Scott's Classic Comics Corner: Marvel, Make Me Some Reprints! Pt. 2

Continuing from last week, here are the top 5 reprints Marvel needs to get into my hands, ASAP!

5. Spidey Super StoriesYup – you read that right. I’m a Dad, now – so my priorities have shifted. I want to introduce my kids to comics in a good, clean fashion. What does that mean? Well, to start off – I’d like stories that are 100% rape-free. Spidey Super Stories was a wonderful series, with fun John Romita covers and simple, clean artwork by the great Win Mortimer. If the whole Electric Company association is holding this back – I’d just rework the stories to get all Easy Reader references out of there (I also think Marvel should rename a certain character Mu Fanchu and get me a MOKF Essentials, but that’s another story). This would be the perfect way to introduce my son and daughter to funnybooks. I’ve been snapping up the 70s back issues when I see them, and I’ve got to tell you – they’re not as inexpensive as you might think.

4. Jann of the JungleJungle stories were quite popular during the 1950s and Atlas certainly cranked out its fair share of them. Jann is my personal favourite of them (sorry Lorna!). The vast majority of Jann’s stories were drawn by the great Jay Scott Pike. As many of you know, he knows how to draw the female form – but he also knows how to lay out an action sequence. Jann of the Jungle was first featured in Jungle Tales, an anthology title that she eventually took over. It’s a fun little strip, which a nice gender role reversal between Jann and photographer Pat Mahoney. Issue #15 features one of my all-time favourite covers, and the final few Jann stories are drawn by Al Williamson. I think Marvel should enter into a 50s Jungle renaissance, and begin with a volume of Jann of the Jungle reprints.

3. BattleMuch like horror, western, jungle, romance etc…, war is another genre that has been overlooked in the world of Marvel reprints. Atlas had plenty of quality war titles in the 50s, but let’s start with Battle, as it lasted forever and had plenty of great stories and talented artists. We’re talking Russ Heath, Joe Maneely, John Severin, Gene Colan, Berni Krigstein etc… this list goes on forever. There are a ton of surprises to be found. Jay Scott Pike, whom many of you may know as mainly a romance artist, did a ton of great work on this title. Also, Mad Magazine legends Jack Davis and Dave Berg were regular contributors, and it’s very interesting to see them in this genre. There’s also a ton of Jack Kirby towards the end of the run – including some fantastic cover. It’s such great stuff, and it’s such a shame that it hasn’t been reprinted.

2. Ka-ZarBack to the jungle, folks. Now, I’m not exactly the world’s biggest Ka-Zar fan, but anyone who feels comfortable strolling through Manhattan accompanied by Sabretooth Tiger deserve a nice reprint volume. I’m certain that this is a series that Marvel zombies have been clamoring for, and I can’t understand why we haven’t seen at least one Essential volume hit the shelves. I’m sure that Ka-Zar was never a top seller, but we’ve seen just about everything else essentialized, so I just don’t get it. Some wonderful artists tackled Ka-Zar in the 70s – Jack Kirby, Barry Windsor-Smith, Gil Kane, John Buscema – maybe that was half the problem, perhaps the rotating door of artists never helped establish a look and feel for Ka-Zar. For me, it wasn’t until the team of Moench and Mayerik took over that Ka-Zar found his footing. It’s all a lot of fun (especially the ‘fish out of water’ stuff) and need to be made available for a new generation.

1. The Outlaw KidTo paraphrase a certain Vulcan, until Marvel sees fit to put this series out in a Masterworks, Outlaw Kid has always been and shall always be at the top of my list. This is one of the greatest western strips of all-time, with wonderful, inventive and lively Doug Wildey art. Legend has it that when Marvel reprinted this series in the early 70s, it outsold all of its other western reprint titles. Marvel eventually published new stories, with Dick Ayers art. These sold poorly as compared to the reprints, so Marvel head back to the archives and reprinted the reprints. If that’s not a testament to how great this stuff is, I don’t know what else to say. Marvel, do us all a favour and give the Outlaw Kid the respect he deserves!

So, that’s my top 10. Agree? Disagree? That’s the whole fun of lists. My top 10 might even look different next month. The honorable mentions are too lengthy to mention.

For more comic book nonsense, stop by my blog Seduction of the Indifferent

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