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I began to realize Peanuts was getting a little strange…

§ August 31st, 2010 § Filed under newspaper strips § 16 Comments

…when this happened:


I remember reading this particular sequence when it was new, and even as a kid it struck me as a bit odd. Yes, in a strip where Schroeder knocks out Beethoven on his toy piano and Snoopy keeps a van Gogh (later, after the fire, an Andrew Wyeth) painting in his doghouse, it’s Helicopter Snoopy that most greatly impacted my willing suspension of disbelief. “How…how does that even work?” young Mike wonders. “Does his entire scalp spin around? Does each ear spin freely in its ‘socket?’ How is Woodstock piloting him, exactly?”

I worried about weird things as a kid.

Here’s the full strip that panel is from, embedded here courtesy the official site:

Peanuts

As you may have gathered, I’m currently reading the recently-released Complete Peanuts 1977-1978 hardcover from Fantagraphics, which included the above strip. Now, the sequence of strips from later in the book that this next image comes from is not a story I recall, because I’m pretty sure I would have remembered this character design of the fellow on the left:


That’s a little odd looking for a Schulz design, though perhaps that’s more attributable to the unfamiliar strangeness of any kid character in Peanuts that isn’t part of the regular cast. That fella probably isn’t any more bizarre than, say, Pig-Pen. But mostly I’m just pointing him out because it took me a moment to parse out the character’s face…I had a hard time visualizing that it was his ear on the left there, and his nose on the right. It just looked like a cylindrical blob resting between the turtleneck and the hat. (Link to the full strip.)

Now this panel is awesome:


Yeah, it’s an easy gag, but it’s a perfect gag for the circumstance. And, it’s in the first panel of the strip. I’m sure it would have served just fine as the closing punchline in a strip that wasn’t Peanuts. (Link to full strip.)

For some good Peanuts commentary, may I recommend Roasted Peanuts, a weblog devoted to discussing the strips.

I haven’t mentioned “Ghost Rider” on this site for nearly two years.

§ August 30th, 2010 § Filed under retailing § 4 Comments

So this turned up in a collection at the shop…it’s one of the pack-in comic books from a Marvel Legends Toy Biz action figure, this one reprinting Ghost Rider #2 from 1990. (The reprint itself is dated 2002.)


First thing we noticed was the fuzziness of the cover image, like it was taken from a bad scan or photo. And not just that…check this out:


Those small white creases there? That’s not spine damage on the reprint comic. That’s spine damage on the original comic this cover was scanned from. Apparently it was crazy hard to find a mint copy of Ghost Rider #2 a whole twelve years after the fact. (Should’ve asked us…we could have sent them a whole pile to choose from.)

Well, okay, there may have been other factors involved here, like, say “OH CRAP we need the cover for this scanned like five minutes ago, HURRY UP FIND A COPY,” or “man, just scan the file copy, no one’s gonna care that it doesn’t look mint except some dork on a blog eight years from now.”

On a related note: a long time ago…why, way back in the year foretold by Prince, 1999…I was contacted by someone either at Marvel, or someone doing some design work for Marvel, seeking a cover scan of Amazing Spider-Man #122 for a trade paperback they were working on. I just happened to have a copy in the shop at the time, and sent a scan along…and eventually Spider-Man: The Death of Gwen Stacymade it to the shelves, and lo, there was a blurb in the book thanking our store for helping out. When the next edition of the bookwas released, the credit was gone, but we enjoyed our moment in the sun. Oh, and SPOILER: Gwen Stacy dies.

And in case you’re wondering…no, that copy of Amazing Spider-Man #122 I scanned wasn’t in mint condition. Man, it’d only been out for 26 years, we couldn’t cough up a mint copy? We suck.

Something borrowed, something new, something bat, something blue.

§ August 29th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 3 Comments


Had no idea such a thing existed:

Batman Wedding Garter Set Black Bat with Gift Box

…now, when they come up with the Swamp Thing garter belt (vines) or Sluggo garter belt (shoelaces) then we’ll have something.

Sluggo Saturday #69.

§ August 28th, 2010 § Filed under sluggo saturday § 7 Comments

HOLD ON, FRIEND

SLUGGO HAS SOMETHING ELSE TO GIVE YOU

from Dell Giant #45 (1961)

Linking Accomplished.

§ August 27th, 2010 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot § 6 Comments

  • Fellow Bureau Chief Eugene, AKA “Adam Warrock,” has unleashed the West Coast Avengers Mixtape, featuring, yes, raps about your favorite West Coast Avengers members. Completely free, completely available for download at that link, and completely awesome. And in case you’re wondering…yes, there’s a Moon Knight song.
  • That’s pretty harsh, Batman.
  • Some recent goodies from Armagideon Time’s Andrew: in appreciation of Tawny the Talking Tiger, strange clothing names of catalogs past, and Nobody’s Favorite, The Owl. Plenty of solidly entertaining and brain-filling reading.
  • Here’s a quickie three-pager called “The Bunker” by Kevin Church, Carlos Pedro and TJ Kirsch.
  • IF YOU MENTION THE NAME OF HARRY KNOWLES, HE WILL MAGICALLY APPEAR. (This is the review in question, in case you’re wondering.) (WARNING: review should not be read by anyone.)
  • Dean Trippe writes a letter complaining about a senator’s mailer presenting comic books in a negative fashion. Well, to be fair, exposing a kid to Marvel Previews at that early an age surely isn’t a good idea…but still, just coming right out and saying “without education, your kids could be (gasp) reading comic books” is not exactly thinking things through very well. I mean, God forbid kids get interested in reading.

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ August 26th, 2010 § Filed under End of Civilization § 31 Comments

Sure, you may be offended by my building an End of Civilization post so close to New Comics Day, but it’s my right as an American, guaranteed in the Constitution, to put this post up whenever and wherever I want, and baby, you’re just gonna have to deal. Anyway, those of you who would like to sing along with my hymns of praise, please open up your copies of Diamond Previews, September 2010 edition, and join on in.

p. 59 – Milo Manara T-shirt:

“[Manara] has made a powerful name for himself producing comics that revolve around elegant, beautiful women.”

…Who are usually naked and having something awful happening to them, granted, but hey, they’re purty!

p. 95 – T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1:


Surely this will be the revival of a nearly-forgotten decades-old comics property that’ll catch on.

p. 129 – Blackest Night Orange Lantern 1:4 Scale Power Battery and Ring Prop Replica Set:


A collectible tchotchke based on an item that is, in the Lantern lore, representative of avarice…there’s a base level of irony in there, somewhere.

p. 131 – Brightest Day Series 2 Action Figures – Hawkman:


I didn’t think we’d ever reach a point in our cultural history where we had too many Hawkman action figures, but, well, here we are.

p. 140 – G.I. Joe #24:


“So, Mike, how can I get that rare Trevor Hutchison cover?”

“Well, first, you have to drink this.”

“Um…what?”

“Here, drink this.”

“What is it?”

“Never you mind. DRINK IT.”

“Okay, okay…now what?”

“Put this on.”

“Um…a dog collar? With a leash?”

“Do you want the comic or not?”

“Sure, but….”

“WEAR THE LEASH.”

p. 303-4 – Tank Girl: Bad Wind Rising #1:


Oh, no, those aren’t visible areolae above Booga’s hands in that full page ad for Tank Girl in the Previews. They’re…um, poker chips that he’s holding for Tank Girl. For safekeeping. Against her breasts. Um, yeah.

p. 322 – The Monster Hunter Survival Guide #1: The Undead:


Tip #1: Wear as little clothing as possible.

p. 333 – Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau:


Features several soft-focus shots, from many angles, of Trudeau’s photocopier.

(PLEASE NOTE: Haven’t read Doonesbury in years. No idea if the repeated photocopied panels joke is out of date. …Probably scanners and Adobe Photoshop nowadays, anyway.)

p. 345 – Deadman Symbol T-shirt:


“Hey, man, one of the Ds fell off your Daredevil shirt.”

p. 347 – Spider-Man: Swings Throw Blanket w/Sleeves:


Okay, sure, you can’t call ‘em “Snuggies,” but surely you could have come up with something more clever than “throw blanket with sleeves.” Like “Robe of Shame,” or something.

p. 376 – Star Wars Pink Darth Vader Helmet:


“Um…Lord Vader?”

“YES, ADMIRAL?”

“Uh, I don’t mean to be…well, disrespectful or anything, but, um….”

“GET TO THE POINT.”

“It’s just that…well, that is…why are you pink pleasedon’tforcechokeme.”

“MY UNIFORM CAME BACK THIS WAY FROM THE CLEANERS. I SHALL UNLEASH THE FULL POWER OF THIS BATTLE STATION UPON THEIR FIVE LOCATIONS IN THE TRI-COUNTY AREA. NOW DO NOT SPEAK TO ME OF THIS AGAIN.”

“Yes, Lord Pin…VADER, I mean Vader oh god”

p. 376 – Star Wars Logo Bookends:


Finally, something to hold up all my William Shatner-penned (well, credited) Star Trek novels.

p. 394 – Watchmen Rorschach Bobble Head:


It’s been a while since we’ve had a good entry in the “Entirely Inappropriate Watchmen Merchandise” series, but this’ll do. This will do.

p. 395 – Kick Ass Coffee Mugs:

“Each mug features a vulgar line from the graphic novel….”

Ah, so each mug features a line from the graphic novel, then.

According to the solicitation, the mugs are only censored for the ad…the actual mugs feature the naughty words in all their unfettered glory. And as hilariously inappropriate as having a mug that reads “Okay, you [c-word]s, let’s see what you can do” would be, especially just, you know, sitting out there on your desk in your cubicle…for some reason, having an actual censored version of the “You are a ******* ******” mug would be even better. Make all those c********** wonder!

Love Superhero Style.

§ August 25th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 5 Comments


So regular commenter on the site, Roel Torres, and his drawin’ pal Scott Arnold have just unleashed their first comic book onto the world, Lightning Girl Loves Rocket Boy, an essentially done-in-one graphic novel featuring the romantic travails between two young college students who are also, it just happens, superheroes.

Roel was nice enough to pass along a copy to me, and I quite enjoyed it. I liked how the superheroics were pretty much just in the story for the purposes of how it affected the romance, and not the be-all, end-all of the story with a romantic subplot squeezed in. The dialogue is light and humorous when it needs to be, and services the romantic melodrama without being overly melodramatic and goofy.

Though it took me a page or three to get used to it, Arnold does a good job on the art, handling both the character interaction and the superheroics with his particularly stylized cartooning. All the characters are distinct and consistently portrayed and instantly recognizable, which is a plus considering the emphasis is on what happens to the leads when they’re NOT out in their superhero work uniforms.

The story itself is 50 pages long, but there’s a lot packed into it. There’s no wasted space on the pages, and no wasted time moving the plot along. No decompressed storytelling here. Yes, it’s a “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, does boy get girl back, I ain’t tellin'” plot, only with superheroes, and even with that twist, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the tropes of the genre. Even so, it still moves along at a quick and entertaining clip, and the basic story thread is given enough unique embellishment to go down easy.

If I were to bust the guys’ chops about a thing or two on the comic…having “The Beginning” at the end of the story? Oh, Roel ‘n’ Scott, say it ain’t so. You know the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys would totally rake you over the coals for that. Also, the computer lettering used in the book was…well, not terrible, but just slightly distracting, but I got used to it. And there’s a panel or two in the comic where the characters felt like they weren’t really integrated into their backgrounds, such as when they’re standing on a rooftop but it looks more like they’re hovering over it or pasted into the panel. But that’s just getting nitpicky, and any rough edges the comic may have is the sort of thing experience takes care of. (Plus, I like comics with a rough edge or two…I’d rather read a comic produced by amateur creators just starting out in the field, like this one, than a fifteenth Avengers ongoing.)

But, overall, a good first effort, and I’d like to see more from these fellas. Maybe not more of this specific story, as, even though there’s a “#1″ on the cover (and, ahem, “The Beginning”), it feels like we reached a definitive ending with this story and it’d be a shame to undo that. It stands on its own as an enjoyable addition to the relatively-sparse “Superhero Romance” genre.

If you go to the official blog, you can read an extensive preview of the comic, and you can order your very own copy right here.

• • •

In other news:

  • I received my package of Neil the Horse comics yesterday, and they’re all in good shape, with only the first issue having a crease or two on the covers. Can’t really complain for a 99-cent bid, though I have to admit I’m not thrilled about paying a certain amount for shipping, and then seeing that the actual shipping cost was only about a third of that. But…full run of Neil the Horse, under nine bucks total, stop complaining, Mike.
  • Hey, Superman: Secret Origin #6 is coming out today. Finally. Took ‘em so long, it’s almost time to revise Superman’s origin again.
  • Bully, America’s Greatest Little Stuffed Bull, presents to you Archie Comics Versus Kids’ Fads. It’s a battle Archie only rarely won, if ever. (Ignore the first reader comment, where someone proclaims Archie late to the party for featuring a Wii-type game on a cover. Um, the Wii is still selling, last I heard. DO NOT TEMPT THE BULL’S WRATH, COMMENTER.)

In which I advertise a comic even further by discussing its advertising.

§ August 24th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 4 Comments


So Marvel and DC (well, mostly Marvel) regularly sends out packs of advertising postcards for shops to give away, usually listing all the tie-ins for a crossover series, or pushing some new title or storyline or what have you. They make for nice promotional items, and I’ve seen more than a few customers marking off titles they’ve picked up on the card’s checklists. And I’m sure a lot of them end up on display back at home somewhere…like, I’m not coming right out and saying that I have the “Planet Hulk” postcard on my fridge door, but I might.

That one I scanned above has received more reaction from our customers than any other card released so far. Okay, mostly it’s “they’re getting rid of a member of the Fantastic Four? Again?” but nearly everyone who’s seen the stack of these cards on the counter has commented on it. And really, this is about as perfectly pure and simple a targeted advertisement as I’ve ever seen. Okay, your average non-fan off the street may not get it, but every comic fan 1) recognizes this as the FF logo, and 2) knows that, hey, that should be a “4” in there, not a “3,” therefore something’s happening to one of the characters. The information on the back of the card is almost redundant…everything you need to know is pretty much right there on the front. (But if you need to know…it’s a storyline starting in next month’s FF. And you should be reading FF right now anyway, because writer Jonathan Hickman has been doing a good job on it.)

Anyhoo, just wanted to give some appreciation to this promo item. Well done, Marvel’s marketing department…well done.

• • •

In other news:

If one were to listen to the one year anniversary installment of War Rocket Ajax, featuring those Clown Princes of Podcasting Chris Sims and Eugene Ahn, you may hear them answering a Listener Question from a certain M. Sterling, at about the 1:27:30 mark.

EDIT 8-29-10: Had to shut off comments, as this particular post was attracting a lot of comment spam, for some reason.

FLINTSTONES OF TWO WORLDS.

§ August 23rd, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 14 Comments

This is The Flintstones Double Vision (September 1994), a comic book adaptation of the live action feature film starring John Goodman as Fred:


The “Double Vision” in the title refers, not to the Foreigner song, but to this comic’s particular format…while at first glance, it appears to be a 3D comic:


…in fact, it’s two different adaptations of the same story! Looking only through the blue lens, you’d see the story as drawn with the characters resembling their live action counterparts (scans grayscaled for clarity):


Looking through the red lens, you’d see the story with the characters in their traditional animated form:


And if you were to look through both lenses:


OH GOODNESS DON’T DO THAT

Anyway, you don’t see anything in 3D, despite having to use 3D glasses for this particular gimmick. You do get to read a comic with one eye squeezed shut, and boy doesn’t that sound like fun.

An interesting thing on the cover:


They use “you know who” to make it rhyme, sure, but John Goodman’s name appears nowhere in or on the book, which I thought was odd since so much attention was paid to delineating the man’s features on the cover. But then, it’s not like actors get ballyhooed on comic book adaptations all the time as it is…you’re not getting the actor, anyway. You’re getting drawings of the actor. And there’s probably some additional licensing hoohar involved if you actually use the actor’s name, maybe…I really don’t know.

On the other hand, comic book adaptations of movies are kind of a moot point when you can own the actual movie about four or five months after seeing it in theatres, like I’ve written about before.

So, The Flintstones Double Vision…bit of an oddity, and a latter day example of a comic book genre that’s very nearly gone* nowadays. Also, it doesn’t appear to be in the Overstreet Price Guide, so I’m totally pricing this at $3000, and none of you can stop me.

* Yes, I know there’s a currently running adaptation of the Star Trek movie. That’s why I said “nearly gone.”

Remember those very early posts on this site, where’s I’d just post a brief paragraph with one link?

§ August 22nd, 2010 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 4 Comments

The All-Seeing Eye of Sanctum Sanctorum Comix spotted this brief appearance of Man-Thing in the promo for the animated Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes series. Perhaps a hint of an extended Man-Thing adventure at some point in the series’ future?

Yes, yes, “extended Man-Thing.” Quiet, you.

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