Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Open Forum is Open For Your Conversational Whims

Doug: Be a leader, set an example, be at the forefront of debate and pontification. That's right -- ya got up early, so pick something for us to talk about today! Today's Open Forum is another stab at our do-it-yourself motif. These have been a lot of fun in the past, and always seem to generate their fair share of comments. As we do around here, everyone is expected to be courteous -- if you don't like today's subject, tough. But don't be a thread-hijacker!

We are eagerly awaiting today's topic of conversation -- have at it!


david_b said...

What were your Favorite large-sized Treasury Editions (Marvel or DC) or which do you consider the best, back in the Bronze Age..? Also, which ones SHOULD they have made but didn't (X-Men..?).

I remember being totally gobsmacked when I saw the first Spiderman one (1974), followed by the Shazam one. Great reprint stories chosen.

Let's discuss!

J.A. Morris said...

(sorry in advance for posting 2 topics, you'll see why)
Jim Shooter's impact/influence on the Bronze Age:
Was it positive or negative?

If our hosts think that's too controversial (since Shooter is now a "fellow blogger"), here's another:

In recent years, we've seen several "dead" characters resurrected. Not "the villain's gone, here's a piece of his costume,there's no body, but he/she must've died in the explosion" dead. But dead like Bucky, Osbourn, "Jean Grey", Jason Todd, etc.

Which resurrection ticked you off the most?

pete doree said...

Easily the holiday grab-bags. Especially the one where the Avengers & The FF have a snowball fight. And the Conan one with 'Red Nails' The worst one is that Legion treasury with the beautiful Mike Grell wraparound cover but on the inside, it's Vinnie Colletta inking!
What they should've done? DAREDEVIL!

pete doree said...

Resurrections? Bucky. It's like bringing back Uncle Ben or Gwen Stacy. Just plain wrong. And when you're finished with how wrong it is, there's a whole pit of wrong to dive into.

J.A. Morris said...

david_b got in first, but a what great topic!
I love those Treasury Sized comics. When I discovered Ebay, the first thing I bought was a bunch of Treasuries, since many of mine were worn out from constant reading as a kid.
I'd have to say the 'Holiday Grab Bags' were my favorite. I'm a big fan of Christmas-themed comic stories, so I pull those out every year. I think 'Jingle Bombs' featuring Luke Cage might be my favorite story from the Holiday Treasuries, simply because it's ridiculous!

It's funny that Howard The Duck and the Defenders got a Treasury edition, but not the X-men. I wished we could've gotten a tabloid-sized Byrne-Austin Treasury Edition, that would've been amazing.

dbutler16 said...

My favorite treasury sized comic was the Legion of Super-Heroes with the wedding of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl ,though there was another LOSH treasury edition that I loved, too, though I didn't know at the time it contained reprints. There was also an Avengers treasury edition I loved, though as I recall it was reprints, too.

Jim Shooter = positive. I guess his EIC stuff is hit or miss, though I think Marvel did very well in sales under his leadership, but when I think of Bronze Age Shooter, the Korvac Saga is the first thing that comes to mind, and that is my all time favorite Avengers story, so I have to give Shooter a thumbs up.

I don't know which resurrection has ticked me off the most, but the Jean Grey resurrections have become a farce. She dies and comes back the way other women change hairstyles (Silver Age sexist reference :-) )

david_b said...

Yes, I was SO excited to get in first this morning, sorry J.A.

I don't know what it is about those Treasury's.. For EXTRA CREDIT, I'm hoping folks will share their favorite stories about finding them.. Mine's actually current..:

Since my last few deployments overseas with the Army, I've been buying up my childhood 'Grails', like boxed Megos, early FF comics, you name it, all streaming in via the Postal Service of late. But I actually find myself getting all giddy when one those big fella's come in these days.

Some have been super, like Cap's Bicentennial Adventures, but I read the Avengers one a few weeks back and was confused by the story selection..:

First off, they have the first Panther story, then they feature ish 57 with the Vision, which was good, but..: Why didn't they just throw in ish 58 after that, with the extremely memorable 'Even an Android can cry' closing page..? It just seemed logical to have the entire 2-comic story instead of leaping to the Lady Liberators story, which was silly enough.

david_b said...

As for resurrections, J.A., it was Gwen's that made me feel like Marvel 'slapped' fans in the face.

Without thinking, the whole Cloning saga ruined a lot of believability in the Spidey universe for me ~ It was like the ONE TRUE, momentous event.. re-wound.

I also didn't like Englehart killing off the Swordsman, but I didn't read his resurrection..

Ric said...

Of course I loved the treasuries as well! My favorite is likely the first Holiday Grag Bag, with the classic Daredevil/Sub-Mariner battle and with roughly half the book devoted to the FF/Avengers/Hulk free-for-all! As a 13 year old, what's not to love??

Alos loved the second Spider-Man treasury with the reprint of Spidey's first annual which I had read and loved at some point prior to that. The full page splashes of Spidey throwing down with the Sinister Six were awesome!

I remember getting and loving the All-Star Comics #3 treasury as a Christmas gift. That was great!

The first Superman/Spider-Man team up was so cool, since it was the first legitimate company cross-over story, and (if memory serves) it came right in the heart of winter.

Also loved both Legion tabloids (especially the wedding issue, despite Colletta's inks!), the Superman/Ali/Shazam/Wonder Woman new stories...and the Howard/Defenders book!

These days, sadly, I only have a couple... the aforementioned Holiday Grab-Bag, the Legion wedding, Bicentennial Battles ... maybe a few more. Glad that most of the material has been reprinted elsewhere by now!


Redartz said...

My favorite Treasury was the first Spider-Man edition, with the great John Romita cover and Daily Bugle page. It had a nice array of stories, covering all of Spidey's prominent artists. This was my first chance to read the Green Goblin's intro, as well. Apparently a quantity were available signed by Romita snd Stan Lee; wish I had one of those!

As for Jim Shooter, I'd have to call him a positive influence. A solid writer with many memorable stories; his tenure as EIC saw Marvel release some real dreck but also some classic work.

Regarding resurrectins, Norman Osborn was to me the worst. He was always the nastiest Goblin; but as for his current status as a mover-and-shaker in the Marvel Universe, a bit out of his league.

William said...

I like having multiple topics to discuss.

1. As a kid, I was of the opinion that "Bigger means Better", so I really loved the over-sized Treasury Editions. My favorite was the first Superman vs. Spider-Man. It was the first Marvel/DC crossover and still the best, IMO. I still own two copies of it. I also really liked the Holiday Grab Bag editions. I've always had a soft spot for the Super Hero Holiday Specials.

2. I think that Jim Shooter was arguably the best EIC that Marvel ever had. I may just be bias, because it was under his tenure that most of my favorite comics came out (Stern & Romita Jr's Amz. Spider-Man, Miller's DD, Byrne's FF, etc.) . He seemed to really care about maintaining the quality of the story-telling and the integrity of the characters. I think the evidence of his influence was proven when he later launched Valiant and it became a serious competitor to the Big Two (until he was forced out and the company eventually went under).

3. By far, the "dead" character resurrection that ticked me off the most was Bucky. People acted like it was some kind of genius move, but I just thought the whole premise was stupid. I don't know all the gory details, but why would the Russians need a teenaged boy with no special powers to be their super assassin? Plus, it was always a great tradition at Marvel that "Only Bucky Stays Dead!!!" But it doesn't surprise me a bit that the "Non-EIC" J.Q. let some emo, ex-indie comic writer come in and destroy 40 years of tradition at Marvel on whim. Sure, why not? Hey! Who's up for an Uncle Ben cyborg/clone?

Redartz said...

David b- for "extra credit", I still recall buying that first Spider-man treasury downtown and reading it on the bus ride home (I was allowed to ride the city buses on my own, but still had a pretty good walk to get to the nearest stop). Of course, the book was too large to fit in a bag...

J.A. Morris said...

Since I brought up the topics, I better answer:
I think Shooter was a positive force in the Bronze Age. We got so many great stories during his EIC reign. Without Shooter I doubt Miller does Daredevil. As a writer,sure, he wrote some bad stories(Avengers #200, the Hulk Magazine rape story)but the Korvac saga cancels out the bad stuff.

The resurrections of Bucky and Norman Osbourn are tied for "worst" in my book.

Bucky's death was important in shaping Cap as a character. Bringing him back as a Soviet terrorist with a bionic arm is just dumb.

Osbourn's return bothered me for several reasons:
He should've stayed dead because he committed cold-blooded murder on an innocent.

We saw the body(okay, I know it's a comic, but still).

He was dead in "our time" from 1973 to 1996(in fact, he was "dead" the whole time I read ASM, I never missed him). We had some great Spider-Man stories and some bad ones during that time. Bringing him back just seemed like Marvel was saying "we need to make people forget the 90s Clone Saga and we're too creatively bankrupt to make up a new character, here's Norman!"

As for Norman being a behind the scenes manipulative,evil genius, I don't buy that either. He's too unstable.

For me, the most interesting dynamic about the Green Goblin vs. Spider-Man stories was Osbourn's knowledge that Parker and Spider-Man were one and the same. Since then, we've had 50 people who know the secret, so it's lost a lot of power.

Edo Bosnar said...

Man, one drawback to a vacation at a place with spotty internet connections is being days late on all these great posts. Oh, well.
Treasury Editions: hard to pick a favorite, as I didn't have many, and loved them all. I had the Holiday Grab-bag mentioned above with the Avengers snowball fight - great stories in that one. Also loved Bicentennial Battles, and that DC Super-villian origins edition, which was one of the first I had. I also really liked the one featuring the Superman vs. Flash race...
Since david_b's suggestion came first, all I'll say about JA's suggestions is that Shooter probably deserves a whole separate post, especially since he's now quite actively blogging...

Doug said...

Hey, everyone --

The "cornucopia" method seems to be working just fine today!

I still have several treasuries from both DC and Marvel. One I really love is the first Legion one, which reprints an adventure in Smallville against Mordru. I've also always loved the FF one with the reprints of FF #'s 120-123. Galactus on the big page -- simply awesome. I always wished I'd had the Avengers issue, and like many have said am curious as to why Daredevil or the X-Men never got the Treasury treatment.

I'll echo what's been said about Norman Osborn. Bucky's bad, but for some reason (probably because I've followed Spidey more than Cap through the years) the resurrection of Osborn gets me worse.


Doug said...

Oh, and Edo -- we were wondering where you'd been for the past several days!


MattComix said...

The Silver Age (accurately or not) is often regarded as very goofy and modern comics very deadly serious (key word being dead). I've often felt that the Bronze Age had what I like refer to as an equilibrium between the two extremes, at least when it came to mainstream superhero comics.

Things were as comicbooky as you could want while at the same time there was a focus on drama and action coming off the heels of the impact Marvel Comics made in 60's.

Would you also agree that the Bronze Age often presented an equilibrium that was just about right for doing superhero comics?

Inkstained Wretch said...

Let's see ... Favorite "treasury edition" would be Brave and Bold #115.

That's one with the bizarre - even by Bob Haney standards - story in which the Atom revives a brain-dead Batman for one last case by shrinking himself inside Batman's skull and bouncing around on his grey matter to make his limbs move. It is just insane fun and features some great Jim Aparo art.

The same issue also includes reprints of silver age Viking Prince and Challengers of the Unknown tales as well as a reprint of a Garnder Fox/Murphy Anderson story of Dr. Fate, Hourman and Green Lantern trying to stop Solomon Grundy. All for $1! Quite the bargain, even then.

As for Jim Shooter, while I think the guy gets a bad rap on many things, I still think his influence was generally negative. It was on his watch that Marvel starting getting more mercenary in its business practices. There was the all of the company-wide crossovers, the "New Universe", the proliferation of X-titles, the practice of frequent comic relaunches to spur interest in first issue sales, and the move from spinner racks to direct sales. He also cancelled most of the reprint series. Grrr.

On his watch, Marvel got more business-savy and professional but it also began to lose its soul.

Karen said...

"On his watch, Marvel got more business-savy and professional but it also began to lose its soul."

That's just about how I feel concerning the Shooter era.

As for treasury editions...I loved them! David, you want a story about getting a treasury edition? How's this: when the Superman vs. Spider-Man one came out, I couldn't find it at any of the usual bookstores. I was deep in despair over not getting this. So my Mom, lioness that she was, found out who the distributor was and we drove way out to a warehouse and got 2 copies there! Mom was awesome.


david_b said...


Now THAT'S a story.. Thanks for sharing! I love 'Awesome Mom' stories. Mine found my vintage Beatles butcher cover (covered) at a rummage sale for a mere quarter.

My story pales significantly by comparison, but I remember running.., yes, RUNNING home (a few miles..) when I first saw the nice, big red Spiderman Treasury ish# 1 (only ONE sole copy), for a whole whoppin' $1.50. It was the most money I had asked my Mom for.., ever.

Summoning ALL the charm school I learned from watching Beaver Cleaver on TV, I came home, enthalled by what I had witnessed, and earnestly asked my Mom for the mere pittance of money to buy this. I must have described it as the 'Cadillac of all Spiderman Comics' or something, because I ran back with the money and grabbed the only copy the gift store had. I still find it the most beautiful of Treasuries, with the gorgeous front and back covers.

As for Shooter.., I didn't really have anything more to say that hasn't been said prior (my destroying Hank Pym rants..), but I really like Inkstained's summary as well.

You can't blame a business for merely being a business, earning more profits.., but at what cost..?

Lemnoc said...


Gwen Stacy surely rankles, because at the time of her demise that didn't happen often in comics, so the event was monumental and notable in SM's development. The editorial reason she was killed off--wedding bells chiming for a character that had become progressively less interesting--was certainly in play with the character of MJ *at the very time Gwen was brought back*, so I don't really see the wisdom in compounding Marvel's unforced error.

Not a lot of clear editorial thinking going on at Marvel in this period.

The story with her affair with Norman Osborn was just icky in the extreme, and completely out of her (and his) character.

The big problem with bringing Osborn back as some kind of Master Luthor overlord was, as has been pointed out on this board, it just doesn't work for a crackpot nutcase as Osborn was originally depicted.

I don't see the purpose in rehashing old ground in ways less notable than the original. It's like playing with someone else's genius in simpleton ways.

J.A. Morris said...

I never had a problem with "Gwen" returning because it didn't last long and it wasn't long before she was revealed to be a clone(4 or 5 issues). Plus,Parker never really believes that the Gwen he knew has returned. The Gwen clone disappears at the end of ASM 149 and doesn't return until the late 1980s.

Of course, I read the story in reprints & back issues, not brand new off the racks, so I may have a different take than others here.

I think the original 'Clone Saga' is good, but the 90s Clone stories caused me to stop collecting comics.

Fred W. Hill said...

My favorite Treasury Edition was the Howard the Duck issue -- a new story and his first several, hard to find stories (at least those Giant-Size Man-Things and the first HTD issues would have been difficult for me to find back in 1976!). Other favorites were the first FF one, with the condensed Galactus Trilogy, as well as the epics reproduced in the Thor editions.
As to resurrected characters, the one that most disgusted me was Norman Osborne. I stopped reading most comics long before that, but when I read about them bringing back ol' Norm, that just confirmed for me that Marvel Comics has mostly lost its way. The old Marvel Universe I used to read about and love died at least 20 years ago by my estimation. If a new generation enjoys the current incarnation, that's perfectly fine, but aside from getting a few trade collections of stories I enjoy, I'm not inclined to get back into the comics junkie habit.

Hoosier X said...

We've already hit the high points on over-sized Treasury Editions. (I bought the one with Spider-Man Annual #1, Spidey #6 and Spidey #35 at the supermarket when it was brand new! I distinctly remember reading it while lying on my stomach on the floor in our basement family room while my dad watched Hee-Haw.)

Except for one. DC had several of those over-sized editions that focused on villians. I didn't have very many DC comics at that time, but I did get hold of the over-sized edition that had origins for Cat-Woman, Mr. Mxyzptlk and The Cheetah. It was very likely the first time I ever saw any Golden Age Wonder Woman. It was awesome!

Future suggestion for BAB: DC has just shipped the complete Secret Society of Super-Villains. It even includes the issues that appeared in Canceled Comics Cavalcade after SSOSV was canceled! I pre-ordered this baby as soon as I heard of it and I got an email informing me it had shipped and would arrive as early as Saturday! WA-HOO!

SSOSV was the only DC comic I bought regularly during the first few years I was reading comics. I bought them all right off the stand from #2 on, and I found a beat-up #1 at a used book store when it was only a few months old. I have been waiting to read the issues published in Canceled Comics Cavakcade for more than 30 years!

Surely I'm not the only one. BAB needs a post dedicated to the Society!

I command it!

(Note: Sinestro did not take over my mind and make me type this post. That's more of a Grodd thing.)

J.A. Morris said...

@Hoosier X:

SSSV was probably my favorite DC titles, but I have some bad news & some good news about that book you mentioned:
Bad news:
The press release for the book was wrong. The Cancelled Comics Cavalcade books aren't included. It only has SSSV 1-10 and "rarely seen bonus material" from Amazing World Of DC Comics #11(basically a black & preview of SSSV #1). They even screwed up the back cover! It says it contains DC Special #27, it's not in there! Very sloppy from such a major publisher. I bought it at a comic shop last week on the day it was released. I knew what I was buying, but I'm still ticked at DC for screwing up that pre-order announcement.
The good news:
The book's cover says "Volume One", so hopefully we'll get 11-15 and the CCC stuff in Volume Two. Also good, it looks great. DC has screwed up some of it's 60s & 70s reprints by re-coloring them, I don't see that here.

Anonymous said...

Favorite Treasury/tabloid: Limited Collector's Edition #27 (Shazam/Captain Marvel reprints), because I received it as a gift from my Awesome Mom. I also liked DC's Famous First Editions, since they reprinted key Golden Age classics like Action #1, Whiz #2, and Detective #27.

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