Sunday, September 04, 2011

I Buy, They Reprint

It has become a curious fact that when I "discover" a new comics passion and throw myself into finding/buying the old books, it inevitably means someone is about to reprint those books in a much cheaper and easily accessible format.

A few years ago I discovered the insanity of artist Fletcher Hanks and haunted eBay and conventions until I managed to find every single one of his stories. Turns out author Paul Karasik was equally obsessed, actually even more so, since he managed to get every one of the stories back in full-color print from Fantagraphics. (Many of the pages taken from my scans!)

I never figured Marvel would get around to reprinting the golden age Captain America series past Jack Kirby's run (1 - 10), so I've been collecting the later issues for years. Whoops. Here comes the Marvel Masterworks reprints of the later issues (which are fantastic, by the way!)

Most recently (like the last three years) I've been gathering up issues of Venus, an obscure Marvel/Atlas title from the early 50's that is notable, in the later issues, for some amazing stories and artwork by Sub-Mariner creator Bill Everett. Guess what Marvel's just released in super-swank hardcover? Yep, the collected Venus. Issues # 1-9 just came out, and they aren't even the good ones! Everett's run starts later, in issues 10 through 19, which will be the next volume in the series.

I'm "this close" to completing a run of DC's Rex The Wonder Dog series from the 50's, so I anticipate these will be next up. (For those not in the know, the Rex stories aren't all that great, but many issues also feature Detective Chimp back-ups with amazing artwork by Carmine Infantino...)

Just so I can save some money and buy the reprint(s) later, if anyone is planning to reprint artist Al Feldstein's amazingly sexual "teenage" comics -- Junior, Sunny and Corliss Archer, all from Fox Comics in the late 40's/early 50's -- please tell me! If you haven't seen these, you're in for a treat... truth is, these Archie-esque teenage books were always mostly an excuse to draw pretty young ladies in occasionally daring attire, but Feldstein takes it to the Nth degree. His ladies don't just have bosums, they have breasts, straining against their sweaters and swimsuits like a boxer's fists. And Feldstein lovingly delineates every fold, crease and curve. But that's not what really makes these amazing. Feldstein draws EVERY woman in these stories with the same eye-popping detail. Elderly spinster school-marms, chubby matrons, it doesn't matter who, they're all sporting chests desperately straining to escape the custody of their clothing. Of course the characters are mostly oblivious to this hyper-sexualization, which makes it even more surreal.

Anyhow, publishers, start your engines and get these back on the stands and in the prurient hands of readers everywhere!


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