In this week’s Comixology (at Amazon) sales, Superman gets the discount spotlight from DC; Doctor Strange and New Mutants Sales return and Dark Horse offers up Black Hammer.
Where did the New Releases and Sale pages go?
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In case you’re having troubles with the new UIX (a LOT of people have been):
A quick word before getting into this week’s sales. No, you’re not imagining things: The Marvel sales DID run towards the end of March. The current Doctor Strange sale added a handful of items that were missing from the last one, though. We have no clue what’s up with that. If you happened to look at the sales page Tuesday morning, you would have seen the Dark Horse Valentine’s Day Sale return, but that got swapped out for Black Hammer. We’re used to seeing the pricing take a couple days to get fixed, but this week was definitely odder than most.
The DC Superman Legacy Sale runs through Monday, 5/1.
An All-Superman, all-the-time sale. Now, DC’s digital depth doesn’t really go as deep as Marvel, despite having been around longer, so it’s a little smaller than the Marvel Legacy sales. Everything before the John Byrne/Man of Steel era is a little spotty… but you know what? Byrne’s run ushered in a pretty entertaining period.
The slightly better buy for the early portion of that Byrne-initiated period is the larger Man of Steel collections. This is the post-Crisis relaunch spearheaded by John Byrne, but also with Marv Wolfman, Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern and Dan Jurgen showing up early on. Solid runs and we’re particularly fond of Ordway’s work.
After Byrne left, but still firmly in what we’d consider this period of Superman, there’s a good run by George Perez with Roger Stern and Kerry Gammill collected in The Adventures of Superman by George Perez.
Some more random recommendations? Sure.
One of the more unusual Superman titles from the Pre-Crisis era is Superman: Phantom Zone by Steve Gerber, Gene Colan and Tony DeZuniga. Yes, it’s about the Phantom Zone and Zod… but it veers into horror territory and gets pretty wild and metaphysical. We’d have loved to see more Superman from this team, but ’twas not to be. This also includes the (much later) wrap up story from DC Comics Presents by Gerber and Rick Veitch.
Emperor Joker was something that got some serious word of mouth in 2000, when it took over the Superman titles for a couple months. It’s a Jeph Loeb / Joe Kelly / J. M. DeMatties / Mark Schultz / Ed McGuinness / Doug Mahnke / Mike Miller / Kano tale of the Joker gaining the power to reshape the world in his image and reigning as Emperor. And no, it’s not an Elseworlds tale. A highlight of the early 00’s for Superman.
And for something more recent that was completely overlooked, there’s Batman/Superman: The Archive of Worlds. This is a fun-forward romp by Gene Yang and Ivan Reis that has Superman and Batman hopping parallel world with classic cinema themes… to put it in a way to avoid spoilers. Silver age themes with modern sensibilities.
And let’s give a shout out to a couple of our favorite Jimmy Olsen collections (both of them?) that happen to be collected here:
Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby is one of the “Forth World” titles, but it’s also effectively Kirby’s Superman book. What do we get here? The debut of the Cadmus Project and the DNAliens, the return of the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion, Intergang… and a clone saga that predates Spidey’s first encounter with the Jackyl. Very fun stuff.
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? is the more recent Jimmy Olsen 12-parter by Matt Fraction and Steve Leiber. We’ve raved about this one before and we’ll doing it again: this is one of the funniest comics of modern times. Jimmy Olsen wakes up in Gorilla City hungover and married… to an intergalactic jewel thief and that’s far from the strangest part of story (nor is the alien cat that pukes up buckets of blood over everyone). Somebody, lots of somebodies, are trying to kill him. Jimmy’s on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of the killers, maintain his career and figure out who’s behind this. It’s a homage to the 50’s/60’s series and it’s transformations. There’s an actual mystery underneath the humor and it goes out of its way to explore some of the odder corners of the DC Universe. A bit of a masterpiece in our opinion. We’re eager for a proper sequel.
The Doctor Is In – Redux
The Marvel Doctor Strange Sale runs through Monday, 3/28.
And it’s most of the Doctor Strange material that’s been collected in book form… and a couple more titles than when this run a few weeks back (see: The Peter Gillis Strange Tales, for instance.)
So first, as is our custom, we’ll walk you through the various series over the years… this is a little more complicated because the early Epic/Masterwork volumes aren’t on the same page. (We’ll let you you pick out the mini’s yourself, since those aren’t as convoluted.)
- Strange Tales – This is a cluttered series page, but its the original Lee/Ditko run, so let’s break it down to Masterworks 1 and Masterworks 2 or Epic Edition 1
- Doctor Strange ’68-’69 – the Masterworks listings are here and include the early Marvel Premiere run. The ’68 run is perhaps most notable for some amazing Gene Colan art, but the scripts don’t always live up to the art.
- Doctor Strange ’74-’87 – The Masterworks here catch the end of the Marvel Premiere run and the Epics pick up with the back half of ’68 run. (Yes, it’s a confusing way to look at things.)
- Strange Tales ’87-’88 – The rest of the Peter B. Gillis run from Strange Tales with art by Chris Warner, Kevin Nowlan, Terry Shoemaker and Richard Case.
- Doctor Strange ’88-’96 – Probably best known for the Roy & Dann Thomas run with Butch Guice and Geoff Isherwood as notable artists.
- Doctor Strange ’15-’18 – Initially Jason Aaron/Chris Bachalo with Donny Cates tagging in towards the end. (The omnibuses here are the better buy)
- Doctor Strange ’18-’19 – The Mark Waid / Jesus Saiz / Barry Kitson era with Strange in space.
- Doctor Strange, Surgeon Supreme (’19) – the very much under-rated and too short Mark Waid / Kev Walker run. Walker knocks it out of the park here.
- Death of Doctor Strange – Jed MacKay and Lee Garbett kill off Stephen Strange. For real. (OK, at least it lasted for a bit and served a plot point.) A clever series that delivers its titular promise in unexpected ways.
Strange isn’t included, so somebody considers it a Clea title, perhaps?
What’s good? This is where we get into Masterworks vs. Epics… because the Masterworks are a LOT more complete right now, particularly through the 70s. The original Lee/Ditko run is great and you can get that in the first Epic Collection. Things pick up again when Englehart and Brunner show up towards the end of the Marvel Premiere run and the whole ’74-’87 run is solid, though we have a particular soft spot for the Roger Stern / Marshall Rogers / Paul Smith material towards the end. Yes, Doctor Strange had A list creators most of the time. That’s your core.
Another personal favorite that wasn’t in the previous sale, Doctor Strange: The Oath by a pre-Saga Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin.
Something under the radar? The final Waid/Walker run is also a lot more under the radar than it should be.
Mutations – Redux
The Marvel New Mutants Sale runs through Monday, 4/24
Let’s break this one down by the series highlights first:
- New Mutants (’83 – ’91) – The original run
- New Mutants (’09 – ’11) – Zeb Wells / Diogenes Neves; DnA / Leandro Fernandez & David Lopez
- Bigger volumes of the DnA run
- New Mutants (’03 – ’04) – Nunzio DeFilippis / Christina Weir / Keron Grant / Khary Randolph
- New Mutants: Dead Souls (’18) – Matthew Rosenberg / Adam Gorham
- New Mutants (’19-’22) – The HoX/PoX (Hickman) era with rotating creators
What’s the best run of New Mutants? That’s a question that runs to personal preference more than most series. We’d say, #18-31 is the core with Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz that stands above the rest. Demon Bear. The introduction of Warlock. A good Legion arc. And it’s conveniently packaged in an Epic Collection. It’s still an interesting run after Sienkiewicz moves on, but he’s so good at setting mood and tone.
Another thing we’d throw out as particularly interesting is specifically the Jonathan Hickman installments of the most recent series. These are also conveniently collected in a single volume… and his issues didn’t always run sequentially.
Past that, this is one where you browse and see if something strikes your fancy.
The Dark Horse 2023 Black Hammer Sale runs through Monday, 5/1.
This would be — we think it’s OK to call it a superhero universe at this point — the indie superhero saga by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston and friends. There are a couple branches to how this saga unfurls.
The main Black Hammer series is here and that’s where you should start the journey. But, as with many long running titles, there are a few different editions to it and this is what we think the cheapest (if messy to sort) way to read the series is.
There are currently 7 volumes under the main series + a collection of specials + 2 volumes of “Visions” with guest creators playing in the Black Hammer standbox.
So what you want to do to cheap out is go to the omnibus page first.
Black Hammer Omnibus V.1 is basically the same thing as the first Library edition. That gets you the first two “regular” volumes (issues 1-13) + the Annual.
Black Hammer Library Edition V. 2 gets you the equivalent of “regular” volumes 3 &4 (“Age of Doom”) plus the Streets of Spiral material not in the Ominbus.
Then you can pick up again with V.5 of the regular editions.
Then you’ve got the World of Black Hammer collections, which are solo tales about the various heroes and villains like Barbalien and Sherlock Frankenstein.
And finally, there’s Black Hammer / Justice League: Hammer of Justice, the Lemire / Michael Walsh team up between… well, that’s in the title, isn’t it? This one offers savings in the single issue format.
Still On Sale
- The Dark Horse – Art Books Digital Sale runs through Monday, 5/1.
- The Kodansha – 2023 Spring Anime Favorites Sale runs through Monday, 4/24
- The Archie and Jughead Digest Sale runs through Sunday, 4/30