Monday, July 02, 2012

DC Comics Spring 2013 Collections

Okay, due to vacations, work stresses, and the wife's summer class schedule giving us more time to spend together, I haven't been blogging as frequently as I would like. Gonna try to get back on the horse, and DC's announcement of their collected editions scheduled for spring 2013 seems like as good a place to start as any.

As one might expect, there's a whole bunch of books collecting DC's more recent comics. For the most part, those hold little to no interest to me. I'm enjoying a few of DC's current series, but not so much that I really want to have them on my bookshelf to reread. One exception would be the collection of the current Shade miniseries by James Robinson and multiple artists.

I became a James Robinson fan back in the 90s and 00s. He may have come to my attention through his small-press work with Phil Elliot(?) or it might have been his work on DC's Golden Age miniseries with Paul Smith that got my attention. Regardless, it was Starman, with Tony Harris and others, that really cemented his position on my favorite writers list. While the comic was very squarely a superhero comic, he invested the characters and situations with such a down-to-earth humanity that it really stood out against the pack. While Jack Knight was having the same sort of adventures as any other DC superhero (okay, maybe a little less silly and a little more weird) it was his personality and perspective on those adventures that made them special.

With the Shade, Robinson took a standard one-note Golden Age villain and gave him a great deal of depth and complexity. I'm happy that DC has reprinted the whole of Starman (and the previous Shade miniseries) in a set of nice hardcovers. And while I wish this new series was being reprinted in a hardcover to match those, I'm just happy that it exists at all. It's strange and witty and literate and beautifully drawn. It also sheds even more light (pun intended) on the character, and I look forward to rereading Starman after this is done, and seeing the character anew thanks to all the new information this story is providing.

Also, kudos to DC for having James Robinson do this instead of trying to revive Starman after it's very natural and final ending. That would have been the easy, obvious, predictable choice, and probably a better seller. It's nice to see that the publisher of Before Watchmen is capable of some restraint. (Just not enough.)

And that would be it as far as books set in current DC continuity about which I currently care much about. Fortunately, with DC being run by guys my age, they are also reprinting a ton of comics that I loved from my youth (and presumably from theirs).

First on that list is Superman: The Man of Steel volume 7. I had figured that this series, reprinting in chronological order the Superman comics by John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, and others, had come to an end. I'm glad to see I was wrong. Along with the Marv Wolfman/Gil Kane stories being collected in the winter, these are the stories I think of as "my" Superman stories.

They're not all winners, but compared to the pre-Byrne stories that preceeded them, they turned Superman into a superhero that I could respect and enjoy. They felt fresh and contemporary without taking away from the sense that Superman was, indeed, the greatest superhero on the planet. That's not a sense I've had from Superman comics for a long, long time, and certainly not for as long a run as these creators managed it. I'd say I'm a fan of the whole period from Man of Steel #1 up through the whole death and return of Superman period. So I'm gonna stick with these books as long as they come out.

Then there's Showcase Presents Sgt Rock vol 4. If I need to explain why I'm going to buy a book full of Joe Kubert war comics, then you just don't know me. (I've always loved the fact that Joe Kubert had to leave the Silver Age Hawkman comic because he couldn't afford to leave Sgt Rock to do a superhero comic. How times have changed. And not necessarily for the better.)

Of course, Superman vs Shazam is a must-buy. Again, if you don't know my love for Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, then you don't really know me. I particularly like the stories from this period, where Cap was portrayed in the same tone as the other DC characters of the time. While a million miles away from the fun, whimsical classic stories by CC Beck and others, it doesn't feel like a deliberate attempt to either recapture the spirit of the originals, or a reaction against those stories. Plus, the DC Comics Presents stories were what helped draw me into reading DC comics regularly, so there's the nostalgia factor. Not to mention: Gil Kane!

I'm tempted to get the Marshall Law collection, but it's pricey. I read most of those stories on their original release, and while they're extreme anti-superhero stuff, they're really good. Plus, gorgeous artwork from Kevin O'Neill. We'll see what else comes out that month, I guess.

Adventures of Superman: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, I'm getting for the art. I mean, I've got a great deal of fondness for those Bronze Age Superman stories, but I'm really getting it for the art.

It's probably kind of sad that I'm planning on getting the Jack Kirby Omnibus Vol 2, with no real interest in volume 1. The thing is, I became a Jack Kirby fan through his late work, starting with Captain Victory. This contains his Super Powers miniseries, plus the issue of DC Comics Presents he did featuring Challengers of the Unknown (also containing Alex Toth pages). This may not represent prime Jack Kirby, but it represents my Jack Kirby.

New Teen Titans Omnibus vol 3 depends on finances, but I want it. The New Teen Titans is possibly the first superhero comic I started collecting on a monthly basis, and I want as much of it back as I can get.

I was a huge fan of the Smallville TV series, and I'm really enjoying its continuation as a digital comic. I want a more permanent collection (so I can read them after watching my DVDs of the TV show) so the Smallville Season 11 vol 1 book is a must-buy.

And are there so few Archie Goodwin Batman stories that Tales of the Batman: Archie Goodwin collects them all? Hopefully, this will include all the Manhunter stories as well, but if not, I've got them collected already. Either way, still a must-have.

And that's about it. Finances permitting, I'd like to get the All-Star Western collection, and maybe the Earth 2 collection. We'll see.