Well, I was wondering how the repercussions from “The Death of Clark Kent” played out over subsequent years….don’t you judge me.

§ January 23rd, 2012 § Filed under collecting § 31 Comments

It used to be that I had plenty of time to pull out full runs of something from the vast Mikester Comic Archives to reread. But, as time wears on, and I get older, and more things come to occupy my free time, I don’t get around to doing the full rereads as often as I’d like. Sometimes I barely have time to read all the new comics I get each week, and I don’t even really get that many.

Now, when I’m talking about “rereads” I don’t mean the occasional single issue or mini. I just reread the Preacher mini-series The Saint of Killers just the other day, for example. I mean, rereading full runs of a particular creator, or storyline, or a full run of an extended finite series. Like the Brian Azzarello run on Hellblazer, which, when I reread it a few years ago, held together better when read over a relatively condensed period of time, rather than one chapter a month over a couple of years where some of the nuances of storytelling can be lost. (An argument for “waiting for the trade” if ever I heard one, I realize.)

The most recent of the longer rereads I did was the full run of Planetary, which occurred right after the long-awaited release of the final issue. And the most recent Swamp Thing series. And prior to that…geez, I seem to recall rereading all the ’90s Superman comics, which seems like an odd thing to do to oneself.

But I’ve been wanting to do more rereads from the Archives, which has become an even more imposing task as the older I get, the more comics I have, and the more I have to choose from when it comes to The Rereadering. Plus, one of the effects from working in a comic shop is regularly coming face-to-cover with comics that I’d read and enjoyed in the past. “Hmmm, that wasn’t a bad series, and it’s been a while since I’ve read it…I should dig those out.” Like, for instance, the various “America’s Best Comics” – Top 10, Promethea, Tom Strong…I’ve had a couple friends in the process of picking up the trades for these, and that’s sort of given me the itch to look at my own copies.

The other thing is that I recently reorganized and relabeled our Marvel and DC back issue boxes…not the ones on the tables on the floor (that’s a whole other reorg project I’m not looking forward to), but the less-current series we keep up on the shelves behind the store counters. And that reminded me of several titles I’d like to revisit…like the initial issues of Infinity Inc., drawn by Jerry Ordway and featuring the younger Earth-2 heroes versus the Justice Society. Or the Martian Manhunter series by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake…a moody, slightly spooky superhero series from the guys who were just fresh off that Spectre series that now I feel like I want to reread, too, just from mentioning it here.

On top of all that, pal Tom recently dropped off some old Cerebus Fan Club material, including a few of the newsletters:

…which (along with the Moment of Cerebus weblog I’ve been perusing) of course made me slightly nostalgic for that time when I eagerly awaited each new issue of Cerebus, hoping for more adventure and intrigue, more gags, more clues to the ongoing mysteries, more wacky letters page hijinks, and…well, things went in an…unexpected direction in the later years, but I still have plenty of fondness for the series. I think one of the earliest topics on this very site was my desire to go back and reread the full run of Cerebus now that the last issue, #300, had finally come out. I never did get around to it, but those 300 issues (well, those six volumes of Swords of Cerebus and the 275-something other issues) are still awaiting my attention, so I’d like to get to that someday, too.

The flipside of this is, of course, the series I don’t really need to reread, and yet I’m keeping them around anyway. I probably don’t need to go through and reread all of the original Swamp Thing series from the ’70s, and the follow-up series from the ’80s and ’90s, as I’ve read those all plenty of times. That doesn’t mean I won’t bust out a single issue once in a while to enjoy, but and extended reread from #1 to the end probably isn’t in the cards for while yet. (I do wonder what new things I’ll pick up, however…which is always the most pleasant benefit from a reread.)

And there’s Sandman, which I read to pieces as it was coming out, and I think I did a reread of the entire series shortly after it was done, but I don’t see myself going through the entire series again anytime soon. But I did like the series, so I will likely revisit it at some point. Though, come to think of it, I think I’d like to reread the Sandman spinoff The Dreaming.

Of course, there are series coming out right now that are on the verge of completion, like The Boys, which I think will benefit from a reread over a short period of time, much like the Azzarello Hellblazers I mentioned earlier.

To summarize: I have too many comics. But I love ’em and would like to read them more often than I really have time for. One of the things this blog does is get me to go through my collection and look at some of the comics that have been sitting there in boxes for a while…I dig through them, looking for things to discuss or poke gentle fun at or simply just throw onto the site to appreciate. So maybe I’m not plowing through full runs of, say, the Garth Ennis Punisher (damn, another one I want to reread!) but at least I’m still looking at my old comics and doing something with them.

…Are any of you in the process of rereading old comics from your collection? Or are you in the same boat, wanting to go look at some old funnybook run or ‘nother and just never having the free time to devote to it? Feel free to let me know…which of course will just remind me of more comics I’d like to go back and look at, and wouldn’t that just figure?

31 Responses to “Well, I was wondering how the repercussions from “The Death of Clark Kent” played out over subsequent years….don’t you judge me.”

  • Mike Z says:

    I actually just picked up the Essential X-Factor Vol. 1, having sporadically reading the series when it first came out. My goodness, after years of decompressed writing, I’m finding it tough to get through an issue of X-factor in a sitting. There’s just so much going on in every issue!

  • ExistentialMan says:

    I can definitely empathize. Currently working my way through Chaykin’s American Flagg.

  • Pietro says:

    Like they used to say, I hear ya, Mike.
    I’m always in the process of rereading something, some story-arc or some creator-related selection.
    Actually, now that I’ve switched completely to TPBs, in a way I’m doing nothing but rereading. And I’ve also started to buy trades of arcs I already own as single issues – something I swore I’d never do – because, hey, there are no ads and it’s easier to pick up a single book from the shelves than look for 8 or 9 issues that are NEVER in the correct order on the same shelf.
    But I digress. I’m currently rereading MADMAN, the first Dark Horse storyarc. MARVEL DIVAS, which is not bad at all even years after the S&TC craze. BATMAN RIP, grinning my teeth through Morrison’s splendid script killed by Tony Daniel’s weak storytelling.

  • Steely Dan says:

    I slimmed down my collection dramatically over the past few years to less than two hundred collected editions (and a handful of scattered issues of series that haven’t been collected yet), and I embarked on a re-reading project last year.

    Currently in the process of re-reading “American Flagg!”

    I just re-read “The Silent Invasion” by Cherkas and Hancock (for probably the third time) and still consider it one of my favorites.

    About a year ago I re-read “Kane” by Paul Grist (and was reminded how much I would like to see him formally conclude the series).

    Re-read Darwyn Cooke’s “DC: The New Frontier” in the absolute edition and loved it even more on the second read.

    Got the latest volumes of “Next Men” recently, so I went back and re-read that series from beginning to end.

    Not too long ago I picked up “Blood of the Innocent” by Shanklin, Hempel, and Wheatley and re-read that for the first time since the mid-1980s.

    Whenever a new collected volume of “Mice Templar” comes out I usually re-read that from the beginning, so it looks like I’ll be doing that this summer again.

  • Smicha1 says:

    Last fall I picked up the complete Giffen & DeMatteis Justice League and Justice League Europe, and had a good couple of days laying around reading them. Once at a Goodwill I found a complete run Of Sandman Mystery Theater for a quarter each and burned through those. I loved picking them up month-by-month, but it’s a lot more rewarding to sit with a full story arc (or five).

  • I’m currently rewatching the X-Files, reading along in the Official and in the Unofficial Guide to the series, as well as a third thicker book, which I think is called Definitive Encyclopedia or something. It is quite enjoyable, and I did get way better at answering the trivia questions.
    I got a cheap copy of the Sandman companion online so rereading this series is planned as well as a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen reread with the annotation books by Jess Nevins, that guy is just fantastic.
    I have to say I did way more rereads when I did not have as many comics, definitely reread Cerebus, Suicide Squad, HATE, Alan Moores Supreme, Watchmen, Love & Rockets, Preacher and Starman at least twice. I have an unread pile that is huge with some great books in it.

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    I’m about to reread the 10-issue run of MS. TREE QUARTERLY/SPECIAL. 10-issues yeah, but they’re 60-some pages each.

    Sometimes I’d like to reread a series, but I don’t want to disappear into one for months while others things go unread. I just read the first half of Cerebus, which I might not have done if I had been rereading Sandman again.

    The Giffen-era Justice League books and the original Marvel G.I.Joe are examples too.

    And so is the ABC line of books, which I love, but I’ll be tempted to get out those Jess Nevins annotations again, and I’ll be down the rabbit hole…

  • LFC says:

    I’m currently re-reading Hitman since DC has finally decided to finish collecting it.

    I can read Preacher and Sandman everyday. If I had the time of course.

  • De says:

    Currently reading the relatively recent run of Justice Society of America since I missed it while it was being published and managed to snag most of the back issues for 0.25–0.75 each. The Geoff Johns and Jerry Ordway runs were okay but I’m finding the Bill Willingham run a bit of a chore to read so far.

    Story time with my youngest daughter means reading Fantastic Four on the iPad (thanks to those DVD-ROM editions from a few years ago). We started at the beginning and it takes a couple of nights to read an issue. And yes, I do *all* the voices.

  • Mike Nielsen says:

    Just finished the Fury of Firestorm/Firestorm the Nuclear Man run. Most of that was a re-read, though the last 20 issues or so were new for me.

    Working my way thru New Teen Titans/Tales of the Titans currently.

    And on deck, having just found the last missing issue, is 100 Bullets, of which about 4 issues are new to me, the rest will be a re-read. I’m guessing it will make more sense without the month between issues.

  • CW says:

    DC’s The Shadow (’87 – ’89) is one series I keep telling myself I’ll eventually finish. There’s only nineteen issues, but time and circumstances have conspired against me every chance I’ve had to read them over the past couple of decades. (I’m half-way through, though.)

  • Patrick Wynne says:

    I just last night finished rereading Amazing Spider-Man 238-300. I’m in the middle of a late 80s Marvel stroll down memory lane and it was nice to go back and remember why I once loved those books. Of course, then came Venom and McFarlane and I recalled what drove me away from Marvel.

  • Mike Walker says:

    I kind of feel that I’m in the same boat, Mike. It seems like my list of back issues that I’d like to read is pretty broad, but I have a short list that I’ll actually go back and check out on occasion. Kirby’s Machine Man is a nice short run, which if I want to read the complete story can also include some (or all) of the issues of 2001, plus some Incredible Hulk issues that bridged the gap from the end of 2001 to the beginning of Machine Man, and if I’m going to read all those let’s just read the Ditko issues for good measure. American Flagg! is also on the re-read short list. Appleseed and Akira both get re-read occasionally.

    But there’s plenty that I’ve told myself that I ought to go back and re-read doesn’t seem to make it onto the short list, too many to list here. I’d really like to give Ex Machina another read, same goes for Criminal. One of these days I’ll read all of the Hulk comics in my collection from beginning to end. One of these days…

  • Andres says:

    Every once in a while I’ll re-read something like All-Star Superman but there’s too much in the ‘new’ pile at home to go through (like…cough…cough…Top 10).

  • Alex says:

    I’m actually getting ready to start reading James Robinson’s Starman for the first time. I’ve pieced together all the issues up until Tony Harris left the book, and I figure then I’ll see if I want to pursue the second half of the run. Starman will be the second longest run of comics I own (47), with the 59 issues of Astro City coming out on top.

    Otherwise, I tend to stick to the shorter writer/artist runs on titles or mini-series projects. Stuff that you can dig out, re-read in an evening or two, and be completely satisfied with, where the art has stayed the same through the whole damn thing and there’s no cliffhanger at the end (or if there is, one that I can blatantly ignore).

  • I’m with you on this one. Writing Pipeline helps spur it on, no doubt, as I’m always looking for new material, even if it’s from old sources. But I do find myself in possession of lots of comics I promised to read once the series was done, but still haven’t. That Ostrander/Mandrake “Martian Manhunter” is one of mine, too. I just picked up the complete “Y The Last Man,” which I never read past the first half of in monthly installments, but really want to read the whole thing now. But with what time? I need this week’s reading time to write this week’s column. UGH. (I have the same problem with “Starman,” though I made it about 2/3rd of the way through the series originally…)

    But I do find odds and ends that I love flipping through and re-reading along the way. I just pulled out the Alan Moore Spawn/Violator mini-series, for example, that I’ll be talking about in a future column… Lots of grist for lots of mills.

    Also just picked up all the Alan Davis “Excalibur” trades. I read all those issues originally, but now want to read the trades collecting them all over again. And a recent Uncanny X-Men reprint makes me want to dive into theh Silvestri-era X-Men.

    I don’t need new comics anymore. I can live off the boxes in the closet for years, I’m sure.

  • Aaron Poehler says:

    I’m actually in the process of finally plowing through the 40ish issues of Cerebus that were left before I dropped off, and man is it ever tough going: just unreadable page after page of Scriptural interpretation, while Gerhard draws cool architectural stuff in the background when there’s space. Late-period Cerebus: it’s like if you bought a Stones album from the 90s and it was just Mick reading from the Torah while Keith jammed old jazz tunes.

    Oddly, it’s making me want to go back and reread the pre-religious conversion Cerebus simply because I recall really enjoying this series and these last few years of issues are making that harder and harder to believe the closer I get to the end. But damn, a single mention of the Regency Elf made me wistful for that time when Cerebus was arguably the most skilled book on the stands nearly every month and not a tiresome chore to wade through.

  • Chad says:

    Like Augie (and many of you, I’m guessing), I could easily just re-read what I have, comics-wise, and be plenty occupied (at least until the kids head off to college more than a decade from now). But those greedy publishers keep releasing new comics I want to read.

    Anyway, if I had the time, I’d love to do a re-read of:

    • James Robinson’s run on Firearm, a Malibu book about a non-powered, superhero-hating private investigator who always wound up dealing with cases involving superheroes. It starts off with a “The Most Dangerous Game” pastiche that I remember really enjoying, and all these years later, I still have the VHS movie that serves as Part 2 of a story started in the zero issue of the comic. (What I don’t have anymore is a VCR.)

    • Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Animal Man runs. Two of my all-time faves, and I’d really like to go back and track that moment when each series goes from being a slightly quirky take on superheroes to an all-out symphony of wackiness.

    • Others (including Mike) have mentioned this one, but John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake’s run on The Spectre was a really great series that dealt with religion, faith and forgiveness in a pretty nuanced way, especially since DC actually let them provide a fitting end for that incarnation of the character that amazingly hasn’t been undone in the years since. (Maybe DC’s upcoming Earth-2 series will finally change that.)

    • Christopher Priest’s Black Panther run. I love the character, and he has never been better than when Priest was writing him. Why that man isn’t still working in comics is baffling to me. (And I’d also like to reread his Quantum and Woody while I’m at it.)

    • Neil Gaiman’s Marvelman run. Alan Moore’s issues are seared into my brain, but I must confess that I have little memory of Gaiman’s run, other than thinking at the time that he’d managed to follow Moore’s run in a way that maintained the quality, which was no small task. And I’ve been pretty much underwhelmed with all of Gaiman’s work on superheroes ever since, so I’m genuinely interested to revisit this.

    I’m also curious, does anyone ever find themselves doing a re-read of a series they remember being ambivalent about, just to see if it’s still worth keeping? After more than two decades of hoarding — um, I mean, reading — comics, I find myself occasionally trying an issue or two of runs that fit that description and then dumping them if my original feelings are confirmed. I’ve also come to re-appreciate a few series I was ready to pitch, like Kurt Busiek’s Ninjak, of all things.

  • Dan L says:

    I recently read thru the Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart runs on the Avengers and am now reading the Englehart run on JLA, which picks up some of the Mantis storyline from the Avengers. I tend to pick runs by writers when rereadering. Next up, I’ll probably read the Doug Moench run on Master of Kung Fu.

  • Tom Wu says:

    I’ve reread the Alan Moore Swamp Thing run and blogged about it, and I’ve just started rereading the Rick Veitch run and blogging about it at http://suggestedformaturereaders.wordpress.com/. Anyone who’s interested, drop by…

  • Like you, I have FAR too many comics (I lost track of how many longboxes I have; somewhere around 70, all jam-packed with comicky goodness from the 1960s to today, and NOT counting the past two years worth of purchases that I haven’t had a chance to even FILE yet, OR all the TPB’s, HC’s, magazines and whatnot that fill too many shelves and boxes for my own good – or sanity).

    Also like you, my free time is near nil these days (years).

    So, my re-reading of actual COMICS has come to nearly a dead halt (and sitting in my jammies with a longbox or stack of a run is an oft-thought of memory/fantasy).

    BUT, with the handiness of ESSENTIALS and TPBs (since many companies are reprinting EVERYTHING) has allowed me to bring a volume to work and read during my breaks.

    In this manner, I have re-read two entire MAN-THING series (the 1970’s and the 1980’s runs), all of the TOMB of DRACULA series, WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, the assorted MARVEL HORROR volumes, HOWARD THE DUCK, the complete original DEFENDERS and now am DEEP into the full published history of (natch) DOCTOR STRANGE (although, when a color tpb is released, I will jump ahead to read that – and will then go back to read the corresponding Essentials volume when it comes up in rotation).

    I have a number of the ‘phonebook’ editions of Cerebus (as well as most of the actual issues) and one day, I too pledge to read it from start to finish.
    If for nothing else than just the rich artistry and staging of Sim and Gerhardt.

    Comic runs that I want to re-read which HAVE NOT been collected in volumes: DC’s NIGHT FORCE (although I think they did release a volume of that didn’t they?), ARION; LORD OF ATLANTIS and WARLORD. They all sit in their own boxes, waiting for the day.

    Oh, and something that I re-read many, many times… the volumes of Matt Wagner’s MAGE.
    VOl 1 is AWESOME! I can read that any time or place.

    OK. I could go on and on… but better stop.

    I’m actually re-reading many of 2011’s comics for my 4th Annual SANCTUM AWARDS post – due by end of Jan.


  • Jaq says:

    I am way overdue for re-reading Walt Simonson’s Thor, which I tend to do every couple of years. The last big re-reads I did were all of Dreadstar and all of the First Comics run of Grimjack.

    Man I still miss First Comics.

  • Casie says:

    I would love to get to the point where I can re-read an entire series again. CONCRETE, SWAMP THING, PREACHER & some FABLES will definitely be the first that I’ll re-read, but I just have way too much ‘new’ stuff to get to. I really had a late start. Oh sure, I read an occasional UNCLE SCROOGE or CASPER when I could get my grubby hands on one, but I really wasn’t exposed to comics until I was much older, so I have a LOT of catching up to do. I haven’t even read *blush* ALL-STAR SUPERMAN yet…but it’s on my list! I am officially obsessed now, and with the help of lovely people like yourself suggesting amazing fun stuff to read, I will have plenty of good stuff to re-read in the future.

  • Gerberbahbee says:

    IMO, 90’s Superman was some of the best comics ever made…ever.

    Screw Watchmen, give me the 4 Supermen anyday.

  • WorldbreakerGrimm says:

    I’ve read the full 90’s Joe Kelley/Ed McGuinness DEADPOOL and the entire AGE OF APOCALYPSE runs so many times I could probably recite most of them. I began reading comics with Erik Larsen’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, so from that era on through the mid-90’s holds a special place in my heart, particularly the X-Men stuff (thank you Animated Series!)

    On the more recent front, I folded and snagged the WOLVERINE BY JASON AARON OMNIBUS from Amazon; $62 down from $99, for this diehard Wolvie fanatic, was too good to pass. Thanks for the great discussion, Mike!

  • Boosterrific says:

    Thanks to the DC reboot, I’m buying only one title a month (JLI), so I have been perusing my back catalog of books to fill the void. I just finished re-reading every issue of the original run of CAPTAIN CARROT AND HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW and Alan Moore’s issues of SUPREME. Both totally awesome. Next up: Bronze Age DETECTIVE COMICS.

  • All my comics are stuck in a locker in Canada and I’d love to reread and then remove them. But they’ll continue to sit there unless I get a few weeks of time to catalog and then throw on the net. Very few stores in Toronto are interested in buying in bulk.
    That being said, top priority would be Sandman Myster Theater!

  • allen says:

    I re-read the Marvel GI Joe series at least once a year. No joke.

  • Adam Farrar says:

    About 40% of my comics collection is at my parents’ house which is either a 14 hour drive or a 2 hour flight (plus 1:30 for check in and security), so each time I visit or they visit I merge a small stack into the larger collection in my apartment. These stacks tend to be things I loved and have been itching to reread or things I’ve realized might warrant a second look to see the early work of someone I’ve come to admire.

    Just last week I brought home a few random issues of X-Men including the one with three pages drawn by JH Williams, the six issues I had of Joe Casey’s run, and the Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix with John Paul Leon doing Victorian superhero horror.

    In the past I’ve reclaimed and reread:
    Everything I had Adam Warlock related – he’s to me what Swamp Thing is to Mike
    X-Force/Statix – Still great but I can’t help but think how much better it would have been with Princess Di
    Earth X, Universe X, Paradise X – I get the impression most people don’t care for this but I think the whole thing comes together pretty well. It’s long but a story that expansive kind of needs to be.
    TMNT Adventures & GI Joe – these were my gateway drug and they’re still great. I had holes in my collection from the spinner racks but comics back then were done so well that you knew you missed something but could catch up immediately. Sometimes rereading an old comic is hard because of all the exposition, but the great ones could blend it in.
    JM DeMattis’ Spectacular Spider-Man run from 178-200
    The “Prodigal” storyline from the Batman comics in 1994
    Alan Moore’s Wildcats – These comics were probably the first Alan Moore and first Wildstorm comics I ever read. Wizard must have said it was a good time to pick up the title I hadn’t as of yet.
    Grant Morrison’s full JLA run including DC One Million
    JSA – Rereading this book is very interesting in that it shows you how we reached the ultraviolence of modern DC. It starts out as a spinoff of Starman launched by James Robinson and David Goyer but Geoff Johns joins Goyer with issue 5 and by 51 has it all to himself.

    Things that I’ve been meaning to bring up and reread but haven’t gotten around to include:
    Dan Jurgen’s Thor, Tom Peyer & Rags Morales’ Hourman, Mark Waid’s Captain America, Kurt Busiek’s Avengers. And based on the comments maybe I need to relook at Ostrander & Mandrake’s Martian Manhunter.

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    I re-read most of the Ditko-Lee Dr. Strange stories (Marvel Masterworks pbk vol.1) just recently and really enjoyed exploring the world Ditko built around Doc, the Ancient One, Mordo, and of course the various dimensions. Still blown away by the imagery he invented, a whole new graphic language of space, part Escher, part LSD. But he also has Doc getting physical, a surprising thing to see as about halfway into the run he starts throwing and landing punches. The closeup of the disheveled pre-mystic Strange on the first panel of p.4 of the origin is one of Ditko’s best faces ever. The very first story is one of the best and oddest-lookinng superhero introductions from a publisher and time period that excelled at introducing heroes. The overall run doesn’t always live up to those standards, and re-re-reading will probably provide diminishing returns but it’s one I will never tire of just looking at again and again.

  • Jim Kosmicki says:

    our community college is sponsoring a “Big Year” concept where people pick one thing they’ve always wanted to accomplish and then try to get it done in 2012. I decided, like several folks up above have mentioned, to do a complete re-read of Cerebus. It’s about one issue a day, with some time left over to read the letters collections! so far, I’m almost done with volume 1, and it’s fun to see an artist grow like Sim did. Fits and starts, trying something, then coming back several issues later and building on it.

    I had several random early issues of Cerebus bought from Bud Plant back in the day, and it’s also great fun to get into a story and suddenly remember – “oh yeah, this is THAT issue.” I don’t remember which particular issues that I had besides #6, as I sold them decades ago when they were fairly hot.

    Sim really needs to either partner with someone or figure out a way to put out the Cerebus phonebooks on good acid-free paper. The phonebooks that I have were purchased directly from him back when Diamond and Sim were fighting over why Sim wouldn’t go through Diamond. They are getting old and yellow and at least one spine has cracked. I would like permanent copies, at least up through Jaka’s Story.