Comics Ate My Brain

March 29, 2006

Essential Archives Of Absolute Masterworks

Filed under: captain atom, firestorm, green lantern, howard the duck, jack kirby, wonder woman — Tom Bondurant @ 6:05 pm
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of collections I would buy, gladly and without hesitation, should they ever appear:

1. Absolute New Gods. I have been lucky enough to collect the six-issue New Gods reprints from 1985 (the last issue of which set up The Hunger Dogs), but to my knowledge, other than a black-and-white paperback, DC has never reprinted this series. That’s unfathomable to me. If Marvel thinks it can sell a pricey oversized hardcover of Eternals, why doesn’t DC want to do the same for its most famous Kirby work? Do two Absolute volumes, include Hunger Dogs, and throw in some behind-the-scenes information about how Kirby would have preferred the series to end.

2. and 3. Color reprints of Forever People and Mr. Miracle would be appreciated too. Again, the Kirby issues of Jimmy Olsen got their own color paperbacks, so why the black-and-white treatment for the rest of the Fourth World? Even Kamandi got an Archives volume.

4. The Greatest Wonder Woman Stories Ever Told. Sure, Diana got the Complete History treatment a few years ago, but that was just a bunch of words. Where is the career-spanning anthology volume? Is DC having trouble picking the most representative of the subtext-filled Golden Age stories? She warrants at least her own “Decades” series.

5. Essential Howard The Duck Vol. 2. Marvel has been pretty good about cleaning out its library, and their back-catalogue is varied enough that a casual fan like me doesn’t see huge holes. However, I’m surprised it hasn’t picked up the spare with Howard the Duck. It took four Essential phone-books, but Tomb of Dracula was collected in its entirety. C’mon, Marvel, let’s get this one moving.

6. Showcase Presents Secret Society Of Super-Villains. Between Identity Crisis, Villains United, and the upcoming revival of Secret Six, the time is right to revisit the troubled ‘70s series, and probably throw in the Society’s appearances in Justice League of America to boot.

7. and 8. In the same vein, how about some love for DC’s models of shadowy ‘80s government conspiracies, Captain Atom and the Suicide Squad?

9. Showcase Presents Firestorm. Hey, I like Firestorm, okay? Put together the first Gerry Conway/Al Milgrom series, a few Justice League of America stories, the backups from Flash, and the first year or so of Fury of Firestorm, and see how its numbers compare to Essential Nova Vol. 1.

10. And speaking of Flash backup series, if the Green Lantern Archives get that far, I hope they don’t forget about the early ‘70s backup strip, written by Denny O’Neil and drawn by Neal Adams, Dick Dillin, and Mike Grell. The various O’Neil/Adams reprints I have seen never seem to get into this material, which bridged the gap between issues when Green Lantern (Co-Starring Green Arrow) went on hiatus.


  1. That’s awful close to my list (although I’d have less Kirby on mine.)The Firestorm Showcase, though, would need the two DC Comics Presents issues more than it would any Justice League, although the two-parter where he joined would be gravy. And should end with the first Annual, which wrapped up the first set of plotlines fairly nicely.

    Comment by Jeff R. — March 29, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

  2. Essential Howard the Duck Volume 2??? Is there actually anyone out there who wants to read those awful Bill Mantlo issues, or the issues that came out around the time of the movie? If there are, those issues are appearing in finer quarter bins everywhere. I would just as soon pretend that the series ended with #27 and allow HTD to be one of the few volumes where the “Essential” adjective is accurate.

    Comment by Anonymous — March 31, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

  3. If they pull down the Secret Society of Super Villains idea, it would be way cool if they included the 2 unprinted issues that disappeared in the DC Implosion.I think it was 2 issues.Add in those mentioned SSOSV appearances in JLA and the JLA/JSA team-up and I would be all in.Mark “Puff” Anderson

    Comment by Mark "Puff" Anderson — April 1, 2006 @ 12:37 am

  4. I don’t know if there is enough out there for another Howard the Duck volume, even if it wasn’t painfully bad once Gerber left the book. 4 issues of the comic, and 9 of the black and white magaine. Add to that the movie adaptation and I only have about 200 pages, far from the 500 they normally have in an Essential.

    Comment by Cory!! — April 2, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

  5. Yeah, upon further reflection I don’t have to have an Essential HTD Vol. 2. As it happens, I read Essential Godzilla over the weekend. The first several issues were pretty good, all things considered, but the second year wasn’t really necessary.

    Comment by Tom Bondurant — April 3, 2006 @ 1:36 am

  6. I have issue # 34 apr. 1985 of The Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Man Killer Frost Lives Again! “The Big Freeze”

    Comment by Cheyenne — September 30, 2007 @ 12:44 am

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