And this week’s “Recovered from the Stacks” book is…

§ March 23rd, 2015 § Filed under collecting, retailing § 8 Comments

Dr. Fate!

When I initially opened my shop, I was primarily feeding the back issue bins with comics from my own collection…sure, there was the odd long box or two I picked up along the way, but a lot of the books were collected by my own hands, picked up once a week at ye olde comick shoppe (later ye olde place of employmente). I was, and still am, by and large, okay with parting with most of the stuff…I’ve read and enjoyed it all — well, enjoyed most of it, anyway — and I don’t mind it going to new homes for new folks to enjoy. And some stuff (like, say, Preacher) I can always get in reprint form.

I’ve noted before that not everything went into the shop. Obviously I kept my Swamp Thing comics…I mean, duh. My Don Rosa Disney comics I didn’t have otherwise reprinted. My Groo the Wanderers. My Cerebus. That full run of Yummy Fur I finally finished and am selling over my dead body. And so on.

But there are a few things that I put on the tables at the shop that I kind of regretted, and as I’ve acquired more collections and filled up more of the store with a wider selection of back issues (and not just “whatever Mike was reading when he was in high school”), I’ve felt like I can take back some books I planned on sacrificing to the greater good and return them to the personal collection. Not that I’ve done it very often…the odd book here and there, DC’s Who’s Who, that’s about it. Not anything that was really selling at the shop anyway.

…Like, as I said above, Dr. Fate.

I doubt there will ever be an extensive reprinting of these particular comics, unless DC decides to counterprogram Marvel’s Doctor Strange movie with a Dr. Fate film and merchandise appropriately, and I will go to the hat store, spend an hour picking out a hat, buy said hat, take the hat home, gently remove the hat from its packaging, cook the hat for about an hour and a half at 350 degrees, take the hat out, let the hat sit for about fifteen minutes, garnish the hat lightly, and then eat the hat if that should actually happen. Anyway, I really enjoy this particular run of the book, from the ’80s into the ’90s, starting with this three-issue reprint series:

…which includes a Golden Age Fate story, plus a kick-ass story where Fate fights a mummy, as drawn by Walt Simonson:

The remaining two issues reprint the Dr. Fate back-ups from The Flash:

…which features Keith Giffen’s art to better effect on the nice white Baxter paper than it did in its original newsprint presentation, which had lots of color holds and heavy inks and other visual hoohar that kind of got lost in translation initially.

A little bit later was this all-new mini-series establishing a new status quo for the good Doctor, again illustrated by Giffen, who’s joined by J.M. DeMatteis:

With DeMatteis along, things get a little more spiritual and mystical (even for a character already mired in magic, that’s quite the trick), and occasionally a bit abstract:

…which makes complete sense in context, I promise.

DeMatteis continues to bring his more introspective perspective to the character in the follow-up ongoing series, primarily illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Shawn McManus:

That’s not a typical cover for the series…usually it’s line-drawn images, but I always liked that weird cover so there it is, representing the ongoing series on this here website.

With issue #25 William Messner-Loebs, Vince Giarrano and Peter Gross come on board, and…if memory serves, it’s not quite as bonkers the preceding 24 issues, but it’s still not bad. Can probably stand to reread the series and refresh my recollections of it, but if only I had a full run of…oh, wait, I do! I can’t believe my good fortune.

…Of course, this will be the week someone charges into my shop, waving a fistful of hundred dollar bills in his hand, demanding that he be able to buy full runs of the above Doctor Fate series right this instant.

8 Responses to “And this week’s “Recovered from the Stacks” book is…”

  • John Platt says:

    I have that whole run, too. Great stuff.

  • philip says:

    I have always liked the character and I have a good chunk of the Geffen/DeMatteis run. I don’t have any of the Simonson-drawn books, but seeing it here makes me swoon.

    Now that I know where a full run is hiding, and if I had a couple of spare hundreds in my pocket I’d be virtually waving them in your face right now.

  • Randal says:

    It truly is important to let the hat rest after cooking to redistribute the fibers.

  • Signal Watch says:

    You know, be careful what you wish for. Fate is supposed to be showing up on NBC’s Constantine, and if their strategy on the CW is any indication, and if they can get actual human eyeballs to watch Constantine, you could be looking at a Dr. Fate TV show. Just keep that $500 DC Collectibles helmet from Previews in mind. Also, I think it would be delicious with just a touch of Lowry’s seasoned salt.

  • Snark Shark says:

    That Mummy looks surprisingly happy, for one of the undead! (cover to Immortal Dr Fate #1).

    “the Dr. Fate back-ups from The Flash”

    Those were GOOD!

    ” Shawn McManus”

    He was GREAT!

  • I’ve long thought of opening a comic shoppe, and know that I’d have to stick it initially worth my own vast horde of 4-colored dead trees, but I don’t think I’d be able to part with some of the Dr Fate comics.

    Obviously, as a nut for all comics mystical, I’ve got those doctor fate series and concur that they are really good stuff.

    The DeMatties Era really stands out for its delving into the spiritual and weird side of the spectrum – this is also the time frame where Fate has a bit of “gender-confusion”, with Fate using the bodies of a man and a woman (which also led to some interesting encounters during his/her JUSTICE LEAGUE term).

    I think I started to lose interest after awhile, as the book lost its footing, but still continued buying in hopes that it would turn around.
    I sadly do not remember if it did or if I eventually gave up. I’ll have to dig into the longboxes.

    It IS notable that it was this “humorous” and sales-successful Dr. FATE run that Marvel tried to emulate slightly when Roy Thomas was writing the “Sorcerer Supreme” series of Doctor Strange; turning him into a more joke-cracking and light character. I hated it.
    (Marvel would later try to emulate the later successful run of DCs KID ETERNITY when they tried to turn Doctor Strange into a long-haired, young and facially-hairless hipster complete with reverse-colored costume to that of K.I. . They really had NO idea what to do with Strange.)

    But, for my money the initial DeMatties / Giffen miniseries of Doctor Fate was the real good stuff.
    Dark and creepy looking stuff if I recall with a great story.

    Hmmm… may be time for a RE-read of those.

    To the long-boxes!


  • Stupid autocorrect, swype typing.

    “…STOCK it WITH my vast collection of 4-color dead trees…”


    If there are any other typos, my apologies.

  • BobH says:

    Funny, DC just scheduled a reprint of this material (up to the DeMatteis/Giffen miniseries, and including something from DC CHALLENGE, oddly enough. Never thought we’d see a reprint of any part of DC CHALLENGE…).