I’ve been back on the comics reading horse and decided to take a chance at reading some of the one-off comics of various genres that I’ve got lying around, making sure to read the horror books that I’ve pulled out of cheapie bins over the last few years. I haven’t read as many comics as I had been reading over the summer, but I definitely have improved over September (and you’ll get a report on that next week). For now, let’s see what I’ve got so far. As always, I’m going with my usual rankings of Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash.
Unexpected #184 and Secrets of the Haunted House #38 (DC): Late Bronze Age horror comics that look better on the cover than they do inside, Secrets … proved to be the more entertaining of the two because it had better artwork than Unexpected, although the stories were kind of lame in all of them. I will say that one story in Secrets … about a sweatshop owner’s Faustian bargain was a fun read, but overall, I greeted both of with a shrug. My copies are in pretty bad condition, so they’re not worth selling, so it’s a Donate.
Ghosts Special #1 (DC/Vertigo): From 2012, this was a one-shot that used one of the classic DC horror titles to tell an anthology’s worth of stories from then contemporary writers and artists. Unlike the 1970s books (which, I admit, were probably hampered by the Comics Code), this was a much better comic. There’s a tongue-in-cheek, humorous ghost story called “The Night After I Took My Data Entry Job, I Was Visited By My Very Own Ghost” by Al Ewing and Rufus Dayglo; Joe Kubert’s last story, “The Boy and the Old Man”; and the outsanding “The Wallflower” by Cecil Castelluci and Amy Reeder. That last story alone was worth the fifty cents I paid for it (and is probably worth its original price). There are other stories that are just as good in there, including contributions by Paul Pope, Jeff Lemire, Phil Jiminez, and Geoff Johns, so if you find it in a bin, I suggest picking it up. Keep.
Our Army At War #224 (DC): A story called “One for the Money …” where a character named “Trader” Johnson is profiting off of the spoils of war and winds up having that get the better of him. It’s one of those classic Joe Kubert-illustrated stories that is simple in its plot and approach yet deep in its execution. I’m not looking to get a whole Sergeant Rock collection going or anything, but I enjoy picking these out of bins, reading them, and sending them on, although I think when I find a trade or a Showcase edition, I’ll make sure to pick it up. Donate.
Power Girl #1 (DC): This was the first issue of the 1988 miniseries that reintroduced a character who was essentially the Earth-2 Supergirl to the post-Crisis DCU. There’s an effort to make her a descendant of Arion: Lord of Atlantis instead of tied to Superman, and it sort of works, even if it is a little confusing (and a little shoehorned). There are three more issues in this series, so I think this will be worth a revisit when I find the rest. Keep.
Secret Origins #28 (DC): Midnight and Nightshade get origins here. The Nightshade one has pretty competent art from Rob Liefeld (and this is early Liefeld, from July 1988) and a solid story from Robert Greenberger. The Roy Thomas/Gil Kane Midnight story is the show, making a character who seems so much like The Shadow and The Crimson Avenger seem interesting even if he’s not much more distinct. Secret Origins has been a reliable series so far, and this is the latest entry to add to that consistency. Keep.
Obnoxio The Clown vs. The X-Men #1 (Marvel): Yeah, I just couldn’t with this. Trash.