Need a few ideas on what to get your thirty-something comic book geek for the holidays? Look no further. I’ve compiled a list of this year’s top 10 hardcover books reprinting classic 1980s comic books.
1. Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Omnibus. Weighing in at almost 10 pounds, this omnibus will require you to purchase an accompanying lectern to hold it while you read it! It’s big and beautiful and lovingly restored and recoloured. Its 1,200 pages reprint Simonson’s full run from Thor #337-355, 357-369, 371-382 and Balder the Brave #1-4. Price tag: $90
2. John Byrne’s The Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume #1. At just under 1,100 pages, this first of two volumes reprints Byrne’s earliest work on the Fantastic Four. While it wasn’t given the same TLC that the Thor Omnibus received, it’s still a wonderful collection. Re-reading Byrne’s run has made me realize that I enjoyed his Fantastic Four more than his X-Men run. While I loved that era of X-Men and those characters, Byrne’s efforts here are innovative and revolutionary. Price tag: $90.
3. Marvel Masterworks – Uncanny X-Men Volume #7. An amazing collection featuring classic 1980s artists like Michael Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, Brent Anderson, and Dave Cockrum. Price tag: $40 for just over 300 pages.
4. The New Teen Titans Omnibus Volume 1. The Teen Titans were re-assembled as the New Teen Titans in the early 1980s after a few years on hiatus with Marv Wolfman and George Perez at the helm. These former sidekicks grew up and matured at the same time as its reader base and that created an immediate relationship. This volume reprints issues #1-16 and volume two is in plan for April 2012. Price tag: $55 for almost 700 pages.
5. Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 6. Book 6 is the final volume in the hardcover run that started in 2009. While there have been complaints about the paper quality, this series of hardcovers is a great way to discover Alan Moore’s ground-breaking work on Swamp Thing. Price tag: $18 for 204 pages.
6. Amazing Spider-Man by David Michelinie & Todd McFarlane. Remember when Todd McFarlane actually drew a monthly title? Amazing Spider-Man was in a downward spiral in the late 1980s and McFarlane’s art revitalized and rejuvenated the title propelling it into 1990s. This omnibus collects a great run of his work with veteran writer David Michelinie before the franchise was diluted and gimmick driven. Price tag: $70 for 850 pages.
7. Tales of the Batman – Gene Colan Volume 1. Colan’s death this pass year made this hardcover collection that much more special and memorable. It includes one of the scariest Batman story arcs in which he was turned into a vampire. I still remember how these issues frightened me when I was 11 years old! Price tag: $30 for 288 pages.
8. Captain America: War & Remembrance. Roger Stern and John Byrne teamed up for one of the most memorable runs in Captain America’s history. It includes a great standalone issue featuring Cap’s presidential run! Price tag: $22 for 224 pages.
9. Avengers – West Coast Avengers: Family Ties . Steve Englehart returned to the Avengers and to Marvel in the mid-1980s after a stint with DC. This edition reprints the first 9 issues of the West Coast Avengers and their two-issue crossover with the Vision and Scarlet Witch miniseries. Price tag: $25 for 296 pages.
10. Doctor Strange: Into the Dark Dimension. Rogers Stern’s output in the 1980s is impressive in both quality and quantity. While his work on Amazing Spider-Man or the Avengers is better known, his run on Doctor Strange with Paul Smith was fresh and fun. Reprints Doctor Strange #68-74. Price tag: $18 for 170 pages.
Honourable mentions: The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse Deluxe Edition, Avengers: Assault on Olympus, Evolutionary War, X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda, X-Men: Fall of the Mutants, Atlantis Attacks, and Avengers – West Coast Avengers: Lost in Space and Time.