Monday, April 9, 2018

DC Archive Sampler (2004)

Look at this comic cover!
I found it at a Half-Priced Bookstore about a year ago.
It was in a bag, taped up and protected. I'm not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but when I come across books I have never seen before....we all do it, don't we? I mean, that's what covers are for, right?

Would YOU have bought it?

For a second let's go back to Half-Price Book and just look at the cover. Let's consider this purchase together.

Front and center there are five Justice Leaguers drawn by (or re-creating the look of) Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs. The Justice League of America was created by seven charter members, these five (Aquaman, Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman), plus the Flash and Martian Manhunter. Oddly, in the very earliest adventures Batman and Superman did not participate. So if this is an Archive Sampler for early Justice League stories, it's odd that the World's Finest members are here but the Flash and Martian Manhunter are not.

On the other hand, the title of this Archive Sampler is World's Best Comics: Silver Age. So perhaps this issue features Silver Age adventures of Batman and Superman, as well as the Justice League? Not likely, but definitely possible.

Then my eye is caught by Cosmic Boy on the far left, but more so by the Joe Kubert illustrated Sgt. Rock, standing in-between Batman and Superman. And of course, there's Lighting Lad and Saturn Girl on the far right. They broke up the Founders?! They are definitely by Curt Swan, but I don't recognize the inker.

The thickness reminds me of those late great 100 Pages for 60 Cents specials, so I estimate this is about 100 pages.

SO....I repeat my question. Would you have bought this book?

You know by now....or should, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time....whether I ended up buying this book or not. I mean, duh. Come on! There's Aquaman with the three founding members of the Legion! How could I NOT buy it?

I'm not embarrassed to admit that the first thing I thought of when I saw this cover was that it was advertising some never-before-revealed time travel Silver Age story where the Legion goes back to meet up with the Justice League but then also takes them back to the days of World War II in order to work with Easy Company.

Of course, that isn't what this turned out to be. But how cool a story would THAT have been!?!

When I got home and took the comic out of the bag, I found that this Archive Sampler actually features:
"Doom of the Star Diamond!" from JLA #4
"The Legion of Super-Heroes" from Adventure Comics #247
"The Rock of Easy Co.!" from Our Army At War #81

I can't say that I was surprised that this features the first ever appearance of the Legion. That seems to be the go-to reprint of choice, even though I think the story from Adventure Comics #300 would have been a good choice.

On the other hand, I was surprised to see JLA #4 included here. As JLA fans know, this story is the induction of Green Arrow into the Justice League. He plays a huge part in the adventure, and as I mentioned above, Superman and Batman do NOT. So definitely odd choices to feature Superman and Batman on the cover in lieu of Green Arrow and the Flash.

The biggest surprise was the Sgt. Rock story. The credits list the writer as Bob Haney, when I always assumed that Sgt Rock was created by Robert Kanigher. Likewise, the art is by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito when I always assumed Joe Kubert was involved in his creation. This makes the Joe Kubert Sgt Rock figure on the cover odd, too. 

The inside front cover lists all of the DC Archives that were available at this time (2004). Sadly, this includes all but one of the Legion Archives that were ever released; this list stops at twelve, and I believe the series stopped at thirteen.

The credits box also tells us that the pencillers for the cover are "Various." However, the inker is Rob Leigh.

One last bit of oddness: in the reprint credits, somebody listed JLA #4 as being from JLA Archives #4. Of course, it is from JLA Archives #1.   

1 comment:

  1. Of course they put Superman and Batman on the cover instead of Flash and Martian Manhunter. They want you to buy the book don't they?