You are currently browsing the archives for January, 2011

And now, a gag about DC Comics dropping the Comics Code that only I will find amusing.

§ January 21st, 2011 § Filed under swamp thing § 10 Comments

In fact, Marvel probably can stop doing Wolverine comics now.

§ January 20th, 2011 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot § 1 Comment

Celebrate Christmas in January with Superman taking off his pants!

§ January 19th, 2011 § Filed under advertising, superman § 7 Comments

…Or maybe he’s putting them on. But it’s still kinda weird.

What th — !? “MAGIC?” Superman’s one weakness that isn’t kryptonite?
What kind of nefarious scheme is this?

Unrealistic expectations ahoy!

The company that made the scuba gear also made a set of Superman horseshoes. I looked it up, since this pic seemed like a case of “one of these things is not like the other” — unless they’re underwater horseshoes.

Click the above pic for the full enchilada. And if you’re wondering about the Super-Suits, I already addressed them a few years back.

ad from 1955 DC Comics

Okay, I’ll stop talking about Zero Hour after this.

§ January 18th, 2011 § Filed under retailing, this week's comics § 2 Comments

Well, without overly belaboring the topic again, thanks to you folks for responding to my query yesterday about Zero Hour sales. I’m going with It’s Just One of Those Things in regards to why it’s experiencing a sales bump at our shop, a possible combination of my throwing it on the featured book rack, and the Dan Jurgens/possible implications for future events factor. As pal Andres noted, just by my putting the trade on display I obviously contributed to its increased sales, but that alone wouldn’t explain the sudden demand for the actual back issues, except for, as mentioned, possible ties to current DC shenanigans.

In response to commenter Joe, who suggests I put other books on the Featured Graphic Novels shelf and see what happens…that’s pretty much what we do. Right now, we’re using that space for the Walking Dead hardcovers (which have slowed down in sales since Christmas, but still move occasionally), Chew (one of the current Hot Things), Ex Machina (which had bit of a sales spurt up until we put it on the Featured Shelf rack, go figure), and Zero Hour, plus what new books get released each week. Joe suggested that I throw Dark Knight Strikes Again up there, but frankly, that and its predecessor, Dark Knight Returns, already sell pretty regularly from the Batman shelf as it is. Anyway, it’s not working with Ex Machina, as noted, but maybe I’ll try another DC “event” book and see what happens. (Shame Final Night seems to be out of print.)

Commenter Nimbus wonders if maybe, given the involvement of Green Lantern and Parallax in the Zero Hour storyline, that maybe interest in the forthcoming Green Lantern film might have had something to do with it. I actually haven’t seen a GL movie sales bump just yet, aside from some very infrequent requests for “early Green Lantern stories” (which the Green Lantern Chronicles and Showcase Presents Green Lantern books satisfy quite nicely). The GL franchise comics are still selling quite well, having dipped only very slightly since the height of the Blackest Night hoohar, but if there is usual pre-movie release uptick in interest from the general public, they probably couldn’t have picked a worse time to sample a GL comic, what with all the event tie-ins and multitudes of characters who aren’t Hal Jordan and the Red Lanterns vomiting blood or whatever it is they’re doing. But hopefully any of these theoretical new customers will go for the paperback collections, where the worst that’ll happen is that I’ll have to explain/apologize for the whole calling-his-sidekick-“Pieface” thing.

Did I say “without overly belaboring the topic” at the beginning of this? Why, yes, I suppose I did. Um…sorry about that.

Let’s see, what else is going on…ah, I know: folks seem generally pleased that most of DC’s comics have dipped to $2.99 across the board. Too early to tell yet if this is going to have any kind of significant increase in sales…mostly it seems that people who were already buying the $3.99 series are glad to be only paying $2.99 for them now. Haven’t heard any complaints or even many comments about the story page count dipping down to 20, but most of the DCs I’ve read in the last couple of weeks have been pretty heavy on plot and dialogue and the two extra pages weren’t missed. Of course, that may simply be the result of 22-page scripts being squeezed into 20 pages (which I’ve heard at least one comic writer confirm was the case with his script), but we’ll see what happens once we’re sure everyone’s writing for 20 pages. So long as we’re not getting half of those pages as splashes, everything should be fine.

Speaking of new comics, here’s some stuff coming out this week:

  • Smurfs Vol. 4: Smurfette – I sincerely hope that, when the movie comes out and crashes in the box office, that it doesn’t kill this reprint program. The Smurfs comics are fantastic.
  • Wolverine & Jubilee #1 – Wolverine should just regularly team up with teenage girl superheroes who then become ninjas over the course of the story.
  • Steampunk Palin – well, that’s certainly some timing.
  • Hellblazer #275 – two things come to mind about this comic. One…good gravy, I’ve been buying this on a monthly basis since #1. This is about 30 issues longer than the Silver Age Flash’s original comic book run. Two…$4.99, for this “special oversized anniversary issue?” Urgh. Good thing the other DCs I’m buying are $2.99.
  • Not a comic, but horror film mag Fangoria is releasing its issue #300 this week. We’re usually good for selling at least one copy of this to somebody every month. Mostly, I’m just amazed it’s still hanging in there during a time when this kind of showbiz publication is barely surviving in competition with free online sources. Good on ’em. Wouldn’t be the same without something horrible and bloody staring back at me from the magazine racks. I mean, aside from any comics featuring the Red Lanterns.

I’m certainly not complaining about the sales.

§ January 17th, 2011 § Filed under retailing § 20 Comments

Those of you unfortunate enough to have been reading my site for nearly six years may remember me mentioning this before, but briefly: several years ago, I received over the course of a week multiple calls from buyers all across the country seeking the last issue of Marvel’s Masters of the Universe series. And, as far as I can tell, there was no connection between the callers…or, at least, none that any of those folks were willing to admit to me. Anyway, you can read more about it that that link.

I bring that up because it’s kinda sort happening again, only with the customers who are actually walking into our shop, and with DC’s 1994 “event” series Zero Hour: Crisis in Time.

Now, I thought part of it may be that the trade paperback collecting the series was just recently reissued in a new printing…but that printing was dated 2006, which isn’t as recent as I thought.

It basically started when Employee Aaron noted that we were out of the Zero Hour trade, so I put in a reorder, and when it showed up, we just put in on the new arrivals bookshelf, intending eventually to file it onto the regular bookshelves. And it sold. Immediately. So I ordered another one, and when that came in, we put it on a little “featured graphic novels” shelf that we have. And it sold again.

And it keeps happening. And it isn’t just that we’re displaying it to customers and it’s an impulse buy. I’ve had multiple requests from folks looking for the copies of the five issue run of the series, whether or not the book itself is on display. Sometimes I get requests before I’ve restocked the Zero Hour bin after the previous sale, and I have to scurry back into the backroom and pull more sets.

I realize I’m making it sound like we’re selling hundreds of these things, and we’re not. It’s more like a dozen and a half or so over a few weeks, but given that sales on both the back issues and the collection have been hovering around slim-to-none for well over a decade and half, this sudden upswing in demand can’t help but stand out. I’ve probably sold more Zero Hour, in either format, in the last month than I have in the previous five years.

So, I’m wondering what’s the deal. When I noted this on the Twitter, pal Andres, who was one of the folks who purchased a copy of the trade from us, replied that he’d simply missed it the first time around and picked it up. He also opined that it may be a result of the current popularity of the Green Lantern franchise (as Hal Jordon is prominently featured in the series), which is possible, I suppose. Plus, there’s the fact that Dan Jurgens wrote and drew the series, and he’s one of DC’s more dependable creators, and a lot of the time-travel themes and characters he likes to explore (recently in Booster Gold and currently in the new Time Masters mini) are in this comic. (And there was that Booster Gold Zero Hour tie-in in the most recent series, but that was published a couple of years ago and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with the current interest.) Or maybe it’s just that it’s a fun and colorful superhero story, with lots of guys and gals flyin’ around and punching each other, with some time travel stuff mixed in, and some nice Jurgens/Ordway art.

None of that explains why people are deciding to look for it and buy it now. Just coincidence? Something in the comic news media or a price-guide push or a footnoted “* see Zero Hour #3 for details! – Editor” in a comic I didn’t read? I suppose the next step is quizzing the customers about it, but I probably annoy them enough as it is.

Of course, simply by making a big deal about it here, we’ll now never sell another copy. Wouldn’t that just figure.

If any of you folks out there have noticed a similar upswing in sales of this series, or perhaps have your own theories, or even just believe I’m thinking about this too much, let me know in the comments.

And now, a thing the Spectre doesn’t say often enough nowadays.

§ January 16th, 2011 § Filed under golden age, scans § 9 Comments

from More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940) by Jerry Siegel & Bernard Baily
– reprinted in DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #6 (1971)

Sluggo Saturday #89.

§ January 15th, 2011 § Filed under sluggo saturday § 5 Comments



from Nancy and Sluggo #133 (June 1956)

Just look at this person’s face.

§ January 14th, 2011 § Filed under advertising § 7 Comments

Just look at it:

The sheer magnitude of the explosion has given the victim multiple sets of eyebrows.

I’m not 100% positive, but the person does appear to be a woman, judging by what seems to be earrings visible in the image:

…and thus, that “unibrow” immediately above the eyes may in fact be eyelashes, with a small printing error or ink blotch connecting the lashes above each eye. Also, I don’t know if the woman’s hair is simply being worn that way, or is in fact disheveled or “blown back” by the explosion’s force.

As to the text of the ad itself: the “can be used over and over again” statement leaves out the fact that if you do use it over and over again, your friends will eventually turn on you and kill you.

In conclusion…the exploding pen: harmless!

The importance of being Sluggo.

§ January 13th, 2011 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot, sluggo § 5 Comments

And then there was the time when I won the eBay auction for this awesome original Fred Hembeck sketch:

…which should be winging its way to my home via the tender mercies of the post office within a week or two. Can’t wait!

There was another recent Hembeck sketch auction that I was tempted by, but alas, couldn’t squeeze that into the budget this time around. Still recovering from Christmas an’ all, don’t you know. (Thanks to pal Dorian for informing me of these auctions…I spend so much time selling things on the eBay that I rarely do any actual shopping there!)

Speaking of Sluggo, which is a rare around these parts I realize, Boing Boing’s David Pescovitz put up a post about Sluggo expressing his inner beatnik. In the comments there, Twitter pal MrJM was good enough to remind folks about my Sluggo Saturday shenanigans, which Mr. Pescovitz responded by describing that little project of mine as “so much fun,” which was much appreciated.

Pal Andres also turns up in the comments, blaming me for hooking him on Nancy and Sluggo. I am an enabler.

One other person in the comments wonders if the two Sluggo beatnik panels presented there are from the same strip, or even by the same artist…and another person notes that he believes one of the panels is by noted Nancy-ologist Bill Griffith. Well, I can assure both these folks that 1) the panels are from the same strip, 2) the strip is by Ernie Bushmiller, and 3) the strip in question appears in Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy Vol. 4 (a flip book with “Bums, Beatniks and Hippies” on one side, “Artists and Con Artists” on the other), published by Kitchen Sink Press in 1991.

But anyway…”hello” to any new folks popping in! I’m Mike, I sell funnybooks for a living, and I like Sluggo and Swamp Thing and All Star Batman and Robin. …Hey, wait, where are you going? Come back!

• • •

In other news:

  • Benjamin Birdie, artist of America’s most beloved webcomic about a comic shop, The Rack, has started a new project entitled “Benjamin: Yesterday” in which he expresses the many moods of Benjamin Birdie in a daily sketch diary. No words, no “strips” as such…just a single drawing of Birdie being Birdie, every day. Very nicely done.
  • Dr. Polite Scott has posted his Best (and Worst) Comic Book Medicine of 2010 awards, and it probably comes as no surprise which writer dominates the “Worst Medicine” categories. (Though the linked Superboy story — not by this writer — is amazing.)
  • A Nice Cup of Comics – a Tumblr celebrating the intersection of comic books and the drinking of tea, which relaxes the mind and soothes the soul. And who couldn’t use a little of that, nowadays?

“It is a real dirt-farmer’s soup; full-bodied and satisfying.”

§ January 12th, 2011 § Filed under star trek, the shat § 9 Comments

So anyway, we got one of these in the shop the other day…a really nice copy of the Official Star Trek Cooking Manual paperback from 1978:

Written by Mary Ann Piccard (yes, that’s sorta like “Jean-Luc Picard” I know) in the voice of Dr. McCoy’s nurse, Christine Chapel, who is logging and describing all of the favorite dishes of the Enterprise crew, the Klingons, the Federation, the Vulcans, and the Romulans (along with an appendix listing the favorites of the actual actors and creators of the show).

The recipes all include brief introductions from “Chapel,” like so:

Dr. McCoy is a most hardheaded, skeptical and scientific space medicine specialist. He is also a gentleman from Georgia where many families have loyally maintained traditions from the 19th century and earlier. It should not surprise us that his favorite dish is is a chicken pie made just as they were in the days when the kitchen was in a separate building behind the main house. This [recipe] serves 4 generously.”

(Beet Soup)
Chekov jokingly calls his borscht recipe Borzoi Borscht, after the swift wolfhounds, because it takes him so little time to prepare. This recipe serves from 4 to 6 people.”

(Cream of Spinach Soup)
Though this is sometimes confused with Plomeek Soup, it is actually a much more plebeian dish. It is a real dirt-farmer’s soup; full-bodied and satisfying. The spoonful of sour cream with which the Vulcan country women of long ago graced their plain fare was liken to a morning star shining through the first pale green streamers of the Vulcan dawn.”

Now, as one might expect, Captain Kirk is a special case. He, like everyone else in the book, has his wide variety of interestingly-named foodstuffs (“Deviled Potatoes,” “The Tribble’s Banquet,” “Oskaloosa Log,” “Schwarzwalder Torte”). But there, in the middle of the list, is a recipe simply named “Steak.”


Kirk has no need of fancypants names for his slabs of meat:

“Captain Kirk is a great steak fan. First choice with him is a steak grilled over a charcoal fire or an open wood fire. But a close second is a steak with a brush-on sauce that takes equally well to frying. With steak he likes baked potatoes, corn pudding, and coleslaw. This [recipe] will provide 8 servings.”

Unless of course Kirk himself is at the meal…his manly appetite requires all the servings.

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