And, just for some much-needed Swamp Thing content…a trio of interesting visual interpretations of everyone’s favorite muck-encrusted mockery of a man.
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“Bam. Zap. Splat. Kpow!
“Fans of comic book superheroes Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men will be able to see their favourite characters when a new theme park opens in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates by 2011.”
“‘Marvel is a brand that is recognized globally via its ever expanding list of superhero characters,’ said Mohamed Khammas, head of the Al Ahli Group, in a statement.
“‘Now, it won’t be much longer until the children in Pan Arabia and the world can experience new and exciting rides with Marvel’s Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and many other superheroes right here in the UAE.'”
“Hints for super pollies”
“It must be difficult going to bed one day thinking you’re an ordinary person. Sniff! Scratch! Yawn!
“But then wake up with supernatural powers. Eee-yow! Zap! Kerplop!
“But this is an election year and all politicians must go through this super hero transformation, especially party leaders. Wham! Bam! But no thank you ma’am.”
“Whoosh! Whoopee! As the election campaigning heats up, you see super hero powers emerging.
“Super John, aka Bland Man, dons a green and gold tracksuit and walks at an unruffled pace to save any Aussie in trouble anywhere in Australia.
“Whereas Captain Kevin, aka Neat Man, has shown such well-groomed poise under trying media conditions that he could give master classes on how to keep your hair in place in a cyclone.”
In the “I’m totally jealous of this guy” department: “The comic book guy”
“This 73-year-old publisher can hardly wait to get to work every morning – it keeps him young.
“Comic book hero The Phantom may enjoy worldwide kudos as ‘the man who cannot die’ but his Australian publisher Jim Shepherd could perhaps be equally well celebrated as ‘the boy who never grew up.'”
“‘I can hardly wait to get to the office every morning,’ Shepherd says. ‘Right at this very minute I’m looking at a pile of artwork that dates back to 1939, just making sure that every single page is there. It keeps you young, it really does.'”
Employee Jeff: “Hey, that ‘Spoon!’ t-shirt…is it a Tick t-shirt?”
Me: “No, it’s a shirt for fans of silverware.”
Jeff: “Did you say ‘Civil Ware?'”
Me: “‘Which Side of the Dinner Plate Are You On?'”
Employee Aaron: “‘I’m with Spork!'”
Me: “‘Oh, no, someone’s killed Lazy Susan!'”
Okay, a Lazy Susan isn’t silverware, you got me.
Finally got our restock of Captain America #25 in time for new comics day, delayed as it was by an error either at UPS or our distributor…I never did get the straight story on that. At any rate, the comics were here in time for that window for sales to folks who don’t normally buy comics to be pretty much closed. We still did brisk business in them, however, but mostly to the regular funnybook fans who missed out a couple weeks ago.
Oddly, we also received an extra ten copies of this issue with our regular weekly new comics order, with no mention of them on our invoice.
I did have one fellow look at the copies on the shelf and ask me “are these really cover price? And they’re first printings? Really?”
We also received our restock of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #1…because of the much-publicized second printing, I put a little sign by our restock stating that these were, indeed, first printings, because I didn’t feel like answering that question all day. And, granted, we’ve only had them back in stock since Wednesday, but nobody seemed to care. Uh, oh. Maybe we did order just enough copies the first time around.
Okay, I’m panicking too early…I’ve had enough requests for the new Buffy comic since our sell-out last week that I’m reasonably certain we’ll move most of these extra copies. Plus, with several more issues to go, having a wee bit of stock for the back issue bins isn’t a bad idea.
I was chatting with former employee Nathan, who stopped by the shop yesterday, and as he was regaling us with his brushes with celebrities in his new stomping grounds of San Francisco, I was reminded of two incidents of celebrities in our store that I’ll relate to you, primarily because they both make me look dumb:
1. A bearded man in a heavy jacket and a baseball cap was lurking about the front of the store, poking through some of our newspaper strip reprint books and looking a tad suspicious. I kept half an eye on him, making sure he wasn’t “accidentally” putting some of our books into his jacket. Eventually, he gathered up some books and took them to the counter, where pal Dorian took care of the transaction.
After the man had left, Dorian asked me, “Hey, did you know who that was?” I didn’t, and Dorian told me that the man was John Ritter, who, at the time, was performing a play at a small theatre down the street from us.
Yes, I thought John Ritter, God rest his soul, was a potential shoplifter. Yes, I felt like a jerk.
2. Shorter story: John (Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville, Speed Zone) Schneider came into our store, I looked him straight in the face, and I didn’t recognize him. Again, celebrity spotter Dorian knew who it was right off, but not me, the guy who actually watched Smallville every week.
So long, Calvert
The Heap #1 (Skywald, Sept. 1971) by Bob Kanigher, Tom Sutton & Jack Abel
So a woman, fleeing a lion escaped from the zoo, stumbles over the Heap, who apparently is just kicking back in the middle of a field:
After dispatching the lion, the Heap leans over the now-unconscious woman, painfully reminded of his own lost humanity, and, quite frankly, creeping the rest of us out, man:
The woman awakes, and the Heap makes a startling realization:
Just then, a trio of hunters happens upon the pair, and attack, naturally assuming the Heap means to do the woman harm. The Heap responds in kind:
After knocking out the hunters, the Heap takes his leave of both them and the woman, and takes a moment to remember for the sake of the reader the accident that resulted in his current monstrous form:
Eventually, his wanderings take him to a cemetery, where he is accosted by a group of supernatural creatures lead by Master Scythe:
Refusing to join their merry band, the Heap briefly fights them, but they vanish without a trace. This encounter only reminds the Heap of his horrible solitude:
In the meantime, the woman from the beginning of the story is seeking a cornea transplant from a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein, who just happens to have a townhome in the area, and who refuses to perform the operation until he can duplicate his ancestor’s greatest success:
After the woman departs, the Heap, who coincidentally happened upon the doctor’s home in the middle of the moors, wanders in and scrapes a message into the wall (with not bad penmanship, considering):
The Heap pleads with the doctor to restore the woman’s sight, and the doctor agrees, but on one condition (and, from all appearances, the doctor apparently doesn’t recall how things worked out for his famous ancestor):
An agreement is reached, and Dr. Frankenstein immediately begins the operation, in his safe and sterile environment, aside from the HUGE FREAKING SWAMP CREATURE CHAINED TO THE WALL. And say, are those assistants robots?
Why, yes, they are.
After Dr. Declarative finishes his operation, the woman (needing “no recovery period” due to the controlled environment, inc. 1 swamp monster) immediately wakes and reacts in horror to the Heap. Despairing, the Heap goes berserk and busts out of the operating room:
Too late, the woman realizes that this silent monster is the person that rescued her from the lion:
The Heap, not hearing the woman’s calls to wait, rushes out into the lightning storm and pleads for his own destruction:
And sure enough, he’s zapped into powder by lightning, but regenerates:
…And he wanders off into comic book obscurity, eventually to be revived in Eclipse Comics’ Airboy series, retooled into a character for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, complete with action figure, and one or two stealth appearances as a background character in Swamp Thing.
So I’ve been trying to think of a way to discuss the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 situation (particularly, why initial orders on the first issue weren’t any higher than they already were) without 1) getting into another incessant series of posts like my 245 entries about Captain America #25, and 2) inadvertently starting some kind of pro-Joss Whedon uprising in my comments section started by folks who mistakenly believe I’m trying to cast aspersions upon the man and his work.
And I’ve been sitting here, for the last forty-five minutes, trying to hammer together an explanation that didn’t go into excruciatingly boring detail and didn’t sound like I was slamming Whedon.
I mean, on one hand, previous Buffy comics weren’t selling all that great, and current Angel and Spike comics aren’t doing so hot, either; on the other hand, Whedon’s involvement and the whole “Season 8″/”official continuation of the TV series” gimmick was bound to spur sales; on the other other hand, there’s no current Buffy TV show to drive sales (like when Whedon’s Serenity film helped move the Serenity comics prequel); on the fourth theoretical hand, there’s sales on Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, but is that selling primarily because of Whedon, because it’s a new continuity-light X-title with the familiar characters, or because of the novelty of a famous person writing a comic starring characters people know (would they be buying Whedon’s Astonishing Slapstick, for example…or Runaways, which he actually will be writing)?
So, yeah, there’s a lot of thinking that has to go into ordering a title like this, and we ordered what we thought were pretty good numbers. And, once again, like what happened with Captain America #25, there was some mainstream media coverage that helped drive new customers into stores looking for this comic, which couldn’t be planned or depended upon back when we placed our orders.
But, as I’ve already noted, the pushing back of the release date by a week actually worked to our advantage, as I was able to see the increased demand for the book on the day of its supposed release and reorder accordingly (and we are apparently getting more first printings in on Wednesday…at least, they’re on our invoice, and with any luck, they’ll actually be in our shipment, too).
Ultimately, we ordered the best we could with the information we had available, and took a slight chance by ordering more copies than the recent moribund sales of other books from the same franchise would seemingly justify. And when it happily turned out there was still some life in the license, I was luckily able to order more. And it’s not as if orders for the book were low; it’s just that the eventual demand was greater than most folks expected.
There’s a lot more detail I could get into in regards to this, but I’ve been poking at this post long enough. Any clarification you’d like, please ask me in the comments section.
In other news:
- It occurred to me why, as long as there’s a Vertigo Comics division of DC Comics, Swamp Thing will always be part of it. It’s because Swamp Thing is a flagship character of the imprint; in a way, it’s Alan Moore’s work on Swamp Thing that paved the way for Vertigo’s eventual creation, and to lose Swamp Thing to the regular DC Universe would be giving up one of the imprint’s most visible characters. Now that I’ve realized that, I’ll probably stop going on about trying to get Swampy back into the DCU. Though I’ll still wish it’ll happen, someday.
- Something interesting in the new Mad Magazine: an inhouse ad for a subscription to the Mad Classics reprint magazine, promising an actual, authentic copy of this issue from 1974:
The accompanying text explains how magazine dealers at the time returned this issue in droves, offended by its cover, and cases of the returns were simply stored by the publisher…until I guess they got tired of storing the things and are now trying to unload them on unsuspecting subscribers.
Hah! But I kid. I think this is a great gimmick; how can you look at that cover and not want one? (And yes, I do have a copy.) It’s a genuine classic, and a hearty “well done” to Mad Magazine for their cunning scheme.
You can get some details on the issue’s contents at the Collect Mad site.
- I’ve been enjoying Siskoid’s Blog of Geekery lately, particularly his ongoing reviews of the animated Star Trek episodes (here’s the latest one).
from Aquaman #21 (June 1965) – art by Nick Cardy
I’ll try to get a post in later today…otherwise, I’ll see you folks tomorrow.
My man on the scene, former employee Kid Chris, called me from the Wizard World convention in Los Angeles yesterday to inform me he was going to have a chance to speak to DC Comics bigwig Dan Didio, and if I had any questions for him.
Well, even though I already knew the answer (from this WonderCon panel I noted a few days back), I asked the Kid to inquire into Swamp Thing’s return to the regular DC Universe. I figured, hey, what the heck, let’s put into Didio’s head the idea that people across the country are clamoring for a non-Vertigoized Swamp Thing. But Kid Chris informed me that had already been asked, and that one of the reasons that the Vertigo editors don’t want to let Swampy loose is due to his connection to, and occasional appearances in, the Hellblazer comic. Which is strange, since I don’t think Swamp Thing had even been in Hellblazer for quite some time.
Anyway, I’ll try to puzzle that out later. Since that question was out, I asked Kid Chris to confront Didio about the possibility of Sugar & Spike reprints (I believe I specified “Archives,” as in the fifty-dollar hardcovers, even though I’ll take darn near anything at this point). When the Kid called back, he said the answer was “not anytime soon,” which made me sad.
In other news:
A reminder to you folks to keep checking what pal JP has to offer for your entertainment. Cool old magazines, Japanese Batman, disturbing animations…let Batfatty please your eyes.
Tom Spurgeon reports that Jay Kennedy, King Features editor-in-chief and writer of one of my favorite classic comic book references The Official Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide, has died. My condolences to his friends and loved ones.
from Popeye #89 (September 1967)
Let’s see…I could make demonically-possessed rabbits, I could make warm clothes for animals that already have fur, I could make some kind of Lovecraftian dog-thing, and don’t even get me started on the cat in overalls…and while I’m certainly not going to argue with the claim “tots love playcushions of gay scraps,” the very concept of Ma and Pa Turtle raises more questions than it answers. Er, much like this whole ad.
- From a conversation at work: what I would do if I were suddenly put in charge of Wizard:
1. Every cover: Wolverine killing a different DC hero every month, except for the cover for the annual manga issue, which would feature Goku killing Superman.
2. Every first issue in the price guide would be highlighted with that “GOING UP” color Wizard uses.
3. Back cover ads would be for cigarettes, or maybe some brand of alcohol (like that ad that used to be on the back covers of Marvel’s old Epic Illustrated magazine).
4. Centerfolds. “Silver Sable…as you’ve never seen her before!”
…and that’s as far as folks at work let me go, when they realized that, given even the slightest taste of power, I would turn completely to the dark side.
- A brief exchange I had, with a comics pro of my acquaintance:
PRO: “So I met [DC Comics executive editor] Dan Didio at a convention….”
ME: “Really? How’d he smell?”
Honestly, I have no idea why that came out of my mouth. (The answer I eventually got: Mr. Didio smelled quite nice, thank you.) (And the pro in question and I had a case of the sillies that afternoon…he’s the one who encouraged that Wizard conversation, for example.)
- Your Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #1 report – we’re down to our last two copies, and I imagine those won’t last too much past opening today. Now, as I’d stated here a while back, this book was supposed to have arrived last Wednesday, and when I received a number of requests that day, I took that as a clue to put in an immediate reorder, in advance of the book’s release, doubling our numbers. So, with any luck, and assuming this order doesn’t get canned at the last second (like my 300 reorder from a week ago), I should have a fresh batch of first printings of the comic in my hands by next Wednesday.
Dark Horse has since announced a sell-out and a second printing, so I’m hoping my reorder got processed before the sell-out; availability of the comics was confirmed by the distributor at the time of the reorder, so we’ll see. A quick look at the eBay shows that there’s no crazy panic buying/pricing on the book (aside from the limited variant covers), so supply may be be readily matching demand, so far.
- More ordering fun: doing our order adjustments for the forthcoming Fallen Son – Death of Captain America: Wolverine. Well, I’m guessing since we already had one major mass media news event on the topic, we’re probably not getting another one. And by the time it comes out, the people who only entered a comic shop because they were hypnotized by the news into buying a copy of Cap #25 will probably have all the copies of that comic they need, once the overprint starts getting distributed to shops across the country. Now, 1) it’s unlikely that they’ll even be aware that there are future issues to the storyline, or 2) even if they are aware, it’s just as unlikely that they’re going to want to come back to the comic shop week after week to get every installment, so chances aren’t very good that the artificial bump in sales to folks who don’t normally buy comics will continue. Given that this week’s tie-in to the event, Civil War: The Confession, which prominently features a pic of Cap’s bloodied shield on the cover, is currently selling within our expectations, I sort of have the impression that the “real world” demand for dead Cap stuff is limited solely to that Cap #25.
Of course, once this “Fallen Son” stuff hits, it’ll be more explicitly tied in to the apparent death, which may attract the attention of any latecomers to the “hey, I just heard Captain America died!” game.
Now, our regular customers’ interest in the event has been raised, so for that reason, we bumped up orders (reasonably, not crazily) on that first “Fallen Son” book. Here’s hoping we got the numbers right.
- So, would you like to see drawings of Supergirl? Nice drawings, good drawings, drawings that you’re not going to get from DC’s currently running, and mostly appalling, Supergirl series?
Whoa, hold on…cute, charming, anatomy approaching human norms…it’s almost the opposite of any Supergirl currently in the DCU*.
Compare with this forthcoming Justice League cover by Michael Turner, featuring Power Girl. Sweet jumpin’ Judas on a pogo stick, this is an awful picture. Is it actually intended to be sexy? Because, really, it’s just plain goofy. I mean, laugh-out-loud goofy. Even the writer of the comic in question is making jokes about it.
- As long as we’re looking at DC preview images, this Diamond Previews cover featuring the Sinestro Corps strikes deep into the heart of my inner fanboy. I loves me a Sinestro versus Green Lantern battle.
- “You know your a comic book geek when…….”
“You know your a comic book geek when you criticize comic book movies and describe the canon books in which the material came from. Ex. bridge seen in Spiderman was with Gwen stacy not MJ”
“when you call GL rings OanPowerRings”
“You know your a comic book geek when………. You know what X-Men tas is.”
“You know when ur a comic book geek when u try to explain to a friend (that dosent read comics) why The Silver Surfer can kick Superman’s ass.”
“You know your a comic book geek when……. every time you see a falling star you secretly hope it’s a dying alien who’s going to give you a power ring.”
That last one just made me sad.
“You know you’re a comic book geek when…. You notice the original poster of this thread spelt you’re wrong”
But then again, this one:
“You know you a comic book geek when u contemplate which is better between hand beams and eye beams”
…includes a link to an actual discussion of hand beams versus eye beams:
“Which are better?
Ok, if you were, somehow, given the option to have eyebeams or handbeams which would you pick? (both will be at the same power level)
Let’s say it’s heat beams (for example)
Eye-beams mean that while in a grapple with somone of equal or greater strength you have another avenue of attack – burn their face.
Hand-beams mean that you can fire in two directions at once and in a grapple you could burn their hands.
Glowing eyes look cool … but so do glowing fists.”
And I was all ready to make fun of this:
“Hand beams generally create explosions when they hit the ground, making them harder to dodge.”
…but, um, I think he’s right. That’s how it usually works in comics. God help us all.
* The Supergirl currently appearing in Supergirl & The Legion of Super-Heroes aside, of course.
So I was watching Star Wars: Episode III yesterday evening, and was reminded of the above Lego playset, based on a scene from Episode II. You know, the scene where (and, um, SPOILER, I guess…but if you haven’t seen it by now, you ain’t going to, probably) Anakin takes vengeance for his mom’s death at the hands of the Sandpeople by wiping out an entire community of them, including children.
Compare with the Lego packaging, where a l’il smiling Anakain is flying by his Sandpeople pals. I always found this bit of tie-in licensing a bit disconcerting, though I imagine Lucasfilm would have balked at “Anakin’s Tusken Massacre.” And a commenter or two at that Lego site I linked to lament the lack of a figure for Anakin’s mom. What, a smiling Anakin about to slaughter a bunch of Sandpeople wasn’t enough, you need a figure for Anakin’s dead or dying mom, too? Smiling, of course.
I wonder if there was a Lego “Younglings Encounter” set for the third film?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 made its delayed debut this week, and I was a little worried that I wasn’t hearing the same interest in the title from the customers this Wednesday that I heard last Wednesday. However, as it turned out, we’d nearly sold through our order by the end of the day, so I’m no longer sweating the possibility that the reorder I’d placed for extra copies last week are going to sit there.
At least, I hope not.
And on the topic of reorders: that comic that shall not be named (and I discussed all last week)…I’m getting reports of the reorders finally getting shipped to stores, and from what I heard from our distributor rep, not only were the reorders we placed before the deadline for guaranteed fills on their way, we’re almost certainly going to get the rest we ordered after that deadline. Which leads me to believe, unless demand remains high, we’re all gonna be going from famine to feast on this funnybook right quick. I believe I described this comic to the Employees as “going from Superman #75 to Adventures of Superman #500 over the course of a couple weeks.”
Sign #82 that Mike has lost his mind:
Walking past Employee Jeff and a customer, while singing the following song to myself, but within their hearing:
“Here I come
Here comes Mike Racer
I’m a demon on wheels
I’m a demon and I’m gonna be chasin’ after someone….”
I’m losing my mind.
There’s a phrase I throw around a lot at work, simply because it amuses me, and, probably, no one else: “America’s #1 American.” Now, it used to be Chuck Norris who was America’s #1 American (see why here and here), but it appears he’s been supplanted by no less a personage than Stephen Colbert, America’s new #1 American:
Okay, it’s shameless Marvel huckstering, but I’ll let it slide this once.