You are currently browsing the archives for January, 2005

§ January 31st, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

You know what I miss? DC Digests…I had occassion to dig them out of the vast Mikester Comic Archives recently, and seeing them again reminded me of what a huge loss it is to not have inexpensive, widely-available reprints of this sort anymore. (Please excuse the condition of some of the digests presented here…I took absolutely no care of them whatsoever…heck, I was 10 or so years old at the time, and I was more concerned with reading them than preserving them for future resale value…which is only right, of course. As someone who now sells funnybooks for living, though, I can’t help but wince a bit when I see them!)

Before we had trade paperbacks collecting every six issues of a comic’s run, whether they needed compiling or not, we had the digests. Best of DC Digest #9 (February 1981) reprints the “Batman – Murderer” storyline by Len Wein and Jim Aparo, predating the interminable “Bruce Wayne – Fugitive” (or whatever) storyline by about three decades. This was a story that ran through several issues, sort of a rarity at the time, so it was nice to get the whole series under one cover. Also, new to this digest: a floorplan and legend to the Wayne Foundation Building (featuring all the secret passageways and hidden Bat-rooms).

The only frustrating thing about the digest format is something that’s come up now that I have a website…it’s a lot harder to scan choice panels out of them! For example, the Best of DC Digest #16 (September 1981) reprints “The Trial of Superman,” in which the Man of Steel is on trial for the murder of Clark Kent. Attention is paid to the trouble in finding an impartial jury…but once the trial starts, a scene takes place in the jury room in which one of the jurors reveals why her decision is so difficult: apparently Superman once saved her baby from certain death. This is the impartial jury?

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #13 (September 1981) reprints, among the various sci-fi/fantasy oriented Strange Sports Stories (some ’60s classics and some newer ’70s adventures) the “classic” superheroes versus supervillains baseball game story “The Great Super-Star Game!” If there’s a stranger splash page than Superman pitching a baseball, with the Joker up to bat, I’m not sure I’ve seen it. A welcome addition to the digest is an essay by Bob Rozakis on how he wrote the story (by creating the twists and turns of the game in the story by playing a baseball-themed playing card game).

Best of DC Digest #14 (July 1981) showcases five of Batman’s most famous villains, in a series of stories reprinted from the 1970s. New to the digest were one page origins of each villain…and, if memory serves, the origin page for the Penquin featured information heretofore unknown. (I think I remember reading that this was the case…correct me if I’m wrong!) There’s also a new two-page spread featuring 24 Batman villains drawn by Denys Cowan and Dick Giordano…”Can you identify them,” asks the caption, and, sadly, I can.

This is exactly the kind of thing I wish I had at the store to sell to kids…an inexpensive book featuring Batman’s bad guys. I could sell tons of these now.

Best of DC Digest #8 (Dec 1980) was the very first DC Digest I ever bought, featuring Superman in alternate identities (such as a genie, or a butler, or a hobo). The lead story is “The Day Superman Became the Flash,” retitled for reprinting as “The Five Other Identities of Superman” (probably because there’s another story in the digest where Superman also becomes the Flash, and this first story is more about Superman taking on identities duplicating some of his fellow Justice League members).

For some reason, the back cover has, among pictures of Supes’ various guises, this image:

…an identity that appears nowhere in the digest, unfortunately.

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #10 (June 1981) just makes me wish DC would get around to releasing manga-formatted reprints of Mike Grell’s Warlord series. You’d think with Conan doing so well at the moment in the comics market, DC would want to try to exploit it. Plus, these early Warlords still hold up after all these years. Lots of fun!

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #14 (October 1981) has a great Joe Kubert cover, on top of collection of DC’s ’60s sci-fi comics that, alas, are rarely seen nowadays. It’s not completely superhero-free, as an Adam Strange story is thrown into the mix, but who’s going to complain about Adam Strange, you know?

Ah, the Year’s Best Comics Stories digest (this one being Best of DC #52 (Sept 1984)) – in which the editors of DC got together and voted for what they believed were the top comics the company released over the previous year. This was a good way to expose readers to comics they may have overlooked…along with the New Teen Titans and Batman stories were “The Death of Blackhawk Island” by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle, and the first Amethyst story “Birthright” by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, and Ernie Colon. Also included was “Stopover in A Place of Secret Truths,” Marty Pasko’s Swamp Thing story that introduced Steve Bissette and John Totleben as Swampy’s regular art team.

Favorite part of the digest…this detail from the back cover drawn by Paris Cullins and Dick Giordano:

§ January 30th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

1. Jimmy did what now?

2. How sad is it that I remember the Silver Surfer issue Zippy is referencing? (If only I could say the same for the Little Iodine one.)

§ January 30th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

Keeping it short today…haven’t I posted enough this last week?

1. Diamond Comics has posted a PDF file of the pages missing from some copies of Previews…so I guess that means someone somewhere also got some bunk catalogs. You see, I’m not crazy, I’m not! However, it’s posted on the retailers-only Diamond site, so if you can’t get a replacement copy of the actual publication, bug your local retailer for that file.

2. Am I the only person who got a Crisis on Infinite Earths vibe from the most recent episode of Justice League Unlimited? Okay, actually, I just put in that TV Tome link before reading it…and yeah, they pick up on the Crisis thing, too. It’s kind of hard not to, with the different time periods being crammed together, and the big white wall of “nothingness” destroying the world…good times, good times. Another nice touch was the reference to the old Green Lantern “giant hand holding the swirling stars at the beginning of time” bit of business. That’s right up there on my list of things I never expected to see animated.

The defeat of the villain was pulled out of nowhere (Batman (paraphrasing): “There…I just wrote a program that will reverse the effects of Chronos’ time belt.” Um, right), but the interaction of the Batman Beyond-era Bruce Wayne with the present-day Batman was a lot of fun…particularly in the contrast of methods used in extracting information from a perp. Batman just gets nastier in his old age, as we’ve all expected.

Plus, there’s a cameo by a certain other Green Lantern that should make pal Corey very happy.

3. Oops…Tom reminds me that it’s Jay Kennedy, not Jay Kinney like I said yesterday, who’s responsible for the old underground price guide. I even regularly refer to our copy of that guide, so I should have known better…I just have a blind spot regarding those names, I guess.

§ January 29th, 2005 § Filed under watchmen Comments Off on

The Beat is reporting that there has been some forward movement on the Watchmen movie adaptation front.

Oh, well, just when I got accustomed to the perennial sales of the Watchmen trade paperback. I expect it’ll go the same way as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen did: 1) the graphic novel sells great; 2) GN sales peak just before the movie comes out; 3) movie comes out, and it sucks more than a really sucky thing; 4) GN sales plummet, and now we can’t give it away.

I know I’m jumping the gun a little, and for all I know this Watchmen movie will be the Greatest Thing Ever, but, well, I’m not holding my breath.

Wow, this is incredibly depressing: Mark Evanier reports that Captain Sticky has died! I used to see Captain Sticky turn up on TV all the time when I was a kid…and like Mark says, the good Captain actually did fight for justice! I didn’t know C.S. had pursued a comic license through Marvel Comics, but there was a small press Captain Sticky comic…if memory serves, it’s listed in Jay Kinney’s underground price guide.

EDIT (1/31): It’s Jay Kennedy, not Kinney. More here.

Attention parents: I’m sorry if my having to repeatedly (and politely, might I add) tell your unsupervised child to not sit on the floor and read the comics caused your precious little angel to seek you out and “cry” (actually, put on an act for your benefit). I’m also sorry that I don’t believe you when you tell me that my horrible actions just cost our store “a lot of money” because your theoretical Yu-Gi-Oh card game club is now not going to come here (i.e. you’re now not going to use our store as a free day care service). And I’m sorry if I just look at you in disbelief as you point at someone in the store and tell me “but you’re letting him read!” – and the person you’re pointing at clearly isn’t reading.

I’m also sorry that I’ve been at this long enough to know the difference between “browsing” and “reading with no darn intention of spending any money, ever.”

I’m sorry that we can’t keep a comic store open by letting people read all the comics they want but not buy any of them. Yes, I know big chain bookstores do it…they can afford it, “mom ‘n’ pop” stores can’t.

I’m sorry I’m still irritated by this. I don’t like to be irritated. I like to get along with everyone. I like it when kids come in for comics (and we had quite a few today, actually accompanied by parents)…but I can’t let the store become a babysitting service. No way.

On a happier note…about two years ago, I somehow managed to lose an autographed copy of They Might Be Giants’ Mink Car album that I received for being a member of Emusic. I believed that I lost it at the store, or that it had been misplaced while I was moving from an apartment into a house at the time. But, as I was in the store’s back room looking for copies of the Elementals Sex Special #3 (don’t ask), there it was, in a plastic bag on a metal shelf behind some storage boxes. Reunited, and yes, it feels so good.

The greatest comic book title of all time.

§ January 29th, 2005 § Filed under indies Comments Off on The greatest comic book title of all time.

Gantar – The Last Nabu #1 (December 1986) – art by John A. Peck

§ January 28th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

Our current window painting, courtesy the mighty Randy Martinez. So we like having silly things in the window, what’s it to ya?

How not to ask us to buy your comics, via a phone call:

1. Have no idea what you have.

2. Refuse to make and send a list.

3. Live several states away from us.

4. Demand thousands of dollars for your collection, sight unseen.

Reminder: check your copy of Previews, which came out this week, for printing errors…in particular, see if it’s missing any pages between 250 and 300, or if any pages are duplicated. A couple people have responded to this post with reports that their copies are fine. However, unless we just happened to get every misprinted copy, chances are there are more out there.

Your “someone dressed as a superhero at a political protest rally” picture of the day (five down).

NOTICE: Incomplete Previews!

§ January 27th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on NOTICE: Incomplete Previews!

Pal Dorian noted that his copy of Previews was missing about 30 pages (around pages 256 to 290), with some pages duplicated. Well, as it turns out, nearly all of our copies have this problem…we ended up with only three that were complete.

I don’t know how widespread this problem is, if it’s just a west coast thing, or if our store was just the lucky one…but if you’re a Previews reader, check your copy!

Didn’t we just get new comics last week?

§ January 27th, 2005 § Filed under this week's comics Comments Off on Didn’t we just get new comics last week?

Yup, it’s the inevitable new comics day post. SPOILERS ahead…I mean it this time. Especially in the Fantastic Four bit.

The Simpsons/Futurama Crossover Crisis II is a perfect follow-up to the previous series from a couple years ago…it picks up right where the previous series leaves off, with the Simpsons invading the Futurama world. The reference to Frink’s “thick Canadian accent” kills me.

Planetary #22 has one of those covers that looks like it’s been weathered and beaten to pieces, and even though I know it’s just printed to look like that, I will do a double-take every time I see it for, most likely, the rest of my life. How do I know this? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #15, that’s why. Anyway, another fine issue, this time taking on the Lone Ranger (complete with a reference to the Ranger’s relationship to the Green Hornet).

Fantastic Four #522 – I’m totally spoiling the ending here, so skip ahead if you don’t want to know. Really. I mean it. Okay, you asked for it…now, pal Dorian groaned when he read the preview copy of this last week, but you know, I got a kick out of it, and I can’t wait to see how the next issue wraps things up. Basically, though the shenanigans in this issue, Johnny figures out a way to strip Galactus of his powers (based on the methods used to switch his powers with his sister)…leaving us with a powerless Galen at the end of the ish. Okay, I know we’ve seen this kind of story in comics and science fiction before, where a an extremely powerful (or just inhuman) being is reduced to mere humanity (cough cough Secret Wars II cough), but as a longtime Galactus fan this has me anticipating the last part of the storyline something fierce. (Yes, I have an empty life, why do you ask?)

WE3 #3 – Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s strangely affecting story about cyborg-animal weapons comes to its conclusion…it wouldn’t say it’s an entirely happy ending, as Dorian suggested to me yesterday, but it’s a tad bittersweet. I’m not sure how a sequel would come together, but I’d love to see one…three issues just didn’t seem enough.

JSA: Strange Adventures #6 – well, it’s over, and probably largely unnecessary, aside from getting to see the original Justice Society back in action again. However, any comic that can work in this line of dialogue:

“What have you done, Jack Williamson? Did you betray Lord Dynamo’s plans to the Justice Society?”

is okay by me. Plus it’s always fun to see Johnny Thunder get his due.

Lessee, what else…Luba #10 (the end of the series…a few nice call-backs to Poison River in here), Flash #218 (the Heat Wave life story…you know, these Rogues Gallery-focused issues sure cast some of the original Barry Allen Flash stories in a new light), and Legion of Super-Heroes #2 (okay, but hasn’t convinced me a reboot was needed).

We also got a letter from Dave Sim, announcing a price increase on the Cerebus trades…how long do you think it’ll be before we see a Tales of Cerebus series, with stories from various periods of Cerebus’ life? Oh, and the letter is hand-signed by Sim, so I fully expect someone to put it on the eBay. (Not me…I’m not that much of a jerk.)

And the new Wizard (we got a double-order of one cover instead of receiving both covers, for some reason) has a preview of Mark Millar’s run on Ultimate Fantastic Four. The preview reveals an upcoming storyline in which Reed finds an “alternate universe” or some such thing during a visit to the Negative Zone – a universe where Reed and Sue are older, married, and have two kids. Basically, the article implies that “Ultimate” Reed has found the regular Marvel Universe. Now, I am fully expecting an Ultimate Universe/Marvel Universe crossover at some point in the future (probably when they decide to do away with one or the other), but I’m thinking this isn’t going to be it. I’m expecting the “alternate” FF to be interdimensional monsters in disguise, or something similar.

The first volume of the Scholastic Books color Bone volumes came out this week…I’m not sure how I feel about them. The color is nice, though the pages do have a slight “scanned and Photoshopped” feel to them, and it’s hard to beat $9.99 for the package. I’m tempted by it, if only because of some of the minor art changes between the comics and the collections, and because the spine on that complete Bone volume, while appearing to be fairly solid now, seems like it won’t survive the test of time.

And, those of you who decided to order your copy of the Simpsons Season 5 DVD set through your comic shop, like I did…it’s out finally.

§ January 26th, 2005 § Filed under End of Civilization § 2 Comments

So I finally get my hands on the new Previews catalog, and while looking through the back pages, I spot the above item. It’s the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Slayer’s Stake Prop Replica, hand-carved from real wood, with a satin-lined case and engraved plaque, for only $99.99. So help me, if I find out that you’ve bought this, I’m going to go to your house and punch you.*

Also available in this month’s Previews are the Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy Vogon Desk Set Movie Prop Replicas. You can get a Vogon Mug, a Vogon Pen & Stand, or a Vogon Stapler, for a mere $49.99 apiece. I’m not 100% certain that these are functional items…well, I suppose the Vogon Mug would have to be, unless it’s actually a solid block of material with no space to pour liquid into. However, even if they aren’t functional, the solicitation info states that “office supplies make for lively flashbacks” — to the movie, presumably.

While these are mighty contenders for the title of Nerdiest Object Ever, this item, previously discussed, is still the reigning champion.

* Yeah, I know, I’m a fine one to talk.

§ January 26th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

from Misery Is A Blind Date (1967) by Johnny Carson* & Whitney Darrow Jr.

(cover at the end of the post here, and, like I’ve noted before, Will Pfeifer has the cover of Carson & Darrow’s other book here)

* The small print inside the book reads “special thanks to Walter Kempley and Edwin Weinberger for their contributions to the text of this book.”

« Older Entries