SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE SPECTRE VOL. 1 (DC, 2012; Softcover)
Collects Showcase #60, 61, 64, The Spectre #1-10, The Brave and the Bold #72, 75, 116, 180, 199, DC Comics Presents #29, and The Spectre stories from Adventure Comics #431-440 and Ghosts #97-99 (cover dates February, 1966- June, 1983)
Writers: Gardner Fox, Bob Haney, Mike Friedrich, Steve Skeates, Denny O'Neil, Mark Hanereld, Michael Fleisher, Len Wein, and Paul Kupperberg.
Artists: Murphy Anderson, Carmine Infantino, Charles Cuidera, Neal Adams, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Jerry Grandenetti, Bernie Wrightson, Jack Sparling, Nick Cardy, Jim Aparo, Ernie Chan, Jim Starlin, Romeo Tanghal, Michael R. Adams, Tex Blaisdell, Tony Dezuniga, and Rick Hoberg.
The Spectre rules! This skips his still largely uncollected Golden Age run and jumps ahead to his Silver Age revival, which was 21 years to the cover date of his previous appearance. They seem to try to keep the premise of the Golden Age Spectre at first. The Showcase issues and the first issue of his series are okay if a little boring. Neal Adams comes in for #2 and stays a few issues. I enjoy the ones with Wildcat, now 20 years older and past his prime. I recently read some of his early appearances in The Comics Cavalcade Archives.
Things are good but don't get great until Adventure Comics #431, which ushers in the reinvented Spectre after a five year absence in 1974. Michael Fleisher and Jim Aparo crafted a brilliant storyline of wrath and retribution. The Spectre deals out ironic deaths to criminals. This is pretty gritty stuff that pushed the Comics Code Authority to it's limit. There is an old, long out of print trade paperback which collects that series in color which I read years ago.
These black and white phone books are a love and hate thing for me. DC usually screws up the coloring in their collections, so this is something of a plus for them. They can also serve as poor man's Artist Editions books.
I wish that DC would continue the Golden Age Archives and continue into the Silver Age and beyond. I have the first two '90s series trades but couldn't even begin to guess when I will get around to reading them.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This being DC, multiple appearances are omitted that were published during the timeframe of the material presented in this collection. Par for the course. At least they didn't omit any story pages in this collection like they did in so many others during the period that this collection was published in.
Linework and restoration: Everything looks tight and clean.
Paper stock: These books use the cheapest pulp paper available. When you get 624 pages at $19.99 MSRP you can't really complain, though. These are designed to be cheap reads.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Thick waxlike lamination.