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CSBG Archive

Comics Should Be Good Mailbag for 11/5

Here’s the latest installment of a weekly reader interactive segment on the blog, where I answer reader-submitted e-mails to bcronin@comicbookresources.com (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.

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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.

First off, for a refresher, here’s a link to the two Top 5s in question – The Infinity Inc. one and the Earth 2 one.

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.

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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.

Anyone else?

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 bcronin@comicbookresources.com with the subject heading “Mailbag” if you want to be included in next week’s mailbag!


The Deadshot mini had art by Luke McDonnell, which makes it all the more awesome. I’d add Major Bummer by Arcudi & Mahnke to the list, and even Arcudi’s Thunderbolts run with Francisco Ruiz Velasco – it suffered from having nothing to do with the title it continued, but was a great run.

I may have an answer for Austin :
it may be The Aladin effect : a marvel graphic novel from 1986 which stars She-Hulk, Storm, the Wasp and Tigra :

or it could be : http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/marveldatabase/images/thumb/4/46/Avengers_West_Coast_Annual_Vol_1_4.jpg/300px-Avengers_West_Coast_Annual_Vol_1_4.jpg
West Coast avengers annual 4 part of the Atalantis Attacks crossover from 1989

I remember the comic book Austin is talking about, I have the french edition of it, it was called “L’effet Aladdin” which translates into the Aladdin effect (but considering some of the poor job the french translaters did at the time, it might not have any relation to the original title). The story was about a young girl with some kind of wishing power and the heroines she likes. It features Wasp, Storm, Tigra and She-Hulk, who were summoned by the girl but lost any memory of who they were. I think it was written by Shooter, but that is so long ago that I’m not really sure.

Thanks for answering my question Brian. I will keep my eye out for some of those titles in the back issue bins, and on ebay. I read some of the L.E.G.I.O.N comics back in the day and they were good stuff.

I like Ostrander’s work so I will check out Suicide Squad. Wasn’t there supposed to be a Showcase Presents collection of Suicide Squad. What happened to that?

If it is not the Aladdin Effect that Austin was thinking about, it may be an issue of Bizarre Adventures that had 3 or 4 stories starring female superheroes. I don’t have the issue anymore, but I think Elektra and Phoenix were two of the features. The mag came out circa 1980 or 1981 if I remember correctly.

L.E.G.I.O.N. was utterly brilliant! The best thing to come out of Invasion! I love it whenever they make guest appearances (okay, usually just Dox, but hey, he WAS L.E.G.I.O.N.!) like in the last Rann-Thanagar war (not the Holy one!)

Here’s a thought for a series title: “Vril Dox: I am L.E.G.I.O.N.!” ;-)

I really thought Ostrander’s Spectre was the best take on the character(s) ever… It even drew me into tryign the Hal Jordan Spectre, as I’d grown to love old Green Trunks…

I know that DC/Vertigo now collect each run of Hellblazer as it finishes, but aren’t there still a whole bunch of earlier (pre-vertigo) runs that still need collecting (I’m thinking Gatrth Ennis’s “Rake at The Gates of Hell” for example)??

They released a trade of the early Deadpool issues a decade or so ago.

I’d suggest picking up DC’s Vigilante, particularly Paul Kupperberg.work. I’ll admit that it’s not great but I picked up an near complete run from the quarter bin and it was well worth it.

I think all of Ennis’ Hellblazer has been collected, it just the stuff before and after that hasn’t been collected.

I’m buying way fewer new comics than I used to for a variety of reasons (expense, spotty shipping schedules, lack of interest), but I’ve also started buying up runs of older stuff on eBay on the cheap, and it’s fantastic. I’d add Hard Time, DC’s run of Fallen Angel, Hitman and Grimjack to the list, even though they’re partially collected. John Ostrander is amazing, and I actually just picked up a complete run of Suicide Squad pretty cheap last night, so I’m really looking forward to getting those bound into hardcovers and putting them next to my Grimjack and Spectre volumes.

I totally agree with you on every comic you wanted to see get a trade collection there. You hit most of the stuff I wanted to see the most. I think I would prefer Ellis’ Thor run to his Excalibur run, though, but that’s just me.

Ellis did not really do a run on Thor, it was only a story arc of 4 issues.

Stephane Savoie

November 6, 2008 at 6:55 am

Hitman. It’s criminal that they didn’t reprint more, and that it’s not still in print.

I know it’s been covered again and again, but two volumes that for legal reasons apparently CAN’T be reprinted, but should be …
Flex Mentallo

L.E.G.I.O.N. was fantastic and I got into by pure accident. I was sick, my mom went to the comic book store for me, and the owner slid an issue in, because Lobo was starting to become popular. That tidbit notwithstanding, I really ended up loving it and quickly bought all the back issues. But here’s the kicker; I had never, in my 15 year comic reading life, even heard of the Legion of Super-Heroes!

So here I am, reading a book that is packed to the gills with continuity nods and references, that flew so completely over my head that I never once thought I was missing something. I read it purely on its own merits and loved nearly every issue of it.

And yes, Vril Dox made the DCU a much more interesting place.


Matt D : Ellis’ Thor is collected in the Marvel Visionnairies, Thor : Mike Deodato
check out here : http://www.sequentialtart.com/archive/aug02/gmorrison2.shtml

oops wrong link : it’s here : http://www.marvel.com/catalog/?id=1319
sorry for the goof ;-)

My memories of Bizarre Adventures from an earlier comment were muddled to say the least. I was combining two issues that I owned with an issue I didn’t own. Anyway, here’s a link to the all-woman issue of Bizarre Adventures:


Don’t worry the url is safe. The cover image is at the bottom left of the page.

Sprout: Thanks. That’s good to know. It blew me away as a kid in a way that his Excalibur run really didn’t.

I like the “Whoa and behold” in the first letter…

New Joe Kelly Deadpool trades!? Woohoo!

Ellis’ Excalibur was head and shoulders above the other mid-90’s X-Men books, but I don’t know if it’d hold up so well today. I recently picked up the “Dream Nails Trilogy” at a convention and enjoyed the hell out of it, but my wife couldn’t even get through it (why is this guy a John Constantine ripoff? This is like the X Files but dumb, etc etc).

Matt D : and the TPB includes also the Bill Messner-Loebs’issues that were quite good.
Too bad this revamp was shot down by Heroes Reborn

I’m so glad The Aladdin Effect made it into this mailbag cause I’m gonna buy it now!!!

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I was actually asking the question for a friend of mine, who orignally asked me. When I drew a blank, I forwarded it to Brian. So I’ll check with her and see if any of the suggestions are what she was thinking of and let you know.


Loeb is STILL doing Ultimates 4… but with Frank Cho. It’s been confirmed this summer soon after the Millar announcement : http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/0807/26/ultimate.htm

Cho is currently acquiring lots of lead time by… doing fill-ins on Hulk. Oh dear…

(On the other hand, Ultimatum is already running two months late – #3 will be out in February – so he’s still got time…)

Glad to see your list of “should be in TPB” comics. I have most of them. I am also planning on getting rid of most of them, so if anyone is interested in some of those series, let me know at mlviola@yahoo.com.

Add Hellstorm to the list (particularly the Ellis issues) and (as far as I know, not yet collected) Alan Davis’ solo run on Excalibur.

i totally agree with these runs of comics. L.E.G.I.O.N. lost some steam at the end, but then morphed into R.E.B.E.L.S. which was one of the most fun comics to read. Basically, every issue ended with a ‘how in the world are they going to get out of…?’. i wish that it had run for much longer.

Legion Lost – This is one of my favorite Legion stories. At first, i didn’t like it, as it was so bleak and depressing, but as it went along, i really enjoyed the interplay between the members. i really loved how it wrapped up, and finished with such hope along with loss. Really great story!

Brian: thanks for answering my question, I’m stoked that I haven’t read any of those books.

My friend emailed me back to say she’s fairly certain the comic in questions was, indeed, Aladdin Quest. She is very appreciative of the help and suitably impressed. Thanks everyone


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