O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
Here’s the latest installment of a weekly reader interactive segment on the blog, where I answer reader-submitted e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org (and other e-mails that don’t require responses).
Alan David Doane wrote in to let me know about an audio interview he has up with Ivan Brunetti about a new comic book anthology Brunetti is doing through Yale University Press.
Check it out here.
Reader Scott K. wrote in to ask:
The store I frequent (Excalibur Comics in Portland yeah!) has a 50% off back issues sale about 2-3 times a year. I enjoy grabbing 6-12 issues of something that I usually don’t read & try out new titles on the cheap. Usually these books are from years past, they don’t have to be recent. When I first went I did some research on various sites for ‘classic’ comic book runs from major titles. Whoa and behold the Pheonix Saga was not available for half off in the boxes that day! Most times I show up with a list but end up picking a book almost at random and grabbing a year’s worth of issues based off cover art- needless to say it’s hit & miss. What are some comic book runs that you feel are underappreciated from years past that I’d be able to find at one of these sales? They don’t have to be DC/Marvel.
Great question, Scott, and honestly, it will likely tie in with another reader’s question, so let me post his question, as well.
Here’s Derek O.’s question…
I recently bought a few complete runs of DC series from the mid to late 90s on eBay, namely Resurrection Man, Hourman, Hawkworld and Ostrander and Mandrake’s Spectre and Martian Manhunter. These series’ are awesome and I cant believe they haven’t been collected! Shame on you DC! Anyway, my question for the mailbag column is: what Marvel or DC series from the last 10-15 years do you think deserves to be reprinted that hasn’t yet? Its such a shame that the big two spend so much time and effort collecting everything they currently publish but some gems have been completely overlooked. The treatment they are giving Starman is an exception rather the norm and I just feel with so much good stuff published in the recent past, why not reprint it? (who buys the trades of some of the current dreck that clutters up bookshelves? for example do we really need to see Eclipso: Music of the Spheres in trade format?)
Okay, so I think “series that should be collected but aren’t” are almost certainly going to have some overlap with “good series to search for full runs in discount boxes,” so here are a list of series that qualify for both “good series to search for full runs in discount boxes” as well as “series that should be collected but aren’t”:
John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad – Eventually, we WILL see a collection of this awesome series, but until then, search through those back issue bins! I once saw the entire run in a 50 cent bin in Upstate New York. Sadly, I already had the whole run by this point. I don’t think there was a single bad point in the 66 issue run.
Ambush Bug – Next March will see the very first collection of Ambush Bug comics! You can still find the individual issues cheap, though. Great comics.
L.E.G.I.O.N. – Especially the early Giffen issues, although the later issues with Waid were quite good, too. Vril Dox is probably the coolest character that basically no one knows anything about.
R.E.B.E.L.S. – This continuation of L.E.G.I.O.N. is less loved, but I think it was a lot of fun. Tom Peyer did a great job with it.
Paul Levitz’ Legion of Superheroes – Just get anything Legion written by Levitz. Some of it is in trade, but not enough.
Keith Giffen’s Legion of Superheroes – It is amazing that the “Five Years Later” Legion is not in trades. This was one of the densest comic book reading experience imaginable, and I loved it.
Post-Zero Hour Legion – There is a trade (or two, maybe) of the first issues after Zero Hour, but the whole run is worth picking up.
Legion Lost – How is this NOT in trade? It is even a more or less complete story of a group of Legionnaires trapped far, far away from their homes.
Young Heroes in Love – Dan Raspler and Dev Madan’s fun look at superheroes and relationships. It ran for 18 issues.
Chase – Dan Curtis Johnson did a great job with Cameron Chase, an agent for the Department of Extranormal Operation. It also happened to be drawn by J.H. freakin’ Williams III!!!
Most of Joe Kelly’s Deadpool – The first 20 issues or so were great, with #11 being an instant classic. It lost some luster when Kelly thought the book was cancelled, then it wasn’t, then it was, etc. They just recently announced a trade of the first storyline, which is great (and long overdue) news.
Warren Ellis’ Excalibur – None of it is in trades, right? It should be – it was typical Ellis goodness.
Chronos – John Francis Moore and Paul Guinan did a fun job on this time-traveling series.
Karl Kesel’s Daredevil – None of it is in trades, right? Cary Nord joined Kesel for a return to fun Daredevil stories that were quite a blast. Gene Colan came back as artist, and Joe Kelly
Deadshot – Ostrander and Yale wrote a great Deadshot mini-series. In fact, just get everything written by Ostrander and Yale, okay?
Justice League International – It’s all being collected eventually, it seems, but still, it is all pretty cheap right now still, so go buy it! Basically, if it was a DC comic book with Giffen plotting it in the 80s and early 90s, it was good.
Heckler!! – Giffen!!
Quantum and Woody – Most of it has been collected, but not all of it. Very fun series by Christopher Priest and M.D. Bright.
Steel – Is Priest’s run collected? If not, it should be. Great stuff.
Black Panther – All of Priest’s stuff up to #50 (only the early stuff is in trades), and then even the post #50 stuff.
Thunderbolts – All of Busiek’s run (only the early stuff is in trades), and if you liked it a lot, then all of Nicieza’s run.
Okay, I know way too many comic books – this is annoying – I could just keep going on and on and on, so I am just going to stop here.
Our young would-be comic creator from last week, Chris Jones, wrote in to ask:
I was at the APE this weekend to submit my story proposal. When I got back somebody said it was likely that it was thrown in the trash, unread. As much as I wouldn’t like to believe that, how good do you think the odds are that that was true?
I’d have to know who you submitted it to.
That said, I sincerely doubt they’d trash it. They might not pay it real attention, but I don’t think they’d actually trash it.
Any convention submission acceptors out there that can let us know how you handle things typically?
Reader Ryan S. wrote in to ask:
A while back, you did a Top Five month. Within that month, you had two related lists. You had a list for characters created in Infinity, Inc. and a list for characters from Earth-2. Since none of the characters on the first list ended up on the second list, does this mean that you do not like the ones from the first list as much? Admittedly, a few of those Infinity, Inc. members were created post-Crisis, but Mister Bones (your number one) definitely wasn’t.
Also, the Earth-2 list is nothing but Infinity, Inc. members. Does this mean you have an affinity for that series? I love it and would like to hear your thoughts on it.
Yeah, Ryan, it is fair to say that I did not like the characters from the first list as much as a like the characters from the second list. Although, really, now that you mention it, my top pick on the first list (Mr. Bones) probably should have netted an honorable mention on the second list.
Really, the point of the first list was twofold – 1. An amusing notice that the main members of Infinity Inc. were not introduced in the pages of Infinity Inc. (hey, I get my little amusements wherever I can get them!) and 2. Since the main characters did NOT appear in Infinity Inc., then it would be a nice challenge for me to come up with five good characters that DID first appear in the pages of Infinity Inc. (one could argue that I was not able to ).
As for Infinity Inc., if you note the Top 5, almost all of the characters on the Top 5 of the Earth 2 heroes were based on what happened to them AFTER Infinity Inc. That said, I enjoyed Infinity Inc. well enough, but I can’t say that it is a favorite of mine. You should write back in, Ryan, with an explanation of why you think Infinity Inc. was so good!
Reader Austin asked a stumper…
Once upon a time, late 80s???, I bought a comic book (I think the only one I ever bought) that dealt exclusively with female characters. I think it was a special issue. I don’t know if it was Marvel or DC or what. I just remember thinking it was sooooooooo cool because it was all female heroes and characters in that issue. In my head I have this picture of the cover which had like a 3×3 or 4×4 grid with headshots of all the females that make an appearance in the issue. Maybe I’m nuts. Maybe I was drunk. I can hardly remember anything about it. I think She-Hulk put in an appearance. Maybe Firestar too. But I can’t be sure – like I said, this is from a long time ago and the memories are a little hazy. For some reason this popped into my head the other day and I’m obsessing about it now. I even checked out some of your comic book links trying to locate it. But with my limited information (and possibly not even correct information) I wasn’t able to track it down.
I’ll be honest – I have no clue.
Readers Sprout and filrouge both wrote in separately to suggest this 1986 Marvel Graphic Novel plotted by Jim Shooter, scripted by David Michelinie with artwork by Greg LaRocque.
Let us know if that was what you were looking for, Austin!
Reader bat2supe wrote in to ask:
So, my question deals with the ultimates, I remember that Jeph Loeb was supposed to write the vol.3 then Ultimatum & then Ultimates vol. 4 with art by Ed McGuinness & IIRC Loeb stated that Mc Guiness already pencilled if not his entire run, at least some issues & even preview art was shown IIRC.
Now, you’ve got Millar & Hitch returning for what is now called Ultimate Avengers.
When did marvel take the decision & Was this change due to the poor review of Ultimates Vol. 3 by Loeb & Madureira.
Will the McGuinness work have a place near all the previous deleted project by Marvel.
I’m pretty sure Loeb has stated that his plans for Ultimatum conflicted with his plans for Ultimates Vol. 4.
As to the completed McGuinness artwork, I do not know.
I believe that’s it for this week!
Be sure to send me an e-mail to email@example.com with the subject heading “Mailbag” if you want to be included in next week’s mailbag!
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