Thursday, May 31, 2012

Going For a Run

Doug:  With summer approaching, many of us create a book list of volumes of pages we'd like to but will never quite get through.  But hey, it's nice to have that ambition here as May becomes June.  Our wide-open question today concerns comics history.  Let's say you had access to complete runs of any and every series that's piqued your interest in the Silver and Bronze Ages -- could be the mags themselves, Essentials, Masterworks or Archives, the DVD-ROMs for Marvel Comics that ceased production way too soon -- you just have these comics at your fingertips.  What is the one series you'd like to curl up with over the next three months (I've included a few suggestions below into which I know I'd be inclined to go spelunking)?  Is it your all-time favorite?  Is it a series you've loved, but never had a way to fill in the gaps in your collection?  Or, is there something for which you've had this itching curiosity?  Is your choice fueled by the opportunity to examine a particular character or creative team -- or maybe you're after a team-up or anthology book?

The sky's the limit -- you can get your grubby mitts on any series you want.  So which is it?  Oh, and as an added discussion point:  where would you stop your run of reading?  For example, many of us have remarked that The Avengers took quite a plunge for about 50 issues after #200.  Seems like a good jumping-off point to me.  Do you have parameters?  Maybe you aren't necessarily going to start with issue #1, but still plan to cover over a hundred issues...



david_b said...

For starters, I'd like to run through a couple of your pictured runs, DD and Thor, as well as Defenders and ol' Doc Strange.

Probably only read 'em up until the 80s, but that's what I would focus on..As a casual Thor collector, I haven't been all that 'blown-over' with previously-referenced story arcs, but I think that's primarily due to just getting an issue here and there. Getting the big picture will hopefully earn more enjoyment.

As for Defenders, I've heard interest dropping off after the first 50 issues, so I'd probably try the entire run just to see for myself.

As for Doctor Strange, I KNOW I'd really enjoy his Ditko, then later Colan years, just haven't slowed down long enough to partake.

Fred W. Hill said...

Hmmm, difficult question for me as pretty much every title I'm aware of that has lasted a few hundred issues has plenty of bad runs mixed in with the good and the great. Certainly I'd like such titles as Amazing Spider-Man, FF, Avengers but I'm not sure at what point I'd want them to stop as being too painful to continue reading, especially when they might get much better later on. Then there's the problem that few titles are whole unto themselves so in many cases you wouldn't have the complete story with issues from other titles. Of course, this wasn't too bad during the Silver & Bronze ages, but things got really complicated from the time of the first Secret War on.

One long run I've never actually read but read several positive reviews of was Peter David's decade long stint on the Hulk, so I'd likely include that, along with Daredevil, Thor, X-Men, Dr. Strange (from the Ditko years in Strange Tales through the first two volumes of his solo series. There's some really bad stuff for a year or so after Ditko left but it eventually got better and Englehart, Brunner, Colan, Stern & Rogers all did remarkable work in the second series.

Edo Bosnar said...

Probably the main run I'd really like to finally read all the way through is Walt Simonson's Thor - so much so that I may yet break down and shell out the dough for the Omnibus.
Speaking of omnibuses (omnibi? omnibeaux?), I did recently acquire the Warlord of Mars volume, which may become a summer reading project.
Like the others, I'd also like to catch up on Dr. Strange, specifically the entirety of the 1970s/early 1980s series - back at the time, I only read the latter part penned by Roger Stern, but never the earlier, oft-praised Englehart material (by the way Marvel, where's vol. 5 of the Essentials, so I can finally get this entire series at relatively low cost?)
Other stuff I'd like to read all the way through, instead of just piecemeal like I did in the past: Marvel's Conan titles (the Barbarian, the King and Savage Sword), all of Marvel's Kull stories, Rom Spaceknight, Chaykin's American Flagg, Master of Kung Fu and, well, there's probably a few more but I think what I've mentioned here is already a few summers worth of reading at the very least...

ChrisPV said...


You owe it to yourself to read the Simonson Thor. It really is some of the best comics I've ever read. Rarely, rarely does something like that live up to hype but this totally does. I would recommend picking up the trades and not the omnibus, though. That sucker is HUGE, and the trades are all back in print (I think) and you can get the lot of them for like fifty bucks.

As for me, I think this will be the summer of Englehart Avengers. I started at the beginning last summer, and got all the way through the Rascally Roy years. Time to start in with the next batch!

Edo Bosnar said...

Englehart's Avengers is a fine choice. That actually was a summer reading project for me way back when, in 1980 or '81, when my then future brother-in-law, a former comics geek himself, lent me his big, huge box of comics. It included pretty much all of Englehart's Avengers, plus most issues of Defenders up to about issue #50, including the Giant Sizes, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Great times, great memories.
As to Simonson's Thor, I'm familiar with its greatness, as I did read the initial part while it was coming out. I just haven't read the entire thing. As to omnibus vs. trade - I agree, that omnibus looks like a cinder block, but for me it would actually be the cheaper route: I'm not currently residing in the U.S., so when you factor in shipping charges, it's less expensive than getting those 5 Visionaries books from a few different dealers - believe me, I've checked, repeatedly.
Speaking of Simonson, I'd really like to read his Orion series as well. And as if I haven't mentioned enough already, I just remembered a few more runs/series that I'd really like to read: Perez's Wonder Woman, and Jack Cole's original Plastic Man stories from the 1940s.

Lemnoc said...

That whole run of Dr Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, from 1975-76 was a wonder to behold. Battling Eternity, Satan, Stygyro, a possessed Ancient One and Clea, with the taint of Dracula on his soul.

Haven't looked at it for years, but I recall a late issue, overseen by Thomas or Starlin IIRC, that announced the experiment was over and the book would return to more traditional storylines. Probably because sales had fallen off as the molds were broken. A sad state. But a great run

david_b said...

Edo, you're the first here to mention any DC titles.. Eh, no love for the 'Distinquished Competition'..?

Talk about expensive purchases.. I've been gunnin' for an out-of-print Masterworks Captain Marvel Vol.1 for a while, typically over a hundred on Amazon and eBay. I went to the Detroit ComicCon a few weeks back and finally grabbed the earlier green covered edition for $40.

It's an AWESOME read, superb Colan art, along with the Defenders Vol.1 both books well worth the wait.

Simayl said...

I am currently working through Defenders (at the start of Essentials 4), Incredible Hulk (at the end of Essentials 1), Dr Strange (midway through Masterworks 2, got to have the Doc in color!) and midway through Fourth World Omnibus 1! I am looking forward to my recently purchaesd Black Panther Essentials as I have never read Jungle Action! Summer can't come quickly enough, too many great books not enough time!

Karen said...

Unfortunately the advent of summer doesn't mean any more reading time for me nowadays. But I have managed to acquire the first 9 issues of Captain Marvel (the Marvel version) and I plan to sit down and read them all in one sitting one of these days!

I'm working on acquiring Englehart's Dr.Strange run -still have a few more books to go. I want to do the same thing with those once they are in hand -read them all in a day, maybe two.


Rip Jagger said...

With the ever growing Essentials and Showcase lists, getting a run to read is downright simple these days.

I've got the Showcase Spectre and the Essential Black Panther up next on my personal night stand of literature. But I'm forever and a day finding something that gets in the way of my best laid plans.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

I would get the entire Doug Monech/Gene Colan ear;y 80s Batman/Detective Comics run. I have a lot of those issues by my collection is patchy. I'd love to read the whole thing all of the way through.

The Roy Thomas run on Conan the Barbarian would be another. As would the complete late 80s Roger Stern/John Buscema/Tom Palmer run on Avengers. I have a lot all of these but not he complete collections

Inkstained Wretch said...

Err ... "Anonymous 3:57 p.m." above is me. Accidentally hit the publish button before I could type my name.

That also explains the typos. Grrr...

William said...

That's funny because I've done this very thing a few times in the past year or so.

I read the entire run of the X-Men from Giant Size #1 all the way through Byrne's last issue.

I also read Frank Miller's entire original run on Daredevil, and Roger Stern and John Romita Jr's entire run on Amazing Spider-Man.

I am currently about half way through Lee and Kirby's FF and John Byrnes FF run as well.

ChrisPV said...


I've heard really great stuff about Simonson's Orion, and I'm really tempted to give it a shot. Too bad it's never been collected properly. As I've gone along, I've gotten far and far less inclined to buy floppies. They're just such a pain to store, and I for one like loaning my books out so others can experience them. I just got my Atomic Robo trades back today after being without them for weeks.

(By the way, everybody should be reading Atomic Robo. It feels like a Bronze Age book to me, in that it's very accessible, the humor is actually funny, and the character work is quite good. Plus: Carl Sagan vs. Cthulu. Tell me you don't wanna see that.)

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm with you on the floppy problem - I don't like to accumulate too many of them, due to similar concerns about storage/space. That's why it will probably be a long time before I read Simonson's Orion, since only the first few issues have been collected. (One option, of course, is getting all the floppies and then having them bound, as I recently did with the Charlton run of E-man. However, that can get costly as well.)
As for Atomic Robo, I've heard only good things about it, and may just begin buying the trades.

J.A. Morris said...

I'm with Chris on "floppies", I still buy a few here & there, but I lean towards tpbs & hcs these days.

The "run" I've wanted to read for years is the Warlock/Magus/Thanos stories by Starlin. I've read parts of it over the years, when I saw it was available as a Marvel Masterwork. I'll probably buy that as a birthday present for myself later this Summer.

Tony said...

Right now I'm collecting and reading the DC Tarzan run. I love Joe Kubert's art, and fortunately Tarzan wasn't in the 'reboot.The series is relatively small with 53 issues, and they are cheap enough to buy, mostly between $3 and $8, and it has even sparked my interest about reading the original ERB stories.

Chuck Wells said...

Those are great picks, but as I've grown out of purchasing current product from the big two, and started cherry-picking stuff that I missed out on the first time around (particularly from the 1980's).

I've recently gotten the full run of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew and Howard the Duck. Not titles that I should have skipped, both are fun reads. This year even as I hit the convention circuit to rescue stacks of Bronze Age books from the back issue bins, I'm considering picking up a run of Quasar.

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