Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

The Non-Existent Gift Holiday Gift Guide

As I write this, it’s the Thanksgiving holiday weekend here in the U.S., which is all about an orgy of consumption… first over-eating and then over-shopping.

Julie and I have always taken the opportunity to get out of Dodge and go away somewhere off the grid till it all blows over, and we actually had plans to do that again this year– but due to unforeseen circumstances that were no one’s fault, we had to cancel. YET AGAIN. This is the fourth planned outing since July that we’ve had to give up on and I’m getting a little bitter about it. At least this time it wasn’t some hideous car repair thing.

So we are staying home doing nothing. Well… mostly. We have been watching some TV, and thus been bombarded with increasingly shrill exhortations to hurry the hell out to the store and buy stuff before these SUPER SALE LOW LOW PRICES END FOREVER!!

The trouble is that none of the stuff appeals to me.

Being a collector nerd type, as a general rule, if I want something, it arrives here long before Christmas does. Even worse, if I want something and it’s not on the shopping list, that’s probably because it doesn’t exist yet. Even though it ought to.

So in keeping with my current grouchy-old-man mood, here are a few of those nonexistent gift items that really OUGHT to be available.

For example, Titan Books is, almost singlehandedly, driving a Planet of the Apes renaissance. Not just with the wonderful new anthology Tales From the Forbidden Zone

…but also with nice reprints of the old tie-in paperbacks that were my gateway to the Apes franchise in the first place.

And just a few days ago they published Andrew Gaska’s novel Death of the Planet of the Apes, the long-teased follow-up to his Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes.

Good on Titan Books for all that, believe me. I’m delighted.

Except for one glaring omission.

Where’s the omnibus paperback reprint of William Quick’s original novels spinning out of the 2001 movie? The Fall and Colony?

Instead of a nice three-book omnibus edition that would have included Quick’s novelization of that movie, they larded the novelization on at the end of a different omnibus and ignored these two originals. What’s up with that? Not only is Quick’s adaptation of the Burton film a lot smarter and more cohesive than the film (seriously, I’d skip the movie and read the book instead) but I stumbled across The Fall in Long Beach a few months ago and loved it. I’m dying to read Colony as well now but I’m certainly not paying the hundreds of dollars dealers are asking for it. On the other hand, I’m totally on board with buying a new collected edition omnibus in the spirit of the other Titan collections even if it means duplicating stuff I’ve already got here. Since Titan reprinted Quick’s first one they must be able to get the rights sorted for the other two without a lot of fuss. So how about it?

As long as we’re talking about publishers ignoring the obvious… what is UP with DC’s phobia about reprinting the Elliott S! Maggin Superman stories? Last Son of Krypton and Miracle Monday, despite being widely regarded as among the greatest Superman stories ever written, are apparently so worthless to DC that they let the rights revert to Mr. Maggin himself and he is self-publishing new editions of those novels. Which, you know, more power to him and I hope they make him a shitload of money.

But Mr. Maggin wrote a bunch of wonderful Superman comics as well and it is a glaring hole in DC’s reprint backlist.

Seriously. DC reprinted the early seventies stuff, Kryptonite Nevermore and Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen

…more than once, in fact. Jimmy Olsen‘s available in an older set of trade paperbacks and they’re reprinted the first chapter of Kryptonite Nevermore any number of times. But then they just… stop. There are a great many classic Superman comics between those and Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Both Maggin and his colleague Cary Bates have been very unfairly ignored. Especially since the new comics and the TV shows have been shamelessly looting concepts and characters from that era for YEARS now. Steve Lombard, Vartox, Lexcorp, on and on.

But none of that stuff gets the bookshelf treatment. Except for a couple of perfunctory reprints in Superman: From the 30s to the 80s and Superman in the Seventies, the vast majority of that stuff is just sitting ignored in the back-issue bins.

Likewise, we see all kinds of love for the old Bob Haney Brave and the Bold Batman stories, but where are the reprints of Haney’s World’s Finest stories of that era? Everything that was awesome about Haney’s B&B stuff was right there in World’s Finest as well, in all its demented Bronze Age glory. But with the exception of the one Super-Sons collection, nothing.

As long as I’m beating up on DC– which is, granted, ridiculously easy to do– I also would like to know why all the other countries in the world get to have DVD editions of the television crossovers Invasion and Crisis on Earth-X… but here in the USA, we don’t.

While I’m on the subject of things that should exist and don’t… where’s the soundtrack album of the television scores of jazzman Oliver Nelson?

You have to understand, when I was growing up, when it came to adventure soundtracks, it was all about the jazz, baby. I guess it started with Henry Mancini and Peter Gunn.

Or maybe James Bond. But it became an inseparable thing in my young mind. When the bass-n-bongos kicked in, that was when shit got real. Even on the cartoons.

And Oliver Nelson’s bionic groove was one of the BEST examples of that. Here is the first one I saw and it just about blew me out of my chair when I was thirteen. One of the few times we got to hear the FULL theme with the groovy piano solo.

Or this one, when Barney Hiller, the SEVEN million dollar man, has his psychotic break….

One more, just for fun.

We do have them on YouTube. But I’d be ALL OVER an actual CD release of that stuff. In the meantime, I’m grateful that Michael Giacchino, at least, is upholding the tradition… and that stuff IS available.

I could go on, but I think that’s enough grouching off from me. Feel free to add your own should-haves in the comments.

Back next week with something cool.


  1. Edo Bosnar

    Oh, yeah. Even though we’re living in what’s often been called the golden age of reprints (with stuff like Skull the Slayer getting its own tpb edition), there’s nothing I like better than grouching about stuff that’s still not available but should be.
    I definitely agree that DC has a real spotty record with reprinting material from the 1970s. It took forever for them to finally start collecting the JLA from that period. And I’m still waiting for the original Ragman series to get collected, possibly fattened up with his appearances in Batman Family and Brave & the Bold.

    But as you noted, DC is a pretty easy target. So, switching to Marvel, I’d love a collected reprint of the Man-Wolf stories by David Anthony Kraft and George Perez, from Creatures on the Loose and Marvel Premiere. And also an Epic-type volume (or volumes) collecting the entire Ka-zar series from the early 1980s – that little tpb from last year that only collects the first five issues just doesn’t cut it.

  2. Jeff Nettleton

    How about a nice hardback collection of the Junior Woodchuck comics and Super Goof, both from Gold Key/Western? Both had excellent stories within.

    I’d ad som Sam Glanzman classics; but, Drew Ford seems to be taking care of that, as the recent Kickstarter for The :Lonely War of Willy Schultz demonstrates. However, how about the rest of Sam’s Thief of Sherwood, that Roger Broughton has been sitting on, since the 90s (according to an interview with Sam, in the Comic book Artist magazine, back in 2001)? That one issue released was a thing of beauty.

    A nice collected edition of Martin Wagner’s Complete Hepvats (college strip through the comic book) would be awesome; even better if he finished at least the storyline he left hanging.

    A complete Patty Cake, by Scott Roberts, would be darling (there are individual book collections out there), especially for Christmas.

    A US dvd set for The Secret Adv. of Jules Verne would be nice; ditto Kenneth Johnston’s Cliffhangers.

    A nice Dynaman dvd would be cool; music rights would be a mother, though. Also, Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adv. of All (the original prime time movie version of the Filmation cartoon series), the Chuck Jones-produced A Christmas Carol animated special (with Alistair Sim voicing Scrooge), Region 1 dvds for both Kriminal films (from the fumetti series) and a set of all of the 3 Fantastic Supermen films.

    Hey, Marvel Films; how about a period Dominic Fortune movie?

    DC/Warner; hello, Warlord? Throw some money Mike Grell’s way and turn this awesome comic series into an awesome film series (or tv; if you give it a Game of Thrones budget).

  3. Le Messor

    Ooh, the Crisis DVD is out? I’ll have to go get it…
    I mean, sorry, it’s terrible that it’s not available.

    We’ve been seeing a couple of Black Friday sales around here, too… only, we don’t have Thanksgiving. It seriously makes no sense.

    You might want to look at groups like LaLaLand Records and Intrada for those soundtracks – maybe write suggestions to the people who run them. They’ve put out some amazing stuff!

  4. David107

    There’s a collection of library music used in the second and third series, the ones with Ralph Bakshi in charge, of the first animated Spider-Man series. Fair warning: it’s vinyl only, not cheap, and from a British company so postage might be expensive.
    If you want to, you can buy it from https://trunkrecords.greedbag.com/buy/spider-jazz/
    You can also read about the record there, and explore the wonderful world of Trunk Records. They reissue all sorts of strange and wonderful music, much of which is available as digital downloads. I’m sure that the kind of people who read this blog will find much of interest.

  5. I never thought about the Bronze Age super-stuff because I have almost all of it, but yes, that is a right shame. I was astonished when I reread Cary Bates/Gene Colan’s Silverblade to realize that wasn’t available in TPB either.
    And as I don’t have the Ostrander/Truman Spectre run, I really wish they’d reprinted more than the first twenty or so issues in TPB.

  6. Jeff Nettleton

    I’ve been reading the Titan POTA reprints, which is really nice to have, again; but, they seriously need proofreading. There are a lot of mistakes all through it, which got by, thanks to lazy spell check (incorrect words appear in sentences, which when you re-read, you can easily figure out what was meant.) In the old days of publishing, before everyone was relying on spellcheck, someone would have lost their job over the number of errors.

    While we are on the subject, how about omnibus editions of the Marvel paperback novels and anthologies, both the early ones (Avengers: Earthwrecker and Captain America: The Great Gold Steal) and the stuff from the late 70s and beyond)?

    1. Edo Bosnar

      I was going to mention the Marvel prose novels, but I’d rather have them in their original form, i.e., mass market pocketbooks, rather than in an omnibus. If they were reprinted as replica editions, I’d be more interested.

  7. There are a bunch of old movies that never got released on DVD or Blu-Ray and never show up on any of the streaming services. The one that comes to mind is one I saw once in 1971 or so on TV, “What’s So Bad About Feeling Good?” starring George Peppard and Mary Tyler Moore.

    I just went to Amazon to check on a few movies that I’ve never found on DVD in several years of looking, and damned if they aren’t all there. “Reuben, Reuben” (https://amzn.to/2SdYERA), “Miracles” (https://amzn.to/2TOdxMk), “Saving Grace” (https://amzn.to/2TLOhGo)…. All added to my wishlist.

    1. Often, when I wrote one of these at the old stand, the comics collections I was wishing for actually showed up within a year or so. Gerber’s Phantom Zone, Essential Black Panther (with Panther’s Rage), DNAgents and CROSSFIRE collections…. though the last two were shamefully short four-issue things. Even HOLLYWOOD SUPERSTARS got a trade.

      DVDs too…. there are non-bootleg editions of QUESTOR TAPES and SPECTRE now. Even the Gregory Harrison LOGAN’S RUN showed up.

      Secretly sort of hoping the invocation still works.

          1. Edo Bosnar

            Hm, that’s interesting; for some reason I was under the impression that newer DVD/Blueray devices were multi-region, just because these days the DVD drives on most notebooks and desktop computers are completely ‘immune’ to regional coding – you can watch anything from anywhere on them.

          2. Le Messor

            Edo, I think it’s because we don’t live in America.
            Americans get most of the DVDs and BluRays (usually before we do, but not always), so they don’t really have a need.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.