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Due out today in your friendly neighborhood funnybook store:
“SPIDER-MAN CLONE SAGA #1 (of 6) – You’ve been asking for it…and now it’s here: THE CLONE SAGA!!! Marvel’s most controversial event of all time returns with a vengeance, presenting the Clone Saga as it was originally intended to be told! From the minds behind the crossover that changed comics forever and the artist that introduced Spider-Man to President Obama, it’s six issues of twists and turns that will shock fans old and new alike! Be here as Peter Parker’s worst nightmare begins again…now with an ending you have to see to believe!”
1. Who’s been asking for it?
2. “Most controversial” – Actually, it sold really well at the time…at first. I think it was when the storyline entered its, what, third consecutive decade that it began to wear on the fans’ patience a tad. Plus, the “big reveal” which undermined years of stories didn’t go over too well.
And, as overplayed as this was way back when, kids today who weren’t even alive when this original happened seem to have a weird sort of interest in it. I’m sure trying to piece together all the crossovers and one-shots and various storylines that tied into the Clone Sage this long after the fact is like going on an archeological dig, but some kids are really into it. (The whole Venom/Carnage thing is like that, too.)
3. “…As it was originally intended to be told!” – My memory of it was that the story was only going to run a few months, but did so well saleswise that, in a move I realize is totally uncharacteristic of Marvel, it was decided to do a LOT more of it. …Well, okay, I was was wondering whether to include this bit, but it looks like the Wikipedia entry seems to concur. That entry has a pretty good overview of the behind-the-scenes hoohar that made the Clone Saga that tangled knot in Spider-Man’s continuity.
4. When I first skimmed the solicit, I thought for a moment they said that Obama was going to be in the story. Actually, I still expect Marvel to find a way to get him in there somehow.
5. “…Now with an ending you have to see to believe!” – I smell a retcon! Turns out Mary Jane is a young clone of Aunt May.
Anyway, I really am curious as to how this will sell. Well, sure, it’s a Spider-Man title…we should move some copies. I suppose some folks might be drawn in wondering just what the changes implied by the statement “originally intended to be told” will be. Or some people might want to have a more concise version of the storyline. Or there’s the nostalgia factor. Or there are fans of artist Todd Nauck. Or just buy everything that has Spider-Man in it.
That they were brave enough to title it “CLONE SAGA” is pretty amazing, given the mostly negative connotations that phrase has for a certain type and/or age of fan. But you have to admit…when they say “Clone Saga,” you know exactly what they’re selling, don’t you? They really couldn’t have titled this anything else.
Should also note that BOOM! Studios’ first “classic” Disney comic is due out this week: Mickey Mouse and Friends #296
. No clones involved in this
comic, I’m mostly certain.
So a brief discussion with Employee Timmy reminded me about something I’ve not talked about much on this site, even though it’s right in line with my many posts about high-profile funnybook events that get attention in the “real” world. And that thing Timmy had reminded me about is the events around “A Death in the Family,” the death of Robin story in the Batman comics that, the best I can recollect, was the first big event I had to deal with upon entering the high-finance world of comics retail.
Now I’ve written a lot about “The Death of Superman,” DC’s later high-profile event that, over its full run, embodied so much about the boom and bust of the comics market in the early ’90s. But for “A Death in the Family” — perhaps I hadn’t been on the other side of the counter long enough to realize what constitutes unusual marketplace behavior, to fully grasp the idea of the ebb and flow of the general public’s sporadic remembrance that there still exists such a thing as “comic books.” But I honestly don’t have more than a few half-remembered recollections of that particular event, aside from 1) it happened, and 2) we sure sold a boatload of those comics. I took a lot of phone calls from people looking for it, and…keep in mind I’m working off twenty year old memories here…some copies of #427 had the 1-800 number to call in and vote for Robin’s life or death, and some (the newsstand edition, I believe) did not, and it seems to me that we had both. Or that the 1-800 version sold out and we could only get the newsstand edition as restock, much to the chagrin of folks looking for “collectibles”…that feels right, but could be wrong. But, regardless of the details, there was enormous demand for this particular series, from regulars and from the general public.
Okay, I know that’s a lot to write just to say “I don’t remember a lot of it,” but at the very least I wanted to acknowledge this particular event as being my first involvement in one of these big comic events. I do wish more of it was stuck in my memory…if only I’d known that a couple of decades later I’d have a weblog, whatever that is. In particular, I really wish I recalled any in-store discussions about “A Death in the Family” with customers…I’m sure there was the occasional “I’m gonna vote to kill him!” comment, or “yeah, right, they’ll bring him back soon,” or “how much do you think this’ll be worth?”
Anyway, the death didn’t stick, so it’s all moot. But last I checked those original “A Death in the Family” issues are still relatively pricey, and still experience some sales demand, so there you go.
I believe the next event I had to deal with was the first Tim Burton Batman movie, though I’m pretty sure even as “A Death in the Family” was going on we had folks complaining about Michael Keaton being cast. But, I think, that’s a post for a different day.
In other news:
- You don’t deserve it, but they’re giving it to you anyway: Chris Sims and Eugene Ahn have unleashed another installment of the War Rocket Ajax podcast, and they’re interviewing Comics Alliance’s Laura Hudson. Download it today…unless you’re chicken.
- Andrew has another Nobody’s Favorites entry up on his site, this time taking on a book from Marvel’s ill-fated New Universe line. Granted, Andrew’s spoiled for choice there, but just which New Universe title did he pick? Go read and find out. Yeah, that’s right, I linked the same post twice in a row in the same paragraph. What’s it to you?
(And before any of you give me crap about making (very mild) fun of the New Universe, because someone out there is the World’s Biggest New Universe Fan and he’s about to post in my comments about what a big meanie I am, please note that I really liked Star Brand. So there.)
- Can you guess the mystery theme of Bully the Little Stuff Bull’s latest ten-of-a-kind?
Okay, not much of a mystery, but it’s a fun collection of covers.
- Spotted an announcement of Dick Durock’s death on a message board somewhere, and, alas, the board’s built-in naughty word detector/censor resulted in this:
Probably should’ve gone with “Richard” there, my friend.
So I recently reread my run of Grimjack, which was a fine darn series which unfortunately entered a prolonged hiatus when its publisher, First Comics, went under in the early ’90s. Prior to the company’s demise, the plan was to continue Grimjack in a series of mini-series, as detailed here in the “coming soon” section of the last issue’s letter column:
from Grimjack #81 (April 1991)
Now I realize for those of you not in the know, not a lot of that is going to make a whole bunch of sense to you, but for those of us fully aboard the Grimjack train (…er, what?) this was all stuff we Had to Read. And I know that I was really looking forward to the next incarnation (or rather, incarnations
, as twins) of the character (especially with my interest piqued by interviews in Amazing Heroes
and such)…and nearly twenty years on, after the Grimjack reread, my interest is piqued again.
Ostrander himself addressed the issue in a message board posting from last year…basically, he’d like to continue from where he left off, but isn’t sure when that’d happen. Like I discussed before, trying to pick up where Grimjack left off would have likely been a disaster, and going “back to basics” to capture new readers is a better marketing strategy than providing “forward motion” (for the lack of a better term) for however many original Grimjack fans may yet still be buying comics a couple of decades later.
Of course, I’m enjoying the recent Grimjack series from IDW, which provide “untold origins” of various aspects of the GJ universe, as drawn by cocreator and original GJ artist Tim Truman. The language is a little rougher, which surprised me a bit (since First Comics didn’t allow the Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV in their comics), but it’s fitting and not overdone. And Ostrander’s writing, and Truman’s art, have never been better.
I’m hoping sales and interest in the character are strong enough to get us to the point where we can pick up from the end of the original First Comics series, but I realize, in the current marketplace, it’s a real uphill battle. But it’s a good series with talented creators, and I certainly wish it well. Plus, I’m selling the books at our shop, so I’m trying to do my part!
Related: please consider contributing to Comix 4 Sight, a charity to help Mr. Ostrander cover the medical costs associated with his glaucoma surgeries.
1976 comic book ad
THE HEART OF ROCK AND ROLL
IS IN SLUGGO
from Peanuts #12 (Feb-Apr 1962)
So a couple of months ago, we were joking about Dick Tracy villains at the store, and over the course of our discussion I knocked out a handful of super-quickie sketches to illustrate some of our ideas. And then I completely forgot about said drawings ’til I found a trio of scans of them on my little flash-memory-stick-thingie.
And here you go…three Dick Tracy villains that never quite made it. Or maybe they did, I don’t know…I haven’t read every single strip:
DICK TRACY STRIP FACE
Okay, that middle panel is supposed to be a hand holding a gun. Look, I sketched out each of these very fast. Also, as I was putting this post together, I remembered one of the reasons why I held off posting these back when I originally drew them: I can’t shake the feeling that someone’s done that “Dick Tracy Strip Face” gag before, like in Mad Magazine or something. Or maybe I’m just thinking of the Kryptonian Thought Beast. However, if I inadvertently copied someone with any of these drawings…sorry!
Anyway, there you are, some quickly-done bad drawings by yours truly. Enjoy the horror!
Dick Durock, who portrayed Swamp Thing in two movies and the live-action TV series, has reportedly passed away.
The movies may have been of…varying quality, but they were certainly entertaining, thanks to Mr. Durock’s sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, sometimes outright silly, but always watchable, performances of the big green guy.
So long, Dick.
ad from Peanuts #9 (May-July 1961)
This is a retailer “shelf talker” for The Avengers from 1995:
This was supposed to just dangle off the edge of the comic shelf…here’s a pic of the whole thing:
Never much cared for shelf talkers myself…at the time this one came out, we didn’t really have the kind of comic racks that would accommodate them easily. Now that we do
have racks that they’d work on, I still don’t use them…I don’t want them sticking out from the shelves, and I suspect they’d probably get very easily damaged anyway.
Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to mention about this shelf talker in particular. Mostly, I was just amazed at how…dated, I guess, the imagery is on this item. It pretty much just screams “1990s” at you, in very much a “we actually were buying comics that looked like this” kind of way. …Well, I shouldn’t be too harsh, since this is somebody’s childhood funnybook nostalgia, and I don’t mean to come down on anyone’s fond memories of this particular era. But still…wow. That’s certainly something. It’s certainly the most buff Quicksilver has ever been. Er, that is Quicksilver, right?
So it’s the time of year for the local weekly paper, VC Reporter, to list their Best of Ventura County awards…and we once again took the top spot for Best Comic Store:
Always happy to find out that people do appreciate what we try to do. What it is we do exactly
, I’m not 100% sure, but thankfully folks seem to like it anyway. So thanks to all the local folks who voted, and hopefully we’ll be worthy of the same recognition next year as well.
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