Welcome to SBC’s The Panel, a chance for you to put your burning questions – comics-related or otherwise – to a group of comics professionals.

The Panel lives or dies by your contributions; please email them to panel@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and we’ll add them to the list…

This week’s question is:

“You come home early from school one day and catch your mum in the act of chucking out all of your comics – which one do you rescue from the dumpster and why?”

Mike Collins:

OK, showing my age but: If you mean ONLY ONE, then it has to be Doctor Strange #4 by Englehart and Brunner.

Runners up, Captain Marvel #25 by Jim Starlin, any Neal Adams X-Men, the Chaykin/Garcia-Lopez Twilight mini, the Mike Golden Doctor Strange.

Hell, there’s a list here… the first year of American Flagg, the entire run of Tomb of Dracula, The Carnival of Immortals by Bilal, any Asterix, any Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four, the first volume of Cerebus…. I could go on…

Those are all comics I’ve had fall to pieces on me through to much re-reading.

Mike Collins has worked on many properties, including Batman, the Transformers, Captain Britain, Dourdevil and Judge Dredd.

Terry Moore:

Rubberband-Man #213. I’m such an idiot.

Terry Moore is Mr Strangers In Paradise…my wife got into comics through this book, ’nuff said.

Vince Moore:

Yikes! Talk about a “oh my daughter, oh my ducats” situation. It’s tough to choose; if you saw my collection, you’d understand. Only one comic? I guess I would save my copy of Fantastic Four #176. Because that was the book that started me with comics. If I had that book, I would know I could rebuild my collection. No grand gestures to save Watchmen or any art comics, just a simple old superhero book that was loved by a little California boy. Because it was and still is special to me, as it was my first. You always remember your first.

Vince Moore is the writer of Platinum Publishing’s upcoming book, Kid Victory & The Funky Hammer.

Alonzo Washington:

Before I was a comic book creator, I was a serious comic book collector. I had thousands of comic books and my entire household knew not to touch them. However, for the sake of the question I would definitely save the classic comic book characters: Batman, Superman, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man & the Avengers. What’s a comic book collection without the founders?

I would look for Byrne’s X-Men & Perez’s Teen Titans. Then I would reach out for my funny books. My collection of Archie Digests. They remind me of my childhood. Next I would grab a few of the early titles of Image: Spawn, Youngblood & Savage Dragon. These comic books showed a new generation that outsiders could make comic books.

I would have to dumpster-dive for my comic books that are rarer than gold or diamond. Comic books that are created by African Americans or starring African Americans. Brother Man, Black Lightning, Blade, Ania, Power-Man & even Milestone I would search for. These comic books normally don’t last long and they define my existence as a Black comic creator today. I have been publishing Omega7 comic books for twelve years and these canceled comic books shows me how important my mission & Black comic books are. Moreover, they show me what not to do & what to correct. Like all the stereotypes found within Black mainstream comic books. Omega7 characters have to be better than the corny & weak characters that White mainstream companies produce. I look at these comic books and realize that it is up to me to make Black super heroes & comic books stronger.

Furthermore, I would have to grab my Golden Age 10 & 12 cents comic books. These comic books are history and are collector’s items. Lastly, I would reach for my special team-up issues between companies. Archie with the Punisher, Batman meets Spawn, Superman vs. Spider-Man, etc. I love those comic books. When the Spider-Man movie came out I was able to be an extra in the film. Then when I returned from Hollywood back to Kansas City the Kansas City Star newspaper asked me to participate in a special Spider-Man movie promotion. I was able to create a team up between Omega Man & Spider-Man. I was thrilled. I love team ups. Would anybody on the panel like to do a team up with Omega7?

Alonzo Washington is the creator of Omega Man and a noted black rights campaigner.

Gary Spencer Millidge:

No, my mum would never deliberately throw out any comics of mine. She did make me give some of my comics to a less fortuitous cousin once though. And she threatened to cut off my hair while I slept unless I went to the hairdressers. But that’s a little off-topic I guess. I don’t think I could choose only one to rescue. If my collection went in the dumpster, I’d have to go cold turkey and leave them all in there. Concentrate on collecting my DVDs and Corinthian Football figurines.

Gary Spencer Millidge is the creator of the wonderful Strangehaven comic, which – although on an annual release schedule at the moment – is so damn good he is ALWAYS my first port of call at the yearly UK Comics Festival in Bristol.

Alan Grant:

The Collected Krazy Kat by George Herriman. Humour, pathos, and a totally unique view of the world.

Alan Grant is maybe most famous for his Batman and Judge Dredd work, and is currently appearing with Judge Anderson and “Half-Life” in the JD Megazine.

Bill Rosemann:

First, my mom would never chuck out my comics because she’s way too smart for that. Mom always saw the positives inherent in comics and fostered my love for them…perhaps she knew it wasn’t just a hobby, but research for my eventual career. Or maybe she was just cool. Anyway, if I had to pick one to save in a dumpster dive, it would have to be my beloved copy of Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali (now signed by Neal Adams)…it’s got it all: amazing art, true heroes, pop art madness, and a larger-than-life concept…all delivered in the larger-than-life Treasury format! As Ali himself says, it is “The Greatest”!

Bill Rosemann is the Vice President of Publishing at CrossGen.

Clifford Meth:

I’d rescue me mum because she would likely have fallen in the dumpster and, after all, she’s still me mum.

Clifford Meth is loved by Harlan Ellison, hated by Gary Groth, and doesn’t know which is a greater distinction. His current book is god’s 15 minutes.

Fiona Avery:

The one with the most sentimental value, of course. The others, even the rare ones or first issues, can all be found again with money. But if one of them has enormous sentimental value, maybe because it’s the first one you bought, or because it’s the one that really made you understand the fundamentals of a great story; that’s the one you save.

And if you really want revenge over the matter; when you’re older and mom is reliant upon your care (or suitably guilty for causing you enough distress to make you mental) drag her to counselling or to Clutter Control Freaks Anonymous and sit in a therapy session on the comic-dumping incident that marred you for life. That should take care of any residual feelings of deprivation. Make mom pay for it and then take the money you saved on counselling to replenish your old stock.

Fiona Avery plays in the Marvel Universe, with Wildstorm at DC, and is the creator of No Honor.

Stephen Holland:

Oh, if I had any sense – or I thought I had any credibility at all – I’d lie and say something like Nabiel Kanan’s Exit volume one #1, because I’m never going to find another copy of that little puppy. Graphic novels you can replace, right?

But if I had any sense I’d have skipped school this morning, because I blatantly didn’t do my homework last night, and as everyone knows I’ve less credibility than a Busted groupie.

So: the comic book I would save for the dumpster would of course (of course) be Thor #189 by Stan Lee & John Buscema, inked – for those who care – by Joe Sinnott (and if you saw what Vince Colletta did to John’s pencils the following year, you would care).

Why? Well, it has nothing to do with the merits of the comic itself, though it does boast an impressively composed cover and beautiful primary colouring.

It was the first comic I ever chose and bought for myself.

I’m willing to bet a year’s free subscription to the comic of the questioner’s choice (I assume Craig has their details; overseas postage paid and all that; I’ll pick up the tab personally) that I’m not the only panellist this week to give that as their core reason. Why would I do this? To distract you from the fact that I’ve just given my age away. Also, I’d like you to believe I’m lovely.

However, in some spurious way, I suppose it represents the first move I made in the direction of this industry, my involvement in which is one of the chief reasons I am so very, very happy in life.

More than that, though, it was during a family holiday I spent in Abersoch, Wales, when I was bribed to fetch the morning papers with the offer of a comic for myself. That walk every morning represented my first feelings of independence, and – this is the key bit coming up now – there was a smell in the air, a scent I’ve never caught since, which had nothing to do with the comic, but everything to do with that time in my life.

I can’t describe that sensation to you, but it’s very precious to me: one look at that comic book and I can summon it again, in much the same way that I can still summon the taste of steak, even though I gave up meat around the same time I last had homework.

Stephen Holland runs Page 45 in Nottingham with Mark Simpson and Tom Rosin. He can also be found, monthly, in Comics International. He actually prefers the band Love & Rockets to the comic book. You see what he means about credibility?

Scott Allie:

Craig Thompson’s Blankets. The truth is I’d likely save a copy of my own book, but the Blankets hardcover probably deserves saving more … also, it would give me something substantial to whack my ma with for trashing all my comics. Blankets is the comic I read this year which best proved that someone’s really doing something with this medium.

Scott Allie edits and writes for Dark Horse – a trade of The Devil’s Footprints is out now, and is not only a superb collection but is an excellent story too.

Lee Dawson:

Probably a boring answer to some but I’d have to go with Watchmen #1 because it made me fall in love with comics again. I can still get a warm dose of nostalgia just looking at the cover!

Lee Dawson is the publicity guru for Dark Horse comics.

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