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Just a quick rundown of a couple of today’s new comics, since I’ve got to run like the bunny to the theatre tonight for that Spider-Man movie.
- Star Wars Tale #20 was probably the single best-selling issue of this series ever at the store…we only had a couple left by the end of the day. The reason? This is the all-indie creators issue! If a James Kochalka Boba Fett story, Jar Jar Binks stories by Peter Bagge and Tony Millionaire, and “Young Lando Calrissian” by Gilbert Hernandez don’t convince you to buy this comic, then truly there is no love in your heart. (Bagge drawing Jar Jar…never has there been a greater match of a cartoonist to a character.)
- Batman: Harley and Ivy #3 is probably the strongest issue of the three-issue series…a big Hollywood movie is being made of our favorite felonious damsels, and H & I decide that there’s big money to be made by taking over production of the film and skimming off its overblown budget. You’ll see the ending coming a mile away, but it’s still a lot of fun.
- Doom Patrol #1 is really sort of all over the place…I am a fan of John Byrne’s art, so I think it at least looks nice. The story…well, it would have been nice if it didn’t feel like “Part 7” of the JLA story this series spun out of, and the new Doom Patrol members don’t really do anything for me. Hopefully once we’re done with the whole vampire thing, we can get on to more interesting storylines. I really do like the new visual interpretation of Negative Man, however.
Also of note is the arrival of three more Free Comic Book Day comics…Slave Labor Stories #2 (with all new Milk ‘n’ Cheese, Street Ninja, and Dr. Radium strips, among others, plus an excerpt from the forthcoming Bill ‘n’ Ted collections that will make more sense in context, I promise), that Avatar Press thing I didn’t even get a chance to look at, and, a special surprise comic, Dungeons & Dragons: Crisis in Raimiton which is…um, fairly dire. It’s supposed to give you the flavor of what a Dungeons and Dragons game is like, with kids gathering around a table, rolling up characters, and going on an “adventure,” which is of course dramatized with drawings of stock fantasy characters running around in stone corridors fighting zombies and whatnot. Also, all the lettering (captions and dialogue) are just printed in white letters against colored backgrounds…not a caption box or word balloon to be found. Hoo boy.
Ack! Look at the time…I gotta run. Tomorrow I’ll let you know how Spider-Man 2 is…assuming I’m not in jail for beating the daylights out of some idiot talking on his cell phone during the movie. (Not that any jury would convict me.)
Plastic Man #49 (Nov 1954) – art by Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera
1. Hey, I beat Rich Johnston to the punch on the whole “Vanlentino” thing with my post last Friday. We both even used variations on the same “mistreating the former boss”-type jokey reference. (Yeah, I know, big deal.)
2. Over in Tony Isabella’s most recent column, Tony writes a nice tribute to this son that includes images of classic Superboy comics. (Two words: “iron booties.”)
3. I’m going to blatantly steal from Laura and post one of these things right here:
to remind those five of you reading this webpage who didn’t already know that free comics are to be had from your local friendly comic book retailer, unless of course you’re out of town since it’s the Fourth of July weekend
and all (darn you, Marvel!).
3a. Speaking of Free Comic Book Day, A Bunch of Baboons hasn’t shown up on our invoices yet…we received most of our books last week, and Slave Labor Stories and that Avatar book are coming in this week. We did order A Bunch of Baboons, but it may be this year’s “late to the FCBD party” book. If any of you folks out there get copies of this from your local store, please let me know.
4. Totally stolen from pal Andy: the Lines on Paper Cartoonist Business Card Gallery.
Public Enemies #2 (May-June 1948)
So let’s dip back into the innocent comic book adventures of yesteryear, and take a look at what the children were reading. Today’s reading selection:
Remember, it’s all true
, since names have been changed to protect the guilty. The story starts with Jeff telling his girlfriend Gail that, if they’re going to elope after their high school graduation, they’ll “have to pull that job tonight…game?” The job in question? Robbing a hotel clerk:
Well, the clerk puts up a fight…well, not much of a fight, actually all he does is say “you’re just a little girl!” Gail doesn’t care much for that, and shoots him anyway. She rifles through his desk, and finds only a couple hundred dollars. Suddenly, the bellboy rushes in:
Even though Gail is the only person in sight, and thus a suspect, the bellboy doesn’t stop her from leaving on the basis of her somewhat flimsy story. She dashes out to the car, where boyfriend Jeff was bravely waiting, and she tells him that she just had to kill a man. “I hope that bell boy forgets my face,” she says foreshadowingly. Jeff tells her not to worry, as they’ll be splitting this town after the sure-thing con job he’s got planned for tomorrow.
The next morning, Jeff sensitively inquires as to Gail’s well-being:
Gail then presents to Jeff copies of her graduation picture…”my mother had several taken of me,” again said foreshadowingly.
That night, Jeff and Gail, though presumably still underage, go to the Club 51 bar. A drunk fellow sitting at a table says a few lecherous words to Gail, and is punched out by Jeff for his troubles. Gail is aghast! She thinks Jeff is ruining the plan, but he says that punching that guy is actually necessary to the angle he’s working, which leads us to wonder just how much of the plan Jeff has let Gail in on. Or, more likely, it just implies that Jeff is making it up as it goes along.
Anyway, Jeff tells Gail to fake that she’s mad at him for starting a fight…and their fake argument results in Jeff making a big show out of abandoning her at the bar. “Here are the keys to your old man’s car…I’m leaving right now…alone!” “But I can’t drive!” wails Gail.
One of the bar patrons overhears this Oscar-winning exchange, and offers to take Gail home, to which she obviously agrees. Once in the car, and having driven some distance, Jeff pops up out the back seat and slugs the man over the head. Dragging the body out of the car, Gail and Jeff share this loving exchange:
The victim had eight hundred dollars on his person, and thus the apparent plan of killing a random barfly and finding a ton of money in his wallet is successful! “California here we come!” shouts Jeff, since California has no legal system or extradition laws or anything.
After this huge windfall, they decide to skip graduation altogether and head to Gail’s house to pick up her clothes…only to be met there by a gaggle of policemen! “You’re under arrest for murder,” exclaims the lead cop, a charge Gail decries as “ridiculous.” However, all that foreshadowing earlier in the story was not for naught:
As you can see, Gail immediately rats out Jeff, and Jeff returns the favor:
After a brief trial, Gail is sentenced to doing twenty years in the pokey. We don’t know what happened to Jeff, and neither does Gail, until a year later when a helpful and knowledgable prison guard gives her the “shocking” (har har) news:
And there you go…another all true
case from the Public Enemies
crime files, where the important moral lesson of criminals always paying for their transgressions comes after several pages of showing us just how glamourous and fun crime is.
As much as I’m looking forward to Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s new Vertigo mini-series WE3, I can’t help but think…is there really any new ground to cover in the cyborg-animal warrior genre that hasn’t already been expertly covered by the 1990 Marvel Comics mini-series Brute Force?
from Brute Force #1 (1990)
from WE3 #1 (2004)
(Blame pal Chris…he’s the one who first noticed the slight resemblance between the two series. Anyway, all you Brute Force
fans can Read More About It
over at Scott Shaw!’s Oddball Comics column
Felix’s Nephews Inky & Dinky #1 (Sept. 1957)
Well, isn’t that cute? Inky is making Felix literally
saw logs by holding up…um…hold on a second. What’s wrong with….
Oh, dear God! Inky is a thrice-pupilled freak! Aiieeee! Hide the children! Get the rakes and torches!
Actually, I wonder how that even happened…this isn’t a case of the previous owner of the comic drawing an extra eye on; it’s actually printed on the cover. Overstreet even notes it. I don’t know how it got by everyone at Harvey Comics…unless they purposely wanted to disturb America’s children.
As I’d mentioned earlier in the week, we’ve received our Free Comic Book Day swag this week…well, most of it, anyway, so hopefully the couple of titles that are still AWOL will arrive next Wednesday. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon sorting out the books and deciding what funnybooks go in what package — what we’ve done for the last FCBDs is divide the comics up into three different assortments intended for different age groups. We have an All Ages bag, a Teen bag, and an Adult bag, and we plant someone at a table by the front door to distribute these goodies to all interested parties. It’s worked fine so far.
I took a few home with me today, and pal Dorian took one of each home, so you can expect him to post a pretty thorough overview of the titles sometime next week, prior to the actual Free Comic Book Day event itself. Since he’s gonna do that, I’ll just make some brief notes:
- Okay, so Jim Valentino is no longer publisher of Image Comics — is that any reason to misspell his name on the Image freebie’s normalman back cover ad? (“Vanlentino.”)
- On the other hand, the Image book does have a new Invincible story, so that’s nice.
- The Sore Thumbs Election Special digest from Keenspot was a pleasant surprise…cute, and very entertaining, though probably not recommended for those of you who prefer Dennis Miller’s political humor over David Cross’.
- Wild About Comics! from About Comics is worth picking up just for the Licensable Bear story alone. (The rest of the book is pretty good, too.)
- Keenspot Spotlight 2004 is a nice package…digest-sized like the Sore Thumbs Election Special, and it’s 112 pages long with over a couple dozen different series represented. You’re bound to find something in here to enjoy. And heck, it’s free, don’t complain.
- James Kochalka (Superstar) is in two, count ’em, two FCBD comics this time around — Alternative Comics and Top Shelf Tales. His Peanut Butter and Jeremy comic was one of the break-out hits of FCBD past for us (Queen and Country and Courtney Crumrin being a couple others), so it’s nice to see him participate again.
So, here’s hoping the rest of our FCBD books show up next week…the Slave Labor Stories issue is being greatly looked forward to by our customers, and that’s one of the missing ones, so it better come in with our next shipment!
EDIT: Glad to see no one (as I post this, anyway) is trying to sell the new FCBD books on eBay (just the ones from previous years), but some people are trying to sell the FCBD Catwoman movie promo cards. Hmm.
1. Pal Ian has started his own comics weblog (it’s all the rage, you know) over at Brill Building. It’s small now, but treat it with love and soon it will blossom.
2. Everyone’s seen that redialogued Spider-Man comic strip page that Warren Ellis linked on his site, so I’m not even gonna link it, even though I think it’s really funny in an extremely rude sort of way. So there.
3. Speaking of dirty words, Ringwood is back! Go visit the poor lad and drive his traffic stats back up.
4. This is the greatest Shadow comic book ever published:
The Shadow #19 (Jan 1989) – art by Kyle Baker
…so of course it got cancelled too soon. I think it was something about the Shadow’s owners objecting to their character’s treatment…can’t see why.
Funnybooks, ahoy! I didn’t get a whole lot this week (unless you count the Simpsons Season 4 DVD set, which finally shipped from Diamond), but I did get the new issue of Flash, with a nice Michael Turner cover, for a change; Luba’s Comics & Stories #4 by Gilbert Hernandez…remember, Los Bros Hernandez = quality entertainment; The Stuff of Dreams #2 by one of my favorite cartoonists, Kim Deitch…more insane faux comic strip/Waldo/old film history as found via eBay; Superman #206 (I am enjoying it, but it’s paced even slower than a Brian Michael Bendis comic, if you can believe it); Hellblazer #197 (homeless amnesiac John Constantine finds himself in the clutches of a religous cult…hasn’t this happened in Hellblazer before?); and Batman Adventures #15 (a story that’s sympathetic to the villain, and doesn’t show Batman in much of a good light).
I’m also trying out The Gray Area…I like John Romita Jr.’s art, but usually he isn’t drawing anything I want to read. However, this story (about a policeman stuck in an afterlife limbo) seems like it might be interesting…I would have preferred that they lost the gratuitous sketchbook pages and the prestige squarebound format and dropped the price a couple bucks, but What Can You Do? (Yeah, yeah, I know, “not buy it.”)
Also bought Mark Evanier‘s latest collection of essays, Superheroes in My Pants — illustrated as usual by the always excellent Sergio Aragones. There’s a lot of space devoted to the late Julius Schwartz, which is understandable. I’m a big fan of Evanier’s writing…light and enjoyable and very informative…so I’m looking forward to this book.
In other news:
Totally stolen from pal Reid: a comic strip adaptation of Douglas Adams’ first Dirk Gently novel. Enjoy it before the lawyers find out!
Pointed out to me today by pal Dorian: an object of pure horror.
Only a couple days left to send in your entries to The Street Angel Squid Contest. Get crackin’ there, Sparky!
EDIT: Forgot to mention that the Alan Moore action figure came out today.
My weblog had the highest amount of traffic ever over the last week…thanks to all you readers out there! I’ve come a long way from ten hits a day, half of which were me.
Anyway…I forget who linked to this first (I think I found it over at Fanboy Rampage), but John Byrne is posting a page a day from You Go, Ghoul on his site…the title is absolutely shameless, but the comic itself is pretty amusing. Warning: takes a while to load, even if you have that newfangled DSL-type connection.
Tomorrow we’ll be receiving our Free Comic Book Day stock…that’ll be a lot of funnybooks, given that we’re carrying every single darn free item that’s gonna be available. I hope next year if Marvel pitches a fit about the timing of FCBD, every other participating publisher tells them to take a hike. It’s not like Marvel’s free comic is ever all that good anyway. Like pal Dorian said, we had an awful lot of people ask about FCBD back in May…not so many now, even with the huge FCBD logo painted in the window.
Also, he said with no transitional flow whatsoever, I’ve added a couple new links to the weblogroll over there. Two of them I blatantly stole from Cognitive Dissonance — The Comic Queen and Precocious Curmudgeon — and another is the oft-mentioned pal Corey, who can be found at Captain Corey. And then there’s Thrillmer, an adventure strip weblog that I was pointed to by my Great White Northern twin, Flat Earth.
And, then, suddenly, this:
Lawbreakers Suspense Stories #15 (1953)
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