I am stumped for a column this week. I thought of another column I can write, but I prefer to let that one stew in my brain juices for a couple of weeks (cause I like that one). So… sitting here plunking away on the computer, I thought I would thumb through my short box.
To get the general idea of my collection, I own some comics. To some hardcore collectors, I don’t have much. To people who don’t collect comics, they think I have a lot. To me, it is just my collection, and it’s just right. Sometime in December I decided I would re-read my complete collection. While I am reading these, I would create a new database for my comics (I had one, but it was very out of date). So far I have read 377 books/graphic novels from my short box. I still have about a hundred left to read, and that list excludes my G.I. Joe comic collection (I have almost every issue, just missing 18 issues from the Marvel series).
When I started to re-read my short box, obviously I resorted my comics. I made piles of each character in my basement, and read each character’s book. So far I have read all of my Batman, X-Men, Super-Pro, The Infinity Gauntlet, Justice League and Spawn. I still have to read my Spider-Man, X-Force and Superman comics.
Most of my Batman comics are from the 90’s. Bane broke Batman’s back and Jean Paul Valley took over the Mantle of The Bat. Valley upgraded the Batman costume with armour. I liked the “Bat-Armor” in the 90’s, after re-reading it, I like it even more. The “Bat-Armor” was really cool idea. I really like the Bat-Shurikens that would lauch out of Batman’s gauntlets and the spotlight on his chest. Lots of heroes became armoured in the 90’s. Green Lantern (end of Emerald Twilight), Daredevil and Booster Gold, to name a few, used armour to toughen up during those days. Many of those characters didn’t stay in the armour for long (probably due to the fact that the costumes sucked), and when Bruce Wayne returned, Valley’s armour was gone. I would like to see it return once more.
One of the big writers on Batman back then was Chuck Dixon. He wrote several books in my collection (Batman, Robin and Guy Gardiner to name a few). Currently he is the main writer for IDW G.I. Joe series. I really like his current work and was glad to re-read his older work.
The other series I read was my X-Men collection. This collection is what started this venture into the short box. My X-Men collection was given to me by a friend. The majority of the collection is from issue #212 to #298. I never read any of these issues before, so it was new to me. There were some major X-Men events that happened in those issues. The X-Men died and went through the Siege Perilous, Genosha was introduced, Mr. Sinister was introduced and Madeline Pryor became The Goblin Queen. Even during that time Magneto became head master of Xavier’s Academy. Chris Claremont had some great stories and some not so great stories during that period. Marc Silvestri was the main artist during that period as well. After reading those issues, I have a greater appreciation for the X-Men. I have been a fan (especially of the cartoon), but this series made a lot of X-Men stuff make sense (even X-Men The Last Stand).
The other collection I read, and was painful to do so was Spawn. Todd McFarlane is an amazing artist. Some of the best Spider-Man artwork ever… was McFarlane’s. Spawn #1 was a huge comic book, but so were a lot of other Image books back in the 90’s. I have Spawn #1 through #12. I had to force myself to read them. It was painful. Spawn is not written well. Even the artwork wasn’t that great. There were some great panels, but other panels were poor because of the amount of reading that had to be done. Lots of reading.
The interesting issues in my collection are the issues written by guest writers: Alan Moore (#8), Neil Gaiman (#9), Dave Sim (#10) and Frank Miller (#11). #10 was the most interesting though. This is the issue where Spawn goes to another level of Hell and is being guided by Cerebus (created by Dave Sim). Spawn and Cerebus come across a prison cell, where “creations are trapped and their “creators” have their heads bagged. Cerebus says they are bagged because they sold their creations and have no say anymore. The creation’s hands are all you can see, and their identities are pretty easy to figure out. Dave Sim and Todd McFarlane are advocates for creator owned products. This was their tribute to their cause. It is an intriguing issue because they take a jab at the big publishers. I took it as an insult to the creators who came before them.
It has been interesting reading my short box. Some of the comics I really liked, Super Pro, do not age well; I liked it then, it is pretty bad now. Others become better when I read them, like Spectacular Spider-Man #71. I look forward to reading the rest of my short box. Some of the stories in there include Superman’s return (from the dead), the Spider-Man clone saga, X-Force #2, etc. It will be fun reading to the bottom of my pile.