That's What I Want: My Top Requested Graphic Novels of '11 (1)

Bonjour, mes amis!

It's been a long, long time since I've posted one of these things (try 2007!) so I thought it was about time. In the modern age of comics, there isn't a whole lot that isn't in some form of collected edition from the Big Two. That said, there's always room for improvement! Herewith, I present my wish list for collected editions! These are books that have either never been collected in a graphic novel format, or have for whatever reason gone out-of-print and are in dire need of a re-release. (Hey, four out of the ten entries on my previous list have made the jump to collected editions, so I must be onto something. Either that, or the law of averages applies. And that's not counting all my other favorite series that have had collected editions pop up, particularly in the Marvel Masterworks series!) What do you want to see?

In alphabetical order:

Avengers: The Complete Crossing Epic (Marvel)
 (Collecting Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man #1; Avengers #390-395; Avengers: The Crossing #1; Avengers: Timeslide #1; Force Works #16-22; Iron Man #319-325; and War Machine #19-23.) 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. Yes, I'm reviewing this catastrophe of epic proportions elsewhere on this blog, so really, everything that I want to say is best explored there. It wasn't all bad, else I wouldn't be blogging about it or begging for its release! The collection seems most likely next year near the release of the Avengers film. (After all, they're releasing The Lost Gods and Blood and Thunder this year as tie-ins with the Thor film, right?)

The Creature Commandos (DC)
 (Collecting Weird War Tales #93, 97, 100, 102, 105, 108-112, 114-119, 121, 124.) I recently realized this book was one of the first comics I ever bought! Right now I'm trying to amass the whole series, but it's understandably difficult as every store that stocks back issues may have Superman and Batman, but not every one keeps Weird War Tales, which is where this motley crew first assembled. Created by J.M. DeMatteis (whose work I always greatly enjoy) and Pat Broderick (whose run on Firestorm was terrific) in issue #93 in 1980, the team survived nearly twenty adventures, which due to their brevity (the book was an anthology with 2-3 stories per issue) could easily be reprinted in one edition. Who doesn't like a good werewolf or vampire or Frankenstein story? This series had them all! (And hey! Dig that Giant-Size X-Men cover homage!)

Essential Deadly Hands of Kung Fu (Marvel)
(Collecting Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1-??) Since the most popular series to spin out of the 1970s kung fu craze, Master of Kung Fu, is nearly unreprintable due to licensing issues with the Sax Rohmer estate, and Iron Fist's color adventures from the period are largely reprinted in Essential and soon Masterworks format, that leaves this gem. Although some issues can't be reprinted because of the same licensing matter, there are still many terrific stories, including the "Sons of the Tiger" strip which ran nearly the full length of the series, introducing characters like the first White Tiger and the Jack of Hearts while showcasing the early work of Dick Giordano, Bill Mantlo, and George Perez. Iron Fist also appeared in the series in his own multi-part stories by Chris Claremont, as did the Daughters of the Dragon. Marvel could reprint this series either in the Essential format, or follow the same format as the recent Vampire Tales collections.

The Flash: Chain Lightning (DC)
(Collecting The Flash (1987) #143-150 & Speed Force #1.) Mark Waid's Flash tenure has been all but forgotten amid Geoff Johns' greatly successful runs (ha) on the Scarlet Speedster. With the upcoming event FlashPoint centered around the character, I'd have thought now the perfect time to catch up via some classic collections such as this one. Waid returned to Wally West after about a year (during which Grant Morrison & Mark Millar had their way with him), wasting no time in aborting his impending nuptials with Linda Park and throwing him into a multipart epic that struck at the core of the character's long history. A villain named Cobalt Blue showed up, and he promised to kill Barry Allen, the Flash he had known. To that end, Wally had to send a "chain lightning letter" to all Flashes in the future where Barry had lived his final days before perishing in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. (Yes, he got better.) But was he really playing into the enemy's hands all along? The story features a wide range of Flashes, past and present, and features terrific artwork by Paul Pelletier, late of Incredible Hulks. Yes, Cobalt Blue's identity may be silly, but this is a great Silver Age-styled tale. If successful, DC could even release the next volume, "Dark Flash," including the remainder of the latter Waid run.

The Hulk Vs. The Thing Omnibus (Marvel)
(Collecting Fantastic Four #12, 25-26, 112, 166-167, 320, 368, 533-535; Fantastic Four Unlimited #4; Fantastic Four: The World's Greatest Comic Magazine #5; Giant-Size Super-Stars #1; Hulk (2000) #9; Incredible Hulk #122, 350; Marvel Fanfare #20-21; Marvel Feature #11; Marvel Graphic Novel #29; Marvel Two-In-One #46; Marvel Two-In-One Annual #5 and more.) Arguably one of the greatest conflicts in all of comics, the Hulk and Thing deserve their own omnibus edition to duke it out! Collecting 50 years (!) of stories, it's far too large for one measly Premiere hardcover, so why not? At the very least, let Marvel make the graphic novel and the Marvel Fanfare issues (by Starlin!) available again for the first time since they were published!

I...Vampire! (DC)
 (Collecting The House of Mystery #290-291, 293, 295, 297, 299, 302-319, 321 & The Brave and the Bold #195.) There's precious little I can say about this series more than I've already said in that last entry four years ago, but now would be the perfect time with a rumored I...Vampire! revival in the works at Vertigo. These tales of Andrew Bennett, British nobleman cum vampire, would be a great fit in a new collection, either in softcover or hardcover. The talent list is terrific, with stories by J.M. DeMatteis, Bruce Jones, Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn, and art by Tom Sutton, Joe Kubert, and Mike Kaluta. Throw in a guest appearance by Batman, and you're set! Extra bonus: DC could also release the first six issues of DeMatteis' Dr. Fate co-starring Bennett in a softcover edition.

The Incredible Hulk: Bill Mantlo Visionaries (Marvel)
(Collecting The Incredible Hulk #245-313 & The Incredible Hulk Annual #10-13.) Bill Mantlo is one of Marvel's most underrated talents, and next to Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, this series is really the only one that the publisher can reprint! Unfortunately, they'd probably run into rights issues with issue #296 (due to an appearance by Rom, a licensed character), but still, there's a treasure trove of tales that are well worth reprinting, including epic battles with heroes like Captain Marvel, the Silver Surfer, Thor and Dr. Strange, and villains like the U-Foes, the Leader, the Wendigo, Zzzax, Kang, the Abomination, MODOK and Nightmare!  Mantlo also pioneered the Hulk with Banner's brain during the middle of his tenure, and delved deeper into the Hulk's psychological origins than anyone before him. He buried Jarella, killed Glenn Talbot, made General Ross commit treason, and made the Hulk lose his mind! What's not to love?

Concluded tomorrow with the final seven entries!


1 comment:

  1. nice collection of heroes, really cool covers..thx for sharing


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