I figured I'd close out 2007 and look forward to 2008 at the same time. This Christmas, I got a bunch of trade paperbacks and hardcovers that just look pretty on my bookshelf. I completed my set of DC's 52 trades (including World War III), made headway on Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus collection with the first three volumes, ditto with Vertigo's Y The Last Man collections with volumes 5-9, started and finished X-Men: The Complete Age of Apocalypse Epic (4 volumes), and even got The Avengers: Operation Galactic Storm and Jae Lee's Hellshock in trade. But, as always, there are books out there on my "wish list"--stuff the Big Two have yet to release in trades for whatever reason (not even one volume of them--that's my caveat), that I really want to see. Without further ado, I'd like to fill you guys in on my 2008 Wanted Trades (and Hardcovers, too!)...
10) Secret Wars II Omnibus (Marvel Comics) Yes, my first choice may be reviled among comic historians, but the second Secret Wars effort from Jim Shooter & co, bringing the Beyonder to Earth and teaching him how to use the bathroom, was goofy 80s fun, and should be reprinted as threatened, with the deluxe Omnibus treatment, including all of the crossovers that Marvel can get the rights to (guessing that counts out Transformers and Micronauts to name two). If nothing else, it's an intriguing study in a line-wide crossover, and the do's and don't's of such an undertaking.
9) Essential Master of Kung Fu (Marvel Comics) It should happen. Marvel must get the rights for Fu Manchu from the Sax Rohmer Estate so that it can republish, in glorious black-and-white, its most masterful achievement of the 1970s. Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, innovated by Doug Moench and a host of artists including Paul Gulacy, Mike Zeck, and Gene Day, the adventures of kung-fu master Shang Chi, son of the most infamous criminal mastermind who ever lived, were a testament to the creativity present at the House of Ideas. The series actually outsold The Amazing Spider-Man at the apex of its run! What's more "Essential" than that? In the words of Stan Lee, "'Nuff said!"
8) The Incredible Hulk: Days of Rage (Marvel Comics) The Hulk has had some interesting stories in his 45-year history, but this is the one that made me a fan for life. After years, Bruce Banner had finally learned to control his inner beast, asserting his intellect in the Hulk's body, receiving a Presidental pardon, becoming the hero he knew he could be. And then, with the prodding of Nightmare, it all fell apart, and the Hulk became even more of a monster than ever before. Certainly an influence on World War Hulk, this story by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema, from Incredible Hulk #292-300, with flashbacks of the previous dozen or so issues, deserves to be in a format where it can be appreciated for all time.
7) Legion Lost (DC Comics) It may not matter anymore because of the recent continuity revamps that have affected the Legion. In fact, there's no group I can think of in recent history that has been revamped as much as the Legion, and yet I keep hearing good things about this 12-issue miniseries by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and artist Olivier Coipel. It's tough to find, so tough I haven't read it at all. In fact, I really can't say anything else about it. It may just be DC's very own Avengers Forever. Trade it already, DC?
6) Marvel Visionaries: Warren Ellis (Marvel Comics) Okay, I have given in. Although I don't care for much of what was ultimately done with the character as a result, Warren Ellis resurrected the character of Daimon Hellstrom from the ashes, taking over from writers Rafael Nieves and Len Kaminski and forming a truly dark book out of the final ten issues of Hellstorm: Prince of Lies, and even stretched the awesome to the seldom-heard-of Druid miniseries, in which Hellstrom guest-starred. Both of these works should be collected in one sturdy super-volume, with additional introspections by Ellis himself. It's just the kind of dark drama that Ellis is having fun with over in Thunderbolts. So why not? C'mon already, Marvel!
5) The Avengers: The Crossing (Marvel Comics) The 90's were a period where Marvel pushed out too many comics, and too many crossovers, and nobody celebrated excess like Terry Kavanagh and Ben Raab, both of whom show up guilty as charged in this "status-quo-shaking" epic starring the Avengers, Force Works (the West Coast Avengers by any other name), and War Machine. Betrayed by Iron Man, the Avengers are faced with the ultimate scheme of the time-traveling villain, Kang, and his band of ne'er-do-wells from the future, including analogues of some Avengers mainstays. Though later retconned in Avengers Forever, this storyline still holds a special place in the hearts of some fans, and a two-volume uber-collection would be a worthwhile effort. Plus, some of the creative people in this storyline have gone to bigger and better things, Mike Deodato and Jim Cheung among them.
4) Jack Kirby's The Demon (DC Comics) Come on, DC! You've been republishing Kirby's Fourth World stuff, Kamandi is on its umpteenth Archives volume, OMAC is getting a hardcover early next year...what's your excuse with Kirby's immortal demonic creation? Although certainly there's more mileage in the Ennis/McCrea Demon of more recent vintage, I haven't even seen these Demon epics, and I'm guessing very few others have lately, too. Releasing a hardcover edition of all 16 issues would be a godsend...or maybe a demon-send.
3) Essential Morbius, The Living Vampire (Marvel Comics) While Marvel's certainly been releasing the horror titles of the 70s in the Essentials format with relish, this morsel would truly make the collection complete. start with Morbius' appearances in the Spider-Man titles up through his cure (Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #38), stir in Morbius' own solo black-and-white adventures from Vampire Tales and Marvel Preview, add a drop of his color solo series in Adventure Into Fear, then sprinkle in guest-shots with the Thing (Marvel Two-In-One #15), the Werewolf By Night (Giant-Size Werewolf #4), and Legion of Monsters (Marvel Premiere #28), and you'd have yourself a nifty volume featuring every single appearance of the living vampire at a bargain cost.
2) Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Saga Epic (Marvel Comics) The title sort of says it all, doesn't it? Love it or hate it, there was no higher point in the Spiderverse during the 1990s than The Clone Saga. Ben Reilly injected some much-needed drama and compelling storylines into the Spider-titles, bringing with him a host of new supporting cast members and villains, like Seward Trainer, Desiree Winthrop, Judas Traveller, Scrier, a rejuvenated Jackal, Kaine, Armada, and more (many of whom haven't been seen since). Although a scant few pieces of the overall puzzle have been traded to date (Clone Genesis collecting the original 70's saga; The Lost Years collecting that miniseries; Revelations which collected the saga's ultimate storyline; and some issues were collected in the Onslaught trades), the whole thing deserves the star treatment, with text pieces bridging the gaps and whatever's decided as relatively unimportant. The first trade should include "The Double" and "The Parker Legacy" (both backup tales first banded together in Lost Years #0), The Lost Years miniseries proper, the Ben Reilly cameos from the months immediately preceding the actual start of the new Clone Saga, then "Power & Responsibility," "The Exile Returns," and "Back From The Edge," plus Spider-Man Unlimited #7, getting the next volume ready for "Web of Life" and "Web of Death" as well as everything else that culminated in The Amazing Spider-Man #400, still what I consider to be the best Spidey book ever. And then it goes onward from there. Wouldn't it be great?
1) I...Vampire! (DC Comics/Vertigo) This book is as close to perfect as anything written by, oh, four main writers could be. Collecting The House of Mystery #290-291, 293, 295, 297, 299, and 302-319, the series followed Andrew Bennett, a British nobleman who was transformed into a vampire and who then transferred the curse to his lover, Mary Seward, who was overwhelmed by evil and turned against him, forming the Cult of the Blood Red Moon. Together with two humans, Bennett fought the cult in all their guises. The series was created by J.M. DeMatteis & Tom Sutton in 1981 and continued through a few other writers (Bruce Jones, then Dan Mishkin & Gary Cohn) before coming to its conclusion in 1983. It had great covers by Michael Kaluta and Joe Kubert. Tom Sutton stayed aboard for most of the run to provide interior art. The series would fit nicely in a 300-page trade or hardcover, with plenty of room for some nifty extras. It would fit better under the Vertigo banner than the traditional DC one, save for one appearance by Batman (Brave and the Bold #195, which is the only appearance Bennett made outside HoM).
What do you think, sirs?