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Mercury727

The Essential... Recommendation

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So this year I have read the first two volumes of the Essential Spider-Man and Fantastic Four and to put it mildy, I liked them. With the aim of expanding my venture into the early Marvel universe, I was wondering what other collections demand my attention? Likewise are there any I should avoid?

 

At the moment I am intrigued by the Captain America, Iron Man and Punisher collections, are they worth the time and money?

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I read the first Wolverine volume a year or two back and quite enjoyed it, the writing was a little wordy (showing and telling being the order of the day back then, apparently) in places but some of the stories - in particular the ones where the Hulk shows up - still hold-up well today. Logan's undercover as Patch in Madripor for most of the stories if memory serves, for the cost you really can't go wrong if you like Wolverine-kills-stuff style tales.

 

The new Chapters superstore has a cracking little section chock full of the Essential reprints so I'm open to trying some more - I have no time for the hokey-fun-filled style stories of yore though. I've picked up both the Moon Knight and Man-Thing collections as of late but never made it as far as the till....

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I have the Wolverine and Punisher Essential collections. Ditto what John said about the Wolvy one.

 

I've since picked up almost all of the issues from the Punisher collection. That's how much I liked it.

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I've been enjoying the chance to read some classic (and not so classic) Marvel horror books.

 

I have both the Dr Strange, The new Man Thing, Howard The Duck, Werewolf By Night, the first Dracula and will probably start with a first superhero one with the Defenders at the weekend.

 

A couple more of the horror ones to go for too.

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The Essential Uncanny X-Men collections are pretty boss.

You get the Phoenix/Dark Phoenix Saga, countless first appearances like Alpha Flight and the Brood, and tons of stories featuring Claremont at his best. There are a few Space Opera type issues, but they're not that bad.

 

Don't bother with the Essential X-Men ones as those are the original X-Men comics from the 60s that Stan Lee couldn't be bothered with writing decent scripts for.

 

The Uncanny collections start with the relaunch of the title at Giant Sized X-Men #1 and feature the "new" team of Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, et al. Byrne, Cockrum, Claremont all at their best.

Oooh, and the Hellfire Club when they were actually cool.

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I've got a few of these things myself.

The Tomb of Dracula and Howard the Duck ones are the ones that strike me as the best ideas, but really that's just a personal inclination and a taste for gene Colan's art: there's absolutely nothing wrong with the Fantastic Four collections and steaming through a shitload of those comics in one sitting is a very pleasant experience indeed.

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Essential Wolverine vol. 1 is great! I was surprised when I bought it and read it, because I have most of the issues of Wolverine that come after Essential Wolverine vol. 1, and they are NOT great.

 

Essential Man Thing is a MUST OWN if you have not read Steve Gerber's run!!!

Same goes for Essential Howard the Duck.

My two favourite Marvel titles ever.

 

I also recommend:

Essential Defenders vol. 2 (Steve Gerber at his best, again!)

Essential Dr. Strange vol. 2 (Gardner Fox has Dr. Strange versus Lovecraftian demons and the start of the uber-classic Steven Engelhart run)

all of the Essential Tomb of Dracula are great. (4 vols., although the final vol. reprints the b&w Dracula magazines and isn't a necessary read)

Essential Hellstorm (has the Steve Gerber run on Son of Satan. I liked those, even though they're dated. Not sure what else is in the book.)

Essential Tales of the Zombie (really hit and miss. A lot of the Steve Gerber written issues are good stuff, but the rest of the book is filler.)

If you've never read the Chris Claremont Uncanny X-Men run, Trace is right. Those are classics.

 

I own the two Essential Iron Man collections, two of the Essential Thor collections, and the first Essential Dr. Strange....these are all really good books if you enjoy Marvel's Silver Age superhero titles and I enjoyed them.

The Iron Man stuff is pretty hokey though, with lots of battles with the Evil Commies! It was nostalgia for me.

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How serious is the Gerber Man-Thing run and does it make up the bulk of the Essential volume ?

 

I remember quite enjoying the relaunch that happened around the same time as Jenkins' stint on Werewolf By Night.

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How serious is the Gerber Man-Thing run and does it make up the bulk of the Essential volume ?

The bits and pieces of it I've read are great, but I'm still waiting on my copy of Essential man Thing. (Bloody FPI...)

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How serious is the Gerber Man-Thing run and does it make up the bulk of the Essential volume ?

 

I remember quite enjoying the relaunch that happened around the same time as Jenkins' stint on Werewolf By Night.

 

The relaunch was by J.M. DeMatteis, and I enjoyed it also, but it wasn't near the level of the Gerber series.

 

Gerber wrote a few humour issues (and they're dark humour), but the vast majority of the series is dark and depressing. Gerber played around with genres in the series. A lot of the stories are very existential, as Gerber uses the mindless Man Thing as a backdrop to tell stories about sad, lonely people and the dark side of society.

 

The bulk of the Essential Man Thing is Steve Gerber....

Let me check what's in Essential Man Thing vol. 1....

OK, Gerber's run starts with Adventures into Fear #11. It takes a few issues for Gerber to really get a feel for where he's going with the book, but not too long. AIF #11 is a pretty mundane, by the numbers horror story, but I enjoyed everything after that.

Everything after Adventures into Fear #11 in the book is written by Gerber, except for the Ka-Zar issues that are reprinted in the book (I have no idea why those are even included!). The Daredevil issues included are written by Gerber, but they're not very good.

 

OK, so there's:

Adv Into Fear #11-19

Man-Thing #1-14

Giant Sized Man-Thing #1-2

Monsters Unleashed #8-9 (prose short story)

all written by Steve Gerber

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