I was as surprised as you were that I actually had a category set up on those old posts.

§ December 1st, 2021 § Filed under question time § 9 Comments

Time more more answering of your questioning!

Paul fills my comments with this inquiry

“Will you be having a giant store window display of Bill Griffith’s BUSHMILLER BIOGRAPHY?”

Actually, I’m going to order enough to form a giant throne, upon which I may sit and issue my comic proclamations.

But seriously, I am looking forward to it, and will absolutely carry it in the shop, and feature it prominently.

I do have some in-store Nancy displays…a framed blow-up of this cover above my register:

…and I have a similar large print of a Nancy Dell Giant cover in the front window…but darned if I can remember which one now! What a weird thing to forget. I’ll try to update once I return to the store and actually pay attention.

• • •

Vic Sage sages

“One Question per person. Take that Greg Rucka!”


• • •

Thelonious_Nick steals in with

“You expressed admiration for the Fantastic Four #35, the 60th anniversary issue. I read it last night and found it to be probably the best superhero comic I’ve read this year. What do you think are the best comic anniversary issues ever? Is FF#35 one of them? How about Fantastic Four #236? Detective #500? What others would go on the list? Do any of the #1000s make the grade?”

When I was but a mere mortal non-comics retailer, back in the early ’80s, I would regularly grab the extra-sized anniversary issues of just about any comic book. Not just the ones I normally read, but from titles that were new to me. Always thought they were good samplers, and issue #175 is what got me reading Uncanny X-Men for a time.

I was thinking about that just this week as Avengers #50 came out, wondering if this issue would have sparked the same weird “need” in me as those other anniversary issues from four decades ago. A quick flip through the book didn’t grab me (no offense, just haven’t read Avengers in forever) but I thought a few of the covers were nice.

A long time ago on this very site, I did a series of posts about my favorite anniversary issues. One of them was in fact Detective Comics #500 from 1981, which is still a favorite of mine. I often opine on the Twitters that this comic should get the hardcover treatment from DC. What a great mix of stories and characters.

That’s #2 on my list. The absolute #1 anniversary issue for now and ever more is Justice League of America #200 from 1982:

Multiple chapters, iconic characters drawn by iconic artists (Flash vs. Elongated Man by Carmine Infantino! Batman vs. Green Arrow and Black Canary by Brian Bolland! Green Lantern vs. the Atom by Gil Kane!) all with wraparound chapters (and great cover) by George Perez! Each chapter with a big ol’ splash page feauturing the heroes squaring off! It really is one of the most spectacular capital-C Comic capital-B Books of all time. And yes, another that could use a standalone hardcover reprinting.

As far as more recent anniversary issues…yeah, I enjoyed Fantastic Four #35, which had some cute touches like those period covers as chapter breaks. As far as DC’s issue #1000s for Detective and Action…I actually haven’t gotten around to reading the Detective yet, but Action was…fine, I suppose. I liked the Mxyzptlk story drawn by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Looking over the contents I feel like I should remember liking the comic overall more than I did, so maybe I’ll give it a revisit. The different covers were mostly nice…this is the one I kept for myself.

But…boy, I do still love those old anniversary issues. Aside from what I’ve already discussed, the Fantastic Four #236 you mention is a good’un, and I always like the Superman’s life story we got in Action #500. There’s the game-changing Incredible Hulk #300, the artistically dynamic Superman #400 (with the gimmick of featuring artists who hadn’t drawn Superman before…or at least not much before), and the history-spanning Legion of Super-Heroes #300 (with some special cameos).

Anyway, anniversary issues are great. The new ones don’t grab me quite as much as the older ones did, but they still sell well so they’re certain getting someone’s attention, which is nice. May they find the wonder and enjoyment I had as a young Mikester, biking around to the shops and springing those extra few cents to get those extra-sized comics.

9 Responses to “I was as surprised as you were that I actually had a category set up on those old posts.”

  • Chris G says:

    I’d love to see Superman #400 get a spiffy, deluxe reprinting. But DC has shown precious little interest in reprinting much of anything at all from the Schwartz-era Superbooks.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    I still insist that “anniversary issue” is the wrong term for hundredth or fiftieth issues, because the basis of “anniversary” is “annus,” meaning “year.” The word means the passing of a certain number of years, not the issue number reaching a point with two zeroes at the end.

    However, I recognize that this is a lost cause at this point. A big part of the problem is that there is no obvious word to use for those hundredth issues. “Centennial” or “centenary” did occur to me (with “sesquicentennial” to be used for a fiftieth issue), but the purist in me rejects them, because they are also based on versions of “annus,” and so should properly be reserved for the marking of years.

    Perhaps “big round number issues” will do. The danger with this is that it might lead to general “round number issues” becoming a thing–you know Marvel and DC would love an excuse to treat every tenth issue of a title as a big event.

  • Marcus says:

    Iron Man #200 was a phenomenal anniversary issue, high stakes, big changes, shocking endings, new beginning. costume change. That’s the greatest.

    Oh, and the Steve Rogers beats Red Skull in Steve’s body and takes back the mantle of Captain America, that issue is a phenomenal anniversary issue as well.

  • King of the Moon says:

    I’m amazed to be reminded of when a series was allowed to reach 200 issues

  • Chris says:

    … weirdly attracted to Nancy with lipstick on

  • Snark Shark says:

    Cap #300, where the Red Skull finally DIES.

    Yes, they eventually brought him back, but it seemed permanent at the time.

  • […] on Wednesday’s post, Turan points out the rather spurious use of “anniversary” in relation to celebrations of comics hitting […]

  • Thom H. says:

    Grant Morrison’s giant-sized Doom Patrol #50 facetiously proclaims that it’s “celebrating 150 glorious years of Doom Patrol action!” which I think is funny.

  • Patrick Joseph says:

    Being roughly the same age, it sounds like our relationship to anniversary issues is the same. They generally made great samplers, often had special stories, and like Annuals, offered more comics for hard-earned dimes and quarters. Detective 500 and JLA 200 are among my very favorites, and acted as a gateway to DC for me. What I find surprising is that Detective 500 has never been reprinted in full as far as I can tell. The lead tale has been reprinted about 500 times, with the Wien/Simonson piece being reprinted once (maybe twice?). With DC being focused on collecting Bronze-era Batman by creator, it seems unlikely that will ever be reprinted. The release of issue 1,000 would have been a great time to put out a facsimile edition, but that bat has left the belfry.