Tim

The GCBC 2010 – Part 1: Living Room – Top Left Shelf

In Comics, The Great Comic Book Census of 2010 on 24 April, 2010 at 10:30 am

The Living Room
Left Bookshelf

Well, I may as well start here…
Starting at the top left and working my way along:

Top Shelf

Apologies for the picture quality… they were taken on my iPhone and therefore not that good… Particularly the close-ups…

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Volume One - Absolute EditionLeague of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Volume Two - Absolute EditionLeague of Extraordinary Gentlemen - The Black Dossier - Absolute Edition

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Absolute Edition Volume One
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Absolute Edition Volume Two
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – The Black Dossier Absolute Edition
Published by “America’s Best Comics” -a Wildstorm, and therefore, ultimately, a DC brand. Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s ongoing literary adventure, built around Mina Murray (once married to a Mr Johnathan Harker), Allan Quartermain and other classic characters, like Captain Nemo, The Invisible Man, Jekyll & Hyde, Fu Manchu and Mycroft Holmes… Starting at the end of the 19th Century and carrying on forwards into the 20th Century and filling in backwards beyond Greek Legend, by way of Prospero, Alexander, Spartacus and other literary landscapes.

The Absolute Editions are oversized, slip-cased Hardcovers.

Volumes One and Two have two books apiece: The Oversized, beautiful reproduction of Kevin O’Neill’s art, alongside the beautiful, oversized reproduction of Alan Moore’s Complete Script…

The Absolute Black Dossier, unfortunately, is nowhere near as good. It’s a nice big reproduction of the book, but not as nice an experience as the “Regular” Hardcover… It is supposed to be a story interspersed with clippings and notes and pictures as one would expect to find in a “Dossier”… In the “Regular” edition, each of these clippings, in the form of old newspaper stories, pulp magazine extracts, etc, had a completely different paper texture and print process, adding to the experience. Sadly, while the “Absolute” version is bigger, it lacks a lot. The multiple texture experience is gone, the second book (the Script book) is absent, and the disc (vinyl, I think) is missing, even though solicited on the accompanying label.

Never mind. On the Right Bookshelf, I have two copies of the “Regular” Black dossier, but I’ll get to them later…

Warrior-Issue 1

Warrior Complete Set in Binders
Where do I start? MarvelMan? V for Vendetta? Zirk? Axel Pressbutton? Warren Ellis on the letter page of the Summer Special? Gary Leach, Alan Davis… I’m going to stop before I end up filling the page with names of legendary British writers and artists who shaped my Third Age of Comics… Needless to say, as is the way with all anthologies, there are high points and low points, but the low points only seem low because the high points REALLY soar! It’s a good as they say it is. Honest.

Batman - Black and White - Volume 2

Batman: Black and White Volume 2
Oddly, I have Volume One as a Trade Paperback, Volume Two as an Oversized Hardcover, and Volume Three as a Regular Hardcover… So none of them fit side-by-side… Annoying… Great compilation of stories by some amazing talent. All three volumes are masterclasses in black and white storytelling. If you’re a BatFan, they are “must-reads”.

Alice in Sunderland

Alice in Sunderland Hardcover
Bryan Talbot’s ode to Lewis Carroll and the NorthEast of England. I have to be honest here… I haven’t read it all the way through yet. I’ve read chunks at random and loved what I’ve read, though. One day I’ll give it the full attention that it deserves…

Standard Catalog of Comic Books - 2nd Edition

The Standard Catalog of Comic Books 2nd Edition
Possibly the most exhaustive comics catalog and guide that I’ve encountered. A panelologist’s dream. A great way to discover that those obscure comics that you couldn’t find in Overstreet are worth “Cover Price or Less”, depending on their condition… Technically, I suppose this belongs in a separate section of the Census… “Comic Related Books/Reference Guides”, so that’s now a new category…

The UltimatesThe Ultimates 2

The Ultimates Marvel Oversized Hardcover
The Ultimates 2 Marvel Oversized Hardcover
Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s take on the Avengers of the Ultimate Marvel Universe. This is where the idea of Nick Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson came from. A harsher, grittier, R-Rated superhero story.

Y: The Last Man - Deluxe Edition - Volume One

Y: The Last Man Deluxe Edition – Volume One
Bryan K Vaughn’s apocalyptic tale about one man and his monkey in a world where all other male mammals have simultaneous died. I am upgrading from TPBs… Have most of the original comics… Not entirely sure which ones I’m missing, either… A comic I looked foward to every month when it was coming out, now enjoying it even more in larger chunks!

The first volume of the Deluxe Edition collects the first two story arcs, “Unmanned” and “Cycles”…

Fables - Deluxe Edition - Volume One

Fables The Deluxe Edition -Volume One
Another series that I “Triple-dip” on… I get the comic every month, the TPBs as they come out, (and re-read the story in one go, to see if I missed anything) and now I’m getting the Deluxe Oversized Hardcover Editions that collect 10 to 12 issues per volume… Bill Willingham’s opus that started with “Legends in Exile” (which was okay…) then led into “Animal Farm” (which is great!). Both of those story arcs are contained in the first volume of the Deluxe Edition…

Whatever Happened to the caped Crusader

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader Deluxe Hardcover Edition
Neil Gaiman’s two part homage to Batman throughout the ages. A sequel of sorts to Batman R.I.P., but really a love story to Batman in his many guises from his origins in Detective Comics, through to present day… Wonderful. Another that I read as comics and haven’t read as a collection, yet. There are also some other Gaiman Bat-stories to pad it out a bit…

The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke Anniversary Deluxe Hardcover Edition
Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. Infamous for The Joker crippling Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and kidnapping her father, Commissioner Gordon. I owned the first Titan printing. Still around somewhere.

eric

FaustEric Oversized Paperback
Written by Terry Pratchett and Illustrated by Josh Kirby… Technically not a comic, or a graphic novel, but the oversized nature of the book and Josh Kirby’s luscious artwork is just … Well … It just IS, okay? As you may be able to tell from the battered cover, I’ve read it quite a few times… Sure, the artwork doesn’t necessarily gel with the descriptions in the prose, but maybe it’s the other way round? Either way, the mood and tone and atmosphere go hand in hand as a young boy accidentally summons Rincewind (failed wizard, or rather, “Wizzard”) instead of a Demon and proceeds on a series of adventures…

Missionary Man

Missionary Man Titan Books Edition {cough}Standard Size, America{cough}
Written by Gordon Rennie, the story of a wandering priest bringing his own brand of fire and brimstone to the lawless Cursed Earth of Judge Dredd’s world… When the first chapter came out, I re-read that issue of the Judge Dredd Megazine about twenty times.

Not because of the smattering of words (in fact, what few there were were still a distraction) but rather for the art of Frank Quitely. I skimmed most of the fill-in episodes, whenever another artist had to help out, because, quite simply, Quitely’s art WAS Missionary Man and it didn’t feel the same without him.

After Missionary Man, he did a couple of Shimura stories (Ronin/Samurai Judge) before being lured away to work for Marvel and DC, working with another 2000AD alumnus, a young upstart named Grant Morrison…

Devlin Waugh: Swimming in Blood

Devlin Waugh: Swimming in Blood 2000AD Paperback (Mandarin Press)
Writer John Smith conceived the character as a cross between Charles Bronson and Noel Coward. Artist Sean Philips designed and painted him as a cross between Terry Thomas and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A camp, steroid-abusing Supernatural Investigator, attached to a futuristic Vatican City, set in the same universe and time period as Judge Dredd, Waugh first appeared in the pages of The Judge Dredd Megazine and went on to become one of 2000AD’s most popular characters.

He shows up at Aquatraz, a maximum security prison located on the ocean bed of the Black Atlantic (so named due to the excessively high levels of pollutants), just as a vampire begins to systematically take control of the establishment, one prisoner at a time…

Think of “The Poseidon Adventure” crossed with “Assault on Precinct 13”, wth a heavy dose of “Dracula” and “The Evil Dead” thrown in for good measure… Then you’re almost there…

In looking up his original conception (I forgot the Charles Bronson bit) I’ve also discovered that there are now two larger volumes available containing more of his adventures. Unfortunately, they would appear to have been shrunk down to regular US comic book size, rather than the original 2000AD/Megazine format, which is a real pity, as the sumptuous artwork really deserves a larger page size…

Maybe one day Rebellion (2000AD’s current owners) will publish a nice big hardcover? If they do, I’ll snap it up quicker than an underwater vampire in a feeding frenzy!

Tintin in the CongoTintin and Alph-Art

Tintin in the Congo Hardcover
Tintin and Alph-Art Hardcover
The first time I read Tintin in the Congo, it was in Dutch… And I didn’t understand much of the text, but the imagery left an indelible imprint in my young mind. It wasn’t printed in English until a couple of years ago, due to its depiction of African tribesmen… No insult was actually intended from Hergé when he wrote and drew this story – his first as a proper “Album”, “Tintin in the Land of the Soviets” having been originally serialised.

As a child, I personally saw no racism, in fact, the way he portrayed some of the European characters as bloated, unpleasant and ugly far to my mind balanced-out any perceived racism towards black people. I suppose my innocent eyes were just seeing over-exaggerated features as pretty even-handedly applied across all racial stereotypes… Apparently, even now there is controversy as to whether this book should be sold in the UK, and taking the book out of the context of the time period in which it was created is naturally going to present it in a much harsher light.

Either way, I’m glad that I own a copy of it as it has always been one of those books that I wanted to have my own copy of, as it shows a great part of the evolution of Hergé’s art and stroy-telling ability.

Tintin and Alph-Art is his final piece of work. Unfinished and published posthumously as a series of storyboards and notes, it is an amazing insight into his work process. Highly recommended for those who wish to know more about the working method of one of the world’s greatest graphical storytellers.

Liberty Meadows -Volume One - EdenLiberty Meadows -Volume Two - Creature ComfortsLiberty Meadows -Volume Three - Summer of LoveLiberty Meadows -Volume Four - Cold, Cold Heart

Liberty Meadows Book 1: Eden Oversized Hardcover
Liberty Meadows Book 2: Creature Comforts Oversized Hardcover
Liberty Meadows Book 3: Summer of Love Oversized Hardcover
Liberty Meadows Book 4: Cold, Cold Heart Oversized Hardcover
Liberty Meadows: Eden – 10th Anniversary Edition Oversized Hardcover
Image has collected Frank Cho’s Comic Strip in a set of beautiful oversized hardcovers (I’m still waiting for “The Sunday Strips”).

Liberty Meadows is the story of an animal sanctuary, and is a beautifully rendered mixture of “Calvin and Hobbes”, “Bloom County” and a liberal dash of “Good Girl Art”…

Hilarious, touching, inspiring and full of wonder. Hannah particularly enjoyed the storyline where the main cast of characters attend a comic convention. Brandy (the heroine) is dragged along by Ralf (the midget bear) and Leslie (the bullfrog) to experience the odious bustle of a fanboy gathering, note-perfect in its rendition of the sights and smells of a gathering of unwashed geeks and nerds.
“Spider-sense tingling… Pants tightening…”.
“Peee-ew! Don’t these guys ever wash?!?”

Originally syndicated as a newspaper strip, Frank Cho eventually grew tired of Editorial Censorship and moved to publishing the strip in a series of comics instead. Maintaining the strip format, but printed in (almost) monthly issues. Image Books picked up the publishing and starred to put out these lovely hardcovers.

Unfortunately, Mr Cho’s time is now taken up doing cover art for other companies, such as Dynamite and Marvel. Currently working on New Ultimates for Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line, he also helped launch Marvel’s Mighty Avengers title by drawing the first arc (written by Brian Michael Bendis).

Fans of Liberty Meadows hope that we will eventually see Book 5 (The Wedding Album?)…

Lost Girls

Lost Girls Three-Volume Hardcover Slipcase Edition
Um, okay… Alan Moore does porn… Drawn by Melinda Gebbie (now his wife)… I’m not going to go into it, but I have read it from cover to cover. And enjoyed it. Hell, I enjoy pretty much anything he’s written, but this is actually an intriguing and rewarding story, although hard work in some places. The visual puns and innuendo scattered throughout are brilliant. If you want to know more, look it up. It’s caused a fair amount of controversy…

Absolute Sandman Volume OneAbsolute Sandman Volume TwoAbsolute Sandman Volume ThreeAbsolute Sandman Volume Four

Absolute Sandman – Volume One Slipcased Hardcover
Absolute Sandman – Volume Two Slipcased Hardcover
Absolute Sandman – Volume Three Slipcased Hardcover
Absolute Sandman – Volume Four Slipcased Hardcover
These are, quite honestly, the standard by which I measure all collected editions. Nothing else comes close. The sheer level of detail and quality that has gone into producing these volumes is breathtaking… The spines alone make them special.

The content? Oh, sorry, yes… Neil Gaiman’s seminal masterpiece. The story he will be associated with forever. It probably went on a bit too long, but it is one of those comics that transcended the medium and is considered a literary classic…

Confession time. I bought the first issue. However, I thought it was going to be about one of my all-time favourite characrers; the Golden Age Sandman, Wesley Dodds, a detective who wore a trenchcoat, trilby and gas mask, and used a gas-gun to subdue the villians… It wasn’t. Instead it was about some pale, unearthly figure connected to dreams, trapped in a glass bubble/prison. I didn’t pick up issue two. In fact I ignored it for about three years…

Ever since a discussion in a pub with someone who had the first few trades (thank you, Sean!) I have been kicking myself, but I did catch up, and started getting the issues from somewhere in the 40s until the end, with all the specials inbetween. From that point on, I learnt to buy ANYTHING with Neil Gaiman’s name on it… Even if it was another writer building on one of his concepts (like the various titles from Tekno Comics in the 90s)…

If you’ve never heard of Sandman, simply put, it is the story of Morpheus, Lord of The Dreaming, and is an amazing story, featuring personifications of “The Endless”, of which Dream is merely one of seven primal entities. His syblings are Death, Destruction, Despair, Delirium, Desire and Destiny… I could probably write about this series for years and not grow tired of it. Magnificent.

Comic Book Tattoo

Comic Book Tattoo Image Hardcover Edition
An interesting book to end the shelf on… An anthology of stories by a huge range of people, all based around the songs of Tori Amos.

For me, being a huge fan of Tori, not to mention my comics addiction, this was a no-brainer… The only reason I don’t have the Limited Edition, signed, numbered and slipcased edition is because Amazon F***ed up my Pre-Order… I mean, I only ordered it nine months in advance of the release date… And it only took them two months after the release date to let me know that they wouldn’t be getting it after all…

One of the primary reasons that I now use Forbidden Planet exclusively for my pre-orders… It may take them three or four weeks to place the order, but I will get my books! And pre-orders usually ship out on, or just after, the release date. So, sod you, Amazon!

——

Well… That’s the first shelf completed. The sharper-eyed amongst you will probably notice that I excluded “Anatomy for the Artist” off the list… That’s because, frankly, the only way that counts as Comics-related is that I used it a long, long time ago, when I had my own dreams and aspirations to write and draw comics… So it serves as a reminder of what might have been…

I’m going to post a summary list as a standalone page, rather than make this one any longer than it already is…

I’m also thinking that I may have to break these shelves up a bit, into more manageable chunks… What do you fine people think?

T

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  1. I am in awe at your collection. I’m finally attempting to buy Sandman, but not the Absolute ones as I just can’t justify the expense. Lost Girls, I want…we have a copy at work (that keeps getting unwrapped by *accident*) and I likey. *snigger*

    I can’t quite believe that you keep the Batmans separated because they are different sizes, my brain cannot compute that. I get that it makes sense in terms of space, but I couldn’t do it!

    I thought that this post was a perfectly manageable chunk, but again, that might just be me 😉

  2. I’m actually reading bit and then writing responses in Word as I go along – then I’ll C&P it all as a comment, now that’s dedication!

    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

    I’ve read the first two volumes but never the Black Dossier – it got mixed reviews on the SFX Forum which at the time influenced my comic buying immensely, now I rarely visit. Enjoyable series, not so good film!

    Alice in Sunderland

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about this and will read it one day – it’s a heck of an investment though, both time and money. Maybe I’ll hunt the library database!

    The Ultimates

    I loved this series and it was one of the first Marvel titles I read along with the Civil War series. Ultimates 2 Volume 2 had me wanting to turn pages quicker than I physically could, and though it was like a Michael Bay comic book I was grinning from ear to ear at the end, and possibly fist pumping too!

    Y: The Last Man

    I was in St Albans one day and in their local book store the guy recommended this. I bought volume 1 and read a bit over a pub lunch, I then went back and bought volumes 2 and 3. Really like this series, though I’m in two minds as to whether I’m satisfied with the ending – I’ll re-read one day and make a decision then! I hear there is a film on the way; I hope they do it justice.

    Fables (and Jack of Fables)

    I bought volumes 1-5 on another SFX forum recommendation and they then sat on my bookshelf for the next 6 months as the front cover of Legends in Exile wasn’t enticing me enough. Oh how wrong I was, this quickly became my favourite comic book series of all time, and still is. Such wonderful story telling and gorgeous artwork. Along with Jack of Fables, which takes the humour one stage further, the world created by Bill Willingham is one that look forward to submersing myself in every 6 months when the new TPB comes out.

    Batman – The Killing Joke

    I bought the top 5 Batman graphic novels as selected by IGN, this was one of them. I don’t get it – maybe because this was my first Batman story or maybe it’s just not for me. I found the story overly gratuitous and not much fun to read at all. I will read it again one day but I’m in no rush to do so.

    Lost Girls

    I’ve read about this but the book itself. One day…

    Sandman

    I’ve toyed with the idea of starting Sandman so many times but often walk into the barrier that has me thinking this is just too dark for my tastes, though I’m not sure where that comes from.
    Maybe I’ll take the plunge one day.

    ……

    OK, individual titles aside I am in awe at your special edition collections. I do love hardback editions but I don’t own an absolute edition or a deluxe edition – they look awesome. I have a question – is Fables still on that ‘rough paper’ in the deluxe editions? I think it suits that paper so much and can’t imagine it on glossy paper.

    Loved reading this Tim, and am looking forward to the next instalment which I will read, digest and add my own thoughts. I really need to organise my comic books properly – they are in about 5 locations at the moment, I may even have some Marvel and DC mixed up somewhere, which greatly irritates me!

  3. As for Lost Girls, that should have read: I’ve read about this but NOT the book itself. One day…

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