Our picks this week. Please click the links to order from Amazon.
In honor of 60 years of Spider-Man, the web-slinger’s second solo series gets the Omnibus treatment! SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN not only increased the opportunities for Spidey action, it provided a platform to expand upon and explore the world of Peter Parker and his incomparable cast — J. Jonah Jameson, Mary Jane Watson, Flash Thompson and the gang! Of course, there was no shortage of villains, including the Vulture, the Lizard, Doc Ock and more! SPECTACULAR was also home to Frank Miller’s first Daredevil artwork, part of a sprawling saga featuring Carrion, the mysterious rotting horror with hidden ties to Peter Parker’s past — and a violent desire to punish him for the death of Gwen Stacy! Painstakingly restored, this is an Omnibus for the ages!
COLLECTING: Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) 1-42, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual (1979) 1, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) 13, Fantastic Four (1961) 218
As Conan the Barbarian closed out the 1980s, it became a time of transition for the title, with storytelling innovations coming from veteran creators and new talent alike. In Val Semeiks’ climactic run on the title, Conan weighs pleasure and pain in a magical desert city, wrests the Blade of Zed from a mad cleric, and runs a gantlet of fantastic beasts in a city of shadows. Larry Hama delivers the elegiac verse of “Drumsong” while Don Perlin writes and draws the Western-styled “The Mask of Vengeance.” Gerry Conway makes Conan a cat’s paw to a cult of cat people, after which Michael Higgins turns back the clock for an eight-issue “Young Conan” storyline exploring Conan’s formative years in Cimmeria.
COLLECTING: Conan the Barbarian (1970) 214-240, What If? (1989) 16
Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are now recognized as two of the greatest cartoonists in the history of the medium ― award-winning, world-renowned, critically acclaimed. But in 1982 when the first issue of Love and Rockets came out, they (occasionally working with their brother, Mario) were two young, struggling, unknown cartoonists who were bucking the dominant comic book trend of costumed characters and adolescent content with intimate, complex, humane, novelistic stories told in comics form. Love and Rockets has appeared in a variety of formats over the years and continues to this day, but the original 50-issue run represents a milestone in comics history. Fantagraphics is celebrating and honoring the 40th anniversary of Love and Rockets and the debut of the Hernandez's' first published comics with a gigantic eight-volume slipcase reprinting each issue in a facsimile edition.
Their organic body of work is available in a series of scrupulously and logically organized graphic novels, but here Fantagraphics honors the original quarterly format by presenting the comics as they appeared between 1982 and 1996, recreating not only the reading experience of tens of thousands of fans, but of a particularly fecund period in comics history when a new generation of cartoonists was exploding the idea of what comics could be. Painstakingly recreated in issue-by-issue facsimile, this boxed set includes every cover, comics page, and letter column (even advertising!) in seven hardcover volumes. An eighth volume densely collates selected essays, reviews, and profiles that appeared in the popular (and unpopular) press between 1982 and 1996, along with over 100 pages of additional, rarely-seen comics from the period by all three Brothers, plus dozens of book and magazine covers ― a virtual history of the growth of Love and Rockets and the simultaneous rise of the literary comics movement of which they were exemplars and trailblazers.