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  1. #1
    Frugal fanboy Cei-U!'s Avatar
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    Default The Seventh Day of Classic Comics Christmas 2012

    Basing a comic book on a toy line seems like a no-brainer, given the successes of such franchises as The Micronauts, Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe and Transformers. Back in 1968, however, launching such a title was a big risk, especially one starring a glorified Ken doll whose shtick was dressing up as various established super-heroes and adventure strip characters. The resulting series had no right being as awesome as DC's

    #6. Captain Action #1-5

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    turned out to be.

    Intelligently scripted by a teenaged Jim Shooter (#1-2) and Gil Kane (#3-5), beautifully illustrated by Wally Wood (#1), the team of Kane and Wood (#2-3 and 5) and by Kane solo (#4), the adventures of archaeologist Clive Arno and his son Carl a.k.a. Captain Action and Action Boy are among the very best of that era. The art alone is worth the price of admission but it is Kane's plotting and writing that is the revelation. This is one of his earliest scripting assignments and he knocks it out of the park.

    I've had my run of Captain Action for decades so I don't now how pricey they are these days. But if you can afford to track them down, I urge you to do so. No fan of Silver Age super-heroes should be without this series.

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  2. #2
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cei-U! View Post
    #6. Captain Action #1-5
    Expect to see this one show up again early next week, BTW.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

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  3. #3
    Variant Hunter METAROG's Avatar
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    6. 1963 1-6 1993

    I am somewhat surprised that nobody has picked this yet... it is that-good especially in the face of the early 90s when comics were not at their best. If you are a fan of the Silver-age superhero revival then this is a must. Alan Moore cleverly scripted this series with art by Veitch, Bissette, Gibbons and a few others. At the time, these were the purest and most enjoyable comics produced.

    The characters were not rip-offs but well done homages to Marvel characters in the classic Silver-age style. Any fans of the old FF, Spidey, Cap, Hulk, Thor and Avengers will love these issues. This is by far my favorite Image series and a very fun read overall.

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  4. #4
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    6. E-Man #s 1-10 (Charlton, Oct 1973-Sept 1975)

    This series has shown up before, of course, & with 5 days left after this one I wouldn't at all be surprised to see it show up again. Its merits have already been articulately addressed by others, so other than noting what a breath of fresh air I found it (I couldn't swear to it, because I can't remember exactly the point at which I started picking it up, but it was very likely the first superhero title -- as opposed to the sf & horror series of the day -- I started buying after returning to comics wholeheartedly circa late '73) I'll defer to my colleagues.

    Except that I'll also note, as I have several times before, that E-Man pretty much ruined Joe Staton for me. He's an extremely talented artist, but I found him so perfectly suited to this comic's & character's sensibilities that I just can't take him on anything that's not intended to be light-hearted ... which is unfortunate, because probably the vast majority of his oeuvre lies outside that category.



    Last edited by Dan B. in the Underworld; 12-19-2012 at 07:42 AM.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

    -- Reptisaurus!

  5. #5
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by METAROG View Post
    6. 1963 1-6 1993

    I am somewhat surprised that nobody has picked this yet...
    If not for my self-imposed ban on limited (as opposed to prematurely cancelled) series, it would definitely in my top 6 or so. I suspect the same is true for others who decided to take a comparable approach.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

    -- Reptisaurus!

  6. #6

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    6. Squeeks #1-5



    To be honest, this series isn't particularly great. But I love the fact that it exists, and not just because I am a huge Crimebuster fan.

    What's really weird about this series, you see, is that it was published concurrently with the adventures of Squeeks and Crimebuster in Boy Comics. In Boy Comics, Squeeks had long been established as a very intelligent monkey. But still a monkey; while he was smarter than your average animal, he was still an animal, living in Charles Biro's mean and gritty New York City.

    In Squeeks, on the other hand, he lived in an an anthropomorphic world populated by talking animals who lived in their own animal cities and stuff. And not only could Squeeks talk and walk around and everything in this series as though he were human, he also had a completely different personality than in Boy Comics. The series, you see, is basically a Tom & Jerry ripoff, filled with violent hijinx, so Squeeks acts like a complete anti-social jerk throughout -- while at the same time, over in Boy Comics, he was fighting the good fight for truth and justice as a regular animal.

    I just can't imagine the cognitive dissonance this must have produced in the children reading these comics. It's just so, so weird.

    Plus: kids comics featuring animals smoking cigarettes on the cover. Ladies and gentlemen, the 1950's!
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  7. #7
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Nathaniel Dusk



    Anyone who has been here a while knew this one was coming up. Two of my favorite things together, noir and comics. Add in absolutely gorgeous artwork by Gene Colan (shot directly from his pencils) and a somewhat subdued Don McGregor and you have one of the best noir comics ever. The only real complaint I had is that it should have been in black and white. That's not to say that Tom Zuiko didn't do a fine job coloring the book...but this screamed out to be in black and white...just like the films noir that it so brilliantly evokes.

  8. #8
    Nice Melons DubipR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    Nathaniel Dusk



    Anyone who has been here a while knew this one was coming up. Two of my favorite things together, noir and comics. Add in absolutely gorgeous artwork by Gene Colan (shot directly from his pencils) and a somewhat subdued Don McGregor and you have one of the best noir comics ever. The only real complaint I had is that it should have been in black and white. That's not to say that Tom Zuiko didn't do a fine job coloring the book...but this screamed out to be in black and white...just like the films noir that it so brilliantly evokes.
    You counting both minis as one?
    Anyways...a solid choice
    "If you live among wolves you have to act like a wolf."

  9. #9
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DubipR View Post
    You counting both minis as one?
    Anyways...a solid choice

    Nah. Just the first one. The second is almost as good, but they're two books...and I don't want to take up two spots with them.

  10. #10
    Variant Hunter METAROG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan bailey View Post
    If not for my self-imposed ban on limited (as opposed to prematurely cancelled) series, it would definitely in my top 6 or so. I suspect the same is true for others who decided to take a comparable approach.
    I also didn't put any DC or Marvel mini-series on my lists simply because there were so many of them. The are two selections of mine that are finite but are so good and come from outside the Big 2 so I inlcuded them on that basis.

    P.S. E-Man... yet another on my list! I also compare all of Staton's work to this series-perfection in illustration!
    30 cent variant set finally finished!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    Nathaniel Dusk


    Excellent choice. I almost included this one, but SILVERBLADE won out by a hair.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    6. 300, by Frank Miller & Lynn Varley

    A historical (-ish) reconstruction of the battle of Thermopylae, when the Spartans saved Western civilization. Boldly experimental in its universal embrace of two-page spreads (making for an interesting double-width hardcover collection), Miller's series refused to gloss over the sins of the Spartans, nonetheless showing their heroism in ultimate struggle. This was probably Lynn Varley's best work of her career, and just maybe Frank Miller's, too. His Perez-like obsession for detail, nothing at all like his rude and ugly sketches in The Dark Knight Strikes Again, combined with his Toth-esque embrace of negative space, never fails to evoke my awe (here's a link to the combination detail-and-negative-space approach).

    As another example, consider this shot:



    Look at the curvature of the shields. Each one of them, in turn. Look at the texture, the history of each soldier's shield. Now look at the spears. The foreshortening. The tattered robes. The plants and rocks casually scattered at their feet. Apply the law of thirds. Look at the blackness of Miller's inks, at the mastery of color that Varley provides. The entire book is like that.

    The characters are real, too--Leonidas comes to life, as do the young Stelios, the storyteller Dilios, and the traitor Ephialtes. Miller brings their bravery to life in a way that positively inspires, yet never flinches from their faults.

    300 is a masterpiece of storytelling, and Miller's strongest work of the past twenty years.
    Last edited by Polar Bear; 12-19-2012 at 08:58 AM.
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  13. #13
    Longstanding Member MWGallaher's Avatar
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    6. The Forever People #1-11 by Jack Kirby 1971-1972

    I'm not using this as a stand-in for Kirby's Fourth World, with its companion titles Mr. Miracle and New Gods ineligible for this celebration. I just really, really like the Forever People.

    Granted, out of the three titles, Kirby was unquestionably operating at his most unsteady with this one, but that's its greatest charm to me. Kirby didn't seem sure of who the characters were from the start--he seems to have forgotten to give Mark Moonrider any superpowers at all until well into the short run, for example--but this freewheeling approach made the comic unpredictable and curious. Was it about "teenage" gods who merged into the superhero Infinity Man? For a while it was, and then it was about reluctant draftees in the war of the New Gods, then it seemed as if Kirby was leaning toward taking a new angle on the title and making it about heroes scattered throughout time. But wait, now it's a forerunner of The Demon, with its take on classic Universal Monster Frankenstein, then a springboard for a remade/remodeled Deadman, until finally Kirby gives up and sends them to live in an idealistic commune on another planet, removed from war and violence--a great return to the premise of super-hippies that seems to have been his original inspiration.

    As a part of Kirby's Fourth World, this series actually provides more answers than its generally better regarded companions, providing what I think is the definitive take on Darkseid and on Desaad, and showing us what the Anti-Life Equation really did. And I even dug Kirby's wild take on Deadman, and I wished someone had run with it to see where it might have lead. And I wish there had been a good year of time travel stories--I never tire of Kirby's renditions of historical vistas.

    There was so much potential, and so much of that potential was at least previewed in this short, wild ride, that I couldn't help but choose this as one of my favorite short run comics. I've probably reread these 11 issues more than any title I'll be listing this Classic Comics Christmas season.
    "We're Santa's elves, and we're here to tell you about ourselves!"--Summer and Eve

  14. #14
    Frugal fanboy Cei-U!'s Avatar
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    Nathaniel Dusk was the last title to fall off my final list. Glad to see it getting the recognition it deserves.

    Cei-U!
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  15. #15
    Senior Member JKCarrier's Avatar
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    6. Bat Lash
    (7 issues, 1968-1969)
    I have never been a fan of westerns, but I make an exception for this unique and delightful series. A pitch-perfect blend of drama and comedy, with a cowboy who's cultured and witty, but still very much a rogue and no slouch in a gunfight. Whenever Bat carefully removes the flower from his hat, you know someone's about to get their rear kicked. Plus Nick Cardy doing some of the best art of his career (and that's sayin' something!). You can't go wrong.
    -JKC-
    Glorianna - Barbarian adventure! New page every Friday!

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