The Holiday Comixology Sales have arrived! $0.99/$1.99 Marvel Masterworks! $3.99 Star Wars Epic Collections! $0.99/$1.99 collected editions from Vault, Valiant and Fantagraphics! Plus, the Oni Holiday Sale and (Adam) Strange Adventures.
Given the time of the year, it’s time to pay attention to the sale end dates. The “real” holiday sales typical start between now and next week and run into the first week of January. Publishers tend to drop 2-3 week sales now and then not update much in between ~12/23 and ~1/3. So Marvel, Oni, Vault, Fantagraphics and Valiant are sticking around. DC’s “real” sale is yet to come. (And there may well be a little more Marvel to come.)
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$0.99/$1.99 Marvel Masterworks
Yes, you read that correctly.
What’s good? At these prices, anything you don’t already own, basically.
Things of note here (the sale goes alphabetical after the first page, and don’t pretend you’re not going to browse it):
- Black Panther Masterworks V. 1 is the Don McGregor/Rich Buckler/Billy Graham Jungle Action run and it’s top notch
- Captain Marvel Masterworks V. 3-4, V.3 is the famous Starlin run with Thanos, but V.4 is the oft-overlooked Englehart/Milgrom run.
- Defenders Masterworks V.3-5 is the EXCELLENT Steve Gerber/Sal Buscema era
And yes DD and FF Masterworks are starting to enter the Miller and Byrne eras. Some people are probably feeling old when they read that.
Catches Cheap, Just Like Flies — Look Out, Here Comes the Spider Sale
As with previous “Legacy” sales, this one is Spidey through the years, specifically different incarnations of Amazing Spider-Man.
You want a stellar deal? We’ve got it right here. 22 volumes of Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks (i.e. the original series). $0.99 for the first volume, $1.99 for the rest. That will take you into the Roger Stern/John Romita, Jr. years.
So let’s break this down by series.
Original ’63 – ’98 Amazing Spider-Man. For the sake of value, you only want the massively discounted Masterworks for the contents of issues 1-237. And since the Epic Collections _aren’t_ on sale this time around (that was a couple weeks ago), the only other things available here would be along the lines of Origin of the Hobgoblin (picks up where the next Masterworks would start) or the Michelinie/Larsen Sinster Six collection.
’99 – ’13 Amazing Spider-Man is noted for the JMS run and the following “Brand New Day” era. The JMS run is divisive. We like it well enough, with the caveat that there were a couple major editorial missteps (Sins of the Past and One More Day), but your mileage will vary. As soon as JMS leaves, the One More Day era begins and it’s more of a throwback to the Spidey of years past. We particularly liked it when Mister Negative turned up and the introduction of Kraven’s heirs. The last arc of this series brings back Doc Ock, who… sticks around.
Which brings us to The Superior Spider-Man. A surprisingly entertaining run wherein Otto Octavius possess the body of Peter Parker and intends to make himself into a better, nay… superior Spider-Man. If you want this, go for the omnibuses.
Still with us? Good. Remember, Spidey reboots less than Captain America!
The ’15-’18 series of Amazing Spider-Man is the end of the Dan Slott era. (He was part of the Brand New Day rotation before taking over.) Otto build up Peter’s fortune and now Peter sort of plays Tony Stark until the old Parker Luck rears it’s head… as does Norman. Possibly best known for the Red Goblin story line that wraps the series.
And the brings us to the current Amazing Spider-Man, which is the Nick Spencer era, for the purposes of this sale. An era of Parker Luck and conspiracies… although we prefer the occasional humorous interludes that have echoes Superior Foes.
Now, because Marvel and Comixology sometimes divide things up strangely, here are a couple other things of note that don’t show up in the main title categories:
- Kraven’s Last Hunt – The absolute classic by J.M. DeMatties and Mike Zeck
- Revenge of the Green Goblin – A set of above average Goblin stories by Roger Stern, Paul Jenkins, Lee Weeks and Ron Frenz, among others.
Dig through the sale and you can find the 90s Clone saga and McFarlane run listed as a separate titles for… cataloging purposes?
Did Somebody Say “Holiday Special?”
Marvel might have figured out you like those $3.99 Epic Collections. There’s a TON of them with the original Marvel 70s/80s run and the Dark Horse material.
The Epic’s are actually a little better organized on the Sale page (yes, that’s unusual), so let’s just list out a few things we particularly like there:
- The Legacy series (John Ostrander and Jan Duursema leading the creatives) has bounty hunting Cade Skywalker, the last heir, mixing it up with the Sith Empire
- The Newspaper Strips – both volumes. Russ Manning is pretty good, but you really can’t beat Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson!
- The Empire V. 6 is worth the money for the “Agent of Empire” material. The elevator pitch is “What if James Bond worked for The Empire?” Yes, yes he does.
- For The Original Marvel Years, we’d lean towards V.3 and V.4, if we had to choose. Empire through the beginning of Jo Duffy’s run. You get some memorable Goodwin/Williamson (and Goodwin/Infantino), great one-off’s by Larry Hama and Mike W. Barr and the under-appreciated David Michelinie/Walt Simonson run.
Now, if you’ve got your eye on the current Marvel era of Star Wars, we have a priority for you. We’ve liked an awful lot of it, but the BEST is the Kieron Gillen/Salvador Larroca Darth Vader run. It is jaw-dropping. Get the two Omnibus editions – they’re cheaper and the second one includes Vader Down. Follow it up with Doctor Aphra or the Soule run… but this is where you start.
We Thought Legendary Was a Movie Company?!?
You’ll want to have a good browse through this one. Some of the thicker volumes approach Masterworks/Epic Collection size, too. Yes, we like it when things are 80% off.
Things that pop to the top of the list here? (This sale is alphabetical, so just scroll through the actual sale page.)
- Avengers Assemble is the Kurt Busiek / George Perez run and and wonderful era of Avengers.
- Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection is probably still the definitive run. Yes, even ahead of Don McGregor. Worth your time for very thick volumes at 80% off.
- Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection – you only need the first two volumes, this site doesn’t recognize HTD if he isn’t written by Steve Gerber. Note: The 99-cent Masterworks doesn’t quite have as many issues as V.1, but it’s close. V. 2 is not in Masterworks format.
- Thor by Walter Simonson because Walt is the best.
Not to be Confused with Dark Tower or Johnny Cash
The is the Venom-centric cosmic invasion Event with the core mini-series by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman.
As far as the tie-ins (and there are quite a few), we like a couple that intersected a bit more tangentially.
King in Black: Namor is largely a flashback to Namor’s youth that features an origin for Attuma as a dark secret from the past rears it’s head to menace Atlantis. It works pretty well as a stand alone story. We’d have been good with this being an ongoing title.
The Union, drawn by Andrea Di Vito and written by British indie comics legend Paul (Kane, Jack Staff) Grist finds Union Jack heading up a new group of British heroes, very much against his better judgement.
What a Long Strange Trip
A sale that’s… strange? So let’s talk about Adam Strange. The most topical item of this sale is the current Strange Adventures Adam Strange series by Tom King, Mitch Gerads and Doc Shaner. The first 10 issues are available for $0.99 cents… and then the last 2 issues are $4.99/pop. That’s $19.88 for the series vs. $29.99 for the digital collection. So you can save a bit if you want to read it now or you can wait for the collection to go on sale in 6-8 months, as it inevitably will.
If you want some of the original Adam Strange, there are some $0.99 reprints towards the tail end of the original Strange Adventures series available. It’s digital, so they’re all reprints. We’d avoid Deadman in this run: it’s incomplete and you’re better off getting a collected edition when those are on sale. The Animal Man issues are also in black & white. We did mention this was a strange sale.
JSA: Strange Adventures is a pulpy take on the Justice Society by Kevin J. Anderson, Barry Kitson and Gary Erksine.
$0.99 / $1.99 Indie Graphic Novels are Back
Welcome to the holidays, we were expecting this to filter in soon. Remember how the first volume in a series was $0.99 and subsequent volumes were $1.99 around Black Friday? It’s back.
The Best of Vault Sale runs through Thursday, 1/6.
We’ve heard nothing but good things about These Savage Shores, a colonial horror tale by Ram V and Sumit Kumar. We’ve also heard a bit of buzz building around Money Shot by Tim Seeley, Sarah Beattie and Rebekah Isaacs, a tale about *cough* relations with aliens *cough* and it’s not really a book for kids.
A Different Love & Rockets
The Fantagraphics Love & Rockets Sale runs through Thursday, 1/6.
Yes, one of the legendary indie comics by Gilbert, Jaime and Mario Hernandez falls under this category… and since the series is broken up into different sequences, there’s a lot more $0.99 material than you might expect. A real fielders choice here. Pick what speaks to you, the pedigree is there.
They had a similar sale on Black Friday, so let’s talk about three particularly good older titles that have popped up here.
Quantum & Woody by Priest and MD Bright is from the Acclaim era of Valiant and is probably the best thing they’ve published. A superhero farce with gravitas, heart and… a goat. A wonderful comic that didn’t last as long as it should have. Highly recommended.
X-O Manowar: Retribution is the opening act in the original series where a barbarian comes into possession of sentient suit of unspeakably powerful armor worship by aliens. Sort of Conan gets Iron Man’s suit… but with more explosions. The creative line up on this one? Steve Englehart, Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith and Joe Quesada. Yes, there are reasons this was a hot book in the 90s and worth revisiting.
Harbinger: Children of the Eighth Day kicked off the original Harbinger saga. It’s something that seemed to fall out of the collective consciousness after Valiant’s first incarnation folded, but it’s a solid tale of teen psionics (mutants… why that would be a different publisher) confronting a conspiracy to control and own them. Jim Shooter and David Lapham are the creators.
Oni For the Holidays
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim might be Oni’s flagship book at this point. The main question is whether a sequence that started in 2004 is a “modern classic” or just “a classic.” Hugely influential, either way. The color omnibus is the best value here. 6 volumes for $14.99 comes out to ~$2.50/volume and that’s not bad at all.
We’ve spoken about the greatness that is The Sixth Gun before (and it’s also on sale), but we haven’t spoken of Shadow Roads. It’s a sequel series. Now… without getting into spoilers, this is not a sequel you were necessarily expecting, but there are a few familiar faces and some… echoes you’ll recognize. It does follow on quite nicely and if you liked The Sixth Gun, we’re confident you’ll like Shadow Roads. Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt are back with A.C. Zamudio on art.
Stumptown is a Rockford Files-inspired detective comic by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth and Justin Greenwood. A down on her heels PI navigates the quirky world of Portland. We especially liked V.4’s affair with rare coffee beans for maximum quirk.