Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Waiting For Magnus

As I've said before, I buy very few comics and graphic novels these days. I don't live close to a comic book store, and I don't have a lot of extra money. What cash I do manage to scrape up usually goes toward DVDs and the occasional crime or fantasy novel. Besides, I don't really have a lot of interest in modern mainstream comics.

But, once every few months or so, I come across a graphic novel or reprint collection online that I'd like to have. A few weeks back, I was reading Rip Jagger's Dojo, and came across a post about Dark Horse's Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. Volume One trade paperback, reprinting the first seven issues of the fantastic Gold Key science fiction series, written & drawn by the legendary Russ Manning. I have a few Magnus comics stashed away in my longboxes, and have always loved the series. The stories are fun and exciting, and graced with Manning's astoundingly clean art and clear, straightforward, graphic storytelling. Plus, you know, robots.

Anyway, I found a used copy online for a reasonable price, and ordered it. I'm waiting for it now, and hope that it will show up in my mailbox in the next few days. I also hope that it's in good shape. The seller had it listed as "Very Good," but I've noticed that, unlike comics, there appears to be no universal grading system for used book dealers.

This is the downside to buying old books (especially paperbacks) online - sure, you can find almost any title that you're looking for, and often at very reasonable prices (shipping'll kill you, though). But you can't hold it in your hand and inspect it before shelling out for it, to make sure that the spine isn't broken or the cover bent back, or the pages loose or overly yellowed. Most of the time, I've been pleased with my purchases... but there have been a couple of disappointments.

Anyway, fingers crossed. I'm looking forward to having these great comics in a single, handy, bookshelf format.


Charles Gramlich said...

That looks somehow familiar to me. The image that is. I'm not sure where I might have seen it.

Rip Jagger said...

I think you'll be satisfied if the copy is remotely decent. I thought I knew Magnus fairly decently from reading the smattering of reprints that Valiant did in conjunction with their new stuff back in the 90's, but reading the stuff in sequence really added a lot to it.

And since then, I've really grown in my absolute appreciation for Russ Manning. I knew he was the key artist on this series, but I didn't realize he was the writer too for all practical purposes and even did most of the early covers.

Glad I could point the way for once. You've done it for me several times.

Rip Off

Christopher Mills said...

I have a few of the Valiant reprints and a couple of the later Gold Key issues (which may be reprints of earlier stories).

Of the actual Valiant Magnus comics, the only ones I held onto were the Magnus/Nexus two-issue miniseries drawn by Steve Rude (gorgeous!) and the 1994 "Yearbook," drawn by Paul Smith.

Both Rude & Smith were very faithful to Manning's Magnus "look."

Christopher Mills said...

My copy showed up today in the mail. Great condition! (Phew!)

Quite a bargain, too, since it cost me less than $9!

Going to dig into all that Russ Manning sci-fi goodness later tonight!