IS YELLOW SNOW
IS YELLOW SNOW
I’m not going to repeat my entire discussion (you can just reread the original post), but I just wanted to emphasize no one was calling anyone else stupid here. I was just making an observation based on customer feedback, not standing in judgment of lesser beings. I save that for those puny, misguided mortals who don’t like All Star Batman.
Dor and I have talked discussed this once or twice at the shop, and I even brought it up here when talking about characters to revamp. Not that we’re talking about how lame Aquaman is, just that there’s nothing specifically wrong with the core concept. Anyway, don’t tell me about it, tell Dor.
So it’s come to this…the 49th installment of the End of Civilization, not to mention post #2600 on this site. Either way, that’s a lot of typing. And here’s more typing to add to the pile, so whip open your copy of the March 2009 Previews and follow along!
p. 179 – Marvel Minimates Wolverine Through the Ages Set:
p. 213 – Liongate Films Leprechaun #1:
Which reminds me…reader John T. answered my unintended plea from that post way back when, and I never got around sharing what he sent he with the rest of you. UNTIL TODAY. Presenting to you some bonus Progressive Ruin content, courtesy John T. — Leprenopoly!
p. 312 – The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection Magazine – Gladiator & Morbius:
p. 354 – Blacula 12-inch Collector Action Figure:
p. 368 – Friday the 13th – Jason’s Machete Replica:
“This metal and wood reproduction of Jason’s iconic weapon is 3 feet in length and has the real weight and feel of an actual machete.”
For $179, which I imagine could also buy you a real machete or three. Not that I’ve been doing any machete pricing lately.
p. 370 – Hydra Mini-Bust 3-Pack:
p. 372 – Mr. Sinister Statue:
p. 376 – Rock Iconz Rush “Starman” Statue:
p. 376 – Star Wars “Hoth” Han Solo Mini-Bust:
p. 388 – Marvel Comics Fine Art Theatre – The Infinity Gauntlet:
By the way, I have to call shenanigans on their description of this statue being a “fine art” piece, since there is no LED lighting function mentioned in the solicitation. And, as we learned a couple of months back, it ain’t art without LEDs.
p. 394 – Michael Jackson “Thriller” Vinyl Figures:
I’m having a hard time deciding which is more terrifying:
Yes, I went for the easy joke. I’m not proud.
p. 399 – Watchmen Movie Nite Owl Costume:
How fans wanted Nite Owl to look in the film:
p. 400 – Watchmen Movie Silk Spectre Costume:
Me: “I suspect there’ll be some dressing up with these costumes, but not by their girlfriends.”
Employee Aaron: “Huh?”
Me: “I’ll explain when you’re older.”
p. 400 – Watchmen Movie Dr. Manhattan Mask & Hands:
Me: “Presumably you’d use blue body paint to complete the effect.”
Employee Aaron: “Ewwwww.”
Me: “I’m gonna guess that the costumes at the San Diego Con are going to be a lot of fun this year.”
p. 402 – Wolverine Origins Deluxe Adult Costume:
“The costume recreates perfectly the costume worn by actor Hugh Jackman….”
Oh, for the sake of the movie, I hope not.
p. 402 – Thor Deluxe Adult Helmet:
p. 405 – Wolverine Extreme Green Large Journal:
p. 420 – Watchmen Original Soundtrack Limited Edition 12-Inch Picture Disc Record:
“My Chemical Romance’s cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Prison Flight’ is available on vinyl, just as it would have been in Watchmen’s alternate 1985!”
Okay, sure, however you want to justify it. And apparently there’s no escape from My Chemical Romance or Bob Dylan, even in an alternate reality. (EDIT: I know they messed up this particular blurb.)
Marvel Previews p. 106 – Marvel Saga Astonishing X-Men, Squadron Supreme, Runaways GN – TP:
I suspect Marvel may have been better served printing up cheap sampler issues for the series featured here, each with a single issue, or “chapter,” taken from one of the trade paperbacks (like what DC is doing with their “After Watchmen” comics).
But I suspect this book does fill the “too busy to devote the time to read an entire narrative/not enough money to buy all the books” niche market, so I can’t blame Marvel for finding ways to get everyone’s money.
After making a joking “next issue blurb” for Watchmen in yesterday’s post, I thought I’d dig into the Vast Mikester Archives and find the actual blurbs DC used in their editorial pages. I pulled these from the Deluxe Checklists that appeared in DC’s direct sales only Baxter-paper books from late ’86 through late ’87.
There may be some minor SPOILERS ahead, in case you haven’t read the comic yet:
Who watches the Watchmen? Beginning a maxi-series unlike all others about super-heroes in the real world, as told by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.
Rorschach continues his hunt for the hero-killer, and we get to learn more about the Watchmen and their predecessors, courtesy of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
All the facts about Doctor Manhattan are spelled out and they will stun you! Plus more excerpts from Hollis Mason’s book. All by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons!
The maxi-series continues with the origin of Dr. Manhattan … as the mystery deepens! A book-lengther by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.
The tension builds, the mystery deepens, and the hero killer strikes again as Rorschach goes berserk! A classic by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.
Revealed at last! The life story of Rorschach! A classic tale from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
The mystery of the mask-killer grows! Nite Owl and the Silk Spectre go out on patrol for the first time since the Keene Act! Another instant classic by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons!
As war approaches, Nite Owl and the Silk Spectre spring Rorschach from prison. A must-read from Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.
Silk Spectre reveals her origin as she tries to convince Dr. Manhattan to come home. From Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.
The countdown to nuclear armageddon continues as Rorschach and Nite Owl reunite! Must reading from Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.
Revealed at last! The origin of Ozymandias in the series’ penultimate issue! Another classic from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
Thirty-two pages of story conclude this blockbuster series as you’ll finally get the answer to ‘Who Watches the Watchmen?’ An instant classic from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
A couple of notes:
Issue #4 notes that the story is a “book-lengther,” implying that no back-up feature was expected to follow the three-part “Under the Hood” series from the first three issues, making room for the letters pages that (as I was corrected about by a couple of readers yesterday) were to occupy the back pages of the comic. Obviously that turned out not to be the case, but thought it was interesting that the original plans for the series still slipped into the next issue blurb.
The other comment is more general, in that it’s somewhat amusing to read these blurbs which boil down one of the most significant comic books ever published to something that doesn’t sound any different from any of the other comics being blurbed on the same page. Right next to the blurb for Watchmen #5 was this entry for Vigilante #37:
“The Vigilante is out for blood – and being stalked by the Peacemaker! By Paul Kupperberg, Tod Smith & Rick Magyar. Plus: A Mike Grell cover!
Or this one for New Teen Titans #27:
“It’s the search for Nightwing and Raven as the Titans face the Church of Brother Blood and the girl known as Twister! A must-read from Marv Wolfman, Kerry Gammill & Romeo Tanghal.”
Let’s do a little switcheroo here:
“Nite Owl is out for blood – and being stalked by Rorschach! By Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Plus: A Mike Grell cover!”
I didn’t change the Grell bit, if only because I pictured what that would be like and it was awesome. Anyway, I hope you see what I’m getting at here, about how the Watchmen blurbs look in context with DC’s other more traditional super-books. Of course, what was I expecting?
“The life of Rorschach revealed, showing why you violent fantasy prone fanboys idolizing him and similar characters are demonstrably wrong. Another instant classic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons!”
“Revealed at last! Symbolism you won’t get! Text pages you’ll only skim! Our company’s bread-and-butter superhero genre entirely undermined in Watchmen‘s most subversive issue yet! By Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.”
Yeah, that might not have gone over as well.
So all this Watchmen talk had me thinking…I’ve spoken to a handful of people at the shop who were new to the work, and reported stalling a bit on the text pieces between chapters. My advice to them was to go ahead and skip those bits if they’re getting in the way of the story, and go back and read them afterward. Yeah, okay, some of you are wincing, but according to a few of those folks that strategy seemed to work.
And this is what got me wondering. I read Watchmen in its original serialized format, one issue every month (or six weeks, or two months). That meant I had plenty of time to read the comic portion of the story and digest the text back-up pieces before the next issue came out.
However, in the collected format, I wonder if the text pieces function more as “speed bumps” for some readers, interruptions between chapters of the “real” story that one feels obligated to slog through before going on to the pages with actual comics on them. Without the time gaps between chapters forced by the monthly-or-so release schedule, perhaps some readers feel as if they have less time to contemplate the text pieces, knowing that the plot continues just a page turn or two away.
That’s just a random thought that occurred to me during a discussion of the work I was having yesterday. I could be completely off…but I’ve heard from enough people that the text back-ups did slow them up a bit that I think, in some cases, the pacing is drastically altered by the story’s collection under one cover.
Anyway, the other advice to readers, besides “skip ’em ’til the end,” is “take it slow” — don’t feel like you have to speed through the entire book in record time. Read just a chapter (plus text piece) a day, let it sink in, move on to the next chapter the next day. Or a few days later…whatever. But if you still feel the need to just skim that owl essay supposedly by Dan Dreiberg…well, I don’t tell anyone.
On a related note, in a preview for Watchmen that appeared in Amazing Heroes #97 (June 1986), it says the following:
“In place of a letters page in the first three issues you won’t be seeing the usual awkward selection of biographies or series notes, but extracts from ‘Under the Hood,’ the memoirs of Hollis Mason, the original Nite-Owl.”
Now I suspect this may have been a misinterpretation by the article’s writer, who was told that the first three issues would have that back-up feature and may have assumed that the letters column would appear after the back-ups were completed. Or maybe the other back-ups actually were late additions…which seems a bit unlikely, but possible, I suppose. (EDIT: Okay, ignore my suppositions…Augie reminds me that Dave Gibbons’ book Watching the Watchmen confirms the initial plans for a letter column.)
But now I’m imagining Watchmen with letter columns, people writing in guessing how it’s going to end, talking about how badass Rorschach is, asking why Dr. Manhattan isn’t wearing pants, etc. And of course the editorial plug for the next installment:
“NEXT ISSUE: One character learns a terrible secret about the past, while another makes a fateful decision that will change The Watchmen forever! Watch for issue #9, The Darkness of Mere Being by Moore and Gibbons, coming next month!”
I enjoyed writing that last bit far more than I should have.
Anyway, that’s my loose connection to comics for this post, justifying it ever so slightly for inclusion on this site. But mostly I just wanted to present this ad because, man, they really make things sound terribly dire, don’t they? “Some men are eaten alive by tape-worms, others wander hopelessly for years, dying slow deaths from bowel disease.” WOW. If only I had some kind of Candy Cathartic to counter these horrible fates.
And let’s look at the testimonial by Mr. (ahem) Bowles: I’m going to say that the phrase “there came on the scene” a freakin’ 18-FOOT TAPEWORM, expelled after taking this wonder drug, gets the 1910 Award for Most Polite Euphemism. “There came on the scene,” like, you know, Mr. J. Frederick Tapeworm, of the Hampton Tapeworms, just happened to pop by the parlor for afternoon tea.
That this medicine is from the “Sterling Remedy Co.” isn’t lost on me, by the way. I better not have missed out on some enormous Candy Cathartic fortune.
A Breathless keychain. Sigh. Well, I guess it is technically a Madonna collectible, so who knows…maybe I can get something for these.
In answer to my question from the second anniversary…well, I guess we are celebrating the third anniversary. Only this time, I’ve got the name right…I keep swapping the positions of “Hulk” and “Wolverine” in the title.
Anyway, here we are, three years after the original release of issue #2 of this six issue mini-series. This time is a little different, as issue #3 (pictured to the right) is allegedly imminent, with a scheduled release date of March 4th. And Marvel has released “All New Printings” of #1 and #2 for those folks who missed it the first time around, or perhaps did read it before, but those memories of yesteryear…faded, near-forgotten recollections, like faded Polaroids…no longer hold any trace of those initial exciting installments.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating the whole “lost to the mists of time” thing a bit, but not much. Because, three years? What the hell, man? That’s just embarrassing. Hope the bragging rights of getting a guy from Lost to write a story about Hulk and Wolverine punching each other was worth the joke this series has become.
Of course, the series will still probably sell, so the answer is “sure, of course it was worth it.” Doesn’t change the fact that extreme lateness on high profile books is a pain in the ass, especially during the first year or so when people kept asking us for the next issue, and would give us the “somehow this is your fault” look when we told them about the delays.
But we’re allegedly that much closer to finally being done with this thing…unless we get more delays between later issues. If I’m still waiting for #6’s release in 2018, I’m going to be a tad steamed. At least Marvel appears to be attempting to finish this series, unlike this other stuntcast-writer series which was just full-on abandoned.
I don’t have any new complaints about this I didn’t cover during the last two anniversaries, so be sure to read those if you have a great need to experience more of my shouting into the wind. Let’s just hope Marvel’s learned a little something from this. Which I’m sure they have…until the next time this happens.
I hope someday I’ll be able to sell this person a fourth collection. It’s a good series, but sales on the trades stalled a bit when people discovered that the concluding chapters are not in print, and that we’ve long since blown through most of our back issue stock on those later singles. Fortunately the stories are mostly stand-alone-ish, so it’s not that much of a detriment, and we’re able to move some copies of the volumes. However, the set’s long-standing incompleteness still stands as a barrier for some potential customers, despite my salesmanship mojo, and that’s a shame.
So last night I saw, for the very first time, the animated version of Warlock from the ’90s X-Men cartoon:
Anyway, aside from all that, I wanted to run this panel from Sienkiewicz’s run as well: