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…but it’s a good link. So it seems Andrew may have found a possible inspiration for Jack Kirby’s character Flippa Dippa from the 1970s incarnation of the Newsboy Legion.
Yes, “Flippa Dippa.” The kid who wore the scuba gear all the time. Of all the weird-ass things Jack put into his comics, Flippa Dippa…well, may not crack the Top Ten of Weird-Assedness in Kirby’s work, but he’s on the list somewhere. Like, maybe at number 39. But that something very specific may have inspired Kirby to introduce this character…that’s even weirder. Anyway, go check out Andrew’s article and decide for yourself if he’s onto something, there.
BUT…BUT HE’S A GHOST
HOW CAN HE…HOW IS THAT EVEN….
from Spooky #144 (May 1975)
So I checked my email yesterday morning and immediately received about, oh, a billion emails telling me about these limited edition Swamp Thing movie poster prints that are going on sale today (or may have already gone on sale by the time you read this) from Mondo Tees. The regular edition is handnumbered and limited to 230 copies at $45 a pop, and the even more limited (90 copies) glow-in-the-dark edition is $90. You can get a better look at the crazy amounts of detail in these posters right here.
Apparently the sale will be announced at some time tomorrow on the official Mondo Twitter feed, so keep your eyes peeled there if you need one of these on your wall. I’m tempted, particularly by the glow-in-the-dark poster (which wouldn’t be the first glow-in-the-dark Swamp Thing item I own), but I’m not really a poster guy. I already have multiple Swamp Thing posters still rolled up and sitting in a closet (including one of these) and don’t really want to drop a c-note (or even half a c-note) on something that probably wouldn’t be displayed.
But I want to thank everyone who emailed, Twittered, or commented to let me know about this new bit of Swamp Thing merchandise. I really do appreciate it, and if you see any new goodies, don’t be shy about letting me know! …It’s a bit amusing, and a tad intimidating, to know that people all around the world, that I’ve never met, think of me whenever they encounter anything Swamp Thing-ish. I’m internationally recognized for my nerdly obsessions!
Also, special thanks to my Canadian twin Steven for being first in line to let me know about these posters.
In other news:
A commenter asked in yesterday’s post if I’d read the new Heap comic yet. Oh, do you mean…this one?
The latest revival of the swamp monster originally introduced in the Golden Age Airboy comics
, I thought it wasn’t bad. The monster looks different enough from his four-color brethren, what with that hideously creepy mask, and it’s more mystical in nature than scientific, like Marvel’s Man-Thing. Without getting into any spoilerish detail, it does follow the four-color swamp creature tradition of a man trapped within a hideous monster body, but approaches it in a fashion different enough from Swamp Thing and Man-Thing, and even previous versions of the Heap, to make it feel reasonably new. There is a character in the story who has bit of a John Constantine-y feel to him, and fills a similar role as John did in his earliest apperances, but…again, it’s presented in a way that doesn’t make it feel like a retread.
So, yes, I enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to future issues. Still not a patch on this work of genius, however.
The fellow with one of the greatest handles ever, Professor Booty, asks in the comments to yesterday’s post
“I own exactly 0 Swamp Thing comics. I became quite interested in the character through your blog, but I don’t wanna read all that current stuff – I’d much rather grab some tradepaperbacks or other collected back issues. What would you recommend? I’m all for the (pretty) easily available & quintessential Swamp Thing stuff to get me going.”
The best two books to start with are these:
Roots of the Swamp Thing: this is available in hardcover right now, and in softcover in a few months (it’s only a $10 difference…get the hardcover!). This reprints the original House of Secrets short, and the first thirteen issues of the original series, which comprises all the stories written by ST cocreator Len Wein, the ten issues drawn by the other cocreator Bernie Wrightson, and three issues drawn by Nestor Redondo. The overall story arc comes to an end of sorts, with a nice send-off by Wein in the last chapter that harkens back to the House of Secrets debut. But this will show you how it all started, and what the status quo of the character is…
…so that when it’s totally blown apart in the second book I’m recommending, Saga of the Swamp Thing hardcover volume one, you feel its full impact. I’m recommending the hardcover versus the softcover edition because 1) the hardcover includes issue #20 of Saga of the Swamp Thing, which is Alan Moore’s first issue but not reprinted prior to this. It was seen more as an end to the previous storyline and not a suitable beginning to a trade paperback, which was crazy talk, frankly; and
2) there was a production issue with a caption being dropped off from the end of issue #24 (“…And meet the sun”) in prior reprintings, which is now fixed in the hardcover. (I think it wasn’t there in earlier printings of the hardcover, so you may want to check.) EDIT 8/21: I totally lied…it’s fixed in the recent edition of the paperback but the Saga of hardcover is still missing the caption. Sorry, my memory is apparently…um, something.
Ideally, if you can get your hands on issues #16 – #19 of Saga of the Swamp Thing, which have never been reprinted in trade form (as far as I know, at least in the U.S.), you probably should. These are the issues that reintroduce Swamp Thing’s arch-nemesis Arcane, and also bring aboard the art team of Steve Bissette and John Totleben, who are as responsible for Swampy’s later success and critical acclaim as Moore was. It is this Arcane story that Saga #20 was the epilog for. (You can probably skip #18, which reprinted issue #10 of the original series, but still had a new framing sequence by the new crew.)
And that’s not just for Professor Booty. I expect all of you reading this right now to rush out and buy these. I want your book reports on my desk by Monday.
In other Swamp Thing news:
- Also pointed out in yesterday’s comments by Professor Booty is this contribution to the “DC Fifty-Too” project (where artists create their own covers for theoretically-relaunched DC #1s). …I’m trying to think if Swamp Thing and the Creeper ever met, or were even in the same panel (like in a Crisis tie-in) or on the same cover or something, at some point. Up way too late and am way too tired to think of any right now, but one of you smart people out there will remind me if such a thing exists.
- Chris sent me a note pointing me in the direction of this swell sketch of…Man-Thing? Well, it’s not Swamp Thing, but it’ll do, it’ll do.
In response to yesterday’s post, reader Philip asks, in reference to the new bunch of first issues heading our way from DC Comics:
“So how long, do you figure, before someone calls you with ‘I have a mint-condition Action Comics #1 to sell’ and they show up with the re-numbered Grant Morrison book? (Apologies if you’ve addressed this already.)”
I think it’s been noted once or twice here and there, but I think if I discussed it, it might have just been on Twitter or something. But that could be a problem, but I don’t imagine it’ll be an issue for quite a while. These new number ones are too obviously new, and whenever that particular problem you mention has ever come up with us, it’s been among older comics, like DC’s treasury-sized 1970s reprints of Golden Age titles. (Or between Superboy #1 and Superboy Annual #1.)
I suspect, in about ten or twenty years, assuming the continued existence of stores dealing in these stapled paper things, the current spate of starts and restarts and renumberings will result in no small amount of befuddlement for future collectors. I suppose ultimately the new DC #1s for their long-running titles, like Batman, won’t necessarily be a specific problem in that people will confuse it for the original #1 from decades ago, but will simply add to the morass of recent first issues already out there. And there will be plenty of #1s to go around for folks to attach their spurious dreams of found fortunes, like the debut issues of Cyber Force and Team Youngblood that pop up in nearly every collection that passes through our doors. “Look, I have first issues” they say, hope briefly in their eyes ’til I tell them the terrible truth.
However, in fifty years? Seventy-five years? As we get some distance from the current marketplace and (making a huge leap here) assuming there is still a comics market as we understand it…maybe some people in the year 2081 will confuse a Superman #1 from 2011 for being the original and try to get some big bucks (or Galactic Space Credits) for Superman’s “first” comic book. I’ll update my blog in about 70 years and let you know if and when that happens. (Or if it occurs earlier than that, which could very well happen. It wouldn’t completely surprise me. Well, it would if they did use Galactic Space Credits.)
So, lemme answer a couple of questions left in the comments for yesterday’s post:
“What are the Marvel titles that you’d be ordering that same month? I know it’s like apples-to-oranges, but I think it’d be an interesting contrast, both in the core characters/writers/artists/book styles, and in what each company is offering at this point in time.”
Well, I don’t get nearly as many Marvel books as I do DC, but I’ll poke through the Marvel solicits for books arriving in September, and see what I do get:
Hulk #40-1 – Hulk is just one of those characters, like Superman and Firestorm and Swamp Thing, I’ve been following for decades, and will likely still keep following so long as they keep publishing them. The last year or two we’ve seen an awful lot of Hulk tie-in series and one-shots that I mostly skipped, but I kept reading the main titles: Incredible Hulk (on hiatus this month) and Hulk, with the big red fella. Jeff Parker has been writing it, and it’s been been a lot of fun.
Daredevil #3-4 – Hmm. Two issues of this, too. The ol’ “cram everything else off the rack” trick Marvel is known for, paired up against DC’s own “cram everything else off the rack” strategy they’re running this month. This’ll be fun, fitting everything on the racks. Anyway, Daredevil. I really liked the first issue, and I plan to stick with it so long as Mark Waid is writing and / or the book isn’t buried under crossover events I don’t care about.
FF #9 – I like Fantastic Four, but haven’t always liked what was being done with the book. But, in recent years, we’ve had a good series of creative teams on the title, and Jonathan Hickman has been doing some solid and interesting work here.
Punishermax #17 – If I can’t have Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon Punisher, I will gladly accept Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon Punisher. Brutal and compelling storytelling here. I still hate that stupid “Punishermax” title, though.
The Stand: Night Has Come #2 – Yeah, I know. I’m a Stephen King fan, what can I tell you? (Gave up on the Dark Tower comics a while back, though.)
I also pick up Amazing Spider-Man, but that’s for the girlfriend. I don’t have any particular interest in it. And I really should have been reading Criminal, but I haven’t quite caught up on that series yet.
That fun guy MushroomJones notes
“Surprised to see Red Lanterns make your pick up list. I’m an unabashed GL fan and even I see that book as a short sided concept that can become a ‘limited series’ very quickly.”
As I said, I’m a big Green Lantern fan, so I’m willing to at least give it a try. But I do agree with you…this doesn’t have “Exciting Double-Sized 100th Issue” written all over it, does it?
“I’ll look in on I Vampire, as I used to get the original incarnations, The Demon and any other supernatural title.
Except , maybe Frankenstein.
I’ve yet to find a vehicle outside of the original novel and some old Karloff films that made me care about the Monster.
Does that make ME a monster?”
GET THE RAKES AND TORCHES! Er, I mean…no! No, you’re not a monster! But honestly, this Frankenstein comic is only barely related to its literary origins or its filmic existence. It’s a badass monster dude that fights weird things. Really all you need to know!
My predecessor at the funnybook store, former employee Ray Van Buskirk, buzzes
“Pretty good list Mike. Just out of curiosity, among your customers, is there anyone subscribing to all 52 titles? I am getting all 52, but I have always been a heavy comic buyer and I am quite excited about the whole re-launch.”
Oh, so you buy comic books somewhere else, eh? …I have a couple of customers who seem to be planning on picking up all 52. I even, very briefly, thought about it, just for the first month, but…man, I’ve got enough stuff to read. And I’m just plain not interested in some of these new titles. Nothing personal, just that some of them aren’t my thing. Can’t like and read everything, after all!
However, I was thinking a little more about these all these new #1s and their potential sales…it occurs to me that there may be some percentage of customers who will buy certain big-name books just for the novelty of having, say, a Detective Comics #1 or a Superman #1. Particularly if there’s any kind of real world publicity around the time of the releases. I mean, you never know.
Related: I hope when Detective Comics #27 rolls around, assuming DC hasn’t reverted back to the original numbering by then, they do something to commemorate the original Detective #27 and the debut of Batman. Just a thought that crossed my mind.
In other news:
- Oh, hey, here’s an interesting thing. Remember that Elseworlds 80-Page Giant that DC was going to publish, but had it withdrawn and pulped instead because a baby was put in a microwave in Kyle Baker’s Superman’s Babysitter story and that clearly was going to cause a nationwide rash of babies-in-microwaves should the story ever be unleashed upon an unsuspecting public? Well, lock up those babies and throw out those microwaves, because in this here DC Comics solicitation listing there is this little tidbit:
“DC COMICS PRESENTS: ELSEWORLDS 80-PAGE GIANT #1
Written by CHUCK DIXON, KYLE BAKER and others
Art by KYLE BAKER, AARON LOPRESTI and others
Cover by TY TEMPLETON
On sale NOVEMBER 30 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US
A legendary ‘lost’ comic is back! Don’t miss President Superman confronting the indignities of ‘Scandalgate,’ the return of the Super- Sons, the Birds of Prey newspaper comic strip, the adventures of Superman’s babysitter, a classic KINGDOM COME parody, and more!”
Well well well. (And yes, I know that babysitter story eventually saw print in a Bizarro Comics anthology after it was widely bootlegged and it won awards and DC kinda had to put it out there.) And it’s an 80-page giant, and this book is 96 pages…I wonder what else is in here?
- Speaking of kids being exposed to harmful material, this columnist reminisces about watching the Swamp Thing cartoon and then going out to get his first Swamp Thing comic…and boy, did he pick a doozy. BONUS: refers to me as “Swamp Thing’s biggest fan.” Well, I have put on a few pounds lately.
- You guys know how much I love sombreros. Thus, this new post from Bully the Little Sombreroed Bull is right up my alley: ¡SOMBREROS!
- Gerry Giovinco looks back at his pre-Comico Comics Duckwork newspaper and the Howard the Duck-inspired shenanigans presented therein. (And here is more background on Duckwork posted on the site a year or so ago.)
- Comics industry veteran Tony Isabella has jumped moustache-first into the world of comics blogging, and you can get in on the ground floor right here. He’s a swell guy, and a longtime supporter of my silly site, so please add him to your blog-readers and your feed-aggregators and whatnot.
So the general reaction from our customers to the onslaught of DC #1s quickly making its way to us has ranged from interest and excitement to “I’m giving up on DC.” It’s been a bit hard to predict just how these books are going to do, as customer response has been so mixed. And I just know that, no matter how much promotional material we put into folks’ hands, there’s gonna be at least one regular customer walking into the shop in September who will be shocked…shocked…that DC started all their books over from #1.
Anyway, I thought I’d go through the list of all these #1s and let you know what I plan to get. Or am thinking about getting. …Because it’s my weblog, that’s why.
Justice League #1 – I don’t think it’s any stretch to assume that, of all the new DC #1s, this will be the big one. It’s being released by itself at the end of August (along with the last part of the Flashpoint mini that’s leading into the big changeover) and surely most folks will be picking this up out of sheer curiosity, to see what exactly the new DC Universe status quo is going to be. That’s certainly a big reason why I’m picking it up…well, that, and it’s not like I’ll be buying a whole lot of DC Comics that week. (I’ve not been following Flashpoint, though that same curiosity may have me checking out that mini’s last issue to see how it’s setting everything up.) But I also tend to pick up whatever new iteration of Justice League happens to pop up, even if I end up not following it for long.
Action Comics #1 – I’ve been reading the main Superman titles for probably about 30 years now, through thick and thin, through mulleted Superman and Electric Superman, so I’m not stoppin’ just because they restarted the series from the first issue. Plus, it’s Grant Morrison on scripting chores, and I do like the Morrison.
Animal Man #1 – Speaking of Morrison, I was a big fan of his run on Animal Man, and I kept on with the title after Morrison’s departure, which maintained its sense of weirdness while still further developing Buddy Baker’s family life. I have a bit of fondness for the character still, whetted by that Last Days of Animal Man mini from a couple of years ago, so I’m going to give this a try. Plus, Jeff Lemire is writing, and more on that under the Frankenstein entry.
Justice League International #1 – This is in the “maybe” pile, as the main reason I’m interested in it is that it features Booster Gold written by his creator, Dan Jurgens. I was quite enjoying the Booster Gold series DC had been publishing of late, and sadly it was not one of the titles to make the transition to the new army of #1s. And I’m sure we’re not getting “The Adventures of Booster and His Justice League Pals,” so I don’t know how much actual Booster content will be in each issue. But, I’ll give it a look.
Swamp Thing #1 – Well, duh.
Batwoman #1 – The only Bat-book I’m buying (aside from Justice League International, which isn’t quite the same but you know what I mean). Being purchased primarily for the art of J.H. Williams, who has been doing absolutely beautiful work with this character.
Demon Knights #1 – Was going to be a “maybe,” but I’ve got every other Demon comic, so, heck, might as well pick it up. Plus, it’s written by Paul Cornell, and having enjoyed his recent stint on Action Comics, I imagine I’ll enjoy this series as well.
Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 – Wouldn’t have considered this, except the War Rocket Ajax crew convinced me to pick up the Jeff Lemire-scripted Flashpoint: Frankenstein tie-in, and that was a hoot. Lemire is writing this new series as well, so I’m definitely putting it on the buy pile.
Green Lantern #1 – Green Lantern is like Superman, in that he’s one of those characters/concepts I’ll usually always follow (though admittedly I skipped most of those Kyle-Rayner-as-GL years in the ’90s). I like how this series is starting, with old GL archnemesis Sinestro roped back into the Green Lantern Corps and starring in this book, but of course Hal Jordan will be back in the saddle in short order. In the meantime, though, I’m really looking forward to this book as Sinestro has always been one of my favorite supervillains.
Mister Terrific #1 – Probably picking this up, as I liked the character in Justice Society. Not much else to say, really, other than I like the idea of the hero, the world’s third smartest man, facing against a villain who’s one of the world’s two smarter dudes.
Red Lanterns #1 – Giving it a go because it’s a Green Lantern tie-in, but…not sure if I want to read a book where the entire focus is on the violent and angry Lantern corps. Fine in a supporting role, not sure I want 20 non-stop pages of it. Unless it’s the solo adventures of Dex-Starr, of course.
DC Universe Presents #1 – First story arc stars Deadman, and I’m always up for a Deadman story. Continued purchase of the series depends on which character they follow up Deadman with. I vote Adam Strange. Or Metamorpho. Or hell, both of them in the same adventure.
Green Lantern Corps #1 – Again, GL fan, so I’ll pick up the book. Hey, Kilowog is in it. I’m pretty sure I have the complete Kilowog collection.
The Fury of Firestorm #1 – Another one of my favorite characters, and I’ll always read a Firestorm series. I’m not even sure I can explain why Firestorm is a favorite character of mine.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #1 – While I like the idea of multiple-colored Lantern corps, I like them better as support characters in the other GL titles, rather than starring in their own book. (See also Red Lanterns above.) This is stretching the franchise just a little too thin, I think…but the three GL series that had been running before were selling great, even after the movie came out, so what do I know.
Justice League Dark #1 – Because John Constantine is in it. And Deadman. …I expect this comic will be very peculiar.
Superman #1 – The one Superman title taking place in “current day” (as opposed to Action, focusing mostly on Superman’s early years). It’s written and drawn…well, laid out…by George Perez, so I expect I’ll enjoy it, but it’s gonna be a while before I’m used to that new Super-armor costume.
…And that’s it, really. I may poke my nose into some of the other #1s to see if they grab my interest. I may try out the new Aquaman series, for example, or give a look to the new Jonah Hex title All-Star Western.
I am curious which titles will end up catching on. There are a few that seem doomed from the get-go, and others that will almost certainly undergo an immediate creative team change once it becomes obvious the monthly schedule just ain’t gonna happen. And while it’s a safe bet titles like Action and Green Lantern will have healthy sales, what about the second-stringers? Which of the not-so-big-name titles are going to be the breakout hits? It’ll be very interesting to see what thrives and what withers, particularly given the large number of new series and the limited consumer dollar available to purchase all these. I certainly hope every single title sells enormously well, but sadly we’ll being seeing a lot of bodies left at the side of the road as this publishing initiative progresses.
from Blondie #162 (September 1965)
PFFFT, THAT’S SILLY
detail from the packaging for the DC Direct Supergirl mini-statue (2002)
A little stuffed bull tells me that there is a poll to decide which character to feature as an exclusive for a new DC Universe action figure club. …I think you can guess which one I may have voted for.
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