Not Quite Like Looking For A Needle In A Haystack — Though It Feels Like It

This article really has almost nothing to do with Scarlett, but that doesn't mean a picture isn't worth putting up

This article really has almost nothing to do with Scarlett, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth putting up a picture of her anyway

So a while back, I talked about the upcoming Iron Man 2 movie, scheduled for release sometime next summer.  In addition to speculating on the casting of Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow, I also talked about some books I’d be looking for in the near future for my collection — primarily, those issues featuring the first appearances of the rumored villains: The Widow and The Crimson Dynamo.

As I’d said then, I owned the Dynamo issue already, but not the Widow’s inaugural appearance.  Unfortunately, more recent updates on the movie have revealed that Mickey Rourke will be playing the villain Whiplash instead (though the description of the character seems to be combining some elements from both of the bad-guy characters).

Grumble … so of course, while I have a large number of early Iron Man issues, the first appearance of Whiplash was sadly not one of them.  However, I’ve rectified that problem by picking up a copy of Tales of Suspense #97 (with said first appearance) from a dealer on-line last week — hopefully, it’ll be in my hands by the end of the week.

Tales of Suspense 97

Tales of Suspense 97

On the bad side, I still haven’t found an acceptable copy of the Widow’s first appearance anywhere (Scarlett’s popularity doesn’t have anything to do with the comic collector’s interest in the book — but it’s definitely not hurting it either).  But that quest is about to get pushed aside for a bigger grail that I’ve been thinking about going after — and I’ve finally decided that now is the time.

If you’ve been paying attention to the Marvel Comics movie plan, then you of course know that the comic publisher is looking at not just the release of individual movies in the future, but of the creation of a shared movie universe that will feature most of their biggest characters (certain characters, like the Sony-controlled Spider-Man, won’t be available for this grand plan, unfortunately).  The first Iron Man movie began to set up this concept with the cameo appearance after the credits of Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson), who dropped a vague reference to “other” super-heroes and mentioned the “Avenger Initiative” (cue the comic book fans’ nirvana at that point).  The Incredible Hulk added to this with the Robert Downey/Tony Stark cameo at the end of that film, in which he talks to General Ross about the putting together of a “team”.

avengers_1That team, as any comic book fan knows, is The Avengers.  And there is an Avengers movie tentatively scheduled for sometime in the future.  Leading into that movie will be the Iron Man sequel, the Thor movie (with acclaimed actor/director Kenneth Branaugh at the helm and already in the process of casting), and the movie I’m looking forward to the most of the three, the Captain America movie.

Forget the crappy Captain America made-for-TV movies of the 1970’s, or the equally forgettable straight-to-video movie of 1990 — this movie, made correctly, has the potential to be as action-packed as Iron Man was, but as serious an endeavor as was The Dark Knight.  It will apparently be set entirely in the time period of World War II, and I’m guessing it’ll end with Captain America being frozen in suspended animation (as was the case in the comic) to await his revival in the present day, and his induction into The Avengers.  If done properly, the Captain America and Avengers movies should represent the pinnacle of what the comic book faithful had always dreamed could be done with their favorite characters cinematically, but had never dared to hope was possible.

With those movies on the way, now is the time to pick up some important keys if you’re a collector.  One of those would be an Avengers #1, obviously.  It’s a book I don’t own and would like to have, but it’s currently second on my wish list behind another grail.

The book that's #1 on my wish list -- the Avengers #4

The book that's #1 on my wish list -- the Avengers #4

And that’s the Avengers #4.  This book features the revival of Captain America for the Silver Age, and it’s the key issue for any Captain America collector to own outside of his Golden Age adventures (which are far beyond my ability to afford, sadly).  When you factor in that some elements from the story may be incorporated into the movie (we’ve already seen a brief blink-and-you’ll-miss-it frozen Cap in the Arctic in the alternate opening of The Incredible Hulk), this is a no-brainer to pick-up for me.  The question, however, is going to be finding it.

So far, I’ve only been able to come across copies in really low-grade condition with some major flaws, and for this book (a key issue I’d thought about purchasing almost since I started collecting, but never did — though I came extremely close about 15 years ago) I’d like to get at least a mid-grade copy.  That looks like it’ll be easier said than done, however, and I’d already getting worried that I’m not going to be able to snag my copy before the movie-frenzy hits full tilt, driving prices up to levels I’m not going to be comfortable paying.  I’m already seeing the signs of this happening, and it’s not going to get any better for the rest of the year.

If I can get an Avengers #4, then I might try to pick up the Avengers #1 — or maybe I’ll finally finish my forever-in-the-making Spider-Man run.  If I can’t get this grail to add to my collection, at least it won’t be for a lack of trying.  If you’re looking for a solid book to pick up for your collection, then this is an issue you won’t regret — if you can get your hand on it, that is.

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One Response to “Not Quite Like Looking For A Needle In A Haystack — Though It Feels Like It”

  1. […] no, I still don’t have my Avengers #4 or Tales of Suspense #52 yet.   But there’s always hope for getting either for Christmas … Possibly related posts: […]

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