Friday, 25 September 2009

What The Hell Is Wrong With Me?!!

Ok, I've talked about this briefly before, but I'm gonna mention it again 'cos, well, I think it's funny.
Looking at that Sabre post reminded me of this particular affliction that seems to affect only comic fans: I've suffered from it my entire collecting life, and it still bugs me. I am, of course, talking about getting slightly different versions of the same material.
I got that Sabre run about a year & a half ago at a second hand book/comic shop here in sunny Norwich, BUT I only bought issues 3 to 14 ( when the run ended ) and not the first two issues, which reprint the original graphic novel, in colour.

At the time, the collector in me was wrestling with my common sense, and urging me to get those issues. Bravely, I resisted. Firstly, they were prohibitively expensive for material I already had, and secondly THEY WERE MATERIAL I ALREADY HAD.
The other day, I popped back into that shop, and sure enough those two issues are still there.
(You'd think, if you hadn't sold something in a year and a half, you'd get the message and lower the price, wouldn't ya?) Anyway, I still refuse to buy 'em. Yeah, it does mean I don't have a complete set of Sabre, which as I'm sure you all know, is the most irritating itch in a comic fan's life. And, if I did buy 'em, I could easily justify it in all kinds of ways: There's a couple of new Gulacy covers, it's in colour so that's slightly different, there might be a back up or two, there's bound to be a new introduction from McGregor, the letter pages are always good in Sabre, and on & on.
But no, dammit, I'm NOT gonna succumb! This is ridiculous! How many copies of the same thing do I need?! Take Gil Kane's classic newspaper sci-fi epic Star Hawks, for instance. I've got this book, lovingly produced by Uber Kane fan Daniel Hermann, and ok, it's got a few production faults, but it's the whole series. I own the whole series of Star Hawks.

So why oh why, if I'm at a convention, and I see either of these two books do I want them?!

Well, Pete, you get a couple of new Gil covers, and anyway, they're just nice to have and...NO! NO! THE MADNESS HAS TO STOP SOMEWHERE!
I've got shelves full of Essential's & Showcase's, and as an English comic fan, who originally read most of this stuff in black & white anyway, I don't mind the lack of colour. You can get a better feel for the artwork and inking. But I still want half of the original's reprinted in those books. Still want the Epic Killraven graphic novel, still want Shazam! No.3, still want a complete set of Tales Of The Zombie. Why?! It's in BLACK & WHITE!! I'VE ALREADY GOT IT!!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!!


  1. I have a number of early Lee/Ditko SPIDER-MAN comics, their MARVEL TALES reprints, the ESSENTIAL versions of same, the newspaper comic book insert reprints from last year, the redone John Byrne versions, and the Barnes and Noble color collections from 2004 (and probably a few other versions) and recently I dl the whole magilla from the Internet too! Can never have too much Lee/Ditko Spidey!

  2. Pete, you're not alone: this all sounds scarily familiar. Perhaps we ought to start a support group :-)

  3. Pete:

    I'm sure this piece resonated with a lot of us. I try to keep the number of times I buy the same material in check, too. I prefer the first American printing of a given material as my collectible copy. While I read all of my collectible copies, I do buy collected editions of material I really like for rereading purposes. (I'm super picky about condition with my comics. But not my collected editions; they go on vacations, into the tub, ride along in my work bag, etc.) I try to be strong and say no when it comes to comic-format reprints (i.e., Marvel Tales, Classic X-Men, etc.), and subsequent reprint editions. It doesn't always work though: I own the original X-Men comics, Classic X-Men, Essential X-Men, and the Uncanny X-Men omnibus. And every time I run across a copy of the Dark Phoenix Saga TPB I think "oooooh, I should buy this!" So far, though, I've been strong on that one.

    One related area I struggle with: Buying an issue I don’t want as to not break up a run. You know what I mean, in the middle of a long, consecutive run of issues, there is suddenly a reprint issue, or an issue by a creative team I don’t like, or an issue that’s just screamingly filler. (Think X-Men #110 or Daredevil #162.) Aargh!!! I hate that!


  4. You guys are worse than me! And as for fillers,I know watcha mean. I'd buy 'em at a con, 'cos they'd just niggle if I didn't, but these days ONLY if they're REALLY cheap, and only I've got everything else I need. BTW, Andrew, currently going through Essential X-Men 1 & 2 and loving it. Terry Austin's incredible inking is the thing you notice most in b & w,it's so perfect, it's like a machine did it.

  5. Pete:

    I don't think any artist is helped as much by the Essentials format as Terry Austin. The Byrne/Austin X-Men are almost an entirely new experience in B&W because of the clarity of Austin's inks. Two other volumes you might like to check out: 1. Essential Defenders Vol. 3. There's not a whole lot of Austin in this, but his work over Keith Giffen and Michael Golden is just stunning. 2. Essential X-Men Vol. 6. This is a post-Bronze volume, but features a couple Art Adams/Terry Austin collaborations, including X-Men Annual #9. I remember being so disappointed in the art when that annual came out, and always had suspicions that it was the awful "mando" paper and coloring were to blame. Check out that work in B&W: The detail is amazing!

  6. Issues 1 and 2 of Sabre can be found at reasonable prices at either or

    And if you need a excuse to buy them: each issue has a new backup story by Elaine Lee and Chales Vess ("Morrigan Tales").