Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide-Day Two: Collected Comics

Day Two of The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide brings you five collections of great comics from years past. Some of these are extra-fancy hardcovers, while others are humble trade paperbacks. All five, however, are darned good reading for the comics fan on your shopping list.

The Complete Eightball 1-18
by Daniel Clowes
Fantagraphics
ISBN-13
9781683965503
$49.99

Collecting issues 1-18 of the iconic Daniel Clowes comics anthology, Eightball, this thick paperback contains the original installments of Ghost World, the short that the film Art School Confidential was based on, and much more, newly designed for paperback by the author.

The beloved comic book series Eightball made Daniel Clowes’ name even before he gained fame as a bestselling graphic novelist (Ghost World, Patience, David Boring, Ice Haven) and filmmaker. From 1989 to 1997, he produced 18 issues of what is still widely considered one of the greatest and most influential comic book titles of all time. Now, Fantagraphics has collected every single page of these long out-of-print issues in a paperback edition.

The Complete Eightball 1-18 includes more than 500 pages of vintage Clowes: seminal serialized graphic novels, strips, and rants, such as “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron,” “Ghost World,” “Pussey,” “I Hate You Deeply,” “Sexual Frustration,” “Ugly Girls,” “Why I Hate Christians,” “Message to the People of the Future,” “Paranoid,” “My Suicide,” “Chicago,” “Art School Confidential,” “On Sports,” “Zubrick and Pogeybait,” “Hippypants and Peace-Bear,” “Grip Glutz,” “The Sensual Santa,” “Feldman,” and many more.

The book features new covers by Clowes, and “Behind the Eightball”: the author’s annotations for each issue, heavily illustrated with art and photos from his archives.

Recommended for fans of great indie comics. Available from most booksellers, using the ISBN code, or at a discount, from Amazon.

Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991
by Scott McCloud
It Books
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0061537271
$24.95

Before he was the leading academic scholar of comics, Scott McCloud produced one of the most fun indie comics of the 1980s. This thick paperback collects the complete black and white collection of Zot!, featuring never-before-seen artwork and extensive commentary by the author

Showing strong influences of Jack Kirby, C.C. Beck and Manga, Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics, Making Comics) combined the best ideas from manga, alternative comics, and superheroes into Zot!—a frenetic and innovative exploration of comics’ potential that helped set the stage for McCloud’s later groundbreaking theoretical work.

Zachary T. Paleozogt lives in “the far-flung future of 1965,” a utopian Earth of world peace, robot butlers, and flying cars. Jenny Weaver lives in an imperfect world of disappointment and broken promises—the Earth we live in. Stepping across the portals to each other’s worlds, Zot and Jenny’s lives will never be the same again.

These books were published more than thirty years ago, yet they still hold up. Every one of McCloud’s pages from the black and white series has been collected in this must-have commemorative edition for aficionados to treasure and new fans to discover. This collection was published in 2008, but is still available from Amazon.

This is a great gift for fans of manga, superheroes, science fiction or just really good comics.

To Be Announced!
by Derek McCulloch (Author), Mike Bannon (Illustrator)
About Comics
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1949996517
$10.00 from Amazon

In the mid-1980s, award-winning graphic novel writer Derek McCulloch (Stagger Lee, Gone to Amerikay) teamed with beloved cartoonist Mike Bannon (Oombah, Jungle Moon Man; “Old Paper”) to take on that most sacred of sacred cows: television. Decades later, we can now look back on the work that delivered the final, deadly blow to TV and saved generations from its influence.

This collects the stories from all seven issues of the original To Be Announced! comic book, including everything from Sesame Street Blues to the fundraising concert Lemon-Aid.

The stories are funny as heck, but there is a bit of an ulterior motive behind this new collection. To Be Announced! is being released as part of an effort to contact artist Mike Bannon, who has been out of touch with his comics pals and collaborators for well over a decade.

Hopefully this Amazon-only collection will flush him out of the woodwork. In the meantime, you can enjoy this comic book take on SCTV for a nice, low price. Recommended for the fan of funny comics in your life.

Tails of the Super-Pets
by various classic comics creators
DC Comics
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1779513397
$19.99

Everybody should have a place in their heart for pure, goofy, innocent silver age DC Comics fun. This collection of vintage tales of Superheroes and their pets is a nice reminder that comics don’t all have to be grim and gritty.

Some of them work perfectly well as just good, dumb fun.

The stories in Tails of the Super-Pets were originally published from 1947 to 1968, but most of them are Superman Family tales from peak Mort Weisinger-era books published from 1955 to 1964. Writers include Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel, Bill Finger and more. The art is courtesy of Curt Swan, Pete Costanza, Jim Mooney and others.

We don’t just get Superman’s dog, Krypto, in this book. We get to see the Man of Steel’s pet monkey, Beppo, plus Supergirl’s cat, Streaky, and horse, Comet. Ace the Bat-Hound shows up, as does Aquaman’s pet octopus, Topo. Wonder Woman had pet Kangaroos and The Legion of Superheroes had Proty, a shape-shifting lump of protoplasm, who was their pet.

Those stories are all included here, in a trade paperback released to tie in with DC’s League of Super Pets movie earlier this year. This collection includes stories from Action Comics #261-266, 277-293; Batman #125; Adventure Comics #210-256, 293-322, 364; Superman #176; Wonder Woman #23; and Superboy #76.

It’s good fun that hits the nostalgia buttons and is also appropriate for younger readers. Available from any bookseller, or from Amazon.

Popeye Volume 1: Olive Oyl & Her Sweety
by E. C.Segar
Fantagraphics
ISBN-13 9781683964629
$24.99

Fantagraphics has begun a new four-volume series that collects the complete run of the original Popeye Sunday newspaper page adventures in an accessible and affordable slipcased paperback format.

An irresistible alchemy of screwball comedy, tender romance, and rags-to-riches fantasy, Elsie Crisler Segar’s newspaper comic strip captivated readers of the Roaring Twenties and beyond. And Popeye, the sailor man, was the unlikely star of the show. Fantagraphics is thrilled to bring Segar’s whimsical world back into print, reviving the origins of the beloved spinach-eating American icon for a whole new readership. The E.C. Segar Popeye Sundays series collects the complete Popeye Sunday stories in four gorgeous full-color volumes, each packaged in a deluxe die-cut vertical slipcase.

Volume one (1931-1932) highlights Popeye’s riotous romance with his sweet patootie, Olive Oyl. As apt to hold hands as butt heads, they are ultimately meant for each other, and their enduring connection forms the warm heart of the comic. Outside the love nest, Popeye seeks fame and fortune as a prizefighter. Ever the under-dog, he must contend with a series of increasingly fearsome opponents, from the formidable Johnny Brawn to a literal gorilla!

Featuring tongue-twisting gags, sensational slugfests, and an endearing ensemble of characters, this revival of classic Popeye adventures really packs a punch and will captivate stalwart fans and new readers alike. Introduced with comic tributes by acclaimed cartoonists Sergio Ponchione and Cathy Malkasian.

Popeye Volume 1: Olive Oyl & Her Sweety offers a more affordable way to get the classic Popeye Sunday strips by Segar than trying to round up the out-of-print hardcover collections from about fifteen years ago. Highly recommended for fans of Popeye, or anyone interested in comic strip history. You can order it directly from the publisher, or from any bookseller, using the ISBN code.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    “Everybody should have a place in their heart for pure, goofy, innocent silver age DC Comics fun. This collection of vintage tales of Superheroes and their pets is a nice reminder that comics don’t all have to be grim and gritty.” — Amen, brother!

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