Comic Con Haul!

The Toronto Comic Con was a couple of weeks ago, and as usual, I had a list of items I wanted to pick up to complete some runs or just to pick up for the sake of reading runs I missed when they came out.

Most of the items on my list this go round were John Byrne books that I didn’t have or no longer had. Most were available incredibly for $2-$5 dollars.

I found Byrne way back when he was getting started and he was doing Doomsday+One for Charleton. Before he was grabbed by Marvel, he worked on this series and another, an adaptation of the TV series Space 1999. Both runs of these were on my list. I wasn’t able to find any Space 1999 except for a UK copy of #5 which cost me $1.00 and a Fantagraphics reprinting of the Doomsday+One series that they retitled Doomsday Squad.

In Doomsday Squad the editor was going on and on, issue after issue about what an upgrade this was from the original printing. It was recolored by Mark Wheatly and George Kochell. I honestly wasn’t as impressed as the editor, but it was interesting to see the early storytelling of John Byrne’s work. At the time, and again looking back at it, it was obvious to me John Byrne was a real talent. Yes, it was early in his professional career, but his talent was instantly recognizable.

In between cons, I keep a list on my phone of comic books that I read about or see discussed that catches my eye. Sometimes I have no idea afterward exactly why I put it on the list and am usually pleasantly surprised at what I find.

I completed the last three issues I needed from Byrne’s Incredible Hulk run. His Avengers run of #181-#191.

A great Dark Horse Presents #117, with some beautiful Gene Colan artwork on an Alien story that I had never seen.

Amazon#1 which was part of the DC/Marvel Amalgam line which blended similar characters together in a mish-mash story with some working better than others. This was a take on Storm/Wonder Woman and was a John Byrne/Terry Austin beauty.

A couple of other runs I picked up were done by Esad Ribic, Silver Surfer Reqiuem and The Sub-Mariner “The Depths”. Both of these had a very interesting take with fully painted artwork.

Out of all the books however that I picked up, one of the sweetest surprises was John Byrne’s What If #36 “What If The Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Super-Powers.”

Now I had just seen this story last year in all its Artist Edition glory and picked it up in this format to see how well the original comic held up to the scans of the Original Art.

It was an unusually good looking book for 1982! Great inking by Byrne and the colouring by Bob Sharon was very good.

So once again the trip to Comic Con was worth it! Some great material at a great value. I ended up clearing a ton of stuff off my list and even picked up 3 Ditko Spideys in decent shape to savour that great early Lee/Ditko magic!

Continued Happy Collecting!

Dennis De Pues
Dennis De Pues

Dennis is an admitted "Son of the Silver Age", having grown up with the influences of Silver Age greats: Kirby, Colan, Romita and Buscema.Three decades later, he is the creator of Crash!! and Galloway Park. More is definitely on the way.

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mel taylor
mel taylor
5 years ago

Hey Dennis
Esad Rribic has been a real revelation to me, from his work on Thor to the phenomenal Secret Wars. There are some great videos on line of how he manages to get that incredible layered look in his work. I was kind of hoping that he would be the first pick for the new Fantastic Four, but I guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with those beautiful covers and dream of what might have been. Speaking of the FF, they are certainly beginning to suffer because of Marvel’s habit of throwing rotating artists at various titles. I had hoped we could get some continuity in personnel for at least the first ten or so issues. While Dan Slott’s writing has so far been pretty solid, this quick change in artists is bound to have a deleterious effect on the work. Gone are the days of 100-issue runs I guess.

Also, speaking of the FF, I was lucky enough recently to buy a decent run of Die Fantastischen Vier from my buddy Andy Brast of Carry On Comics in Waterloo. These were the books he brought with him 40 years ago when his family emigrated to Canada! I have a nice selection of Kirby/Sinnot work, all reproduced in glorious black and white, so you can really appreciate the line work! They make a sweet addition to my FF collection and their provenance has a special resonance for me since these are the books that inspired Andy to own a comic shop, and the books that inspired me to write comics, including a favourite story of mine about Andy and his hopes and dreams for his comic shop which I was thrilled to place in Negative Burn a few years back.

Now approaching my 65th birthday, these books are still a great source of joy to me and I hope many fans continue to love the medium well into their golden years. My good buddy Bob MacMillan (see for his Encyclopedia of Canadian Animation, Cartooning and Illustration) just turned 81 and his love of the comics continues unabated to this day. I take great solace in the fact that people of our age can still become six years old every Wednesday. I guess it’s our super power!

cheers, mel

5 years ago

Beautiful commenta Mel.Nothing turns me off quicker than the rotating artist merry go round.I just loose interest immediately.Esad Ribic does some great work doesn’t he.He has found a niche withe his painting style that is fresh and original.I will look up the videos.Thanks for the heads up!