From Sugar and Spike #37 (Oct-Nov 1961), art by Sheldon Mayer, dialogue by persons unknown:
I can’t help but admire the “swearing” in the penultimate panel.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
From Sugar and Spike #37 (Oct-Nov 1961), art by Sheldon Mayer, dialogue by persons unknown:
Happy Halloween, everyone!
So, as I’d noted, in last week’s new comics shipment we were shorted one of our bags of Legion of Super-Heroes flight rings, a promo item tying into the Legion Secret Origin mini-series that just launched. Each bag contains 50 rings, and we’ve been using them as giveaways to anyone who buys that particular comic, or buys any Legion comic, or says that day’s magical phrase that pays (“Here, take as much money as you’d like out of my wallet!” or variations thereof).
We’d called in that shortage to our distributor, along with another missing title or two, and we were told we’d get them in an emergency replacement shipment before the weekend. You know…stuff happens, it’s a bit annoying to be missing the items at the time, but so long as the distributor does its best to make it right, everything’s cool.
Now let me set this up. Each bag of 50 Legion rings is invoiced as an individual item, so if you’re getting, say, two bags of rings, you’re invoiced for two items (the bags) and not for one hundred items (each individual ring).
So when the shortage replacement invoice went through at the distributor, it read that we needed one bag of Legion rings (50 count). But what we got, in our replacement shipment, beneath the invoice and the packing material, was this:
Now, I can see how it happened. Someone’s working quickly in the warehouse, scans the invoice, sees the “1” in the quantity section, sees “Legion flight ring,” somehow misses the “bag of 50″ part, and behold, this package. And I’ve had my fair share of brain farts and have done equally inexplicable things, so it’s not like I’m angry or anything. Mostly, I’m amused, and we got a good laugh out of it at the shop, and now here I am telling you folks about it. And actual replacements are on the way (hopefully!). And we’re not exactly short on rings at the moment anyway, so no harm done.
But still, I keep picturing the person who actually packed this up for us being confused, if not outright irritated, at why s/he was being asked to waste effort and resources to pack up just one dumb ring in a box by itself. (Not to mention the self-forehead slap of epic proportions that surely ensued once realization dawned.)
Possibly adding to the circumstances that created this situation…there are several supply items that we order through our distributor that are invoiced in the exact opposite fashion, like current comic bags. Though these bags come 100 per sealed package we don’t order “1” if we want one package of bags. We order 100, as in one hundred individual comic bags, and then we are sent that one package of 100 bags. Of course, we usually order them a few thousand at a time, so if we wanted 30 bags of 100 comic bags, we’d put 3,000 in the order line. Now I’m hoping it never comes to pass that I order 3,000 current bags, expecting 30 packages and getting instead 3,000, for a total of 300,000 individual bags. That’s a storage problem I likely wouldn’t enjoy.
A few days ago, I had a gentleman come in with a box of comics that he wanted to sell…there weren’t that many, and they were mostly ’90s Image books. I went through them fairly quickly, as they were all 1) in fairly worn condition, and 2) these were books I’d seen a million times that I knew full well we had in stock and didn’t need any more copies of, even if they had been in mint shape. So I made a pass through the stack, told him sorry, but there wasn’t really anything here we could use right now (giving him the two reasons I just related, in as politic a way as I could), and thanked him for bringing them by.
Now, he’d been in the shop earlier in the day, asking the employee at the register if we bought comics. I couldn’t get over to the counter to help, as I was busy elsewhere in the store, but I heard her give the correct reply that we bought comics we could use, if they were in sellable shape, but we’d have to see them and see if it was stuff we needed. She also asked what comics he had, and he never really replied that I could hear, so it’s not like we could have saved him the trip when he told us that it was all stuff from the ’90s.
But anyway, the dude ended up getting pretty steamed at me, since he apparently wasted a trip to the shop after, he said, “she told me you’d buy everything!” which of course isn’t what he was told. And he didn’t like the fact that I spent “three whole seconds” looking at his comics and sarcastically thanked me for “spending all that time” on his collection.
I did attempt to explain, again, that they were all comics we had plenty of in the backroom, and that we simply couldn’t use them, but of course by that time he decided he’d been wronged and there was no reasoning with him.
For the record, I spent a bit more time than “three seconds” looking at the comics. But I know our stock, and what sells, and what doesn’t, and frankly, I have lots of things to do at the store, so if I’m going through a collection and it’s comic after comic we can’t use, I can’t spend more time looking at each comic beyond that which I need to decide “the store doesn’t need this.” I’m not going to pour over each low-grade Youngblood Strike File for two or three minutes apiece before deciding, alas, the store doesn’t need it. I try to be friendly about it, I try to be apologetic about it if we can’t use anything…I try to not be a jerk, is what it comes down to. If you’re selling something, but I can’t use what you’re selling…well, that’s that, really. And I know my job well enough that it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to process collections like these.
Of course, any very minor level of guilt I felt about this situation dissipated the moment he threw a tantrum and lied to my face about the other employee telling him we’d buy it all. I don’t need people like that in the shop. Plus, from the get-go he was pretty pushy and telling me that these were all valuable and nagging me about being careful about how I handle them (because God forbid these VG Brigades drop down to a VG-, since obviously I’ve never handled comics before), so, you know, not really worth the trouble.
But ultimately this did still have a small effect on me, as Thursday two more collections popped by the shop, and I caught myself lingering over some of the books a little longer than normal, so as not to give the false impression that I was simply brushing these folks off. Then I realized “man, I’ve got to finish the monthly Diamond order, I’ve got mail order to do, I’ve got a lady from the local library coming in to get a several hundred dollar order…I GOTS TO BE ME” so I processed the collections at a more efficient speed. One collection netted a pretty good stack of stuff we could use (some Silver Age Daredevil, a lot of THBs, and some other oddball stuff), and the other collection was a bunch of early ’90s Spider-Man books that we had plenty of. The fellow with the second collection got the explanation as to why we couldn’t use them, and this time it went over well. He understood, thanked me for my time, and I thanked him for his…transaction concluded, with nary a hard feeling in sight.
That other fellow who came in yesterday, the one that I did buy a lot of books from…as I was zipping through his boxes, I felt the need to let him know that I was only going so quickly through some of the books because it was stuff I instantly recognized as not being needed, or in low condition, or…and he stopped me, and said “it’s okay, man…you know your business. I trust you.” And that was good to hear.
Me: “C’mon. Really?”
Dor: “Yes.” (shows me page with Swamp Thing)
Me: “Well, shit.” (takes copy of comic off rack)
Dor: “Well, I guess we know what you’ll be blogging about tomorrow!”
…Sigh. He knows me so well. And just to be clear, my expletive-enhanced reaction wasn’t to the fact that Swamp Thing was in a comic…that’s always okay by me, of course. It had more to do with the fact that I’m such an easy mark. I must buy the comics with Swamp Thing in them. It’s a sickness.
It’s a fun Halloween-ish comic, by the way, with Batman and Zatanna trying to solve a crime at the House of Mystery, with cameo appearances by lots of DC’s horror characters, such as the aforementioned Swamp Thing, who gets in a panel or three.
Other notable items this week: the new Smurfs collection The Smurfs Apprentice, which I haven’t read yet but I’m sure it’ll be as fun as the rest in the series; Superman #2, which is slightly more readable than #1, but only just; Breed III #6, guest-starring Dreadstar…man, I do love the Dreadstar; Fury of Firestorm #2, which again I haven’t got around to reading yet, if only because I didn’t care for the first one so much, but I like the Firestorm character enough to give it another shot; The Incredible Hulk #1, which gives us Bearded Hulk, and Bearded Hulk is nearly always a mark of quality…as is the fact it’s written by Jason Aaron; and Jason Aaron as writer on Wolverine and the X-Men #1 got me to at least flip through the comic and check it out…well, X-Men books are still not for me, I guess, but folks I know who are more mutantly-inclined seem to really like it, so there you go.
GRATUITOUS PARAGRAPH BREAK: Aquaman #2 was probably one of the fastest selling second issues of DC’s New 52 relaunch, so that’s a good sign…the comic wasn’t bad either; I’ve been hearing here and there people are having trouble finding the free Legion flight ring that’s out to promote the Legion Secret Origin #1…I know we didn’t get our full allotment, so maybe there was a shipping issue with this? I don’t know; Daredevil #5 continues to be remarkably good, and hopefully no editorially-mandated crossover events will come along to spoil things; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 continues the series that really, really surprised me with the demand I’m seeing…this is a series that has had moribund sales for years, and it’s really taking off. Good, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for TMNT; and a couple more strip collections: volume two of Fantagraphics’ Mickey Mouse strips, gorgeous as ever, and Reheated Lio: Still Another Lio Collection, peculiar as ever.
Oh, and drop a buck on Spaceman #1 by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso…an intriguing, and beautiful-looking, first issue.
And in conclusion: Comics! I have…won’t you?
So I was thinking about the Wisdom of Lobo blank funnybook we were talking about a couple of days ago. Mostly, I was wondering about its relative scarcity and its market value, and…checking in the price guide, it’s not even listed, as least as far as I can find. (I forgot to check the “promotional” section of the current guide at the shop, but it’s not in the promo section in this 5-year-old price guide I have immediately available to me here at home.)
I remember selling The Wisdom of Lobo on its own way back when, having busted open two or three of the slipcased sets to sell the books and slipcases separately. I don’t think we sold it for more than two or three bucks (and making sure any purchasers knew the pages inside were blank). I still do think it’s pretty weird that I haven’t seen any copies come our way in collections for so many years. …A quick check on Amazon shows that copies of the slipcased sets sell from about $12 to about $120, if that tells us anything, other than some sellers have high apple pie in the sky hopes.
Speaking of funnybook sales, while doing cycle sheets this week, it was pointed out that Kick Ass 2 #4 seemingly had a sales burst after having been on the shelf for a while. Generally, most comic books see the majority of their sales in the first week, with a strong drop-off in the second week, and some dribs and drabs in the last week or two. But our last few copies of Kick Ass 2 #4, which probably would have been pulled off the rack and put in the back issue bins (where, oddly enough, Kick Ass back issues sell out almost immediately, to people I know have been in the store while they were still sitting new on the shelf) were gone, baby, gone. And it took me a second to figure out why, until I recalled there was a bit of online outrage over the contents of that particular issue two or three weeks after its release. And, thus, we get our late in the sales cycle bump. “It’s an ill wind” and all that.
“…I seem to recall you mentioning the game LA Noire here sometime ago (great game!), but did you play ‘Arkham City’ yet?”
I did enjoy L.A. Noire, though it could have used a multiplayer shoot-’em-up free roam thing so my friends and I could shoot each other in the face while speeding vintage cars around 1940s Los Angeles.
Arkham City I haven’t tried yet…in fact, I’ve only played the demo level for Arkham Asylum, though I keep meaning to get around to picking up a used copy or something, at some point. Arkham City does look fascinating as an immersive environment, and to be able to play Batman in it…well, that’s hard to resist. I’ll get around to it sometime, I’m sure. (Making it harder to resist are Señor Editor’s own thoughts on the game, as well as Chris “Señor Batman” Sims’ comprehensive overview.)
But if there was a Swamp Thing video game in this style, I’d be all over it immediately.
“I see you have hands…may I see your Hand Registration papers, please?” “Yes, officer….”
…except the Raccoon Kids, Rollo and Rudy, get involved, and somehow trick you into using the bags of flour that were actually inside the box to bake pies, which the kids take and eat, except for the few they convince you into putting under the “money tree” outside and having you wait for cash to flutter down upon them:
So in the comments to yesterday’s post, Jim mentions
“My favorite Lobo item was the ‘wit and wisdom of Lobo’ book (or whatever the name was) that came only in a slipcase with previously released books, and then was blank.”
The Wisdom of Lobo was exactly as Jim describes, and in the linked Grand Comics Database entry there, it notes that “DC received flack for this stunt as many retailers didn’t find the joke funny and called it a rip-off.” It’s been a while, and I don’t remember exactly, but I don’t think we here at our shop were terribly offended by its existence…we may have rolled our eyes at it, but that’s about it. I have a vague memory of breaking down the per-item cost of the entire package and figuring out that, after taking into consideration the cost of the two other books included in the set, and the estimated value of the slipcase itself, The Wisdom of Lobo was more or less a freebie, give or take a buck or two.
Anyway, it’s been years since I’ve seen The Wisdom of Lobo comic around. It’s probably one of the scarcer Lobo publications now. I know I sold a lot of the slipcased sets when they were new, so I know they’re out there. Somewhere. Waiting for their moment to strike.
It’s also my recollection that the fans who bought the sets were quite amused by the Wisdom of Lobo book. …I wonder if anyone used it to draw their own Lobo story, or just used it as a sketchpad? That would be kind of a neat use for it. Well, then, not now, since it’s obviously a highly valued and sought-after collectible, worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
P from Sanctum Sanctorum mentions
“I really used to LIKE the Omega Men.
Ahhh… so long ago.
Although, I don’t think I made it past issue 17 before I gave it up.”
Ah, you gave up on it right before it got really good! I didn’t pick it up ’til #26, admittedly only for the Alan Moore scripted back-up, but the lead story was a jumping-on point for a new direction for the series (written by Todd Klein and drawn by Shawn McManus) and it sucked me right in. To this day it remains one of my favorite sci-fi superhero comic book series. …I eventually bought the issues prior to #26, but, while entertaining, they couldn’t compete with the high weirdness and menace of the Klein/McManus run.
(Another series that lured me in with an enticing back-up story but got me hooked on the lead story and kept me coming back…Dreadstar, which had a Bernie Wrightson back-up in issue #6 that caught my eye…and I ended up following Dreadstar all the way to its apparent end.)
“I like finding copies of Youngblood #1 in the quarter bins with $8 price tags on them from back in the day.”
I’m finding a few more things like this in the collection that Omega Men came from yesterday. Like a Rai #4 with the Valiant-heyday pricetag of forty bucks, or an X-Men marked with “1st Dazzler!” (understandable) or an Amazing Spider-Man marked with “1st Appearance of the Rose!” (was that really that much of a selling point?), or the solid commitment to the 25-cent back-issue mark-up with the Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special (cover price $2.39, back issue price $2.64).
Oh, collection of miscellaneous comic books that was dumped on us recently, what prizes you offer up to me: