A post from my old Marvel blog about how everything was beginning to get collected and reprinted, even the crap.
I was speaking to Kurt Busiek the other week—which isn’t all that odd—and the conversation turned to the fact that there are now so many collections of classic comics coming out that even the crap is getting collected.
Now, don’t get me wrong—I love the fact that so much of this material is readily available, and every reader makes their own evaluation of the work. By the same token, for every real classic run, stories of undeniable merit, there also seems to be a compilation of journeyman quality, or even just out-and out hackwork. This is especially true on the ESSENTIAL collections (and their differently-named counterparts uptown) where entire runs are being reprinted sequentially.
I’m as sentimental for the books of a certain period as anyone you’ll find (in my case, the books of the ’70s, when i started reading this stuff), but most of that sentiment is fueled by nostalgia rather than the quality of the material. I realize that a lot of these books really aren’t all that objectively good. For example, with rare exception, most of the run of MARVEL TEAM-UP is unspectacular. It’s fun, but not especially meaningful. And don’t get me started on the misnomer of ESSENTIAL WEREWOLF BY NIGHT.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. The people creating those stories were just trying to sell that month’s issue and put food on the table. They had no idea there’d be book collections of this stuff decades later. It was designed to be read, enjoyed and thrown away, disposable entertainment. And these stories still have their quota of fun. But it can be sort of brain-deadening to read a whole chunk of issues back-to-back-to-back.
So read responsibly; the brain you save may be your own.