Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Best Epic Collection : A Touch Of Typhoid

I want to use John Romita Jr´s 60th birthday to write about his Daredevil run with Ann Nocenti and pimp what is THE best Epic Collection EVER.

Now actually I am writing this AFTER his 60th birthday but I had to take one day off from blogging because my vision started to get blurry and while I enjoy writing this blog I don´t want to loose my eyesight over it.

So this post will be about the newly released Epic Collection DAREDEVIL - A TOUCH OF TYPHOID that contains a big chunk of my favorite Daredevil run, issues 253 to 270. There are three issues not drawn by John Romita Jr, one DAREDEVIL issue by Ron Lim, one DAREDEVIL issue by Steve Ditko and one PUNISHER issue by Whilce Portacio but there are still 16 issues by John Romita Jr in this 472 page collection. Now you are probably thinking, wait a minute, didn´t you say that THOR - WAR OF THE PANTHEONS was the best Epic Collection, and then it was POWER MAN & IRON FIST - HEROES FOR HIRE and IRON MAN - STARK WARS after that and then it was supposed to be IRON MAN - WAR GAMES ? Well that is all true.

The THOR trade was one of the first Epic Collections Disney put out and I still think it is a fantastic trade, not only because it is from one of my favorite periods which is undeservedly totally underappreciated but also because it collects a big, epic story that is self contained. They just don´t make stories like that anymore. Then came the POWER MAN & IRON FIST trade which is in a class of it´s own because it´s Bronze Age street level heroism meets martial arts at it´s best. And of course the IRON MAN trades cover the best stories ARMOR WARS and ARMOR WARS II which is also drawn by John Romita Jr and which I mentioned in this post which was supposed to go deeper into detail about the series but then it was mostly about where you can find the issues in trade paperback form.

So either Disney is getting better at putting out the Epic Collections or I have somehow managed to cherry pick the best of the best because let´s face it they still are quite expensive. And there still is the problem with the gutter loss although it is not as big of a problem as I first anticipated because unlike the Condor pocket books we german comic readers had to suffer in the 1980s the binding is actually good enough to open the book completely without it turning into a loose leaf collection. So I have bought a few more even if I already had all the issues or most of them in single issue form. Because not only do the Epic Collection include a lot of extras it is also nice to be able to read those issues in one trade in nice brisk color as the original single issues are very faded in most of the cases.

When I was faced with finding a topic to write about the first thing I did was go back to all the posts I had already written about since I didn´t want to just rephrase things. I don´t get to post as often as I want so that when I get the chance I want to offer my readers something new. We already covered John Romita Jr´s first run on IRON MAN with David Micheline and Bob Layton in this post where I pimped the IRON MAN omnibus and I bet anybody who didn´t grab the chance to pick it up from amazon at 66 EUROS is biting himself in the ass right now. I also wrote about the MARVEL VISIONARIES - JOHN ROMITA JR hardcover which contains issues 128 and 256 of IRON MAN ( the last one is not included in the Epic Collection WAR GAMES since it was not written by John Byrne ) and DAREDEVIL 253 and 266 which I mentioned in this Christmas post.

I also praised Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr´s Daredevil run in this post and in this post about SECRET WARS II we go into detail about one of the best tie in issues UNCANNY X - MEN 196, also drawn by John Romita Jr.


Okay, before we come to our topic of the day there are two things from previous posts I have to address. My last X - MEN INFERNO CROSSOVER post was cut a bit short because I was going to mention this page from DAREDEVIL 263 with Karen Page and Typhoid Mary at Matt´s bedside.

Now I don´t know if it´s just me but the art by John Romita Jr in that sequence reminds me of a spanish comic series my sister used to read.

Which I kind of read through osmosis. Because when you´re young the holidays last forever and no matter how many comics you have there are never enough comics to fill all your days. So my sister read her share of X - MEN, AVENGERS and SUPERMAN while I read her issues of EL MUNDO DE ESTHER. The series was also published in the german BIGGI magazine.

It´s one of the most famous comic series in Spain and the artist of the series, Purita Campos is really big with spanish comic readers and the series has been recently re - published in nice hardcover volumes so all the mothers who used to read it when they were young buy them for her daughters and the younger generation of girls are discovering for the first time. Some of the older readers of this blog from the UK may find this familiar because originally the series was produced for the british comic market were it was published under the name of PATTY`S WORLD first in PRINCESS TINA then PINK and MATES before it was finished in GIRL.

Since there may not be many readers from that generation still around except Terry, PATTY`S WORLD was the ongoing saga of young Patty Lucas.

Patty was basically your standard thoroughly decent, no - nonsense, common - sense - spouting heroine with a tragic past ( her dad, newspaperman Bill Lucas, had inconveniently fallen out of his office window to his death while excitedly announcing the score of the 1966 World Cup ). Patty's long - running strip, drawn by Purita Campos, was almost unique in allowing its central character to age in real time, so that she started out as a young girl but ended up an adult with a daughter of her own ( though the story WAS briefly rebooted by writer Phillip Douglas when it transferred to GIRL ). Following its discontinuation in the UK ( after a more than respectable 17 year run from 1971 - 1988 ), the strip continued to run in publications in Spain, with Patty renamed Esther.

I kind of explained this in the comment section but since I know that nobody reads them this is for all the readers who wondered what the picture I posted with the girl writing in her diary was all about. For more british girl comic goodness you can find some covers by Purita Campos on this thread by COMICS UK , you can see some examples of black and white art from british comic magazines here and for my spanish readers the website TEBEOESFERA has a lengthy article on women in british comics. 

Back to DAREDEVIL and John Romita Jr, one of the issues that is not included in the X - MEN : INFERNO CROSSOVERS hardcover is issue 261 guest starring Johnny Storm. Ann Nocenti shows what a great writer she is because she manages to do more characterization on Johnny Storm on one page than other writers do in entire issues of the FANTASTIC FOUR.

Now in the story Daredevil is missing because he has been pummeled by a barrage of his rogue gallery within an inch of his life only to be thrown off a bridge by Typhoid Mary. So Johnny is trying to get some information from Daredevil´s usual snitches and for the purpose of this he dresses up as a tough guy. Or better what Johnny Storm thinks tough guys looks like.

Of course this doesn´t work so Johnny takes on the toughest guy in the joint but when he still can´t get any co - operation after he manages to pummel the guy he accidently - or not - burns the bar down to the ground.

Thankfully it is included in the Epic Collection A TOUCH OF THYPHOID. And because this is one of the best issues of Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr´s run on DAREDEVIL - and he´s not even in it for most of the story much like Will Eisner´s THE SPIRIT  - one of the things that stuck with me was Johnny Storm´s look but always in the back of my head.

It was decades later that I realized who this reminded me of.

As always I wanted to know who possibly influenced who and a short pilot of Johnny Bravo aired on Cartoon Network in 1995 while issue 261 of DAREDEVIL came out on December 1988. So if there is a connection between the two Johnnies it can only be that the comic influenced the cartoon which means that the producers of the show need to pay John Romita Jr for using the distinctive likeness of Tough Guy Johnny Storm.

It´s almost time to wrap things up so I should write a bit about the Epic Collection DAREDEVIL - A TOUCH OF TYPHOID. Like I said it´s 472 pages thick, collecting 18 issues of DAREDEVIL and one issue of PUNISHER which is a crossover where you see the same story from the view point of the respective heroes. The regular price is 40 bucks and you can get it from amazon for 35 or 22 in the used books section which is 2 EUROS less than I paid for my copy but I didn´t want to wait any longer. The trade includes the entire Typhoid Mary saga plus a lot of the INFERNO aftermath issues.

John Romita Jr is inked by legendary EC comic artist Al Williamson which he put on his dream list of inker for the book never thinking editor Ralph Macchio could actually get him. As it turns out Al had seen some of John´s artwork and thought his inks might go well with John´s art style.

Before we come to the entertainment block I want to mention that the one series by John Romita Jr I haven´t written much about yet is Jim Shooter´s NEW UNIVERSE book STAR BRAND. The reason for this is that I just got the first trade a few days ago so I haven´t read any issues. The only ones I know are by John Byrne so STAR BRAND will be discussed later. 

We start the countdown of the other celebrity birthdays with PaSean Wilson who turns 55 and is best known for playing Sabrina Hepburn in Striptease. Her part is very short but you can see more of PaSean in the making of. Which for some strange reason is not included in the extras.

Our next Sean is Sean Penn who celebrates his 56th birthday. He was married to Madonna back when she had a tireless body and scandalous music videos with wardrobe malfunctions like in Papa Don´t Preach.

Speaking about 80s pop icons Belinda Carlisle turns 58 and I have to admit I discovered her after her Go Go phase. Usually my father and my music taste never overlapped but he did constantly borrow my Heaven On Earth cassette ( ask your parents what that is or better yet ask your grand parents ) and when I say " borrow " I mean just taking and keeping it.

Coming from music icons to cinema icons Robert De Niro celebrates his 73rd birthday and he is still making fantastic movies like The Intern.

Sometimes YouTube really can surprise you and I never thought I would find an episode of Mister Ed with the great late Mae West guest starring.

The only video about Star Brand with art by John Romita Jr I could find was russian - I think - so I went with a Daredevil one instead. Man, you might get the impression the Marvel universe started with Hickman´s Avengers. Doesn´t anyone remember the New Universe ? I swear most videos on YouTube are made by kids who only read comics for five years.

We are closing out things with a video by entrecomics of Purita Campos Esther Y Sus Mundos exhibition at the 2009 Salon Del Comic in Barcelona.

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