 11, 2011

All I want for Christmas: Comics collections I would buy if they existed:

Ho Ho Ho. I’m an atheist, but I loves me some Christmas presents. Every year for Christmas, people give me the materials necessary to make diamonds with; a lump of coal and a loaded .38 with a note saying: “For the love of all humanity, please use this!” I appreciate the thought, but I doubt the force from a .38 would exert enough pressure to turn the coal into diamond. So yeah, I’m pretty much content with what I have. Still, here are some non-existent comic collections that would make me a very happy man this December as I while away the hours drinking rum-laced eggnog, yelling at my neighbors and watching Christmas classics like Jingle all the Way and Curse of the Werewolf.

 Also, before you think I’ve reached a new low in nerdiness, keep in mind that there are like, several different sites devoted to “What if” comics collections that don’t exist yet.
Complete collections of Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko’s Atlas monster comics:
Back in 1990-something, Marvel released a TPB called Monster Masterworks that was mostly Kirby stories. I love the story selections, but the book itself is one of the shoddiest affairs I’ve ever seen; the spine is brittle, the art credits are wrong, there’s an introduction by Jack Kirby that reads like it was cut out from some larger interview, the reproduction quality is awful, and there’s a cover gallery which only shows the covers of the reprint titles and not the actual original comics. The reprints themselves are also the “altered” versions from the 70s, usually to make the Russian villains into people from generic countries (like that “Murania story” I posted for Thanksgiving) or to alter the names of monsters that were identical to Marvel heroes and villains (like Hulk and Glob). Back in 2005, Marvel released several tongue-in-cheek “tribute” issues devoted to their old monster comics, along with reprints. These were collected in a handsome hardcover. The original unaltered comics are also collected in “Masterwork” editions.
 That’s all well and good, but there should be complete collections of the monster stories from each artist. Hell, release them as a series with “themed” versions (like one collection for aliens, one for sea monsters, etc.) if you want.
A collection featuring the complete appearances of golden age DC villains:
 Now this sounds next to impossible, but that’s only the case if we focus on extremely “major” villains like the Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman rogues, each of whom had shitloads of appearances. If we instead focus on the villains of lesser known characters like the Flash, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, Wildcat, Hawkman etc., we’d have a decent-sized collection or two that would be quite economical.
 I’ve mentioned this before, but you would be surprised how little-used recurring villains were in the golden age; Solomon Grundy only had four appearances, Gentleman Ghost had four as well, the Mist had two, the Thinker had seven, Huntress had seven, Wotan had three, Fiddler had four, Icicle had three, The Shade had one, Vandal Savage had two. See? Not that much page-space to worry about. Also, a lot of these characters popped up in the JSA “Injustice Society” stories, so you’d be able to cram those stories in there as well to push the book and feature half the appearances of some of these characters.
 Minor heroes like Johnny Quick, Sargon the Sorcerer, Zatara and Vigilante also had archenemies like Dr. Clever, Blue Llama, Tigress, and the Dummy. Stories focused on these characters could easily fill out a volume two. I don’t care how it’s done; just get this stuff out before the 70’s reprint titles like Wanted become just as expensive as the original issues.
A Collection of Mike Barr & Alan Davis’s Detective Comics run:
 This run lasted only six issues (Detective Comics #’s 569-574) but it remains one of my favorite (hell, on some days my absolute favorite) Batman runs. There’s so much great stuff; the Catwoman & Joker (when he was drawn to resemble David Bowie) story with that absolutely heartbreaking ending, the Scarecrow’s most famous caper, Jason Todd actually being a likeable character, the anniversary issue where Batman teams up with all stars past and present of Detective Comics, a fun Mad Hatter story, and of course the excellent “My Beginning and my Probable End”. That would actually be a good title for the collection; “Probable Ends”. With an all-star villain line-up, and only six issues to reprint, what’s to lose?
More ‘Greatest stories ever told” TPBs:
DC has crapped out Superman, Batman (two volumes), Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Joker, Flash, Captain Marvel and Green Lantern volumes, not to mention two “decades” volumes devoted to the Golden Age and the 1950s. Why stop there? Green Arrow, Aquaman, Hawkman, Swamp Thing, Plastic Man and The Spectre deserve a chance in the spotlight. Hell, for the last three I can rattle off what I’d put in there if I was the editor. These volumes also need to showcase more Golden Age material, and if they focus on legacy heroes, to give each character an equal story allotment. I remember the “Greatest Green Lantern stories” solicits that mentioned it would include Alan Scott & Guy Gardner material, and the volume itself was nearly all Hal Jordan stories! Fuckers.
 Also, there needs to be a “worst” collection for each hero as well. I’m curious to see what material DC would intentionally market as bad.
A Chronological reprinting of every one of Bill Everett’s Sub-Mariner stories:
You know who writes better than Bill Everett? Lots of people.
You know who draws better than Bill Everett? A slight handful of people.
You know who writes and draws Sub-Mariner better than Bill Everett? NO ONE!
 More DC Archives:
I’d love to see archives of Captain Comet, Wildcat, Green Arrow, various Quality heroes, second volumes of Golden Age Hawkman, as well as collections of non-hero stuff. DC has reprinted big Showcase editions of their horror comics after the code, but I’m curious to see their pre-code horror comics like House of Mystery and the post-Wonder Woman issues of Sensation Comics. I know the stuff was tamer than other pre-code horror comics, but I’m curious to read it anyway. Alex Toth’s Johnny Thunder stories also look cool.
 Ostrander & Mandrake’s Spectre series:
If that TV show gets made, I can’t think of a better excuse to release these stories. There was a TPB collecting the first four issues, but that barely scratches the surface. Seriously, these stories are some of the best material published in the 1990s, not to mention the freakiest comics I have ever read.
 Is this all too much to ask? Yeah, but that’s why it’s called day-dreaming.


  1. I'd like to read the earliest TOMAHAWK stories in sequence, if only for the first year or so. As per your comment about HOUSE OF MYSTERY, I'm not expecting superlative work, but I'm curious to see how the character was conceived, just because I enjoyed the Silver Age stuff, from the goofy fantasies ("The Weird Water Tomahawk") to the grittier Frank Thorne works.

    But I can't imagine early Tomahwak making any dough for DC these days.

  2. Hey, just wanted to say, cool blog you have here. I just happened here while doing an image sarch, and here aI am. Love the particualr omage you have for the header. Dark and colo. And also thanks for posting those What If? collection links as well. I've decided to check them out, and they have really good wishlists. I do a similar thing of sorts, but with action figures over at my blog.


    Mr. Morbid's House of Fun: