A couple of months ago, I finished off my New Universe collection. I've got the whole set and, while I know most people couldn't care less and think the New Universe sucked, it was, basically, my introduction to comics on a large scale as it was one of the first lines where I collected every title. I got in about a year into the books, and kept with them until they ended a year and a half later, picking up back issues I'd missed whenever I found them, even multiple copies because I just dug the books so much. But now I have the full run of all those titles. So my question became what next? The books I love most, Legion of Super Heroes, Justice League, Avengers ... sure, I could start collecting full runs of those, but holy crap those books are expensive and there's little chance I'd get them before I died. Or ever! Finally, a couple of weeks ago, it hit me. First appearances. This is a great way to meet new characters, find valuable comics, and get some incredible back issues. I went right to my Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 1, and my Who's Who in the DC Universe Vol. 1, and started at the beginning. Granted there were a few of those early characters whose first appearances I either couldn't find or couldn't afford right away. But I'm pretty happy with the issues I got. They came in the mail yesterday and I got to find them waiting for me when I got home from work last night. Let's start with the one I was most excited about. The first appearance of The Abomination, a Marvel character, and one of the chief Hulk villains:
Published in April 1967, this copy is rated a 4.0, which, if this is what's considered a 4.0, then I'm good. It's obviously seen some hands over the years, but all the pages are intact and I can flip through it without fear. Obviously, I won't be reading this copy, I'll read it digitally on Marvel Unlimited instead, but of course I had to take it out last night and look at it. And that smell. Man, there's nothing like the smell of real comics.
The book has two stories, "To Be Beaten by Byrrah", a Sub-Mariner story written by Stan Lee with art by Bill Everett (and featuring the first appearance of Byrrah, so I have a first appearance two-fer. The second story, "The Abomination", written by Stan Lee with Gil Kane on art this time, is the reason I bought the book, and I sort of wish it had been featured on the cover instead. Sure, that cover will come in handy when I get to Byrrah and already have his first appearance, but I bought the book for Abomination, dammit, and I'd like that to be reflected in the cover. Sheesh.
Anyway, this book is in great condition, and for $12.75, what I paid for it, that's a hell of a deal for 1967 comic in this shape and featuring TWO first appearances. I'm digging it.
Next up, is a DC book, Wonder Woman #297, featuring the first appearance of Nikos Aegeus.
I have no idea who this guy is; he didn't last long (his last appearance was in issue #307), but I'll take a 1982 comic in this condition for $7.60. Add in a first appearance, and that sounds like a good deal to me. I could be wrong. Until I read the issue, I won't know how much screen time he gets, what his impact on the story is, or even if he's a worthwhile character. Then again, this exercise isn't to only get the worthwhile characters, that's subjective. One man's Deadpool is another man's Cannonball. I just want the first appearances, it gives me something to strive for. And it's a good thing my goal is so clear here, because a lot of times, a new character will appear in one issue but not have anything to do until a later issue and THAT, by rights, should be the important issue. Not many people will remember Venom first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #298, because it was issue #300 when he really made his mark.
This story, "Thunder on the Wind", was written by Dan Mishkin, with art by Gene Colan. You ask me, the Colan art is worth the $7.60 This is a thicker issue than most, at 48 pages. That's thanks to the back-up stories, "Fate is the Killer" by Paul Kupperberg and Curt Swan (a Masters of the Universe story, of all things!), and "Go Save the World", a Huntress story by Joey Cavalieri and Joe Staton. Fans of the Arrow TV show who don't read comics, this isn't your Huntress. Don't worry, though; she's an awesome character no matter which version you're reading.
I'll get around to reading this issue eventually, and given the age and condition, I'll probably just read the print copy.
That's it for this week's First Appearance Comic Haul. I've already put in an order for the first appearance of DC's Abel, and Marvel's 3-D Man. Hopefully I'll have another one of these next week.