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  1. #1
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Default The Twelfth Day of Classic Comics Christmas 2012

    Wearing my Cei-U! hat (which I've learned is surprisingly -- OK, maybe I should've expected it -- evocative of Galactus' headgear) this morning ...


    As I've mention before, there was a long period where I simply didn't buy or even read comics. In 1988, I sold two-thirds of my collection and tucked the remainder away in the back of a closet. I'd loved the Marvel and DC characters since toddlerhood* but of late the crass commercialism and dreary downerism of the Big Two had me disillusioned and ready to move on. I was a grown-up now, after all. I worked in an office; I wore a suit and tie. I didn't need comics anymore.

    Years passed. And then one day while attending a trade show at the University of Washington, I stopped by the U's bookstore on a break. Just browsing, no intention to buy... until I found myself staring at the cover of a book. It was an astonishingly realistic painting of Giant-Man striding across the rooftops of New York as seen from street level. And just like that, it all came back.

    #1. Marvels #1-4

    Needless to say, I bought that trade paperback, took it home and devoured it whole. Then I read it again, slowly, letting Alex Ross' art wash over me. It was if the man had been living inside my head, for here was a visualization of a Marvel Universe that hitherto had existed only in my imagination. Contrary to what some of his critics claim, Ross does some fine storytelling here in service of and expanding on Kurt Busiek's perceptive, wistful script. I didn't, of course, agree with every creative decision they made (I don't like Ross' Sub-Mariner, for one) but who cares? What's important is that Kurt and Alex rekindled my love for the heroes of my childhood and showed that, by Crom, it is possible to tell an adult story about them without deconstructing the genre or ladling on the profanity, gore and sex.

    This may sound silly but Marvels gave me hope at a time in my life when there was nothing I needed more.

    Cei-U!
    I summon the gamechanger!

    * No toddling in my case, alas. I was more of a flopper.

    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!

  2. #2
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Thanks, Kurt.

    That's an amazingly tough act to follow, so I'll let someone else do so.

    (I.e. I'm not sufficiently awake to concoct a coherent write-up of my own top choice.)
    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!

  3. #3
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    On the twelfth day of Christmas I give unto thee the final gift...

    The Books of Magic #1-4 (1990-1991, Vertigo)

    Neil Gaiman. John Bolton. Scott Hampton. Charles Vess. Paul Johnson. Phantom Stranger. John Constantine. Dr. Occult. Mister E. And introducing young Timothy Hunter. With appearances by Zatanna, Dr. Fate, Tananrak, Arion, Deadman, Merlin, the Spectre, the Faerie Court, and on and on and on. It reads like a who’s who of some of my favorite creators and characters in comics. A no-brainer #1 for me.

    For any unfamiliar, Timothy Hunter is a young man with the potential to be the greatest mage the world has known. He has to make a choice. To be magic or not to be magic. The Trenchcoat Brigade gather to take young Tim on a magical mystery tour outlining the history and essence of the world of magic in the DC Universe. Gaiman is at his charming best as a storyteller here and the painted artwork is beautiful to behold.

    Cover to #1
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    And to one and all a Merry Christmas....

    -M
    A lunatic is easily recognized...You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense...and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
    -Umberto Eco

  4. #4
    It's Too Quiet Red Oak Kid's Avatar
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    #1. All-Star Western 1-11 DC

    Thanks to Scott Harris for making me aware this title was eligible. I added it to the middle of my list, but as the days went by I had to keep moving it up. Researching it on the GCD I was surprised at just how many high quality stories were in these issues. I remember having issue 1 which had Pow Wow Smith reprints. I had never heard of him. But with issue 2 there was string of great Neal Adams covers and new stories with art by Gray Morrow, Alan Weiss and Gil Kane. When the title went to 52 pages they started reprinting Bat Lash which I had never read before. These issues had great covers by Tony DeZuniga as well as interior art by him. All these issues are packed with great art and stories.

    Rehab is for Quitters

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Oak Kid View Post
    #1. All-Star Western 1-11 DC

    Thanks to Scott Harris for making me aware this title was eligible. I added it to the middle of my list, but as the days went by I had to keep moving it up. Researching it on the GCD I was surprised at just how many high quality stories were in these issues. I remember having issue 1 which had Pow Wow Smith reprints. I had never heard of him. But with issue 2 there was string of great Neal Adams covers and new stories with art by Gray Morrow, Alan Weiss and Gil Kane. When the title went to 52 pages they started reprinting Bat Lash which I had never read before. These issues had great covers by Tony DeZuniga as well as interior art by him. All these issues are packed with great art and stories.

    I suppose we should have known that with your nom de board, your final choice would be a western.

    I'm pleased to see that it is one of the titles that was on my shortlist. This timeframe, by the way, did seem to produce DC anthology comics with remarkable line-ups of talent. Some, of course, lasted longer than others.

  6. #6
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    1. Semper Fi #s 1-9 (Marvel, December 1988-August 1989)

    If I wanted to take the easy way out (quite a temptation, really, since as alluded to above I'm only just climbing out of the abyss of slumber; I've decided that teaching the cats to make my morning frappucino would make a fine New Year's resolution, though something tells me I'll rethink that before too long), I'd post something like

    Two words: John Severin.

    That would be selling this fine series short, though. Along with Sev's sterling art (solo on the lead stories for #s 1 & 4, inking Andy Kubert on #s 2, 3 & 5-8, covers on #s 1-8 ... poor Wayne Vansant, whoever he was, had the distinctly unenviable task of handling the cover & main story for #9), Semper Fi featured Michael P. Palladino's slice-of-life scripts addressing the experiences of (mostly) the Whittier family in the Marines, stretching from the Corps' Colonial beginnings to Lebanon in 1983, & encompassing not only battlefield action but also one character's struggle decades after Vietnam (the focus of probably the lion's share of the stories) to come to grips with what he saw & felt there. (For a Severin fanboy like me, it's obvious that the aging Miles Whittier is drawn as a replica of Big John himself.)

    The Marines' earliest days are the focus of the final few backup stories drawn by the redoubtable Sam Glanzman. These pages, I'm pretty sure, marked my initial reintroduction to his work after not seeing it since his days at Charlton &, to a much lesser extent, early '70s DC, & I was quite intrigued to find that he'd smoothed over his trademark scratchiness somewhat in the intervening decade-plus.

    I haven't paid any attention to Andy (or for that matter Adam) Kubert's work over the decades, simply because what he & his brother draw tends not to be anything I'm reading, but at least as of the late '80s Andy's renderings were almost spookily reminiscent of his father's famous style. If the GCD is any indication, Severin never inked Joe K. or vice-versa (the closest that ever came to happening was a few Kubert "touch-ups" of headshots in Our Fighting Forces' "Losers" lead stories in '72), but these issues of Semper Fi make it fairly easy to envision what such a titanic teamup of possibly the two greatest war comics illustrators ever (though the remarkable Russ Heath is, of course, in the mix as well) of all time would've looked like.

    I know nothing about Michael Palladino, & the GCD gives no other credits for him, but he did himself proud with these nine issues.



    Last edited by Dan B. in the Underworld; 12-24-2012 at 06:41 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!

  7. #7
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    1. Savage Tales, first voume, Marvel comics.

    This was for a long time the Holy Grail of comics series for me, and the one for which I paid the most money (well... on a per issue basis) in order to finally own a complete set. And it stands up to its legend.

    Savage Tales presented us two of Barry Windsor-Smith's most beautifully-drawn Conan stories: The frost giant's daughter in issue #1, and Red Nails in issues 2 and 3. It gave us two of the extremely rare John Buscema painted Conan covers (#1 and #2; the other two being seen on SSoC #40 and Marvel Super Special #9). Savage Tales introduced us to the Man-Thing, with lovely art by Gray Morrow. Esteban Maroto introduced the iron bikini look for Red Sonja.

    The epic production didn't stop there. Neal Adams provided more painted covers, either featuring Conan or Ka-Zar. Boris Vallejo gave us a stunning Frazetta-like cover for the final issue. Mike Kaluta painted one too.

    Roy Thomas, Gil Kane and Neal Adams adapted the Robert Howard story "The dark man" in issue #4, one of the most moving and beautiful adaptations yet (and since, come to think of it). Jim Starlin was in there too, with a Conan story in Savage Tales #5.

    Even after the Conan character moved to the newly-minted SSoC, Savage tales continued giving us cool Ka-Zar and Shanna adventures. It may not have remained as legend-inspiring, but it was still awesome.

    A large part of what made the 70s such a great time for me, comic-book wise, originated in this mag. And so it truly is my favorite Amercian short series.
    People in white coats (science cartoons, updated daily) | Art Blog

  8. #8
    Senior Member MDG's Avatar
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    1. Bat Lash #1-7 (DC, 68-69)

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    I think people have touched on a lot of the great elements of this book, but I want to highlight one of the things that still make it seem unique among DC's books at this time: Sergio Aragones. Not just who he is, but the fact that the plot and story flow was developed by a cartoonist who thinks visually and can do a lot without words.

    DC always used a script-driven process, but the "marvel method," especially on Kirby and Ditko's books, highlighted its weaknesses. Sure, you could get a lot of exciting and entertaining stories from a script, but starting from images lets the story move more dynamically. And this made Bat Lash feel a lot different than most of the rest of the line.
    "It's just lines on paper, folks!"

  9. #9
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    On the twelfth day of Christmas I give unto thee the final gift...

    The Books of Magic #1-4 (1990-1991, Vertigo)

    And to one and all a Merry Christmas....

    -M

    Happy to see this one show up. It was a good possibility for me to use today. Now I can go another direction.

  10. #10
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Blaze of Glory 1-4. John Ostrander & Leonard Manco. Feb. 2000 - Mar. 2000.





    If there are two things that should be apparent, it's that I like hard-boiled detectives and I like westerns. So here we go with the latter. And I know this is one that may well not be the type of book that is a huge hit hereabouts.

    Ostrander and Manco take Marvel's western characters and give them the Sergio Leone treatment. This really is a spaghetti western transferred to the comics page and using Kid Colt, Two-Gun Kid, The Rawhide Kid, etc. Ostrander very seldom fails for me when he's writing something in which I'm interested (I could care less about Star Wars, for example) and Manco makes this one look like a Leone movie that was transferred to the printed page.

    Marvel's western heroes (and villains) always seemed stuck in the late 50s. There wasn't a Marvel Jonah Hex. Maybe Caleb Hammer, but he never got beyond that one issue of Marvel Premiere. With this one Ostrander and Manco update the Marvel West and do a damn fine job of it.

  11. #11
    *blink* Chris N's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    Blaze of Glory 1-4. John Ostrander & Leonard Manco. Feb. 2000 - Mar. 2000.

    ...And I know this is one that may well not be the type of book that is a huge hit hereabouts...
    I'm a huge fan. I'm a sucker for the high melodrama of it all. Great heroes reuniting for one last ride. Their last chance for justice, and their first step toward becoming legends.
    formerly coke & comics

    Sleepwalker is Sandman done right. ~Tadhg

  12. #12
    Cute.5 Aaron King's Avatar
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    1. OMAC (8 issues, September/October 1974-November/December 1975)

    THE WORLD THAT'S COMING!!
    DANGEROUS AND EXCITING!

    If OMAC isn't everyone's number one pick, my mind will be shattered. Sexy bomb dolls, cities owned by the super rich, and so much more. Pure poetry.
    All-Star Western, Casanova, Criminal, Daredevil, Dark Horse Presents, Funnies, Hellboy/BPRD, King City, Orc Stain, Snarked, Unwritten, Usagi Yojimbo

  13. #13
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Not a fan (to say the very least) of Kirby in the '70s, as is well known, but based solely on my memories of OMAC #1 -- I well remember the cover leaping out at me from the spinner rack Sack & Save (not my most frequent comics source by any means) on U.S. 82 -- I have to say that I've toyed a time or 2 with looking for those issues.
    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!

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