Boy, those are some old posts of mine that I’m linking to.

§ June 6th, 2016 § Filed under question time § 4 Comments

So a couple of weeks back I passed a question asked of me along to you about your favorite single issue comic book story. Frankly, I’m not sure what I was planning to do here…going through and commenting on every submitted story would try everyone’s patience (not that I’ve been shy about that in the past), and there really wasn’t enough of a consensus to declare “a winner.”

That said, a few stories did pop up more than once, like Doom Patrol #34, by Grant Morrison and Richard Case, in which the Brain and Monsieur Mallah…well, I’ll let pal Dorian explain it to you in this guest post on my site from way back in the Golden Age of Progressive Ruin.

“The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” from Amazing Spider-Man #248 is another good’un, one I actually picked up off the stands at a time when I was only sort of sporadically reading Spider-Man comics. This Wikipedia entry tells you about it, but really, try to read it for yourself if you haven’t already, before looking at any spoilers. It’s probably one of the best short stand-alone Spidey stories, right there along with the origin from Amazing Fantasy #15. The Wikipedia entry also mentions its semi-adaptation into a 1990s Spider-Man cartoon that I swore I’d written about on this site at some point, only for how badly they botched it.

“This Man, This Monster” from Fantastic Four #51 is also brought up a couple of times, featuring one of the all-time classic covers:

The story, in which a no-goodnik steals the Thing’s appearance in order to infiltrate the Four and destroy Reed Richards, but learns about nobility and sacrifice in the process, is certainly superheroic melodrama in the Mighty Marvel Manner, but it’s touching and effective nonetheless. (And yes, there are subplots ahoy for ongoing storylines here, too, but that’s just how Marvel was then, and I think we can let that slide.)

Some mention was made of Superman #400, the extra-sized anniversary issue that was basically an anthology that featuring how Superman would be perceived at increasingly distant points into Earth(-One)’s future. (An interesting note about the comic…artists were chosen for the book based on their not really having drawn or been associated with the character in the past, including a pin-up by John Byrne who would be taking over the franchise a few years later.) It’s not really a single story, as per the foggy parameters of this particular inquiry, but there is that common theme through the book, and it’s a good comic to boot, so I’d recommend seeking this one out, too. And, like was mentioned in the comments, I’m also surprised some more permanent edition hasn’t been reissued recently, given the piles of talent therein.

James wonders in the comments if anyone had read “Master Race,” a short story by Bernard Krigstein that appeared in EC Comics’ Impact #1. Oh, yes indeedy I have, and it’s definitely one of the classics…when people talk about comics being “cinematic,” this story is practically the definition of it. It’s been reprinted a number of times, such as in the Gemstone reprint line from the 1990s/early 2000s, or in 1981’s awkwardly-titled A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics, which should be easy to find in libraries or used book stores or this handy Amazon link. And just Googling up “master race ec comics” will get you plenty of discussion about it.

There were plenty of good suggestions in those comments, and I will probably go back and respond further to them. And I apologize for the nebulous constraints as to what I was and wasn’t accepting as “a single issue story.” Mostly I was trying to exclude multiple issues collected into a trade paperback as a single story. But short stories that were only part of the issue are acceptable, too, like that “Master Race” story,” or the story from Detective Comics #500 that William mentioned…I think pretty much every story in that comic qualifies!

A list of Eisner winners for Best Single Issue was copy ‘n’ pasted into my comments — Jackie never did tell me which was her favorite — and there are a few quality comics in there, to be sure. Sandman #22-#28 winning the category one year seems to be stretching the definition of “single issue” a bit. Yes, it was the “Season of Mists” storyline, but that seems to be six issues over the limit of “single issue.” NOT SAYING IT WAS BAD I put in ALL-CAPS to stave off complaints…I quite liked those issues…I was just wondering how this was rationalized at the time.

Commenter D asks if anyone has a run of The Comic Reader fanzine, where Don Rosa featured a Comic Book Hall of Fame in some of his columns. As a matter o’fact, I have a sizable run of The Comic Reader, complete from about issue 90 or so to the end of the run in the 200s, so, like I said in the comments, if I can turn up from free time, I’ll take a look for it!

Anyway, that’s a solid batch of good funnybookin’ in those comments, there…if you’re looking for some fine reading, that’s a nice place to start making your lists!

4 Responses to “Boy, those are some old posts of mine that I’m linking to.”

  • Nate A. says:

    “Anatomy Lesson,” (Swamp Thing 21)
    Did I miss something, or was this absent? It really is among the best periodical comics ever published… You should check it out, Mike;).

  • GE says:

    Wow – I’ve got “A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics” downstairs, which I’ve had since I was a kid. Read the hell out of it, over and over, to the point where the dust jacket is long, long gone. (It came along with me on two coast-to-coast moves.) That was my introduction to Pogo, to Captain Marvel, to Will Eisner, to the wider world of Scrooge McDuck…lots of the best stuff. It was largely responsible, I think, for initially kindling my interest in comic books beyond the superhero genre that I was stuck in beforehand. Great book, with lots of info on the artists and creators interspersed between stories – now I’m inspired to go grab it and read through some favorites again…!

  • D says:

    Wow, mentioned in the main blog! Fame and fortune next!

  • James says:

    Mike read my comment AND agreed with me! It’s all been worth it.