On The Cheap: Comixology’s ‘DC 101 Sale’ Has The Len Wein Batman Collection At 83% Off
Digital comics make for a pretty fantastic holiday gift. They're easy to buy, you don't have to leave the house to get 'em, and you can send 'em to friends and family across the country for free without having to fight your way through crowds at the post office. So as the time winds down before Christmas finally gets here on Friday, DC and Comixology have launched a "DC 101 Sale" --- and whether you're picking up some last-minute gifts or just looking for something for yourself, it's well worth checking out.
The usual problem --- well, "problem" --- with these "101" sales is that they're usually full of stuff that you've already read, but this time, there are some fantastic deep cuts on sale that you shouldn't miss, all of which are dropped down to a mere six bucks. But if you want the single best deal in the entire collection, then you need to get Tales of the Batman: Len Wein.
At $5.99, this 642-page monster has been marked down a staggering 83% off its regular price, and it is worth every single penny. It's not just the sheer volume involved, either --- while a lot of readers are probably most familiar with Wein as the co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, or from his role as the editor of Watchmen, he turned turned in some of my all-time favorite Batman stories back in the Bronze Age, working with artists like Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, Dick Giordano and more.
The highlight of the book is unquestionably a four-part series that ran in Detective Comics #444-448 with Jim Aparo, where Batman is framed for the murder of Talia al-Ghul. Even back when long-form stories and reprints weren't common, it was remarkable enough to be reprinted in its entirety as part of a Blue Ribbon Digest, and it still holds up today as one of the best stories for those two character.
My personal favorite, though, is Untold Legend of the Batman, a three-issue miniseries that updated readers on Batman's origin in the days before you could just drop into Wikipedia and figure out who trained Bruce Wayne to be a crimefighter. The series featured art by Aparo and John Byrne, and was built around the mystery of Batman pushing himself to the limit to find out who broke into the Batcave and destroyed his father's "Bat-Man" costume, a strange relic of the Silver Age that took on added significance in this tale. The story was reprinted as a mass-market paperback in the '80s, and introduced a lot of kids --- myself included --- to the rich, complex history behind the character, and seeing it reprinted in a prestige format like this is pretty great.
Plus, there's that one Neal Adams story in here where Robin turns to dust.
Like I said, there's a lot of great stuff in the sale --- the John Ostrander/Kim Yale/Luke McDonnell Deadshot miniseries, James Robinson and Paul Smith's Golden Age, and some truly great Superman stores like Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen's Secret Identity and Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Secret Origin, the Robin and Batgirl: Year One collections, the list goes on and on --- but in terms of sheer bang for your buck, you're not going to find a deal better than that one. Happy gifting, folks --- and if you're getting 'em for yourself, happy reading, too!