Sunday, September 02, 2012

Welcome to National Back Issue Month 2012!

Devil Dinosaur #1 (1978) edited, written and drawn by Jack "The King" Kirby.
It's ba-a-a-ack: September is once again National Back Issue Month! I'm unclear as to just how "official" this is in terms of comic book industry support, one of the folks who frequents the same lcs (local comic shop) as I has set up a NBIM Facebook group, and as I'm always looking or subjects on which to post I thought I'd go with it. Last year, I had hoped to post an issue each day of the month, but petered out about five days in; day 5 from last year can be seen here.

Begun last year as an anti-celebration of the Fall 2011 relaunch/reboot/redux of the DC Universe, it is just as relevant this year with the impending soft relaunch/reboot/reduxof the Marvel 616 Universe, Marvel NOW! The idea is that tthroughout September, when collector's new and old go into your local comic book store, they should add to the purchase of their new releases some goodies from the back issue boxes.  Often there are a great many comics that can be purchased for prices often the same (or less!) than a modern comic. The first issue of my NBIM celebration was culled from my own longboxes, Devil Dinosaur #1.

Devil Dinosaur was first released in early 1978 when I was nine years old. I had just begun collecting comic books, starting with another Kirby-infused classic, Fantastic Four (long after Kirby and Stan Lee had departed, of course). While I never did purchase Devil when it was originally released, I was glad to see it appear in a pile of older comics given to me by a colleague. Just the heading "NOW! The fantastic FIRST ISSUE," reminds the fanboy how, before incessant renumbering and rebooting, "first issues" used to mean something.

Devil Dinosaur co-starred Moon Boy, a characetr whose design was clearly influenced by
Kirby's work on an earlier  Marvel 2001: A Space Odyssey  comic book.
My first real Devil Dinosaur story was his brief appearance in Marvel's Godzilla issue 21 which came out right around the same time. Dinosaur's never seem to have much luck with ongoing series, Devil Dinosaur lasted only nine months and Godzilla went only 24 issues. Even the more current Runaways series was short lived despite being deemed a hit. (One character, Old Lace, is a genetically modified, human-sized dino, but that's close enough to be in the conversation.)

Devil Dinosaur is the perfect NBIM book: great visuals by a legendary creator doing fine work on one of his lesser, and therefore more affordable, works.

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