Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Marvel Essentials Series That Deserve Another Volume

Long-time followers of my blog will know that I love love love love love the Essentials series. I adore getting huge chunks of comics for a ludicrously reasonable price and tearing through twenty issues at a time of a classic title. They don't come out nearly often enough for my tastes, unfortunately, which means that not only are they not collecting some of the series that I want at all, they're also frustratingly slow in getting out more of the ones that they've started. Don't get me wrong--I understand that top priority will always go to the next Spider-Man, Cap, Thor, Iron Man and whoever else has a movie coming out soon. (Which may mean we might actually freaking see 'Essential Guardians of the Galaxy'!) But there are a lot of titles I want the next volume of, and I want it now. In reverse order of desirability:

10) Howard the Duck. Yes, I know this one's crazy. I know that the post-Gerber issues supposedly suck, and that they're not a patch on his great work on the series and that they were just an attempt to cash in on the character after he got sick of dealing with Marvel and quit. I'd still like to see them, just to make that judgment for myself. They'd also probably have room here to collect all the material Gerber did once he reconciled with Marvel before he died, which would be a nice gesture.

9) Captain Marvel. They've got two volumes out, and I think a third would actually bring them right up to 'The Death of Captain Marvel'. I'd like to see that, for the sake of closure if nothing else. Never been a big CM fan per se, but it'd be nice to have his story completed in one set of accessible volumes.

8) Doctor Strange. There were a lot of good Doctor Strange runs in the late 70s/early 80s, and the Essential series is on the verge of getting to them. My dream run goes all the way up through Roy Thomas' return to the series alongside Jackson Guice in the late 80s, before they got all 90s with the character and lumped him in with the Midnight Sons in a failed attempt to make him "edgy". (Oh, who am I kidding. As part of an Essentials run, I'd even take that.)

7) The Defenders. As with Captain Marvel, I think that one more volume should just about finish the series off. It'd be nice to get the original run collected, right up where it gets canceled and dovetails into the first issue of X-Factor. Plus, there was a certain apocalyptic splendour to the series finale; it's not quite the original Doom Patrol, but the team did implode in a pretty impressive way, and it'd be nice to read it all in one big story.

6) X-Men. Totally unfair, I know, because the odds of them not continuing to collect the X-Men are pretty slim even though Volume Eleven makes a good stopping point (it's the end of the Claremont era.) But just because they're likely to collect it doesn't mean I want it less. This was about where I stopped reading the X-titles, primarily because it was too expensive to keep up with them and there were too many series to keep track of and there was too little going on in each issue. The Essential version cures pretty much all those ills at once, so I say bring it on!

5) X-Factor. Pretty much everything I said about X-Men applies here, with the added bonus that the next volume would collect most of Peter David's original run on the title, which was absolutely divine. Vic Chalker and his family, Strong Guy, Cyber, and I'm pretty sure the X-Cutioner's Saga falls into this era too. Fun stuff, even if the end of X-Cutioner's Saga made it clear that they had no idea at the time who Stryfe and Cable were going to be. (Their dialogue makes literally no sense in light of their later origins.)

4) Web of Spider-Man. There is just no way I'm turning down mid-to-late 80s Spider-Man. Amazing, Spectacular, Web...I'm a sucker for all of it. This one's on here pretty much as the representative of the trio, because there's a little less of it than there is of the other two and I have fond memories of it. (And if they go far enough, we could get the Clone Saga! How sad is it that I actually enjoy 90s schlock when it's cheap enough and I can read it all in one sitting without having to open bags.)

3) Power Man and Iron Fist. There's still, I think, another volume or two to squeeze out of their original run, and that was a fun era on the title. The two characters had a great chemistry, they're still popular...or at least, Marvel's still pushing them on people, which may or may not be the same thing but I love reading their old series. They were hard to find on the newsstands when I was a kid, and all I really remember is that Iron Fist died at the end in a very stupid way. I'd like to go back and actually read it all, though.

2) She-Hulk. This one's a sneaky one, because the first volume collected her whole 70s run. Which means that a Volume Two would jump ahead to her classic John Byrne run, which I have fond-but-vague memories of as one of the great action-comedy series. Byrne's art in black and white is always easy on the eyes, too. I'm sure this one would be popular; it's got some serious nostalgia working for it.

1) Silver Surfer. Volume Two of this series was basically Volume One of the characters 80s title, and it deserves a Volume Three which would actually be a Volume Two. Steve Englehart's old run on this series was absolutely pure, unmitigated awesome. Better yet, continuing further would hit Starlin's run, and if there's anything that would sell right now it's the comics featuring the original return of Thanos. Add in the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos Quest, and you've got some truly great cosmic epics. I'd love to see it all in a single big, thick, black and white chunk.

1 comment:

RichardAK said...

You know, Dark Horse is now releasing some omnibus volumes that are basically the same format as the Essential and Showcase volumes that Marvel and DC put out. For example: http://www.darkhorse.com/Books/22-087/Nexus-Omnibus-Volume-1-TPB. Maybe you could now do one of you story engine essays on Nexus.