Uncollected Editions: Top Uncollected Marvel Stories

April 18, 2012


[Guest post by Doug Glassman]

Here at Collected Editions, there’s a feature called “Uncollected Editions,” investigating comic book runs which have never been collected. DC Comics isn’t the only company behind on its collections, however.

Below are five runs which I think need to be put to trade. Naturally, there are others, so feel free to mention in the comments your favorite Marvel issues that you'd like to see in trade paperback.

During the research for this article, I discovered that a few of my suggestions, such as Untold Tales of Spider-Man, have finally been collected, to my relief.

5. Rom: Spaceknight Vol. 1 #1-75.

It may be a bit unfair to push Marvel to collect this, as Rom was a toy tie-in comic. Like the Transformers and G.I. Joe books, however, it transcended its toy roots and became a classic in its own rights. His supporting characters and the villains of the series, the Dire Wraiths, continue to make appearances, while Rom has even been turned into a human. The Rom character and design are owned by Parker Brothers, which is a subsidiary of Hasbro ... which now makes Marvel’s toys. There’s a chance that we may yet see Rom both in toy and comic book form in the near future.

4. The Rest of Thunderbolts Vol. 1 #15-41, #45-75.

The two Thunderbolts Classics editions have been mostly great, despite the first volume being just an expanded version of Justice, Like Lightning. I don’t want these Classics volumes to peter out before the whole series is collected. (Issues #42-44 are part of an Avengers crossover, The Nefaria Protocols, and are collected in that trade. Keep ‘em coming, Marvel!

3. Iron Man Vol. 1 #163-200.

A few years ago, I doubted that Marvel would ever collect the four-year-long Obadiah Stane saga in any convenient form. A few issues were collected in the Many Armors of Iron Man trade. However, the various omnibus editions and massive trades of The Clone Saga, Onslaught, and especially The Captain prove that Marvel has some interest in collecting longer stories. Though the Stane saga is somewhat padded out, it does feature Jim Rhodes’ first tenure as Iron Man and the classic Stark vs. Stane showdown. Two trades of The Captain’s length should do it.

2. Hellstorm Vol. 1 #1-21.

I mentioned in the Marvel Legacy Handbook review that this series was weirder than anything ever published by Vertigo. While Rafael Nieves and Len Kaminski both penned great stories, it really reached the heights of the bizarre under Warren Ellis’ tenure. I’ve been tempted to write a Hellstorm movie based on Ellis’ Armorer storyline. The artwork is extremely dark and gruesome, fitting the similar mood.

1. Iron Man Vol. 1 #300-318.

I’ve mentioned the Modular Armor era of Iron Man a few times before, so naturally, it’s at the top of my list. Len Kaminski’s run on Iron Man is often lumped into the 1990s Dark Age, but they actually precede the worst of the worst, although the art is of mixed quality. This run also includes the “Heart of Darkness” crossover between Iron Man, War Machine and Force Works. Issue #319 begins Tony’s descent into poorly-conceived villainy and the horror that is Teen Tony, but the issues before it deserve recognition.

Those are my picks -- what have you been waiting for Marvel to collect? [If it's the Avengers vs. X-Men crossover, you're in luck -- that's already on its way! -- ed.]

Comments ( 25 )

  1. Obviously, Rom is stuck in copyright limbo along with other Mantlo masterpieces like Micronauts (right?). Otherwise, it would top the list.

    Since I went out and bought every issue (don't forget the 4 Annuals), I don't mind as much, but I'm thinking of the wider community!

  2. Master of Kung Fu - Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin, Doug Moench, Paul Gulacy, Mike Zeck and others.

    If we're talking about syndicated stuff that Marvel no longer has the copyright to, this tops the list. True, Shang Chi is owned by Marvel and Fu Manchu isn't, and in later issues, they avoided mentioning his name and Shang Chi was even more firmly entrenched in the Marvel Universe. I don't know what other legality is stopping them from collecting it but that has to be no 1 for me.

  3. I honestly thought that Shang Chi had an Essential volume out and they just changed Fu Manchu's name for the reprinting. You're absolutely right, though. Shang Chi made an excellent appearance in Secret Avengers recently (which I'll be reviewing soon) and I'd like to see some of his earlier adventures get collected.

    As for Micronauts, it didn't make the list because unlike Rom, I felt it remained stuck in the "must sell toys" mode. Rom, on the other hand, didn't sell well as a toy but kept going for years afterwards.

  4. Personally I'd like to see more of the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern stuff collected, I know there's huge gaps in that collection, and I believe I own all the trades that have been published. Definitely underrated in my opinion.

    Also it seems odd to me that Amazing spider-man #1-29 never made it into any form of collection, as soon as Straczynski started his run at #30 they started collecting it! You'd have thought that issue #1 would have been an ideal place to start a new line of trades. It boggles the mind...

  5. ( Hal Jordan as ) The Spectre vol. 4 (#1 - #27), written by J. M. DeMatteis.

    See http://www.comics.org/series/10922/

  6. I'm off topic, sorry ( while "The Spectre" is not a Marvel series ).

  7. Off topic is OK. :-) DeMatteis's Hal Jordan Spectre series is a pretty common request. What interests you or did you like about it that makes you want a collection of it?

  8. I agree with Robin about collecting the rest of the Kyle Rayner era of Green Lantern. After Baptism of Fire, I think the TPBs skipped all the way to Emerald Knights.

    About Amazing Spider-Man v2 #1-29, Marvel is collecting those stories in a series of TPBs called "Spider-Man: The Next Chapter", which will cover the entire Mackie/Byrne relaunch era.

  9. There is a lot to do with Kyle and Jade's relationship that at one point I, too, wanted to see those issues collected; now I'm not sure I'd want to "relive the drama" knowing it didn't amount to anything. But you wouldn't see me complaining about new collections of older material!

  10. Part of the first Iron Man run you mentioned has already been collected, so I think it's safe to assume that Marvel fully intends to reprint that creative run in full. (Iron Man #193-200 are collected in the Iron Man: Iron Monger hardcover.)

    Marvel recently (as in, within the last year) tried to come to an arrangement over the Master of Kung Fu material but was unsuccessful. I assume they tried to do so with Rom as well -- however, the newly solicited Incredible Hulk: Regression trade (a Mantlo-penned volume, on par with The Captain in size) skips an issue featuring the character, so it would seem that was unsuccessful as well. (Someone from Marvel's collected editions department has already confirmed that they intend to include a page in the trade explaining the issue's events.)

    As for Thunderbolts, a third volume in the Classic line has already been solicited. It seems to have been fast-tracked, just as Marvel did for the Deadpool Classic series.

  11. If they are going to collect DeMatteis's Hal Jordan Spectre series then they need to collect the Day of Judgement mini series by Geoff Johns that had Hal Jordan become the Spectre.

  12. I've been thrilled to see that Thunderbolts has been getting Classics collections & they hold up quite well for 15 year old stories.

    I would buy Hellstorm trades in a second! Especially the Warren Ellis/Leonarado Manco stuff.

  13. I would also love to see a collection of the Ellis Hellstorm issues. I have some of the run in single issues but not complete.

  14. Seriously Marvel, when are we going to see some color reprints of Nova????? Ya gave him four series to run with so someone there must have had some faith in the character.... :)
    And a black and white collection is crap, and everyone knows it....

  15. I would love a Rom collection!

  16. I'd be thrilled to get the seagle and kelly x-men run. more alpha flight. the second byrne ff omnibus. more nocenti DD. englehart ff, with the rockier thing. a spectacular Spiderman omnibus. captain America from the death of red skull to the captain, minus the skourge stuff that came last year, plus the zeck stuff. nomad. ...

  17. @Ben: It's weird that DAY OF JUDGMENT hasn't been collected - it's five issues of Geoff Johns + Hal Jordan! I have to think that it's either because they'd see it as a step backwards in Hal's progress OR Johns just really doesn't want to see it reprinted ;)

  18. As for my list:

    Gail Simone's DEADPOOL/AGENT X
    Joe Kelly/Steve Seagle's X-MEN & UNCANNY runs
    Cary Nord's (+ Karl Kesel & Joe Kelly's) DAREDEVIL
    COMPLETE GENERATION X (one classic tpb isn't enough) - at LEAST through the Bachalo years
    Dan Jolley & Tony Harris' DR. STRANGE mini

  19. I always loved the look of the modular armor. It's probably in my top three Iron Man armors. Such a shame it was ditched so quickly; it wasn't around much more than a year before it was dropkicked into irrelevancy. Hell, the armor is better known for the years worth of appearances it made outside of comics; it's another example of the Shredder effect, where in the Ninja Turtles cartoons Shredder was such a huge foe but the comics that originated him dispatched him the first time in their first issue (and his return around the tenth ended ten or twelve issues later).

  20. I totally did not know that about Shredder.

  21. Oh yeah. In Eastman and Lairds defense, they totally didn't know what they had at first. The first issue that birthed the whole concept was at least partially a parody of Frank Millers work. They never actually planned a follow-up, hence killing Shredder off at the end of the first issue. Once it took off, it became an ongoing. Shredder was in two more stories - which are, make no mistake, classics - which were his return and when he was finally put down.

    So, while he was their arch-enemy, he was only around for a bit. The book did a bunch of other stuff afterwards. It wasn't until the films and the cartoons that he was really solidified as their ongoing nemesis.

    The Foot continued to be a antagonistic force after that, though, but Eastman and Laird compensated for Shredders death by giving more depth to the group (like how the Foot we knew best were just one branch of the group, the main being in Japan).

    I'm sure the current series and continuity IDW is doing - which is slowly rolling out ongoing threats - won't make the same mistake of killing him off.

  22. What happened with the Shredder reminds me of what they did with Guyver II in later adaptations. Yoshiki Takaya regretted killing off such a powerful baddie so early on, so in the 2005 anime, he had them rearrange the story a bit to make him the big bad for the first eight episodes. In the manga, he brought in the female Guyver II from the very first Guyver OVA in the 80s.

    Unfortunately, I only know about this through Wikipedia and scanlations because Guyver manga hasn't been brought over to the US for decades, and every adaptation stops at the exact same freaking point!

  23. camckinnonApril 27, 2012

    Off-topic (again - sorry...), but while we're at it, am I the only one who would really like to see some (or all) or Mike Grell's run on Green Arrow from the 80s/90s collected? I have most of them in single issues, but a Mike Grell Green Arrow Omnibus (or two) wouldn't go amiss (unless such a thing exists and I've missed it).

  24. Yes -- see my Green arrow: Longbow Hunters review; I'd love to see a Grell Green Arrow Omnibus as well.

  25. camckinnonApril 27, 2012

    I'd forgotten that - great review, by the way. DC, are you listening?


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