Yesterday was one of the more interesting and memorable days in my comic book collecting life. I'll get into more of that in later posts, but part of what made yesterday such a sweet day was the arrival in the daily post (bless the United Postal Service and Saturday delivery) of a spanking brand new edition of E-Man The Early Years from First Comics.
When this volume was first announced two years ago, I immediately ordered a copy. I never got it. For whatever reason it never arrived and my attempts to contact First Comics failed to connect. After a time, I wrote it all up to a whomping big case of "Caveat Emptor" and went on with my life. But I still yearned for a copy of this seemingly quite handsome volume which collected up the Charlton E-Man stories by Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton. I'd read raves about this volume, seen it in pictures online and craved one of my very own. A few months ago I posted on a few Charlton related websites my desire and asked for advice on how to best get hold of a copy, assuming all along I'd have to pay again. I was willing and downright eager if it meant getting a copy of this book.
Then last weekend out of the blue I receive an e-mail from Jeremy Cote, the "Director of Professional Relations for First Comics" indicating he'd read one of my posts mentioning my dilemma and he offered up not only an apology but offered to personally send the volume to me. I gleefully took him up on his offer and yesterday it arrived, along with a nifty First Comics t-shirt. So after two years my payment is redeemed and First Comics has a fan for life.
The volume offers up the lush artwork by Joe Staton in a condition heretofore unseen. I've read the first two stories for the umpteenth time and they are glorious with all new color. In fact the color work in this collection is especially keen.
Below is a gallery of what is contained in the volume, at least the covers, and you'll notice that issue three is shown after issue four. That's intentional and reflects the care with which the reprint is assembled. Issue three of E-Man was done before a paper shortage caused cessation of publication and before they could relaunch the infamous Energy Crisis of the middle 70's prompted Cuti and Staton to substitute a newer story about that, leaving the original third issue to become fourth. By that time Staton's art had changed pretty dramatically. In this volume the original order of production is maintained.
Also there are glimpses of two alternate covers, one for the debut issue and another for issue three which I've never seen. And I'm someone who has been gathering up E-Man material for decades. So there are pleasant surprises here for all fans. I cannot recommend this volume enough. Get one. It's difficult though as right now First is only selling this volume at conventions.
E-Man is a refreshing hero who almost always has a smile on his face. Now I do too. Thanks Nick. Thanks Joe. And by all means thanks Jeremy.
Also included in this volume are the covers Joe Staton prepared for First Comics when they reprinted the Charlton stories in the 80's. These reprints also contained at least one unpublished story which is also included in the volume.