Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Reading Pile: December, 1981 Pt. 2

Here's a rundown of the DC books I bought that month:

Batman #345 was a great book, I still have my copy and it is not in bad shape considering how many times I read and re-read this one. I don't think that I had much exposure to Gene Colan prior to this book (Night Force perhaps?) and I really dug it. This is a very engaging story by Gerry Conway, and Dr. Death comes across as a particularly sinister bad guy. The back-up Catwoman story was also superb. I was nuts for Batman as a kid (still am), and this book was one of the reasons.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #1. This book was definitely unlike anything else on the spinner rack that month, and although I wasn't typically much of a funny animal fan, I could not pass it up. I'm certain that a good number of the jokes and references sailed way over my head, but I really enjoyed it. I even remember taking it away with me on a family vacation. I lost my copy to the sands of time, but have since picked up a good chunk of the series in bargain bins, as I think it will make a great entry point to comics for my kids.

I don't think that I full appreciated the awesomeness of Justice League of America #200 at the time. Sure, I loved anniversary issues because they were, more often than not, giant sized but I really was not tracking creators as a 9 year old so did not realize that a Hall of Fame calibre line-up was at work on this book. Looking back, Gerry Conway's story is not spectacular, but it serves its purpose. Each chapter has its own look as the baton is passed from Aparo to Kane to Bolland etc... I only wish that they'd been able to bring Mike Sekowsky in to contribute. I still have my copy and it's in remarkable shape considering how many times I've read it.

As a child, I only bought horror comics on an intermittent basis. My parents never really censored anything, but they'd likely steer me away from something if they thought it would result in nightmares. Based on the cover alone, there was certainly could no way that I could pass up on Unexpected #220. I wrote about this one a couple of years back as a Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby segment, and it remains one of my favourite Christmas-themed comics. Each of the four stories is entertaining and very charming, each with its own mood and atmosphere. It is too bad that this series wasn't long for the comic book world, because they were still doing great horror work at DC.
Looking back, I find it odd that I did not either Brave and the Bold or New Teen Titans that month, as both were regular purchases for me. I had also apparently turned my back on both Gold Key/Whitman and Charlton at this stage but, then again, do did everyone else.


Jacque Nodell said...

That Unexpected cover is great! I can understand why the little kid is lured in... I need to read this! Just put a copy on my Ebay watch list!

Chris Gumprich said...

If I could pinpoint the month that cemented my comic book obsession, this would be it. I still have my crumbling copies of Captain Carrot #1 and Batman #345 (my first exposure to Gene Colan). That was also the month that The Huntress crossed my radar for the first time, three months after I first heard of "Earth-2". B&B 184 is still one of my favorite Xmas-themed comics.

Looking over at the Time Machine, I see that my dad picked up 21 DC books this month. No wonder I turned out the way I did...

For the record, I'm three years younger than you.

Andrew Wahl said...


I also didn't recognize how amazing the collection of artists on JLA #200 was at the time. I recently reread and reviewed this one on my site (it earned an A-, as I thought the art was much better than Conway's story), and was stunned by the lineup of artists brought to bear on this one.

Again, love the My Reading Pile posts. Good stuff.


Scott M said...

Jacque - I'd love to know what you think of the book when you track it down.

Chris - I wish your Dad had been my Dad

Andrew - I'm really glad you like these bits. They are pretty fun to piece together. I do struggle to separate my childhood experiences from my current view of certain books.

d said...

Did JLA 200, DD 181, Cpt. Carrot 1 and the Marvel Tales reboot all really come out in the same month? WOW!