The goal of my ongoing binding project was to create durable and easier-to-shelve collections of funnybooks which, for various reasons, haven’t and most likely wouldn’t see an official trade paperback or hardcover release.
Most of these fall into one or two year runs from a single title — Atari Force, Young Heroes in Love, the first eighteen issues (and annual) of Fury of Firestorm and Captain Atom, the post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes run from where the official trades left off through the team’s battle with Mordu — straightforward stuff which easily lends itself to a single bound volume.
Yet my vast hoard of longboxes also contains a lot of equally beloved odds and ends. I’m talking single issues or short arcs where the story, characters, creative teams, and/or a hefty dollop of nostalgia made them stand out among their surroundings. Most of these fall with the fabled 1980s, back when finances and logistics made it difficult to follow most ongoing series on a monthly basis and fill-in arcs were more common.
I probably love these significant strays more than I do the few books I did follow on a monthly basis back in those days. They cut to the core of my comics experience in those formative years before cynicism sunk its hooks too deeply. Most of these issues have either not been collected in book form or collected in larger volumes with material I could care less about.
If the point was to consolidate my collection into a smaller assortment of shelf-friendly favorites, then these miscellaneous issues deserved a place in the process. Thus was born…
…1980s DC Favorites.
To keep things organized, I even threw an informal table of contents into the binding pile.
I won’t run down the entire roster, but the All-Star Squadron arc where the Red Bee gets swatted is in there, along with Forgotten Heroes two-parter from Action Comics, the post-Crisis revision of the JLA’s formation from Secret Origins, and some pre-5YL LSH stories where the team got a semi-cyberpunk makeover and Keith Giffen tried his hand at imitating Kevin Maguire.
(Though with the oddly proportioned faces Giffen rendered, maybe he was trying to be Kevin MUG-WIDER. Hey-o!)
The focus on DC wasn’t etched in stone from the beginning, but developed as I started gathering material for the book. Most of my favorite Marvel odds and ends from that era have been collected in Masterworks or some other edition I already own. My younger self was more willing to dip in and out of DC’s offerings, where Marvel material tended to be either a monthly read or dropped entirely. (I have since compiled the source material for a roughly equivalent volume of Marvel material, but I’ll leave that for a later post.)
Taken as patchwork whole, 1980s DC Favorites is a hardcover edition of what would’ve been the reading pile for a lazy weekend during my teens, back when I’d sift through my solitary longbox, pull out an assortment of satisfying reads, and work my way through the stack between flipping cassettes and noodling around on the Sega Master System.
The 1990s Favorites collection is a different beast for a much different era, the title being an excuse for throwing a trio of uncollected miniseries and the Invaders reunion arc from Byrne’s Namor run into a handy single volume.
That’s not a knock against its contents, but it’s very much an item of convivence instead of a curated crazy-quilt tapestry of childhood wonders.