Little Nemo 1905/1906 - 1976

This was a great little discovery I made a few weeks ago via (where else?) ebay--a treasury-sized (10x14") collection of classic Little Nemo strips from 1905-1906!

From what I've learned, it seems this was first done as full-blown hardcover book, then reprinted in this softcover, more comic book-y format by Nostaglia Press in 1976. The book features the strips, most in full-color glory, from the last third of 1905 and all of 1906, plus a history of the strip, and an introduction by Maurice Sendak, no less!

I have never paid much attention to Little Nemo, even though it's (rightly, I now see) a classic of comic strip art and story. Just leafing through it, I'm astounded at the depth and level of detail Windsor McCay put into this strip. It's, quite simply, breathtaking. Seeing the strips at around the size they would've been in the original newspapers gives me the idea how amazing it must have been to follow this strip, week after week.

I don't know if there were ever any other volumes, but I'm going to try and find out...

The Spirit - 1973

Now this was a real treat! A full-blown, tabloid-size (11x16.5") all-new Spirit section by Will Eisner!

This was published in 1973 done as a one-off for Tabloid Press, a Canadian publisher. This story has its beginnings in a lecture that Will Eisner was giving to students who aspired to be comic artists. He created the splash page at the lecture and then Tabloid asked him to complete the story. It was printed on nice, thick white paper, so this has held up fairly well. As a Spirit fan, I can't believe I've never heard of it before!

It differs most profoundly from other Spirit sections in that this 5-page story features slight nudity (!) and overall seedier storyline. It also features a sixth page explaining how this story came to be, as well as some character sketches. On this page, Tabloid Press asks whether fans would be interested in reading the original Spirits in this tabloid format, as well. I know this answer comes twenty-three years late, but--yes yes yes!!

Beautiful, simply beautiful.

The Spirit Coloring Book - Poor House Press - 1974

Wow, what a thing to discover!

I had never heard of this, and when I got an email from Treasury Hunter Mike DeStasio asking me about it, I had no clue what he was talking about. Mike was even kind enough to send me scans of the front and back covers, and this thing looked so cool I went out and got a copy for myself.

Sure, it's not a comic book, per se, but it is a treasury-sized (10x14") coloring book of classic Will Eisner Spirit splash pages, and that was good enough for me. It features fifteen of Walt's best, like "The Spirit vs. The Rubber Mind" (Dolan stretching The Spirit's mask to form the title), "The Spirit and the Notorious P'Gell" (a young boy would accelerate into puberty by coloring the sultry femme fatale), "The Spirit vs. The City Below" (bums lying all over the giant letters, water dripping all over), "The Spirit Comes Home" (a mood-drenched cityscape), plus eleven more!

I would assume this book was meant for older fans, since what little kids had heard of the Spirit? And Eisner's detailed work is hardly the kind of simplistic line work you find in coloring books.

But who cares! This is a fun book and I bet coloring this thing from front to back is as good as a couple years at art school...

Rollover the image to see this book's back cover!

Click the image to see an ad for this book plus other treasury ads!

Police Car 17 - Whitman - 1934

I came across this cool-looking item on ebay a few days ago. It's a treasury-sized (11x15") comic, from 1934--making it, seemingly, the first treasury-size comic ever (beating even Master Comics #s 1-6).

I bidded furiously for it, but in the end, none of the bidders met the Reserve Price, so no one walked away with it. Since I don't know whether it'll come back up for auction, I grabbed the cover image (courtesy of its seller, Metropolis Comics) and thought at least I could put something about it here on the site.

The book was done as a promotional tie-in to the Columbia movie of the same name, with black-and-white artwork on the insides. So far, that's all I know--this book isn't even listed on the Grand Comic Book Database, so I need to do some more research on it.

Until then, we at least have this!

Big Damn Hard Boiled - Dark Horse - 1997

Here's a heretofore-unknown (to me, at least) treasury-sized book that was brought to my attention by Treasury Hunter #1 Rogerio Baldino. I'll let him explain what the book's about:

"This huge trade paperback collects Hard Boiled #'s 1-3, the controversial mini-series written by Frank Miller and with eye-popping art by Geof Darrow. It was released by Dark Horse for Christmas 1997 and it measures 11.75"x15." (very big!!). It's actually bigger than most of the treasury editions we know.

In its--totally uncolored and unlettered--128 pages, we can appreciate the fantastic art of Darrow in all its details, many of which were hidden in the original colored mini-series. No words. No balloons. No colors.

It also comes with a cover gallery and sketch section (all in B&W). Now we can see why this book is one of the inspirations for the Matrix movies, and why the Wachowski Brothers asked Darrow to create most of the conceptual art for the trilogy.

P.S. Dear people at Dark Horse: We are still waiting for a similar collection of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot. Thank you."

I gotta get me a copy of this book for myself. Thanks, Rogerio!

Doris Danger Seeks Where Giant Monsters Creep & Stomp - Salt Peter Press - 2006

This is a brand-new treasury-sized comic starring writer/artist/ creator Chris Wisnia's character Doris Danger! Who, as the title suggests, seeks out giant monsters that stalk the Earth but are covered up the government.

DD is a genuine, straight-faced tribute to the great Marvel monster comics of old. To that end, the book is even inked by the great Dick Ayers, who did a lot of those old Marvel tales. Stories of this scope need--nay, demand--the giant treasury treatment.

In addition to several Doris adventures, the book comes with a history of Doris comics, which reach back into the fifties*, as well as some cool pin-ups by Los Bros. Hernandez, Gene Colan, Mike Mignola, Mike Allred, John Severin, and more! And in case this book didn't feel like a genuine treasury comic, it even has a puzzle page.

Doris Danger is a lot of fun, and Chris' love of the subject and style of this kind of comic is evident on every page. It reminds me a lot of the Batman TV show--adults will enjoy it as one long perfectly-pitched throwback, and kids will love the Monsters!!

I was told of this book by my friend Glenn Walker, who runs the site Comic Widows, and I'm so glad he did. If you'd like to get a copy for yourself, you can find it at Chris' website.

Doris Danger Seeks Where Urban Creatures Creep and Stomp! - Salt Peter Press - 2007

Hot on the heels of Chris Wisnia's first Doris Danger treasury-sized book, comes a second pulse-pounding volume!!

After reading the plaudits by folks like Stab "The Man" Lee, Tim Bradstreet, Sam Kieth, Trina Robbins, Mike Mignola and more, we meet Spoosh! The Giant Who Likes to Grab Airplanes, along with the MLA (Monster Liberation Army) in a battle against the US Army. Before you can catch your breath, though, we also get to meet monsters called Snehsneh, Hachoo, Pudd, Choopeepoo, Oopf, the short-lived Muh! Muh! Muh!, Kockh, and KKK-K, the monstrosity who loves climbing.

Each of these stories is jammed to the panel borders with stuff--it'll take you several passes through the book to take it all in. What Wisnia and Co. are on while they put these tales together probably best remains a mystery. Great, great fun.

But we're not done yet! On top of all the monster craziness, we get an astounding pin-up section, featuring monster portraits by Russ Heath, Dick Ayers, John Severin, Sam Glanzaman, Dave Gibbons, Guy Davis, Peter Bagge, JH Williams, Al Feldstein(!!), a jaw-dropping piece by Art Adams(who must have gone blind inking it, so I guess this is his last work), Peter Kuper, George Tuska, Mike Allred, Herb Trimpe, Alex Maleev, Esad Ribic, and Michael Lark!(not to mention a cover by Shag!) Whew!

And like last issue, on top of all that, we get a Find-The-Monster puzzle! You'd better buy two copies so you can do the puzzle and not ruin the book.

If you'd like to get a copy for yourself(and I suggest you do!), you can find it at Chris' website. For my money, I'd like to see one of these every summer!

I got this in the mail a month or two before DDSWUCCAS, which I kept on my desk until the book came out. It made me excited for the book as its release date approached--these Salt Peter guys know how to promote!

Barbarella - Heavy Metal - 1978

I came across this rarity during the last few minutes of its ebay auction. The seller said it was "treasury-sized", and not having the time to email him a question, I took the leap and bid on it, winning it in the process (having worked on this site for almost a year now, I've become experienced at figuring out what a lot of ebay sellers mean when they call a comic "treasury-sized").

I just got it in the mail, and it seems to be a weird compromise between a genuine treasury comic and a more standard Heavy Metal graphic novel. It's square-bound and uses that shiny thick graphic novel paper, but it measures 9.5 x 12.5", just shy of bona-fide treasury status but also bigger than any GN. Since it's here, it's a nice book, and it's from the classic Treasury era...

The book opens with a few pages of stills from the Barbarella movie (was any woman as gorgeous as Jane Fonda as Barbarella?*), and then a few pages of highlights from a previous Barbarella book (Is it the same size as this one? Uh-oh...). I have not yet been able to ascertain the plot of The Moon Child yet, distracted as I am by all the copious nudity. Nice artwork by Jean-Claude Forest, though.

68 saucy, full-color pages!

*no

Joe Palooka: A Visit to the New Bulletin Building - Harvey - 1955

This is the kind of odd, one-of-a-kind item you find while searching for oversized comics on the web. It's a special insert that came with copies of the long-gone Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper, starring everyone's favorite pugilist, Joe Palooka! While not a treasury comic, exactly, it is the same size, and it looked neat enough to pick it up.

Joe, dressed rather nappily, takes two kids hanging around a fire (?) on a tour of the new, swanky digs of the paper. He then introduces them to the people who put the paper together, like the Managing Editor and the City Editor. Gee, this is way more fun than playing outside!

I don't mean to be too snarky here--this is actually a very good-natured, even charming, attempt to show kids how a newspaper is made and, who knows, maybe instill an interest in journalism in some kids (boys only--stay home and do the housework, ladies. this is the 50's, after all)

There is some unintentially funny stuff here, like when talking about the fire they just witnessed and how it'll be in the paper, the boy says "I'd rather read about that fire we saw a little while ago...that's more interesting to me than a big fire in New York." Oooo-kay. I bet somebody's dad didn't want us to enter WWII.

It continunes through the printing, how they add the color to the comics, the distribution, all the way down to the paperboy! The final page has some trivia about the paper and Joe's outta here!

I find it funny to think about how boxers were seen a perfectly-fine profession to build a comic book or strip around back then. Anyone wanna license a Mike Tyson comic? No?

This was produced by Harvey Comics' Promotion Division, which now leads me to wonder if they produced similar editions for other city newspapers...

12 pages.

King-Size Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot - Dark Horse - 1997

When they say king-size they mean it! This book, collecting issues 1-2 of the Big Guy and Rusty the Robot comic by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow, is a whopping 11.5x15.5" inches big! Darrow is of course famous for having mind-boggling detail in his pages, so the idea behind this book was to show off his work, minus the letter balloons and color, so readers can get the best view possible of Darrow's work.

The plot of course is pretty basic--giant lizard attacks Tokyo, and Big Guy and Rusty are dispatched to take it on. Thousands and thousands of people--literally--are trampled upon, run from, or witness the battles that transpire. Pair this book up with Destroy!! and you've got an afternoon filled over-sized comic-book mayhem.

72 pages!

Join the Club Cab Pardner - Dodge - 1973

Another unusual item, this was a giveaway comic (11x14.5") produced by Dodge promoting its new cab truck. I love that its drawn in that classic 70s Schoolhouse Rock-esque style, with bright and fun colors. Another 70s motif--mild sexism and racism, with jokes about women being "really built" and native americans ("my tribe is accustomed to dodge"). Ah, the 70s.

This is another example of how, when people wanted to use comics to promote something, they used the big treasury/tabloid size because they wanted it to be noticed! I found this on ebay, of course, and it constantly amazes that stuff like this is still around--I mean, who would think to keep a thing like this, 30+ years later?

8 pages.

Rollover the image to see this book's back cover!

Gin & Comix - 1990

You find the most unusual things on ebay!

This is a treasury-sized anthology comic, sponspored by The School of Visual Arts, I'm guessing as a fundraiser. Don't know much more about it than that, unfortunately.

The book features work by artists from all over the world: Alain Ceyssac (Paris), Alexander Ross (no, not the one you think!), Peter Hoey, Lionel Koechlin, Jose Ortega, Peter Gilstrap, someone just named "Ion", Jerry Moriarty, Mike Dermanksy, Phillipe Lardy, David Sandlin, Frances Jetter, Steven Herrick, Phillippe Roulet, Bruce Benderson, Jan Smet (Brussels), Jonathon Rosen, Phillippe Weisbecker, and Mokeit. Please forgive my ignorance, but I'm not familiar with any of these people. One good tour around this site ought to show where my taste in comics primarily lies, so these names are all new to me. Anyone with any info, please let me know!

The book is entirely in black and white except for a small, standard-comic-size color insert in the middle of the book. Most of the features are one or two pages in length, and I think mostly make sense to the people who created them.

The one exception I'd say is writer/artist Jerry Moriarty's feature "A Visual Crime", which consists of four double-page spreads, each illustration accompanied with a short story in a sort of film noir style to accompany the image. Of all the features in this book, it's this one that makes the most of the large format--these drawings seem to be about as big as life, spilling off the edges of the paper. The stories are interesting too, I'd love to find out if/where Mr.Moriarty might've done more of these somewhere.

Rollover the image to see this book's back cover!

Bad News #2 - 1984

I'm glad to see we're finally starting represent some of the "underground" comics world here--I've been wanting to profile RAW for a long while, but they remain incredibly expensive so I haven't been able to get ahold of any yet.

But I was able to get Bad News, a sort of sister publication to RAW that utilized many of the same people, both behind and in front of the scenes creatively. I managed to get ahold of issues 2 and 3 of BN, but oddly enough only #2 was tabloid-sized.

This issue is a veritable who's-who of underground comic talent of the time, with work by Gary Panter, Drew Friedman, Mark Newgarden, Glenn Head, Art Spieglemen, Paul Karasik (who served as editor on the series, as well), and Jayr Pulga. There are a lot of strips/features here, too many to list, but here's just a sampling:

--a text article on Paul Hening (creator of The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction), with spot illustrations by Drew Friedman
--a Carvel "Fudgy the Whale" cake made by William DeKooning
--a urination joke "by" Nancy and Sluggo creator Ernie Bushmiller
--a tribute to the Road Runner by Bruno Richard
...and the most mundane "Action Comics" you've ever seen

Overall, this issue has a random, scattershot energy that works well with the extra size. Too bad they didn't do more like this!

Captain Canuck #4 - Comely Comix -1976

Coming from the frozen north its...Captain Canuck!

During the original b/w run of Comely Comix's Captain Canuck title, they decided to do a special, limited-signed-and-numbered treasury-sized edition of the fourth issue! This even comes with a thick papered, blank outer cover, signed by two of the creative people behind the book, Richard Comely and JC St-Aubin! (btw, this is #62 of 300).

The art (or the pencils, at least) are by George Freeman, always one of my favorites even though I didn't see his work all that often. The story, "Behind the Mask" runs eighteen single-sided pages, ad features some really nice work by Freeman.

There are back-up features, too--"Catman", and a Not Brand Ecch-esque superhero feature called "Chaos Corps", both by the same creative team as the lead (tho with less Freeman input, as far as I can tell).

I know I've said this about two dozen times on this site before, but its editions like this that really charm me, since the whole reason they're treasury-sized is because the makers wanted this to be special. And of course, treasury-sized = special!

I didn't even know this existed until I was made aware of it by David Pass (he of the original Treasury Comics Index). Once he pointed it out, and where to get one--Doug Sulipa's Comic World, the original distributor of this edition (who still had copies, and who could not have been nicer and easier to deal with), I had my own copy less than a week later. Thanks David!

 

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and All Their Pals - Whitman -1970s?

This is one of a six-book series of treasury-sized (10.5 x 14.5") books collecting spot illustrations, prose pieces, and one-page "gag" cartoons featuring, as the cover says, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and all their pals!

This is an odd series since they seem to be reprints of some form from the 1930s, published by Whitman at some point in the 70s. There are are no copyrights other than the original 1930s one, which has led some unknowing or dishonest ebay sellers to list these books as actually being from the 1930s, which they are not.

I had debated whether to include this series here, so when I saw this book on ebay for a measly seven bucks, I thought I'd pick it up and see one of them for myself. While not a comic book per se, it does feature text stories accompanied by sequential illustrations. Plus, this series is listed in the Overstreet Price Guide, and doing them at this size is clearly in line with the spirit of the treasury-sized comic, so why not? I haven't decided whether I'm going to try and get the other five books in the series yet--if I do, I'll move all these to their own page.

Until then, we can enjoy this. Instead of showing the back cover too I chose to scan one of the interior pages, a sequence starring Mickey. Never having been a big Disney fan as a kid (I was more of a Warners devotee), Mickey and/or his pals never meant much to me, but I am struck how beautiful and sharp the early Disney material was. I've heard more than one person knowledgeable about animation (Matt Groenig, for instance) say how much they like the early Mickey compared the more bland, human-like version of the last few decades, and looking at this book I can see what they mean.

Rollover the image to see an interior page from the book!

Fritz The Cat -1969

Another wonderful discovery, a genuine treasury-size comic by the legendary R.Crumb! This was published in 1969 by Ballantine Books, with thick cardboard covers.

I believe this is a collection of three previously published Fritz the Cat comics--"Fritz Bugs Out", "Secret Agent for the C.I.A.", and "Fritz the No-Good." As any fan of Crumb and/or Fritz knows, this material is definitely for adults only, as if the cover didn't tell you that already. Full of situations and language that would get Don Imus fired, this book is R.Crumb at his most R.Crumb.

That said. I was surprised at some of the complexity of the art in this book. I have a passing familiarity with Crumb's' work, and I had always thought he was most regarded for the approach he took to the work, not so much the art itself. But during the C.I.A. story especially, there is some really effective storytellling, amid all the anthropomorthic intercourse.

68 black and white pages.

Rollover to see the back cover of the book!

See also: R.Crumb's Head Comix

20 Nude Dancers -Tundra - 1990

Measuring a whopping 11x17", 20 Nude Dancers is a collection of oddball strips writer/artist Mark Martin did for The Comics Buyer's Guide. The strips are all over the place--thematically, stylistically, tonally. Think of Evan Dorkin's Dork smooshed with the approach of Raw and you get close to how this book reads.

Not to say I didn't enjoy it, but the humor seems so internal and, at times, incomprehensible, that I did feel a little left behind. I think having the guts to do this book at 11x17" tells you that Martin was definitely following the beat of his own drummer. Selling a non-superhero ten-dollar comic had to be hard enough, but making it so big it doesn't fit on any bookshelf had to be commercial suicide. Props to Tundra for going ahead with it

And of course, Tundra isn't in business anymore...coincidence?

36 black and white and color pages.

Rollover to see the back cover of the book!

Giant-Size Action Planet Halloween Special - Action Planet - 1998

Not too long after I started the site, I got a bunch of emails from treasury fans, all with suggestions for additions to the site, most of which I eventually incorporated. Erik "Savage Dragon" Larsen emailed me with a few ideas, one of which was, as he put it "a Monsterman treasury." Try as I might, I couldn't find any such book, but I never stopped looking.

Then just last week I finally found what he was talking about--The Giant-Size Action Planet Halloween Special, which came out in 1998 and stars Mike Manley's Monsterman character, so Erik was right but I was using the wrong title to look for it all this time. I found a copy on ebay from the fine folk at Mile High Comics, and less than a week later it arrived.

Upon measuring, I see the book is 9x12", which is just shy of the "official" treasury/tabloid size standard I set for the site(10x13"), but after I got a look at this book I realized this thing is so in the spirit of the classic treasury comics that I just couldn't leave it off. What difference does an inch make? (as Dunder-Mifflin Regional Manager Michael Scott would say, "that's what she said.") Besides, on the inside back cover, Monsterman's creator, Mike Manley, states "I always wanted to do a big comic like those cool Treasury Editions Marvel and DC used to print back in the 70s. I loved those huge comics."

Well, that's why we're here, Mike!

Anyway, GSAPHS features a whole bunch of stories, leading off with "Menace Before Midnight", story and art by Manley, featuring the good-natured but bad-ass MonsterMan, who takes his girlfriend and her nieces out ti a Halloween party, where they meet a weird kid named Bartholamue who has unwisely made a deal with...Satan himself! Luckily Monsterman is around to open a bag of candy-corn whoopass on Mr.Scratch.

I had never read a Monsterman comic before and now I'm sorry for that, since this story was a lot of fun. It looks and feels very reminiscient of the early Mads, with lots of gags flying by, some lowbrow, some highbrow, all told with great brio and style.

There's also work by Bret Blevins, John Heebink, a grotesque two-page horror/comedy strip called "Little Stiffy" by Bill Wray, Jason Armstrong, Ande Parks, Phillip Hester, and Scott Cohn. And if that isn't enough, there's a gen-u-ine life-size Monsterman mask you can cut out from the back cover! Man, if they had done another one of these, a table-top diorama would've been next, I'm sure.

All in all, a lot of fun, and a fitting tribute by some talented people to the classic treasuries they grew up with.

60 beautiful color pages. Boo!

Rollover to see the back cover of the book!

 
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