Sunday, December 9, 2007

Reprint This! 19. Steed & Mrs. Peel

Reprint This! is a periodic feature where I talk about some out-of-print comic book gems that are not available in collected form for readers to enjoy. This is hoping to let rights owners know that, yes, readers are out here, and we'd like to buy the things we can't get at this time!

Despite such an enormous variety of books available these days, and genuine efforts to present the material in reasonably-priced, archival volumes, there are still countless fabulous series from the US, Britain and Japan which are overdue for new editions. I've selected two dozen titles which should be on bookshelves, but at this time are not.

Normally, I take a slightly objective, reasoned approach to recommending titles in Reprint This! This time, I'm not.

Ian Gibson is my very favorite comic artist.

Despite an occasional stumble or two, Grant Morrison remains my favorite comic writer.

The Avengers is second only to Route 66 as my favorite television series of the 1960s.

So here's the deal: around 1989, Acme Books and Eclipse Comics got the rights to a six-issue comic series of The Avengers. They couldn't call the comic that, because Marvel already had a comic book by that name, so they called it Steed & Mrs. Peel. Then the "prestige format" craze hit, and Eclipse's fortunes took a dive. (They closed down in 1993.) The series was eventually published as three 48-page squarebound issues between late 1990 and mid-1992, with Morrison's four scripts spread throughout, and a two-parter written by Anne Caulfield (presumably intended for #5-6 of the original plan) used as one half of the second and third issues. Months passed between each issue's release.

Today, it's among the rarest of Morrison's US-published material, and back issue prices are artificially inflated by book dealers who shop it along with other "sixties teevee memorabilia."

And it's completely brilliant. Nothing more needs to be said.

I don't know who owns the rights. Since Eclipse Comics was involved, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Todd MacFarlane lost them to Tony Twist in a back alley game of mubbledy-peg.

But somebody, man, somebody needs to clear these rights, because it's a license to print money. Well, mine, anyway.

The usual long-winded detail-full Reprint This! will be back later this month.

(Originally posted December 09, 2007, 21:43 at hipsterdad's livejournal.)

1 comment:

  1. You'll be happy to hear Boom is now reprinting this as a 6 issue mini series. Check out this month's previews.