Monday, January 2, 2017
MICRONAUTS MONDAY : WATCH THIS SPACE!
I was a kid when Marvel's licensed Micronauts series was on the racks, and I loved them. I lived and breathed the Micronauts comic, I admired and appreciated the Micronauts comic, I was thrilled and excited to see each new issue on the racks. Also, I had never read it, not even once. I was in college when I found two issues of the four issue "X-Men vs The Micronauts" miniseries in a local used bookstore's dime bin, and I only got around to flipping through them four or five years ago.
But there's a manner kids have of being able to love something -- to be completely consumed with it, obsessed with it, to have it be the boundary of their perceptions and expectations of their universe -- without ever having experienced it. It's difficult to put into words, the nature of that emotion, except that it might be the triumph of a juvenile enthusiasm wherein ideas are super-ordinate to execution.
I can understand why Micronauts prompted such an all-in embracing of an unknown quality, though. Everything about it glowed with weird adventure. The toys were hot (if a little hard to find), the characters in the comics looked weird and compelling, and it was obviously an obscure cult product from the git-go.
I never consummated my love for Micronauts, but the idea of it still always held a thrill for me. In recent years, when surveying back issue bins, I'd come across a couple of issues and be taken aback by the elegance of Michael Golden's art, and the garish strange coloring. Or I'd find a Gil Kane cover, one of them looking like a rough, dynamic sketch of a French Revolutionary painting, striped with the bold design of Marionette's costume. I noticed it still looked good, it must have been working out. But I'd still never read it.
So I decided to start picking them up as I found them, but beholden to one rule: I wouldn't pay more than a quarter* for any single issue. I had seen so many in back issue bins that I was fairly sure I could assemble a complete -- or nearly complete collection -- for pocket change, if I were only patient enough.
* (There were only three exceptions to this rule. I was having a devil of a time finding the second Annual, as well as the penultimate issue to the first series, No.58. Also, the eighth issue of the original series commands collector prices. This is because it features the first appearance of Captain Universe. You know, that wildly popular hero who might be you. People love Captain Universe. No wonder it's such a rare book. Captain Universe. Woo. I only wish I could afford ten of those, it's a sound investment! PS when I'm done with it I am gonna burn the shit out of that book for having the effrontery to pretend it's some big fucking deal that Captain Universe debuted in it)
For more than two years, I picked up every Micronauts comic I stumbled across -- including a multitude of duplicates. Dozens of duplicates. I have as many dupes as I have actual issues of Micronauts, although not a second set (who could even afford a second debut-of-Captain-Universe book, not me, what am I, Uncle Scrooge?). I had decided, at some point, to forgo keeping a list of what I had. Ostensibly, I was imagining I could replace the frequently-shoddy issues with increasingly better copies, but mostly I am like super-lazy as fuck.
But now, it's complete! I finally get to start reading Micronauts and, you lucky fuckers, you get to watch me read along! Starting next Monday, I'm supplementing the Swamp Thing TV show recaps with a weekly, issue-by-issue Micronauts recap! Maybe it doesn't sound that thrilling now but what if I told you that we're only a few weeks away from covering the debut appearance of Captain Universe? Woo boy, now we're talking.
Since its inception, this site has largely been focused on dumb, weird, absurd, and occasionally half-assed comics. I know Micronauts' reputation, and I know it's nothing of the sort. What it is, though, is a book that will very likely never be reprinted in its entirety -- the curious nature of the in-continuity licensed book makes it a regrettable* rarity, a thing which exists in a half-state, possessed by two owners and shackled by both.
* (See what I did there? It's the same reason that ROM:Spaceknight ended up in my book, despite its inarguable quality. Licensing makes fools of us all)
So while the Micronauts license prevails, its original incarnation is close enough to "gone" and "forgotten" that I feel like it warrants a regular feature here. Plus, what if I continue to never get around to reading it? I'll never learn about the debut of Captain Universe, and I don't know if I can live with that!
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