Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lost & Found: Shadows & Light

Been wanting to start a regular review/recommendation type of thing, but since so many people do weekly reviews I kinda figured what's the point, y'know? That, and I think I have maybe 10 readers?

So, I figured the next best thing would be in finding forgotten or disregarded gems that many people wouldn't bother looking at in the first place. While there are older books that may find their way onto this review from time to time, I believe the heavy bulk will actually be coming from the often lamented '90's era. This is most likely due to the fact most people kinda want to skip over that decade considering the crap you have to wade through. However, there are a lot of works that I 1) Never hear anyone talk about, and 2) Don't believe will ever be reprinted. Or if so, not for a very very very long time.

So to start us out, back in 1996 DC published a 4-issue series titled Batman: Black & White. This met with some very good reviews and fan reaction, and has been republished a number of time. It has also been reborn in a few different variations, including the backup stories to the Gotham Knights series and as a series of popular mini-statues.

1998 rolls around, and Marvel took a stab at it and released a 3-issue series titled Shadows & Light. From what I remember, it seemed to be virtually ignored. At least up here in Seattle and at the store I worked at, very little was ordered and nobody mentioned it. I always had a fond remembrance of it though, and a couple copies just snuck in back at the store, so here we are.

Issue #1 contains a Gene Ha/Gerard Jones Black Widow story, a Bernie Wrightson Hulk, a Len Wein/Steve Ditko Iron Man story, and a Ron Marz/Brian Stelfreeze.

Gene Ha is fantastic, and even presents what I would assume an early draft for the Bill Baily Wolf-Spider design from Top Ten in here. I've honestly only read a little of Jones' work but this was a fun enough story. The Wrightson Hulk story was great if even just a quickie, and the Ditko art is great as usual. The sheer amount of Wein's contributions to the industry is mindboggling. And apparently he worked on Exo-Squad, which increases my respect for him quite a bit. And for one of the guys who created Swamp Thing, that's y'know, saying a bit.

Any love out there for Exo-Squad?

Round the entire thing out with a nice Daredevil story by the guy who gave us Kyle Rayner and the cover artist to over 50 issues of Legends of the Dark Knight and the 1st issue is a pretty nice package.

Unfortunately the other copies are gone at the store already and mine are hidden in storage, so I'm doing this from memory. I believe #2 had some nice Liam Sharp art (and I'll bet it was a Man-Thing story, which he drew fantastically), as well as a Starlin Dr. Strange story that captured a good Ditko feel. There was an utterly beautiful Lee Weeks Thing story, and I also think a Jill Thompson Spider-Man which I liked a lot.

#3 had a Giffen story (which may or may not have been Spider-Man), and I think there was a Silver Surfer story as well. I'm really fuzzy on that one.

The nice thing is, you really shouldn't have to pay too much for these. I would personally be willing to pay somewhere from $10-20 for the set, but honestly I think you can get away with $6-9. The trick is just finding them.

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