Friday, 13 November 2015


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Has the cover to The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Annual
#1 ever looked so good, MARVEL maniacs?  A superb colouring
job, no shadow of a doubt.  I'm advised that softcover MASTER-
WORKS editions are no more.  (Relax, the hardcover volumes
will still be published on a regular basis.)

They've been replaced by these extremely excellent EPIC
COLLECTION volumes, which feature just under 20 early
Marvel classics in each full-colour tome.  I've got three of them
STEIN, and I heartily recommend them to all Criv-ites.  Go on,
treat yourself to one (or all) of these bombastic books as soon
as you can - they're EPIC!  Available now!

Okay, technically speaking, it's not one of the EPIC COLLECTION
editions - but it is 'epic', and it is a 'collection', so that's good enough
for me, frantic ones  


baab said...

Mike Ploog.
There was a period of time when he was all over the Marvel UK books.
Ghost Rider ,Planet of the Apes,Werewolf By Night,Man-Thing and I liked his style.
Frankenstein may be my first purchase in this format.

Rip Jagger said...

Love the look and heft of this format. There's plenty of reading there, not unlike the old Essentials, but the addition of color is pretty neat for much of that early Marvel material. I doubt though I can justify getting them, as overcome with Essential volumes as I am. The one that most attracts me right now is the Silver Surfer one which captures his first many stories from across a few titles, but it's a bit lean for the price point.

Rip Off

Kid said...

As I look at his stuff now, Baab, there seems to be a little hint of Wrightson about his style. The Frankie book is excellent - as well as all 18 issues of the colour comic, it contains the b&w strips and later colour team-ups. Top stuff!


Yeah, each book is more than a Masterworks and less than an Essentials, content-wise, Rip - and the covers look great with the new colouring. I've lost count of how many times over I have the FF and Spidey stories, but I just can't resist these new presentations.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to read The Monster of Frankenstein collection - I didn't start reading the Dracula Lives weekly till about No.25 so I mostly missed Frankenstein. I loved Mike Ploog's art on all those things baab mentioned - Ploog is a curious name, I wonder where it's originally from ? I assume it ends in a hard 'g' like plug so it sounds German perhaps.

Kid said...

It's not just Ploog, CJ - there are other artists in there as well, including John Buscema, whose Frankie I prefer. Not sure where Ploog's name comes from, but I've always pronounced it with a hard 'g'.

Unknown said...

I will be checking out the Frankenstein book as well - this was one of my favourite 70s series and I'm a bog fan of Mike Ploogs work (his painted fantasy work is amazing and well worth tracking down), I agree the John Buscema issues of Frankenstein are very nice indeed.

I think this format is great (although a bit pricey imho) to pick them all up so I only check out those books that I am really interested in and don't have in other formats (although I'm tempted to pick up the Spider man book despite having most of the Ditko issues in Essentials and other versions) - I have Ant-Man Giant-Man and Silver Surfer (both imho excellent). I would still recommend the UK hardback reprint series as well they are very underrated and only £9.99 each and can fill in any gaps in collections or are just a great read (actually I prefer these versions but they don't collect strips like Epic).

I have a "Modern Masters" book on Ploog and from memory his name is German / Dutch in origin (he was born in Minnesota USA) and is pronounced as in "plug" ( as you say) with a stretch out "OO"

Kid said...

The Frankie volume is a 'must-have', McS. Buscema catches the essence of Karloff's creature, although his first story is marred by less talented hands trying to reduce the facial likeness to Boris. As for the price, you're getting nearly the equivalent of two Masterworks for a lot less than a hardback Masterworks volume would cost (the softcover Masterworks are about a third cheaper, but have almost half the content as the Epic editions), so I think they represent good value for money, overall.

There's an Omnibus edition of Steve Ditko's Dr. Strange coming out in 2016, McS - start saving now.

Unknown said...

Oooooh I didn't know that about the Ditko Dr Strange edition - that's going on my wants list right away ( well almost anything with early Ditko art is on my list of must haves). I will probably pick up more of the Epic collections as I am really trying to streamline my comic book collection (but still want to have the classics available to look at re read)

Kid said...

I already have all the Ditko Dr. Strange strips in two excellent softcover Masterworks editions (as well as in the original hardback volumes from the late '80s or early '90s), but an Omnibus edition just devoted to Ditko is a 'must-have', McS. Running out of space to store stuff, but I just can't help myself.

Philip Crawley said...

Thanks for the tip-off Kid - bought most of the Marvel monster comics back in the day, the highlight for me being the great Gene Colan's Tomb of Dracula (pity the collected volumes of these stopped at 3 or 4), but I still have quite a few Frankensteins so I'll definitely be tracking down the collected edition! Agree with you on John Buscema's version. I didn't mind Ploog's art, suited this title, but he was a bit too derivative of Will Eisner for my liking and there can be only one Will Eisner. Sorry to here that the Masterwork soft covers are no more, they were a more affordable way to catch up on some of the collections whose hard cover editions are now out of print and out of my price range. The different paper stock also seemed a bit kinder to the sometime over-cooked recolouring of the reprints.

Kid said...

I agree about the paper used on the softcovers is better, PC, in that it's more like 'comicbook' paper ('though higher stock), as opposed to the glossier paper of the hardbacks. However, the Masterworks volumes (and Omnibus ones) have followed the colour schemes of the original comics for the last few years now - it was only the first run of Masterworks (and perhaps their immediate reprints) that were re-coloured and 'over-cooked'. They're much more 'archival' now. You'll love the Frankie book.

Unknown said...

There are several collected editions (sorry cant recall the format but not top range) on sale in "The Works" most are Star Wars Dark Horse collections (inc Paul Gulacey's recent stint on that title) but it also has some MARVEL titles like Fantastic Four, Avengers and Dracula (Gene Colan) sadly the Dracula book (the storyline where he has a child etc) is printed on paper stock ( ie not the glossy paper) but at £5 - £7 each they may be of interest to some.

Ploog worked for/ with Eisner so I assume that accounts for his style on most monthly title, however, Ploogs more detailed art (whilst still in the great Will Eisners style) is just amazing. Anyway I know what I want this year for Xmas and its the Frankie book.

Kid said...

I actually prefer the matt paper used in the softcover Masterworks over the glossier stock, McS. In fact, the paper that DC use in their Archive and Omnibus editions suits the material down to the ground. Thanks for the tip off about The Works - I'll take a look the next time I'm in Glasgow if I get the chance. I'm sure other Scottish Criv-ites will check it out also.

SUBZERO said...

I don´t know about the Epic Collections. So far I have bought four because of the content and they all have the same problem with the gutter loss. Of it weren´t for that I think I would have bought at least ten more. Thankfully the binding is better than on the pocket books from german publisher Condor where you had a loose leaf collection after a few readings.

That said the Hulk trade PARDONED has a few less pages but costs 40 bucks. So the Epic Collections have the better page / money ratio. It´s only strange that a big company like Marvel who has been making trades for decades - and some fat trades at that - still can´t get this problem fixed.

It´s kind of like DC with the binding of the Omnibus books. I think George Perez´ Wonder Woman is the first one which you can open up and read like you should be able to. Where do they spend all the money ?

Kid said...

You're spot on about the spine margin, SZ. I've mentioned it before myself. However, I've noticed that, with the Epics, you can push down on the pages to see them properly without the spine creasing or cracking. (And they're just reading copies for me, so that I don't damage My Masterworks or Omnibus editions.) I was going to buy the DC Kamandi and Challengers Omnibus volumes, but didn't because of the very reason you mention. I've got the two Archive volumes of Challengers, and they're much better.

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