Puma, man.

§ November 18th, 2015 § Filed under collecting, retailing § 9 Comments

So early on in my store’s history, I made a crack or two on the Twitters about now being able to get all the comics I want for freeeeee, about loading up on DC Archives, etc. which alarmed a couple of retailer pals. I promised them I was only joking, that I’d be a responsible consumer. In fact, if anything, I’m probably getting fewer comics now…I’d rather leave ’em on the shelf for customers. (For example, see my answer to the first question here.)

That goes for graphic novels/trade and hardcover collections as well. My plan was to replace some of the comics I gave up to the shop (like Preacher and Invisibles) with the reprint collections eventually, but I’m in no great rush. Those particular titles aren’t in any danger of going out of print anytime soon, and even if they do, they should be in enough supply that copies will probably be available on Amazon forever.

As for new collections, I’m trying to restrict myself to items I’d already been acquiring, like the Complete Peanuts books. Only one volume to go in the series, kinda dumb to stop now. There are collections I’d love to own, like the Eightball slipcase, but I already have all the comics (which I didn’t give up to the shop!) so I’ll just leave that on the shelf for someone else.

But once in a while, I gotta splurge, as I did for the complete Puma Blues hardcover this week:

Look at the size of that thing. Here’s a better look at the cover, from Diamond’s site:

This is an beautifully-illustrated ecological sci-fi adventure/treatise/poem-kinda-sorta by Stephen Murphy and Michael Zulli (and a small bit of material by Alan Moore) published in the mid-to-late 1980s. Some folks may remember the comic as being a bit of a pawn in a battle between its publisher, Dave Sim, and Diamond Comics.

It had been a while since I read it…in fact, I’m not sure I sat down and read it as a whole since it was originally released. I bought each issue as it came out, and, as I recall, I found it to be a challenging and enjoyable work. It’s one of those things that had always been in the back of my mind to revisit someday, as it’s still sitting there in one of my remaining back issue boxes at the house. When the solicitation for this hardcover popped up in Previews, noting that it included the previously-unpublished 40-page conclusion to the series…well, Fan Mike outvoted Retailer Mike on this one and made sure I ordered a copy for myself. (And one for the shelf, too…I don’t know if any customers will go for it, but I like having it there, so that’s good enough reason.)

And, well, here it is, in my hot little hands, waiting for me to peruse it. Also included is the Puma Blues #24 1/2 mini-comic, which I seem to recall having some copies floating around my old place of employment, though for the life of me I can’t remember how we got ’em. I have a vague memory that they were distributed with one of the original Puma Blues trade paperbacks. At any rate, I never got one, so that’s a little more added value to the book.

Just briefly glancing through it, the reproduction seems nice and clear…no idea if it was shot from the original art, or scanned from printed pages, but it looks nice, especially now that it’s on white paper instead of newsprint (not that the newsprint was all that egregious). The original color covers are not reproduced…in fact, I’m not sure if the covers are in there at all, which is a shame as they were quite lovely. But overall, this is quite the tome and I’m glad to have it.

9 Responses to “Puma, man.”

  • Dave Carter says:

    IIRC the mini came with the second trade paperback collection.

    And yeah, I’m looking forward to this complete collection. I only was ever able to get the second trade and a few random issues, so it’ll be good to finally be able to read the whole thing.

  • John Platt says:

    I can’t wait to pick this up. I read Puma Blues piecemeal and out of order — it took me a long time to track down all of the issues. I look forward to reading them in order and finding out how the whole thing ends.

  • swamp mark says:

    the diamond solicitation says that this contains a “new” story by Alan Moore. I have a feeling it’s just a reprint from issue #20 though. can you let us know, Mike?

  • Adam Farrar says:

    I’m so excited about this book. I’ve never read a page of it. But Stephen Murphy’s TMNT Adventures comic was my gateway into comics. It was only a few years ago that I heard Puma Blues existed but I never pursued the single issues. Once this collection was first rumored a few years ago, I’ve been waiting for it.

  • Bruce Baugh says:

    The ending?!? BRB, knocking over a gas station.

  • Jim Kosmicki says:

    Dover is killing it with their reprints. As with most people, I know Dover for their ultra-cheap versions of public domain books – and they are a solid, reliable source for those.

    But their graphic novel reprints, besides being great choices across the board like Sam Glanzman USS Stevens and Bozz Chronicles, are beautifully published. That Puma Blues book is solid, thick, white paper and 560 pages for $30 – which, if my math is correct, is a cheaper per page cost than the original newsprint version.

  • Greg Burgas says:

    So I got this today, and immediately noticed that along the inside cover, the binding has split just a bit. Did this happen to you? I know it’s a thick book, but that’s annoying, and Dover’s reprints are usually just nicely put together. It doesn’t appear to be too bad if you just open it to random pages, but I was just wondering if it happened to you, too. But yes, it’s a beautiful book, and it’s nice to finally have it!

  • Jim Kosmicki says:

    the binding on mine is perfectly fine

  • Touch-and-go Bullethead says:

    I just noticed that one of the books Dover has coming out is MURDER BY REMOTE CONTROL by Janwillem van der Wetering and Paul Kirchner. This was an early effort (mid-1980s) by a mainstream publisher (Ballantine) at an original graphic novel. It earned a review in the New York Times, but otherwise failed to make much of an impression. Comics fans ignored it because it was promoted primarily to mystery readers (van der Wetering being a big name in that field), while mystery readers presumably did not care for all the pictures and, I suppose, the story’s frequent forays into the surreal. I hope it gets more respect this time.