Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

October 18, 2012

MRP Day 17 – Marvel Graphic Novels Collection

Filed under: comics,the month of relentless positivity — lexifab @ 4:12 pm

If you have happened to go into a newsagent sometime in the last few months – which I want to emphasise is something I nearly never have cause to do – you might have noticed they are selling a series of hardcover graphic novel collections of classic Marvel superhero stories. [1] This is one of those deals where, in theory, you pick up a new instalment every week or fortnight or month until – 50 or so iterations later – you’ve collected the whole set and have a smart-looking conversation piece for your bookshelf. In practise what happens is that you miss a vital issue here or there and you spend weeks scouring eBay so that you can spend a crippling sum to assuage your completist packrat tendencies.


In this instance though, I know there are going to be gaps in my collection, because I already have some of these stories – the first one, for example, is the first volume of J.M. Straczynski’s run on Amazing Spider-Man, all of which I have [3] and I see that an upcoming volume is  the first part of Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men [4]. But overall there’s a lot of stuff in this collection that I am looking forward to getting.

The covers are a handsome black affair with a centrepiece drawn from the best cover in the series, the spines are painted so that when the whole collection is put together they form a portrait of probably everyone in the Marvel Universe, and there are helpful essays inside explaining the context of the stories and some of the subsequent events. Handy if your comic continuity awareness is patchy, as indeed is mine. And at twenty bucks for a hardcover, they are good value.

When I found the Wikipedia entry for the series and saw that it had the full listing of titles, I tried very hard not to look ahead and spoil the surprise of what’s coming, but I did notice two things that inflicted some trauma on my modus positivitus [5]. One – I was kind of hoping that, based on his appearance in the masthead, there might be at least one volume featuring Luke Cage (aka Power Man) who – along with his (white, billionaire, industrialist) buddy Danny Rand (aka Iron Fist) – rose above an origin as a quick cash-in on the popularity of blaxpolitation and kung fu movies in the 70’s to occupy a compelling moral corner of the Marvel Universe. But I don’t see his name anywhere, which is annoying.

Two – there is one – one! – title which features a solo female character. Don’t get me wrong, I am fond of She-Hulk and agree she deserves her place in the spotlight, but seriously, people? In the space of a 60-volume series you couldn’t find more than one spot for a leading woman? No Black Widow? No Spider-Woman? No Wasp? No Scarlet Witch? No whatever-Carol-Danvers-is-calling-herself-this-week? Not even Jean (yawn) Grey? I realise that most of these characters don’t get their own solo titles, but this ain’t a good look, Marvel. C’mon, boys, pull your socks up.

(On the other hand, it is hard not to squee with delight to note that the next volume is Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier, which resurrected Bucky Barnes as a Russian sleeper agent with a bionic arm. I acknowledge that I am part of the problem).


[1] You might equally have noticed similar collect-them-all-one-month-at-a-time promotions going for classic Agatha Christie murder novels and a DC Heroes chess set. [2]

[2] The DC chess set is completely ruined by the presence of Hush, the stupidest comics character since Paste Pot Pete.

[3] Except for the final volume “One More Day” which I cannot bring myself to pay money for because it is such flawed and gutless reset-button copout bullshit. But look at me, editorialising.

[4] Which is magnificent if for no other reason than elevating Kitty Pryde to the status of hardcore kickarse legend that she has long deserved.

[5] To execrably coin the faux-Latin phrase.

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