TOP 5 CHARACTERS WHO COMICS I WISHED I COLLECTED
We are all passionate about certain characters and will follow them to the ends of the world. No matter who is writing or drawing the story we follow it through thick and thin. As a completest for one character we experience the highs and the lows almost as if it were our own life. I’ve said many time people collect in different ways. Here I am posing the question what if money and space weren’t an issue, which comics would you collect? Here are my five picks.
The Works of Ed Brubaker
In true Top 5 style I’m opening with a creator rather than a character or team. I’ve often heard it said at a young age comic collectors follow characters. When they get older they follow creators. I myself have never brought into that one hundred percent. Lets say I did buy into it, then Ed Brubaker would certainly be in with a shout of being one to follow. I don’t think he could write a bad book if he tried. I like noir movies and novels anyway so keeping on that trend in comics Brubaker would be the go to guy. Fatale, Criminal and The Fade Out. All instant classics and thats not even mentioning his strong body of work for the Big Two.
Following a certain creator allows your to break the stigma of being a one publisher collector. Criminal is a wonderful series playing up crime cliches in a realistic setting. Each story arc is self contained but characters from all arcs inhabit each story. When you read the trades you get this picture quicker but if you were reading issue by issue it would be rewarding to see this world built brick by brick as it were. To this day Sleeper is the most well rounded story I have read in comics. When I first read the trade it was cover to cover I couldn’t put it down, the same with the second season. With some of the cliffhangers that series had reading it issue by issue would be infuriating but again rewarding when you got the next piece of the puzzle. The events of Sleeper were set up on a mini series called Point Blank. Making that the first stop on my Brubaker back issues.
With success in the independents recognition from DC and Marvel followed. He often worked on titles that would play to his strengths in noir crime. Short stints on both Batman and Detective Comics was followed by reinventing Catwoman for a thirty five issue run. All good runs to sink your teeth into. His crowning glory at DC would have to be Gotham Central in which he shared writing duties with Greg Rucka. Thirty six issues brought critical acclaim. I’ve read a few trades and it really is a beautiful series. Without selling it short it is essentially The Wire in Gotham. Moving onto his Marvel stuff I’m already a Daredevil fan although I’ve never dived deep into his run.
Also I read his Immortal Iron Fist run and it is brilliant. With Danny Rand hitting Netflix this year expect a price hike. I’m hoping a lot of Brubakers work on the character makes the show. Then he stopped being the noir crime guy for a while and became the noir espionage guy with work on Captain America. He brought back Bucky! He killed Cap! There would be no Winter Soldier movie without Brubaker think about that! It is probably Marvels strongest film to date. Whether I’d get all the Cap stuff is a big question. Though the standard is very high I may find it hard not to. I have a strong taste for espionage, capes and old war flash backs and he is the best in the business and telling fresh new stories in that genre. Even though a lot of his stuff treads the same path nothing ever feels samey. Everything is fresh and exciting. Your never disappointed after reading anything Ed Brubaker has written.
Most fun to collect: Gotham Central #1-36
Holy Grail: Captain America #25 (vol.5) Death of Cap
As a Wolverine guy and someone who would read anything Weapon X related there was a time in my collecting when Deadpool seemed the next obvious step. Then he went and just became this behemoth of a star and collecting him wasn’t for me. It was around the time he guest starred in Wolverine Origins. Daniel Way seemed to have a good handle on him and it was soon announced he would be doing a new ongoing for The Merc with a mouth. The fact the first story arc tied in Secret Invasion was what turned me off. Deadpool has certainly developed a lot from the character that got his ass handed to him in New Mutants #98 to the Wade Wilson in last months issue. After the series by Way in 2008 a plethora of new Deadpool centric titles seem to drop monthly. Would I get them all?
I think in all reality it would be a series by series trail. Deadpool Corps would make the cut as it offers something different by being a team book. Deadpool Killustrated seems a fun read and a concept you could only get away with with Deadpool. Anything Gwenpool related would definitely not make the cut the same for Agent X. Agent X I might stretch to a trade. It came out at a time when Deadpool wasn’t a big name and they tried to reinvent him with mixed results. Maybe at some point I’d pick up the trade. The series Cable & Deadpool brought him some attention in the mid 00’s. With Cable rumoured to be in Deadpool 2 it would be worth picking these fifty up while it is cheap.
It is a series that had a strong fan base so I assume it is relatively good as well. Searching for older issues at conventions is a big part of being a collector. For me it is the best part. With Deadpool having so many current series getting the back issues would provide the excitement. He started out with two four issue mini series which may prove expensive with his new popularity. His first on going ran for seventy one issues and these can vary in price and quality. I doubt I would pick up his sporadic appearances in X-Force or when he joined The Thunderbolts. Uncanny X-Force I collected anyway so more than likely I still would have read that in this scenario.
Most fun to collect: #57-60 (vol.1) Agent of Weapon X
Holy Grail Issue: New Mutants #98
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
As a youngster I had no idea the turtles originated in comics. To me they were a cartoon and toy line I loved. The 90’s movie in my opinion should make any comic movie Top Ten. So when IDW launched their new ongoing comic in 2011 my childhood shouted “Buy it idiot.” So I did and it continues to impress each month. Now I know what I know I think about how it would be if I collected all the TMNT comics from down the years. First off it would drive me insane. I rarely see TMNT back issues at UK conventions. Tracking down those early issues would be the hardest part. They are so rare now and so expensive. In doing research for this I didn’t no the first run reached sixty two issues.
The second volume only produced thirteen. In the early days of success Mirage put out the micro issues focusing on one turtle per issue. They would be fun to hunt down as would the martial arts training manuals they released. Again one for each turtle. Also if I got really into continuity I could track down any old Fugitoid comics. The second volume only ran for thirteen issues so I would look to get that out of the way quick. I would probably rule out any comics that were just related to any cartoon being aired at the time. Volume Three is the controversial period and I would get a kick out of hunting these down. This volume was published by Image and departs drastically from the normal turtles we know and love.
With that in mind I still think they would be good to read just because they are so different. And in a way you have to admire the creators at Image for taking a popular property and trying to make it more of a mainstream comic success. They were essentially taking it away from the cartoony stuff which made it popular back to its black and white comics beginnings. Volume four which was written by Peter Laird basically strikes Volume Three from existence and picks up fifteen years after volume two. Again it seems to have some cool story points going on and not being too old wouldn’t be too highly priced if I found them.
Most fun to collect: Volume Three (Image)
Holy Grail Issue: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (1984)
This is pushed into number two because I may actually start collecting this. I thought about it long and hard and heard nothing but good about the series. So I’m planning on hunting down the trades. I’ve always been Marvel and even though I’m nearly thirty switching to hunting down back issues of a DC book still makes me feel uncomfortable. Trades I can stretch too. Now would be the worst time to start collecting back issues of Teen Titans anyway. Young Justice is coming back, there are daily rumours the Titans will be the next DC team on TV, Cyborg is in the JLA movie and Deathstroke is in the next Batman flick.
Prices for Titans comics are going to sky rocket! Back in the day Teen Titans went toe to toe with the X-Men it was the height of DC/Marvel rivalry. You were either one or the other. Like I said I’ve only ever heard great things about and rightly so. The New Teen Titans and Tales of the Teen Titans were written and drawn by icons of the industry Marv Wolfman and George Perez. It was a perfect collaboration. You wouldn’t have the successful Young Justice cartoon without Teen Titans. Robin wouldn’t have become Nightwing with out Teen Titans. No Teen Titans, No Deathstroke! The line up Wolfman and Perez put together for hardcore fans rolls of the tongue like the members of The Beetles. Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Cyborg, Changeling, Starfire and Raven.
What we think of as team dynamics in superhero comics more than likely came from Wolfman and Perez’s run on Titans. It is because of great story telling those characters remain popular today. Collecting Teen Titans comics comes with two lengthy volumes and some annuals. But the jewel in the crown would have to be ‘The Judas Contract’ #42-44 and Annual #3. You read that right an epic and important story done in four issues, not six or eight or twelve just four! Writing this I’m having second thoughts about just picking up the trades. Wolfman and Perez also had a number of well told stand alone issues in the run. It’s like they were writing Titans just for me.
I love done in ones! The only danger would be would I be looking to get every team members first appearance outside of the Titans? A Detective Comics #38 (1940) is going to set me back a fair bit! In 1982 there was a crossover with their sales The Uncanny X-Men. Easy to find and still relatively cheap on eBay. New Titans: Games. Which is a out of canon graphic novel released in 2011 by the original creators sounds like a good read. The last obvious point to make is if I collected Teen Titans comic I’d then be looking to buy all the Young Justice DVDs.
Most fun to collect: Tales Of the Teen Titans #42-44 plus Annual #3 (The Judas Contract)
Holy Grail Issue: New Teen Titans #2 (First Deathstroke)
I had read a few Green Arrow comics before I became a fan of the TV series Arrow. I loved both Kevin Smiths Quiver and Brad Meltzers Archers Quest story arcs. Naturally before Arrow aired I checked out The Longbow Hunters by Mike Grell. It is often referred to as The Dark Knight Returns for Oliver Queen. So I have prior knowledge of the character before I start crawling through long boxes at conventions looking for old back issues. I would start with the Smith stuff as it was my introduction to the character and I would like to read the second arc he down featuring his creation Onomatopoeia.
At the same time I think I would still be easy and quite cheap to pick up newer versions like the New52 run which introduced elements from Arrow. Some arcs were by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino so if it is as good as Old Man Logan I’m in. Year One by Andy Diggle is a heavy influence on the TV series making it appealing to buy. Again like with Teen Titans I would want to get all the Deathstroke appearances before Afflecks Batman is released. An escalation in price is inevitable. I would get a real kick out of hunting down the issues with appearances from characters that have appeared on Arrow.
But again if I pick up first appearances of the cast of Arrow I risk running myself into the poor house. Using Black Canary who first appeared in 1948 as an example in Flash Comics #86. That can’t be cheap or easy to find! After The Longbow Hunters Grell took over the monthly title with his darker take. As this plays to my tastes I would make that next on my hit list. His tun includes Shado, corrupt CIA agents, mercenarys and Oliver killing all good stuff and all been used on TV. Now I have to make a confession. When I decided to put Green Arrow at number one some piece of comics history some how slipped my mind. All I have to say is three words and I could lose my geek credentials. Hard travelling heroes. How did I forget this?
In #76 of Green Lantern (vol.2) Green Arrow became a co-feature. The two characters travelled America tackling all sorts of social issues. As it is really a Green Lantern volume perhaps I would just treat myself to a hardback collection rather than getting the single issues. It is a big part of both characters history so if I was a hardcore Green Arrow fan I would have to have it in one format or another. Until after his team up with Hal Jordan Oliver Queens appearances were very nomadic. Which would make it equal parts fun and annoying to hunt down.
There are collections of his back up appearances in Adventure Comics, Worlds Finest and Brave and The Bold. In Brave and The Bold he first sported his goatee. Some of the nineties stuff seems mixed in quality but in this scenario I’m a Green Arrow completest. My soft side would also want me to pick up Green Arrow/Black Canary as I can be a sucker for good old fashioned romance. Would Green Arrow have got the number one spot without the TV series? In all honesty its hard to say. In the scenario I’ve created I am neither a DC or Marvel guy so its open season on good story telling.
Most fun to collect: #1-10 Volume 3 (Quiver)
Holy Grail Issue: More Fun Comics #73 (1941)
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
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Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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