My mother-in-law sent me a check for Christmas, part of which was used to buy some new clothing without holes, and part of which went toward a stack of new trade paperbacks in an attempt to combat my increasingly stressful symptoms of comic book withdrawal.
So I zipped over to InStock Trades, a great discount graphic novel site, and ordered a big, heaping stack of stuff.
First, I picked up the latest volume of Dark Horse Comics' Chronicles of Conan series (Volume 13), reprinting the old Roy Thomas-John Buscema Marvel Conan the Barbarian comics. As much as I like Dark Horse's current Conan material, I like these more, and Thomas' back-of-the-book commentary is always a fascinating read.
Then I snagged DC's Sword of the Atom trade, collecting the 80's miniseries (and three specials) written by Jan Strnad and illustrated by the legendary Gil Kane. I loved these books when they came out back in '83-'88, as they took one of my favorite DC super hero second-stringers and plopped him down into an Edgar Rice Burroughs' inspired adventure with a bunch of six-inch tall sword-swinging aliens living in the Amazon jungle.
I also picked up the second Criminal trade by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. I really enjoyed the first story arc, and I'm looking forward to reading more of Brubaker's solid, hardboiled storytelling.
Next, I grabbed the first two volumes of Checker Books' Dick Tracy: The Collins Casefiles, collecting the first two years of Max Allan Collins' tenure on the classic newspaper strip, with art by the underrated Rick Fletcher. I'll definitely be reviewing these two volumes – and the Criminal trade I mentioned above – in my Guns In The Gutters blog once I've had a chance to read 'em.
Best of all, though, I was able to get DC's Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons, a collection of those gloriously kooky stories from World's Finest Comics back in the Seventies about the groovy, sideburned teenage sons of DC's most famous heroes. Written by Bob Haney and drawn by Dick Dillin – one of my first "favorite" artists – these stories are fantastic! Dated and goofy, to be sure, but I loved them as a kid, and a few years back, I tried to hunt down and pick up all the original issues that featured the boys. I'm still missing a few, so this trade paperback is a godsend. I never imagined that DC would ever reprint these since they're so period-specific and a continuity nightmare, but I guess they're now considered "kitsch."
Anyway, thanks to the generosity of my wife's mother, I've got plenty of stuff to read over these next few cold, winter weeks. I think I'll start with Sword of the Atom and see how it holds up.