We all know that the Phantom and a lot of other classic comics we like to read in their original form were published as strips, day by day in US-papers!
During the years after the first appearance in papers, a lot of books reprinting these stories have been published! The most popular among them saw print in such books very early, and often! But sadly enough, we have seldom seen a very “proper” reprint of all classics!
How to read a classic?
What is a “proper way”? Isn’t it enough to have the full story printed in a book, and enjoy it as it is? Well, some may say that! But other wants to read the stories as they were, strip by strip, without anything taken away! So why do we not get this, every time an old story is published?
To put a strip story in a book!
Well, part of the reason is simple: The publisher often makes books, not strip collections! Perhaps they mix stories made for books with stories made for papers in the same publication. Then they don’t want the readers to notice the difference, or the strips would be too small to publish “as is”, unless we turn the book and read it in ‘Landscape’ mode!
Then we have the fact that some stories are a bit too long to fit in a single book. In such cases they have been edited, and some panels have been taken away.
Then we have the fact that collecting and printing strips ‘as is’ may take time, and to satisfy fans they should also be printed on good quality paper and as ‘collectors’ editions with proper chronology! We have seen such books, but sadly very few, and they don’t sell very well. As a result we are stuck with bad reprint books!
Getting good reprints of strips!
As I have been saying, there are a few good providers of reprints! Some make high quality books, reprinting fine old classics; others make books of a lesser ‘quality’, but still good enough! The most important is that we are getting quality stories collected in a way we want to collect and read them!
To ensure we will get more reprints in the future it is important to support the companies that already exist and buy their books. To get in touch with such sources is not hard; just look for sellers on the Internet or ask other collectors!
If you can’t get reprints of your favorite strips, turn to private collectors, perhaps you are lucky and are able to buy something from them!
Perhaps the editors of the reprints find that nothing of the “story” is missing?? Well, that is not quite right, all text are intact, but in story made of strips also the art is important, every fan who pay for a reprint collection deserves the best possible reprints and these only comes from uncropped strips.
As for the Rip Kirby book, as I have all strips already it is with deeply regret I bought it. But we where promised high class, and thus I expected that. The examples shown does illustrate a very little cropping, perhaps, but these are not complete. And these are the absolutely best strips in the book.
I hope the publisher may understand that a collector is not just satisfied with the story, but also want the best possible visual value. That mean we must have the strips uncut in the bottom.
Time and "hard to do" is no excuse.