A whole load of X-Men

I started this post as the Image Comics Expo was taking place, and found it impossible not to get distracted. Stunning creative teams developing unique high concepts for a publisher that is already releasing some of the best comics around. It felt like a real statement of intent from Image: we want to properly compete with Marvel and DC for your money, and we’re going to do that by bombarding the market with books you’re not going to be able to resist buying. What an excellent strategy!

Anyway, back to that massive haul of comicbooks I recently retrieved from the family home. There’s a fairly random mishmash of Uncanny X-Men and X-Men in the piles pictured above, running from the early 1990s (just after Chris Claremont left the books) to the early 2000s (including Claremont’s disastrous return to the line), most of which was purchased on eBay a few years back during a period when I was attempting to fill in gaps in my collection. There’s also a few Uncanny X-Men Annuals, a couple of Onslaught one-shots, and the New X-Men and X-Factor instalments of the Messiah Complex crossover.

Then there’s Gambit volume 3 #2-6, #8-9, and #12. Launched in 1999, Fabian Nicieza did a great job writing the character, and for the majority of its 25 issue run it was the best X-Men book around (which isn’t saying much given the quality of the other titles at the time, but still). Cancelled as of issue #25 (just a few short months before Grant Morrison redefined the X-Men concept), it remains the longest running Gambit series. Alas, volume 5 won’t be challenging it for that accolade, having been cancelled with #17.

Oh, and not forgetting X-Force volume 1 #1. Actually, maybe we will forget it. Which is fairly easy for me, given that I’ve never read it.

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Issue upon issue

So I finally got around to unpacking all the comicbooks I retrieved from the family home. Without counting, I’d say there’s around 250 issues of various titles. Some of which are absolute gems, some of which aren’t.

Unfortunately, there’s very little in the way of “complete” runs. For example, I now have issues #9 to #12 of All-Star Superman and issues #7 to #10 of All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, but no way of knowing where the other issues are (which, granted, is only a problem in the case of the former). Let this be a lesson to you to keep your collection organised.

But there are some bright spots, especially given my love of the X-Men line. The issues of Ultimate X-Men I unearthed mean I now have an unbroken run from #40 (Brian Michael Bendis’ and David Finch’s New Mutants arc) to #93 (the end of Robert Kirkman’s stint writing the title), whilst issues of Uncanny X-Men and X-Men plug some of the gaps in my collection.

I’ll be taking a closer look at exactly what comics I brought home with me in a handful of posts over the next week or so. Right now, I need to find somewhere to put them all.

What the Postman Bringeth! #1

This week I went a little crossover crazy. Firstly, I bought the entirety of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover, spanning Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Force, and X-Factor. Brilliantly, all 12 issues were still in the sealed bags they were originally packaged in, way back in 1992-93. Secondly, I picked up the four issues of the untitled X-Men/Ghost Rider crossover from 1992, which ran through X-Men #8-9 and Ghost Rider #26-27.

Now, the 1990s X-Men era is not a popular one. Dropped plots, endless crossovers, editorial interference, and the over-expansion of the line resulted in a lot of comics that are not fondly remembered. Nevertheless, it’s my era – the point at which I first came to comics – and so naturally I have a certain affection for it.

Back in the 21st century, with people raving about the new Hawkeye series, I figured I’d pick up the first volume of the trade to see what all the fuss is about. It’s always exciting when a couple of talented creators take a B-list character and craft a viable ongoing series, so Matt Fraction and David Aja deserve a lot of credit. Here’s hoping it lives up to expectations.

Finally, I’m not entirely sure what inspired me to buy The New Eternals: Apocalypse Now, a spur-of-the-moment purchase of a title I didn’t even know existed until I stumbled across it on eBay. I guess developments in Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force and Uncanny Avengers have reinvigorated my interest in Apocalypse as a character, and hopefully this one-shot will delve into the complicated minutiae of his existence.

What’s in the boxes?

As mentioned in my previous post, X-Men material accounts for the bulk of the content. Uncanny X-Men and X-Men are well-represented; of the 800+ issues of the two titles, I currently own somewhere in the region of 600 (although that total does include trade paperbacks). Another highlight is the entirety of Brian K. Vaughan’s Ultimate X-Men, an excellent run that ranks amongst the best the line has ever seen. Also present: several miniseries, including X-Men: Deadly Genesis and X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong.

As for the rest, there’s a fair chunk of the first 50 issues of The Walking Dead (which will probably be making their way to eBay in the near future, given the success of the TV show); a significant proportion of Ultimate Spider-man; around 50 issues or so of Amazing Spider-man, starting from the Brand New Day relaunch; and all eight issues of Secret Invasion. Not the most eclectic mix, especially considering the odds and ends that I’ve accumulated over the years, but plenty enough to keep me busy.

Reunited and it feels so good

Because I used to move around a fair bit, my ridiculously vast comicbook collection has spent most of the last 10 years at the family home. These two boxes represent only a tiny proportion of it, albeit an important one, given that they house the bulk of my X-Men collection – which has always been my true passion, regardless of whichever superheroes and graphic novels have caught my eye along the way.

Ever since X-Men: The Animated Series inspired me to visit my local comic shop in the early 1990s, I’ve been an on again, off again reader, with long periods of disinterest punctuated by rekindled love affairs. Most recently, Marvel NOW! drew me back in, and prompted me to try and get my collection into some kind of order. A quest that is a bit of a tall order, given how much of it is housed in a barely accessible loft. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy rooting through these two boxes.