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.