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READ MY LIBRARY ENTRY 12: Action Figure-o-rama and Finishing up the Adam Strange Archives!

Max waxes poetic about his action figure collection addiction and makes a new addition.  Also the end of The Adam Strange Archives Vol. 3 is covered, with Max taking a look at the wedding of Alanna and Adam Strange!  Plus, what’s the difference between Hawkman and a Manhawk?  Find out here!

Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at superflycomics@gmail.com. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to maxdlake@gmail.com or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.

 

Written 1/27/12

As seen in the Introduction & Guidelines to this blog (or in the picture below), I have a lot of action figures.  These toys could probably take up a whole blog themselves.  However, I’ve decided to include them from time to time as part of the Read My Library blog as one of the off topic but comic related subjects I’ve written about.  That said, I don’t want to go on about them too much, but they are a part of the Library after all.

I’ll just say here that the toy collection started by an incurable drive to own the DC Direct’s entire line of Alex Ross Justice figures featuring the Justice League of America and the Legion of Doom.  With time, persistence and of course, money, I was eventually successful in my goal (though I did not buy the armored hero Justice figures).  Part of it was the figures were so fricking cool and the other part was my inner child screaming for super hero toys after mostly missing out on Kenner’s Super Powers line as a kid save for a couple figures (man, my inner child is a brat!).  Although I was technically “done” at that point, an Adam Strange figure here and an Animal Man figure there and I was off to the races once again with action figure fever.  Although I once stored all the toys on a dresser, my Mom saw my (then only) graphic novel bookcase and suggested I put my action figures in front of the books.  This has worked out great for display purposes, though it can making looking at titles on the shelf, let alone getting books and re-shelving them a real pain.  When one figure falls, it almost always causes a cascading effect on shelves below, which is even more of a pain, but displaying them on the shelves just looks really cool!

The Library!

Books and action figures

So action figures remain a weakness of mine, and although I’ve been trying to resist them, I’ve broken my plan not to buy any new action figures after seeing a few new Green Lantern action figures at Super-Fly, specifically Guy Gardner, Stel and Arkkis Chummuck. I’ve wanted Guy Gardner for awhile, and as I have some room on my Green Lantern Corps figure shelf, I’ve been on the lookout for other alien lanterns.  Stel (who is pretty much a robot) and Arkkis (who looks like a werewolf) fit the bill nicely.  Seeing them all locally at Super-Fly had me buy Guy Gardner right away and put the other two on layaway.  I was able to get the money together for Stel today.  They look awesome.

Green Lantern Stel Action Figure

Here’s Stel, robotic GL—hey, that rhymes!

I read some more Adam Strange last night in the Adam Strange Archives Vol. 3, including what may be Hawkman and Adam Strange’s first team up. Hawkman joined Adam Strange as a co-feature in Mystery in Space #87 and in #90 they’re teaming up. The cover for the issue is fantastic. Unfortunately, it’s the second to last issue with Carmen Infantino drawing Adam Strange and although it feels like I’ve read a ton of Adam Strange stories by now, I’m sad to see Infantino’s run draw to a close.

Mystery In Space #90 featuring Adam Strange & Hawkman

Adam Strange and Hawkman team up plus there’s this awesome cover!

As part of these final stories in the archive, Alanna proposes to Adam (as it is Rann custom for the female to propose marriage to the male) and they decide to get married on Earth with Hawkman and Hawkgirl flying them there in their ship.  I delighted in their engagement, and hoped that the final Mystery in Space story in #91 showed their marriage.  Of course, trouble strikes and Adam and Alanna’s nuptials are postponed as both of them must use their wits to overcome the plot of Mortan, a mad scientist who has tangled with Adam before and wants revenge.

The final story is from Hawkman #18 and is penciled and inked by Murphy Anderson.  In it, Adam Strange and Hawkman must face the Manhawks, a threat Hawkman originally faced off against early on in his career.  As luck would have it, I recently read the first Manhawks story from the first volume of the Hawkman Archives, which my wife was reading at the time, so it’s really neat to follow it up with this team up issue.   It’s interesting because while Hawkman is a man who wears a hawk mask, the Manhawks are hawks who wear human face masks—and they look like total creeps to boot!

In this issue, Adam and Alanna do get married…well, almost.  The Manhawks crash the party after escaping from Thanagar and making it and Hawkgirl, visiting from Earth, disappear with absorbed Zeta Beam radiation. It’s worth noting that Alanna’s wedding dress is short and includes some strange (pun intended) headgear.  Of course Hawkman and Adam Strange save the day, but it ends on a cliff hanger, as Thanagar is still missing with Hawkgirl on it.  That ends the third and final Adam Strange Archives.

Manhawk vs. Hawkman!

This panel is just to show you that the Manhawks look like a bunch of CREEPS!

These classic Adam Strange tales have been highly entertaining.  Each volume has built upon the last and the experience of reading all three has been fantastic.  While the framing of each story is repetitive, the imaginative content of the stories offers a lot of variety and some neat ideas.  The real hook to Adam Strange is that he uses brain, not brawn, to solve his problem and thwart his foes—something that certainly is part of the character now but really not as evident as it is in these early tales.  Although the stories are over fifty years old, they still hold up relatively well minus the novelty of outer space that permeated the late 50s and early 60s.  Any fan of Adam Strange would be well served to pick up these volumes, as they are Silver Age sci-fi classics in every sense of the word.  I’d even recommend the Adam Strange Archives to anyone who wants to know what makes Adam Strange such a great character.  Yes, the archive editions are expensive, but they are sound investments with quality binding and paper, not to mention top notch material.

One final note about these classic Adam Strange tales: editor Julius Schwartz would have Infantino or Gil Kane draw a cover for Mystery in Space before Gardner Fox had written his script for an issue, and Fox would have to write his story around the concept illustrated in the cover.  Sounds like a crazy way to write comics, but I never would have guessed had Jim Starlin not mentioned it in the introduction as Fox did it so seamlessly.

Having read through five archive editions this month must be a new record for me, as my usual previous attempts at reading a single Archives Edition volume before has taken me weeks to get through, sometimes without even finishing.  Now it’s time to move onto trade paperbacks to continue with Adam Strange’s modern adventures.  I’m quite sad to leave the Silver Age for now, but look forward to comparing and contrasting it with some more recent comics.

NOTES FROM NOW (8/2/12): Speaking of Hawkman, there’s some exciting recent news to report.  DC has announced Joe Kubert Presents featuring stories written and drawn by the legendary artist.  The first issue is set to have an “epic” story with Hawkman —seemingly out of the New 52 continuity as Hawkman is seen with Hawkgirl, and in the New 52, Hawkgirl seems confined to Earth 2 (and is set to appear in an upcoming issue of, appropriately enough, Earth 2).  Here they are together, and with Kubert being the man responsible for drawing the first Silver Age adventures of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, it should be a doozy.  Kubert will do some original stories too, as well as work on other characters he’s known for such as Sgt. Rock.  Not to mention, other folks will be contributing, including an Angel and the Ape feature by writer/artist Brian Buniak!  Angel and the Ape are two obscure DC characters I would definitely love to see in action and know more about.  Plus, on top of all this, the book promises to have NO ADS! With no commercial interruptions, this series will be a real treat indeed.  Joe Kubert Presents #1 drops October 31st this year.

Joe Kubert Presents 1 featuring Hawkman!

The legendary Joe Kubert reunites with Hawkman and Hawkgirl for Joe Kubert Presents #1!

Past entries of the Read My Library Blog

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