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February 04, 2008

Comments

Thomas Aylesworth

That's funny, because I'm in exactly the same situation with waning new release purchases but LOTS of recent eBaying.

My best purchase by far was finally picking up Swamp Thing #4, which was the only issue of the original series I was missing. In addition to being a classic Wein/Wrightson story and completing my run on the book, it is one of those rare cases when a book on eBay was actually undergraded! It was listed as VF, but when I opened it I had to look hard to find a couple of pock-marks on the cover that kept it out of NM. Most eBayers would have listed this as NM. It's absolutely beautiful and a great addition!

Going back to new comics, though, I am curious to hear your thoughts on Geoff Johns run in Action Comics. He's brought me back to reading Superman for the first time in decades, and I've really enjoyed the Bizarro World and the current Legion storylines.

cinephile

Cool post! Interesting, too, to see you going back to that moment of "first collecting" as a point of interest, as I've been doing the same thing lately, getting various spider-man, fantastic four and avengers books from around the time I started collecting (roughly 1978-87). New stuff, too, but I find myself drawn back to that moment of childhood/teen collecting (and Marvels back then were pretty cool).

Mark Engblom

"My best purchase by far was finally picking up Swamp Thing #4, which was the only issue of the original series I was missing."

Nothing sweeter (in comic book collecting) than getting that last issue to complete a full run, is there? However, it's always a little bit of a letdown to be done, isn't it?

"... it is one of those rare cases when a book on eBay was actually undergraded!"

I've been there a couple of times myself. Almost makes up for all those times they're OVERgraded. Almost.

"I am curious to hear your thoughts on Geoff Johns run in Action Comics."

I've really enjoyed the Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek runs on the Superman books. The books are the best they've been since...well....EVER! You can imagine how bummed out I am that Busiek will be moving on from Superman, but I'm glad Johns is sticking around. The only thing that's really marred the Action Comics experience were the outrageous delays during the "Last Son" storyline (due to a tardy artist and not Johns himself). Now that they're back on track, I'm enjoying it immensely. The Bizarro World story was good, but I'm enjoying the Legion story quite a bit more. The continuing mystery as to what's going on with this older version of the Legion (and its continuing "sub-mystery" of the Barry Allen Flash) is fascinating. Gary Frank's artwork, on balance, is wonderful....but his characters tend to look a bit manic or undernourished at times (very gaunt and just kinda "off" at times). I really like how his Superman looks so much like Christopher Reeve as Superman (which can't be an accident).

Oh, back to Swamp Thing: What are your thoughts on the Alan Moore stories of the 1980's?

Mark Engblom

"New stuff, too, but I find myself drawn back to that moment of childhood/teen collecting (and Marvels back then were pretty cool)."

I've heard it said that the real "Golden Age" of comics is 10 years old (or whenever you started reading them)...and I think there's alot of truth to that. Yeah, it's fun picking up comics from that exciting time, but at the same time, I genuinely enjoy the style of storytelling from that point in time and, in many ways, prefer it over today's approach. Of course, there's alot I love about modern comics...and I don't mean to create an "Old Comics were BETTER!" cranky old man sort of thing...but I can't deny how much I enjoy comics from 25 to 35 years ago.

Thomas Aylesworth

Oh, back to Swamp Thing: What are your thoughts on the Alan Moore stories of the 1980's?

The short answer is, I absolutely love them!

The Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing was based on plot and mood -- telling great stories that were at least a decade ahead of the rest of the comic book industry. Alan Moore, as he does so well, got into the heart and soul of who and what the Swamp Thing was. He revitalized the character by taking him in a completely new direction, instead of trying to simply replicate the Wein/Wrightson formula, as Marty Pasko had tried to do.

Sadly, I had very poor timing, because I stopped buying new comic books in 1983 and didn't restart until almost ten years later. I had every issue of The Saga of the Swamp Thing up to issue 18 -- two issues before Alan Moore took over...

I've read all of them thanks to the trades, and I've picked up a significant portion of his run. But I've been holding off getting the earliest issues because I've been focusing my more expensive purchases on Batman and the original Swamp Thing series. I'll get them eventually.

Glad to hear you also like the recent Superman comics. Like I said, I love them, but I don't have nearly as extensive a run of Superman as you do so I have less to compare them with.

Mark Engblom

I figured you'd like the Moore Swamp Things, since what he did was to expand on what Wein and Wrightson kicked off, and didn't cancel it out or shove it aside like other "reboots" do.

Also glad to hear you like the Superman books. They really are the best they've been in many, many years. Let's hope DC doesn't gum it all up (as they've been known to do).

Seth

Great post, Mark. I should spend more time seeing what's out there on eBay. How much did the Lone Ranger book cost?

I'm in a similar boat, losing interest in new comics... but rather than going to eBay, I've gone to the Marvel Essentials series, to read a series in its entirety. I'm working on Amazing Spider-Man right now. I've got a long way to go still (midway through volume 2) but I have Marevel Team-Up and Green Lantern waiting in the wings.

Mark Engblom

"Great post, Mark. I should spend more time seeing what's out there on eBay. How much did the Lone Ranger book cost?"

Glad you liked it, Seth. I think from time to time it's fun to just talk about collecting comics, the process, the wins, the frustrations, etc. I'll try to work more of that into the blog.

As for the Lone Ranger book, I got the VG copy for only $9.99 (with a very reasonable $3.50 for shipping), which is actually quite a deal considering how high I've seen it in the past. The seller has a bunch more Lone Ranger comics, so I might take another run some more of them.

"I'm in a similar boat, losing interest in new comics... but rather than going to eBay, I've gone to the Marvel Essentials series, to read a series in its entirety."

What a great way to go! In addition to my eBay adventures, I also enjoy checking various Essentials, Showcases, DC Archives, and Marvel Masterworks out from my local library. I'm blessed with a really great library system where I live, since they get a great variety of stuff in on a regular basis...including the reprint volumes. Comics history is such a deep well to dip into, it's great people now have the opportunity to experience those fun older stories without having to mortgage their house.

Whether someone picks 'em up cheap on eBay, or reads reasonably priced reprints, the end result is the same: a celebration and appreciation of what's come before.

Enjoy your Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up, and Green Lantern reprints!

Wes C

Those are some great Gil Kane covers on the MTU books. Did he do any of the interiors?

Mark Engblom

Those were indeed some great Kane covers (he was pumping out a ton of them at this time). Here's who did the interiors:

#28 (Hercules): Jim Mooney

#31 (Iron Fist): Jim Mooney

#33 (Nighthawk): Sal Buscema

Sal Buscema, from what I recall, drew the vast majority of Marvel Team-Up issues (at least through the first 100 issues).

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