On vacation to Evansville, Megan and I blew $11 on the dollar bins at our favorite Indiana comic book store, Comic Quest. The 10 best were these:
1. Tom Strong's Terrific Tales #5 (2003). My only issue of this spin-off anthology, Alan Moore still had his usual creative energy and the unusually positive attitude he reserved only for Tom Strong, in the lead story. One of the back-up features is by the comic master Sergio Aragones. Alan Weiss turned in some bizarrely sub-par (for him, way ahead of lots of other artists) art for the third feature.
2. Silver Surfer #1 (1987). Despite my deep respect for Steve Englehart as a writer, I had avoided most of the early issues of this title because of the Marshall Rogers artwork. I'm still no fan, but the writing was worth it, all these years later. Sadly, this issue is mildew damaged, so after it's scanned it will get tossed.
3. The Wild Wild West #4 (1989). I had the first issue before, now I have the end of the story and am just missing the middle. Millennium was one of the best small presses circa 1990 and it's a shame they disappeared as soon as they did.
4. Way of the Rat #3 (2002). My third favorite Crossgen title. It's smart, funny, and pretty with great Jeff Johnson art, but with all the splash pages and double splash pages, the story moved agonizingly slow for a martial arts action story.
5. Way of the Rat #2 (2002). Sadly, I only realized after I bought this that I already own a copy in one of Crossgen's reprint anthologies.
6. X-Men and Alpha Flight #2 (1985). Chris Claremont's take on writing Alpha Flight was spot-on and makes me wish he had taken over for Byrne instead of Bill Mantlo back in the day (as good as Mantlo was, he just didn't have a good grasp of Alpha Flight). Oh, and there's some X-Men in it too.
7. What's New? The Collected Adventures of Phil and Dixie #1 (1991). Marked down from $5.95 to a buck, with no mildew damage? What a find! Phil Foglio's early work from Dragon magazine is still a treat, though I chuckled more than guffawed re-reading them. Plus, a bonus "origin story" for Phil and Dixie.
8. Terra Obscura Volume Two #1 (2004). Alan Moore's positive attitude towards his ABC heroes is slipping, but there is still some fun here, mostly thanks to the villainous Clock who is most free of metatext.
9. The World Below #1 (1999). Nice-looking and imaginative, yet surprisingly somehow blase tale about uninteresting explorers in a Pellucidar-like underworld populated by weird stuff instead of people.
10. Wulf the Barbarian #1 (1975). An Atlas Comic in a dollar bin? Literally worth reading for its historical value alone, this Conan rip-off offers little but the early work of Larry Hama and Klaus Janson, neither creator yet at their creative peak.
Black Bolt by George Perez
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