Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Almost every weekend, Tom Spurgeon puts out an open call for submissions to his "Five for Friday" meme (for lack of a better term), and whenever reasonably intelligent answers occur to me, I participate. This past weekend's subject: "Name Five Archival/Translation Projects That Aren't Happening Right Now (As Far As You Know) That You'd Love To See."

As is always, it seems, the case, my responses (to me, anyway) left a lot to be desired after reading them on Sunday morning. There were more than a few titles I wish I'd thought of instead of what I submitted. And, as usual, I saw many, many responses from others that I wish I'd thought of. And specifically, given the nature of the topic, I kept wishing that I'd named my submissions something different. It's my nature to second-guess myself at all times, you see- I was just raised that way. Anyway.

My published responses:

THE COMPLETE VENUS. Of course, as you will remember from my Friday night post, I'm just goofy about Bill Everett's goddess of love. This collection would have the entire contents of all 19 issues of her own title, and I'd make room for her 70's comeback in Sub-Mariner #57.

THE JERRY GRANDENETTI CAREER OMNIBUS: Another problem I have when I contribute to FfF is that I always seem to reference the same old comics obsessions I have; Thriller, Adventures of Bob Hope, Venus, Grandenetti, etc.. It keeps me from submitting sometimes. But anyway, I envision this as a career retrospective of the man's work, spanning his Eisner Studio days as well as his 60's tenure at Warren and his 60's-70's DC efforts encompassing war comics, horror works and his brief spell on The Spectre (inked by Murphy Anderson). Heck, I'd even make room for his Prez or Green Team. Of course I would, I'm a fan. Anyway, I won't hold my breath waiting for this, he's hardly a household name.

THE COMPLETE BILL EVERETT IN THE 40's-50's Yeah, I know it would make the Venus collection unnecessary, because all of them (that he drew, I'm thinking Maneely probably did some too) would be here. But he did a lot of not only Sub-Mariner stories, but horror and fantasy work as well and if it's collected, I'm not aware of it.

THE COMPLETE MIGHTY ATOM AND THE PIXIES: I still have a yellowed, coverless copy of an issue of Mighty Atom, and I treasure it as I continue to cling to the rapidly fading bits of my childhood that I still possess. Anyway, this was a fun little fantasy about a Superman-type little guy who defended other little guys against evil bug guys and the like. It's had a checkered publishing history, and I sure wish they were all available in one place.

THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE COLLECTION: Of course, you all know how much I prattle on about the Super-Hip era, but I have read only a very select few non-Super Hip Bob Hope stories. I'd like to read more of them, and again, it would be nice to have a hardcover or softcover collection. Of course, DC may not even have the rights to publish them anymore for all I know- I'm sure the rights are with the Hope estate, but goodness only knows how much trouble it would be to secure all the necessary permissions. Oh well.

Now, there are a few titles which I thought of well after I had sent off my email, and here they be:

A collection of THE LIFE AND LOVES OF LISA ST. CLAIRE, which appeared in their Young Love comic in the early 70's. Just because I'd like to read it, and haven't had much luck finding old back issues.

Also, a collection of MILLIE THE MODEL would be kinda cool. Thing is, though, those romance comics (to me, anyway) start out as fun but get kinda monotonous the more I read. If this wasn't priced too high, I wouldn't mind having a MILLIE book.

COLLECTED TERMINAL CITY: A wonderful early Vertigo series that deserves it.

TOMAHAWK: A Showcase version would be OK, but I'd sure like to reread these in color. Actually, read for the first time- I'm not sure if I've ever read more than two or three issues of Tomahawk OR Son of Tomahawk. I'm sure concerns about the portrayal of Native Americans would be a problem, but I'd sure like to have the chance to read them at my leisure...the Revolutionary War setting sounds interesting, even though it did devolve into giant bow-and-arrow-wielding apes and Frankenstein's monster as a Ranger type stuff, as was DC's wont in the mid-late 60's.

SEA DEVILS: I'm not sure that I've ever read more than one or two of these; a great deal of them boast Russ Heath art, and you'd think that alone would get these collected. For that matter, how about a

COLLECTED RUSS HEATH! As Stan would say, 'nuff said. John Severin, too. And Marie. Jim Aparo! Hell, if you get me going I could probably name at least a dozen artists that deserve a collected volume of their work for various companies, or one, if getting the rights would be too hard.

SUGAR AND SPIKE: Why in God's name this comic hasn't been reprinted by now is surely one of life's great mysteries.

Hey, why not a SHOWCASE PRESENTS: SHOWCASE!? I know there might be a problem with the early, licensed issues like Doctor No, G.I. Joe and I-Spy, but heck- you could leave them out and still have some mighty fine stuff, including early Atom, Flash, Rip Hunter, Challengers of the Unknown, Metal Men...and that's not even getting into the later stuff like the Maniaks, Angel and the Ape, the Creeper, and Bat Lash!

For that matter, the same could be done for many of Marvel's 70's anthology books like MARVEL PREMIERE and MARVEL SPOTLIGHT. I'm thinking specifically of a way to get Steve Gerber and Roger Stern's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY collected, plus a handful of projects that appeared in PREMIERE like Howard Chaykin's MONARK STARSTALKER and MARK OF KANE. Where else is that stuff gonna appear?

And while they're at it, I think it's high time Warren Ellis' HELLSTORM and DRUID got collected; either together or separately.

I wish that someone with a higher profile in the industry, a Fantagraphics or Top Shelf or AiT/PlanetLar (Hey Larry! Listen up!) would look in to bringing out a collected edition of John Findlay's amazing TEX ARCANA. Much of what appeared in Heavy Metal hasn't been reprinted, and ever since it stopped appearing in HM the dude's been plugging away posting new pages on his website (with no RSS feed, damn it) for several years now for no other apparent reason other than he wants to get the story out. I really think Tex is an overlooked masterpiece, and I wish more people were aware of it. And John, if you happen to read this, please revamp your website to make it easier to access newer pages, so I don't have to scroll through two dozen pages I've read already so I can read the one new one you've posted after a two month wait. Thanks!

As for other suggestions that caught my eye from other, more clever submittors:

From James Langdell, two really stood out: Marvel Essentials: NOT BRAND ECHH!
and Complete TROTS AND BONNIE. Love to see collections of both.

Evan Dorkin suggests a complete BARNABY by Crockett Johnson, which would certainly be interesting. I used to read Barnaby when I was a little kid, in My Weekly Reader books I think.

Lotta Lampoon readers out there, it seems, as Dan Steffan suggests a complete DIRTY DUCK, a wonderful idea that I wish I'd though of. I'd love to see Stephen DeStefano draw D-Duck, FWIW.

Casablanca Comics, as a collective, suggests another couple I wish I'd thought of: a CARtoons collection, as well as a FREAK BROTHERS omnibus. GREAT suggestions, esp. the CARtoons book. Add some CYCLEtoons as well!

Chris Keels has a wonderful idea: a collection of Mike Kaluta DC covers. Kaluta's done approximately one hundred billion covers for National since the 70's; this could be a big tome! But well worth it, I'm sure, even if it's limited to the last, say, 10 years.

Scott Cederlund chimes in witha collected HOT WHEELS from DC, by Alex Toth and others. LOVE to see it- back issues are hard to come by. Don't know if DC would have the rights to the name anymore, though!

William Burns' suggestion of a collected MEAT CAKE would be more appealing to me if I didn't already have all the back issues!

Chris Mautner's COMPLETE DICK BRIEFER'S FRANKENSTEIN is an excellent idea- I haven't read too many of those, and I'd love to read more!

Ed Brubaker's suggestions of separate volumes of Warren stories by Johnny Craig (oh, if only he'd lived to be able to do an issue of Brube's CATWOMAN or GOTHAM CENTRAL) and Toth is a great one. And, I might add, that Grandenetti chap should get collection #3.

"Chan" suggests JOHNNY HAZARD by the great Frank Robbins, which sounds good to me- again, I've only read a handful and would love to read more.

You'll notice that at no point did I suggest a collected THRILLER, amazing restraint on my part I know. I'm always calling for that to happen. Thing is, though, is that I'm afraid that it will catch on and then we'll get a revival, that won't involve Fleming or Von Eeden, and will be tweaked beyond all recognition, a comics monkey's paw scenario for sure. But if I did, and repeat after me, it would have to be "numbers 1 through 8 and leave off 9-12."

Next time I play Five for Friday, I'll try to do mo' better.

No comments: