Monday, November 27, 2023

Always wanted the Treasury

I used to ache for the Treasury comics, those gorgeously huge comic books that the big comic companies put out in the 1970s. I only ever saw them in ads, because these special editions never, ever made it to my corner of the globe. All we got was those gorgeous promos.

The ones promising big crossovers between Spider-Man and Superman were the ones I craved the most, and I've still never see an affordable copy out in the wild. I did get to read the Batman/Hulk one, but only in a smaller, black and white version that a local reprint company churned out (José Luis García-López's art was still absolutely dynamic in this weakened form, and his Bats will always be the definitive version in my mind.)

Over the years, I've managed to pick up issues here and there, some Legion of Super-Heroes, and some Avengers and Dr Strange things. My pal Nik recently gave me the Fortress of Solitude one, with Superman's hideout never looking better, and I got the Captain America Bicentennial Battles one in Sydney for 10 bucks, and sometimes I think that's the only Treasury I ever really need.

Only sometimes, though. I would still do anything for one of those team-ups, or the Superman/Muhammad Ali spectacular, or Kirby's 2001, without paying upwards of a hundred bucks for the thing. And even at those prices, it's so fucking tempting.

Because man, that ache ate away for so long, for so many years, that it's still hard to fill now. I've always envied my American brothers and sisters who could just grab it off the shelf, or just order this shit with five bucks and a SASE if it never appeared at their 7-11. Local reprints were as good as it got, and none of them were ever as gigantic as these treasured things. 

I still feel an echo of those childhood cravings when I see there is another one of those chunky Artist Editions, with some of the greatest comic art ever produced showcased in beautiful oversized editions. I can even order them myself myself these days, and have been severely tempted by some of the Bolland or O'Neill or McMahon books that have come out.

But the tyranny of distance always holds me back, because even if I could justify the $200+ in local money the actual book costs, I can't do that half again in postage it wil lcost to ship it to the arse end of the world.

Maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but maybe that's a good thing. When you can't always get what you want, you can learn to love the absence, and that enthusiasm for something you will probably never own. Without the thing itself, the thrill can still be found.

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