big box of comics, comic books, Dreadstar, Eclipse Comics, Epic Comics, Jim Starlin, MiracleMan, Neil Gaiman
Just when I’d wrapped up a series of posts about the big box of free comics I got thanks to readers who used my affiliate links to find books at MyComicShop.com, another note from the retailer arrived to say I’d earned an additional $80 in store credit. That same week, I’d found a good deal on eBay to replace one of my favorite (and previously sold) action/crime series, DC/Vertigo’s The Losers, so I was left with very few holes in my collection. The Dark Horse Conan stories I’d like to read again were either too pricey or currently out of stock, so I dug around in my short boxes until it hit me: I still don’t have the complete original Miracleman series!
Over the years, I’d tracked down affordable copies in respectable condition of issues #1–20, and this quest was aided near the end by Marvel’s reprints of the original series. As Marvel made new, high-quality reprints available, the ridiculous prices for the original books decreased. Issue #15, the one gem I have yet to add to my collection, used to go for several hundred bucks.
I didn’t worry too much about collecting issues #21–24 because Marvel reprinted #21 and 22 in their repackaging of Neil Gaiman’s Golden Age storyline, and it seemed that Gaiman was slated to finish the Silver Age story that ended with a cliffhanger and was never completed due to Eclipse Comics’ demise. But here we are, years later, and we still haven’t seen the end of that story. I’m glad for Gaiman’s recent success with American Gods, but it isn’t a project that interests me. The gods I want to read about have “Miracle” in their names!
So, armed with some store credit, I picked up issues #21-23 of the original series. (Update: I’ve since added #24 to my collection.) I’ve read them all before, thanks to scans posted online, but it’s just a different and more satisfying experience to read the physical copies.
Those three books ate up most of my store credit, but I had just enough left over to pick up another story I’ve read before but was partially incomplete in my collection: The Price by Jim Starlin. Sure, I have the color “remastered” version that was the Dreadstar Annual, but I have never seen nor owned the original magazine-sized black-and-white edition, and I just love the black-and-white painted art of the original Metamorphosis Odyssey that appeared in Epic Illustrated and started the whole Dreadstar saga.
The original art reveals just how much the coloring/painting process enhanced the artwork’s mood and the story’s vibrancy. The original feels cold compared to the color version. It lacks the brilliant reds of the robes worn by members of the Church of the Instrumentality, the eye-popping colors that bring various cosmic and mystical energies to life on the page, and the powerful emotions suggested by the reprint’s color artwork.
However, the front and back-cover paintings are rendered in their original full-color and full-size glory, unlike in the reprint where they are shrunk and surrounded by additional cover elements that distract from their beauty—a complaint that at least one reader expressed in the original letters column of Dreadstar when the Annual was discussed.
I’m pleased to now have both versions of The Price in my Dreadstar collection, and the original was the one piece I’ve felt was missing over the years. How I assembled, lost, and re-assembled the entire original series four times is a saga of collector triumph and tragedy, but I’m happy to now have every issue I ever wanted from one of my all-time favorite stories in any medium.
Now if we could just see the end of Miracleman, all would be right with the universe.
Thank you, readers and fans of sequential art for visiting this site and using it to find the books you want!
Miracleman #1-24 (original 1985 series, Eclipse Comics)
Miracleman (reprint series by Marvel Comics, includes original issues #1-16)
Miracleman Golden Age (reprint series by Marvel, includes original issues #17-22 )
The Price (original magazine-sized b&w edition, Eclipse Comics)
Dreadstar Annual #1 (full-color reprint of the original, Epic/Marvel comics)