Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'm so proud

While I was mulling over yesterday's purchases (mainly because I haven't finished reading them yet), I was thinking about comic books I own that I'm proud I bought. These are comics that I bought when they first came out, not that I dug through the back-issue boxes to get. And I'm not talking about particularly valuable comics, since the price of any one comic fluctuates wildly. I'm just talking about a comic I thought was cool and bought, and now it might be rare or it might have a "cool cachet" surrounding it. I'm also not talking about a book everyone knows is cool from the get-go. I'm glad that I bought From Hell in its serialized form, but I'm not proud of it, because it's freakin' Alan Moore, after all. I'm talking about buying Swamp Thing #20 because you thought it was cool, and years later everyone suddenly realizes it's Alan Moore and must have it.¹ With that in mind, I'm only proud of a few things that I bought just because I thought they would be neat:

The Flex Mentallo mini-series. How many of you out there have actually read it? I'm just wondering. If you haven't, it's totally worth a large chunk of your change. With DC finally having the balls to reprint the Doom Patrol story in which Flex debuted, maybe they'll have the stones to collect this in a trade. For recent comics history (the past 20 years or so), is this the Holy Grail? If not, what is?

Aztek #1-10. Yes, another Morrison title. You might think it's cheating to name his titles, since he is GOD OF ALL COMICS, but back in the mid-1990s, he wasn't. Sure, he was popular, but it didn't help this book, did it? Now, it seems everyone thinks this is the greatest thing ever. It's not, but it's damned good.

Shade, the Changing Man by Milligan and Bachalo is another comic I'm kind of proud of. I bought it from the beginning, and despite weakening after issue #30 or so, it was still a fine, fine book and early on it was genius. I guess I'd be prouder if I bought Skreemer when it first came out, but I wasn't that cutting-edge.

That's really about it. I suppose I'm proud that I bought Millar's run on Swamp Thing, but even though I think it's second only to Moore's early issues on the title, no one else seems to be clamoring for it to be out in trades and bemoans their lack of purchasing it. I'm also proud of the fact that I started buying Ostrander's Suicide Squad with issue #40 ("The Phoenix Gambit"!), but since that was in the middle of the run, it's kind of bandwagon jumping, although I doubt if SS was ever as popular when it was published as it is these days (and it's a great comic, by the way). I guess I'm kind of proud of the fact that I bought the Miracleman trades before the shit hit the fan, because they apparently don't exist anymore.

So what do you people own that makes you feel proud and way ahead of your time because you bought it when it hit the stands? Anyone out there own Jinx in serial form? Warrior mags with D.R. and Quinch? Willingham's Elementals? Werewolf by Night #32?

¹ I'm perfectly aware that "The Anatomy Lesson" is issue #21. Moore's first issue on the title was #20.

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Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

My Doom Patrol love led me to pick up their revival in the mid-seventies in Showcase, their appearances in New Teen Titans, and that newfangled series they got in the mid-late eighties. Then came a crazy departure for the DP with the arrival of that "Morrison" writer guy...and I liked it. (Though I got bored and quit before "Flex Mentallo" came along.)

I was the happy owner of a DC Comics' Christmas Special from around 1980 with a Jonah Hex story that got me to look at the book. What got me to cough up my allowance dollar was a Batman yarn at the end drawn by a dude whose style grabbed me: some kid named Frank Miller.

Dang it, I know there are more, but I can't remember 'em now...aaagh.

8/11/2005 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I remember looking in the Previews and saying, "Hey, this comic about the one girl who is in love with the other girl who is her best friend, but is not gay, seems like it will be interesting."

8/11/2005 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8/11/2005 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Shane Bailey said...

I would add Chase to the list. J.H. Williams III art before he got big.

8/11/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark Clegg said...

I bought Swamp Thing #20 because I already knew Alan Moore from his work in Warrior.

8/11/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous TVictorDavis said...

I recall seeing a gorgeous Glenn Fabry cover of some guy with a clerical collar looming over a burning church and thinking,"Hmmm.. maybe I'll take a peek!". I picked up that and every subsequent issue of Preacher and was never sorry.

8/11/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Kosmicki said...

I bought most of the books people have listed here (I think I've bought most everything over the years -- my wife claims I've bought two of everything!!)

but my proudest purchase has to be the original Doubleday edition of Kyle Baker's Cowboy Wally. it looked odd, but interesting, and it made me follow Baker to the Helfer/Baker Shadow series, which is one of my all-time favorites.

I also had 6 of the first 14 issues of Cerebus that I bought mail-order from Bud Plant -- no comic shops anywhere near me at the time. I actually bought them because somehow I'd come across a copy of the underground comic Phantacea which had a superhero strip by Dave Sim, so I knew his name.

8/11/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Tim O'Neil said...

I'm glad someone else likes those Millar Swamp Things. Those books are the reason why, even after all the puerile crap he's done, I still maintain that he can be brilliant on occasion.

8/11/2005 08:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Richard Baez said...

I've always been of the opinion that, with the Vertigo launch (which coincides with the period you claim is when the title began to slide a wee bit downwards), SHADE kicked into high gear, finally breaking down somewhere in the "Life Is Short" storyline.

Regardless, SHADE, THE CHANGING MAN is one of those flawed titles I cherish. It knew only two modes of being: absolutely brilliant or godawful. Frankly, I wouldn't trade it for WATCHMEN or JIMMY CORRIGAN.

8/11/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous M Lindsay said...

Moments of Pride...

Buying Walt Simonson's run on Thor in the 80's. From that first appearance of Beta Ray Bill thru to the departure of Mr. Simonson, it was a glorious run of fun.

Nagging comic store owners about each issue of "The Tick" from New England Comics.

I recall buying the "Uncanny X-Men" in the mid-70's introducing a startling new team! Of course, the pride of enjoying the mutants from that beginning issue faded quickly after Byrne left the series. For a long stretch thru the 80's, I would have denied even knowing what an "X-Man" was, let alone admitting I ever bought them. I'm more nostalgic about it now.

8/11/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Gary Dunaier said...

I've been buying comics for over 25 years, so there are quite a few things I remember getting when they came out... Love and Rockets #1, Moore's first Swamp Things, the first Spider-Man with the black costume, Wizard #1 (though, to my credit, I no longer buy it)... gosh, there's a lot more, but I can't think of anything else right now.

Whether it's a critically acclaimed smash or the latest "hot" flash-in-the-pan, it definitely is a great feeling to know that you got it when it came out. Unfortunately, for the most part, it's easy to claim you bought x-title as a new issue... but it's very tough to prove it.

This is one situation where letter columns are very valuable. By virtue of having their letters published in Fantastic Four #3, Alan Weiss, Rick Wood, George Paul and Bill Sarill have undisputed documentation that they actually were there at the beginning of what we now know as the Marvel Universe.

(The FF #3 letter page also ran two additional letters; one was unsigned, so whoever wrote it lost his or her chance for bragging rights... and the other was signed by "S. Brodsky", so the chances are that this was a fake letter written by Sol Brodsky of Marvel; the letter just "happens" to mention the other titles Marvel published at the time.)

8/12/2005 12:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Cove West said...

I've long held that special place in my heart for the first issue of the Dixon/McDaniel NIGHTWING. Mainly because it was, after years of newsstand buying, my first direct market pre-order. And it was a damn fine run. The only title I ever got a letter printed in, too.

Oh, and I'm very proud of the fact that I didn't buy ONSLAUGHT: X-MEN. I missed an entire Marvel crossover and I'm still alive today. I never would have believed it.

8/12/2005 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

That's why we just have to trust people, Gary - but that's true about letters columns - I hadn't thought of that.

And anyone who misses ANY Marvel crossover should be hunted down like a dog. I just can't believe the nerve of you, Mr. West! Onslaught is so cool!

8/12/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm proud that I was listening to cool bands way before any other sophomores heard of them... Wait, what are we doing?

I'm sure I have hip comic books somewhere. Does Robinson's Starman #0 count?

8/12/2005 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hm...a three issue Dick Tracy series with art by Kyle Baker that was released about the time of that awful Warren Beatty movie.
The "Nobody for President" story arc from Doom Patrol.
The Black Hood from !mpact Comics way back in 1992.
The Ray miniseries with art from Joe Quesada at around the same time.
Detective Comics #598 to 600.

8/12/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The complete run of Firearm by James Robinson (including issue #0 and the video!)

The complete run of Comico's Grendel by Matt Wagner

Thge complete run of First's Grimjack by John Ostrander and friends

Columbus, OH

8/12/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous JLM said...

I was still kind of young when Zero Hour happened and didn't really know who James Robinson was yet, but I'm proud to have bought Starman. I have the whole run and credit it with my realization that comics don't always have to be kidstuff with bright colors and tights, but there's nothing wrong with those aspects from time to time. From there I got hooked on a whole world of more mature comics that I'd never known about before.

8/12/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

My buying habits tend to veer more toward buying stuff by my favorite creators and paying attention to word of mouth and reviews, and reading material in trades or E-Bay lots years after it's been published. I'm not very adventurous, in other words. I do feel proud of buying Runaways from the first issue.

8/12/2005 10:30:00 PM  
Anonymous demian said...

Johnny Nemo #2. I'm proud I got that. My dad actually bought it, because he liked the title, "New English Pride." He said it was a good beer, so it'd probably be a good comic.

That comic introduced me to the great Peter Milligan. I've bought almost everything by that guy since. Including the first two issues of Electra, god help me. I just found Paradax#1 from Vortex today in a longbox in the garage, which is well fantastic.

That Peter Milligan, as someone said about Shade, he either writes some of the best comics ever made, or some of the most worthless garbage ever produced. I love'em.

8/12/2005 10:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Bailey said...

Three things I am proud to own:

1.) An entire run of the Superman titles from 1987 until today. I have stuck with the character for nearly eighteen years now. Quite an accomplishment considering my complete lack of an attention span.

2.) The entire Impact line of comics. Yeah, you can laugh all you want, but that was some great reading, at least until the end when things started to tank.

3.) The entire first run of Peter David's Incredible Hulk work. It took me years, but I was able to do it. I mean the whole thing, including specials and other appearences. Fun stuff and some of the best comics I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

8/12/2005 11:12:00 PM  
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