My local comics retailer is having a huge sale on its non-key back issues and bundles on comics, scaling up the discounts from week to week. I started thumbing through those long boxes at 50 per cent and got some great deals, but when the discounts hit 70 and 80 per cent, I was a man on a mission. I got everything you see here at those deep discounts, which means most of those Bronze Age goodies came in at well under a buck apiece.
I joked with the manager that he’s tormenting me and that the sale was merely a ploy to shift storage from the shop to my house. But at those discounts, who could possibly resist?
I’m not a major Howard the Duck fanatic, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to get the late Steve Gerber and the late Gene Colan’s iconic works in their original format. And with an installment from Howard’s run for U.S. president included, it was a no-brainer. I’ve already read #8, and Gerber’s replacement of character assassination with literal assassination made for an interesting and particularly relevant read.
Martial-arts movies were a staple of the 1970s, so it should have come as no surprise that kung-fu and karate would have found their way into comics in the Bronze Age. This trio of such comics look like a lot of fun, and the Iron Fist issue, though not in pristine condition, is a gem, as it’s John Byrne’s first work on the character. Byrne and writer Chris Claremont teamed on the character before they made their lasting mark on Uncanny X-Men some time later.
Also lurking at affordable prices (even before the discounts) in those back-issue bins were the three issues of DC’s Showcase that revived the concept of the Doom Patrol, along with one of the members of the original Silver Age team. With Jim Aparo covers and interiors by Joe Staton, what’s not to like? And lo and behold, I found the 100th issue of the series as well, featuring almost every character that headlined the title throughout its run (while it began in 1956, the book was on a seven-year hiatus/cancellation break from 1970 to 1977, when it returned with that issue introducing the new Doom Patrol).
Who would have thought back in the Bronze Age of comics that the Avengers would become the most dominant franchise at the movies in the 21st century? No one, that’s who. But as much as I love taking in a Marvel Studios film on the big screen, I think I enjoy thumbing through some vintage back issues just as much. I snagged some great random issues of the series, including one issue each featuring John Byrne and George Pérez artwork, as well as an early Nebula appearance from the mid-1980s.
I’m a sucker for comics featuring characters from DC’s Golden Age, especially those from the 1960s and later after DC had introduced its multiverse concept and Earth-2 as the home of those champions from the Second World War. I’m always on the lookout for affordable back issues of the Dollar Comics issues of Adventure Comics featuring the Justice Society, and this one tells the original McCarthy-era “end of the JSA” story. And I’ve always had a soft spot for the the Quality-published heroes that DC brought together under the Freedom Fighters banner. And as for those other random Bronze Age comics, how could anyone expect me to resist a Scalphunter/Bat Lash encounter and an early Black Lightning comic purportedly featuring another Black Lightning?
As I noted earlier, the sale also included bundles of comics, some of which featured a random smattering of issues from one title or from a theme, or complete runs of limited series or story arcs. I’ve long been aware of Rich Koslowski’s Three Geeks, but I can’t recall if I have any issues in my collection, and this pile of 10 issues, both self-published and some under the Image Comics banner, was too good a deal to pass up. And while DC’s attempt to group the heroes it acquired from Charlton Comics years ago as a new team called L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons – oy), an opportunity to peruse a complete six-issue series by Bob Layton and the late Dick Giordano at less than 50 cents an issue wasn’t one I was going to pass up.
I don’t know when I’m going to get to read through all of these comics, given the piles of others waiting to be read around here, but I’ll have a smile on my face when I do.