Librarian Lou's Big Bad Voodoo Blog

Friday, October 09, 2009

Binding Comic Books #2: Starman, Sandman Mystery Theatre, Blue Beetle, American Century

After I got my complete Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League run bound into four handsome volumes by Library Binding Company in Waco, Texas, I immediately started planning my next comic book binding project. Combing through what was left of my collection, I prepped a few more complete runs by tearing out double-sided ad pages and back covers, coming up with enough material for nine new hardcover volumes.

When all was said and done, I had torn out three inches of ad pages -- almost two entire custom-bound hardcovers worth of pages!

This was a larger order so it took them longer to process, but I was thrilled to receive the finished products earlier this week. Of course, everything looked beautiful and came out great.

I collected James Robinson's Starman, my all-time favorite series, into four volumes with all possible tie-ins placed chronologically in terms of the story. In addition to Starman #0, 1-80, and 1,000,000, I found places for the two Annuals, the 80-Page Giant, the Secret Files and Origins issue, the Shade miniseries, the Batman/Hellboy/Starman miniseries, the Mist one-shot, the Power of Shazam! crossovers, Stars and STRIPE #0 (as important to the Starman mythos as it was to the new Star-Spangled Kid/Stargirl character), a short story by Robinson about Jack Knight (Starman) taking a boxing lesson from Wildcat (from the All-Star Comics 80-Page Giant), and even a JSA All-Stars issue that came out after Starman ended, reteaming Robinson and artist Tony Harris on a Golden Age Starman story. (I placed that one at the end of the final volume since it came out most recently, despite being a flashback.)

My custom Tables of Contents:

Sandman Mystery Theatre came next, a Vertigo series focusing on the late '30s and early '40s adventures of Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman. This mystery man had a real sense of style, dressing in a suit, trench coat, fedora, and gas mask, and carrying a gas gun that put criminals to sleep. This crime-noir period piece was often dark and violent, but featured a tender and well-developed relationship between the bookish hero Dodds and his resourceful life-long lover and partner, Dian Belmont.

In addition to the 70 issues and a single Annual, I included Sandman Midnight Theatre, an original graphic novel that tied the Mystery Theatre version of Sandman into Neil Gaiman's mythological dream king Sandman.

I also made sure to fit in the two short Sandman Mystery Theatre stories from Vertigo: Winter's Edge, a holiday-themed anthology. Here is the wraparound cover from Winter's Edge #2 by Mike Allred, one of my favorite artists:

I also collected Len Wein's complete '80s Blue Beetle series into one volume (24 issues preceded by Beetle's origin story in Secret Origins #2), and Howard Chaykin's gritty, sexy Vertigo adventure series American Century into one volume (all 27 issues). Note my snazzy custom Tables of Contents for Sandman Mystery Theatre volumes as well.

Anyway, here is my full library of custom-bound hardcovers, including my four Justice League volumes:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Custom-Bound Hardcover Library

***UPDATED 06.15.19!***

BLUE BEETLE: The Complete Series
Secret Origins #2 (signed by Wein)
Blue Beetle #1-24

DEFENDERS: Indefensible (signed by Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire)
Defenders #1-5

JUSTICE LEAGUE: The Giffen / DeMatteis Era
Volume 1: JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL (signed by Giffen, DeMatteis, Maguire, Templeton, and McKone)

Justice League #1-4 (#1 signed by Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire; 2-4 signed by Maguire)
Justice League Annual #1
Justice League #5-6 (signed by Maguire)
Justice League International #7-13 (7-12 signed by Maguire)
Suicide Squad #13
Justice League International #14
Justice League International Annual #2
Justice League International #15-25 (16-19, 22-24 signed by Maguire; 20-21, 24-25 signed by Templeton, 25 signed by McKone)

JUSTICE LEAGUE: The Giffen / DeMatteis Era
Volume 2: JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA (signed by Giffen, DeMatteis, Hughes, Templeton, McKone, Marzan, and Beatty)

Justice League America #26-30 (#26-29 signed by Templeton, 28 signed by McKone)
Justice League America #33-36 (33-35 signed by Hughes, 35 signed by Marzan)
Justice League International Special #1
Justice League America #37-42 (37-40 signed by Hughes, 41-42 signed by McKone, 40 and 42 signed by Marzan)
Justice League America Annual #4 (signed by McKone)
Justice League America #43-52 (43-45, 51 signed by Hughes; 43-45 signed by Marzan; 46-50 signed by Beatty)

JUSTICE LEAGUE: The Giffen / DeMatteis Era
Volume 3: JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE (signed by Giffen and 
Justice League Europe #1-5 (signed by Sears)
Justice League International Annual #3 (signed by McKone)
Justice League Europe #6 (signed by Sears)
Justice League America #31 (signed by Hughes)
Justice League Europe #7 (signed by Sears)
Justice League America #32 (signed by Hughes)
Justice League Europe #8-19 (8-12, 15-19 signed by Sears, 14 signed by Marzan)
Justice League Europe Annual #1 (signed by Marzan)
Justice League Europe #20-28 (23-28 signed by Sears; 20-22 signed by Rogers)

JUSTICE LEAGUE: The Giffen / DeMatteis Era
Volume 4: JUSTICE LEAGUE: BREAKDOWNS (signed by Giffen,
 DeMatteis, and Maguire)
Justice League Quarterly #1-3 (3 signed by McKone)
Justice League America #53
Justice League Europe #29 (signed by Sears)
Justice League America #54
Justice League Europe #30 (signed by Beatty)
Justice League America #55
Armageddon 2001 #1
Justice League America Annual #5 (signed by Maguire, Templeton, and Marzan)
Justice League Europe Annual #2 (signed by Templeton)
Armageddon 2001 #2
Justice League Europe #31 (signed by Beatty)
Justice League America #56
Green Lantern #18
Justice League Europe #32 (signed by Beatty)
Justice League America #57
Justice League Europe #33 (signed by Beatty)
Justice League America #58 (signed by Sears and Beatty)
Justice League Europe #34
Justice League America #59 (signed by Sears)
Justice League Europe #35
Justice League America #60 (signed by Maguire)
Justice League Europe #36
Secret Origins #33-35

Sandman Mystery Theatre #1-16
Sandman Mystery Theatre Annual #1
Sandman Mystery Theatre #17-24

Sandman Mystery Theatre #25-36
Sandman Midnight Theatre graphic novel
Sandman Mystery Theatre #37-48

Sandman Mystery Theatre #49-56
Vertigo: Winter's Edge #1 (excerpt)
Sandman Mystery Theatre #57-68
Vertigo: Winter's Edge #2 (excerpt)
Sandman Mystery Theatre #69-70

STARMAN Volume 1 (signed by Harris)
Starman #0-11 (0 signed by Harris)
Showcase '95 #12 (excerpt)
Starman #12-19
Showcase '96 #4-5 (excerpts)
Starman #20-23
Starman Annual #1

STARMAN Volume 2 (signed by Harris)
Starman #24-35
Shade #1-4
Starman #36-37
Starman Annual #2
Starman #38-39
Power of Shazam #35
Starman #40
Power of Shazam #36
Starman #41

STARMAN Volume 3 (signed by Harris and A. Robinson)
Starman Secret Files and Origins #1
Starman #42
Batman / Hellboy / Starman #1-2
Starman 80-Page Giant #1
Starman #43
Girlfrenzy: The Mist #1
Starman #44-47
Starman #1,000,000
Starman #48-60

STARMAN Volume 4 (signed by Harris and A. Robinson)
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0
Starman #61-74
All-Star Comics 80-Page Giant #1 (excerpt)
Sins of Youth: Starwoman & the JSA Jr. #1
Starman #75-80
JSA All-Stars #4 (signed by McKone)

Comic Book, TPB, and Graphic Novel Library

***UPDATED 06.15.19***

1963 #1-6 (Moore)
52 Vol. 1-4 TPBs (signed by Rucka and Giffen), #52 (1st chronological Beetle/Booster meeting)
Action Comics #1000 (signed by King, Mann, Garcia-Lopez, Tomasi)
Adventures In the DC Universe #8 (Beetle/Booster)
Adventures of Captain America #1-4 (signed by Nicieza and Maguire)
All-New Atom #14 (Beetle; signed by Simone)
Amazing Screw-On Head #1 (Mignola)
Amazing Spider-Man: The Short Halloween (Bill Hader/Seth Meyers, Maguire)
America's Best Comics 64-Page Giant #1 (Moore)
Americomics #3 (Beetle), Americomics Special #1 (Charlton heroes)
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1-4 TPBs (Whedon)
Astro City #1/2 (Busiek)
Awesome Holiday Special #1 (Moore/Youngblood)
Batman #603 (Brubaker/Phillips)
Batman/Doc Savage #1 (Azzarello/Noto)
Batman: Ego and Other Tails TPB (signed by Cooke)
Batman: Gotham Noir OGN (Brubaker/Phillips)
Batman/Grendel TPB (Wagner)
Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood #1-6 (signed by Rucka)
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #214 (Deadshot)
Batman: Year One TPB (Miller)
The Beats hardcover (signed by Piskor)
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1-6 (signed by Cooke)
Birds of Prey #1 (signed by Dixon), 15, 19, 25 (15, 19, 25 signed by Dixon and Guice), #37 (signed by Dixon)
Blue Beetle #1 (Modern Comics; '70s reprint of Charlton)
Blue Beetle (1986 series): see Custom-Bound Hardcover Library
Blue Beetle Companion (TwoMorrows)
Booster Gold (1st series): #1 (signed by Jurgens)
Booster Gold (2nd series): Vol. 1-5 TPBs (all signed by Jurgens, Vol. 3 signed by Dixon, Vol. 4 signed by Giffen), #6, 0, 7-10, 1,000,000 (Johns), #26-27 (Blackest Night w/Beetle), 32-43 (Giffen/DeMatteis; all signed by Giffen), 44-47 (Jurgens/Flashpoint)
Booster Gold/The Flintstones
Box Office Poison TPB
The Broccoli Agenda OGN
Building Stories box set
Captain Atom (1st series): #83 (Modern Comics; '70s reprint of Charlton; 1st Beetle)
Captain Atom (2nd series) #1 (signed by Broderick), 11 (Suicide Squad), 20 (Beetle), 30 (Janus Directive)
Catwoman (Brubaker): Vol. 1-4 TPBs (Vol. 1 signed by Cooke), #32 (Brubaker/Phillips)
Charlton Bullseye #1 (Beetle/Question)
Checkmate! (late '80s series) #15-18 (Janus Directive)
Checkmate (2007 series) #6-7 (Suicide Squad; signed by Rucka)
Chew Vol. 1-12 TPBs (all signed by Guillory)
Chronos #1-11, 1,000,000
Civil War II: 2016 FCBD (Bendis)
Civil War II: The Accused #1 (Guggenheim; Daredevil prosecutes Hawkeye)
Comic Book Tattoo TPB (Tori Amos)
Convergence: Blue Beetle #1-2
Convergence: Booster Gold #1-2
Convergence: Justice League International #1-2
Convergence: Suicide Squad #1-2 (signed by Tieri)
Countdown To Infinite Crisis one-shot
Coup D'Etat: Sleeper, Stormwatch, Wildcats 3.0, Authority, Afterword one-shots
Criminal: Vol. 1-6 TPBs (Brubaker/Phillips)
Danger Girl: Ultimate Collection HC (signed by Campbell)
Daredevil (Miller): Frank Miller/Klaus Janson Vol. 1-3 TPBs, Born Again TPB, The Man Without Fear TPB
Daredevil (Bendis): Vol. 4-7, 9-13 TPBs (all signed by Maleev)
Daredevil (Brubaker): Devil Inside and Out Vol. 1-2, Hell To Pay Vol. 1-2, Cruel and Unusual (signed by Rucka), Lady Bullseye, Return of the King TPBs, Annual #1, Blood of the Tarantula #1
Daredevil (Waid): Vol. 1-5 oversized hardcovers (Vol. 1 signed by Waid), #17 (Allred)
Daredevil (Soule): Vol. 1-8 TPBs (all signed by Soule)
Daredevil: Dark Nights TPB
Daredevil: End of Days TPB (Bendis)
Daredevil: Love's Labors Lost TPB
Daredevil: Redemption TPB (Hine)
Daredevil/Punisher: Seventh Circle TPB (signed by Soule)
Dark Circle Comics 2015 FCBD
DC Nation #1 (2018; signed by King, Mann, Garcia-Lopez)
DC New Frontier Vol. 1-2 TPBs, Justice League: New Frontier Special #1 (all signed by Cooke)
DC Rebirth #1
DC Retroactive: Justice League America: The '90s one-shot (JLI; signed by Giffen)
DC Universe Legacies #10 (Blue Beetle variant)
Deadline #1-4 (all signed by Horn)
Deadshot #1-4 (1988), #1-5 (2005)
Death: The High Cost of Living TPB (Gaiman)
Death: The Time of Your Life TPB (Gaiman)
Defenders (Giffen/DeMatteis): see Custom-Bound Hardcover Library 
Detective Comics #582 (Suicide Squad), 784-786 (Brubaker/Golden Age GL)
Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special #1
Dr. Mid-Nite #1-3 (Wagner)
Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem (signed by A. Adams)
Extreme Justice #0-3
Fade Out Vol. 1-3 TPBs (Brubaker/Phillips)
Fantastic Four #347-349 (A. Adams)
Fantastic Four Vol. 1 TPB (Fraction/Bagley/Allred; signed by Fraction)
Farmhand Vol. 1 TPB (signed by Guillory)
FF Vol. 1-2 TPBs (Fraction/Allred; signed by Fraction)
Firestorm #64 (Suicide Squad), 86-87 (Janus Directive), Annual 5 (Suicide Squad)
Five Fists of Science graphic novel (Fraction)
Flash #19 (Rogues), 182 (Johns/Captain Cold origin)
Formerly Known as the Justice League #1-6 (Giffen/DeMatteis; JLI; signed by Giffen)
G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte #1-3 (signed by Fiffe)
Golden Age TPB (Robinson)
Gotham Central Book 1-4 TPBs (Brubaker/Rucka; signed by Rucka)
Green Lantern (3rd series): #9
Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame OGN (Gaiman)
Grendel Omnibus Vol. 1 TPB (Hunter Rose stories by Wagner)
Grendel #16-19 (Comico; signed by Wagner)
Hawkeye Vol. 1-4 TPBs, #19 (Fraction/Aja; signed by Fraction)
Hawkman #27 (Brubaker/Phillips)
Hip-Hop Family Tree Vol. 1-4 TPBs (all signed by Piskor), 2014 FCBD, 2015 FCBD
Immortal Iron Fist Vol. 1-2 TPBs (Brubaker/Fraction/Aja; both signed by Fraction; Vol. 2 signed by Chaykin)
Incognito Vol. 1-2 TPBs (Brubaker)
Incorruptible/Irredeemable 2010 FCBD (Waid)
Infinity, Inc. #30 (JSA; McFarlane)
Injustice 2 #5, 21, 33 (Beetle/Booster; all signed by Taylor)
Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2-3 TPBs (signed by Fraction)
JLA 80-Page Giant #1 (Giffen/DeMatteis; Beetle/Booster; signed by Giffen)
JLA Classified #4-9 (Giffen/DeMatteis; JLI; signed by Giffen)
JLA: Incarnations #6 (JLI)
JLA-Z #1 (Beetle/Booster)
JSA All-Stars #3 (Cooke)
Judgment Day: TPB, Sourcebook (Moore)
Justice League (Giffen/DeMatteis): see Custom-Bound Hardcover Library
Justice League 3000 #11-15 (Giffen/DeMatteis; Beetle/Booster; signed by Giffen)
Justice League America (Giffen/DeMatteis): see Custom-Bound Hardcover Library
Justice League Europe (Giffen/DeMatteis): see Custom-Bound Hardcover Library
Justice League: Generation Lost Vol. 1-2 HCs (JLI; signed by Lopresti; Vol. 1 signed by Giffen)
Justice League International (Giffen/DeMatteis): see Custom-Bound Hardcover Library
Justice League Quarterly #7 (Beetle's HS reunion); see also Custom-Bound Hardcover Library
Justice League Unlimited #5 (Beetle), 8 (Question), 36 (Question), 43 (Beetle/Booster)
Justice Riders OGN
Justice Society Returns: All-Star #1 (signed by Lark), 2, Adventure, All-American, National, Sensation, Smash, Star-Spangled, Thrilling Comics #1s (1999)
Last Days of the Justice Society of America #1
L.A.W.: Living Assault Weapons #1-6 (Beetle/Charlton heroes)
Legends #1-6 (Suicide Squad/JLI)
Letter 44 Vol. 1 TPB (signed by Soule)
Love and Rockets 2016 FCBD
Losers Vol. 1-5 TPBs (Diggle, all signed by Jock)
Love Is Love TPB (signed by Simone and S. Snyder)
Madman: The Oddity Odyssey TPB
Madman Adventures TPB (Oni Press edition w/"Creatures of the Id" story), Ashcan edition
Madman and the Atomics TPB
Madman Atomic Comics Vol. 1-3 TPBs
Madman Comics Vol. 1-4 TPBs; issue #7 (signed by Allred and Darrow)
Madman: In Your Face 3D Special #1 (w/3D glasses)
Madman/Jam #1-2
Madman/Superman Hullabaloo TPB
Madrox: Multiple Choice TPB (signed by David)
Manhunter ('80s) #6 (Suicide Squad), 14 (Janus Directive)
Manhunter ('00s): Vol. 1, 4 TPBs, #27-28 (Beetle; #27 signed by Chaykin)
Martian Manhunter: American Secrets #1-3 (miniseries)
Martian Manhunter #24 (JLI)
Marvel Team-Up #74 (Spidey and original SNL cast; signed by Claremont and Hall)
Maus Vol. I-II TPBs
Millennium #4 (Suicide Squad)
Mister Miracle #7-8 (2nd series) (Beetle/Booster)
Mister Miracle TPB (signed by King and Gerads)
Modern Masters Vol. 16: Mike Allred (TwoMorrows)
Multiversity: Pax Americana #1 (Morrison; Charlton heroes)
New Avengers (1st series) Vol. 1-3, 5-13 TPBs (Bendis) (Vol. 1 and 3 signed by Finch, Vol. 5 signed by Chaykin, Vol. 5-7 signed by Yu, Vol. 6 and 10 signed by Maleev, Vol. 13 signed by McKone)
New Avengers: Illuminati TPB (Bendis)
New Mutants Special Edition (signed by A. Adams)
New Year's Evil: The Rogues #1
Nightwing #63 (Beetle; signed by Dixon)
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #1 (Zdarsky/Allred)
Planetary Vol. 1-4 TPBs, Planetary/Batman (Ellis)
Point Blank TPB (Brubaker)
Power Girl Vol. 3-4 TPBs (JL: Generation Lost tie-ins)
Preacher Vol. 1-9 TPBs (Ennis)
The Question (2005) #1-6 (Veitch/Edwards)
Red Rocket 7 TPB (smaller Image edition; Allred)
Rex Libris Vol. 1-2 TPBs
Saga Vol. 1-8 TPBs (Vaughan)
Sandman Vol. 1-10 TPBs (Gaiman)
Sandman Mystery Theatre: see Custom-Bound Hardcover Library
Secret Avengers: Run the Mission, Don't Get Seen, Save the World TPB (Ellis, signed by Maleev)
Secret Invasion TPB (Bendis; signed by Yu)
Secret Origins #2 (Blue Beetle), 14 (Suicide Squad), 28 (Nightshade)
Secret Six #15 (Deadshot), 17-18 (Suicide Squad; signed by Simone)
Seven Soldiers of Victory #0 (Morrison)
Sex Criminals Vol. 1-5 TPBs (Fraction/Zdarsky; signed by Fraction)
Shade TPB (Robinson; signed by Hamner, Cooke, and Harris)
Shadow: Blood and Judgment #1-4 (signed by Chaykin)
She-Hulk Vol. 1-2 TPBs (Slott)
She-Hulk Vol. 1-2 TPBs (signed by Soule)
Showcase '94 #2-4 (Beetle)
Siege TPB (Bendis)
Silver Surfer Vol. 1-5 TPBs (Slott/Allred)
Sleeper Vol. 1-4 TPBs (Brubaker/Phillips)
Solo #4 (signed by Chaykin), 5 (signed by Cooke), 7 (Allred)
Spectre #10 (Suicide Squad)
Spider-Man/Deadpool #6 (Aukerman)
Spider-Man's Tangled Web #4 (signed by Rucka), 21 (Cooke)
Spirit Vol. 1-2 TPBs (Cooke)
Spirit: The New Adventures #1-2 (Moore, Gaiman)
Starman #81 (Robinson); see also Custom-Bound Hardcover Library
Suicide Squad #1-67, Annual 1 (Ostrander; #67 signed by Simone)
Suicide Squad: From the Ashes #1-8 (Ostrander)
Suicide Squad: War Crimes (Ostrander)
Superior Foes of Spider-Man Vol. 1-3 TPBs
Supreme Vol. 1-2 TPBs, #52a-52b (Moore)
Terminal City: The Compleat Terminal City TPB
Thunderbolts Vol. 1-2 TPBs (Ellis)
Tick: The Complete Edlund TPB
Top Ten: Vol. 1-2 TPBs (Moore; both signed by Ha)
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe Vol. 1-3 TPBs, Movie Adaptation
Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #4-5 (Allred)
Uncanny X-Men Annual #9-10 (both signed by A. Adams), 12 (A. Adams), 14 (A. Adams)
Untold Tales of Spider-Man Annual '96 (Allred)
V For Vendetta TPB (Moore)
Vertical #1 (Allred)
Vext #1-6 (signed by Giffen)
Vigilante #1-4 (Robinson)
Villains United TPB (signed by Simone)
War of the Gods #3 (Suicide Squad)
Watchmen TPB (Moore)
Who's Who: Update '87 #1 (Beetle/Booster)
WildC.A.T.s: Alan Moore's Complete WildC.A.T.s TPB
Wildcats (2nd series): Vol. 2-4 TPBs (Casey)
Wildcats 3.0: Year One, Year Two TPBs (Casey)
Wolverine and the X-Men #17 (Allred)
X-Factor (1st series): #41-42 (A. Adams)
X-Factor (2nd series) Vol. 1-5 TPBs (all signed by David)
X-Force Vol. 1-2 TPBs (Milligan/Allred)
X-Men: Grand Design Vol. 1-2 TPBs (signed by Piskor)
X-Statix Vol. 1-4 TPBs (Milligan/Allred; Vol. 2 signed by Cooke)
Y The Last Man Vol. 1-10 TPBs (Vaughan; all signed by Marzan)
Youngblood #1-2 (Moore)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

DVD Library

***UPDATED 06.04.16!***

Much Ado About Nothing
Watchmen (Director's Cut)

Angel (Seasons 1-5 box set)
Arrested Development (Seasons 1-3)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Seasons 1-7 box set)
Casablanca (Special Edition)
Childrens Hospital (Season 3)
Dark City (Director's Cut)
Dollhouse (Seasons 1-2)
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Fight Club (Special Edition)
Firefly: The Complete Series
Goodfellas (Special Edition)
Hard Boiled
The Killer (Criterion Collection)
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Knocked Up (Extended Edition)
L.A. Confidential (2-disc Special Edition)
Last Man Standing
The Long Kiss Goodnight
Portishead PNYC Live
The Prestige
South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
Transformers: The Movie (20th Anniversary)
True Romance (Special Edition)
The Venture Bros. (Seasons 1-2)
The Wire (Seasons 1-5 box set)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Binding Comic Books #1: Justice League International

I don't really buy new comics anymore. I may pick up a few trade paperbacks a year (only when they're heavily discounted), and I rely on inter-library loans to furnish me with others, but the days of waiting for new comic Wednesdays, scouring the spinner-racks, buying, reading, bagging, and boarding comics are over for me. I've sold or donated boxes and boxes of comics over the last few years, and just don't have the interest I used to.

That said, even though I've greatly downsized my collection, I still have a few complete runs that I wouldn't ever want to part with, sentimental favorites from years past. But I noticed that while I'll often reread trade paperbacks on my bookshelf, I almost never delved into my remaining longboxes to reread bagged and boarded single issues, even the really terrific ones. Sure, sometimes they get reprinted in trade paperbacks, but who wants to repurchase things they already own (albeit in an inferior format)? Not I. And half the time the new TPBs are expensive (and only reprint four or six issues in a shot), or they skip issues or reprint things out of order, and they always seem to trickle out slowly. At least I know I have all the good stuff already.

That's when I had an epiphany: what if I had my all-time favorite comics bound into collected editions of my own? That would eliminate longbox clutter, allow me easy access to old classics, and even create one-of-a-kind new collectibles. Like so many great ideas, it had already been done... but that made it even easier for me to move forward with it. To start with, I envisioned binding the classic Justice League International run co-written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis into four hardcover volumes. The first volume would be Justice League International, followed by Justice League America (the same series with a title change), Justice League Europe (a spinoff book that ran concurrently, starting when International changed its name to America), and finally, Justice League: Breakdowns (a crossover that ran back and forth between the two titles, leading to the end of the Giffen/DeMatteis era on both). I had all the comics, including Annuals, Specials, tie-in issues from other series, random crossovers, and whatever else was needed to make these volumes truly complete. But who could help me make this happen?

Library Binding is based in Waco, Texas, and they specialize in the kind of comic binding projects I had in mind: . Their prices are amazing: $15 (plus shipping) for binding a stack of comic books into a simple, sturdy, no-frills hardcover book with custom text stamped into the spine. We pick the cover and text colors, which are included in the base price, and they trim the edges nice and smooth and even remove the staples in the process. Special features like fancy fonts, front cover stamping, and custom logo dies cost extra. I corresponded with experienced bookbinder James Jasek several times via e-mail with all of my questions and concerns, and the man had the patience of a saint. Eventually, I was ready for what most comic book collectors would consider a nightmarish scenario. I started tearing pages out of these beloved old comics.

Needless to say, I wanted my custom-bound books to be as nice as possible, so I figured I would prep my comics for binding by removing all the double-sided ad pages and back covers. Nobody likes ads breaking up a story, which is one more reason trade paperbacks are so much nicer than single-issue comics. Plus, this would decrease the size of the volumes I had planned, allowing me to fit more issues into each bound book. I went through over 100 comics and very carefully tore out every offending page, which constituted a real history lesson in the comic books, video games, and junk food of the late '80s and early '90s.

(This isn't a great picture for showing you the size of the stack of ads I tore out, but it's the only picture I took. Trust me, there were a LOT.)

I only wished some really fastidious fanboys could have seen me in action, as they surely would have panicked and gotten offended. It seemed counterintuitive, ripping out pages -- essentially "destroying" the priceless collectibles we've gotten conditioned to think of comics as. But I've moved past that. The best comics are reading material first and foremost, deserving to be accessible for revisiting at any point, like good friends. Instead of destroying these old issues, I saw myself creating something new. Something better. Something that could be displayed proudly on a bookshelf instead of taped up in mylar and surrounded by cardboard, shielded from the light of day.

In the end, I had my four volumes planned out, and divided the comics into four stacks to get them ready for Library Binding.

I filled out their binding slips with everything I wanted and sent them off. Was I nervous? You better believe it! But I had seen samples of the beautiful work Library Binding did, and I knew my beloved Justice League International comics were in good hands.

About a month later, I received a package at work. The books were ready! How did they come out? See for yourselves!

I added custom Tables of Contents to each volume:

And the books lay open flat, unlike most "official" published trade paperbacks:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Want List

Here are items I'd love to get eventually, either for good prices or via trading.

***UPDATED 6.15.19!***

Toys and Collectibles I want:
Transformers Siege: Springer, Ratchet
DC Universe Classics: Mirror Master's weapons
Marvel Legends: Iceman (X-Men Vintage wave), Daredevil (12" version), Spider-Punk's guitar
Spider-Man Classics: Daredevil (red)
Eaglemoss: Daredevil (not the chess piece)
NECA: 18" Daredevil
Simpsons World of Springfield: Comic Book Guy

TPBs and Comics I want:
Saga Vol. 9 TPB
Daredevil Vol. 1 TPB (Zdarsky)

Does anyone prefer single issue comic books to TPBs?
I have the following comics as singles, but I'd gratefully trade them for the corresponding TPBs:
Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood (#1-6, signed by Greg Rucka!)
Before Watchmen: Minutemen (#1-6, signed by Darwyn Cooke!)
Coup D'Etat (Sleeper, Stormwatch, Wildcats 3.0, Authority)
Deadline (#1-4, signed by Greg Horn!)
Dr. Mid-Nite (#1-3)
Grendel: Devil Tales (#16-19; signed by Matt Wagner!)
Vigilante: City Lights, Prairie Justice (#1-4)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Recipe cards from the 1970s

Monday, February 05, 2007

Make mine MEATCAKE!

This is how you create that mammoth of meals disguised as a dessert, the hearty and delicious Meatcake. Like robots that transform into cars, the Meatcake is more than meets the eye!

5 pounds of ground beef (don't worry about getting the expensive lean stuff for this recipe!)
2 cups of dry bread crumbs (I like the Vigo brand bread crumbs with romano cheese for a more robust flavor, but you can use Progresso or the Jason brand kosher bread crumbs if your friends keep kosher as some of mine do.)
4 eggs
1 small can of plain tomato sauce
Minced garlic
Finely-chopped sweet Vidalia onion
Barbecue sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco Chipotle sauce
Liquid smoke
Gulden's spicy brown mustard
Brown sugar
Old Bay seasoning
Paprika (regular or smoked; I have both so I used both!)
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Black pepper
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes
Whatever else you have on hand that you like!

Keep separate:
1 box instant mashed potatoes (usually potato flakes) -- follow the instructions on the box, which usually call for salt, water, butter or margarine, and a bit of milk.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (This is the easy part.)

2. Combine the meat, bread crumbs, eggs, and and a good bit of every spice, seasoning, and condiment you have in the house in a large mixing bowl, as you would a meatloaf. You're going to need to use your hands, so make sure the meat isn't ice-cold.

3. When mixed evenly, divide the meat into three round disposable aluminum cake pans, then top each one with a blend of ketchup, barbecue sauce, and brown sugar so it will form a nice, sweet, crusty red glaze on top when they go in the oven.

*(No pictures for this part because my hands were covered with meat and ketchup and other greasy, sticky, slimy stuff.)*

4. Bake them for an hour at 350 degrees and carefully drain the orange-red liquid fat, preferably into an empty glass jar rather than down your sink. Put the meatcake discs in the fridge overnight, covered with plastic wrap, ideally still in their aluminum cake pans.

5. When they're chilled and hopefully firmed up, use a long, sharp knife to shave off the tops and sides of the three meatloaf discs to get them to be even, flat, and round (or at least moreso than they were before. Perfection is unnecessary.)

6. Put them back in the oven just long enough to heat them back up.

7. Meanwhile, whip a quick sweet tomatoey sauce by simmering a can of plain tomato sauce with some worcestershire and brown sugar, stirring constantly.

8. Cook up some instant mashed potatoes -- believe it or not, I used the equivalent of 8 cups, although I didn't follow the box instructions by adding milk. Mashed potato purists, feel free to sneer, but you really need the smooth, uniform consistency you get from the instant potato flakes.

9. Scoop the instant mashed potatoes into a plastic Ziploc baggie and snip a tiny hole in one corner, so you can use it like a pastry bag.

10. Stack the meat discs on a large plate: a foundation meat layer with a ring of potato icing from the bag to act as a gasket, and tomato sauce inside the ring. Follow with a second meat layer, another potato ring, and more sauce inside it, and top with the third meat layer.

11. Stick in some short bamboo skewers to keep them from sliding or falling apart. 6" skewers worked well for me, and I still had to snap off the protruding tops. Trust me on this one, you'll be glad you had these!

12. "Ice" the triple-decker meatcake just as you'd spread and smooth icing over a real dessert cake. If you have extra mashed potatoes, you can use your "pastry bag" to squeeze out little artsy flourishes around the top and sides, like you'd see on a cake. (This is where you may add food coloring for some real style points, but you don't want to gross out your guests to the point where they won't try it.)

13. Fill another Ziploc baggie with the tomato sauce and snip a tinier hole in the corner. Use this to squeeze a ring of sauce carefully around the top circumference of the meatcake, and another ring around the bottom, along the plate (to mimic a "strawberry sauce" effect).

14. Cut out slices (taking great care not to eat the bamboo skewers) and serve it like a real cake: layers of rich brown meatloaf with red tomatoey goodness between them, all iced with tasty smooth mashed potatoes and a sweet red sauce. It's an entire hearty meal... in cake form! MEATCAKE!