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Saturday’s Best Reprint Collections Of 2009

When I was asked to contribute my picks for CBR’s Top 100 for 2009, I was flattered to be included, but I often found myself stonkered by the fact that reprint collections were ruled out.

Because, well, I’m old, and reprint collections are the bulk of my comics purchases, any more. It got a little frustrating… but then the lightbulb finally came on. I thought, Hey, that’s a column idea!

So here, deliberately not numbered and in no particular order because I love them all, are my favorite trade collections of older material that came out this year.

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As regular readers know, I’m all about Westerns. So I couldn’t resist Showcase Presents Bat Lash.

Loved the book, loved the format even more.

Apart from the fact that Bat Lash is one of those legendary cult books that I’d read about for years but never actually got a chance to see for myself, I really loved the format. Slim-case Showcase Presents, or whatever DC’s calling it, was easily the best deal I had on a book all year long. 240 pages for $9.99…. and to be honest, I think that beautiful Nick Cardy artwork is enhanced by the black-and-white format. And it was nice to see the extra stuff, the later backup Lash tales from Jonah Hex and so on, and black-and-white also shows off the great Dan Spiegle art really well.

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I was very pleased to see The Complete Rocketeer, too.

Who doesn't love a book this gorgeous?

I didn’t spring for the Deluxe edition with the extra hundred pages of sketch material and so on, although by all reports that is an awesome package. I was just happy to have all the Rocketeer stories collected in one place, especially since I’d loaned out my original Rocketeer trade to some deadbeat seventeen years ago and never got it back. It’s a shame that we lost Dave Stevens so young, but he did leave us this much, at least. This is a really well-produced collection in both its editions and either is a worthy addition to any comics bookshelf.

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I suppose we’re getting a bit spoiled since they’ve been chugging right along putting out two volumes a year, regular as clockwork, for several years now, but it’s worth noting for the record one more time how truly wonderful the Fantagraphics Peanuts collections are.

Simply great books.

We never miss one in this household. They’ve now reached the middle of what I consider to be the peak years of the strip, the late 60s to the early 70s, but apart from the delight of getting to revisit all these great Charlie Brown comics again I want to mention what lovely books these are just as artifacts. These hardcover editions are produced with such love and reverence that it’s fun to just pick them up and page through them, at least for a bibliophile like myself. Not to be missed.

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What I really love about the Fantagraphics Peanuts reprints, though, is that it’s inspired other publishers to put together similar collected editions of famous or historically interesting comic strips.

Not a favorite but worth a mention.

This is a trend I’m really, really in favor of.

On the shopping list, but not here yet. WANT. ALL. THESE.

Of these various strip collections that have popped up the last couple of years, probably the one that filled me with the most surprise and delight appeared just a few weeks ago.

This one filled me with such naked lust it was almost embarrassing.

This beautiful hardcover collecting The Lone Ranger strip from Cary Bates and Russ Heath.

It's like it's a giant brand-new graphic novel!

I love westerns, I love the Lone Ranger, this would have had me at hello anyway but it had the added bonus of being brand-new to me.

By two guys I really admire.
It's a reprint book that doesn't actually feel like a reprint!

The fact that I’d never heard of the strip’s existence, and that it was by two talented guys whose other work I’d really enjoyed, made it feel like a brand-new book. And this particular Lone Ranger strip is relatively new, collecting the revival Bates and Heath did from 1981 to 1984.

Seriously, if I can't have a new issue of the regular monthly Dynamite book for a while, this will tide me over just fine.

396 pages from Dynamite, packaged in a hardcover remarkably similar in feel to the Fantagraphics Peanuts books. If I can’t have the regular monthly Ranger book from Dynamite as often as I’d like, well, this certainly will tide me over for a while in the meantime.

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Marvel and DC did some nice specialty hardcovers this last year as well. I have to say that many of Marvel’s choices of storyline to collect for the deluxe hardcover treatment seem odd to me for the most part (the Hawkeye mini-series? Really?) but there are a couple that are really cool, and I wanted to be sure and point them out.

I suppose with Natasha appearing in Iron Man 2 it was inevitable that we’d see some kind of Black Widow collection, but Black Widow: Sting of the Widow was a lot nicer one than I’d expected to see.

One of the few times the material was really worthy of this kind of presentation.

As it happens the strip that ran in Amazing Adventures is probably my favorite iteration of the Black Widow, and I think it was one of Gene Colan’s artistic high water marks at Marvel.

Some of Gene Colan's best stuff.

So it was great to see it get this high-end presentation, and I like the other reprint choices in this book too.

Likewise I was very happy to see Steve Gerber’s take on the Guardians of the Galaxy get such respectful treatment.

Way  overdue. Way, WAY overdue.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Earth Shall Overcome puts together the Guardians’ debut story in Marvel Super-Heroes by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan with their later appearances from Marvel Two-in-One and The Defenders by Steve Gerber and various collaborators, and The Power of Starhawk collects the Guardians’ strip that ran briefly in Marvel Presents. Volume one you can find reprinted in bits and pieces in various of Marvel’s Essential collections for the most part, but the stories in volume two have never been collected before. At any rate, something like this is long overdue, and I’m glad to see both volumes out.

Several of DC’s choices for their hardcover classic line seem a little strange to me as well — the two-volume George Perez JLA collection strikes me as weirdly random– but I certainly couldn’t argue with Kryptonite Nevermore.

This is really MY Superman.

The first chapter has been reprinted about a zillion times, but everyone forgets that it was the first part of a much longer arc, the succeeding chapters of which never have been reprinted until now. The 70s were actually a pretty innovative and exciting time for Superman, what with Denny O’Neil doing the revamping that’s collected here and Jack Kirby tearing it up over on Jimmy Olsen, and the appearance of this book means it’s all out there again now. There were complaints from some quarters about the quality of the reproduction, but my copy looks fine and really, I’m largely a story guy anyway. More than any other, this is my era of Superman, with Morgan Edge and WGBS and Clark Kent as a television news anchor, and it’s a treat for me to see it get a presentation this nice.

And speaking of innovative 1970s revamps, I know I’ve mentioned these before, but let me just point out again how awesome it is to see Mike Sekowsky’s groovy Diana Prince get the respect she deserves.

Two hot chicks with swords. Taste the awesome!

The fourth and final volume of Diana Prince, Wonder Woman appeared earlier this year, meaning the whole run is now available. I’m telling you, my shop can’t keep these on the shelves. They’re enormous fun, the best kind of gonzo Silver Age craziness.

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Of course Marvel’s Essential and DC’s Showcase Presents reprint books continued right along, and quite a few favorites of mine appeared this last year.

I already mentioned Bat Lash. But I think my favorite Showcase to come out this last year was Doom Patrol.

A must-have for... well, everyone, really.

Honestly, a great many of DC’s Silver Age strips seem a bit creaky and formulaic to modern eyes, especially when you read the stories reprinted all in a row in a book like this. But Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani’s Doom Patrol is just as fresh and interesting to read today as it was forty years ago, it’s really aged well.

Another book that I was really glad to see was Showcase Presents The Warlord.

Somehow I managed to miss these the first time out.

Somehow I managed to miss these stories the first time out — I don’t remember why, I know I liked what I’d seen of Mike Grell’s art over on Legion of Super-Heroes. But I was kind of a Marvel snob in the 70s, and I probably snooted the book as warmed-over Conan or something. I didn’t really become a full-on Mike Grell fan until Sable.

But Warlord really owes much more to Edgar Rice Burroughs than Robert E. Howard, and Mike Grell put a deft 70s spin on the whole enterprise as well. I just purely enjoyed the hell out of this book on a story level, without any overlay of nostalgia to help it along.

I also got a big kick out of Essential Classic X-Men volume three.

It's very convenient for me to have this all in one place.

Mostly because it puts two of my favorite 70s X-runs together in one place — the Neal Adams run on the original X-Men book side-by-side with Steve Englehart’s solo Beast stuff from Amazing Adventures. The black-and-white really enhances one’s appreciation for Tom Palmer’s exquisite inking job over Adams, for my money, but your mileage may vary.

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Greg Burgas pointed out not too long ago that I would doubtless be very pleased over Dark Horse reprinting Marvel’s Kull the Conqueror.

Staggeringly gorgeous comics.

…and he was absolutely right. I heart this book. Marie and John Severin’s artwork is breathtaking. They plan to do all the Marvel Kull material in five volumes, and the quality was a bit up and down in the later stuff… but there’s not a false note in any of the stories here in volume one.

Honestly, though, I love ALL Dark Horse’s Robert E. Howard books, new and old alike.

I'm a Savage Sword guy anyway, and the price is much better on these.

In fact, I was thrilled to see, after crabbing in a column a while back that I missed getting the backup material from Savage Sword in the reprint volumes Dark Horse was doing, that they promptly gave my favorites of those very backup tales a reprint book of their own.

My favorite Puritan.

I hadn’t heard about this particular collection, and Solomon Kane is actually my favorite Howard character, even more than Kull or Conan. So it came as a wonderful surprise. I think I actually may have erupted with a squeal of delight when I saw Saga of Solomon Kane appear on my comics shop rack not too long ago. Embarrassing as that is to admit, I was THAT pleased about it. There’s a companion volume collecting the color Solomon Kane material from Marvel as well, but Saga is the good stuff.

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That’s the list. Let’s talk about the stuff that didn’t get collected, and as far as I can tell isn’t about to. Call this the Where The Hell Are They? list.

For example, in a comics landscape where we have seen gorgeous re-issues of so many other beloved 80s books, I’m at a loss as to why DC can’t seem to get off the dime and give us some kind of book collecting Mike Grell’s Green Arrow.

I know it makes the current series look extra bad by comparison, but still, that's no reason not to make a few dollars on a nice reprint package.

…especially in a year that saw the premieres of new Warlord, new Sable, and nice reprint collections of both of those Grell series besides. What’s up with that? That run of GA’s about a decade’s worth of good stories that it really seems like DC would rather we just pretend didn’t happen.

Likewise, we’ve seen two collections of Peter Milligan’s Vertigo run on Shade the Changing Man. Would it kill DC to put out a trade collection of the short-lived Ditko series that started it all?

No reason not to put this together, DC.

It couldn’t be too terribly expensive to do it; eight issues isn’t a very thick book. It would satisfy people’s curiosity if nothing else. They could at least manage one of those skinny Showcase paperbacks, I’d think. Though Ditko’s psychedelic art works a lot better in color, I’d take whatever we could get. I know the Creeper’s on deck for both the hardcover and the Showcase treatment, so why couldn’t they sneak a Shade collection in somewhere?

Marvel’s not off the hook with me either. They’ve done so many other great collections of the 1970s monster material, but there’s one glaring omission.

WHERE IS MY ESSENTIAL MORBIUS??

I want an Essential Morbius, damn it! They’ve already done Brother Voodoo, The Living Mummy, and Tales of the Zombie, so there’s really no excuse.

Likewise, when Marvel’s already done an Essential Killraven, an Essential Savage She-Hulk, and even an Essential Ant-Man for crying out loud, I am baffled as to why we have yet to see an Essential Ka-Zar.

I actually want this one even more than the Morbius.

Lots of good stuff starring the Lord of the Savage Land that, to my knowledge, has never been reprinted. And as long as I’m daydreaming…

Well? An Essential wouldn't kill you, Marvel.

I’d really love to see an Essential Deathlok, too. As long as I’m daydreaming, I think I’d even rather have that than the ones starring Morbius or Ka-Zar.

But far and away, the most baffling omission to me this last year was the complete absence of a collection of Marvel’s Tarzan.

In a world where Jesse Marsh has three or four hardcover collections, there's NONE of the Buscema?

What’s up with that, Dark Horse?

I mean, they were on such a roll. The Kubert books were stunning, and well worth it if you have the money.

I already have the originals, but these are still very nice books.

They also did those amazing Russ Manning reprint digests, some of the best work to come out of the Dell/Western/Gold Key comics years.

These are awesome. SERIOUSLY awesome.

With those gorgeous new covers from Mark Schultz, too.

It seemed to me that if Dark Horse had the license, the obvious next step for Tarzan reprints was the Buscema. But instead, we get… Jesse Marsh?

Ummm... okay, I guess so.

It seems like an odd choice.

Historically interesting, but not what I'd call dynamic.

Okay, yeah, Jesse Marsh did a lot of Tarzan and he certainly deserves his slot in the reprint library for historical reasons if nothing else, but…. really? In front of John Buscema?

Buscema's finest hour at Marvel.

Tarzan was one of the very few times at Marvel that John Buscema actually did not just full pencils but even inked his own work as well… it was quite possibly Big John’s finest hour at Marvel, artistically. It really is criminal not to give that work the full archival treatment. Especially if Mr. Marsh is getting it. Come on, Dark Horse. The world should see those stories.

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And finally, there was one reprint that actually annoyed me this last year.

I'm glad I bought this used.

Normally I am all about DC’s theme collections. Secrets of the Batcave, Imaginary Stories, Phantom Zone — I think they’re a great idea, especially for those that just want a sampler. And I loved the original Nightwing and Flamebird concept, the Kryptronian riff of Superman and Jimmy Olsen taking on the identity of the “Batman and Robin of Kandor.”

NOT IN THE BOOK? What the hell?

So when the Nightwing and Flamebird collection appeared I snapped it right up. It collects the run of “Nightwing and Flamebird” backup stories from the old Superman Family, a couple of one-offs from Jimmy Olsen — everything except the actual original two Nightwing and Flamebird stories that started it all.

Would have KILLED DC to add the two seminal stories about the title characters in the book?

That’s really irksome. Especially since the stories are pretty clearly referenced on the cover art…. and they’d have been the best stories in the book, easy. The other stuff is just ‘meh.’

Oh well. At least I didn’t pay full price for it.

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And there you have it. I hope you all had a great holiday, and have a safe and happy New Year as well. See you in 2010!

34 Comments

If anybody from DC reads this blog, please PLEASE give us Mike Grell’s Green Arrow in reprints. Wonderful series that, most importantly, still plays a significant role in how the character is being portrayed even now by his writers. Can’t believe it’s been 20 years and still no reprints beyond the original Long Bow Hunters collection and a few pages in that weird, mish-mash Green Arrow/Black Canary trade from a couple years ago…

I’d also love to see a Firestorm Showcase edition that begins with the 1970’s pre-Implosion series and the Flash back-ups before diving into the (deservedly) well-remembered 1980’s series…

Great new column! Am I the only one who feels that any of these reprints is vastly superior to even the best of the current 2009 collections?

Wow, I didn’t even know there were any collected editions of the Rocketeer stories. Anyway, hope somebody from DC, Marvel, Darkhorse, etc. who decides on this stuff is reading: I most emphatically second the suggestions to reprint in any form Ditko’s “Shade”, as well as essential editions at the very least for Morbius and Deathlok (I wouldn’t mind some kind of color reprint for the latter, though). Actually, an Essential Guardians of the Galaxy would be pretty cool, too.
Also glad you mentioned Marvel’s Tarzan – that is hands down my favorite comic treatment of Tarzan, and not just the first part drawn by John Buscema, but also the second half of the run illustrated by Sal (which is also interesting because it’s like a revolving exhibit of a really diverse set of inkers on Sal’s pencils). Personally, I would love it if they reprinted these in the same color digest format as those Russ Manning editions.

At some point I really need to get those Showcase collections of Bat Lash and Doom Patrol.

I’m guessing those Diana Prince collections don’t actually include the two issues with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, do they?

The Solomon Kane reprint is really that good. I mean, c’mon… it has Kane fighting Dracula! How can you not want it?

I’m still hoping to see a collection someday of Ditko’s Question (I know that they’re probably collected in the Archive collection of the Charlton stuff, but that’s kinda pricey if you only want the Question stories).

Yeah, miraculously they do include the Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser issues.

Perry: You can probably get that Ditko Archive at close to half off with a little work. Mile High and Tales of Wonder just both had 50% off Archive sales which included that.

I picked it up earlier this year used, and although I was mainly getting it to replace the Question comics I’d sold a few years ago, the other material is really fun. You’ll see plenty of plot thread that were re-worked for Watchmen, including a Blue Beetle story involving a mysterious island.

While on the subject of Mike Grell, I would love to see a collection of his Tarzan series (I believe they’re printed weeky in color in the newspapers) back in the ’80’s.

There’s a lot of early-80s stuff, particularly from DC, that deserves to be reprinted. I’d be first in line to get a ‘Mazing Man collection, for instance.

There’s a lot of early-80s stuff, particularly from DC, that deserves to be reprinted.

Oh, absolutely. ‘Mazing Man’s on my list too. But I wasn’t thinking of a Wish List so much as just being baffled as to why these particular common-sense things aren’t done when Marvel and DC are literally ALL AROUND doing them. You know, DC’s KIND of doing the Grell GA here and there, they’re already doing Shade books, Marvel did all the horror BUT Morbius … that kind of thing.

"O" the Humanatee!

December 27, 2009 at 10:29 am

Deathlok definitely deserves reprinting, though the book kind of sputtered to a finish. Usually I’m not in favor of “modernizing” reprints using new technologies like computer coloring, but I think Deathlok would be improved by replacing the heroically hand-lettered “computer font” with a modern font. It would add cost to the package, though.

The color Morbius series started with a strong first issue drawn by a young Paul Gulacy but soon descended into chaotic crap drawn by the likes of Frank Robbins inked by Vince Coletta, one of the most mismatched art teams ever IMO, and that’s not even counting the usual artistic depredations committed by Coletta. If you’re a “story guy,” I suppose there’s a certain gonzo charm to Doug Moench’s plot.

The Morbius stuff from Marvel’s B&W magazines was much stronger, and I’d be all in favor of reprinting that.

Oh, and you do know the Deathlok Masterworks just came out like 2 weeks ago, right?

The Morbius stuff from Marvel’s B&W magazines was much stronger, and I’d be all in favor of reprinting that.

That was actually more what I was thinking of, though I’d never actually seen the color stuff and I’d just as soon they put it all in one book. I don’t actually mind revisiting the gonzo sputtered-out 70s Marvel books — I loved the hot mess that was Essential Marvel Horror volume two– but actually if Marvel wanted to do an Essential Vampire Tales featuiring both the black and white Morbius and the other material that appeared there I’d be totally okay with that instead.

Oh, and you do know the Deathlok Masterworks just came out like 2 weeks ago, right?

No, actually, I did not. I try to avoid solicits and I get most of my books via Amazon. I just checked there and unless I am very stupid they still don’t have it listed, not even as a ‘coming soon.’

The Masterworks are a bit spendy for me, but I might have to make an exception for Deathlok.

cool column though may only track down the lone ranger for do not care for dc western heroes. as for why dc has not reprinted shade the changing man probably due to their policy of not reprinting any thing from the seventies due to the fact the royalties they would have to pay the creators would be such that the project would be too expensive to do. as for the night wing and flame bird stories that are not in the trade probably a mistake on some ones part and may be saved for a future reprint. as for marvel’s Tarzan marvel would have to get the okay from Edgar Rice’s estate for one and also give and also get the okay since dark horse has the license or given dark horse the okay to reprint their Tarzan stuff

There’s a page for the Deathlok Masterworks on Amazon UK

However neither of the ISBN’s on the UK entry produce anything on the US site which would lead me to think Amazon UK made it up (see also: Classic Alpha Flight v2)

However Diamond’s shipping lists also list it a few weeks back.

I am baffled as to why we have yet to see an Essential Ka-Zar.

I’m still at a loss as to why there is no Essential Black Panther. T’Challa has actually had an ongoing series in print during 10 of the 12 years that the Essential program has existed, and although Marvel has collected every issue of Hudlin’s run and even Jack Kirby’s 1970s series, he still has no Essential.

And Greg, I’m sure that you too would like to see some Essentials of the classic Marvel westerns. Unlike DC, Marvel seems to have zero interest in doing omnibus volumes of Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt, etc.

Oh, the Marvel Masterworks Deathlok volume is well worth picking up. I hardly ever get any of the Marvel Masterworks or DC Archives hardcover volumes, since their so expensive. Of those I do own, I got most of them at some sort of discount. Luckily for me, Forbidden Planet was having a 20% of everything sale a week or so after the Deathlok volume was released, so I was able to get it for a few bucks less. But, really, it’s such an amazing volume, I just keep flipping though it over and over again. I even wrote an in-depth review

So, yeah, a much cheaper black & white Essential Deathlok volume would have been nice. But I’ve been wanting to read those stories for years and years, so I just could not wait, and had to get the hardcover.

Glad to see the Doom Patrol got the b & w Showcase treatment. I do have volume one of the hardcover Archives, which I purchased from Arnold Drake himself several years ago at a NYC convention. that was cool. I’ve always wanted to read the rest of the run, so now I have the opportunity.

Oh, and at some point I am definitely picking up the Rocketeer collection!

The full skinny on the Deathlok Masterwork.

in the same way dc is doing hardcovers of the entire runs for gotham central, starman, alan moore’s swamp thing, giffen/dematteis jli, and morrison’s jla, i’d like to see the same treatment for hitman, suicide squad, morrison’s doom patrol, ostrander’s spectre, and levitz/giffen legion.

i’d also love to see marvel premiere classics hardcovers for the thor frog saga, the x-men in asgard stories, the x-men brood saga, new mutants demon bear/legion stories, and some sienkeivicz moon knight.

and of course, seeing some trades for miracleman, flex mentallo, and birds of prey #8 would be quite nice.

Speaking of Tarzan and strip reprints, I wish someone would reprint the Hal Foster-Burne Hogarth run from the ’30s and ’40s. Even the ’90s NBM-Flying Buttress reprints go in the $50+ range today.

And, if you haven’t already read them, I recommend Fantagraphics’ Popeye by Segar, huge tomes that Amazon is selling for under $20 each.

I’ll second the recommendation for Popeye. I’ve been getting one volume a year for Christmas for 3 years now, and they’re great. Really reasonably priced, too.

I hate it when something is left out of collected editions. Like when Marvel did AoA without reprinting Legion Quest, or the Onslaught paperbacks that skipped the issues from Generation X.

There’s a HC Asgardian Wars in the pipeline.

The X-Men Brood material from the 150s and 160s has never had a colour reprint has it ? At least the Demon Baear stuff was out first in pbk in the 80s and then with the Legion material in NM classics.

I loved The Warlord back in the day and am enjoying the current series. Really wish DC would spring for Grell (or almost anyone) to re-ink the old issues that Vince Colletta inked back in the day. you can see Grell’s art get better and better as the series progresses, and then Vince Colletta starts inking…

And Greg, I’m sure that you too would like to see some Essentials of the classic Marvel westerns. Unlike DC, Marvel seems to have zero interest in doing omnibus volumes of Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt, etc.

HELL yeah. I was all over Marvel Westerns. It was one of my favorite collections I bought last year. (And currently available from Amazon for a great price, by the way.) But I’m wondering if it sold. Marvel reprint guys, if you read this, an Essential Kid Colt Outlaw would probably do a lot better for you… many of us who are hesitant about those expen$ive full-color hardcovers will gladly spring for an Essential.

[…] • Greg Hatcher at sibling blog Comics Should Be Good! looks at the best reprint collections of 2009. […]

I’m going to have to disagree with Dale there, I feel that the Vince Colletta inked Warlords are miles better than the ones Grell inked himself. There’s a certain predictability about Grell’s inking that doesn’t work on this type of genre, sort of like the Kirby-Colletta THOR books. That random scratchy inking of Colletta’s works better to create the medieval look of Warlord. No disrespect to Grell’s inking which was great.

Colletta’s inking on Warlord is unfortunate. The early issues, inked by Grell himself, and the later issues, inked by Bob Smith, are so much nicer. They’re all great to read, though.

Has that Phantom collection actually come out yet? Amazon had it listed for September, then December, and now January, and there aren’t any reviews yet. I can’t wait!

Dark Horse has a LOT of Tarzan Sunday strips that it needs to reprint: Hal Foster, Russ Manning, Gil Kane, Mike Grell, Gray Morrow… What’s not to love?

Fleisher and Ditko completed a ninth issue of Shade, the Changing Man, but it was never formally published because of the DC Implosion. It was printed in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade and would make a nice extra for a Shade volume. It’s unfortunate that the mid-1970s reprint royalties rate will probably keep this from being reprinted. (There are other short-lived Ditko projects that would go wonderfully into a Showcase, like Hawk and Dove and Beware the Creeper, but Shade really *begs* to be in color.)

Bob Smith? OK, whatever…..

I know it’s not really going back that far, but…

Finally getting new trades of Joe Kelly’s Deadpool was a huge highlight for me this year.

Kelly can write a character that is both completely over-the-top, but also extremely heart-felt.

After getting used to the current style, straight-out-insane Deadpool we have now, it was nice to go back to stories where he really wanted to make himself a better person, maybe even a hero. The early arc with Siryn is a damn good story in my eyes.

On a note more in line with the story, the Phantom collection is an awesome one. Being in Australia I already have a lot of early stories as they have been constantly published by Frew, but it would be great to have them in order in a higher quality collection. Ignoring the far more sci-fi stories that came later, The Phantom is a character that I have always loved and respected.

Why isn’t there an essential Tarzan?

Why no essential Ka-Zar?

Becuase those series were never popular. Conan is going strong today (the entire run of Marvel Conans are being reprinted), but Tarzan is virtually dead. I’d like seeing the whole of the Russ Manning newpapers strips, but I’m still waiting.

As for Ka-Zar, the whole of the Bruce Jones/Breent Anderson issues were truly classics. The Savage Tales B&W issues were a close second. IF they did reprint them though, I’m not sure I’d buy them since I’ve already got them all. What I really want to see is Jones and Anderson continue the series. I really wanted to see where Jones was taking Ka-Zar before Jim Shooeter (reportedly) wanted the comic “standarized”, hired Mike carlin, and the series was totally ruined. But the chance that will happen is virtually non-existent.

While this has been brought to my notice by getting spammed to death today, how about a 2011 edition?

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