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Recommendations For Classic Superhero Comic Collections? 165

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the comic-book-nerds dept.
mvdwege (243851) writes "Due to being in a relationship with a comics geek, I have gotten interested in the history of superhero comics. I would like to get a better grounding in the Golden Age (pre-Comics Code) comics, so here's my question to the Slashdot audience: what are your recommendations for essential reading? What collections/omnibus editions of Golden Age comics would you recommend?"
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Recommendations For Classic Superhero Comic Collections?

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  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @05:04AM (#47201165) Homepage Journal
    The Flaming Carrot [wikipedia.org]
    Dare I share it?
    The hero of win
    & mega-whisker chin
    Burma Shave
  • Masterworks/Archives (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jiro (131519) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @05:19AM (#47201213)

    Marvel Comics has a Marvel Masterworks line which includes a lot of Golden Age volumes. They are very expensive, but there are also $20 paperback editions that come out 7-8 years later. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    DC Comics has its DC Archives program, but most of those never get reprinted in paperbacks and the program rarely releases much nowadays.

    Also, something about this topic seems to bring out the stupid in Slashdot. No, Flaming Carrot is not a Golden Age comic.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Don't get any Marvel "The Essential Iron Man/Spider-Man/Avengers/etc". The art in these editions is reduced to black and white. Since you're more interested in the stories than the value of the books, buy used. If you like electronic reading, there are DVDs sold with omnibuses. Unfortunately the newer app versions of the ebooks cost the same or more than the paper versions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947)

      Instead save your money. Not one penny of that money is going to go to the people who created those Golden Age comics.

      Instead, download one of the excellent comic reader apps and use this:

      https://thepiratebay.se/torren... [thepiratebay.se].

    • by mjm1231 (751545)

      Neither are any of your suggestions Golden Age. There are no Marvel Comics from the Golden Age.

      • by Jiro (131519)

        Proving my point about bringing out the stupid. You're either totally clueless, or else you're trying to get pedantic like people on the Internet often do and claim that there's no Marvel because they were named "Timely" at the time. In that case you didn't read well because the way I phrased it, the company that is *publishing* the Masterworks right now is certainly named "Marvel".. Furthermore, even getting pedantic on this point ignores that DC Archives, which I also mentioned, certainly include Golde

  • Also... (Score:5, Funny)

    by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @05:30AM (#47201245)

    Also, I'd like to take notes while reading those comics.
    Which text editor do you recommend? Vim, Notepad or Emacs?

    • Re:Also... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @05:35AM (#47201251)

      That's a good question, but first I'd need to know on what operating system you plan to take notes. Do Slashdotters recommend Windows, Mac OS X, or FreeBSD for this purpose?

      • by Noryungi (70322)

        I'd like to commend ''BlackPignouf'' and ''Trepidity'' for the magnificence of their comments in this thread.

        Seriously: Go back to these comments. Read them. Re-read them. Savor their perfect balance of snark, trolling and irony. This is simply superb - it almost brings tears to my eyes.

        Ladies and gentlemen of /., this is why the Internet was created in the first place. That, and cute cat pictures, of course.

        • by Jiro (131519)

          No, this is another case of the topic brinring out the stupid in Slashdot. Are you seriously suggesting that Golden Age comics have controversy about them similar to vi versus emacs or Windows versus Linux?

          Did everyone take the original post, pick out the word "comics", and ignore the rest of it?

          • by Noryungi (70322)

            No, this is another case of the topic brinring out the stupid in Slashdot. Are you seriously suggesting that Golden Age comics have controversy about them similar to vi versus emacs or Windows versus Linux?

            Did everyone take the original post, pick out the word "comics", and ignore the rest of it?

            You don't get out much, do you?

          • by mvdwege (243851)

            It's fairly obvious that any real geeks have long gone from Slashdot, and the site has been taken over by 13-year old Rand-worshipping basement dwellers.

            I had hopes some of the old spirit was left to give an answer to my question, but I now have come to regret this.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Ladies and gentlemen of /., this is why the Internet was created in the first place. That, and cute cat pictures, of course.

          And the porn. Always with the porn.

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        Why do you imply he would need a pre-made operating system? Are you insinuating anyone with a seven digit user ID is unable to make his own OS?

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Pen and paper usually works best and is cross compatible between manufacturers for multiple sourcing options.

      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        Do Slashdotters recommend Windows, Mac OS X, or FreeBSD for this purpose?

        NetBSD viwth /bin/ed?

    • Seeing as it is gospel, I would recommend clay tablets.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      If you're looking for old school comics, you need an old school editor ... and what could be more old school than a modal editor like vim?

      If you're really nostalgic, take notes on the back of some old punch cards. Maybe festoon your workstation with paper tape.

    • by Mikkeles (698461)

      Well, since it's Golden Age about which we're speaking, I'd recommend TECO or ED.

  • Superhero Comics existed but really were not as popular prior to the Comics Code... There tended to be more of the horror and shock type (in addition to cowboy and funny book types) which inspired the code to be created... Superheroes tended to be more magical than science based and more violent than today... (For instance, Batman had a gun in his earliest comics.) The Golden Age Spectre Archives, Vol. 1 might be a good start...
    • by flyneye (84093)

      If they want Golden Age heroes, they should read golden age comics. First, mortgage the house for everything over principle. Then, run down to the comics shop and drop the wad on all the double bagged stuff behind the counter they don't usually drag out for anyone. Don't for the love of God, read any of them. Just leave them in their bags,hang them on the wall in frames and just soak up the golden ageness of it all. There, worth it, wasn't it?
      Golden age comics have their place, not in your grubby mitts. The

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @05:56AM (#47201315)

    Boy did you come to the wrong place. Slashdot is all about calm and dispassionate intellectual debate about issues important to science nerds and not frivolous things like comics. Why we have never even had a flamewar around here!

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @06:26AM (#47201383)

    Get DC++, join comics hub. Easy to get access to all the comics you could ever want.

  • Why not ask this supposed 'partner'. They're such the comic geek after all and it will give you stuff to talk about and bond and all that crap. That is if this person even exists.
    • by mvdwege (243851)

      Because, as it so happens, Golden Age is not to her taste. Now, did you have anything useful to add? No? Then kindly STFU.

      • So you want to get into comics she's not into? Great plan.
      • by OzPeter (195038)

        Because, as it so happens, Golden Age is not to her taste. Now, did you have anything useful to add? No? Then kindly STFU.

        So the relationship is superfluous to question. But we don't/can't know that from your submission. Thus you WILL get a bunch of replies saying ask your partner, and given that the question reads like a relationship advice request ("what can I do to understand my partners interests?") you will get a bunch of replies like the OP, especially given that /. is slowly dying (and I bet net craft can confirm it) and people are trying to hold onto the tech side of things rather than the crap(*) that is being promul

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          So the relationship is superfluous to question.

          Or, the poster is going for more of a 'classical' education where you learn what came before, understand the roots and origins of it, and then have a greater context for what came after.

          For instance, if all these smarmy teenagers would stop pretending that their cool punk rock clothes have never been done before and realize there are people old enough to be their parents who used to wear the same things, they'd stop acting like they invented this stuff.

          And, any

  • by Sandman1971 (516283) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @06:31AM (#47201395) Homepage Journal

    My personal suggestion is to go back where the superhero genre first started. DC Comics released a Superman Omnibus last summer (http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/superman-the-golden-age-omnibus-vol-1).

    If you want to read about the golden age, Paul Letvitz (long time DC comics writer and one time President) wrote a great book entitled The Olden Age of DC Comics (Amazon)

    • by mvdwege (243851)

      Thanks, that was a useful answer!

      • Not quite GA, but other brands had some good works; Gold Key, Western Publishing, Tower, Red Circle, etc... even Archie. Mostly they didn't stay around because they didn't enter the steroid/big tit arms race DC and Marvel did.

        • by markhb (11721)
          If you want to broaden it out a little beyond superheroes and comic books, Fantagraphics did collections of the Foster-era Prince Valiant and the pre-Depression Little Nemo in Slumberland which are worth your time particularly for the artwork.
  • Nerd hero non pareil. Fear the lollipop.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @07:27AM (#47201569)

    I'm not sure how, but I'd never heard of this "Comics Code" you mentioned in your question.
    Wow! That's a hell of a story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]
    Thank god that's dead.

    • I'm not sure how, but I'd never heard of this "Comics Code" you mentioned in your question. Wow! That's a hell of a story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org] Thank god that's dead.

      It's even worse then you think. Here's the story that many believe on why it really got started.

      EC Publications had a successful line of comics in the early 1950s that changed the industry. EC was very successful and they had some of the best artists ever to work in the comics such as Jack Davis, Graham Ingels, Wally Wood, etc. EC's most successful comics were 3 horror comics - Tales From The Crypt, The Haunt Of Fear, and The Vault Of Horror. Anybody remember the old HBO TV series "Tales From The

  • European influences (Score:3, Informative)

    by bukowski90210 (252368) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @07:30AM (#47201583) Homepage

    Maybe not commonly associated with 'golden age' comics but published concurrently and extremely influential and well-loved are "Tintin" (orig in french, starting c. 1929) by Herge (the pen name of Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi) and of course, the hilarious "The Adventures of Asterix" by Goscinny and Uderzo (orig in french, starting c. 1959). Enjoy!

    • by mvdwege (243851)

      I am Dutch, and as it happens I have these, in the original French no less.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Yet, Asterix is much more entertaining in english. You should try it some time.

        BTW, I've read all of both Tintin and Asterix in both english and french. Really no difference for Tintin.

        • by mvdwege (243851)

          Oh, Asterix (bugger, stupid keyboard doesn't do accents, can't be bothered to fix right now) has always had absolutely brilliant translations. I grew up on the Dutch ones, and they're quite as good as the original French.

          I just pointed out I have them in French these days to ensure no misunderstandings: I'm quite at home in European comics. I am thankful for the suggestion, but it's superfluous in my case. And bonus: I get to enjoy brilliant if occasionally silly wordplay in multiple languages.

  • With the risk of un-hijacking this thread I notice you didn't specify comic book reading suggestions, just reading suggestions connected with comic books and a certain period of history. There's a couple great histories of the pre-comics code comic book industry: The Ten Cent Plague-- The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America [amazon.com]

    You can also check out Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book [amazon.com] I didn't read the first, but it's supposed to be pretty good. The second focuse
    • The Ten Cent Plague is a bit of a slow read and repetitive, I really didn't like how it was organized. But it does have plenty of interesting information.
  • Why is Slashdot all messed up?

    - I checked "disable ads" because I have high karma, but it doesn't disable them. I turn it on and off, nothing.

    - I only see 5 messages here, a score 3, a score 2, and a score 1, and the score 1 has two score 1's nested under it

    - I expand the score 1 and it shows, then I collapse it and it's two child ones contract into "2 hidden comments" line

    Other threads are like this -- one only showed me +5s (regardless of how I dragged the sliders and reloaded and prayed and wept like Ge

    • I work in the embedded world, and the ability to find four major issues ***in seconds of use*** indicates a profound incompetency on the part of the programmers of this site.

      Usability testing?

      Test planning for features?

      Obviously did not have any tests done and written by people who don't know the implementation because that is a known vector for bugs to get by the programmer?

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        another satisfied slashdot beta customer! "thank you for coming, see you in hell!" -Apu

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Why is Slashdot all messed up?

      Because you're not viewing in classic and with adblock plus active.

      Every so often I check in on Slashdot in a naked browser and yup, still looks like shit any other way.

  • by sproketboy (608031) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @08:10AM (#47201735)

    This is a great resource for old school comic books: http://comicbookplus.com/ [comicbookplus.com]

  • Digital Comic Museum (Score:4, Informative)

    by fiziko (97143) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @08:32AM (#47201823) Homepage

    I would head over to the Digital Comic Museum [digitalcomicmuseum.com], create a free account, and start going through the public domain titles in addition to the Masterworks/Archives listed by others. The DCM will also give you access to stuff like The Spirit, Lev Gleason's Daredevil, Fawcett's Captain Marvel, Whiz (where CM first appeared), and Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, the golden age/western hero Ghost Rider (with the unfortunate outfit), and thousands of others. Follow your interests; the 1930s and 1940s were part of an era when superheroes weren't quite as dominant as they would later become, so you can find piles of romance, comedy, crime, and so forth in the mix.

  • [Life and Death of Superman] - that's some classic Superman right there. Superman vs Doomsday is literally my favorite fight in comics that I've ever read. It would be wise to not forget [Red Son] which like TDKR tells a what if story, of what if Superman landed in Russia instead of USA. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did in finding [Superman: Blue] I can find evidence it exists it wasn't just a dream I had but I can't find evidence that it's anywhere. To be fair most people seem to dislike it based o

    • Golden Age comics are from the beginning of the medium in the 1930s, to its skyrocket to high sales in 1939 when Superman became immensely popular, until the mid 1950s. The stories you're describing may be really cool, but they're not Golden Age.

      And I can't believe the fight between Superman and Doomsday is exciting to anyone. Stories are exciting because of characters, because of emotion, because of facing your demons and overcoming them or falling victim to them. Doomsday was drawn well, but other
  • Well, you're asking the wrong guy, because I'm not at all into comics. But since you asked, I do have fond memories of reading Astérix [wikipedia.org] as a kid. Astérix was translated into English and many other languages, so even if you don't speak french, it shouldn't be a problem for you.

    What? You were hoping for a suggestion involving some sort of masked, tight-wearing super-hero that obtained their superpowers because of a bite from an irradiated insect? Oh, please. Astérix may not be masked or tig

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      a fantastic moustache, and is absolutely fearless in battle. Furthermore, his friend Obélisk does wear tights (or at least some kind of tightly fitting, blue and white striped half-body-tube thing), and I challenge you to find another super-hero that is as strong as him, as funny as him and who has as voracious an appetite as him

      Volstagg might be a contender. But for strong and funny (with a cool mustache), I'd choose The Tick. http://youtube.com/watch?v=80D... [youtube.com]

  • by prgrmr (568806) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @09:20AM (#47202149) Journal
    If you really want to understand comics, get and read "The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America". It's a part of American literary history that shouldn't be forgotten, and is indispensable for understanding the evolution of comic books. And then get a hold of every Justice Society of America comic, omnibus, and reprint that you can and starting reading from there through the 60s and 70s related titles. You will never look at modern comic books the same way again.
  • Not going to be much help, since Golden age Comics is a specialized market.... Check out the EC comics, especially "Tales From the Crypt" and "Weird Tales" These are the comics that caused the comic book code to be put in place. I also liked the little bit of plastic man I read. ++ on Tintin, although I wouldn't think of it as Golden age per-se. Still worth reading. Finally, check out your local library. Mine at least has a large collection of graphic novels. Could help you save some money.
    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Both of those are awesome to read on acid.

      Ah, for the days of misspent youth.

  • "Wow! That's a great question. Tough one, though I mean, what does one gauge his response on? Physical prowess? Keen detection skills? The ability to banter well with super villians?"

  • These are an excellent resource for those of us who may never be able to afford older comics... The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books It comes in three volumes... http://www.amazon.com/Photo-Jo... [amazon.com]
  • http://comicbookplus.com/

    You are all welcome :)

    • Definitely the best link and legal too. Others have said that you can also find huge collections on various BitTorrent sites. Much of it is newer but there is a lot of old golden and silver age stuff too.
  • by RLiegh (247921)

    is what you're looking for:
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Grea... [amazon.com]

  • I'm no expert on American comics, but I know that the term "Golden Age" tends to be a little loosely defined. I'm going to make an assumption and suggest that you are interested in more than just the early super hero comics. If this is the case, then I would make the following points: (1) The golden Age is best remembered for the birth of the super heroe genre, but at the time Disney character comics out sold those by a wide margin. (2) During the Golden age there was a plethora of other genres avaible, in
  • Download this. [sourceforge.net]

    I have heard a rumor that there may be comics available on Bittorrent in this format.

  • ... some of the best work in illustrated fiction can be found in the early "Conan the Barbarian" comics, penned by Barry Smith. Additionally, the earlier editions of Heavy Metal magazine, and its forebearer, Metal Hurlant, rank as some of the best such art and writing to ever meet a sheet of paper.
  • Rather than read what somebody think is a classic, why don't you strive to get a better understanding of the medium of comics in general? For that, there is no better resource than Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud [scottmccloud.com]. It's not a book about comics, it is a comic about comics!

    That being said, I haven't read any superhero stuff since I was 12, but in my ripe old age, I still enjoy Prince Valiant [wikipedia.org]

  • 22,000 free and legal... go here: http://comicbookplus.com/ [comicbookplus.com]

    • Fox wrote for a ton of different titles through the Golden Age. He was one of the best for stories back then so it might be wise to try his story lines.

  • The thing about Golden Age comics is that they are generally not very good - and pretty often unreadable. They were made on the quich and the cheap by people too young or not talented enough to make it in the newspaper comics business. That said, you should try to find the Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics, which has great reprints of a number of stories. The Golden Age stories that hold up best for me feature Plastic Man, the Spirit and Captain Marvel (the Shazam! guy). DC has reprinted some of these
  • Back in the days when gas was 20 cents a gallon (and gas station attendent(s) pumped the gas for you plus check tire pressure, oil, and water levels), and also when Stan Lee created Spiderman, X-men, and The Avengers for the Marvel Comics group (yep, if they were real-life characters, they'd be old enough to collect social security).

    Another character in Marvel "universe" was Patsy Walker. She didn't have superpowers but she had lots of beautiful dresses and unlimited budget to buy them all. Not created at

  • JackKirby.

  • The art is often really basic, and the stories are often not up to much, because the writers weren't paid very much, so they just made up random stuff each month. Ooh, let's send Batman into space again, to fight crime on the planet of the Celery-heads.

    You want to see what the medium can really do, go by author, not characters. Anything by Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Lost Girls, Necronomicon, Marvelman), Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Garth Ennis (Punisher, War Stories), Warren Ellis (late Stormwatch,
  • My Grandparents used to buy me comics at flea markets for a couple dollars for a whole box in the 1960s. I actually read quite a few of the old Tales of the Crypt and Vault of Horrors books. I also read Doctor Fate, Sub-mariner, Captain America and the Justice Society books as well as the original Captain Marvel and Shazzam comics.
  • I've just come across ComicResearch.org. Looks to have many references that could be useful to you. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud may also be of some help for understanding the art of comics in general. I would also strongly recommend checking out your local comic shop. Hopefully you have a decent one nearby. Any good one will have knowledgeable staff to help you out. Most importantly, find something that YOU enjoy!
  • And a match.

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

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