Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Interesting news today, via the Publishers Weekly website- Scott McCloud has announced that his 1980's series Zot! will be reprinted, enabling those who weren't fortunate or prudent enough to buy it when the singles were coming out, or those who saw the error of their ways too late and to weren't able to find back issues, to read most of one of the best series that decade had to offer. I say most, and more on that later.

Zot! was (at least early on) a fast-paced, light-hearted (which is not to say that there wasn't a fair amount of drama to be found, far from it) adventure series about a young adventurer in the alternate-dimension futuristic world of 1963, and the young girl who accidentally encounters him in our time and eventually joins him on the other side. It was bright, colorful, and quite imaginative, and well illustrated, even though you could tell that McCloud was growing into his craft early on. Originally published by Eclipse Comics, it was one of a handful of comics that re-ignited my interest in the early-mid 80's, when I was just about ready to find another way to spend what I laughingly referred to as my "discretionary income".

The first 10 issues were in color, and told a complete story; the book then got axed due to low sales but eventually Eclipse decided to give it another chance, this time in black & white. The next twenty-six issues came out in that format, and while, to me, they weren't always as enjoyable, due to McCloud's decision to steer away from superhero-style adventuring to more of an Afterschool Special-style approach- perfectly valid, but just not as entertaining.

And the "most" I referred to involves McCloud's decision to NOT include the first ten issues in this new collection, due to the fact that, according to him, "(He) believes the series really came together when he focused on working in black and white." Of course, I couldn't disagree more. The series, in my opinion, lost a lot of luster when it first went to B&W, necessary I know, and then went the "normal teen drama" route. Which is not to say that I don't recommend that you get this new collection, far from it...but I really regret and hate to hear that McCloud feels this way. Of course, the series has been reprinted before, in the '90s, and the first ten issues were among those collected. But they've been out of print for ages now, due to Kitchen Sink Publishing folding, so rotsa ruck finding them.

I also have a feeling that reprinting #'s 1-10 in color is a cost issue, hence their exclusion, although better in B&W than not at all.

The price point, $23, will keep me from buying, of course, but in spite of all this I encourage you to consider giving it a shot if you aren't thinking about it already- they're good comics, and all in one place. And perhaps someday McCloud will see the light about those early issues. I still have my complete run of all 36 (you wouldn't believe how much trouble I went to to get #36, though), but I can't believe the uninitiated wouldn't like the first ten as much as the last 25.

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