Spreading weird cheer since 1969.

§ February 16th, 2018 § Filed under question time § 3 Comments

Here we go, wrapping up my responses to all your questions from ye olden tymes (i.e. last March):

CalvinPitt digs in with

“Mike, you mentioned some time ago that quite a few of your customers don’t spend time on the Internet reading articles or blogs about comics. Do you notice a difference in how they respond to things like Big Events or ‘shocking’ deaths, or things like creative team changes?

“Are they more interested or curious in those than folks who have been reading about them online for weeks, or does it depend on the person?”

That’s…getting harder to determine, actually. As pretty much the sole pilot of this particular retailing ship, I interact with literally every customer who comes through the door, and it seems like just about everyone has some online awareness. There are a couple of customers I’ve known for years who had previously always been the “seeing it on the rack is their news” folks are now paying more attention to online comic news venues and YouTube channels and the like. I mean, I still have a couple of customers who pretty much just stick to the weekly Comic Shop News to keep informed far as I can tell, but it seems like of late internet news/reviews sources have been more fully integrated into the comics shopping experience. I don’t know if anyone’s really caught off-guard any more by particular turns of events…well, I mean, they are, but it’s, like, two or three months ahead of the book being available for sale, it seems.

• • •

Dan wars fights on with

“Did you ever catch those girls that were terrorizing you with love in 2010?”

Dan is of course referring to these peculiar incidents from, urgh, eight years ago now, where a group of young gals kept leaving trinkets and ribbons and…well, you can read about it there. Alas, John Law never caught up with them, and far as I know, they still roam the lands, traveling from comic shop to comic shop to spread their particular form of weird cheer.

• • •

philfromgermany wants to know:

“Are there any more kids buying comics? I mean honest to goodness kids spending their allowance, not dads buying comics for their kids to get them away from the computer but real kids interested in super-heroes?”

Oh, sure, I see kids in the shop all the time, piling their change on the counter to pay for their purchases. Buying superheroes, buying My Little Pony, buying Steven Universe…I have that one kid who only wants Disney books from the 1950s and ’60s, the young girl who wants webcomic strip collections…I’m seeing plenty of children actively interested in comics. It helps that I’m near a popular restaurant, a music school, a martial arts center, and so on, all with sizeable young clienteles who spot my store and invariably exclaim “OOOH! Comic books!”

• • •

David G drops large with

“Did the world really need ‘adult’ versions of old Hanna Barbera cartoons in comic book form?”

Sure, if they’re good! The Flintstones was a remarkable bit of dark satire that, if I may more or less paraphrase what I’ve said about it before (because I’m too lazy to look up my exact working), sounds like a bad idea on paper but absolutely sticks the landing. The current Snagglepuss comic is just about as strong a book so far, two issues in. The Dastardly & Muttley mini-series was completely bonkers, and the still-ongoing Scooby Apocalypse remains a very strange but thoroughly entertaining book.

Now, the question I think you’re maybe asking is “do we need adult versions instead of kids versions,” and, yeah, ideally there would be. Well, okay, two-thirds of the available monthly Scooby-Doo comics are all ages, but part of the problem is if there would be a perceived market for an all-ages Dastardly & Muttley series, or an all-ages Snagglepuss series. I’m sure there is, or that one could be built, but the “adult” gimmick is the strategy that would get them attention and sales more quickly. It’s marketed to adult readers’ nostalgia, since nobody’s doing new, say, Snagglepuss cartoons to any real extent, compared to Scooby-Doo, which is still generating new cartoons even today, keeping the property in front of children’s eyes.

• • •

Hold on, it’s philfromgermany again, asking

“Please talk a little bit about Crossgen. How did it sell back at the old place in the olden times? Is there still any demand for it? Did you ever read any and if so, which series would you recommend?”

Sold pretty well, as I recall. And CrossGen had this thing where you could order and maintain a backstock on issues, either directly from them or some mail order outfit they were partnered with (don’t recall, exactly), so that readers could always get in the ground floor. Plus they had a good trade paperback program, getting those issues collected right away. Now, I didn’t read too many of them…I read El Corazon, their pirate comic, and Abadazad, J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Plogg’s fantasy series, and I enjoyed both of those. Their earlier mainline books, like Scion or Crux or whathaveyou, I didn’t get into, though I’d flip through ’em as they came in and they all looked perfectly fine. Just, you know, didn’t have the time, or they didn’t really grab me, for whatever reason.

The two I wish I did read were the Sherlock Holmes-esque Ruse, or the well-regarded horror series Route 666. Both of those sounded right up my alley, and I kind of regret not picking them up at the time. Well, What Can You Do?

I don’t really have any requests for these titles today…I have a few around the shop, and even some in the bargain bins, but I haven’t had anyone asking me for any CrossGen of late. Marvel’s attempt at a brief revival a few years back never went anywhere, unfortunately, since I think there’s probably still some potential in these properties.

• • •

Okay, that’s it for all the questions from that long-ago post, but here’s a BONUS QUESTION from Hal Shipman, from my Doomsday Clock review-thingie:

“re: [Superman’s] red trunks – Are they really changing them?
The one piece of art that anyone is referencing as proof of this change is Lee’s work for Action #1000. Of course there are going to be pin-ups of the old suit in there. Has anyone in editorial actually said this or is everyone taking that image and running with it?”

Uh…good question! Are they definitely going back to the old costume, or is it just “let’s look back at the history of Superman” via, like you said, pin-ups and such. But I was pretty sure they said yes, the trunks are coming back, and here it is on the press release on DC’s site:

“The Jim Lee-drawn cover features a new costume that integrates a variety of classic and new elements, including the Man of Steel’s trademark red trunks.”

…so if they’re calling that the “new costume,” then those red shorts appear to be very definitely back in style! Though despite what the release says…that just looks like the old Superman costume to me:

What “new elements” am I missing? To be fair, I didn’t study the image much beyond “NO COLLAR, good; RED TRUNKS, also good.”

• • •

Okay, and that finally wraps up this latest round of Question Time. Thanks for your patience, everyone, and I promise, I won’t take so long next time. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Nancy and Sluggo!

§ February 14th, 2018 § Filed under nancy, sluggo, valentine § 7 Comments

from Nancy Is Happy (2012) – get yer own!

…I’ll take two years.

§ February 12th, 2018 § Filed under question time § No Comments

This is probably the longest I’ve let one of these “question time” posts go answered. Remember back, nearly a year ago, when I last took questions from you all? Maybe I should make a concentrated effort to actually get through them before it actually becomes a literal year. So, let’s get a few out of the way today:

philip snipes

“How do you decide what to put on eBay? am someone who mostly looks for large lots of ‘readers’ for cheap, so I’m curious to know the calculus behind what goes up, and what doesn’t, from the Vast Mikester Archives™.”

Well, it’s a combination of things, really. Sometimes it’s stuff that doesn’t really fit into the usual items that sell in the shop, and I feel would have a better chance moving online. For example, I have (or had) several pieces of music industry memorabilia that I don’t really have any place for in the shop, or for which I don’t believe I have any sort of perceived clientele. Y’know, things like radio station promo buttons or calendars, or industry mags, or that sort of thing. I feel like would have better luck finding customers for those online than from the local community.

Sometimes it’s stuff I’m looking to turn around right quick, sometimes at prices that would likely make it a more difficult sale in the shop. Not too long ago I had a Richie Rich #1 from 1962 that, again, I was selling on consignment for somebody. He wanted to make a certain amount of money on it, and I wanted to make a certain amount of money on the item over that amount, which would have put it way above guide for the condition it was in. And, comparing prices on eBay, my slightly outrageous price would have fit right in with recent sales there, so, after taking lots of pictures and writing a exactingly-detailed description of the condition, I put it on eBay to hopefully turn it over as soon as possible. …As it turns out, I should have asked for more money, I guess, since it took, no exaggeration, less than five minutes for it to move. I probably spent twenty minutes taking pics and prepping the actual listing.

Sometimes it’s just clearing space. I have several boxes of backstock I have yet to go through sitting in my backroom, mostly acquired on the cheap. As such, I’m able to blow out large quantities of books at inexpensive prices. Or sometimes it’s clearing out the overstock…as a professional funnybook salesman, I almost never make ordering mistakes, but, well, on that once-or-twice-a-decade occasion that I do, I try to use eBay to unload that excess.

Sometimes it’s, well, the time spent processing the item for listing/shipping vs. the price realized. It takes a non-zero amount of time to get pics of the item, write up descriptions, prep the listings, and get these things packaged to survive the tender mercies of the postal office once they sell. Though I’ve got the process streamlined about as well as I can, the time spent is still relatively fixed, whether it’s a $100 item or a $1 item. As such, I’ll usually pass up the less-expensive items in favor of things with a higher cost. Not that I don’t list less-pricey things…and let’s be honest, none of these “rules” are set in stone. Sometimes it’s just straight up whim that gets me to put some goodie online for sale.

• • •

Simon says

“In your sourcing mix, what are the %ages of DCD, DBD, Ingram, B&T, others?”

Probably comes as no surprise that Diamond is the largest source of product, just for convenience’s sake, with a little bit of extra stock coming from other sources. Don’t really want to get into exact percentages, but Diamond is way up there.

“If that’s confidential then pick another question, Mike, any question:”

I kept everyone waiting on these answers, so I’ll say a little something about each of your extra Qs:

“How does the Marvel collapse affects your operation?”

Any “collapse” that may be happening is something that’s been going on since the Big Two decided relaunching with new #1s rather than maintaining consistent series was a good idea…my general strategy has been, as always, order conservatively and keep a close eye on sales numbers. And of course keep an ear open as to what customers want and like.

“How have you proofed against a DM collapse?”

Urgh…not really at all, to be honest. I mean, I could get books and such from other sources, but the comics market as it is now depends on that weekly influx of new periodicals, and if there’s nobody there to make sure the monthly books are getting out to shops, well, that’s bad news. Eventually…eventually, the market may move over to primarily trade format books that could be available from a variety of sources, but the market ain’t there yet.

I mean, I guess I could always just sell back issues. Wouldn’t want to have to depend on just that, however. Maybe pogs will be big again. (Okay, less silly answer: diversify my product. If the direct market goes away, I’ll have to find stuff to sell that doesn’t depend on direct market distribution, since that’s what I primarily deal with. At the very least, if the DM goes away, I can spend more time moving all that pending eBay stuff.)

“And against the exodus to online and digital?”

All I can do is provide good service and a willingness to order/reorder items people are looking for. If someone’s dead-set on leaving behind the physical comic world for bits and bytes, I can’t force them to stop, but being a decent retailer will hopefully keep people remembering that actually going to a physical comic book store can be rewarding.

• • •

Okay, maybe I’ll try to finish off the remaining questions next time. I promise, next time I do this, I won’t take a year!

My apologies for the radio silence…

§ February 9th, 2018 § Filed under sick day § 2 Comments

…but I’ve had some minor health issues that required more “resting in bed” and less “blogging like a crazy person” over the last few evenings. I’m feeling better, and should be back to standard-issue Progressive Ruining next week. Thanks for your patience, pals, and I’ll see you then.

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ February 5th, 2018 § Filed under End of Civilization § 8 Comments

Here it is, straight off of my stove and delivered steaming hot onto your virtual plate…the latest installment of the End of Civilization, the longest-running regular comics blog feature in the history of comic blogs, which I’m totally saying without any research or confirmation whatsoever! Get out your copies of Diamond Previews, February 2018 edition, and follow along as we take a peek at the future that’s coming:

p. 46 – Xerxes The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1:

The Sin City prequel you never expected!
p. 82 – Action Comics #1000:

Sorry, all the ones where he’s not wearing the red trunks don’t count, so it’s still only like issue #905 or thereabouts. …Oh, wait, there were all the Electric Superman issues, too…I’ll have to get back to you on this.
p. 87 – The Terrifics #3:

Guest-starring Abelard Snazz, D.R. & Quinch, Skizz, and Halo Jones!
p. 151-3 – The New Teen Titans Starfire and Robin Multi-Part Statues:

A neat idea, where you buy individual statues that eventually approximate a specific published image, in this case the cover for the original New Teen Titans #1 from 1980:

…which is nice an’ all, but let me know when they start doing the same for this:

p. 158-9 – Sonic The Hedgehog #1-#4:

So will we get a reboot on the fan art, too, or will that weirdness just continue on as-is?
p. 251 et al. – Marvel Gallery Savage Land Rogue PVC Diorama:

I feel like this is really stretching the definition of “diorama?” I mean, I guess it’s technically correct, but not really in the diorama spirit. It does come in window box packaging, which would make it more diorama-ish I suppose. …Look, I’m just nitpicking this so I don’t think about how much of a problem it is for here to be so…uncovered when the barest touch of her skin could debilitate another person, lack of fashion options in the Savage Land or no.

…I know I’m like decades late to this argument.
p. 477 – 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die SC:

OH MY GOD they’re all DYING? …Well, that would explain sales on the comics.
p. 486 – The Art of Ready Player One HC:

They finally found something to do with the unsold copies of the art books for Iron Giant and Lord of the Rings.
p. 487 – Harry Potter Talking Dobby with Book Kit:

“Master has given Dobby a book!”

Well, um, not exact–

“Master has also given Dobby a kit!”

Aren’t…aren’t you part of–?

“Master also gave Dobby this wonderful base for him to stand on!”

I’m pretty sure you’re just molded to–

“And look at this great box Master has given Dobby to stay in!”

p. 487 – Star Trek Light & Sound Borg Cube Kit:

“The kit includes a light-up Borg cube with sound, display base, and 48-page book on the history of Borg cubes and full-color photos.”

“Here’s the Borg cube crossing the Delaware River…and here are some Borg cubes building the Sphinx…and here they are nailing the Ninety-Five Theses to the chapel door….”

“Boy, they’re really padding out this 48-page book, aren’t they?”
p. 494 – Mystery Science Theater 3000 Trading Cards Series One:

“All the sticks of gum packed with these cards taste funny.” “Oh, that’s what happened to the hamdingers!”
p. 499 – Ten Cents T-Shirt:

Why, I remember when comic book t-shirts were only a nickel!
p. 502 – We Bare Bears “Internet Famous” Oxford T-Shirt:

Finally, a shirt in Previews that’s just for me. Well, I’ll have to scribble the prefix “SEMI-” before “INTERNET” on the shirt there, you know, out of my well-known and highly-regarded modesty.
p. 520 – Alien Facebugger Life-Size Prop Replica:

“…So basically, Grandma, Giger designed this to be like an independent and ambulatory sex organ for the Alien!”

“That’s…that’s nice, dear, but maybe we could take it off the table for Easter dinner?”
p. 523 – DC Jimmy Olsen as Superman Action Figure:

Look, we’re just gonna need action figures of every one of Jimmy’s permutations, some of which seen here:

I’m sure some already exist in custom form (like Porcupine Olsen). And yes, we’ll need Leslie Lowe, Girl Reporter. How could we not?
p. 561 – Minions Dave Bearbricks:

Well, sure, the Minions are a bit overplayed right now, but at least they’re cute and funnylooAUGH

p. 561 – Robocop Bearbricks:

“I’d bear that for a dollar!”
p. 593 – Harry Potter Light-Up Notebooks:

“Stay on top of your Hogwarts class notes with these Harry Potter themed notebooks with covers that light up like magic!”

“That’s funny, the ‘Dumbledore Is Gay’ message doesn’t light up on this one. Wonder why?”
p.604 – Stranger Things Monopoly:

Do not pass GO, do not pass up a single 1980s pop culture reference, apparently.
p. 605 – The Walking Dead All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set:

Reenact the ongoing conflict between Rick’s crew and the Saviors with this exciting tabletop war game…and if things don’t go your way, you can always smash everything and knock it to the floor with the Lucille “Take It Like a Champ” Edition 32-Inch Bat conveniently offered again on page 537 of this very Previews:

In which I ramble on about a series I’m enjoying sort of despite itself.

§ February 1st, 2018 § Filed under watchmen § 9 Comments

So I haven’t really said a whole lot about Doomsday Clock beyond my “wonder how it’s gonna sell” post back in September. Well, I can tell you now, after three issues of it have been unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, that it actually is selling very well, thank you, and even the second printing of the first issue is moving briskly.

That’s all just basic, non-opinionated stuff, I realize. I haven’t really come right out and said anything specifically about the content of the series, beyond some joking around, mostly because…well, I’m a retailer. I sell these things for a living. Not that this comics blogging doodad is an official part of my store or anything, but certainly a non-zero percentage of my customers are aware that I spend a small portion of my free time typin’ funny about funnybooks here. And I’ve seen enough examples of other retailers slagging off, say, Mutant Shenanigans: Alpha on their official store blogs/online newsletters/review columns etc., and then wondering a month later “huh, Mutant Shenanigans: Alpha isn’t selling at my store…wonder why?”

Not that I plan on really slagging it all that much, but the other day I did say this on the Twitters:

“Haven’t really said much about the actual DOOMSDAY CLOCK series itself, but it’s sort of a combination of ‘woefully misguided’ and ‘absolutely fascinating’ (in that I obsess a bit over out-of-context Watchmen usage).”

There’s…a lot of meaning that can be packed into my use of the phrase “woefully misguided.” That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something that’s not entertaining in some fashion. Take, for example, Crisis on Infinite Earths, a series I like quite a lot. Sure, at the time we all probably thought it was a good idea, taking what was an overly complex/high entry cost shared universe and paring it down into something a bit more comprehensible. However, it could be argued that it turned out to be quite misguided, a stripping away and recataloging of crazy ideas and wild imagination that, in the decades since, DC Comics has been trying to undo, and in some way making it far more complex and difficult to enter than whatever problems Crisis was supposed to solve.

As such Crisis and its impact became problems mostly in hindsight, starting with small things (“whoops, we fucked up Hawkman, sorry everyone!”) and quickly ballooning into much larger issues (“oh, hey remember continuity? Here’s some more different continuity!”). Doomsday Clock‘s…quirks, shall we say, were anticipated well ahead of time. We were all watching that person in the scary movie, reaching a hand out to the door handle, while we shouted “NO, DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!” Reasonably sure we all foresaw the inherent awkwardness of combining a singular, self-contained work by creators at the peak of their skills with a decades-old haphazardly-assembled, repeatedly rebooted, shared universe to the point of using the former as another tool to shore up the latter.

Now this is all sounding relentless negative, and I’m really not trying to be. As I said about the Crisis series I was using as an example, I enjoyed that comic. Outside of the nostalgic feelings I have for it, Crisis remains beautifully drawn, and a solid final “hurrah” for the DC Universe that was, before the DC Universe, of which there was no stopping them now, took over. Now, the Doomsday Clock itself I’m finding enjoyable in a weird way. As noted above, as a dealer, I’m happy with it sales and interest from my customers…I’m having people coming specifically to pick up this comic. As a responsible comics fan, I should probably be upset that the property being exploited without creator consent…yes, the work is technically DC’s but rights were dangled in front of Moore/Gibbons with no real intention of given those rights to them so long as the comic sold.

As an irresponsible comics blogger and pop culture…observer, I guess, since “wallower” makes me sound bad…I am as I said in my tweet, “absolutely fascinat[ed]” by the Watchmen characters being exploited out of context (as in this Heroclix set, or this comic where DC-by-way-of-Charlton-Comics superhero the Question meets Rorschach). And this Doomsday Clock series, along with the two-year teasing/weaving of Watchmen material into the regular DC Universe, is sort of the ultimate “out of context” usage of the characters. Yes, it probably shouldn’t have been done. Yes, this isn’t really adding anything to the original work.

Nonetheless, seeing these characters and these situations and these attempts at aping the style and storytelling of the original remains oddly and strangely compelling, in a way that DC’s previous Watchmen event “Before Watchmen” was not. In “Before Watchmen,” the characters were working toward an endpoint, the events of Watchmen itself. The creators working on those comics couldn’t deviate too far from the paths already designed for these characters…not to say they didn’t take them in directions that could be deemed outside their original intentions, but at least they were mostly remaining within the constraints of an already-established fictional milieu.

Doomsday Clock escapes that by being “the sequel,” with all that open road ahead, and oh yeah we’re totally crossing over with Justice League characters so we’ve got, like, multiple universes to play with now. (Okay, I’m not unaware of the irony that this sounds like the opposite of my criticism of Crisis on Infinite Earths.) There’s no longer the worry about putting the pieces back in place…now they can scatter them about however they want. The fascination I mentioned before is in how this new creative team is playing with others’ toys, how they mimic what’s come before, how they change what’s been established, and so on. (You know, like superhero comics in general.) I genuinely am curious how this mixing of worlds will play out, not just plotwise but in just the simple mechanics of decisions made in putting together this event.

Even by duplicating the original’s format by including the text-heavy backmatter, you don’t get the same sense of that world-building the original worked so hard to establish. Much of what made Watchmen, aside from its deconstruction of the superhero genre, was its attention to detail, from the technological/political impart of Dr. Manhattan, to maintaining consistent physical settings (like just having the same street and building layouts from issue to issue), to little things like Dan wondering where the hell all his sugar cubes went (taken of course by Rorschach in a previous issue, and eaten by him throughout the rest of the series).

Doomsday Clock is a different animal with different purpose, and the depth of the original has been replaced mostly by trivia (“hey that guy’s daughter is Elasti-Girl from the Doom Patrol!” and other such nuggets that end up in clickbait listicles breathlessly detailing those Easter eggs “you may have missed!” somehow despite them basically being shoved in your face and captioned “THIS IS A REFERENCE TO SOMETHING”). The new series appears to be primarily about reclaiming superheroes from the legacy of Watchmen and similar descontructive attempts, in that the last two years of DC’s overarching storytelling has positioned the previous “New 52” continuity reboot as a literal attack on the DC Universe by Dr. Manhattan.

Not saying that isn’t a valid, and in its way, clever method of approaching real world publishing strategies within a fictional universe, though it strikes me as odd putting a decades-long best-selling property into an antagonistic position against their main line of books. Granted, we haven’t see the full story yet, so perhaps there’s a “redemptive” conclusion yet to come that corrects this negative portrayal. Especially if they plan on keeping any of the Watchmen characters around in the DC Universe after everything’s all said and done. (Hello, Rorschach Team-Up.)

Anyway, Doomsday Clock. Probably shouldn’t have happened, but here it is regardless. It’s a weird thing that will almost certainly end up only as a footnote in the original Watchmen‘s history. It remains, however, a crazy amalgam of a comic, not quite as Watchmen-esque as it wants to be, but tonally strange enough to not feel strictly like a DC superhero comic either. So long as it’s a one-shot thing à la that Simpsons/Family Guy crossover, which was another peculiar mixing of styles that kind of worked okay once, that’ll probably be fine. But, to repeat myself, “Hello, Rorschach Team-Up” is not a thing I said entirely facetiously.

Oh, and by the way, if Doomsday Clock takes place a year ahead in DC continuity (well, more like 18+ months ahead now that it’s gone to a bimonthly schedule), and Superman is getting his red trunks back in Action Comics #1000 (due out in just a few months), does that mean that cover to Doomsday Clock #1 pictured above is already out of date? Or, in a variation of what I suggested here, maybe instead of fighting over the trunks, Superman actually lends them to Dr. Manhattan. “Now, now, sir, you can’t go walking around Metropolis like that!”

Your 2017 Predictions, Epilogue: I’ve Run Out of Bring It On Sequel Titles to Use.

§ January 29th, 2018 § Filed under predictions § 4 Comments

As promised, though slightly delayed: I’ll be going back and responding to your responses to my posts covering your 2017 predictions (as seen in parts 2017 predictions (parts one two three four five and six). Thanks for your patience, everyone, and we’re almost done, I promise!

First, I should note I already did direct responses edited into the original text of that part one I just linked above, so go back and check those out if you haven’t already.

Now, to part two:

In response to the whole “next big comics death” thing, David Alexander McDonald noted:

“Black Widow bought the farm in Secret Empire, didn’t she? Also, Rick Jones, not that we care.”

Well, yeah, but there wasn’t any kind of overwhelming, or even halfhearted, media reaction…there was barely any ripple even in the usual comics news sources. Man, I didn’t even know about the whole Rick Jones thing. It appears either the “kill ’em off for sales and attention” thing is itself killed off, or the characters didn’t warrant the attention. Even when they “killed” Bruce Banner, general response was, like, “…eh.”

JD says, regarding Marvel moving titles to biweekly:

“Marvel did make several of its titles biweekly without much fanfare: X-Men Gold, X-Men Blue, Guardians of the Galaxy (the last of which has already been cancelled for a retooling)”

Okay, fair enough, but in my defense Marvel’s release schedule of many of their titles has been relatively wacky since the Bill Jemas era. You know, the “soon as they’re ready, get ’em on the shelves” strategy which may not have been their intention, but that’s pretty much how it worked out. For a while there on the site I was regularly complaining about supposedly monthly titles cranking out three issues in four weeks. I probably didn’t register any of Marvel’s current titles as being on a consistent biweekly schedule so much as them being on the “whenever” release pattern.

Paul suggests, per my comments about “mainstream” comic releases:

“Regarding ‘a mainstream comic mag may launch,’ not sure if you’d conside these 2 items relevant.”

I think may answer was more in regards to “mainstream” as in “regularly read by large audiences,” rather than specifically to content. I mean, the two items you link to would be good general interest comics publications, but they’re probably going to still require people going to comic shops versus grabbing off the rack at the local supermarket. But, y’know, can’t succeed unless you try, and I hope they succeed.

• • •

From Part the Third:

Turan provides a correction to the credits for “Seasons in the Sun” which I’ll just link to here. …You never know where these prediction posts will go!

Rob London rebuts my assertion about not calling Marvel’s Star Wars character Jaxxon a rabbit with

“You *can* call Jaxxon a rabbit – rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents.”

Well, he still probably wouldn’t like that…and I was all ready to blame Roy Thomas, but looking back at the full page I pulled that panel from, he was responding to someone who did call him a “rodent,” so let’s all blame that guy for doing so!

Michael tells a tale out of school in relation to my wondering why the preexisting Marvel villain called “Trump” hasn’t popped up recently:

“Mike, it so happens I was advising a Marvel author who needed a villain for their story and suggested Trump would fit their purpose. They loved the character’s gimmicks, but the idea was shot down because of his name – which I hadn’t even considered when I promoted him.

“Whatever happened to the good ol’ days when everybody wanted Gerald Ford to be their super-villain?”


“For my money, ‘Then…KOREA’ is the best running gag this site has. POOONG!”

Jack, I will have to agree with you. I love that amazing panel. I’ll see if I can’t find a way to bring it back more often than, say, once every four or five years.

• • •

Part four, ahoy!

Papa Lazarou wondered, regarding my reference to a negative review of the Yoe Books reprint projects:

“Where can I find this?”

Already answered in the comments there, but thought I’d do a direct link here. (As I write this, images aren’t showing up there, but maybe it’s a temporary thing.) Now personally, I enjoy the Yoe Books comics, though I can certainly understand the reviewer’s issues with them.

• • •

Fit the fifth:

Gareth Wilson follows up on his own prediction (about a new rural white character who specifically isn’t a stereotypical racist etc. jerk) with

“I realised after posting about the rural character that he’s just Cannonball.”

Not new by any means, but, yeah, he probably fits the criteria. That Sam Guthry’s not a bad fella.

• • •

And now, Six:

It’s Turan again, explaining why “Thing ring, do your thing!” will likely not turn up again (and yes, Turan knows he’s responding to a joke with a very serious answer, which I of course encourage):

“Given that the ‘Thing Ring’ cartoon was a Hanna-Barbera production (as indicated by the show’s actual title, ‘Fred and Barney Meet the Thing’), and given that often the rights to a character or idea introduced in an adaptation remain with the company that produced the adaptation rather than with the owners of the original property, or at least are shared by the parties (this, to give an example that will probably mean nothing to most of your readers, is why Nikki Porter was not a character in the 1970s Ellery Queen TV series)–given that, I suspect that a ‘Thing Ring’ TV series would require the collaboration not only of Disney/Marvel and Fox, but also of Time Warner (which owns Hanna Barbera now).

Of course, Time Warner also owns DC Comics. I don’t know, but I suspect that if the people who own Marvel and the people who own DC ever do get together to make a comics-based TV series or movie, ‘Benjy Grimm and His Thing Ring’ will probably be low on the list of ideas considered.”

Yes, I reposted the entire explanation, because it’s amazing. Thanks Turan!

And that’s pretty much all I had to add this time around (except going back to part six got me to fix a stupid typo that blew one of my jokes…”INVINCIBLE,” not “INVISIBLE,” dummy!)

Thanks to all of you for your participation, and I’ll see you all back here next year when it’s time to look at your 2018 predictions!

And, um, hopefully I’ll see you later this week when the website resumes normal broadcasting!


§ January 26th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § No Comments

Things didn’t work out as planned, so I’ll be doing the 2017 Prediction Post Epilogue on Monday. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll see you then!

By the way, I’ve been doing this website for over a third of my life. Weird, huh?

Your 2017 Predictions, Part Six: Worldwide Cheersmack.

§ January 24th, 2018 § Filed under predictions § 5 Comments

Okay, here it is, the last installment of looking back at your 2017 predictions (parts one two three four five)! Well, there’s still one more part looking at your reactions to the last few posts, but the national nightmare is almost over! Thanks for sticking with me through this annual trek of mine.

Also, if you want to be part of the adventure next year, throw in your 2018 predictions here, even though we’re about 1/12th of the way through 2017 already.


Andrew sends me off on a true life adventure with

“Marvel reacquires at least some Fantastic Four rights, and revives Benjy Grimm of ‘Thing Ring, do your thing’ fame/infamy as a Netflix show.”

As you might have heard, Disney may be getting some of their properties back for film use via their Fox deal (barring any legal blocking of said deal), so we may actually see new FF or X-Men movies in the eventual future. …I’m going to guess that, sadly, the Thing Ring will not make a reappearance.

“Some sort of live-action Crisis or Convergence or Zero Hour happens to merge the CW shows because Berlanti finally figures out that Earth-1 should not be a world without a Superman. Swamp Thing will play a pivotal role.”

If they keep getting John Constantine cameos on the CW shows, maybe Swamp Thing will turn up someday. But for your main prediction…we actually did get a “Crisis” story on-screen, involving multiple Earths, which still seems impossible despite having watched it with my own eyes. No merging of parallel universes just yet, but if we recall our first season Flash episodes, there was that newspaper from the future that had an article about a “Crisis” event, red skies an’ all. So, yeah, I imagine sooner or later we’ll get all our characters living together on Earth-CW, but maybe not for a while.

“The Goldsman/Liefeld deal results in a Supreme movie heavily inspired by Alan Moore’s work. It will make all the money, and heads at Time Warner will roll. Fanboys will be confused when director Joss Whedon or Quentin Tarantino aim the camera so that Suprema’s feet are in every shot.”

Nothin’ yet, though I’d love to see how people react to an Alan Moore-inspired Supreme film. It would likely require replacing Silver Age Superman nostalgia as its building blocks for…I don’t know, Christopher Reeve nostalgia? Any way they do it, it’ll be weird. And your comment about the focus on feet…I’m going to read that as a comment about Liefeld’s apparent reticence for drawing feet, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE.

• • •

Philippe Leblanc wires me the following

“Legion of Superheroes will become the latest DC/CW TV show. People walk in comic shops to buy the latest Legion comics only to find confusing reprints of former series instead.”

Close…we got a small intro of them just before the end of the year in Supergirl, but didn’t get a full-on appearance ’til this year. Haven’t seen much in-store interest in Legion stories, but yeah, aside from the occasional one-off appearance (like the Bugs Bunny or Scooby-Doo crossovers), just a handful of reprint books are available. Bad time to not have an ongoing Legion comic at least for the already-buying-comics folks who might have picked it up if they saw it on the shelf.

“Marvel’s dropping of digital codes drives regular audience away. In order to revitalize sales, Marvel begins releasing exclusive Pogs to drum up sales. It’s a major success leading to a huge Pogs revival.”

Dropping those codes did annoy a few customers…a lot of folks who still liked getting the physical editions enjoyed having the digital codes to put the books on their electronical doohickeys, and removing the codes did damage the perceived value of the books. Thankfully Marvel did reverse the decision before they had to initiate the Pog Directives.

“DC Comics launches a new comic called ‘Swamp Thing & friends.’ The first issue features Swampy investigating a comic stealing crime that leads him directly to Sterling comics. Mike Sterling makes a cameo in a Swamp Thing comic. Swampy’s catches the crook too late and the owner of Sterling comics is killed. Swampy, in an act of kindness take Sterling to becomes part of the green, makes him immortal. They hang out regularly during the course of the series, doing all sorts of fun activities like canoeing, camping, having fondue and talking about the thing Swamp Thing likes the most, himself!”

• • •

Jerry Smith rigs these up

“Marvel’s sales slide will increase, with fans rejecting their pushing of classic characters into the background for new PC versions. Marvel will ignore this and figure the problem is that they’re not replacing enough classic characters.”

If anything, Marvel seems to have decided the opposite, given some statements here and there. However, a good case has been made that the problems Marvel has been facing are more endemic to their ongoing business practices more than to their attempts at attracting new audiences.

“An Image comic will get a movie deal.”

Wasn’t sure, so I did a quick Googling, and this was the top result. So yes, an Image-published comic did indeed score a movie deal! A couple more of ’em are listed here, though I’m wondering what they’re going to call the Invincible movie since there was already a film by that name in 2006. “The Invincible Chronicles?” “Invincible Man?” “LET’S GET INVINCIBLE?”

“A Planet of the Apes/Sugar & Spike crossover will be announced.”

“Gbtlz spzts!”

“GASP! The human babies spoke…um, I think!”

• • •

David Alexander McDonald farmed up these

“DC will see another show canceled with POWERLESS flopping on the No Bugger Cares channel. It won’t matter; there’ll be another 12 new DC shows by the end of 2017. On the publishing front, the two-year Rebirth overarc will be looking pretty ridiculous by June as Geoff Johns and his team of trained gerbils try to explain it all. The DC Omnibus program will gain traction and do well. A fanatical group will rise up with Superman’s Red Trunks as its banner.”

Those are a lot of predictions squeezed into here, David, so let’s see: Powerless did die, which is too bad since it started to get pretty good; not 12 shows, but the numbers are slowly increasing; we’re getting the wrap-up to the 2-year arc now so we’ll see how it goes; Omnibus program still exists, so close enough for horseshoes; “fans,” for short. (For shorts! Ha, get it, because…okay, fine.)

“Marvel will continue to pump out omnibus volumes of *everything*. Ike Perlmutter will be eaten by Washington. Marvel’s books will continue to be schizophrenically split between the endless restarts that go thuddy thud thud and the cute, funny, clever books like Ms.Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Marvel’s movies continue to do well, and some do great, but the non-Netflix TV shows will continue to have issues (although LEGION will get a lot of positive attention) with INHUMANS going down to ignominious doom despite the IMAX opening.”

Yes; pretty much; ain’t that the truth; nailed the movie/TV thing.

“Dan Slott will move into a penthouse in Las Vegas, never again to be seen by most men. Reports will periodically come out that he’s lying naked on a bed, watching ICE STATION ZEBRA over and over.”

Now you got me here at the house, late at night, thinking about Naked D. Slott. ARE THERE NO END TO YOUR CRIMES, DAVID ALEXANDER MCDONALD.

(Nothing personal against Mr. Slott, who I am sure is a perfectly acceptable naked person…DAMMIT, DAVID, LOOK AT THESE THINGS YOU MAKE ME TYPE)

• • •

Dan (presumably not Mr. Slott) contributes

“The sleeper hit of the summer 2017 blockbuster season is a gritty live action reimagining of ‘WordGirl.’ Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy becomes Public Enemy Number One after killing Captain Huggyface with a meat slicer.
In 2018 it sweeps the Oscars, winning the Big Five.”

Okay, had to look all that up because for a second there I thought our friend Dan had some kind of seizure. I vaguely recalled Wordgirl, and sure enough, those other characters exist too. Frankly, I think we’re still too soon on the ironic dark reboot of the property…the kids who watched that in the 2000s probably still need a few more years to get into positions of power in the entertainment industry. I suspect the fanfiction may be way ahead of them, however.

• • •

Anthony puts all this to a merciful end with

“Marvel won’t do any crossovers with other companies.”

Well, maybe not in the way you mean it, but Marvel teamed up with Archie Comics to get some digests into supermarkets via Archie’s ancient distribution deal. And, well, this almost happened, but probably also not what you meant.

“Even though fans will want one, there will still not be a solo Swamp Thing animated movie. (REALLY hoping I’m wrong)”

Ol’ Swampy’s been turning up in various animated places, so we’re probably closer than ever to this actually happening soon!

“The rights for the comics of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street will continue to remain lost.”

Does seem weird that it’s been a while since either of these properties have turned up on the stands. At the very least, I’d like a reprint of Marvel’s black and white Nightmare on Elm Street magazine (written by Steve Gerber) since I sold my copies off like a dummy. Ah, well, if no one’s planning on comics based on these properties right this moment, I’m sure they will be again soon. Licenses like these come back from the dead fairly often, appropriately enough.

• • •

Well, looks like that was it! Thanks for reading and contributing, pals, and I’ll have one final post following up on some of your more recent comments reacting to these last few entries. See you all on Friday!

Your 2017 Predictions, Part Five: Fight to the Finish.

§ January 22nd, 2018 § Filed under predictions § 2 Comments

Previous installments: one two three four

Covering: your 2017 predictions

Enter: your 2018 predictions here


Gareth Wilson volleys

“A high-schooler teacher on a Marvel movie or TV show will irritably demand to know where Kamala Khan or Miles Morales is. Not necessarily the Spider-Man movie.”

Well, a little Googling and Wikipedia-ing reveals that, yes, there was a deleted scene from the Spider-Man: Homecoming film that references Miles Morales. Can’t seem to find anything similar for Ms. Khan, but both Ms. Marvel and the Miles Spider-Man have made direct appearances in cartoons, so, you know, there’s that.

“A new Marvel or DC character will be introduced who is white and from a working-class rural background. They will be firmly established as not racist, sexist, or homophobic.”

Can’t think of any specific examples, but sure, why not. I don’t know that they’d have been established as not having those traits, but, y’know, so long as they’re not explicitly shown as mocking Norwegians, chasing secretaries around desks, and hatin’ on gays, that’s at least something.

“Some kind of Green Lantern adaptation – comic, movie, or TV show – will emphasise the Lanterns as law enforcement officers, and implicitly criticise other superheroes as irresponsible vigilantes.”

Well, the Green Lanterns as space cops thing’s been in the comics for a while now, but I can’t recall any kind of in-story comparison/conflict/reading that pushes the GL Corps as being superior to superpowered vigilantes. It’s probably come up at some point, but don’t recall any major storylines of late where that was a plot point.

• • •

Michael Grabowski hands off

“Full frontal face-to-face interaction between Watchmen and DCU characters within the DCU continuity, but then the characters will be back to separate universes with new ongoing Watchmen-related comics.”

“Full frontal,” indeed…I see what you did there. The Doomsday Clock series is just barely underway, and the meetings of characters are only just beginning. Well, there was that Batman/Flash “The Button” story where Reverse-Flash seemingly meets Dr. Manhattan, but that was all off-panel. I think the real meat of this crossover has yet to be rev…er, maybe I should rephrase that.

I do expect follow-ups on Doomsday Clock with Watchmen characters, but totally in DCU continuity. C’mon, they’d have to be, for no other reason than to drive people crazy.

“President Trump, or presidential characters inspired by him, will play a significant role in the present-day continuties of both Marvel and DCU comics.”

Pretty much avoided ol’ Trumpy in their comics. Like I said in a previous installment of these Prediction posts, indie comics seem to have it covered.

“The 40th anniversary of Cerebus the Aardvark #1 will result in renewed interest in the character and the restored editions of the trade volumes in spite of Dave Sim’s ongoing awkward and amibivalent approach to promoting his work.”

There have been several Cerebus-related comics this year…all reprints of his webstrip Cerebus in Hell, featuring Our Favorite Aardvark in essentially clipart form, pasted over Gustave Doré illustrations from Dante’s Inferno. I don’t know if there’s been increased interest in Cerebus of late…I’ve only sold a few volumes since I’ve opened my store, period, though I’ve seen some chatter about it online here and there. At least it’s still being discussed, 15+ years after it wrapped up!

• • •

Dave Carter has Yet Another set of predictions

“DC’s summer event, which will feature the Watchmen characters (or some derivation thereof) interacting with the DCU. will meet with derision and general condemnation by fans online, yet still sell very well.”

The actual event, Doomsday Clock, didn’t start ’til almost the end of the year. but it is selling very well despite negative online reaction. In-store reaction has been mostly positive. The same goes for the earlier mini-event “The Button,” which was closer to spring than summer, but sort of had the same reaction.

“Ms. Marvel collections will continue to be one of Marvel’s best-selling items, with a huge portion of their sales (at least 50%) coming from outside comic shops.”

A couple of articles on Marvel’s slumping sales (early in the year, and later) both emphasize Ms. Marvel’s high trade sales…how much is from outside the direct market, I’m not sure, but it’s likely a not-insignificant amount.

“A third-tier comics publisher will attempt to jump on the Trump bandwagon by publishing comics designed to appeal to the so-called alt-right.”

There was some talk and fundraising along these lines, but it was pretty late in the year and so nothing’s out quite yet. You can read a little about it here.

• • •

Tim B. supplies

“Geoff Johns’s New Years Day tweet with the close up of Dr Manhattan actually relates to his 12 issue magnum opus entitled Northampton that involves an up & coming comic book writer going mad touring the Midlands and encountering a lot of characters from the works of Alan Moore in a biting criticism of mass market pop cultures as a distraction against the random chaos of the universe. Moore’s grumbling can be heard from the International Space Station…”

Alas, Geoff Johns’ LARGE DIGITS did not see the light of day.

“The DCEU films will continue to make mistakes that they rectify in the next film, only to produce new, different mistakes attaining an asymptotic relationship to the platonic ideal of super-hero films.”

Well, in my opinion, the Justice League film addressed the criticisms that previous DC films were too dark by giving us a fun adventure. But yes, it had its problems…nothing new, just the same old “villain is evil because he’s evil” motivation. Whether that problem can be fixed in the next film is more an issue with big-budget action movie production as a whole than just DC superhero movies. We’ll see.

“The Inhumans continue to not be a thing, for the 52nd year running…”

(sigh) Yeah….

• • •

Adam Farrar goes too far with

“DC doesn’t think to put out a comic to capitalize on The Lego Batman Movie. Maybe some cover variants, but no comics.”

No comics, or even variants…unless you count the variants from a couple of years ago that fooled some people into thinking they actually were Lego comics. There were a few kids books, at least.

“Neil Gaiman & Mark Buckingham’s Miracleman comics start coming out again.”

That would have been nice. Been waiting for a follow-up on that cliffhanger for decades.

“Kurt Busiek & John Paul Leon’s ‘Batman: Creature of the Night’ finally comes out.”

Indeed it did, just under the wire!

• • •

Jeff R. wraps up today’s installment with

“We get a Legion book back this year, finally. (Also, the Legion will have a huge role in the CW-verse(s) fall 2017)”

No Legion of Super-Heroes comic yet (though it appears to at least be a gleam in DC’s eye at the moment). The Legion did begin their involvement in the CW superhero shows in the episode or two of Supergirl“Still no Fantastic Four Book in 2017.”

As answered previously, there’s like half an FF book, with the Thing and the Human Torch in the Marvel Two-in-One series.

“We will get at least two things on this list: New Frank Miller Sin City, A Fourth Scott McCloud nonfiction book, all of Gaiman’s Miracleman: The Silver Age, Matt Wagner’s Mage III, and/or a trade paperback collection of Foglio’s Buck Godot: The Gallumaufry.”

You got one of those things (the Mage III comics) and you’ll like it, mister!

• • •

Okay, next time will be the end of the predictions, so hang on just a little bit longer, everyone!

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