Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Simple Question Concerning Reprints

Doug:  What was your entry point to comics that were published before you began as a regular reader (you'll see three of mine below)?

Doug:  Let's make this a two-for-one today, friends.  I'd like anyone who saw the PBS broadcast of Superheroes: A Neverending Battle to sound off on what you liked, didn't like, or felt was flat-out awesome about the program.  And not to steer the comments, but I'd suggest to all that if you didn't get to see it that you check your local On-Demand schedule or rent the DVD/Blu-Ray (I've also pictured the cover to the companion book, below).  


J.A. Morris said...

Marvel Tales. The first comic I remember owning was an Amazing Spider-Man reprint from the title. As I got into collecting, I would often read the new stories and the reprints as they were published.

I haven't seen all of the PBS special, I was watching S.H.I.E.L.D. & baseball at the time. I plan to catch it on demand. But what I liked the best was Adam West. I've said before that as campy as that show was, when I read Batman comics, West is the voice I "hear" in my head. I love Kevin Conroy & Olan Soule, but I'm glad the producers brought West in to read.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the 70's and early 80's and reprints were an easy and cheap way for me to see this stuff.

Edo Bosnar said...

Marvel Tales for me, too. The first comic I ever had was MT #59, so basically I got my start with a reprint title. Besides Marvel's various monthly (or bi-monthly) reprint series, I later also caught up on older continuity the way many others did, with Treasury Editions, digests (in DC's case) and those wonderful Fireside books.

Anonymous said...

Marvel Triple Action, Marvel Double Feature, Marvel Adventure, and Marvel Tales were an inexpensive way to get caught up on the characters' backgrounds (including things like origins, first appearances, and first meetings). That was usually more important with Marvel than with DC, because Marvel went in for more continuity, long serials and arcs, and references and allusions to past events.

William Preston said...

The first reprint stories I saw were in those giant DC issues that contained one new story and a host of old ones. I appreciated how it gave you this sense of history of the comic, how you could see the development of the art and the changes in storytelling. With Marvel, my first reprint exposure was probably Marvel Tales or whatever that FF reprint mag was (in both cases, I only had one or two issues), but, since those were single stories, I didn't initially realize I was seeing a reprint.

The PBS show was pretty cool, though I turned it off for the third hour, since it was about TV and movies; I love that stuff, but have seen too much. The popular culture has been flooded. I most appreciated seeing that Neal Adams has apparently been given the same super soldier derivative formula given to Nick Fury and Dum-Dum Dugan, since he hasn't aged. Steranko was awesome, and I'm glad they spent so much time on him. (Though it was odd that they spent more time on him than on Kirby.) The visual attention given to panel-by-panel work by artists was outstanding.

david_b said...

Well, the reprints worked wonders on my sudden Zuvembie appetite when I caught the Marvel bug in Summer of '73.

Marvel Tales 44 was my first purchased reprint , and oh what a wonderful cover...:

I didn't even think that the covers were redone for a lot of reprints, I just thought they were recolored, given a new masthead and boom. This near-iconic cover was a huge improvement over the original cover IMHO. I preferred this to DC's strategy of lumping Gold/Silver reprints into their 50/60 cent issues, since you may not care for the other stories in that particular mag.

Triple Action was great for reading up on Swordy's first membership with the Avengers, exactly when he was back in the current title.

Marvel Greatest Comics..? Ah, my first/best access to the classic Lee/Kirby era.., starting with ish 44 and 45. It was interesting to contrast the Lee/Kirby vision and energy with the Conway/Buscema dourness during Reed-Sue's breakup, loving both tenures so much, but vivid differences.

Ah, the PBS Special. Pretty impressed so far, but also paying attention to odd mentions..

1) Glad to see Captain Marvel (the original..) and the Shadow getting more than a shout, didn't see much for Phantom.

2) Funny that you had Ed Catto interviewed, the current co-holder of Captain Action rights, but no mention of C/A, just Mego commercials in the '70s.

3) Glad they at least got some seconds of the Marvel cartoons, but their extended focus on the '66 Batman series was spot on. It's initial success had such a huge impact on the the industry. And for some of us who haven't seen these artists in person, it was cool to hear how much Neal Adams enjoyed the series.

4) Yeeeah, just a few more minutes on Silver Age Kirby would have been fair.., but it was cool to see Adams comment on Steranko, and Steranko himself on so much.

Per the column a few days ago on Steranko artistic merit, I was slightly surprised to be reminded per his interview that he indeed did practically NO dialog or captions on his major artistic expressions. This lends itself to the other comments on that column that were critical on his story development style (or lack thereof), my comment included. His was more a vision of stylish, surreal 'panel-scapes' of art, with little attention towards conventional story-telling.

Love the bit on Luke Cage as well, but that's about how far I got before I went to bed last night, so I'll be watching the rest of the recorded stuff tonight.

All in all, I'm finding it all very fascinating. I do think a Ken Burns approach would have been neat, but I do like the energy and flavor of this documentary quite a bit.

William said...

When I was a kid I loved all the old reprint trade paperbacks because they were a great deal for the money. I grabbed all of them I could find, such as "Origins of Marvel Comics", "Son of Origins of Marvel Comics", "Marvel's Greatest Superhero Battles", "Marvel: The Superhero Women", and "Secret Origins of DC Super Heroes". I still have all of them in decent shape. The only one I don't have (and the one I regret not buying at the time) was "Marvel: Bring on the Bad Guys".

I actually liked the old stuff as much (and in many cases more) than what was being published at the time. As a result I ingested a steady diet of comics like "Marvel Tales", "Marvel Triple Action", "Amazing Adventures", and others. I especially liked Marvel Tales because I've always been a big Spider-Man fan.

I don't really remember my very first reprint comic, but it was probably an issue of "Giant Size SHAZAM!" from the early 70's. However at the time I didn't realize that the stories were actually reprints from the 40's. Gee, I guess I've always been "old school" even back when I was only 7 years old.

I haven't watched the PBS Super Hero documentary yet, but I have it on my DVR, and I will probably check it out this weekend.

Doug said...

I was also impressed with Steranko. Not having read very much of his SHIELD work, I was enthralled with his wordless approach. Previously, I'd only seen single panels or one-pagers of his work. And he is charismatic, isn't he? Great touch to include the recording of Kirby speaking. Stan -- well, no surprises. And, I remarked on Twitter while watching the first run on Tuesday that Jerry Robinson finally got sole credit for creating the Joker. Funny what can happen after your opponents no longer have a voice of their own...


david_b said...

I like Steve Thompson's mention of Robin being created by 'the creators'. It would be naive to believe there's not a level of legal consideration in all their comments concerning origins.

And again, for one who hasn't met any of 'the greats' personally, it's pretty cool to seem them talk relaxed and at length about styles and influences, not just a 10 second blurb about their own stuff.

Love all of Carmine's comments on how comics were in the '50s and early '60s. As mentioned, I always pictured DC Comics as carrying the flag for 'family-safe' comics post-congressional inquiry/CCA era.., and that their offices looked like the sets of 'MadMen', juxtaposed with Marvel's early, more 'underground' approach.

Doug said...

David, having had the opportunity to visit in the past (briefly, of course) with Neal Adams, Denny O'Neil, and Stan Lee, I'll vouch for them being as relaxed on camera as you stated. I thought Adams was reserved as compared to how he can come across in articles I've read. However, his influence to the medium cannot be overstated. Just as one example, he improved the look of DC's comics by increasing the colors available to their printing process.

I thought the producers did a very well-rounded presentation for the first two hours (I've not watched the third section yet). The inclusion of Trina Robbins, Ramona Fradon, and Lynda Carter (she can still play, if you know what I mean) was great.


david_b said...

Speaking as more a fan of Ms. Carter than I am of WW, I'm left scratchin' my head, 'Who in the business can really speak for the essence of Wonder Woman in the 21st Century..?'

Other than Len Wein and his '80s revamp with Perez, I'm curious, industry-wise, as who'd still be around these days (besides Ms. Carter) who can have an in-depth insight into the character and nature of Diana Prince..? These twenty-something 'comic historians' excluded.

It's SUCH a shame Mr. Reeve (or Mr. Reeves for that matter) isn't around to discuss Superman.

Anonymous said...

As a kid I sometimes had a hard time telling the difference between a reprint and the original thing. . . but I eventually figured it out, and they were really important to figuring out a lot of backstory that had seemed mysterious and lost to the fog of time.

So I definitely had a bunch of Marvel Tales (featuring Spider-Man) and before I went full Marvel and dropped DC (because as I was wont to say in those days "DC sucks!") I had some digests that collected JSA stories (at least I think they were Justice Society stories - I remember one with Hitler and Batman and the Spear of Destiny), but by far the biggest coup was a pretty much uninterupted stretch of Marvel's Greatest Comics (about 35 comics) which reprinted much of the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four run and that I fell in love with and read repeatedly. It had the first Silver Surfer/Galactus story (with the first appearance of the Watcher), Sandman and the Frightful Four, HIM, HER, the Evil Eye, the first appearance of Black Panther, lots of stuff about the Inhumans, etc. . . To this day, I still feel that FF had the biggest role of any one comic of developing the Marvel Universe.

You can see the covers to these reprints here. If I recall correctly I had issue #25 and then #32 to #74 (with some gaps).

The thing I remember about finding those FF reprints was that it was at an outdoor flea market in Manhattan, and it was close to closing time. I screamed for my mom to come find me (as I did not want to leave the comics and was desperate to complete my transaction before they packed up) so I could convince her to buy me the ones I picked out. The guy selling them cut me some sort of deal. A local cable news crew doing a story about the flea market heard me, were charmed by my enthusiasm (I was 10) and decided to interview me about comics and what I liked and why. Back then, cable was not widely available (and not available all in Brooklyn) so I never go to see myself on TV! :(

As for the PBS special: I have seen about the first half. . . I like the interviews, but Liev Schrieber seems pretty superfluous at the beginning and I am not sure what the point of the whole thing is. I mean, what is is arguing aside from the usual nostalgic "comics show us as we want to see ourselves at out best" hokey stuff. This stuff always seems too general to me. I am glad that (so far) at least ONE person mentioned a lot of the ugly racial caricature stuff going on in the comics (that is comics also show us at our worst), but there was no exploration of it. There was also the usual light and myopic view of Frederic Wertham.

I am also hoping that they will eventually spend more time with the ugly knot of creator's rights.

Neal Adams totally overstated the importance of Batman - which is hard to do, but he managed it.

I am looking forward to rewatching it and writing something for my blog.

Anonymous said...

Jeez! I wrote a lot! :P

Doug said...

Well, Osvaldo, yes -- but you're no Humanbelly!!


MattComix said...

It was all thanks to my local library. I was able to check out Superman From The 30's to the 70's, there was also a Batman volume with the same format. The Great Comicbook Heroes, Marvel Comics Son of Origins and Marvel Bring On The Bad Guys.

Humanbelly said...

Oh, see? SEE??

A poor fellow innocently happens to accidentally let his hyper-loquacious subconscious take control of his fingers at the keyboard a few score times. . . and suddenly he's got a reputation-!

Daggone it-- I blame the media. . .


Hey, first major reprint exposure? Marvel Collector's Item Classics-! Man, I can't believe that grandaddy Marvel reprint title hasn't been cited already--!

Our local barbershop when I was a kid was the classic million-ragged-comics-on-the-table joint, and those were the days (early 60's) when us boys had our hair cut short & often. . . I honestly loved that bristly feeling that a buzz-cut gave you at the back of your head. But John Stirk (the barber) knew that kids would sit happily and quietly for a long time if there were lots of comics to look at, and those ginormous MCIC's hung around for a long time. I'm sure that was my first exposure to a lot of Marvel's cast, in fact. I remember thinking that the art looked "rougher", I suppose, than the usual Superman/Batman stuff, but the characters were just so much more interesting. At least, as much as I could tell, since I imagine I was barely on the edge of being able to read at the time.

My one quibble w/ a lot of the reprint mags- esp. in the days of 17-page content- was that they ruthlessly trimmed out so much in order to fit meet the page-count demand. In MGC, the original Surfer/Galactus story in particular suffers because all of the subplot panels are edited out. This bugged me over in Marvel SuperHeroes, as well. I always felt like I was missing part of the movie, y'know?

Oop-- back to work--

Doug said...

Osvaldo, I should have mentioned the racial/ethnic caricatures when I mentioned the feminists.

David mentioned a "Ken Burns approach" and I certainly echo that as being necessary to truly delve into the history of the comics medium. While work for hire was mentioned in regard to Siegel and Shuster, the depths of that business form as it relates to creator rights and the economic mistreatment of comic book writers and artists was not adequately explained. Certainly the race and gender issues deserved more screen time.

But overall, for what it is -- a survey of the medium geared toward the layman -- there's enough in the program to arouse curiosity for the novice while giving an enthusiastic nod to the hobbyist.

As Karen says, "It's all we had back then!" -- being Tuesday, of course!


Steve Does Comics said...

Almost as soon as I started reading American comics in 1972, Marvel UK set-up and started reprinting early Marvel stories on a weekly basis.

Within five years, we'd caught up with practically the entire history of Marvel.

Admittedly, by the late 1970s, they were reduced to reprinting things like Ant-Man and Godzilla because they had virtually nothing else left to publish, but it was great while it lasted.

WardHillTerry said...

My intro to reprints was Jules Feiffer's book "The Great Comic Book Heroes." I got this for Christmas from my parents, who had noticed how much I enjoyed reading comics at friends' houses and on vacations. This book turned me from a reader into a buyer and collector. I read this book of Golden Age stories before I read then current Justice League stories. I had no idea why Flash and Green Lantern looked different and had different secret identities!

The other important reprint forum was Dynamite magazine. Three pages each month of "Superhero Confidential" a feature that re-printed two pages of a hero's, or villain's, origin and a page of background in Q and A format. That's where I learned about the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Captain Cold, and many more. Who else read Dynamite?

As for the PBS special, I have a couple of nits. Other publishers' superheroes may have been mentioned in the first half-hour, but I couldn't watch it. However, when talking about the impact of the Batman TV show, there was no mention of the Superhero trend in other comics. By then the narrative was simply Marvel/DC. The medium went mad again, as it had twenty-five years earlier, for superheroes. Just recently on this forum we discussed some of the superhero fallout that hit Saturday mornings at this time.
My other nit is that Trina Robbins is identified solely as a Comics Historian. I'll bet her output as comics writer and artist is greater than Jim Steranko's.

How's my word count HB?

jim kosmicki said...

I haven't read the other responses yet, so I apologize if I repeat what's already been said.

I grew up in the best of times to learn to be a comic book historian. I was in that sweet spot of 8-12 during the great reprint era of the early 70's when we had 100 page Super-Spectaculars and reprint books everywhere. One of the first comic books that I can remember choosing for myself from a comic rack was Wanted #1 from 1972. I happily bought the Marvel reprints - that's how I got to know the X-men.

Anonymous said...

I loved Marvel Tales too...I still have a bunch of them. I remember having reprints of the "Drug issues" and the Death of Gwen Stacy from 1977/78 issues of Marvel Tales.

I also loved DC's Blue Ribbon Digests/Specials...lots of Silver Age reprints in those.

Mike W.

Rip Jagger said...

The Great Comic Book Superheroes was mentioned and that was a big one for me.

But the first that I can recollect was some old issues of Fantasy Masterpieces which had Golden Age Captain America stories and Atlas monster yarns. Soon after I got hold of some Marvel Tales which offered up tasty Ditko Spidey, Kirby Thor, and some vintage Torch.

During the Bronze Age, Marvel was very smart to have a hefty reprint line which made it possible at the time to have a lot of the classic Silver Age canon.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

Yes a "Ken Burns" approach - something like he did for Baseball or the Civil War is really needed to give comics its due - something like a 2-hour episode for every decade or part thereof. PLUS, the medium would be perfect for Ken Burns style of panning over old photos and the like.

Anonymous said...

That issue of Kamandi where that mutated Russian astronaut oozes out of that astronaut suit. On the cover, drawn by Kubert. Insides drawn by Kirby. Scared the livin' hell outta me. Then I was hooked.
Then my ma buying Spiderman #150 didn't help either. She was an enabler.

Humanbelly said...

Splendid job, Terry, splendid. "Always room to make one more point"-- that's the way to approach it-!


Anonymous said...

Oh hell. I'm the guy who wrote that thing about Kamandi and I completely misunderstood the question. I thought it was the issue, any issue that first got you into comics. Damn sloppy on my part.
Incidently, apropos of nothing, I remember sitting in class as a little kid when this other little goof pulls out Swamp Thing #1! He even let me read it. None of us knew what the hell it was, but it sure was weird. I found out later to my horror what it was exactly a bunch of little kids were pawing at with their sticky fingers, tearing the pages...I'm going to go cry now.

Humanbelly said...

Won't abandon you on your unwitting tangent, though, anon.
That Kubert Kamandi cover nearly made me keel over in front of the spinner rack, as well-- but it did put into my head that Joe Kubert's take on the Last Boy on Earth could've been quite a visual feast in itself. The book combined gritty with exotic (as well as lots of "animals"), and those elements were Kubert's bread & butter.

HB (winding down now, really.)

Anonymous said...

I remember Marvel Collector's Item Classics. At the time, I was confused by the early "thug Hulk," whose dialog was different from the then-current version ("Hulk no like Air Force dropping bombs on him"). That was not so much a problem with DC reprints (for me, anyway). Among the first superhero comics I ever read was that year's JLA-JSA team-up, and it explained the Earth One/Earth Two concept in the captions or footnotes. Later, when I read a Golden Age reprint in "Wanted" or in a 100-page issue, there was usually an added caption explaining that Jay Garrick or Alan Scott was the Earth 2 version of the character.

Anonymous said...

Marvel Spectacular where Thor drinks a milkshake! I don't remember what happened after that.

Garett said...

The early reprints I remember are the JSA reprints in JLA, and the Superman #1 "Famous First Edition". I loved both, and was fascinated by the Golden Age, these hints of it. Also I had The Golden Age of Comic Books, which reprinted excellent cover art from that time in full size and color on glossy pages--great book! I still love these covers. It fired my imagination about the greatness of the Golden Age...little did I realize that much of the interiors were of lower quality. Eisner, Fine, Biro, Kane, Flessel, Beck, Raboy, Novick, Cole, etc. Really some sweet covers!

One of them was in the PBS special--the Blue Beetle cover in Mystery Men Comics. I enjoyed the special, and agree they should do a more in-depth one in Ken Burns style. Great to hear Steranko talk, and I agree with David about Captain Marvel and the Shadow getting some airtime. Carmine Infantino was interesting to listen to, also Grant Morrison. Nice juxtaposition when Irwin Hasen described the bullpens in the '40s as being like sweatshops, and then cutting to Joe Kubert who said he loved every minute of it! The show was well put-together.

Garett said...

Lynda Carter is looking great. Here's an interview Len Wein did as promo for the PBS show, talks about his enthusiasm for comics:

redartz said...

I was a big fan of the Treasury Editions (big fan, big book; naturally). Loved the first Spider-Man treasury; finally got to see the Goblin's first appearance. It also featured a Daily Bugle page, and a classic Romita cover.

The Holiday treasuries were fun, as well. Always a sucker for a Christmas-themed story, and here were many!

Another reprint source which influenced me was Les Daniels' "Comix- A History of Comic Books in America". This book was recommended to me very early in my comics experience, and provided an introduction to such greats as Carl Barks, Harvey Kurtzman and Graham Ingles.

As for the PBS show everyone's talking about, I missed it (and have no dvr; curses). Will have to catch it though...

Garett said...

The whole PBS special is playing on the PBS site for a time. Unfortunately not in Canada, or "my region":

david_b said...

I didn't point this out previously, but a big reason why I chose Marvel reprints heavily over DC's reprints is Marvel's stock-in-trade not-so-secret weapon..:


With DC, you got reprints by whatever the staff wanted to put in the 50/60 cent Bronze comics.

With Marvel, you could collect a couple dozen continuous issues of Marvel Tales or MGC and you get the entire continuity of successive story arcs, seemingly as fresh as if they were new.

Clever, very clever, Marvel.

Anonymous said...

Like most people here my introduction to early comics issues was through Marvel Tales. I loved those reprints; they got me hooked on a certain wall crawler.

As for Superheroes : A Never-ending Battle, I didn't get to see the whole thing, but I did enjoy what I did get to see. It was a blast to finally see the faces of the creators of those tales. It was especially interesting to see how comicbooks evolved alongside social issues like drugs, racialism and feminism. I loved seeing Lynda Carter (yes, Doug, she can still play!) and the late Christopher Reeve again - I agree that these two did a magnificent job in portraying two of the most iconic characters in comics history.

- Mike 'keep on writing HumanBelly!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Fred W. Hill said...

The oldest Marvel reprint I remember buying is an issue of Marvel's Greatest Comics, with reprints of FF #44 & 45 -- their initial meeting with Gorgon and Crytal & the rest of the Inhuman royal family, aside from Medusa. I still have that mag, although it's in pretty ragged shape. At least I now have the Marvel Masterworks reprints of those.
I also recall getting a collection of DC reprints, featuring Batman, Green Lantern, Flash & Hawkman (all in seperate stories) duking it out with some of their prime foes -- that one's long lost, likely in box of comics my dad threw out during one of our moves circa 1972. Early on, I was able to figure out which mags were reprints -- in the early '70s Marvel almost always used a new cover but often reprinted the original cover inside. Circa 1974 they started using the original covers in most cases, although often with slight variations, not counting the the title! By the time I started getting Marvel Tales, it was well into reprinting the Romita era of Spider-Man (his first take on Doc Ock, as a matter of fact). It was a great way to latch onto some of those Silver Age classics when my allowance was not such that I could have afforded buying back issues from even 3 or 4 years previously even if I could get to a comics shop. An acquaintance of mine in San Francisco, where I lived from October 1974 to July 1976 showed me some early Romita Spider-Man's (issues with the Rhino) he got at a comics shop there. I could only look through them in envy, although my parents did get me Origins of Marvel Comics for Christmas in 1974, and I got the rest of that series in subsequent years as well as many of the Treasuries, so I had a pretty good primer on many highlights of the Silver Age while growing up in the Bronze Age.

Graham said...

I had read DC almost exclusively for a couple of years (from seeing Superman and Batman on TV, I guess) before breaking into the Marvel column with a pair of reprints that were out about the same time.

One was the Marvel Tales that featured Spidey (with a injured shoulder) battling the Lizard in one story and Kraven the Hunter in the other. The other was Marvel Triple Action #1 with the FF, Dr. Doom, and the Silver Surfer.

For a while, I read more Marvel reprints than new material.

fantastic four fan forever said...

I loved the PBS special. I wish there were more like this one. It was an extraordinary documentary. For the first time, there was actually a comprehensive documentary on the evolution of comics.

As far as reprints are concerned, I loved the Marvel Tales books as well as the Marvel Treasury and DC Special Editions. For $1.50 or $1.00 you could have a glimpse into comics history. I looked forward to each month they were released. I wish there was an economical way the old comics could come back. They are not affordable in the $3.99 per comic format. I'd just rather get a trade paperback of 70's comics than the news material that's being done today. I miss the 100 page DC 50 cent specials very badly and all those old comics. It's an era that will never return.

giantsizegeek said...

Well, my earliest introduction to comics were the 80 page giants from DC Comics for Action Comics, Superman, Batman, etc. Later on DC Comics had the 100 page giants which was a graduate degree course in both golden and silver age stories.

For Marvel, the Marvel Tales and Marvel's Greatest Comics really got me up to speed on Spider-Man and Fantastic Four.

But of course my favorite titles of all time were the Giant-Size Marvel books!

Karen said...

I haven't seen the special. I'll have to see if it is still online and try to make time this weekend to catch it.

As for reprints - I think they were a fantastic way for readers to get caught up on the history of the characters -which, if you were a Marvel reader in the early 70s, meant only about ten years or so! Reprints were among the first comics I ever read, and I was reading Marvel Tales side by side with Amazing Spider-Man. I don't think it took very long for me to figure out that MT was a reprint book. I actually favored it over Amazing most of the time, because of the Romita art.

What I think is odd is that some of the split books didn't necessarily follow their originals in story order. What I mean is, I recall that Marvel Double Feature didn't exactly mirror Tales of Suspense in that the Cap and Iron Man stories in MDF might be from different issues of TOS! Why they would do that, I have no idea.

One peeve was when the reprints cut pages from stories. Most of the time you never knew until you got your hands on the original.

Unknown said...

Wow! Looks like everybody had something to say on this topic.

I started collecting comics about 6 months before JLA, Detective, World's Finest, Brave & Bold, Superboy & The LSH and some others converted to 100 Page Super Spectaculars. Those titles, and the occasional Flash super-spec were my favorites. I studied the pre-release ads daily, trying to figure out who those strange characters I'd never heard of coming in Detective were (Kid Eternity, Newsboy Legion, Alias The Spider). I'd been primed by the previous JLA-JSA team-up w/ the Freedom Fighters, and was ready to explore the DC universe. Those Super-Specs nurtured an interest in history in me, and cemented my love of comics. It probably didn't hurt that the super-specs coincided with Archie Goodwin's run on Detective, Wein-DillinGiordano's on JLA, and the peak of the Haney-Aparo era on B & B. Honestly, I think those Super-Specs were the crucial point that raised awareness and ensured the continuing viability of DC's properties in the 70's and beyond.

I read the Marvel reprints in the 70's too. I learned from them, and enjoyed them, but they didn't have the same impact on me, with a few exceptions. The Marvel treasuries that reprinted the Galactus trilogy and the epic Hulk-Thing fight w/ the Avengers showing up blew me away. That was Lee-Kirby at their best. Also, Giant Size X-Men 2 reprinted Thomas/Adams' sentinel epic. Who knew the original X-Men had ever been cool? Or looked this good?

All of the older fans I met in comic shops in the 70's looked down their noses at reprints. Mostly because they weren't considered "collectible" (i.e. worth money). But I knew better. Knowledge is invaluable.

James Chatterton

Anonymous said...

DC Comics -- Secret Origins, Wanted, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. It took me a while to realize that the reprints weren't new materials. I was puzzled why the Legion was wearing different outfits in LSH than they were in Superboy.

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