If it’s one thing I need, it’s more “to read” piles of comics at home.

§ November 9th, 2018 § Filed under collecting § 3 Comments

So I’ve been going through box after box after box of comics at the store, just piles of ’em from collections acquired over the last few years, and finally making some headway in getting the processed and put out for you, the people, to come and buy.

I’ve been pretty good about not pulling from said boxes to fill my own collection…plenty of stuff I’d love to have, but I’d love to make money on selling it even more. By and large I just keep to filling holes in the ol’ want list on things I’ve been seeking out for years, like some of the Atlas/Seaboard comics from the ’70s, and fanzines of pretty much any period. Oh, and the occasional Charlton Popeye.

Jumping back a bit, to back when I was but a mere non-comics-retail-working mortal, like most of you common folk out there, I was pretty good about picking up comics I was interested in. Particularly throughout the 1980s, when DC and Marvel discovered he idea of “mini-series” and put out a boatload of purposefully short-run titles, many of which caught my eye and were dutifully snatched off the racks by my young allowance-stretching self.

However, there were a couple of series that I wanted to pick up, but, for reasons long forgotten by God and man (but probably related to “that allowance can only stretch so far”) I never did get around to acquiring. One such as Sword of the Atom, basically “The Atom as Tiny Conan the Barbarian,” featuring some of that great 1980s-style Gil Kane art that the Kane purists may have pooh-poohed at the time but that I really enjoyed.

As it turned out, a run of that original Sword of the Atom was present in the stacks upon stacks of comics I was processing, and set it aside for myself. It did inspire me to check the ol’ Diamond Comics database to see if a trade paperback existed, collecting this mini-series and the three subsequent specials (which I did not have in the piles here at the shop, far as I could tell). There was a trade, published in 2007, and apparently long out of print, and going for some not-terribly-high but more-than-Mike-wanted-to-pay prices on your eBays and your Amazons and such.

Mentioning my quest for the remainder of this series did bring pal Nat into the shop with the first special for me, which was very nice of him. However, a Twitter pal picked up a copy of the trade in the clearance bin at his local shop for dirt cheap, and it is now winging its way to me via the tender mercies of the post office. Thus, with its eventual arrival, that will be one less missing comics experience from my youth. And I’ll be able to put those issues of the mini-series back out for sale…though I’m not sure what to do with the special, since Nat gave that to me as a gift. I’ll have to ask if he wants it back!

Now another comic that I inexplicably passed on during its original run was Night Force by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. I was reading New Teen Titans at the time, and in issue #21 there was a special 16-page free insert previewing the forthcoming Night Force title.

Now, I liked that preview. I was into Gene Colan’s super-moody art, and I was enjoying Wolfman’s work on Teen Titans, and I was a fan of horror comics…or at least the weird, creepy off-on-the-distant-edges-of-the-main-fictional-universe books like, oh, say, Swamp Thing. But, again, like with Sword of the Atom, and for probably similar reasons, I did not pick up with series.

Not much later, the main character of Night Force, Baron Winters, plays briefly into one of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing storylines, which just sort of added to the “well darn, should have picked up that series” feeling I had. But I still didn’t. Even working at the other comic shop which had no end of full runs of Night Force (only 14 issues long, mind you) didn’t get me off my duff to pull a set aside for myself.

Many years later, a collected hardcover edition of that series was announced, and I sort hemmed and hawed over getting one for myself at the time. I did wait, however, and not too long ago I did finally get my hands on a new copy of the book for a bargain price. And I’m glad I waited…the printing on the original comics wasn’t awful, but seeing Colan’s art recolored on nice paper is a real treat.

Its title of “The Complete Collection” is bit of a misnomer, in that there were two follow-up series (in 1996 and 2012)…these were also written by Wolfman, but drawn by Brent Anderson (2nd series) and Tom Mandrake (3rd series). Not collected, and probably harder to find in the back issue bins. If only I’d bought that first series at the time, then I would have bought series 2 and 3 as they were coming out, and I wouldn’t be in this mess now.

And there’s your little bit of insight into what your pal Mike still gets for himself. I mean, I even bought the full run of Spanner’s Galaxy at the time, I have idea why I passed up those two series.

3 Responses to “If it’s one thing I need, it’s more “to read” piles of comics at home.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Oh, man, thanks for the reminder. I picked up nice copies of the first three Night Force issues at a now-defunct store several years ago and have sort of had in the back of my head that I should find the others ever since. And yes, that Gene Colan art was superb, and if I recall, a pretty intriguing story by Wolfman too. Yes, I think I will seek those out….

  • Thom H. says:

    I love that Gil Kane ’80s art. So weirdly static and active at the same time. Realistically staged, but cartoonishly rendered. It really stood out on comic racks at the time, I remember.

  • D says:

    Night Force is the 1st book I recall being heartbroken over its cancellation

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