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Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide 2014: STILL MORE BIG Hardcover Comic Book Collections

Jack Kirby AEA few days ago, we posted the first part of our 2014 Gift Guide’s “BIG Hardcover Comic Book Collection” which you can find by either scrolling down the Biff Bam Pop! main page or by clicking here.

Those were some big books that require some degree of heavy lifting. But they’re not the only ones that would make fantastic gifts this year!

Follow me after the jump and I’ll detail a few more awesome tomes released earlier this year that any comic book, comic book historian or comic book art lover – would absolutely love to have their hands on!

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Battle of the Atom: Past, Present, and Future

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A wise man once said, “Time travel makes my head hurt.” After reading the first two chapters of Marvel Comics new X-Men crossover event, Battle of the Atom, I think it may have been one of those uncanny mutant superheroes. The X-Men of the past are living in the now with the present day X-Men and now they don’t want to become them. The X-Men of the future show up and they’re sorry they were ever either of them. Confused? Me too, but only just a little, so meet me after the jump for my review of Battle of the Atom.

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Tales from the Longbox – The Wolverine Limited Series (1982)

Every other week, Jason Shayer highlights an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.

WolverineLS01-00Wolverine limited series #1-4
Sept.-Dec. 1982
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein

After seeing The Wolverine and being disappointed with its wasted potential, I thought a look back at the source material might cleanse my pallet. The Wolverine was Marvel’s second limited series (put out in tandem with the Hercules: Prince of Power limited series in 1982) and featured the creative talents of the legendary X-Men scribe, Chris Claremont, and a young up-and-comer named Frank Miller.

The first issue kicks off with this classic monologue: “I’m Wolverine. I’m the best there is at what I do. But what I do isn’t very nice.”

WolverineLS01-01

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Tainted Love In Tales from the Longbox – Uncanny X-Men #186 (1984)

Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.

Uncanny X-Men 186-00 Uncanny X-Men #186
“Lifedeath”
October 1984
Writer – Chris Claremont with plot assist by Barry Windsor-Smith
Artists – Barry Windsor-Smith/Terry Austin

“Once upon a time, there was a woman who could fly.”

Chris Claremont teamed up with Barry Windsor-Smith in 1984 for a double-sized issue of Uncanny X-Men. The art was a jarring break from the usual John Romita Jr. art. However, this collaborative effort generated a sequel in Uncanny X-Men #198 “Lifedeath II” and a couple of other stand-alone stories in Uncanny X-Men #205 (which focused on Wolverine) and Uncanny X-Men #214.

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Tales from the Longbox – Alpha Flight #1 (1982)

Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.

Alpha Flight #001 00Alpha Flight #1 (1982)
“Tundra!”
John Byrne, writer and artist

I thought a look back at this landmark issue would be appropriate as I’ll be using this timeframe as a setting for our new Marvel Super-Heroes RPG campaign with fellow Biff Bam Poppers Andy and JP.

After the début of Alpha Flight, in The Uncanny X-Men #120-121 (April 1979) and several guest appearances by its member in the Marvel, Canada’s super-hero team earned its own ongoing title. John Byrne, co-creator of Alpha Flight with Chris Claremont, was handed the creative reigns.
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Tales from the Longbox – Uncanny X-Men #141-142 (1981)

Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.

Uncanny X-Men #141-142
January- February 1981
“Days of Future Past”
Writing: Chris Claremont (plot and script) and John Byrne (plot)
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin

While many fans may classify the Dark Phoenix Saga as the ultimate X-Men storyline, I’d argue for a two-issue, cross-time story called “Days of Future Past”. Both Claremont and Byrne are at the top of their game, coming off the Dark Phoenix Saga storyline and still telling outstanding stories.

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Tales from the Longbox – Uncanny X-Men #168 (1983)

Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.

Uncanny X-Men 168

The Uncanny X-Men #168
April 1983
“Professor Xavier is a Jerk!”
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Paul Smith/Bob Wiacek

It was 1983 and I was twelve years old and in love.  In love with Kitty Pryde. Kitty was molded to be a love interest for their target audience of teenage boys. She was a geek’s dream: she was smart, loved sci-fi movies, excelled at video games, belonged to a superhero team, and kept a pet dragon. Kitty was never drawn as the typical comic book “babe”, instead, she was drawn as a perky teen-aged girl with fun and mischief in her eyes. For more on Kitty and Uncanny X-Men #168, read on after the jump!

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Titanic Teams: John Byrne’s Alpha Flight

Alpha Flight (1983-85)
Writer/Penciler/Inker: John Byrne

Alpha Flight was the second X-Men spinoff title (with The New Mutants being the first) and X-Men co-plot/penciler John Byrne took full control of the series. Byrne’s Alpha Flight was a comic book about characters disguised as a team book. It wasn’t your archetypal team book where heroes would team-up to battle the latest world-threatening menace. Alpha Flight focused on one team member per issue while the main team story ran as a subplot, building to a climax that would bring the team together.

Alpha Flight was originally designed as a super-hero team that could match up against the X-Men. Byrne challenged himself to bring the characters to life beyond a supporting role and shake the title’s billing as an X-Men spin-off. His entire first year on the book, after a full-team battle in issue #1, was spent building characters, dedicating an issue or two each, giving them some room to breathe. He had a plan though and it was building up to issue #12.

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Tales from the Longbox/Titanic Teams – The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans #1 (1982)

Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.

Marvel and DC Present = The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans #1
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Walter Simonson
Inker: Terry Austin

As a comic book fan in 1982, you just couldn’t ask for anything more. While The Justice League of America and The Avengers were caught in a spiral downwards in terms of quality and talent, The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans were making their mark in comic book history. Both titles shared a lot of similarities: a young core of rookie heroes each struggling with their own degrees of teenage angst, great writing, fabulous artwork, solid character development, and fine storytelling.

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March Madness – I Am Legion

From the desk of Doctor Leonard Samson:

David Haller is a young boy trapped in the body of a man and lost in a maelstrom of emotions he can’t understand. He’s been described as autistic and schizophrenic. However, based on the documented evidence, he suffers from a multiple personality disorder. What makes this case so unusual and interesting is that David is a mutant and can spontaneously generate and associate powers with these personalities.

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