Archive for the ‘Collected Editions’ Category

Posted Sunday, April 7th, 2019 by Barry

The Mighty Marvel holiday Wish List (1990)

Comic book shops were common place by the beginning of the 1990s, but original graphic novels and trade paperbacks were not.

The Might Marvel holiday Wish List, sporting a caroling Spidey, Hulk and Cap, was a festive gift guide for the comic book fan. What could be simpler? Make a check beside the corresponding title, hand it to the gift giver and wait for Christmas morning.

Looking back at this pre-internet solicitation reminds me of how far the industry has come. Of course I forget this is 30 years ago.

The Mighty Marvel holiday Wish List (1990)

The Mighty Marvel holiday Wish List (1990)

The year 1990 doesn’t seem that long ago. Saying 30 years does.

Anyway, 30-years ago trades and collections were not the norm. Marvel had its high-end Masterworks and DC its Archive editions. Those were available in most comic book shops and retail book chains. They were just pricey for the day.

Trades were much more reasonable, but still a novelty. That’s why it’s so odd looking at the ad paper and seeing so few story arcs collected.

Readers must also remember this was a time when stories were written from beginning to end with no worries about how they would fit in a trade.

As much as I love Neil Gaiman and Sandman, I blame the wordsmith for the advent of trade-length story arcs. He invented the four- to six-issue story arc with a few one-and-dones in between that seem to have become the industry standard for trades.

So, sit back and check out the Mighty Marvel holiday Wish List – in full – courtesy ComicBookDaily.com. It’s a nostalgic look at the not-so-distant past.

Posted Thursday, February 28th, 2019 by Barry

DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

DC opened the new millennium with a gift-wrapped Christmas trade in both cover and manner. Readers traverse holidays from the Golden to Modern Age of comic books in 160 pages.

As diverse as the stories, the characters chosen for the Tanenbaum tome are even more so. From the old west with Bat Lash to World War I Enemy Ace to wayward West waif Impulse back from the future.

Story wise are Frank Miller’s first take on the Dark Knight, “Santa Claus – Dead or Alive!”

Flash stars in the first of two “Present Tense” stories.

“The Story of the Fir Balsam” is a Golden Age story from Sensation (Mystery) Comics (1941) issue 14 involving Nazi spies.

Superman shines in “The Gift.”

One holiday tale that always pops up is “A Swingin’ Christmas Carol” featuring The Teen Titans. The original Teen Titans. Complete with hip and mod slang for the times. Those times were the 1960s; 1966 to be exact.

Darkseid appears in the second “Present Tense” story, guest starring Santa.

Captain Marvel Adventures (1941) issue 69 is been reprinted featuring “Billy Batson’s Xmas!”

“Alone for the Holidays” proves Robin will always have family.

DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

The Legion of Super Heroes star in “Star Light, Star Bright…Farthest Star I see Tonight!”

“The Present” teams Green Lantern and Green Arrow again.

“Night Prowler!” is from House of Mystery (1951) 191.

“The Harley and the Ivy” is a lush retelling from The Batman Adventures Holiday Special.

Sandman and Sandy take readers back to the Golden Age of comic books again with “Santa Fronts for the Mob.” The story originally appeared in Adventure Comics (1938) issue 32.

“An Eye for Detail” showcases old west dandy Bat Lash.

Enemy Ace takes a break from the hell of war in “Silent Night.”

Impulse plays Santa’s helper in “No, Bart, This is No Santa Claus.”

Finally, Superman closes out the book with what could possibly be DC’s first super-powered driven Christmas story in “Superman’s Christmas Adventure” from 1940.

Posted Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 by Barry

Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

Riding high on the speculator market soon to go bust – the company would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year later – Marvel released its 1995 Holiday Special trade paperback.

Flagship character Spider-Man carried the book with three stories beginning with “A Spider-Man Christmas Carol.” The Web Head saves a hospital ward full of sick children with a little help from Daily Bugle Publisher J. Jonah Jameson.

“A Miracle a Few Blocks down from 34th Street” showcases the X-Men in the oft reprinted Christmas tale outing Santa as the world’s most powerful mutant.

Spider-Man returns in another seasonal fan favorite, “Down and Out in Forest Hills.” The story is miss-billed as “Star Of the Show” that appears later in the book.

Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

“Down and Out” features Peter and Mary Jane as they are ousted from their condominium on Christmas Eve. Uncle Ben is the Ghost of Christmas Past who provides wisdom in Peter’s decision to return to his roots. The story originally appeared in Amazing Spider-Man 314.

“Zounds of Silence” is a textless tale featuring Wolverine – of sorts – in an imaginative dream of consumerism during the holidays.

“Hopes and Fears” sees the return of Spider-Man in a test of faith against Mephisto.

“Free Will” is lifted from Peter David’s run on The Incredible Hulk. Banner Hulk questions the holidays and choices.

“Star of the Show” finally appears as a one-page, textless story with the jolly, fat one making a guest appearance.

The Punisher is shoehorned into the book with customary bullets flying and body count in “The Spirit of the Season.”

Finally, “The Big X-Mas Black Out” brings Spidey back for an encore appearance as he dukes it out with Electro using Rockefeller Square as a backdrop.

Slap an $8.95 price tag on the title and Marvel made itself and readers a little merrier in ’95.

Posted Monday, October 22nd, 2018 by Barry

Spider-Man: The Short Halloween (2009)

A one-shot of mistaken identity, revenge and redemption in a short 33 pages.

Everybody loves Halloween. Well, almost everybody. For instance, not Spider-Man. Spider-Man and semi-sober friends caring for their very drunk friends.

An amusing story as told by Bill Hader and Seth Meyers. Yes, that Seth Meyers: comedian, writer, political commentator, actor and TV host.

And, yes, that Bill Hader. Both are Saturday Night Alumni.

Kevin Maguire handled penciling chores. Yes, that Kevin Maguire. His resume is too long to list here, but, trust me, if you aren’t familiar with the artist, take time to get acquainted.

Anyway, back to the story already in progress…

In New York City it’s hard to swing a dead cat without hitting a super hero. Or villain. Halloween multiplies the meta population as the citizens emulate favorites. Normally not a problem, but this Halloween eve is plagued by at least one too many Spider-Men.

Rather than give too much away, go pick up a copy and enjoy some holiday hijinks Spidey style.

Posted Friday, October 27th, 2017 by Barry

A Zombie Christmas Carol (hardcover)

A graphic retelling of redemption spun with zombies.

While short on carnage there are some genuinely creepy imaginations plotted between writer James McCann and pencilers David Baldeon and Jeremy Treece. The wording is as eloquent as a Victorian dance step.

A Zombie Christmas Carol (hardcover)

Posted Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 by Barry

Marvel Holiday Special (2007) TPB

Marvel Holiday Special 2011 TPB

Marvel Holiday Special 2011 TPB

The early days of the Christmas Treasury Editions and their skimpy Santa’s bag of holiday stories were long past when Marvel published this volume.

Each of the offerings is a reprint beginning with “Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas” from Marvel Team-Up 1 followed by “Demon” from Uncanny X-Men 143. The remainder of the book pulls from either the 2004 and 2005 Marvel Holiday Specials.

Of course the first two stories are a glimpse of Merry Marvel of old, but the newer offerings provide a look at how far the House of Ideas has come.