Heroes (Avalon)

    (Avalon, 2003)
™ and © Avalon Comics Group

Rarely before has so little been done with so much.

This volume collects truly endearing stories of ACG’s heroes Nemesis and Magicman (including their origins) as well as tales of such lesser luminaries as Crash Kid, Mark Midnight, and John Force. The stories for the most part are a delight to read, despite the underwhelming package in which they have been placed.

The writing, particularly that of the pseudonymous Shane O’Shea (actually ACG Editor Richard Hughes), is a happy glimpse back to a simpler time. Most of the art, especially Pete Costanza’s, is simple fun. (Chic Stone beautifully illustrated one of the “stand-alone” stories.) But you really have to want to read this book to even pick it up.

The paper is truly flimsy newsprint. There are no text pages, not even a table of contents. The cover just says “ACG’s Heroes” with a picture of Magicman on it. The back cover is a list of other ACG books and the indicia. Even the spine is plain black serif type on white reading “Heroes Collection 10.95.” (If you’re going to put the price on the spine, odd though that is, at least put a dollar sign on it.)
There are copious house ads throughout, which is annoying enough. Even worse, the same ads appear several times and underscore what is missing (Herbie, for example).

Finally, the indicia say that it’s limited to 500 copies. That’s usually reserved for high-end luxury editions. Why is this so limited? Is that all the publishers thought they could sell?

— Jack Abramowitz

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ca. 2002Richard Hughes