It’s that time again! Looking for that last minute gift? Or looking for a last minute gift to put on Santa’s list for you? Here’s some suggestions, some you’d expect from me and a few surprises.
THE LOST ART OF KREIGH COLLINS
Volume 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy
Edited and restored by the artist’s grandson, Brian E. Collins, with an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young.
If you listen to John Siuntres excellent Word Balloon Podcast, you may have just learned about this book. Siuntres interviewed the man behind it all, the artist’s grandson, Brian E. Collins. You can give it a listen here, and I’d recommend every episode of this long-running podcast.
I first stumbled across Kreigh Collins while researching at the Syracuse University Archives and I immediately became a fan. Lost Art Books just launched the initial volume in a new series devoted to this underappreciated illustrator and comic artist collecting (for the first time) his syndicated Sunday strip Mitzi McCoy in its entirety.
Kreigh Collins (1908-74) had a wanderlust that led to a lifetime of adventures, whether it was leaving his humble midwestern roots to study the masters in the Louvre and hone his craft painting on the banks of the Seine or getting knifed in Morocco while boating and painting his way through North Africa. But equally strong was the draw of his adopted home in Michigan, which is where he launched and set his first syndicated newspaper strip, Mitzi McCoy, in 1948. It didn’t take long, though, for wanderlust to strike again, rendering Mitzi but a precursor to Collins’ eventual 20-year run on the picaresque adventure comic, Kevin the Bold. Lost Art Books celebrates these beautiful beginnings with this first-ever complete collection of Collins’ Mitzi McCoy.
Drawn as well as scripted by Collins, Mitzi McCoy showcased the artist’s skill as an illustrator and storyteller. His picturesque landscapes, lovely character designs, and thrilling action sequences brimmed with detail and charm, and the strip’s ensemble cast rotated in and out of the spotlight taking turns as protagonists in the dozen story arcs collected in this volume.
Available for $34.95 at comic shops and directly from the publisher here.
EAGLEMOSS AND GIMCRACKS
I love reading about the origins of the modern Yuletide Season, and every year I trot out my copy of The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum. It’s a great read and seems to have spawned a mini-trend in holiday publishing. In this book, Nissenbaum talked a bit about about Gimcracks. I’m still not sure what a Gimcrack is, but I think it’s meant to mean some sort of novelty or treasure. And for modern equivalent, I kind of think of the amazing collectibles from Eaglemoss. They really are miniature treasures.
Eaglemoss, an entrepreneurial UK company with a top-notch US team, has been on the leading edge of producing licensed merchandise for quite some time. Here’s a few of their most impressive recent releases:
Maybe it’s because my desk is always so uncluttered (a-hem!), but I just love the model Star Trek starships that Eaglemoss has been producing for several years now.
From the new show, Star Trek: Discovery, comes the USS Buran. It’s the ship that the enigmatic Captain Lorca was on and like that character, it looks downright mean. It is $54.95 if you order directly from Eaglemoss and at fine comic shops nationwide
Eaglemoss’ new XL editions are 8 ½” to 10 ½” inches long, which is oversized compared to the rest of their line. My favorites are the USS Reliant (which also was essentially a “bad guy ship”) and a quintessential Star Trek vessel, the Enterprise 1701 A. The XL editions list for $74.95 and are available from Eaglemoss here and here.
The Star Trek Shipyards book is a place to get lost for a few hours. It’s a virtual encyclopedia of Star Trek vehicles. It’s the type of book that’s tough to but down but easy to pick up, and you can do it out here. The book comes with a slipcase and a small starship model, all for $49.95.
ONE OF THOSE OTHER SPACE SHOWS
But in space, or the TV version of space, it’s not only about Star Trek! Eaglemoss just launched their new Battlestar Galactica ships. The Viper, which always seemed liked the space versions of a WWII Corsair to me, was always a favorite. It’s usually $25, but for this holiday season Eaglemoss has it on sale here for just $21.21.
DC COMIC HEROES
Speaking of WWII, the Bombshell Wonder Woman figure channels the classic “We Can Do It’ pose from J. Howard Miller’s classic patriotic poster. This one has been reduced to $17.95 so get it while you can now!
Eaglemoss also offers gorgeous busts. Their DC line is professional, spot-on and bring a a sense of fun to it all. The standouts are for me are their busts for Nightwing and Harley Quinn. Each are usually about $25 bucks, but they are on sale for $21.21 here and here.
PULP REPRINTS for the BATMAN FAN IN YOUR LIFE
Here’s a suggestion that I bet will be new to them: The Black Bat reprints from Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books. I just started reading one (“The Black Bat’s Crusade” in #4) and it is way too much fun. This adventure is a little bit Batman, a little bit Daredevil and a little bit of The Shadow. Each issue reprints two vintage adventures and they are all available at Adventure House.
MODERN PULP from AIRSHIP 27 –
THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN GRAVES by Thomas McNulty
Airship27 publishes many modern pulp thrillers each year. This one features Captain Elliot Graves and his ship, The Reaper’s Scythe sailing the exotic waters of the South Pacific. But the mystery starts in 1944, as Captain Graves has disappeared without a trace, his ship supposedly sinking off the coast of Australia with all hands lost. Eight years later, reporter Bill Harrison finds Graves living in Honolulu and manages to persuade him to recount the events of his last and greatest adventure. The legendary sea captain then reveals for the first time what actually happened on a remote South Sea island that changed his life forever.
Writer Thomas McNulty spins a fast-paced tale of two-fisted men, beautiful women and lush island paradises where both heaven and hell await. My Uncle Mike just read it too and even he said he liked it! Available for just $16.99 here.
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And remember, it’s not all about stuff either. I always like to suggest OXFAM as a choice to consider for pulp culture geeks – they do great work and their origin story seems like it’s right out a comic. Learn more here. And in the meantime, I hope you and yours have a blessed Yuletide Season.