Saturday, 8 August 2015


Image copyright DC COMICS

I've got a question for you all, but first let me waffle
on for a bit.  In 1969, I bought The MIGHTY THOR #158,
which was the first of a two-part story examining the origins of the
thunder god.  It was around six years before I finally got to read the
conclusion, which was reprinted (in two episodes) in the pages of a
1975 British weekly MARVEL title (SMCW #s 125 126 to be
precise).  Ten years later, I managed to obtain Thor #159 - along
with a replacement of #158 - both of which I still have today.
It's good to eventually catch up with one's past.

Another occasion was when I finally tracked down a copy
of the third WILLY The KID book by LEO BAXENDALE -
a mere 31 years after the fact.  Being able to place it on the shelf
alongside the previous two books (which I'd purchased when first
released) was a feeling of accomplishment, let me tell you.  Same
goes for when I obtained two missing issues for the 17 ish run of
X-MEN:  The EARLY YEARS a whopping 19 years after the
series had finished.  Then there was the 40 years between
buying the first CAPTAIN AMERICA King Size
Special and adding #2 to my collection.

However, the record time it's taken me to track down
a follow-up issue of a mag to find out how a story ends is a
whopping 46 (possibly 47) years.  The periodical in question
is WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #180 which I received today,
acquired from eBay for a modest price.  (For the story behind its
predecessor, click here.)  What's interesting (to me anyway) is the
fact that the door of the room in which I've just read the wrap-up,
bears the actual number plate of the house in which I lived when I
read the initial part of the tale all those years ago.  (I bought the
number from the then-current tenant of my former abode
back in 1991.)  A nice touch of continuity, I thought.

So, was it worth the wait?  Well, it's nice to finally know
what happened, but the issue was never going to make the
same impression on my consciousness as that of its predeces-
sor, simply because I'm not as impressionable as I was at 9 or
10.  One look at the first part of the tale and I'm back in my old
house again, the intervening years yet to occur, but I haven't
had WFC #180 long enough for it to conjure forth any
associated images in my mind.  That'll take time.

Anyway, enjoy the cover and a few pages from this latest
acquisition to my cataclysmic comics collection.  And here's
the question I mentioned at the beginning of this post:  What's
the longest period of time it's taken you to fill a missing gap
in your collection?  Can you beat 46 years?  Do tell.

Is this the first splash page in a U.S. mag to continue directly
from the cover?  If you can think of any others, let me know


Dunsade Dave said...

Approximately 30 years for me, Kid. I bought Iron Man 152 in a second-hand bookshop in 1985 or 86, and only got to read #153 last year. It felt a little strange reading 153 in that I knew the setting and the situation, but the actual events were completely new to me.

Kid said...

Strangely, for me, there's always a sort of 'anti-climactic' sensation following close on the heels of that sense of accomplishment I feel in finally finishing something I'd started years before, DD. Paradoxical I know, but that's the way it is. As time wears on however, the sense of achievement re-asserts itself.

Colin Jones said...

For me the longest time it took to finish a story was 27 years - in SMCW in 1975 I was reading the Spidey story where he has 6 arms and he fights Morbius the Living Vampire but I missed the final part. In 2002 I bought a Spider-Man Marvel Essentials volume and finally got to read how the story ended.

Kid said...

Did you feel you'd finally fulfilled some long unfinished task, CJ? Or weren't you bothered?

TC said...

No way I can beat 46 years. Twenty, maybe. I had Avengers #43, Tales of Suspense #88, and Thor #132 when they were new, but I missed the next several issues of each. Years later, I bought the various reprint series (Marvel Triple Action, Marvel Double Feature, Marvel Spectacular) and finally read the conclusions to the Living Planet, Captain America's showdown with the Red Guardian, and Cap's umpteenth battle with the Red Skull. And all seemed like an anticlimax.

I had Fatman the Human Flying Saucer #2 and #3 when they first came out in 1966 or '67. In the 1980's, I found #1 in a local comic book store, and thus acquired a complete set. Such as it was.

I had World's Finest #178, but never had #180. (#179 was a reprint issue, not part of the arc.) I saw a copy of #180 in that same shop where I had found Fatman #1, and the price was reasonable, but I still didn't buy it. Since it was an imaginary story, not canon, I didn't really care how it turned out.

Kid said...

Yeah, but they're ALL imaginary stories, eh, TC? To be honest, I didn't really start wondering what happened next until I got my replacement for #178, many years ago - but since then, I felt compelled to one day acquire #180. DC released a replica edition of the Giant-Size #179 several years back, so I now have all three.

Phil said...

Beats me. I don't follow up, my reading habits were just to read the comics. DC wasn't into long story lines back then and marvel reprinted their best story arcs several times, such as Galactus or Thor vs Mangog.
I do recall a JLA comic team up with the JSA where I never got to read the story with Superman standing on the cover saying one of them has to die and only lately did I ever get to read it. But that doesn't count since I didn't actually own the comic.
It did take me decades to track down a decent copy of Mary Marvel 5 ever since i saw the cover art reprinted in Sterankos history of comics it's the one she's riding a butterfly. But again I never read the comic so that doesn't count.
Usually I just give up! Because I've forgotten the storyline.

Kid said...

Those comics couldn't have been doing their job, Phil, if they didn't entrance you enough to wonder what happened next. I've still to read Superboy #148 to find out what happened in #146 (again, the middle ish was a Giant-Size reprint mag). I first read #146 in December 1968, so that's very nearly 47 years.

TC said...

I had Justice League #100 and #101, with the first two episodes of a three-part Justice League/Justice Society/Seven Soldiers of Victory team-up, in 1972. I missed #102, but finally read the full serial when it was reprinted in a DC digest ca. 1980. I think #102 may have been that one with Superman on the cover saying, "To save the world, one of us must die."

The reprint did cut out a brief scene where Green Lantern rescues some kids from an earthquake, but I probably would not have known the difference if I hadn't seen the original.

And, yeah, the term "imaginary story" is pretty silly. As if any of them were real.

Kid said...

I think when I finally acquire Superboy #148, that'll be last continued tale that I never got to read the 2nd part of when I was a kid. If there were ever any others, they didn't leave an impression on my young mind, I'm afraid. What's scary, TC, is that it doesn't seem anywhere near as long ago as it actually is since I first read WFC #178 and Superboy #146. Someone hit that pause button.

Colin Jones said...

Kid. I did think of it as an unfinished task but I didn't buy the Spidey Essential just to read the ending of the story, I bought it for purely nostalgic reasons to re-read all those SMCW stories.

Kid said...

Ah, nostalgia - the reason for this blog's continued existence, CJ.

Phil said...

It was more luck than anything. I read a lot of the Marvel super special large format reprints where they collected the storylines. The JLA one I got in a department store on vacation in Asia and when I got back to the UK of course there was no way I could find the next issue. There weren't even any comic book stores in London then and I'm sure I read the whole run as a reprint someplace. But by then I wasn't a kid any more. I did like the JLA two parter where they met the three demons, I think that was reprinted in the 70s which is where I read it. DC Secret Origins when they reprinted golden age stuff was a favorite.

Kid said...

Phil, I thought you were American (going by your spelling and phraseology), so if that's the case, did you spend some time in England, or are you a Brit who emigrated to the States?

Phil said...

I am but I spent time in school in the UK in the 70s. That's why I read those Marvel BW reprints. I was already familiar with the characters so for me it was fun reading their early adventures and UK comics. We would visit family in Asia where I got most of the up to date US color comics (I know don't ask me why they had them but they did) and when we went to France I got French versions of color Marvel comics. I really enjoyed these as they were Buscema Avengers in full color in French. This was the early 70s before comic shops even opened in the UK , but once Forbidden Planet opened up I stopped with the BW reprints and saved up for the U.S. Imports . The good thing about UK Marvel was I got to read all those early stories back in the day before they were readily available so I was more informed than a U.S. of my age would have been.

Kid said...

Ah, I see. Lucky you - you had the best of both (and a bit) worlds then.

Christopher Nevell said...

After 43 years I've finally got to the end of the Septimus strip that started in the nursery comic Seven and concluded in Esmeralda. The clever hedgehog joins his family in Happyland where they presumably live happy ever after.

Kid said...

D'you know, I'm sure I used to buy Esmeralda. I wonder if I bought Seven as well? Google here I come.

Jerry Carr said...

Adventure Comics #416. It took me 43 years JUST to identify it! I was 5 years old, and my mom had handed me a dollar or two to pick out my own comic at the grocery store. I agonized over the decision--it was either a comic book full of female heroes (I still have a crush on Wonder Woman), or a random Marvel Treasury edition (that I've long since acquired). I ran to ask my mom if I could get both, but realized on the way that I had lost the money she gave me. I was so ashamed that I clammed up, and didn't say what had happened. I never saw that comic again. I could never remember the title, number, or publishing date. I asked at conventions, at comic shops, message boards--all I could remember was it was a white cover with lots of pretty girls. Just a couple months ago, I had this discussion with a long-time friend, who shares my fascination with old comics. He said, "Adventure 416. I don't want it anymore--I'll sell it to you for ten bucks."

When I saw it, I almost cried. A gorgeous Oksner Supergirl on the white cover, with a bevy of beauteous superheroines. Sure, the stories were reprints, even then. Sure, the charm of the stories doesn't satisfy my 48 year-old self near as much as my 5 year-old self. But, y'know what? I'd buy it again--it's a "save" point in my memory--to a simpler time when a buck could get me a handful of comics and a candy bar. Sigh...

Kid said...

A great reminiscence, Jerry. I looked up the cover to see what it looks like and I'm pretty sure I had that issue as well. One thing 'though - the first Marvel Treasury Edition wasn't released 'til 1974, so unless Adventure Comics #416 had been sitting in that spinner-rack for a couple of years, it couldn't have been a TE. Could it have been a King-Size Special perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Because of patchy distribution of US comics in the UK there were no doubt quite a few stories I didn't manage to follow up - the main one was around issue 119- 120 of Amazing Spider-Man (1973) I recall reading the issue where on the last page and last panel Peter Parker is on a plane and the next issue "blurb" below is "introducing the Hulk" or similar I only managed to follow that issue up in the recent Panini pocket edition of Spider-Man about 3 years ago (I must have missed this story in SMCW) = I also picked up issue 119 in the Barras for £2 last year, so that's about 30 years ago. However I still have an outstanding story I haven't managed to read the conclusion off and that is Justice League of America 101 . I read issue 100 (part 1 of the the 7 Soldiers of Victory story) in 1972 and still haven't read (or seen) issue 101 anywhere for the conclusion (I loved that story as well)

Paul McScotty (apologies for the anon posting Im having Gmail problems))

Kid said...

Back in the early '70s, I read quite a few DC comics out of sequence because of that 'patchy distribution' you mention, McScotty, but usually it was mere months of a difference (perhaps a year or so in some instances) rather than multiples of years. I've probably forgotten a few, but once I acquire Superboy #148 my mission will be over. (At least 'til I remember another one.) Funny how some of us are driven to pursue things to their ultimate (is there any other kind?) conclusion, eh? Best of luck in obtaining that issue - eBay beckons.

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