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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Avenjerks Assemble! Or, How I Tried To Sort Out My Collection Of Marvel's Avengers...and gave up.
Almost impossible to believe.  The Arch Duke of cataloguing and bibliophile (me) just gave up.

I needed to catalogue the issues of The Avengers from after (shudder) volume 2. Numbers of copies never worry me.  I just sit and catalogue away by hand.  But this......I...I....

No. Must gather my composure.

Okay, I had three big stacks of comics on the floor in front on me. I had the shelf space.  I had the pen and paper.  Sip of coffee and then to work.

Volume 3....I began but then realised that most of the volumes were mixed up after the boxes they were in simply fell apart.  So I began sorting.  #35....of which volume.....okay, volume 3. Then #34....volume 4? Then there were the issues of The Secret Avengers. The New Avengers. Avengers Infinity. Avengers Bin Collection Day. Avengers versus X-Men...oh, then I got side-tracked by Avengers The Heroic Age (with Romita Jnrs last good comic work in)....

Wait...."The Heroic Age" -which started and seemed to have a good story which simply vanished -I have no idea...I don't think Marvel had either- was volume 4?  Right......

But then it hit me.  I just did not want to carry on.  Here is the problem: Marvel reboots, twists and turns and reboots so things look more like the movies.  Marvel Adventures The Avengers was probably the best avengers series for years...well, since volume 1.

House of M, Avengers Disassemble, Dark Reign, Dark Avengers....and, seriously, the covers just merge as the same blur of crap.  Nothing to really make you take note or say "Aw, yeah.  That's from the volume 2 run!" -it really all just merges.  Take time out and go look up volume 1 covers and you can see how distinguishable they are.  These days you have to have a torch to see the dark images on the covers.

You need a good stable of artists who can produce new look cover art to draw people in.  Dark, slushy digital art cannot replace that hand drawn feel and if you are going to mock real artists who drew without a computer -feck off.

Volume 5....O     M that colour?

Well, as Disney (previously Marvel) move more and more into science fiction epics and lose the whole point of a group such as The Avengers, they are getting far more Star Wars-like covers.  Disney owns Star Wars.  I still say the Marvel-Star Wars cross over is coming.  Just wait.

With volume 5 I was lucky as I got a couple of the trades out of the blue.  Still no idea who sent them or why!  But it has been easier with trades so I have gotten most of volume 5 trades at VERY low prices.  They sit on a bookshelf.  I do not have to chase every issue -they are all there.

The other problem was that very sneaky trick of store owners "Oh, you never picked up your copy last time!"   You think "okay. Nice of him to remind me" and then you read the book....I DO have this one.  No returns or refunds.   Then there was the adding a variant cover issue of a book you got the week before. You trust your comic store guys, right?  "Oh, really? Well we can't refund -you need to check" -but THAT is why I had standing orders so I never missed issues and trusted the store.

Three stores this happened with. I know other people have had this problem over the years.

So, yeah, sort out the variants and numbering, as with Fantastic Four re-starting at volume 2 but a dozen or so issues in the books are re-numbered so they run in sequence with volume 1 numbering.  "WTF?" hardly seems worth shouting.

Volume 1, of course, I can fill in gaps with trades in the Marvel Masterworks series because I do not have to spend $400-700-$1000 dollars on a back issue "the Vision is in it"  So the F what?  I love and read comics.  The trades fill in 10 issue gaps for a price that would not buy me one single volume 1 "The Vision is mentioned in this" issue.

Volume 7 of The Avengers Masterworks is hard to find unless I want to spend huge amounts on.  Why??? Oh, Hawkeye becomes the new Goliath.  Again -WTF???

So, I've put all the books back on the shelf.  One day I'll get back to it but not this year.  I'm getting on with cataloguing the Fantastic Four volume 1 to where ever it was Johnny Storm died "permanently" and then came back.

I really don't care.


  1. Yes, it can get frustrating which is why I almost never catalogue my comics. To tell you the truth UNLESS it´s something I just recently put in order or something I set aside to re - read like the FANTASTIC FOUR issues by Paul Ryan in which Reed Richards and Dr. Doom die, the Thor issues after issue 400 ( I´m still missing one of the issues ) or the FLASH vol2 ( just need issues 1 and 70 for the complete set ) I have no idea where the issues are.

    I have the ESSENTIALS and the books on my shelf for any important issues I read again and again. From AVENGERS I got all the important hardbacks like DEFENDERS WAR, THE CELESTIAL MADONNA ( I only could afford the MARVEL MASTERWORKS hardcover because it was at half price at amazon ), THE SERPENT CROWN, PRIVATE WAR OF DR. DOOM, BRIDE OF ULTRON, KORVAC SAGA, CONTEST OF THE CHAMPIONS ( kind of an Korvac Saga epilogue ), UNDER SIEGE and ASSAULT ON OLYMPUS. Also all volumes of the rum by Kurt Busiek and George Perez ( and Alan Davis and others ), the DARK AVENGERS collection, AVENGERS THE HEROIC AGE ( contains issues 1 to 6 of AVENGERS by Jr Jr, NEW AVENGERS by Stuart Immomen - some of his best work - and the spectacular AVENGERS PRIME by Alan Davis. The art in this book is just mindblowing ), AVENGERS vs X - MEN and AGE OF ULTRON ( some good art by Brian Hitch and Carlos Pacheco but storywise just crap ) and a few others from Geoff Johns´ AVENGERS run. And if you count THE ULTIMATES as AVENGERS comic I got the first two volumes and the return of Thor story by Frank Cho.

    So since I have already given up on the Avengers - or what is called the Avengers but could be any superhero team - I´ll stick to playing with my shelf porn. What can I say ? I´m a dirty old man.

    Oh, and before people get the wrong idea I didn´t pay full price for any of those books except for the second hardback of the Busiek / Perez run because I wanted to complete the set.

  2. Ah, Avengers Prime -I agree fully! Contest of Champions I have series 1 and 2 and I got them so cheap (single issues not trades). I finally found, heavily discounted but it's a perfect book (?!!) the hefty Avengers v X Men trade. I got to the end and thought "nice art" but story-wise...not good at all. I do have the Essentials that include the Kree-Skrull War but I also have the actual series issues plus the two chunky issues Marvel brought out in the 1980s. I then saw the trade at £2.99 which is about the same in Euro and grabbed it. I have the Masterworks to replace a lot of my stolen, lost or severely damaged volume 1 issues of Avengers. Could only find 2 copies of volume 7 and the prices!!! BUT the new Epic Collection "Behold The Vision" covers the issues I need then some. Man, I have boxes of sorted out comics (by companies) but no space to openly store...I do have a LOT of shelf porn though, as you'll have seen from recent(ish) posts! Ultimate Avengers were hit-or-miss with my shops who said "Oh, the trade will be out in a few months" -after failing to keep my Standing order so I have no idea if the Frank Cho issues are complete but the art is gorgeous...and Avengers Forever which is probably the greatest Avengers epic ever (before this sci fi run). Busiek and Pacheco at their best.

  3. I found it easier not to bother with any of the new volumes and have saved lots of money. Besides, the comics all look like crap and if you can't be bothered to give me an eye-catching or curiosity-arousing cover, I doubt the interior will be very good.