Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Discuss: Story Arcs You've Read Multiple Times

Doug: Name 'em, and tell us why! What brought you back, and how about your level of satisfaction on the re-read? And this might be fun -- where did you read these, either the first time or later? For example, you might have been on board for Fantastic Four #s 120-123 (Gabriel and Galactus), but you might have at some point read that story in Marvel Treasury Edition #21.


Edo Bosnar said...

I've read lots of them multiple times. Some in particular that come to mind are: the Proteus story, Hellfire/Dark Phoenix saga, and Days of Future Past in X-men, Project Pegasus from Marvel 2-in-1, the Black Widow amnesia story in Marvel Team-up (#s 82-85), the Nights of Wundagore, the Taskmaster and Red Ronin stories in Avengers, that Galactus story from FF #120-123 you mentioned (had the Treasury edition), the later Xandar/Galactus space opera also in FF, Byrne's Galactus story in FF, most of the annual JLA/JSA team-ups that I had in my collection, the Great Darkness saga in Legion of Super-heroes, the Hyperion and then Brotherhood of Evil stories in New Teen Titans, and so on and so forth...
Mind you, I'm only talking about the stuff I used to re-read back when I was a kid - one thing I used to do when I got the latest issue in multi-part stories was to go back and re-read the previous installment(s) first.
As an adult, I've since re-acquired many of those I mentioned above and in most cases I found that I still enjoyed them as an adult. A few stories that I only read all the way through and then re-read as an adult include Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, Starlin's Warlock saga and Panther's Rage (the latter quite recently). Watchmen I like more and more every time I read it, DKR is one that I continually have mixed feelings over, and while my impressions on the last two changed a little, they're both still stories that I really like.

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Redartz said...

There are many; especially since in recent years I've been picking up trades and a couple of Omnibus editions. This allows me to reread some of the stories I had and read back at the height of my original collection. These include the Galactus trilogy, Daredevil vs. Bullseye, and the "Master Planner" trilogy from Amazing Spider-Man 31-33. All those books I once had but sold years ago, so now it has been a treat to revisit them.

There are, however, a few stories I've re-read multiple times. These are some real stand out stories for me, that I can't get enough of. Among them:

Maus- so glad you pictured that above, Doug. I first read parts of it as it was being published in "Raw", an arty indie mag in the early 80's. About ten years ago I bought the two tpb's, and have since read the story maybe five times. Floors me, every time.

Spider-Man Annual 1- possibly my favorite single issue of any comic. A welcome part of the first Spider-Man Omnibus, but I also have it reprinted in Annual 6.

Bill Messner-Loeb's "Journey"- the entire run. Love it enough to re-read it, by now about four times.

The "Celestial Madonna" arc in Avengers- have managed to pick them up in the original comic form, and enjoy reading it repeatedly. Made Kang my favorite Avengers foe.

Doug said...

Watchmen and V for Vendetta are to series that deserve a second look by me. I've read both, but only in installments as they were published. Watchmen is so dense, it probably needs to be read in several sittings, close together.

Obviously all of the stories I chose to picture in the post are stories I've read -- and loved -- multiple times. There are others, and as we move throughout the conversation I'll probably add some. One that immediately leaps to mind as I close this comment is "Under Siege" from Avengers.


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Anonymous said...

I’ve read my way through all the Avengers, at least the ones I had at the time, multiple times, but K/S, the Defenders war, Celestial Madonna & Korvac all had separate reads. Several times.

When I was little, I loved the Thor arcs that were re printed in the Treasuries. I really thought that Thor lent himself well to that format, with his 4 issue epics and big Kirby splash pages. I have deliberately avoided re-reading that first meeting with Hercules because I loved it when I was ten, but I suspect it’s a bit dumb.

Having nearly completed my collection, one of the great joys (this might be a whole 2 separate topics, hint, hint Doug) is to read complete stories end to end and to read whole stories which were always cliff-hangers for me because I didn’t have the next issue. For example, I had met Warlock in cameos in other comics and wondered what the Hell was going on there, esp. in Hulk and Avengers Annual 7 (it was years before I got 2in1 annual 2) SO……when I completed Warlock, I sat down and read FF 66/67, Thor 164-166, Warlock 1-8, Hulk 176-178, Strange Tales 178-181, Warlock 9-15, Team Up 55, Avengers Annual 7, 2in1 Annual 2, and even 2in1 #63 back to back.

I did something similar with Xmen – read the first 66 issues and then read all the mad places they cropped up before GS 1.

Back on topic: I multi-read FF 48-50, Gwen’s death, Miller DD’s, Project Pegasus, early Defenders, I read that Ragnarok Thor arc with the camera crew in Asgard several times, the Mordillo story in Shang Chi, the early 70’s Doc Stranges – esp. Silver Dagger and the ones in Hell. I read X men annual 4 and Avengers Annual 10 about 10 times each. Watchmen was lent to me by a friend who would not give me the next issue until I read all the back up stuff, the newspaper articles and so forth, so I really devoured those.

Like Edo, at the time, I re-read each issue of Xmen again each month in the build up to 137, so I guess I read 129 about 9 times in total. Wow. I really should have gone outside to play more.


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, speaking of some of the others you've pictured, one I really want to re-read sometime soon is Avengers Forever. I read it once, and while I liked it well enough, it really didn't live up to the high expectations I had (perhaps I'd just read too many glowing online reviews before getting to it).
As for Celestial Madonna, I read it twice back when I was a kid one awesome summer - it was among many goodies in a big box of comics loaned to me by an older fan (my future brother-in-law). I really would love to read that again, and now that I see there's a new collection coming out next year I'm seriously thinking about pre-ordering it.

I also remembered another once that I only read in its entirety as an adult: the Korvac saga. Back in the day, I only had a few of the initial issues (drawn by Perez, including the second part of the bride of Ultron story). While I'm not as critical as many fans about the kind of downer ending, I still agree that the start is far stronger than the ending.

Doug said...

Richard --

Did you have time to eat as a child? Or sleep? Wow!

Edo --

I've only read the entirety of the Korvac Saga once. Panini has it packaged in a Marvel Pocket Book for about $6 from The Book Depository if you're interested.

And speaking of, I just placed an order for several of those gems. Even though I have many of the Marvel DVD-ROMs, you can't beat holding a book, in my opinion. I bought the reprints they had for Conway's Amazing Spider-Man run, a Dr. Strange book with Dracula in it, and the FF run from #48 through the Surfer's next appearance - against Dr. Doom, no less. They should be arriving later this week. At $5-7 a pop, you can't beat it!


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, got it: the Panini edition of the Korvac saga is in fact where I first read the whole thing.
And I know we've discussed it before, but yes, you just can't beat the bang-for-the-buck you get with the Panini digests. Love 'em. Unfortunately, though, it seems like they've stopped publishing new ones - I haven't seen solicits for any newer books (like more Avengers volumes or the continuation of Frank Miller's first run on Daredevil). As it is, though, I keep going back and forth on whether to upgrade my X-men from the first two Essentials volumes to the Panini digests that cover the same stretch of issues (i.e., the entirety of the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne/Austin run).

Eric said...

Avengers Forever and the Great Darkness Saga have been read multiple times by me. Both very moving stories packed with multiple references. With that being said there are single issues that are far more powerful to me than arcs. Fantastic Four 245 with its revelation about Ben gives me shivers every time I read it. Thor 337 also affects me with each reading despite knowing that the final page is coming.

Doug said...

Edo --

Only because I had money from the sale of parts of my collection did I splurge on the Uncanny X-Men Omnibus. It covers G-S #1-X-Men #129. As I have the trade of Dark Phoenix, it was a perfect format to have all of those great issues in one place.

And for another topic, that might be the greatest single volume reprint... ever. Sounds like a future conversation!

Eric --

I seriously need to read Simonson's Thor. Put that on the list I mentioned yesterday of things that occurred during my high school hiatus. I've never gotten round to reading those highly regarded tales.


Unknown said...

Some of my favorite story arcs that I've read and reread innumerable times include:

A Death in the Family (Batman #s 426-429), Kraven's Last Hunt, Punisher #s 1-5 (1986 Limited Series), Tales of the Demon featuring Ra's al Ghul (Batman #s 232, 235, 240, 242-244, Det. Comics #411), Days of Future Past (X-Men #s 141-142), Elektra (Daredevil #s 168, 174-182, 187-190).

The first two series that I listed, I purchased in elementary school with my allowance and they were incredible to me, and still are. I will never forget the impact Mignola's covers for the Death in the Family had on me; they were striking, to say the least, and Jim Starlin's writing was superb. Kraven's Last Hunt featured an emotional, poignant tale of a deranged Kraven with those spectacular covers by Mike Zeck.

And as for several series that I discovered in adulthood:

The Batman issues by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams featuring Ra's al Ghul are probably my favorite Batman stories ever. In my opinion they're unsurpassed. Writing and artwork were the cream of the crop.

And not to be omitted from my list is the Great Darkness Saga, featuring my favorite villain of all-time, Darkseid. Written by Paul Levitz with art by Keith Giffen, this arc appeared in Legions of Superheroes #s 290-294 and is set in the future, in the 30th century. Not to be missed. Perhaps when the Justice League film is released, this great story will again come to the forefront.

I also greatly enjoyed Jack Kirby's Fourth World Saga, which unfolded in The New Gods, The Forever People, Mister Miracle, and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. As noted many times before, Kirby's writing takes some getting used to, but once you get into this unique series, it's fantastic.

Metal Mikey said...

I'll just try limiting it to 5 often visited ones:

1. Doomsday/Death of Superman
2. Avengers: Under Siege
3. Crisis on Infinite Earths
4. Avengers-Defenders War
5. Superman: Panic in the Sky

Redartz said...

Eric- good point about single issue stories. Many of those Byrne FF stories are good for multiple readings. Possibly the one story I've read more times than any other was actually half of a comic: " The Kid Who Collects Spider-man " from ASM 248.

Thomas F- "Great Darkness " was a classic indeed. Loved Levitz and Giffen's run. Haven't read that archive in years, though:trying to pick it up on the cheap in flea market bins ( amazing to find such great books in the dollar boxes).

Metal Mikey- kudos to you ability to hold it to five! Crisis is definitely one deserving multiple reads. So much crammed in there...

Brian Jay Jones said...

Let me see if I can limit this to Bronze Age reading only. Here goes:

There are two series -- Fantastic Four and Daredevil -- where I've only read (and re-read) runs by particular writers, and then tend to not read the title again. In the case of FF, I've re-read John Byrne's five-year run (232-295) SEVERAL times, finding it the closest in spirit to the fun of the early Lee/Kirby issues. It gets a bit bogged down at times by his clear fondness for She-Hulk, but the run in its entirety is a really good time.

Over in Daredevil, my first real exposure to the character was the first Frank Miller run -- but those aren't the ones I tend to re-read. Rather, it's his 1986 "Born Again" run that I go back to again and again -- a gritty and ultimately uplifting story about what it takes to be a true hero.

While I love Miller's Batman: Year One (Batman 401-404), the Batman series I tend to read over and over again is actually THE UNTOLD LEGEND OF THE BATMAN. That is still, to me, the version of Batman that runs around in my head to this day, despite the constant reboots. Plus, come on, it's Jim Aparo!

The other run I read over and over again: Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers' run on Detective Comics (469-476), still one of the finest moments in the Caped Crusader's history. (I didn't think Rogers was the greatest writer of the Bronze Age -- I'd give the nod to Len Wein or Marv Wolfman -- but his Batman is firing on all the pistons.

Unknown said...

Another series I recall reading as a child repeatedly was "The Assassin Nation Plot" in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, #s 320-325. This was by David Micheline with art by Todd McFarlane. Although it's not considered a classic by any means, back when I was in elementary school I thought it was terrific. It featured a number of guest-stars including Paladin, Silver Sable, Captain America, Sabertooth, and the Red Skull.

I also thought I'd mention the four-part story from Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #s 107-110, "The Death of Jean DeWolff." An intriguing story of police corruption and guest-starring Daredevil, it's also notable for being popular writer Peter David's first major work for Marvel. I picked up the trade paperback awhile ago and I thought it was quite worthwhile.

Unknown said...


I fondly remember "The Untold Legend of the Batman," which I received as a birthday present when I turned eleven. This 3 part story is probably what made Jim Aparo the quintessential Batman artist to me, long before I even knew Neal Adams existed. I remember owning the paperback in black & white, as well. A classic Batman tale that sheds light on his origin and how Bruce Wayne's father was the "first" Batman. Great choice!

Anonymous said...

Great topic. There are tons of Spidey comics I've read multiple times. Some DD, some Avengers/WCA, some PM/IF. I mentioned the Judas Contract yesterday, but I've actually read the whole New Teen Titans run more than once; same with Legion from the Superboy era right up into the 80s. There are some JLA and All-Star Squadron issues I've read multiple times. And minis like Crisis and Secret Wars. Also the first couple years of Conan, some late 80s X-Men stuff, and a bunch of those Blue Ribbon digests which I've literally read to pieces.

Mike Wilson

Garett said...

I've reread a number over the years, but my current fave is New Teen Titans. The period I like best is #21-27 (and annual #1), including: Brother Blood (cults and charismatic figures in the media), Blackfire (outer space story), and Runaways (kids on the street). Great variety over these issues, and Perez's art is fantastic.

Hey Brian, I like your choice of Marv Wolfman as possibly the greatest writer of the Bronze Age.

BobC said...

Am I the only person who felt that Mantis marrying a frikkin' tree was really stupid? I mean you become the Celestial Madonna and and your prize is a tree stump? Ugh.

One series I've re-read several times is Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers. It's extremely complicated and dense.

But back in the day, I'd say the Defenders vs Avengers war really grabbed me. The Dark Phoenix story line as well.It still holds up.

Martinex1 said...

I would just be repeating what everybody else has already said as I've reread most of the same... but I will say that I found "Under Siege" and "Project Pegasus" really enjoyable rereads. I've reread Watchmen but I actually found it less enjoyable the third time I read it. I appreciate the writing and the craft and the talent, but the themes seem more dissatisfyingly bleak the older I get. I probably won't read it again.

Question. Is that Avengers cover with Mantis on the black background a trade? I've never seen that. It's a nice cover.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martinex,

Indeed it is. This one (!) gathers Avengers 129 -134 and GS 2-4, so for anyone missing those pesky GS issues, it's a Godsend. As, of course, a celestial madonna should be.


Anonymous said...

For me it was the Spidey vs Green Goblin saga. I had never actually read the whole thing until years after when I became an adult, but boy was I hooked when I read it for the first time! You gotta feel bad for Peter when he found out his worst enemy was his friend's father!

- Mike 'Hobgoblin who?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

Celestial Madonna: I read it when it came out. But just over the past 2 years, I've been some long-gone pieces of my collection, with a very strong inclination towards Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart Avengers. So I've actually re-read almost all the Avengers from roughly #53 through #135.

I really liked it after a nearly 40 year gap since the first time I read these. Sure, there were weird plot twists, but the Dave Cockrum art on some of the Giant-Size issues was great, and the ongoing origins of The Vision and Mantis, the death of The Swordsman, and the twisted Kang backstory were a whole lot of fun.

Other good re-reads: I read the Jim Starlin Warlock series originally from the 1980s 6-issue reprint collection. I've gone back to that run at least twice since then. I've also read his great Captain Marvel run (#25-34), but the Warlock arc was even better.

By the way, very few of my re-reads have been in trade paperbacks. Most of my key story arcs are in the original comics, whether the copies I purchased when they were new or replacement copies I got after selling my collection in 1977.

Here's a weird one: About two years ago I read several of the Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen tales from 1970-71. These were as good as the New Gods and Forever People, with the reborn (via cloning) Guardian, the new Newsboy Legion, and many of the first glimpses of those nasty folks from Apokolips.

Another recent revisit: The first ten or so issues of Joe Kubert's Tarzan and a hefty batch of Roy Thomas/John Buscema Conan (roughly #29-44 for the latter).

Yeah, I know, I'm on a roll here. I've been re-reading a huge selection of comics from all eras, mostly focused on 1970-1974. But I'm not prejudiced against later stuff. I recently read the first dozen Peter David Aquaman issues from the mid 1990s and the first 25 or so Kyle Rayner Green Lanterns from the same period. A handful of the Giffen DeMatteis Justice League (bwah hah hah) were probably the most recent rereads. Good stuff.

Terry in Virginia

Rip Jagger said...

I've read the Fourth World material from Jack "King" Kirby many times. In fact I probably read through the saga every other year or so in some form or other. I'm actually getting due for another go at it, and I think this time I'll use the black and white reprints from many years ago now.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

New Teen Titans (1980) 13-15 >Hunt for Doom Patrol
23-25, @1 >Starfire Saga

All-Star Squadron (1981) 25, 26, @2 > Infinity Inc.

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980) 29-294 >the Great Darkness Saga

Daredevil (1964) 179-182 > the death of Elektra

Fantastic Four (1961) 242-244 > Galactus

Uncanny X-Men (1963) 141, 142 > Days of Future Past

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