On Thursday, I received in the mail my order for what is unarguably the very most insanely cool anthology ever created (the Bible has now fallen from the Top Ten; sorry, God). For only forty bucks each, I bought 40 Years of X-Men and 44 Years of Fantastic Four on DVD-ROM, each of which contain basically exactly what they're titled. Oh, sure, some people might complain (*cough* kvl! *cough!*) that the X-Men disc contains only the Uncanny X-Men books (as opposed to X-Men, The Astonishing X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor, X-Man, X-Games, X is for Xylophone, or any of the other spin-offs), and does not cover the other parts of crossovers (such as Inferno or The X-Tinction Agenda, both of which essentially require you buy four titles per month just to comprehend what the fuck's going on). I, on the other hand, am deliriously happy with the set, and I'll tell you why:
It's the entire goddamn comic book! This is not Classic X-Men (or X-Men Classic, as it was inexplicably later titled), where they're reprinting the story and then giving you just a couple of little extras. No, these comic books appear to have been scanned straight out of the archival copies in the Marvel vaults, which means what? Ads! Yes, it's got the original ads in every issue, and it boggles my mind how many bodybuilding and martial arts ads there were in the 1966 issues. And then there are these ads in virtually every issue asking young boys to sell GRIT, but I'll go into that in more detail another time.
The colors are generally vivid, and the scans hold up quite well under extreme magnification. Definitely archive-quality work, here. Each individual issue is saved as a PDF file, which reads without a watermark using Adobe Reader 6.0 or higher (included in the software, though version 7.0 is available from the Adobe website), but the digital watermark is readily apparent in Apple's Preview application, so it's very much worth downloading Reader. They are organized by decade, then by year of publication, and finally by issue in separate, linked PDF files, which makes flipping through them quite easy, as the only file you have to open is the Start file on the root-level of the DVD-ROM. After that, it just opens up a new window for every click.
I'm totally fascinated by this stuff, and so I'm probably going to spend a couple of posts yammering on about it, complete with screenshots of some of the ads. I don't think I'm going to go all Scott Tipton on you people, but in the event that I do, I'll probably establish a separate blog for that. However, there's a pretty good chance that these comic books are going to take up a fair bit of my time (no girlfriend this year, I guess), because Santa (better known as TalesOfWonder.com, which beat Amazon's price by ten bucks) will be delivering The Avengers to my door in February, The Amazing Spider-Man in March, and The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, and Captain America later on in the year.
Needless to say, I'm quite excited by the whole thing. While it's not as satisfying as having a girlfriend, these sets are less expensive and they don't complain if I want to forsake them for a few days to play Xbox. Now I'm off to finally answer the immortal question of which came first: The Mimic or the Super-Skrull?