Dick Tracy: The Art of Chester Gould - 1978

This is a super-cool treasury-sized promotional book sent to me by Treasury Hunter Craig Wichman. Done in conjunction with an exhibition of Chester Gould's work at the Museum of Cartoon Art, this 48-page book gives us a history of Dick Tracy as a character and a comic strip, as well as some bio material on Gould.

It reprints some choice moments from the strip's long history, photos of Gould rubbing shoulders with Ed Sullivan, Rube Goldberg, and Milton Caniff, an examination of the aesthetics of the strip, and finishes up with an 8-page gallery of all the weird members of the Tracy cast over the years. I had personally forgotten about Moon Maid, a character from outer space(!) who married Dick's adopted son Junior and comes complete with antennae! How come she didn't make it into Beatty's movie?

Since the back cover was just credits, I decided to include one of the strips reprinted. Rollover the cover to see it--I love how Dick talks directly to the audience. I think if it had gone one more panel he would've arrested some damn hippies!

I've never seen this book before, ever, so I really appreciate Craig giving me a chance to read it and put it up here on the site! Thanks Craig!

See also: Dick Tracy Limited Collectors' Edition from DC

RASL - Cartoon Books - 2007

This is a 12-page preview Jeff Smith put together exclusively for the 2007 San Diego ComiCon CBLDF party. Of course, less than twenty-four hours after the con, copies of this started showing up on ebay. I had found one or two copies closing for upwards of $75.00, so when I found someone selling one for a lot less than that I snapped it up.

Rasl seems to be the title character, a thief who seems to have some mystical abilites and a penchant for stealing high-class artifacts, like the Picasso he pinches in this preview. It's fun and interesting(like I find pretty much all of Smith's work to be), and makes for a really good teaser. The book is huge--11x17"--and it's such a blast seeing Smith's clean art at this tremendous size. I know I want to read more!

...and according to this interview Smith did with Comic Shop News, it seems like he has some real treats in store for treasury fans:

"Four or five of these big books a year for the next couple of years"?? Wow. I can't wait to see what Smith has in store, and seeing his gorgeous work at that huge size ought to be a real wonder to behold.

Ironic, really, that so many independent comic creators like Smith, Erik Larsen, and Chris Wisnia are actively trying to recreate the excitement of a treasury-sized comic by making their own, while the publishers who came to define that format, Marvel and DC, have pretty much abandoned it.

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

The Monsters: Color-The-Creature Book - 1974

This was a book I never knew existed until Treasury Hunter Mike DeStasio told me of its existence. Once I found a copy on ebay I got it--how could I pass up a treasury-sized(well, 11x17" actually) coloring book featuring monster art by Berni Wrightson??

The book consists of sixteen black and white full page illustrations by Wrightson, accompanied on the opposite page by a humorous, EC-esue poem about each of them, presumably written by Phil Seuling(who is listed as the copyright holder of the text). The book features images called "The Vampire", "The Glob", "The Ghoul", "The Mummy", "The Werwolf", "The Alien", "The Cyclops", "Frankenstein's Monster", "The Plant Monster", "Zombie", "Goblins", "The Creeping Dead", "Axe-Murderer", "The Witch", "Swamp Creature", and the cover image.

There's also "Suggestions for the Demented Colorist", featuring Wrightson's color recommendations, like Gaping Graveyard Green, Lurid Lavender", and "Buried Alive Brown."

It's too bad this is book is so scarce and expensive now; it's the perfect item for kids who love monsters and ghoulish horror with a touch of black humor. And of course Wrightson's work is superb.

Rollover to see this book's back cover!

Click here to see some of the spooky images from the book!

Bonus! I recently found an ad for the Berni Wrightson Monsters book(and the Spirit one)buried deep in the Captain Company section of an old Creepy.

I don't come across ads for treasuries not published by the Big Two much, so it's such a treat when I find one!

Head Comix - 1972

Another surprise ebay discovery, I found an ongoing auction for this book so I bookmarked it to come back near the end. Then I thought, maybe there's another copy on sale. There was, and one I could Buy It Now for a measly twelve bucks! Sold!

This treasury-sized collection is published by Ballantine Books, no less, a symbol of R.Crumb's status in our society as an Artist. Superman vs. Muhammad Ali? Not art. Mr.Natural? Art. Got it.

Anyway, this book collects material from All-New Zap Comix, Cavalier, East Village Other, Help!, Yarrowstalks, and Underground Review. After an intro by Paul Krassner, we have: "Definitely A Case of Derangement", "Head Comix", "Life Among the Constipated", "Fritz The Cat", "Keep On Truckin'", "Schuman the Human", "Ultra Super Modernistic Comics", "Mr. Natural, The Man From Affiganistan", "Mr.Natural Visits The City", "Mr.Natural Meets God", "Mr.Natural Gets The Bum Rush", "Mr.Natural Repents", "Stoned", "Fritz The Cat in 'Fritz Comes on Strong'", "Fred The Teen-Aged Girl Pigeon", "Hey Bopareebop", "Whiteman", "Av'N'Gar", "Western Man", "Big Freakout", "I Wanna Go Home", "Kitchen Kut-Outs!", "Schuman the Human Featuring Mr. Natural", and "It's Cosmic!"--*whew!*

72 pages.

Rollover to see this book's back cover!

See also: R.Crumb's Fritz The Cat

Storeyville - 1995

This is an unusual item--a thirty-eight page self-published tabloid-sized comic, written and drawn by Frank Santoro(although his name doesn't appear anywhere in the book), done entirely in hues of yellow and brown. The front and back covers are half-sized, on either side of the fold, but when you open it up the pages read from top to bottom, filling the 11x16" pages.

It's a quiet, melancholy story of a drifter who goes on a long trip to find a man that was important to him in his life and thank him. The art is unusual to say the least, with some panels being barely more than pencil sketches, others being more completely rendered. It's an odd look, but it works for this story, which meanders like the main character does. Put on some Tom Waits while reading and you've got an afternoon.

I've said this before, but I admire anyone who chooses to self-publish a comic, and especially anyone who goes for such a non-commercial format like this. They clearly had a "vision" in mind for what they wanted the book to be, even if it meant probably not selling as many copes.

Rollover to see this book's back cover!

KISS 4K - Platinum Studios - 2007

This is another one of those books I had absolutely no clue existed--I thought the internet was supposed to make us all better informed!--until Treasury Hunter Mike DeStasio told me about it. He originally said it was "the size of a door", and he wasn't far off--this limited editon version is a whopping 30x18" big--KISS doesn't do anything small!

I tried to read the book but I lack the upper-arm strength to turn the pages. It involves some sort of Spawn-looking world and the four members of KISS who have a bunch of mystical powers or something. Don't get me wrong--it might be a fine, enjoyable comic--but in their determination to make the biggest comic ever they sorta insured that no one would ever actually read the thing. It was, of course, reprinted as a mini-series in the standard comic format.

I plan to post the back cover of this thing, as soon as Google Maps sends me one of their satellite images.

40 pages.

Sojourn #1 - White Cliffs Publishing - 1977

I had heard of these books and was always interested in them, but could never find any two sources of information that gave consistent sizes for these books. Everytime I looked for them on eBay, they were so pricey it wasn't worth the risk having them arrive have them be 8 1/2x11" or something like that(frequently that's what eBay sellers mean when they list a comic as "oversized"...grrrr).

But then I saw a listing for both issues of Sojourn for a measly fifteen bucks, so I couldn't say no. I'm so glad I couldn't, for not only are these books treasury-sized(12x17" actually!) but they are filled with all kinds of amazing work by real legends of the industry, making them a real treat to get to read.

Features(all black and white) include:
--"Tor" by Joe Kubert
--a sci-fi feature, "The Smooth" by Mary Skrenes and Dick Giordano
--"T.C.Mars, A Very Private Eye" by Sergio Aragones
--a private eye strip, "E.V.Race" by Doug Wildey
--"Eagle" by John Severin
--"Montage", a column about movies by Bill Kelley, featuring an interview with Bruce Dern!
--"Kronos" by Lee Elias

...plus an inside color cover poster by Steve Bissette! Wow, Kubert, Severin, Wildey, Elias, Aragones, Giordano, and Bissette--quite a line-up!

"It was the 70s" is the only reason I can come up with, though, for the incomprehensible format. Not only is the book bigger by the standard treasury comic, but it's not stapled, making it almost impossible to hold together and read without pages spilling all over the place.

Also, the stories are printed in order of the binding, so instead of having one centerfold in the middle of the book, you have a series of separate four page sheets, and to make matters even worse, the stories don't follow the order listed on the Table of Contents, which comes on page eight! Huh?

That said, the material is top-notch, and you can't fault publishers Joe Kubert and Ivan Snyder for wanting to come up with something unique. I love all the different genres represented, and the talent behind them can't be matched. Scroll down to see how they fared with the second issue!

Sojourn #2 - White Cliffs Publishing - 1977

To make the format even more confusing, this issue's cover runs vertically, even though the rest of the book run horizontally, like the previous issue. And man, that is one grim cover!

Other than the cover, there were a lot of improvements made with this issue--the book it stapled, and the four-page sheets all follow each other from the centerfold out. *Whew*--glad we got that settled!

All the same features from the first issue return here(Kubert, Wildey, Aragones, Giordano, Severin, Elias), with the color Bissette poster running in the center of the book. Most of them featured continued storylines from the previous issue, and they end with "To be continued."

Sadly, there was no third issue of Sojourn--according to the GCBD, the books were done as a financial boost for the then-new Joe Kubert School(and my future alma mater!) and sold through the also then-new Direct Market. But the unwieldy format kept buyers away, and it folded after these two issues. Dang! I would've loved it if Joe had still been doing these by the time I got there...

Still, points for trying--these books certainly don't look like anything else out there, either then or now!

Rolf - Les Humanoides Associes -1975

This is a treasury-sized(just a hair less than 10x13") French edition of Richard Corben's Rowlf, about a guard dog transformed into a half-man, half-dog by a wizard in order to rescue a damsel in distress from a horde of Nazi-esque goblin creatures. Full of nudity and violence(of course it is...it's Corben!).

Since I don't understand French, I couldn't actually read the story, but I never got a better sense of how clear Corben's storytelling is than here, since I could follow along pretty well, even in a foreign language.

52 black and white pages.

Rollover the cover to see an inside page from the book!

Quimby Mouse - Fantagraphics - 2003

Many people wrote to me pointing out that Chris Ware did a few issues of his Acme Novelty Library series in a giant format, but I found them very difficult to find on eBay(at least for anything less than a fortune), but I got lucky the other day and found this collection, measuring 11x13.5", at Borders, just sitting there, behind about a dozen copies of the Marvel Zombies hardcover.

I couldn't possibly hope to explain, or even list, all the stuff that's in this book, filled to the margins as it is with stuff--stories, gag panels, asides, articles, "ad" pages, and even its own version of a 3-D table-top diorama! Or, as Ware himself puts it on the back cover: "Unnavigable compositions, awkward metaphors, ill-chosen subjects."

I have to admit, a lot of Ware's work leaves me scratching my head, in an attempt to understand what it is the hell I'm reading. Maybe that's because I've spent too much time reading books like Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, I don't know.

68 black and white and color pages.

Rollover the image to see the back cover of this book!

Danger Girl Danger-Sized Edition #1 -Image - 1998

This was another one of those books I stumbled across on eBay, having never heard of it before. When I saw the words "danger-sized edition" on the cover, I did a little research(although the book is not listed on the GCDB, frustratingly enough) and found that it measures 9x14", so after a few days I landed myself a copy.

The book-length story is part of the ongoing story in the regular Danger Girl comic, titled "Dangerously Yours" and featuring a classic James Bond-esque double-page spread title page, by J.Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell.

As far as I know, this was the only done done at this size, but if there's one thing I've learned from doing this site, it's that you never know what's out there...

32 pages.

Rollover the image to see the back cover of this book!

Brass #1 -Image - 1996

It seems there were a lot of mid-to-late 90s treasury comics that I never knew about!

I don't know what this series is--I simply never heard of Brass before--but it was apparently created by Jim Lee and Richard Bennet, with this issue being by Aron Wiesenfeld and Bennett.

I have absolutely no idea what's going on in this book, but since it's continued from the regular Brass series, I guess that's to be expected. It's got robots, guys with guns, destroyed cities, supersonic jets, and explosions. It also comes with some pin-ups and scans of original pencil art.

36 black and white pages.

Rollover the image to see the back cover of this book!

Look Out!! Monsters #1 - 2008

This book was one of the most delightful surprises at this year's New York Comic Con.

Look Out!! Monsters is a tabloid-sized (11x13.5") full-color comic, done partly in collage, which merges the Frankenstein Monster and 9/11.

Now, I realize, just from that sentence, the book could sound like a horribly trivial way of addressing a brutal, tragic real-life event, but it doesn't read that way. It reads like a combo of the classic Frankenstein Monster with the avant garde, more politically-themed work of Peter Kuper, and I thought the results were quite interesting. There's even some Jack Kirby thrown in!

Grogan's love for movie monsters, comics, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and the like is apparent (I mean, take a look at the logo!) but I thought it was interesting to take these things we all know so well and put them in a different--very different--context.

I hope we see more books like this. I'd love to see Grogan tackle some of the other classic Universal Monsters, either dealing with real-world events or not.

36 pages.

(By the way, you can learn more about the book, and even order a copy, here!)

Rollover the image to see the back cover of this book!


email: namtab29@comcast.net • all characters © their respective copyright holders • site © 2011 Rob Kelly