Friday, November 22, 2013

Spring Cleaning (Part II)

In a blog a few years ago, I began a spring cleaning of my comic-book collection. With some comics dating back to the 1970s, I hoped to organize and inventory a collection that until now had been stored in boxes haphazardly over the years. I must admit it has been slow-going, but it has been interesting going through the boxes periodically.

As one can imagine for a collection that goes this far back, there are a lot of items I don’t recall. I also had a surprising number of “orphan” first issues from both regular and limited series that I obviously did not continue buying or collecting. It's been gratifying to be able to consolidate issues of a series together from across several boxes, especially if they completed a limited series set.

Below is a rundown of a few of the interesting items in the collection—not so much for what they are worth, but more for their meaning to me personally:

  • I have full or nearly-full runs of the original Love and Rockets, the original Spirit magazines that were published by Warren Magazines and Kitchen Sink, and the first original runs of open-ended and limited comics series like American Flagg!, Bone, Micronauts, Longshot, the Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Camelot 3000, Lowlife, and Eightball; as well as industry magazines like the Comics Journal (I have nearly a complete set of the more than 300 issues have been published to date), Amazing Heroes, Comics Interview, etc. I also have a lot of Batman and Detective Comics from the ‘70s to the present.
  • Akira: Though a few volumes of this 38-volume set are still missing, I expect the rest will surface after I have had a chance to go through my remaining boxes. This series was brought to the U.S. by Marvel Comics beginning in 1988 and played an important role in bringing anime and manga into the American mainstream. Though the series has since been reprinted by other publishers in the U.S., Marvel’s was released in handsome full-color squarebound volumes. I believe this series is among the first ever in the U.S. to be colored digitally with a computer; it is beautifully colored and no doubt opened the eyes of many in the industry.
  • Our Army at War/Sgt. Rock: This is the first comic-book series I collected regularly—the very first comic-book I consciously remember purchasing is issue 267 (pictured at right), at a local mom-and-pop drugstore in my neighborhood, which soon became my primary source of comics. If you look at my collection, you’ll find earlier issues because I later picked up back issues from a friend. There are a lot of great gems in there because although Joe Kubert, the artist most associated with Sgt. Rock, was no longer the regular artist, the guest artists who worked on the series during this period include John Severin (who drew #267), Russ Heath, and George Evans, all legendary in the business. (Kubert continued doing covers.)
  • I’m finding a lot of early work by people like Mike Golden (in an issue of Batman Family), Frank Miller, and Chris Sprouse.
  • Other comics I haven’t come across yet but expect to find eventually include comics I followed fairly regularly while in junior high school and extending through my college years and after, such as John Byrne’s run on the Fantastic Four and his subsequent re-boot of Superman, the run of the X-Men when Paul Smith was the artist (the only time I was a regular reader of the series), and the original run of Watchmen. I also likely have all the souvenir programs from the San Diego Comic-Con dating back to the mid-1980s.
I have to admit, I've begun thinking of ways to unload the collection. There are some series I likely will hold on to for sentimental reasons (including the titles listed above, but the rest I have very little interest in holding on to!