They didn’t even bother to mention the interactive menus on the packaging.

§ May 22nd, 2015 § Filed under batman, cartoons § 1 Comment

So I finally received my copy of the Batman Vs. Robin animated movie from Diamond this week, and this is some sticker that’s on the box:

Don’t know if that means anything to anybody that hasn’t read the comics…is there any kind of larger media presence for Talon and/or the Court of Owls that I don’t know about, that would make this sticker of use in attracting your average consumer in a Best*Mart? “But Mom, this movie has Talon and the Court of Owls! We have to get it!” Or is it enough that perhaps the very presence of the sticker ballyhooing their presence will pique curiosity: “Huh…these characters are apparently important enough for the manufacturer to go through the extra expense of printing and applying these stickers to the packaging…surely I, as a Blu-ray/DVD consumer, can’t let all that effort go to waste.”

Okay, I’m pokin’ a little fun. But honestly, one would think the promise of “BATMAN VERSUS ROBIN” would be enough get get someone to pull the trigg…OOH, sorry, Bruce, poor choice of words.

The movie itself is fine…not one I’d put on the TV to entertain the four-year-old in your life, because it starts off with a sequence that’s pretty much pure nightmare fuel. But it certainly delivers on the title, and I like the fact that this new movie builds off the previous Bat-imation film that introduced the Damian Wayne character rather than just leaving that as a stand-alone. I know the last couple of Justice League cartoons are effectively in sequence as well, but those are sort of blandish and empty (particularly the recent Throne of Atlantis), while these Batman films have a little more weight to them. There is one significant bump in the road, a flashback sequence that introduces the Court of Owls concept via a bedtime story in the most awkward bit of storytelling you can possibly imagine, but otherwise everything flows well, and violently, enough. I appreciated the clarity of the fight scene choreography, and I hope what I just typed right there turns up as a pull quote in an ad someday.

Anyway, I liked it. I hope they do at least one more to wrap up the Damian storyline…or, even better, maybe they can tackle the whole Batman Incorporated thing. That would be pretty amazing in animation. Plus, they still need to introduce this vital character.

Yes, I know Spider-Man is in there, too.

§ May 20th, 2015 § Filed under freak out § 9 Comments







from Legion of Super-Heroes #300 (June 1983) by Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen & Larry Mahlstedt

The bottle of Armstrong Ale is still the best Valiant promotion of all time.

§ May 18th, 2015 § Filed under valiant § 2 Comments

So one of the side effects of doing my End of Civilization posts (which I haven’t done in a while, I realize…I plan on doing one when the next Previews comes out) is that it gets me to pore through the order catalog fairly thoroughly a couple of weeks prior to my actually having to go through it for work-related reasons and generate my order numbers.

Since I’ve been out of the End-of-Civilization-writing mode for a few months, I haven’t done my close reading of Previews ’til just a few days ago, as I started working up the monthly order. As such, I didn’t really look into the details on the Legends of the Geomancer deal from Valiant Comics ’til then.

“What the heck is that?” you may be asking. Well, here’s the deal. The full title is Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer, which is a companion series, containing an all-new story, to Valiant’s crossover event mini-series Book of Death. The catch here is that Legends of the Geomancer is a “retailer incentive” — for every certain number of copies of the regular Book of Death first issue I order, I can get one copy of the Legends of the Geomancer first issue. If you’re a store who has a dozen customers who all want to read Legends of the Geomancer, you’re gonna have to order hundreds of copies of Book of Death in order to accommodate them. And unless you have hundreds of Valiant fans shopping at your place, I don’t know that you’re going to order that many…and if you do, you’re going to have more than a dozen of them wanting that Geomancer series, most likely.

Now, the press release says Legends of the Geomancer is never being collected into trade, which of course leaves the possibility open for deluxe hardcovers or digital download or whatever, but it also compares the planned scarcity of this comic to the Harbinger #0 from the original Valiant Comics of the early ’90s. Now, as someone who was there for that particular situation, I can tell you that these are two different things. Harbinger #0 was obtainable by everyone who bought the initial issues of the Harbinger series, in that if you collected the coupons from the first few issues and mailed them in, you got yourself that #0. It wasn’t “we only put coupons in 1/25th of the print runs of those early issues, so only people who managed to find those coupons could mail away for it.” Everyone who read those issues and wanted the #0 could get the #0.

As time went on, and the comics investment craze of the ’90s went into full swing, Harbinger #0 did increase in demand and was hard to find, both as readership of Valiant books increased and people who didn’t jump on at the ground floor sought it out after the coupon offer ended, and as people looking for “hot, rare” comics snapped ‘em up. But even then, the story was eventually available, as the Harbinger trade paperback was released, polybagged with a reprint edition of that #0. (There were also collectible variants of those trade paperbacks, but that’s a story for another time.)

Point being, anyone who wanted to read that Harbinger #0 could do so, in some form, eventually. It wasn’t hard to get initially for folks originally picking up the series, and it was offered up again later for anyone who missed the boat the first time.

Valiant saying that the story related in Legends of the Geomancer is known only to a few people in the Valiant Universe, and thus its limited distribution in our universe will reflect the scarcity of that knowledge, is clever and all, but potentially frustrating to anyone with a vested interest in following Valiant’s comics. The current comics market combined with our current economic state is not one where you can afford to give people excuses to not read something, and it would be too easy for someone to say “well, if I can’t read all of this Book of Death event, then I won’t read any of it.” On the other hand, another difference between the then of Harbinger #0 and the now of Geomancer is the fact the second a comic gets into someone’s hands, it’s scanned and thrown up on a torrent site for anyone so inclined to read it that way. Hey, no money for the publisher or me, the friendly neighborhood retailer!

I’m not trying to be to harsh on Valiant. Good on ‘em for trying something different to create some buzz, and they’ve done some interesting promotional stuff in the past. I just think this particular stunt isn’t a good idea, and I hope they reconsider making Legends of the Geomancer more widely available, especially given the strong creative team on the book. To be fair, Valiant is offering some generous deals to retailers to make it a little easier to order the numbers necessary to obtain the rarer book (such as returnability and deep discounting) but it’s still ordering a lot of one comic in order to get a precious few of the other, and it feels almost wasteful getting too many of something you’re just going to have to destroy for returns later.

There are workarounds, of course, such as selling the main Book of Death for cheap and hopefully moving more copies that way. But I want good comics to be easier to find, not harder, and I’d be a lot happier just being able to order what I think I can sell to customers who just want to read the books, rather than jumping through hoops to fit my business plan around someone else’s marketing gimmick.

I forgot to mention Gotham – I’ll get around to that eventually, too.

§ May 15th, 2015 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot, television § 3 Comments

So, in short: the Supergirl TV show looks like it’ll be plenty enjoyable; the Legends of Tomorrow trailer finally gives me at its end something I’ve been waiting to see on Arrow all last season; the Avengers sequel has some entertaining bits and some awful bits and never really feels like it adds up to a whole movie, as well as giving us a climactic battle that feels like a palette swap of the previous movie’s conclusion – I liked it overall, but it’s not a patch on the first one; and Flash sure has been good, hasn’t it? No meandering about in that show’s throughline.

I still need to catch up on the Marvel side of TV things, and I still need to sit down and watch Constantine (yes, I know it’s cancelled, but it could live on, maybe!), but…it’s hard to grasp sometimes that there are almost more comic book related TV shows and movies than one can easily keep up with. All it took, I guess, were a couple of billion-dollar superhero films to get us from this to getting a telepathic supergenius gorilla on our flatscreens.

In other news:

“Moby Dick grinned at Ahab, but the smile did not reach his fierce and giant eyes.”

§ May 13th, 2015 § Filed under scans § 5 Comments

1. The beluga whale makes facial expressions, at the very least.

2. If you stare at the above panel for too long, it will drive you mad.

from The Three Mouseketeers #13 (January 1958)

In which Mike posts about DC Comics logos in the Year of Our Lord 2015.

§ May 11th, 2015 § Filed under dc comics § 9 Comments

So Reader Allan asked:

“I was browsing the DC Comics wikipedia page and realized today is the 10th anniversary of when DC announced the change of the DC Bullet logo to the DC Swirl and everyone lost their minds. Remember when that was a thing?”

Well, in fairness, folks with comics blogs at that particular moment in time lost their minds about just about anything, so what can you do? But yes, folks weren’t happy, but you know how we all are about anyone fiddling with our beloved superhero funnybooks.

At the time, ten years ago (and that I can refer back to something I posted on this site ten years ago puts some creaks in my joints, I’ll tell you what) I said:

“…A new DC logo? The heck? What was wrong with the old one? Okay, I guess we’ve had the DC Bullet for a while, and maybe we were due for a change…but all I can think when I look at this new logo is ‘boy, that’s going to have to be replaced in a few years.'”

And yeah, there was nothing wrong with the old bullet logo, really:

…aside from maybe being a little old-fashioned, which just won’t do when you’re a forward-thinking multimedia brand forging ahead into the 20th cen…er, 21st century. The replacement logo:

was a little fancier, and probably looked better in front of the cartoons and movies and whatnot…though, come to think of it, did that bullet logo ever get branded onto any of the cartoons or movies? I can’t really recall. Just imagine the DC Bullet spinning around here in place of the logo that replaced it:

I was right when I stated in that old post that they’d have to change the logo in a few years, because not much later we got this slightly more austere, if perhaps more professional “grown-up publisher” logo:

…which I’ve become used to, I suppose, which I’m sure comes as a great relief to DC Comics, Inc. I do like its use in the ending credits of the Arrow TV show, with all the arrows whizzing by:

But a part of me still misses this old logo:

I hope when the eventual direct-to-video Swamp Thing cartoon happens, that’s the one they’ll use.

Sluggo Saturday #126.

§ May 9th, 2015 § Filed under sluggo saturday § 1 Comment



from Nancy Dreams & Schemes (1990)

Don’t ask me, that’s how it showed up in the collection I bought.

§ May 6th, 2015 § Filed under found art § 7 Comments



§ May 4th, 2015 § Filed under free comic book day, sterling silver comics § 10 Comments

Turns out I was doing a lot of worrywarting about nothing, because my first Free Comic Book Day at my new shop turned out just fine. Sales goals I wanted to reach were reached and surpassed, lots of comics were given away, and lots of people came away from my shop very happy.

We stayed at the shop ’til about 11 PM the night before getting everything set up, so there wasn’t a whole lot of prep needed Saturday morning. I arrived at the shop about an hour before opening time, and there was already the beginnings of a line waiting outside, which I took as a good sign. As soon as I did open the doors, the store filled up fairly quickly, and the first picture on the page from yesterday’s post was taken just a couple of minutes after the day began. The first couple of hours were the busiest, with the store packed full of customers, though business generally remained steady throughout the day. The one time of the day there were no customers wasn’t until in the last hour we were open, and even then that only lasted for a couple of minutes before the next wave of folks hit.

So, I’d have to say, this was a very, very successful day. I have to admit, I had a few restless nights prior, worrying about how it was going to go, but it all worked out great.

As it turned out, my actual orders on the FCBD books were just about right. I probably could have ordered more of some titles, but for the most part the titles I thought would move more slowly and ordered less on did in fact move more slowly, and the ones I ordered tons of were grabbed by everybody, which was okay because, after all, I ordered tons of them. My big fear was that I would run out of everything and just have a stack of Secret Wars #0 at the end of the day — “Um, please help yourself to our one free comic” — but at the end I still had copies of about eight or nine titles on the tables, so latecomers still had a good selection of books to carry away. I do have leftovers, which is fine…those will work as in-store giveaways or donations to libraries, and stuff like Secret Wars #0 will still be in demand from customers for a while yet.

One thing I heard a lot during the day was several people telling me this was their first visit to the shop, so that was nice. I know a thing to do is to tour several shops in an area, seeing what each was offering for the big day, so folks who hadn’t been by before had extra incentive to stop in. Most of them seemed pretty pleased with my store, which was very satisfying. Plus, I heard from a handful of folks that this was their first time at a comic shop ever, so how ’bout that?

At one point pal Nat (who as I noted the other day, was there giving away copies of graphic novels he’d written, and whom you can see in the third photo) noted how it’s been said that comics shops had a dearth of women and children as clientele…and then gestured toward the customers who were in the store at that point. Customers who were almost entirely women and children.

Stopping by the shop was old pal Mathew Digges, late of Awesome Hospital, who dropped off a little bit of that comics-making fortune he’s acquired, as well as gifting me with a print copy of The Creep Crew which he’s doing with Dylan Todd and Pete Toms:

It’s pretty great. This is the kind of thing a Big Comics Publisher would pick up if they had any sense. You can (eventually) read more about it at

Um, let’s see…anything else? I did have to chase off one shirtless burnout on a bicycle rambling on and on about Hermann Hesse, of all things, who was bothering customers out in front of my shop who were trying to go through the bargain boxes I had placed there. He rode off, bravely mouthing off at me once he was across the parking lot. Eh, whatever, dude…I own a comic book store, so I win.

Oh, and yes, for those of you wondering: the local high school was having its prom that same day, thus explaining where those nattily-dressed youngsters in the last photo came from.

I also had my worries about customer flow through the store, since this was a much smaller space than what I was used to, and I had to move fixtures around to make space for FCBD tables. However, people had no problem getting around, and while it was crowded, there didn’t seem to be too many traffic jams in the store. I occasionally had some long-ish lines at the register but that never appeared to interfere with in-store movement.

I do wish I had taken a little more care in noting the original positions of my fixtures, because now that I’ve moved them back, I don’t think they’re in quite the previous places they were. I mean, we’re talking maybe inches off, if even that, but that’s enough to distract me. And by “distract me,” I don’t mean “drive me completely crazy,” why would you even think that. That’s not true at all. AT ALL.

So anyway, Free Comic Book Day was a huge success for me. I think I’ll do it again next year, I guess.

Thanks to all the customers who dropped by, and thanks to my girlfriend Nora, my dad, pal Nat, and pal Dorian for helping out. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Well, maybe I could have, but then that would be a picture of me real-dead at the top of this post, instead of fake-dead.


§ May 3rd, 2015 § Filed under free comic book day § 8 Comments

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