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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:









HELLO, OLD FRIEND

So I had an interesting moment this past week, one I’ve been waiting to see happen for almost twelve years. What was this moment, you ask?

The return of my copy of THE COMPLETE FRANK MILLER BATMAN.

For those unfamiliar with the book, it was one of the first real prestige hardcover treatments of a comic series or creator’s work on a series. The cover is a soft leather, the pages have gilded edges… and the stories contained within are some of comics’ greatest. Opening the book is Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s BATMAN: YEAR ONE, then we get a sweet fill-in that Miller did on the regular title in the 80s, and it closes with BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

Oh, yeah: this book was put together WAY before Miller soiled his reputation with the abysmal DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN and ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN.

I had loaned my copy of this book to a friend back in early 1998, as she was getting into comics, and she wanted to read the cream of the crop to get familiar with what the medium had to offer. Then life started to roll in like a rip tide. She acquired a relationship that took her attention full time. I acquired one too, along with step-children. We went through a five-year period where we didn’t really speak. Then our friendship blossomed again. And as it did, I happened to ask her if she had ever read the book.

“What BATMAN book?” she asked.

Uh-oh.

Not only had she never read it, she didn’t have any recollection of having seen it or heard of it. It was nowhere on her shelves. The description didn’t even ring a bell.

Mind you, back when this book was published (in the mid-90s) it was a $50 book. Now, I think it’s actually out of print (and then there’s that whole Miller-soiling-his-reputation thing). Not a chance in hell I was going to be able to replace it easily, unless I bought the pieces individually.

I didn’t want to do it.

We talked about it, and after it came out that she had boxes of things packed away from a move she had undertaken in the middle of this time period, I decided to be patient and wait. Wait until the last possible moment to break down and replace these wonderful stories.

Two and a half years later…

My cellphone beeped at me ten days ago with a message from my friend. “Guess what I have in my hand right now?”

The DARK KNIGHT had returned.

She was going through a box of books in her garage, and as if the comics gods had finally decided to smile upon me, that sweet, sweet leatherbound book peeked its way out of the bottom of the box. Still in pristine condition, the volume found its way back into my happy hands this week. It now sits in its place of honor on my shelves.

There’s a lesson in all of this, though what that lesson is can be debated ‘til you turn blue. Is it that you should be careful when you loan out your books? Maybe. Is it that you should be careful about loaning out materials that are nearly irreplaceable? Quite possibly.

Myself, I like to this that the lesson boils down to parts of the philosophy behind this site: No comics emergencies. Patience, not anger. Smiles, not frowns. Friendship above all else. Put those things out into the world, and those things will come back to you. And so, eventually, will your books.

Marc Mason  

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