Thursday, August 6, 2009

into the mystery....


Do you ever take a dig through your back-issues and notice there are a lot of comics that you've never read, or barely remember reading?

Perhaps you bought them from the 50 cent bin at your LCS for no other reason than you had $3 and no change for the tax on something newer, or you were at a con at the tail-end of a Slurpee and Skittles-induced sugar high and bought a complete set of some series you once had a passing interest in only to let it languish away in a basement longbox, or maybe a friend, recently shacked up with his new, controlling girlfriend had to purge the bulk of his collection and burdened the unsellable fat unto you, or perhaps some well intentioned family member rescued them from a rummage sale at their local religious facility's parking lot and you thanked them for their well intentioned gift despite having no enthusiasm for what they found...

You know those books.
Those books that hold next to no nostalgic or sentimental value, books that when you look at them you wonder first why you have them, perhaps even questioning where you got them, moreover wondering if you've even read them.
Yes, those books.
You don't care about them, and yet... those books are surrounded by questions, a curious mystery forming around them, enticing you to revive their neglected and forgotten stories from their tightly pressed pages.

They might be battered, broken comic books, with serious creases and folds, perhaps even a missing corner or the cover half torn, hanging precariously from its staples. Someone must have loved it at some point in time.

Or they might be in pristine condition, placed direct from a distributer's delivery box into its plastic tomb, a backing board holding its shape. The tape holding the bag closed might be yellowed, gummied, almost impossible to open, distending the plastic as you try to open it. Or to your surprise, they used the good stuff, name brand Scotch tape, and it lifts easily off the plastic like it was magnetically repelled. The bag itself may have pressed so tight that the two sides have formed a seal, and you struggle to separate them, like finding the open end of a fresh from the box garbage bag. You might remove the book to find the image of the back cover faintly, yet permanently embedded, in reverse, in magenta, on the backing board.

Does the book have an odor? Does it smell familiar? Offensive? Do you even notice?

As you read the pages, do the images seem at all familiar, like deja vu? Or is it all new, this curiosity, this anomaly in your collection?

But most of all, is it any good?

Second Printers, tell us about any hidden gem(s)in your collection. That book that you never knew you had or that book that you forgot you had.
Or tell us about the coal you've recently discovered, the dead weight you finally read (or re-read) that only confirmed why it deserved to languish in the darkness for so long.

5 comments:

Devon Sanders said...

Take one of my all-time favorite characters, The Phantom Stranger mix in one of the most innovative artists of all-time, Mike Mignola.

It took me nearly five years to track down a complete set of the mini.

After five years, I got it home...

And never opened it.

Graig Kent said...

Heh. I picked up that Phantom Stranger mini two years ago, I started reading issue 1. Eventually I finished it and started reading issue 2, but am still not done reading it. It was handy to have as a reference for my halloween costume last year tho...

For me, I've got a short box beside my bed full of con things I've picked up the past three years, and have finally started making my way through it. Included within were a complete run of Hawkworld, a half-run of L.E.G.I.O.N., the two 80's Marvel Hercules mini-series, some Marshall Law, a whole lot of random things and the entire run of Teen Titans Spotlight, which I've been reading in an erratic order.

When I finally got to the Jericho storyline (which I left pretty much for last, since, well, it's flippin' Jericho) I was shocked upon reading issue 4 (as pictured) and having that deja vu sensation... I actually used to own that comic from when it originally was published and had completely forgotten about it... you know, back when you used to buy random issues of stuff as a kid and read it over and over no matter what it was. The panels were so familiar, and yet the story had no resonance with me... but now that I've read the entire 4-issue Jericho arch, it's actually not that bad (it's basically a testament to how sensitive a hero Jericho is, though), with some fairly nice Ross Andru art.

I plan to talk a little more about my discoveries, but I just got to thinking about this sort of thing and was wondering if anyone else had stories...

Nate said...

I recently discovered I have multiple (multiple!) #1 issues of Superpro, the Marvel superhero sponsored by the NFL.

Madpuppy said...

Last fall, I took all of my old longboxes from my parents' house and brought them to mine. Most of them I hadn't opened in 15-20 years. I found a lot of surprises- for example, I had a complete run of the late-80s series "Captain Atom" in my longboxes. Up until that point, I had no recollection of the series even existing.

lauragray said...

For me, These all its beautiful comics and great. Thank you so much for posting there all printings. Love them all.