You are currently browsing the archives for March, 2006

Dear Marvel trading cards…

§ March 31st, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off


…I hate you.

Love, Mike

EDIT: P.S. But you’ve made me love you again with Punisher Scratch ‘n’ Sniff cards:


If you scratch the cloud of smoke, it smells like…well, like a bunch of chemicals that have soaked into a piece of cardboard, but bless your little heart anyway.

In which Mike is a big jerk.

§ March 31st, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

Things I never hear at the store:

“Is the new Youngblood out yet?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, it’s very rude for me to talk on my cell phone the entire time you’re trying to complete a transaction with me. Let me end my call so that we may conclude our business without distraction.”

“Does this ‘My Other Hard Drive Is The Millennium Falcon’* t-shirt look good on me?”

“Wow, I wasn’t expecting the new issue of Ultimates to be out so soon!”

“My young daughter is sure to love this new issue of Supergirl.”

“Mr. Sterling, put down the shotgun and broken wine bottle…we have the store surrounded.”

“Just look for the Comics Code Authority stamp, Little Billy…those are the comics that are appropriate for you.”

“$2.99? Well, considering the lower print runs and increased paper costs, not to mention the need to provide every person involved in the production and distribution process with a living wage, that’s actually quite a reasonable price for a comic book, and I’m glad to pay it.”

“‘Giant-Size Man-Thing?’ What’s so funny about that?”

“Hey, that last issue of Uncanny X-Men was really good!”

“I’d like to sell this old comic I have here…it’s kinda beat up, I think it’s pretty common, and, come to think of it, it’s really not all that old…a year or two at most. Actually, I’m sure it’s not worth anything….sorry to waste your time.”

“You know what I wish? I wish there was yet another new ongoing monthly Spider-Man title. A half-dozen just isn’t enough, frankly.”

“I was going to ask you to put this comic behind the counter for me so that I can come back to buy it later today, but, let’s face it, I’m going to get distracted and forget to return for it, so I might as well just leave it on the shelf.”

“Hey, Ian, you’re sober!”

“Do you have any other female-empowering comics, like Victoria’s Secret Service?”

“You know what I’d just love? If you secretly noted every stupid thing I say and post it later on your weblog. That’d be fantastic.”


My embarrassing moment of the day: asking one of our customers if he wanted the latest Spike one-shot, forgetting that he reads this site and finding out that he remembers my negative review of same. Um, heh. (You’re a trooper, Corey!)


The mighty Booksteve digs out a 20-year-old Swamp Thing fanzine cartoon for all to enjoy. Well done, sir.


Happy anniversary to Dave’s Long Box, you magnificent son of a bitch.

* Thanks to Employee Nathan for coming up with this mindbender. I don’t know what it means, either.

New comic book day…

§ March 30th, 2006 § Filed under free comic book day Comments Off

…brought us a new issue of Alias Comics’ Victoria’s Secret Service:


“Thrust yourself crotch-first — into danger!”

Anyway, unlike previous weeks, our distributor managed to do a good job this time around with shipping us everything that appeared on the invoice, with only minor shortages (missing one copy of Blue Beetle) and a damaged comic. We even got a couple more copies of that issue of Spider-Girl we’d been shorted.

However, speaking of Blue Beetle…all you people who gnashed your teeth and tore your garments over the previous Blue Beetle biting the big one a few months back, all you folks who never read a single issue of a Blue Beetle comic and had fading memories of his appearances in 15-year-old Justice League comics who claimed your great love for the character, you’d better damn well buy this new Blue Beetle #1 or I’m going to go to your house and kick your ass.

Why, yes, I am well-regarded for my customer service, why do you ask?

We also received our t-shirts for Free Comic Book Day (May 6th, mark your calendars) with a reasonable amount of lead time, this time. That year we got them the Wednesday before the FCBD event…well, what good did that do, really? We need more time than that to be walking billboards, and thankfully we got that time this year.

Other new comic day notes:

Zombie Tales: The Dead #1 – another zombie-anthology, served up Boom! Studios-style, which short, (mostly) dark-humored stories about the shambling dead. All are good, but the standout to me was “Deadest Meat” by Keith Giffen and Ron Lim (whose work I haven’t seen in a while). This first person point-of-view story, told from the zombie’s perspective, gives us a look at a zombie semi-society that forms on a remote beach. Unique and particularly pathos-ridden, given the lead character’s awareness of the hopelessness of his situation, and the fate that awaits him. Worth the price of admission, but the rest of the book is entertaining as well.

All-Star Superman #3 – One of the stated purposes of this series was to evoke the Silver Age-era Superman stories, which short tales crammed full of bizarre ideas and memorable characters. The first two issues, while beautiful and engaging, and filled with odd concepts, still seemed just a tad…off from the Silver Age ideal, I guess. But this issue…Superman is confronted by competing heroes, who challenge him for Lois Lane…a challenge resolved in a remarkably schoolyard fashion. And I think that was the difference necessary. The Superman family of the Silver Age are immature, reacting to each other in childish ways. Just this wee bit of callback to those days in All-Star Superman was all it took to bring the Silver Age feel rushing back, at least for me.

Savage Dragon #124 – I love covers that look “pre-distressed” (even if they constantly make me do double-takes as I come across them in back-issues). Plus, this cover “liberates” one of my favorite Marvel story titles ever: “The Dismal Dregs of Defeat!”

Robin Screwso #1 – I can’t decide if this adult comic’s title is genius or stretching for a joke. It apparently involves a gal on an island, if you need help with the pun.

Superman/Batman #24 – I just read this comic, and I have no idea what’s going on. I think once #25 comes out, I’m gonna have to read the whole story from beginning to end and puzzle it out. Perhaps refreshing my memory with previous installments will help.

Star Wars: Return of Tag & Bink Special Edition #1 – Never enough funny Star Wars comics, for my money. Tag and Bink bumble their way through the movies’ events, with a particularly amusing revelation regarding just how exactly a blind Han Solo was able to so easily defeat Boba Fett on Jabba’s skiff. Fett fans who are utterly convinced of the character’s “coolness” may not want to read this issue.

East Coast Rising #1 – A Tokyopop original American manga…no, wait, don’t run away! This is a good’un, by a certain Becky Cloonan whom you may remember from Demo, and it’s all piratey and stuff. Give it a look.


For reading this far, you get a Superman Peanut Butter commercial, as found on the YouTube.

Man-Thing’s War on Swamp Thing!

§ March 29th, 2006 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 3 Comments

Well, sorta. At least it gives me an excuse to link to this cool Nestor Redondo image from an old Comic Buyer’s Guide cover again:


So anyway, in Man-Thing #3 (March 1973), this editorial reply appeared in response to reader inquiries as to the similarities between the two swamp creatures:


Swamp Thing, openly disparaged in the letter column of his direct competitor. Okay, so it’s probably partially true, though I think the huge sales of Swampy’s first appearance in House of Secrets #92 had more to do with the creation of the ongoing series than, as implied above, anything Marvel may have been doing.

But that implication pales in comparison to this editorial reply in Man-Thing #2 (January 1979). A letter writer asks about Manny’s origin, confusing it with Swampy’s, which results in this response:


Oh SNAP! Oh no you didn’t! You didn’t just describe Swamp Thing as also being a Hulk knock-off!

Of course, that’s not to say the S.O.O.S. (“Supporters of Ol’ Swampy”) contingent didn’t get their licks in, as in this excerpt from Man-Thing #16 (April 1975):

Of course, the Swamp Thing comic ended up co-opting, in a way, the Man-Thing character as a background member of the Parliament of Trees – the plant elemental tribe elders, after a fashion. He first pops up in Swamp Thing #47 (April ’86), the issue where Swamp Thing first encounters the Parliament…what appears to be an overgrown version of Man-Thing appears in a two-page spread:


And later in the issue, you get an extreme foreground close-up of his face:


And he pops up a few more times, in this issue and a few others. Alas, no official crossover has ever been published, though I was hoping for maybe a throwaway panel in JLA/Avengers. I mean, heck, they devoted a panel to Rick Jones versus Snapper Carr, after all.

(And just so there’s no misunderstanding…I greatly enjoyed the original Man-Thing series as well, despite my pro-Swamp Thing bias. It really is prime Steve Gerber, at his most quirky, earnest, and experimental, accompanied by some great artists – Mike Ploog, John Buscema, Val Mayerik. Good stuff!)

(Where’s my Essential Man-Thing reprint volume?)

More on storing comics.

§ March 28th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

Commenter Chris had this to say in regards to my topic from this morning, regarding the storage of personal collections:

“Just curious: How many of the comics in your boxes do you pull out and read once they’re in?”

Er, yeah, that is a good question.

When I was younger, I seemed to have more time to reread older comics…nowadays, not so much. I’m glad to know that those comics are there in the vast Mikester Comic Archives, to pull out and read if and when I want to…but realistically, I don’t do to that terribly often.

That’s not to say I don’t. Last year I reread the Superman comics from about the “Death of Superman” period until the present, and right now I’m rereading JSA. And every once in a while I’ll go through and grab a random comic or two to read…or to use on the site, which gives me a great excuse to go digging through the stacks that I didn’t have before.

But there are a few things I own that I may never reread. That run of Silver Surfer, for instance…the Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers/Jim Starlin/Ron Marz/Ron Lim series. I reread it a few years ago, and may never look at it again. But our store doesn’t need them, and I don’t particularly feel like selling them on the eBay for pennies on the dollar, so I guess I’ll just keep them in storage. They’re not in the way or anything, and who knows…maybe I’ll need to whip out one of those issues for something here on the site.

As for the graphic novels/trades/oversized volumes…I didn’t consider those in my initial query, but I’m glad you folks told me what you did with yours.

In my case, I’m lucky enough to have enough space to have an actual library room, with real shelves and everything. All of my books, graphic novels and all, are kept here, and I have large enough shelving to accomodate my treasury editions, Barry Windsor-Smith: Storyteller, and even Chris Ware’s most excessively-sized issues of Acme Novelty Library.

Also, I should note that I bag all my comics, if only because, during years of dealing in funnybooks, I’ve seen many unfortunate examples of ruined comics that could have been saved simply by slapping cheap plastic baggies over the stupid things. I don’t put backing boards in everything, but some of the more expensive (and thus, harder to replace) items do get ‘em.

Please continue letting me know how you keep your comics…I’m finding it very interesting!

You and your old comics.

§ March 28th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

I can’t believe I forgot to change my little corner box image yesterday. Having an impending dentist visit in the morning causes things to slip my mind a bit, I guess. Well, that and old age.


A couple memories from my ’70s childhood:
  • The neighbor girl whose house had a room where books were just tossed into a pile on the floor. Literally. They were apparently heavy readers — novels, digests, comics, anything — and when a book or magazine was finished, the door to that room was opened, the book was thrown in, the door was closed again. Occasionally I’d be allowed to borrow some books from the pile…it was huge, a sprawling wall-to-wall flattened haystack of books and mags, and one could dig through the strata seeking the treasures below.

    I read a whole lot of Richie Rich and Archie digests in this fashion. The temptation was to keep the books, since I knew they would simply just be thown back into the room where they would stay until Social Services paid a visit, but I never did keep any. Wish I did now, though.

    Oddly enough, that family was real protective of their books, given how they treated them. It took some doing to get them to let me borrow them in the first place.

  • Finding, at a friend’s house, a large open-topped cardboard box filled to the brim with pre-superhero Marvel monster comics, kept outside at the side of the house. Alas, I didn’t find this box until after the big rains earlier that week.

    Just felt like making you cringe with that.


One of the side effects of managing a comic shop is that, after a day of working with comic books, the last thing you want to do when you get home is put away your own funnybooks. As a result, I had about three months’ worth to file away in the vast Mikester Comic Archives on Monday.

In the stack to file…four issues of JSA Classifed, one issue of Ultimates 2. Three issues of Firestorm, one issue of Superman/Batman (though I’d give Jeph Loeb some slack for the lateness of that title, given his personal situations). One issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle, no issues of Sonic Distruptors.

Thank God Marvel has eased on on their every two-to-three weeks schedule, for the most part…at least on the very few titles I get.

Anyway, I got to thinking…how do you guys sort out your comics in your personal collections? In general, currently running titles/companies in my collection are kept in a series of easily-accessable short boxes (i.e. my Flash boxes, or my Fantagraphics boxes). Some currently-running Marvel and DC series that don’t require their own boxes are in “Current Marvel Misc.” and “Current DC Misc.” boxes.

Completed series (either by design or by cancellation) are, in general kept in a series of long boxes.

I keep saying “in general” since there are some exceptions to this organization…my short boxes of Dell/Gold Key books are on the shelves next to the new books, and I have a long box of Disney books, to which I still add on a regular basis, with the older, completed collections. Ah, well, so long as I know where they’re at.

In short, the comics are organized, in both sections, by company first, then by title within each company. I keep meaning to put actual labels on the front of the boxes, but small pencilled notations are good enough for now.

And then there are the magazine boxes, and the fanzine boxes, and the giant Swamp Thing shrine with candles and silk curtains…but they’re all in some kind of reasonable order.

I’m assuming that most of you folks reading this site, having an interest in comics, probably have a stock of comics sorted away in a comparable fashion, and not just tossing them out as soon as you’re done, or keeping them all in shoeboxes or copy-paper boxes or ammo cases (all of which I’ve seen done).

So, how do you do it? Alphabetically in short boxes? On shelves? Just tossed into whatever box that happens to have some empty space? Do you bag everything? Do you board everything? Does everything go into a Mylar sleeve? Basically, are you as anal-retentive as I am? Are you more so, God help you?

Just curious, is all. Leave a comment if you’d like. No salesman will call.

And so it’s come to this yet again…more favorite comic covers!

§ March 27th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

As promised last time, here are a few more favorite covers of mine, this time from companies other than Marvel and DC. Again, not a final, comprehensive list by any means…just a few covers I happen to enjoy, and I hope you enjoy a few of them too.

Again, the cover scans I didn’t scan myself are from the Grand Comic Book Database, resampled for bandwidth purposes.

Donald Duck #195 (May 1978) – art by Tony Strobl

I bought this particular comic off the stands way back when, and it really, really stuck in my head for some reason. Assuming that it didn’t appeal to some latent interest in bondage that I’m still not aware of, I think it’s the explicit peril that these Disney ducks found themselves in on the cover that really caught my attention. To a young kid that wasn’t yet familiar with the Duck adventure strips, seeing them in such a situation must have struck me as just being “wrong,” I guess. “But, but, they’re supposed to be funny…this is scary!”

Tales from the Crypt #43 (Aug/Sept 1954) – art by Jack Davis

I think the additional sadistic touch of slapping a gag over the guy’s mouth, on top of being tied up and tossed out of a plane, is what makes this cover for me. Those bastards!

Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #2 (1972) – art by Gilbert Shelton

Probably the quintessential image of the Brothers…defiant and drugged-out ’til the end!

Groo the Wanderer #6 (December 1983) – art by Sergio Aragones

One of my favorite Groo gags, and one of the very few wraparound covers to ever appear on the comic. The absolute clueless glee in Groo’s face slays me every time. These covers also made it onto a swell two-sided shirt.

Love and Rockets #20 (April 1987) – art by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez

A fun design, a rare mixing of Jaime’s and Gilbert’s characters into a wraparound two-tiered dancing line.

Hembeck #6 (September 1981) – art by Fred Hembeck

The blank Groucho-glassed eyes staring at you from this cover are very, very unnerving. Funny, but unnerving.

Mad #4 (April/May 1953) – art by Harvey Kurtzman

I believe this was the first cover from the original Mad comic books I’d ever seen (in one of those “Nostalgia Mad” inserts in the Mad Super Specials that you weren’t supposed to try to tear out of the mag, but everyone tried to do anyway). For some reason, I was fascinated by the large number of traps and bombs and so on present on the cover. I think this, along with the Donald Duck comic and the Tales from the Crypt comic, I’m learning something psychologically disturbing about myself.

The Amazing Cynicalman #1 (June 1987) – art by Matt Feazell

No cover stuck out on a rack more than this one. All those overrendered superheroes and garish colors, outshone by a stick figure and a simple yellow border.

It’s Science with Dr. Radium #4 (1987) – art by Scott Saavedra

Hard to pick just one It’s Science cover…they’re all so gosh-darn cheery! Look at the big grin on the doc’s face, there.

Nexus #5 (January 1984) – art by Steve Rude
Now, I didn’t start reading Nexus until #6 (the last issue prior to First Comics assuming publishing duties)…but I remember seeing this cover on the rack and thinking “boy, that looks darn strange.” The first four issues of the series were more traditional action/adventure scenes…well done, interesting, but not anything we haven’t seen before. This cover, with its odd-looking alien and his exclamation, is a clue to the quirkiness that fills Nexus‘ world and makes this book so much fun.

Sunday evening stuff.

§ March 26th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

So at the store today, for no good reason I started coming up with other potential “Ultimate” titles, just picking the least-likely properties from Marvel’s past and slapping the word “Ultimate” in front. Ultimate Slapstick, Ultimate Mort the Dead Teenager, Ultimate Wolfpack, Ultimate Street Poet Ray, Ultimate Patsy & Hedy, and so on.

But I think I reached a real nadir once Ultimate ‘Nam came out of my mouth. I mean, goodness.


Overheard at the shop:

Person #1: “I didn’t like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but you might.”

Person #2: “Really, what’s it like?”

Person #1: “It’s sort of literary and snobby.”


An exchange with Employee Nathan:

Me (doing reorders): “Hey, I can get previous issues of X-Men: Deadly Genesis back in stock.”

Nathan: “We still don’t know what’s so deadly about this genesis.”

Me: “Well, if they called it X-Men: Vaguely Annoying Genesis, it probably wouldn’t sell as well.”


Another exchange with Employee Nathan:

Nathan: “You know what Marvel should do for April Fool’s Day?”

Me: “Publish a good comic?”

(Oh relax. I was joking. Mostly.)


Pigs are flying, rivers are running backwards, and our comics distributor finally has both the Joss Whedon Serenity and the first Kingdom Hearts trades available for reorder!

Now, should everything that appears on the Diamond invoice we got today actually arrive in the store this Wednesday, with not a shortage to be seen, I’ll know we’ve entered the End Times.

“The watchmen cannot be made into a movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

§ March 26th, 2006 § Filed under watchmen Comments Off

“AICN EXCLUSIVE!! WATCHMEN Has A New Director… Again!!”

Basically a story saying the director of 300 “has entered negotiations” to helm The Film Project That Would Not Die…reactions are as follows:

“Why even call this movie WATCHMEN? Give the characters new names and tell your story. But if you aren’t going to tell Alan Moore’ story, why disrespect his characters to tell yours? Can Hollywood just keep their hands off what they can’t understand? Do Moore right or don’t do him at all.”

“The HBO 12 parter would’ve been the better route to go down in my opinion. I think the only way they’re going to come anywhere near close to showing all the detail that we want in a film version would be if they split it up and made numerous films in volumes, ala Lord Of The Rings or Kill Bill, but on a larger scale.”

“It’s just a fun topic to talk about, and we’ll be speculating about it 5 years from now, but as a feature film, it will NEVER HAPPEN! I’m taking all betters on this.”

“And maybe just maybe you could invite Alan Moore to pull his head out of his ass and help on a series adding things to make it work for television rather than cutting it for film.”

“The Watchmen should be an HBO series [...] It’s the only way to tell the entire story without losing what makes it so unique. V for Vendetta, as a movie, was very good. It kept the basic ideas intact even with a complete rewrite of the 3rd act. That could never be done with The Watchmen. You’d need to tell this story over 12 one hour episodes.”

“YES! I really hope the people at HBO take notice of the material and at Warners at least considers that as an option. A 12 episode mini-series with a huge budget would be record-breaking TV.”

“Watchmen is also an oddity in that it is a rather adult story, yet adults may not shine to superheroes… and kids won’t recognize NiteOwl and can’t pronounce Ozymandias, so there goes your Happy Meal and action figure money.”

“Hmm – has anyone thought about making an HBO miniseries out of it?”

“David Caruso as Rorschach. Dennis Farina as the Comedian. Dan Aykroyd as Nite Owl. Brad Pitt as Ozymandias. Danny Devito as Dr. Manhattan. It’s just crazy enough to work!”

“The watchmen cannot be made into a movie!!!!!!!!!!!!! Both scripts that were written were an abomination to the source material….my god, they gave powers to the silk spectre!??!!!!!”

“Hey, I’ve got the perfect idea for how to do ‘Watchmen’ [...] As a fucking COMIC BOOK. Leave it alone, you fucking jackals. God.”

“It doesn’t need to be a mini-series, because once you pull the short-story background stuff, the Black Freighter side-stories, and some of Moore’s more indulgent sidetracks, you have a good couple hours worth of story/mystery/social commentary that a writer can sink their teeth into.”

“the sad truth about watchmen:
(1) it was groundbreaking at the time but it hasn’t aged well – the whole ‘superheros as losers and sociopaths’ thing has the feel of a 70s downer flick; (2) it has the stupidest fucking ending ever. (3) its intrinsic lack of broad audience appeal (outside the comic book faithful) means that no studio would want to waste money bringing it to the big screen without demanding the kinds of changes that would gut the story.”

“People say that it would work best as a 12-part HBO series because IT WOULD WORK BEST AS A 12-PART HBO SERIES!”

“…This ISN’T a superhero movie it is a thriller ala Se7en or Silence of the Lambs only with superpowers.”

Be sure to read the original poster’s addendum regarding the whole “HBO series” thing:

“You can just go off and imagine your pointless masturbatory 12 hour version of the thing, and be done with it.”

§ March 25th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off


from Questar #1 (1978) – art by William G. Wilson Jr.

« Older Entries