SPIDER-MAN: THE ORIGINAL CLONE SAGA (Marvel, 2011; Softcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 139-150, Giant-Size Spider-Man No. 5, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Nos. 25-31, 149, 162, 163 and The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual No. 8 (cover dates December, 1974- April, 1990).
Writers: Gerry Conway, Bill Mantlo and Archie Goodwin.
Artists: Ross Andru, Frank Miller and Sal Buscema.
I bumped this one way up the backlog since it runs so close to where Marvel Masterworks: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 13 ended with issue 131. I owned every single issue in this book as a floppy, and still have some of them. This is another collection ripe with nostalgia for me, as issues 140 and 141 were quarter box acquisitions circa 1983. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man No. 30 also holds a special place in my heart, as it is one of the issues my older brother had during his brief collecting tenure in the late 1970s. I remember splitting one of those Marvel/ Whitman 3 packs with him at Farmer Jack. He got to cherry pick his issue, and I got the other two in the bag. I recall looking at this issue when he got it in 1979 and being really intrigued by the creepy looking villain known as Carrion. He gave me his collection in 1984, and I still have this issue to this day. It ended on a cliffhanger, and he never got a hold of issue 31. It never showed up at Farmer Jack, which was where we did our grocery shopping and where my Mom would occasionally buy us comic books. He did get issue 32, though. No back issue shops around back then!
While the early PPTSSM issues were written by Bill Mantlo, the ASM ones were written by Gerry Conway. These issues concluded his run on the title. Ross Andru's artwork on ASM is excellent, as he finally gets his groove on. The artwork on PPTSSM is subpar at best. We do get two issues' worth of early Frank Miller on that title, although his early work is nothing to write home about. Oddly enough, issue 30 looks stellar to my eyes. That would be nostalgia at work, I suspect.
This is, sadly, the fourth time that I've bought these issues. First, I had the floppies. Then the Essential phone books. Then I tracked down the original Clone Saga TPB, which reprinted ASM 141-150, and now this. The forthcoming Masterworks will make it five times. I must hate my money.
The OCD zone- This is one big honkin' mo-fo book, clocking in at 496 pages. The paper is nice, roughly the same quality as the grade found in the recent softcover Masterworks. The restoration is solid with the exception of the odd panel here or there. The ASM issues will get proper high-def restoration in the Masterworks in volumes 14 and 15, but the PPTSSM issues save this from being a soon-to-be-obsolete purchase.
CROSSED VOL. 2: FAMILY VALUES (Avatar, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Crossed: Family Values Nos. 1-7 (cover dates April, 2010- January, 2011)
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: Javier Barreno
Remember my review of the Crossed Vol. 1 hardcover? How I said that this series crosses every line of moral decency except for child pornography? While they didn't go there, the depraved human beings who brought you this second installment up the ante of repulsion and tastelessness. Incest is just as sick, and these f**ks actually go for it. The scenes of graphic violence push the envelope even farther than the original series, but aren't quite as gripping as what original series artist Jacen Burrows did, making things looks clean and beautiful in direct contrast to the scenes being portrayed. Either that, or I have since become even further desensitized to the ultra-violence of Crossed. Lapham writes things in a more straightforward manner, and I have to admit that part of the charm of the original was Garth Ennis' jumping back and forth scene-wise. This is merely very good instead of excellent.
I enjoy how both series and the 3-D graphic novel are all different snapshots of events taking place at roughly the same time. They could do a million issues and still not tell the entire story. I also like how they still haven't explained how the virus came to be.
Crossed is wrong on every level, and yet I find myself unable to turn away. In truth, I find myself enjoying this series. It's a train wreck, it's wrong, it's sick, and yet I'm glad that it exists, if only to show me that no matter how bad things are in the real world, things sure as Hell aren't this bad. Now that I've finished this book, I feel like I need to go and take a shower.
The OCD Zone- This book has sewn binding but does not lay completely flat. It's still a pretty book, with the image printed on the cover with no dustjacket.
P.S. I am in for Volume 3...may _____ (deity of your choice) have mercy on my soul (even though I don't believe in the concept of souls).