…Dino #10 (June 1975):
Wow, there’s like room for almost another cover in there. Wonder what happened…artist drew pic at the wrong dimensions? Didn’t want to lose the mini-Dino insert at the edge of the cover (necessary for easy rack identification if comics were overlapped on newsstands)? Given that it was Charlton, just plain nobody cared? Who knows? But it certainly grabbed my attention, so that cover definitely did its job and who am I to question it?
In other news:
- The latest “Nobody’s Favorite” from pal Andrew is a comic you haven’t thought of in years.
- BobH has been presenting a lot of old Comic Reader covers on his Twitter feed of late…lot of great but forgotten pieces on those old ‘zines.
- Oh crud, I missed Ambush Bug’s birthday, but Bully the Little Birthday-Rememberin’ Bull didn’t forget!
So reader Jon asked the other day:
“…Is your store participating in Free Comic Book Day?”
…And the answer is “yes indeedy,” my store (being Sterling Silver Comics, located in the still-beating heart of Camarillo, CA) will certainly be participating in Free Comic Book Day. I’ve been involved in every Free Comic Book Day since it started being a thing, and I’m not going to let a little thing like quitting a job I held for a decade or nine and opening up a brand new store in another town get in the way of my putting gratis funnybooks into the beckoning hands of a demanding public!
Self-promotion aside, I do have minor concerns about my debut FCBD at my shop, primarily about how much FCBD stock will be needed. At the old job, after several years of providing FCBD for that customer base, I knew just about how much I needed of everything. At the new store, well…I am less confident about how much I needed to order. Basically, I more or less based my orders on the amount of in-store traffic I get at my shop now versus the traffic I would get at the other shop. “I do about this much business at this location, which is a certain percentage of that business I would get at the other store, so I’ll order about that percentage on the FCBD comics.” …Well, that wasn’t exactly my strategy, but that was one tack I pursued in the ordering process.
“Just order thousands of everything, Mike!” Well, sure, that’s be nice, but as has been stated far and wide in the past, not just by me…the comics aren’t free to retailers. At the piece by piece price, it doesn’t seem too expensive, but when you get the entire bunch billed to you on the same invoice, particularly when you’re inclined to go as big as you can, the cost can be quite the eye-opener. There are only so much resources to go around, especially since retailers are getting their regular weekly shipments in the meantime. And for a small store like me, just starting out…even with coming up on 30 years of experience in this industry, busting the budget ain’t a smart thing to do at this point in time.
Now, it’s not as bad as all that…I got a sizable order in of the “free” books, and both preplanning and some dumb luck managed to get them in on an invoice that wasn’t too out of line with my usual invoice costs…and I’ve been bulking up on some titles with later, smaller reorders, the cost of which not even being a patch on that initial FCBD total. Ultimately, I should have plenty of comics to go around. Maybe. I hope.
I’ve done a little advertising for Free Comic Book Day, along with some posters in some strategic locations directing folks to me on that special day, so we’ll see if that gets more people in my doors. Plus, there is no telling the unpredictable pull of the word “FREE” and how many more folks will be lured in by that magic promise. I very much expect this to be quite the learning experience…I doubt I nailed the exact number of books I’m going to need on the very first try, here. At the very least, it should give be a baseline for next time.
Also, I should mention that pal Nat is going to be present at the shop that day as well, giving away and signing Licensable Bear and The Factor trade paperbacks, which is quite swell of him. My dad, my girlfriend, and even pal Dorian will be helping out for Free Comic Book Day, too, so even if nobody shows up, at least I won’t be lonely.
But do show up! I’ll be glad to see you and give you free comics!
So this week, I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in regards to my comic collecting hobby.
…I decided not to buy some comics that featured Swamp Thing cameos.
Yes, yes, I know, I was shocked, too. Somehow or another, my Swamp Thing Sense™ began tingling as I was unboxing the week’s comics shipment, causing me to glance through this week’s batch of DC’s “Convergence” event. And, sure enough, the majority of Convergence installments this week did feature a tiny spot drawing of Swampy and a lady friend (more on that in a moment). The gimmick was that as the Bad Guy of the event was explaining the crossover’s premise to the the folks involves, you saw little portals into the various multiversal cities drawn into the event. And in each issue that pictured this array of windows, one of the portals contained an image that looked a little something like this:
That was from the Supergirl: Matrix issue, where it’s very clearly Abby standing there next to Swampy.
As opposed to this pic from the Aquaman installment:
…where that definitely isn’t Abby, or this one from Superman: Man of Steel:
…where that could be Abby, maybe, in poor lighting.
Now, given the premise of the series, it could be that the portals are presenting various versions of Swampy and a lady-pal from multiple universes, but…well, the only issue from this week’s Convergence tie-ins I was planning on getting for myself was the Green Lantern: Parallax one, and I think that’s going to have to be the representative illustration of this particular sequence for me. I was tempted to grab one of each of the tie-ins that had Swampy in it, but realized that I was going to need those copies for the shelf for my customers, rather than just hoarding them all in my own collection. So, there we go, an actual grown-up decision made for the benefit of the business rather than my own fanboyish need for completeness.
That’s not to say I won’t be getting both covers of each issue of the forthcoming Convergence: Swamp Thing mini-series. I mean, c’mon, let’s be serious here.
My earliest experience with Herb Trimpe’s work, at least as far as I was aware, was this issue of Marvel Super-Heroes #100. I was mostly a DC kid at the time, but I also liked buying extra-sized anniversary issues, which this was. The artwork was a lot more…grainy and lumpy and odd-looking compared to the seemingly more polished DC Comics I was reading, partially because of John Severin’s inking (a name I did know thanks to his work in Cracked). That’s not meant to be a negative description…the comic certainly captured my interest.
I became more familiar with his work as time went by, particularly after my entrance into comics retail. He was a good and dependable artist who worked on Hulk comics far longer than I’d realized, including the first appearance of Wolverine, and lived quite the eventful life even after mostly leaving the comics industry. (If you follow any link here, read that last one.)
Of interest to folks who may recall Trimpe’s ’90s work is this entry in Brian Cronin’s “Comic Book Legends Revealed” column, which Brian wrote directly in response to my long-held belief that Trimbe was asked to change his classic art style to one more closely emulating the then-popular “Image Comics” style. Read that article to hear the truth of the matter straight from the Trimpe’s mouth. (HINT: I may have been incorrect.)
So long, Herb.
So the big hoohar over the last couple of days is the new Daredevil TV series, all thirteen episodes of which were unleashed on Friday and, apparently, everyone on the planet except yours truly somehow managed to burn through every one in the first couple of hours they were available.
Okay, perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but while I was workin’ hard for the money at my store (that would be Sterling Silver Comics, located in the shining heart of Camarillo, CA), all the rest of youse guys were relaxing in your easy chairs, a cool drink in one hand and probably another cool drink in your other hand, using your toesies on your smartphones to Twitter and Facebook at your pals to let them know what episode you’re on and to spoil the shocking cameo appearances of Odin and Squirrel Girl in the last episode.
Phooey sez I. I’m going to spoil the end of Frank Miller’s Spirit movie, and see how you like it! (And I know it’ll be a spoiler, because none of you had the good sense to experience this masterpiece.)
…Ah, okay, I’m not as bent out of shape about it as all that. Some of y’all are all excitable-like about this Daredevil show, which has turned out to be pretty good, so I can’t blame you for your enthusiasm. I’m only through episode 4, but this is shaping up to be an interesting, if surprisingly violent (for a Marvel product) program. I saw one of my Twitter pals describe it (or retweet someone describing it) as a 13-hour superhero movie, which I’m sure is certainly the effect generated by grinding through every episode one after another. I’m experiencing it with long-ish intermissions, but I suspect I’ll have a similar opinion by the end.
At the very least, it’s likely better than whatever the end product of that other Daredevil show might have been, as seen in this PROGRESSIVE RUIN FLASHBACK! Though, on second thought, that show could have been fantastic in its own right.
In other news: sorry about the Low Content Mode lately…turns out working a shop (that shop being Sterling Silver Comics, still located in the still-shining heart of Camarillo, CA) by yourself seven days a week can take a lot out of you, so I haven’t had a lot of energy to generate content here. I’m not going away…as I promised you all a while back, barring my surprising demise in a shocking deep sea diving accident, I will give you advance warning if I’m shutting down the blog. Which, by the way, I have no intention of doing. I’m just letting the batteries recharge a bit.
You can usually find me annoying anyone who made the mistake of following me on Twitter, so feel free to check in on me there if you somehow believe I’m more tolerable in smaller doses. But I promise, I’ll still be here on this site doing whatever it is I think I’m doing. Thanks to all of you for still reading.
So in the same collection where I received those Shadow toys I was talking about the other day, I found one of these:
…and I was surprised to discover that this figure, originally issued in 1991, still has a working battery that allows it to “talk,” as per this video someone else made of their own still-talking Venom figure:
But even more amazing was what pal Dave did to my pic of said figure after I put it on the Twitters:
Oh, my pals and I do have fun on the Internet.
Well, there‘s a title I wasn’t expecting to use again, as I’m no longer working at the shop with the end-of-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-esque warehouse, and am instead at the new shop with a couple of mostly barren storerooms, save for some long boxes of comics, a workbench, a refrigerator, my sit-down cabinet version of the Discs of Tron arcade game, and some leftover scrap wood from table construction. (NOTE: one of those items may not actually be in my back room.)
But, as it turns out, one of my old customers from my previous place of employment is moving away, and he contacted me about perhaps taking in a few items to sell on consignment for him just so that he didn’t have haul them along with him. And, since I like money, I said “sure!” and now, suddenly, I have a backroom of toys and statues and such for me to either price up and place in the shop, or to put on the eBays.
It’s going to take me a little while to process everything, since Sterling Silver Comics is still more or less a one man show for the moment, but I’ve already moved a few goodies, so I’m making progress. And, going through the boxes, I found several figures from this particular series:
Now, with doing no Googling on this whatsoever, I’m guessing these were released, in 1994, to take advantage of the Shadow movie starring Alec Baldwin out that same year, even though absolutely no mention is made of the film on the packaging. Alas, the film’s middling performance didn’t inspire an outbreak of Shadow-mania (though I kinda liked it) and, I’m guessing, the toyline didn’t sell like gangbusters either. In fact, I don’t know that I ever saw them on display at any of our local toy emporiums, and in the mid-1990s I was still regularly checking out the local action figure shelves. A peek at eBay shows that they seem to be readily available and mostly inexpensive unless sold in bulk, and since I seem to have a bulk of them here, that’s probably how I’m getting rid of them.
They’re not bad-looking figures, and a couple of the figures with the Shadow in full regalia have a feature where a light shining through the translucent top of the hat causes the Shadow’s eyes to glow (the same trick used in the modern Jawa action figures). Now this figure in particular that I have pictured here is all-translucent, so he has little painted-on red eyes instead. And, if you wanted him completely invisible, the instructions tell you to strip Mr. Cranston nekkid:
NOTE: invisibility only “pretend,” otherwise the company could just have just sold you an empty box, I guess.
Unfortunately it’s a few years to late to mail away for the hologram ring:
…but you can see a couple examples on eBay, like this one. Since eBay links die after a few months, I saved one of the pics here for posterity:
Looks about how I figured.
Anyway: Shadow figures – trying very hard to not keep them for myself. Also trying not to go on eBay and buy any of these still relatively-cheap and completely awesome vehicles:
“Who knows what uncomfortable pain lurks in the backs of men?” The Shadow knows, after riding that Nightmist cycle. Sheesh.
from DC Comics Presents #53 (“Superman in the House of Mystery,” January 1983) by Dan Mishkin, Curt Swan and Tony DeZuniga
So it has been pointed out to me on my site and elsewhere that DC Comics does appear to be planning a reprint volume of the very Doctor Fate comics I was dead certain would not be reprinted any time soon.
According to the Amazon listing:
“Collects 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #9, stories from THE FLASH #306-313, THE IMMORTAL DOCTOR FATE #1-3, DR. FATE #1-4 and DC CHALLENGE #11.”
…which is kind of a weird way to put it, since The Immortal Doctor Fate is a reprint series that features the stories from 1st Issue Special #9 and The Flash #306-313. …Unless it’s also featuring the other stories reprinted in IDF #1 (a retelling of the origin from DC Special Series #10, and a Golden Age story from More Fun #56), in which case why not say “collects all that other stuff and DC Special Series #10 and More Fun #56″ and leave out mentioning Immortal Doctor Fate altogether. Or maybe the book is reprinting the covers from Immortal Doctor Fate, which, as far as I know, were new to that particular series.
Oh, hey, let Webster’s know that I’ve got a new definition of “nitpicking” for them. Thanks.
Anyway, including the four-issue Dr. Fate mini feels just a little odd…on one hand not too odd since it does feature the art of Keith Giffen, who drew all those Flash back-ups also reprinted in the book. On the other hand, it is a bit odd since it’s very much a transitional series, doing away with the decades-old version of Dr. Fate that most of the book is covering, and establishing a new status quo for the character. It feels like it would fit more as a prologue piece to a second Doctor Fate trade, as the monthly series that followed directly spins off from that mini. Instead they could have reprinted a couple of those Superman/Dr. Fate team-ups (from World’s Finest and DC Comics Presents, and I’m sure there are one or two appearance here and there that could have been squeezed in as well.
But they didn’t ask me, and frankly I’ll be surprised if there is a second Dr. Fate reprint volume, though I’m too busy eating this remarkably tasty Glengarry bonnet to vociferously deny its possibility. I’m glad that any kind of reprint is in the offing, even if my preference is to get more stuff that only exists on crummy, decaying newsprint represented on nice white paper with modern printing, like those Superman team-ups I mentioned, since the rest of that Dr. Fate material has already made it into a longer-lasting format.
The one really oddball thing about the book is, as reader BobH mentioned, the inclusion of some of Giffen’s Dr. Fate pages from DC Challenge, which must only be included here for completeness’s sake. In brief, for those who may not recall, DC Challenge was a round-robin mini-series, where random creative teams were assigned to each issue (after an initial installment by prime instigator of the series Mark Evanier), who were to resolve cliffhangers left for them by the creators of the previous issue, while setting up more difficult situations for the next creators to deal with, and simultaneously attempting to push along whatever was passing for the plot. You can read more details at the Wiki entry, and I’d posted a couple of panels from the series a while back.
The whole thing was kind of a glorious mess, entertaining almost despite itself, and definitely outside of whatever was passing for regular DC Universe continuity at the time. I’d love to have this as a full trade paperback, which likely would sell about 10 copies, but it would be nice to remind people that the series exists. It was a fun book that brought in characters from all over the DC Universe and mixed ‘em all up into a crazy jumble, not for “changing DC Comics and nothing will ever be the same” Big Event Stuff, but just for the heck of it. We don’t get enough of that kind of thing any more.
Um, oh, yeah. There’s actually a Doctor Fate reprint book coming out. Pretty crazy, right? It’s full of good comics, so if you haven’t read the material before, here’s your chance. And it’s nice to be surprised by what DC will put into trade…there may be hope for that DC Challenge collection yet.