Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Five(ish) Comics That Need To Be Collected Already!

Over the past few years, several of the heavy hitters from my mental collected edition wish list - stuff like Herbie, Little Lulu, The Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck, Zot, Beanworld - have at long last ended up getting made into for-real, trade paperbacks and hardcovers that a person could actually own, some for the first time ever, others coming back into print after too long an absence. There's only one conclusion I can draw from this - clearly I have the ability to affect reality with my very thoughts. I suppose I could use this power to help end the current financial crisis, reverse climate change, end our dependence on foreign oil, etc... but I seem to be having good luck with this comic book thing right now, so I think I'll focus on that instead.

Here's my current list of comics I want, nay, need collected editions of. Make it so, mutant power brain:

Sugar & Spike - Let's just get the elephant in the room out of the way, shall we? The company line from DC is that Sugar & Spike collections won't sell. They tried to gauge interest 8 or 9 years ago, and the results were unfavorable. Well, I hardly call a barely-advertised reprint of the first issue and two shitty plush toys "gauging interest" (and that was pre-DiDio, remember, so it's not just him standing in the way of it, though he sure as hell doesn't help). And sure, it's not gonna sell as huge as a Batman book, but I have to believe you could make money off of Archive editions just on comics bloggers alone. I think the excitement over Dark Horse's Herbie Archives proves that! And while I'd ideally prefer a nice big slab of a Showcase Presents volume (I mean, look at some of the other Showcases they've put out... how well can Elongated Man sell?), I would gladly take an Archive if that's what they decided.


Alex Toth's Hot Wheels - As all the excitement online the past few days over this Alex Toth gallery proves (not to mention the response to the huge article and reprints in The Comics Journal a few years back), the man still has quite a cult following. And while, on paper, this toy (and possibly cartoon?) tie-in sounds pretty silly, Toth drew the hell out of this book. There's a reason he got all that work from Hanna-Barberra... he had a way with adventure and car chases, you know? Someone - not even necessarily DC, but someone - needs to renew this license and get these back in print.




The Black Cat (the Harvey Comics version) - Lots of folks lament the lack of strong female superhero characters, and I think most of them would get a real kick out of the original Black Cat. Admittedly, her costume is a little on the cheesecakey side (though compared to, say, Phantom Lady, she's downright demure!), but in all the stories I've read, she's a very strong character... smart, resourceful, and free of all the uncomfortable subtext William Moulton Marston power-loaded into Wonder Woman. Also, she taught her readers judo holds... how cool is that? And that artwork by Lee Elias is just stunning... he's a guy whose work really deserves to be rediscovered by fans, a la Ogden Whitney or Dick Briefer. Alfred Harvey's company Recollections reprinted a bunch of stories back in the late 80s, IIRC, but they're really hard to find these days (got any of these kicking around the store, Mikester?), and that's a damn shame.


Dick Briefer's Frankenstein- Hey, speaking of Briefer, let's see his humorous Frankenstein ("The Merry Monster") stories get reprinted. There's an edition of his straight horror Frankenstein comics, which I do want to read someday, but I've always heard that the funny stuff is better, and based on the few bits and pieces I've read over the years (online or in scattered back-up feature reprints... one even in Cracked Magazine, I think), I'm inclined to believe it. And the I think whole "nose on the forehead" thing is such a subtly great visual gag.




More Captain Marvel/Marvel Family - Yeah, there's already 4 volumes' worth of Shazam Archives reprinting Captain Marvel's earliest appearances, and another Shazam Family Archives volume reprinting Captain Marvel, Jr. and Mary Marvel stuff, but given just how much Marvel Family material Fawcett put out over the years, it's sad that more of it hasn't been reprinted. I mean, yeah, DC's going out of their way to ruin the characters in their mainline universe (Why beat around the bush? They're absolutely ruining them.), but Jeff Smith's Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil mini-series and Mike Kunkel's current Billy Batson & The Magic of Shazam seem to go over well, so there's obviously still an audience for the traditional versions of these characters. So get over the fact that the Big Red Cheese outsold Superman in his heyday, DC, and hop to!

Sugar. And. Spike. Dammit. - It bears repeating.












So what about you folks? What remains unreprinted (or sadly out of print) that you think deserves a comeback?
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