Retro Comics are Awesome

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Onslaught Six
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Shockwave wrote:I think the thing with the individual issue format for collectors is the idea that they will wind up with something like Action Comics #1 which a mint condition copy of would be enough to buy the Playboy Mansion. I'm exaggerating but you get my point. The really hardcore collectors that keep things pristine in bags and boards are betting that the next issue with be valuable later on for being the first appearance of a character that will later become iconic enough to be worth selling later on. It's bullshit of course, but that's the deal. The only other thing I can think with the single issue format is the impatient reader like myself that wants to read the next chapter now rather than wait for the trade.
My only thing is, that obviously isn't going to happen. There are comics from the 80s alone which are worth dirt these days, because they're still being published in trades and there aren't that many iconic characters or stories being created.

I had a friend who bought six copies of IDW's TMNT #1 who swore up and down that it was going to be worth a fortune in 20 years. "Just look at what happened with TMNT #1 back in 1984!" That book is only worth so much because it was the 'very first TMNT comic, ever,' and the original print run was only like 3000 copies. IDW's was mass release, and yeah, it might've sold out--but so did Last Stand of the Wreckers #1.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to look up some landmark #1s from the 80s--Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns. Watchmen #1 is going for $5+shipping. Dark Knight Returns? Well, alright, $70 Buy It Now--but I'm guessing, at that price, nobody is buying, and I highly doubt there's going to be a Batman story as major as Dark Knight Returns that'll be worth that much.

Now I looked up Deadpool & Cable, which (regardless of someone's opinions on Deadpool) has a reputation for being a fairly good comic. Y'know how much it's going for? $1.25. Spawn #1? Same price. And so on.

Pretty much the only thing that might be worth something down the line is something that is initially published in only a VERY small run and explodes in popularity, making the first run rare. IDW's TMNT is worth jack-all, and none of the DC New 52s will be worth more than their cover price in ten or twenty years--because it's all been collected, so that takes away anyone just wanting to read the story, and many of them were printed in huge runs--30,000 comics. Anything that they made 30 'thousand' of isn't going to be worth very much--it's probably not worth the price DC/Marvel/IDW charged for it.
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.
People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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andersonh1
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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A few more Mosaic summaries:

Green Lantern: Mosaic #1

This is a tricky issue to describe. There’s no actual story here, just a sequence of scenes that don’t always make sense or tell a story. Boil it down, and it’s John Stewart flying around, interacting with the Mosaic world inhabitants and talking to the reader. And while he’s talking to the reader he keeps throwing out various quotations from different authors, while saying how pretentious it is to do exactly what he’s doing. The tone is very different from the Mosaic four-part story that preceeded it in the main GL title. The point seems to be to illustrate just how strange the mish-mash of human and alien life really is, and to hint that John Stewart isn’t entirely sane after everything he’s been through. Showing that through randomness and a semi-stream of conciousness narrative if fairly effective, and certainly fulfils the “show, not tell” rule of drama.

Gerard Jones gives the reader an interesting take on John Stewart, and one that doesn’t require him to constantly mourn for Xanshi or his dead wife, or to kill other Green Lanterns for him to have an edge, or to be the “black” Green Lantern. He’s just a man with an impossible task, who may or may not be as crazy as the world he’s overseeing. Mosaic feels like a world with endless possibilities for storytelling, and for awhile it will be, until Jones was forced to wrap up the storyline early and the book becomes more conventional.

Green Lantern: Mosaic #3

It doesn’t take long to find out what Ch’p was frightened of last issue, or why John would smash up his roadway every night, or why he’s treating Rose so badly. He’s possessed by Sinestro, who has been influencing him when he’s sleeping or otherwise unconcious. It’s interesting to read Mosaic #3 in light of the “Rebirth” and the current series, which asserted that Sinestro never actually died, but was just trapped in the central power battery with Parallax. John believes that he was “infected” when he charged his ring on the main battery, and that Sinestro has been influencing his actions. And he’s right. For awhile Sinestro is indeed in control of John Stewart and planning to assert his idea of order on the Mosaic world. Kill some aliens here, fill up some empty space there, make sex slaves out of a few others. John fights him off of course, in the end, and wonders where Sinestro’s “soul” went when it was expelled from his body. The question remains unanswered.

In retrospect one could almost consider this issue to be setting the stage for the way that Parallax possessed Hal Jordan. A dry run by Sinestro and Parallax, perhaps? That wasn’t the intention at the time that the story was written of course, since Geoff Johns and “Rebirth” were years in the future, but it’s an interesting way to look at it now. It also foreshadows John’s mental battle with Hal Jordan in the fifth issue of the series, and how John will win that battle.

Green Lantern: Mosaic #4

This issue is a prime example of the potential of the Mosaic setting. A group of humans, unable to deal with the reality of being trapped on a world far from Earth and surrounded by aliens, have taken refuge in the past by way of old television shows. And alcohol, of course. They watch old familiar shows, have elaborate masquerade parties, and just generally insulate themselves from the real world as much as possible. Their children, on the other hand, are determined to see some of the alien wonders that are just a short walk away from their homes. There’s a generation gap between the parents and their children,. However youthful rebellion doesn’t consist of sneaking out to drink or smoke, but rather sneaking out to catch a glimpse of the aliens. It’s pretty amusing.

Then one of the children is killed, though John Stewart saves the others. That doesn’t deter the children, who are still determined to catch a glimpse of the aliens they were told about. Like so many people, they just “have to know”, no matter the dangers. John has to save them from certain death yet again, and his solution is to give the four of them protection in the form of Green Lantern rings. Not as powerful as his, but strong enough to let them “do some good”.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Green Lantern #4
September 90
$1.00

It’s interesting to re-read this issue with the current Green Lantern series in mind. In both cases, Hal Jordan was, at one point, ready to give up his life as a Green Lantern, though for different reasons. In the current book, he’s been booted out of the Corps, had finally made peace with that, and is only acting in his capacity as a GL because Sinestro has forced him to. In the old series, there is no Corps any more, and Hal is still drifting, still looking for some purpose in life that doesn’t involve life with super powers. He’s still been charging his ring out of habit, but finally decides that even that should end… until John Stewart contacts him and warns him about the actions of the Old Timer on Oa. With that, Hal finally has the direction and purpose that he’s been looking for, and he seizes the opportunity with both hands. Four issues into the series and we finally see him recite the Oath, something he admits he’d been embarrassed to do for some time. It’s a nice dramatic moment, all the better for having been held back. And we get our first real cliffhanger ending of the series as Hal heads out into space to confront the Old Timer. We’re at the halfway point in this particular story arc.

So what do the first four issues tell us about Hal Jordan as a character? At this point in DC’s history, he’s a little older, a veteran GL of 15 years, and a skilled user of the power ring. Despite that, he’s definitely lost without the direction and purpose that being a Green Lantern gave him. A lot of that seems due to the bridges he burned with regard to his career as a pilot and the bridges he’s burned in his personal life, leaving him without a fallback position when the Corps disbands. He’s not a perfect character by any means, He’s got plenty of flaws, including the inability to settle down, hold a job, and form long-lasting personal relationships. That’s not to say that he doesn’t try, but he rarely succeeds.

I’ll freely admit that this is the version of the character I prefer, and the one I judge all subsequent appearances by. That’s not surprising, since this was the first Green Lantern series that I ever read, and it formed my impressions of the character. If I’d come in earlier or later, no doubt I’d have different opinions. This seems to be a character that varies quite a bit in his depiction, depending on the writer, but Gerard Jones seems at least to try and build off of what came before rather than tossing it out and going his own direction. He takes Hal down to rock bottom before building him back up, and he’ll do the same with John Stewart (though in Stewart’s case, the character is already on the rocks due to Cosmic Odyssey and the destruction of Xanshi). This storyline accomplishes a lot with it’s main character, before editorial fiat would bring all of that crashing down a short four years down the road.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Four issues into the series and we finally see him recite the Oath, something he admits he’d been embarrassed to do for some time. It’s a nice dramatic moment, all the better for having been held back. And we get our first real cliffhanger ending of the series as Hal heads out into space to confront the Old Timer. We’re at the halfway point in this particular story arc.

And, if this series came out today, the fantards would be whining about how "is am 4 issues until Hals syas teh oAth of the Lanturn".

Actually, people probably made that complaint 20 years ago, but the lack of an internet would have contained their whining.


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-currently reading "The Infinity War".

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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The Infinity War:

This was one of my favourite event comics ~20 years ago. And, to this day, I remain a huge Starlin mark.

Over all, "The Infinity War" holds up pretty well. The high concept is duality, and Starlin carries it for 6 issues + cross-overs (reprinted here). There are actually a few parts that I understand better now than I did at 14 or so, which is to be expected. A list of other cross-overs is included at the back of this book. To my knowledge, few (if any) of those stories have been reprinted in recent years if at all. Some of them probably should have been included in this volume, if only for expanding on ideas that Starlin did not have time or page space to deal with back in 1992.

As much as I like Stalin's handling of the concept and plot, the art is....bad. It is everything that was wrong with the 90s. Anatomy and perspective are noticably skewed. At the time, I did not realize how much the "bad girl" style of the time had permeated comics. But, there are more than a few panels, (particularly from "Warlock and the Infinity Watch" that made me cringe as an adult. (What the hell is going on with Moondragon?!?!?)

There are also a few odd language choices, (Starlin either using obscure variants of words or simply making them up).

Grade: C


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-it sorta measures up to old memories.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Infinity Crusade #1:
I picked this up from a dollar bin at a "not really a comic shop" on my way to the beach last week. (As it turned out, the Harrison's that I normally visit when going to Winthrop has been closed for a while.) In terms of plot, Starlin seems to be setting up for a "extremes of good are as bad as extremes of evil" story. Given Starlin's background, I am more curious about how he makes this case than I am about the case he is going to make.

A key point in this story seems to be the moral and religious beliefs of the characters in question. Given that the setting is 616 Marvel, this could get very messy depending on how much Starlin roots it in context.

On a semi-related note, this series came out in the mid 90s, when Marvel was ain full-bore "bad" mode. The scenes with the FF are a pretty good indicator of Marvel's operating standards at the time. Ben Grimm had apparently been disfigured (more so than usual) and had to wear a face mask....to uh....hide his grotesque features from the world. (How long did that stick anyway?) Sue Storm's "bad girl" redesign was just....oi. The whole "bad girl" phase that comics went through, (and the genre as it still exists), has always left me a little befuddled. Seriously, who thought that comics would make good fap fodder? And, why does Sue Storm need a "4" shaped boob window on her costume, as hilarious as the jokes may be?

At some point or another, I will likely pick up the compiled "Infinity Crusade". But, given how far behind I am in my reading, and how much money that I do not really have at the moment, it will probably not be for a while.


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-also picked up a few more "2099" comics, and will get around to them some day. Honestly.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Due to money considerations, I am not going to the comic shop this week. (This is a heavier than expected week, *and* I am a little hurt for money as it is.) I will pick up my comics on Friday, and have them reviewed over the course of next week.

But, I figure that this week is a good time to pick up Anderson's retro comics thread.

At the end of "Super Gods", Morrison includes a list of "must read" comics, broken down by era. Morrison concedes that his list is not exhaustive. But, even so, there are some fairly glaring omissions. While Morrison mentions more comics in the book itself, he does not include them on his must-read list. (Given the tone and content of several passages in "Super Gods", some of the ommissions are likely deliberate.)

So, is anybody up for listing and talking about "must-read" comics, and why they are must read? Anybody?

-Squadron Supreme:
"Squadron Supreme" is best decribed as the over-looked and under-appreciated answer to "Watchmen". While Moore focused on deconstructing the heroic ideal commonly depicted in comics, Gruenwald sought to address some of the problems with the genre while trying to preserve that genre. While Gruenwald ded not perfectly address the "Reed Richards is a jerk" problem, he tackled the question in a less snide way than Moore did.

Gruenwald's heroes take the idea of super-powered interventionism to its logical conclusion. The Squadron, (a blatant analogue for DC's Justice League") concludes that the best way to solve many of the world's problems is to take it over. Years before "Civil War" and a bit before "Watchmen", Gruenwald gave consideration to the idea of heroes taking things to far and coming to blows over principle without resorting to cheap shock tactics or obviously depicting either side of the debate as blood-drunk monsters (as Waid did years later in "Kingdon Come") or as anachronistic clowns (as Johns and Bendis arguably did in "Infinite Crisis" and "Secret Invasion").

Gruenwald's thoughts on the question of heroes taking control are clearly articulated. But, he also articulates other side well enough that no reasonable person can cry foul. While not as well rounded a story as "Red Son", "Squadron Supreme" does its job more than well enough and still holds up ~25 years after being published.


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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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For the first time in a while, I had a well and truly free weekend, so I got some reading done. If nothing else, the more comics that I sort through, the easier it will be to keep sorting my collecting for that purge I have been meaning to get around to.

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters volume 2:
Oh, Palmiotti and Gray. Bad comics as a debased artform. Oh, what to complain about? The shallow polemics? The "very special episode" sub-plot involving Storm Knight's promiscuity and drug-use? The cynical conspiracy plot? The fact that the plot just jumps the track at least once, arguably twice, assuming it was ever on a track to begin with? The other shallow polemic? The art? The furry-service fap fodder? I really do not know where to begin.

I also have no excuse for having read this book, because I know what Palmiotti and Gray are like. So, maybe I should not complain about it. But, it is a "Countdown" tie-in, so complaining about it is obligatory.

When Frank Miller is a little too high-brow, you can always reach for Palmiotti and Gray.

Grade: F


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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Because this is such a light week, I am reviewing two compilations, and doing something a bit different. Since we have two comics threads, one for new and one for old comics, and the two compilations are complimentary analogues of each other, and both are involved in cross-overs, this review will be the first obligatory cross-over between threads at TFViews!


Yes, you read that right. Some of this review is in the current comics thread. The other is in the retro-comics thread. Click the text of the review to switch between the two threads.

The OMAC Project:
"The OMAC Project" was part of the lead in to "Infinite Crisis", DC's reboot/reset/whatever in 2005/06. The compilation includes the "Countdown to Infinite Crisis" one-shot published in early 2005, single issues of "The OMAC Project" and an issue of "Wonder Woman" that some people kind of lost their heads over back in the day. Despite being the better part of a decade old and preceding a reboot that has been over-written at least once, "The OMAC Project" actually feels more modern than the new 52 "OMAC",

While Rucka uses caption boxes and inner monologues in "The OMAC Project", the pacing and subject matter keep the story from seeming dated. The high concept is that Maxwell Lord has hijacked a super-security system designed by Batman and is using it to monitor (and later attack) meta-humans.

Many fans complain that "The OMAC Project" back-handed the Giffen era "Justice League International" series. Objectively, it is fair to say that Johns was definitively closing out that era in "Countdown to Final Crisis". But, the ire of the fandom seems to be rooted more in petulance and a myopic fixation on old comics than on legitimate criticism. If nothing else, the Giffen era JLI would not have happened if not for "Crisis on Infinite Earths", itself the end of an era. There is not reason for any fans of post-CoIE DC to expect "their" era to last forever, especially given that "their" favourite comics effectively displaced somebody else's favourites.

"The OMAC Project" compilation consists of a reprinted mini-series and two other book. Unfortunately, it is not a complete story unto itself, despite being a bound volume that was sold at mass market. References are made to events that presumably happened in other books and several pages of this volume are used to summarize events from still more comics that (for whatever reason) were not reprinted here. This makes "The OMAC Project" feel incomplete, despite it being more sophisticated over-all than New 52 "OMAC".

Grade: C/D



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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Knightfall chapters 2-8

After viewing "The Dark Knight Rises" a few weeks ago, I wanted to go back and re-read the storyline that first featured Bane, after he was introduced in the "Vengeance of Bane" one-shot. I missed a few chapters of the story, which went back and forth between Batman and Detective Comics, but I've got most of it. The main plot for the first half: Bane breaks open Arkham Asylum and releases all of Batman's enemies at once, overwhelming both Batman (who was already burned out) and Gotham's police force. These chapters follow Batman as he wears himself out to the point of exhaustion trying to catch the escaped lunatics, combined with Tim Drake/Robin's attempts to help him. Batman notes that even the second stringers are as much as he can handle, and he doesn't know how he's going to handle the Joker or Scarecrow. And he's well aware that Bane's behind all of it, though he doesn't know why. Meanwhile Bane has figured out exactly who he is.

These days, it feels strange to see Batman in a blue and grey suit, when that used to be the norm. I really do think Tim Drake is my favorite version of Robin. He's competent, level-headed and not terribly rebellious. It's clear where the story is heading, even if at the time it didn't seem at all possible that DC would go through with removing Bruce Wayne as Batman. Shondra Kinsolving, the physical therapist that Bruce keeps avoiding, will ultimately be a key part of the storyline, but she's a minor character at this point. Jim Aparo and Graham Nolan do a great job with the art. This is just good, classic, Batman storytelling.

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