Robot 6

What other creator-centric collections should DC consider?

Recently, an off-hand tweet by Kurt Busiek brought something interesting to mind. First, the tweet: “There are SUPERMAN BY GARCIA-LOPEZ and BATMAN BY ARCHIE GOODWIN hardcovers coming. Life is good.”

The two books he’s talking about are Adventures of Superman: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Tales of the Batman: Archie Goodwin, both hardcovers and both scheduled for release in April. It’s interesting because, by and large, DC Comics hasn’t released a lot of books focusing on a creator. Sure, the publisher has made exceptions for Alan Moore (DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore), Jack Kirby (Jack Kirby Omnibus) and Geoff Johns (The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus), but seeing it done for creators like Goodwin and Garcia-Lopez feels different somehow. While Goodwin was a positively epic force during his time in comics, he’s not exactly a household name in the modern parlance of comics fans (unfortunately), and Garcia-Lopez was an artist, not a writer like all of those listed above. DC, and comics in general, has shown itself to be very writer-centric in terms of the attribution of works, so for me this is a breakthrough — or at least a crack in the wall.

Spurred on by these ideas, I’m  beginning to think of what else, and who else, DC could capitalize on with its massive library of work created in the past 78 years. Here are some ideas:

Alex Toth: Although Toth never had a legendary run on a major title, this journeyman is held up as an artist’s artist, and rightly so. He did a handful of Justice Society-related stories, Supergirl stories in Adventure Comics, an issue of Blackhawk, a handful of Green  Lantern issues, and the piece for Batman: Black & White. A whole book could be dedicated to Toth’s war and Western comics at DC, collecting his work in Our Fighting Forces, Our Army At War, Star Spangled War Stories, Weird Western War Tales and Weird Western Tales.

Seth Fisher: Taken from us well before his time, the young artist still contributed a great chunk of work for comics, especially for DC. There’s the great, never-collected, two-issue Vertigo series Happydale he did with Andrew Dabb, and his Green Lantern: Willworld and Flash: Time Flies one-shots. They could also gather the shorts he contributed to DC’s Big Book Of titles, and the great Batman four-parter “Snow.”

Frank Miller: Miller did more at DC than just The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman & Robin. From interesting early work in Weird War Tales and Unknown Soldier to one-offs like a story with Walt Simonson for an issue of Orion, there’s enough there to make a nice little book. As a bonus, you could put the great number of covers he produced for various DC titles.

Mark Millar: Although he famously fell out with DC over The Authority, Millar still racked up a great body of work for the publisher (not even counting the Wildstorm imprint). He did a great four-issue stint on Action Comics with Stuart Immonen that today would sell like hotcakes, a brief Secret Society of Super Villains short with Chris Jones that went on to inspire Wanted, a run on The Flash and even a little known-issue of Batman. Sure. you might be making money off Millar’s name, but DC paid for those stories … so why not?

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The rest of Brubaker’s Catwoman. They’ve done one collection now. Collect the rest of the trades.

Better still, collect #25-37 of the run w hich, to my knowledge, have NEVER been collected. FFS, issue 24 ends on a freaking cliffhanger. I’ve never gotten a chance to read how that plot even ends.

Given this, a “Brubaker DC” collection or two wouldn’t be a bad idea, given that much of his Batman stuff is out of print and costs quite a bit to acquire. Throw that in with those never collected Catwoman and call it “Ed Brubaker’s Gotham” or something. Maybe some odds and ends from Gotham Central to round things out.

A Bernie Wrightson collection of short stories and anthology covers would be a great companion to the Swamp Thing hardcover.

What was Millar’s fall out over The Authority about?

Phil Foglio.

Andrew Collins

June 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm

My two favorite Superman artists have always been Curt Swan and Jerry Ordway, so I’d like to see a collection of stories drawn by either of those great artists.

I think Mike Mignola did some great work with the company in the late 80′s that could be put out as one collection, which could include his issue of Superman, the World Of Krypton mini-series, Cosmic Odyssey and the Gotham By Gaslight one-shot, plus some of his covers for other books.

Also, I think William Messner-Loebs did some highly underrated work for DC on books like Flash, Dr. Fate and Wonder Woman that has largely gone uncollected and ignored…

Michael Golden illustrated some excellent stories in Batman Family in the ’70s. I’d buy that collection in a heartbeat.

And how about a reprint of DC’s The Art of Walter Simonson trade?

How about:

JLA by Englehart
Dick Dillin collections (JLA, World’s Finest)
Bob Haney — the Best of Earth B

Jerry Siegel — rather unlikely given their current acrimony with his estate, but he really did do a lot of great Superman stories, over a period of decades.

Bill Finger — A lot of his Batman stuff is in print, but he’s another guy who worked on a lot of characters over a lot of years.

Curt Swan — Possibly the definitive Superman artist.

Carmine Infantino — The guy most responsible for ushering in DC’s Silver Age.

Steve Ditko — You know, I’d really rather see DC reprint all his old Charlton stuff and slap “The Inspiration for Watchmen” over it than Before Watchmen. Plus, there’s Hawk and Dove and Creeper.

Jack Cole — Does DC own the rights to any of his stuff besides Plastic Man?

Bruce Timm — Granted, he’s known more for his animation work, and I think most of his comics work is currently in print. But something collecting pitches, storyboards, and the like would be cool. Plus, since DC’s currently got the He-Man license, it’d be interesting to see some of his early work on the MotU mini-comics reprinted.

José Luis García-López is an under-rated master and I commend DC for giving him the respect that he’s due.

Having said that, he still got more recognition than an artist I always considered a criminally under-rated master; the fantastic Don Newton.
With a plethora of Batman, Aquaman and Marvel Family stories under his belt, the book would have no problems with sales on the basis of the characters…and would give this artist some of the limelight he always deserved but never quite received and educate the modern audience of a true master in storytelling.

Dick Giordano and Jim Aparo also scream “classic DC” to me.

The Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez centric 1982 DC Comics Style Guide. We’ve seen the art everywhere for thirty years, it’d be nice just to have it in a volume.

A big second to a TOTH collection and it should be a damn omnibus. You failed to mention Toth’s work in DC’s romance books, HOT WHEELS and PLOP! He did every genre and did them better than anyone. With IDW and Fantagraphics both dedicating tomes to this artists, there’s obviously a market for it. Hell, DC could even publish some of Toth’s storyboards for SUPER FRIENDS in the thing.

Personally, if they did it, I’d love to see some of the work in his original pencils, before it got muted by some inkers who just didn’t add to the work (not naming names here). But regardless of presentation, a Toth book needs to happen.

I also agree that Wrightson and Timm should have a collection, and I’d put in votes for Nick Cardy, Bob Oksner, Mike Kaluta and Sergio Aragones. To name but a few.

DC has been doing this for a while, they’ve also released creator-centric collections of work by Gene Colan, Jim Aparo, Marshall Rogers, and Don Newton.

The Michael Golden suggestion is a good one, there are enough DC stories by him to do a collection.

Other ideas:

Brian Bolland: short stories, covers, his Batman #400 sequence, etc.

Howard Chaykin: Batman: Dark Allegiances, his SOLO issue, his numerous short stories for DC’s anthology titles, etc.

Sheldon Mayer: Scribbly, Red Tornado, all his funny animal comics.

Frank Frazetta: Shining Knight, westerns, science fiction stories.

Sam Glanzman: All the U.S.S. Stevens stories.

A Moench/Gulacy collection (this would be mostly Batman work, along with some Green Lantern-related projects).

Huh…I was going to ask for a big, fat “Superman by John Byrne” collection, but now I see that DC did just that in a 6-volume “Superman: The Man of Steel” series already. Eeeenteresting…

Superman by Elliot S! Maggin. That would make me very happy.

I can’t believe no one has mentioned Gil Kane.

[quote=Rodrigo Baeza]DC has been doing this for a while, they’ve also released creator-centric collections of work by Gene Colan, Jim Aparo, Marshall Rogers, and Don Newton.[/quote]

…Well now I just feel silly.

Good on ya, DC! Keep up the classic collections!

…They haven’t done a Pérez Justice League of America collection yet, have they? That.

…They haven’t done a Pérez Justice League of America collection yet, have they? That.

They’ve done two, actually. I own them. They were part of the defunct DC CLASSIC COMICS LIBRARY line published in 2009 and 2010. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC_Comics_Classics_Library for more information.

A Mike Mignola Batman collection, please. A German edition has been done overseas already but nothing in the U.S. Put Gotham by Gaslight, his LODK issue, all his covers, short stories and anything else in one book. It’s already been done nicely for Darwyn Cooke and I’d love a similar Mignola hardcover.

I can’t believe no one has mentioned Gil Kane.

But he did a TON of work for DC. I’m not even sure how you’d organize the collections. Maybe separate volumes for (1) Batman, (2) Superman, and (3) other stuff, and just exclude all the Green Lantern? The bulk of it should be in the GREEN LANTERN OMNIBUS collections by now, I believe.

Let’s see:

Ramona Fradon – Metamorpho, Super Friends, etc.
Frank Robbins – Batman and the Shadow leap to mind.
The Studio (Kaluta, Wrightson, Chaykin, Jones, et al.) – These folks did some awesome fantasy/adventure/war/horror stuff in the ’70′s that I would love to see in a black & white Showcase edition.
Trevor Von Eden – His Batman Annual and issue #401 along with the fill-ins he did on Batman & The Outsiders were amazing and years ahead of their time.
Kevin Nowlan – His work that he pencilled and inked should fill a reasonable TPB, and I would love to see his Man-Bat Secret Origin reprinted.

Just a few there.

I’d love to get an absolute edition of Denny “Neil and Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow

“Sure, the publisher has made exceptions for Alan Moore (DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore), Jack Kirby (Jack Kirby Omnibus) and Geoff Johns (The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus),”

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just does not belong…

I want these to be given the Fantagraphics reprint treatment like their Ditko books:

Bernie Krigstein – DC prevented his work from being reprinted before when Fantagraphics did a retrospective yaers ago, but now that they’ve allowed IDW to reprint Toth work, why not the greatest cartoonist that ever lived? Complete archives.

Alex Toth – Complete archives, including the licensed stuff.

Frabk Robbins – The guy was one of the nuttiest, most avant cartoonists to work in mainstream comics. Perfect for boutique publishers like Fantagraphics.

They really should give free reign to small publishers to do justice on the unsung talent in their library. Adams, Johns, Aparo, etc., they’ve all got their time to shine. Its time for some others to get their due.

KaraokeFanboy

June 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

A definitive Denny O’Neil. Wouldn’t have to be everything, just those stories that really stuck out. The Batman, WW, GL/GA runs…

Toth’s “mystery” work from WITCHING HOUR and other such books is glorious, too. And “Bride of the Falcon,” from SINISTER HOUSE OF SECRET LOVE is gorgeous.

A HOT WHEELS book would be hard to do, as the rights are split three ways — DC, the animation company and Mattel — but it’d be a terrific book if someone could unsnarl it.

But then, if they’re going to unsnarl stuff, we need three Atari volumes — ATARI FORCE featuring the in-pack comics by Roy, Gerry, Gil Kane and Ross Andru, ATARI FORCE: THE SERIES and the sadly incomplete SWORDQUEST, with gorgeous George Perez art.

kdb

also the best of Bob Haney’s Brave and The Bold would be great.

By the way… Amazon has listings for these:

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN BY GIL KANE (ISBN 140123674X)

LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT BY ALAN DAVIS (ISBN 1401236812)

Not sure whether either has been solicited officially.

Alan Brennert. Batman: Holy Terror, a number of exceptional and touching Brave and the Bold stories, an important short in Detective 500, and other stories. In fact, I am kind of planning doing a custom bind of his DC work myself.

I would do something drastic for Wolfman’s Action Comics run. Yeah, I know that’s not what he’s known for, but it is some of my favorite Superman yarns of all time. And the backups were SO much fun!

Batman by Mike Parobeck. It’s a criminal shame that his run on the Batman Adventures comic isn’t in print.

@Andrew Collins – you beat me, but I’m glad we agree:

‘Also, I think William Messner-Loebs did some highly underrated work for DC on books like Flash, Dr. Fate and Wonder Woman that has largely gone uncollected and ignored…’

Yeah, these artist-themed collections arenothing new. I have all the Batman volumes released so far, and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming ones(especially the Alan Davis volume). I really like the Mike Parobeck idea; a few large collections could contain all his Batman work.
I’d maim someone for a few Norm Breyfogle collections.

Somehow I missed the suggestion of repritning all of Bruce Timm’s MOTU minicomics work. Grodd above, I’ve been waiting for someone to do some nice reprint collectionsof the old minicomics, and that would be a damn fine place to start.

It looks like DC’s going to make the creator-centric volumes a regular thing, and I have to applaud them for it. Making nice, big collections of the highlights from the publishers’ back catalog featuring some amazing writers and artist can bring in a whole new fanbase who haven’t had the chance to experience them. Hopefully will get additional volumes for Gene Colan and Don Newton, both men had long runs on the Batman books in the eighties. A Wonder Woman volume by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan would be cool, too. A book collecting all of the Superman minis in the early eighties, like World of Krypton, The Phantom Zone, and others would be great.

Andrew Collins

June 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I’ll also second the suggestion for a Sergio Aragones specific collection. He has done tons of short stories over the years for DC, especially back in the 70′s on their anthology titles. I’d buy a collection of those in a heartbeat.

Recently, they’ve released a series of Batman Hardcovers grouped by artists, with volumes so far including Don Newton, Gene Colan, Marshall Rogers and Jim Aparo and they’re bloody glorious.
And there’s an Alan Davis one coming up.

I know I’d love to see a Michael Golden one.

My top five suggestions would be:

1. Alex Toth

2. Alex Toth

3. Alex Toth

4. Alex Toth

5. Alex Toth

A great many of the best Bob Haney Brave & Bold stories were collected last year in the Jim Aparo Batman collection that DC published, which was all B&B stories in the first volume. I’m assuming the Archie Goodwin Batman collection will have some of Jim Aparo’s great Detective stories that appeared in the early 1970s. I would love to see more Aparo — the Adventurer’s Club comes to mind — and I think another publisher is doing a collection of his Charlton Phantom stories (along with those of the late great Don Newton). As to Steve Ditko’s Creeper and The Hawk & The Dove — DC did hardcovers of these, and The Shade, about two years ago.

Jake Earlewine

June 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I want to buy Russ Heath’s early run on Sea Devils (including Showcase). DC just got around to publishing Showcase Presents Sea Devils, which I bought, but what I really lust for is to buy a QUALITY PRINTING of those color-over-graytone covers that Russ Heath did with Jack Adler.

And all the fine covers Neal Adams did for DC should be collected in one book. Just the covers. LARGE.

Cole Moore Odell

June 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Mort Meskin’s DC work, headlined by The Vigilante and Johnny Quick is the book/series I’d most like to see, followed by Shelly Mayer and a collection of Seigel and Shuster’s pre-Superman output.

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