“…And starring Edward G. Robinson as ‘The Editor-in-Chief.’”

§ November 16th, 2011 § Filed under peanuts § 18 Comments

So I was complaining just yesterday about how all these different variant covers and ratios and hoops I have to jump through to get said variants was beginning to really drag me down, maaaaan, and subsequently proved myself a hypocrite by acknowledging my desire for the Swamp Thing variant covers.

Well, I’m gonna double-down on my hypocrisy since I fully intend on getting the “first appearance” variants for the Boom! Studios Peanuts series:


That’s the “How I Hate Him” variant (note: not actual name for the variant, but it should be) for the first issue, and following issues will feature Lucy, Linus, and Snoopy, and good golly I want ‘em all. Basically, I guess this means I’m against comic book variant covers except for the ones I’m personally interested in. That seems fair.

• • •

If you don’t mind, I’m going to respond to a couple of comments from yesterday’s post…and even if you do mind, I’m going to do it anyway since it’s my site:

  • My ol’ internet pal Roger Green sez

    “It was the variant covers of Spider-Man #1 and those Valiant(?) #0s that made me crazy back in the 1990s.”

    Yeah, it was Valiant with the #0s…and Malibu/Ultraverse, and DC Comics, and probably plenty more. (It was all Robert Crumb’s fault.) But those didn’t bother us nearly as much as the Spider-Man #1 variants…specifically, the prebagged editions (which you can see at the bottom of this page).

    Seriously, Marvel charged you an extra quarter so you could get a copy of the comic sealed in a polybag specifically as a collectible. The pages inside might as well have been blank. Hell, they could have been blank…did anyone buy one and open it? Anyway, I haven’t seen one of these prebagged editions in a long time…after 21 years, that polybag is probably slowly turning back into oil and becoming one with the comic at this point.

  • Alex asks

    “Speaking of upcoming books… how do you feel about the upcoming Dardevil crossover with the Amazing Spider-Man book? You still get Mark Waid writing for both, with the main artist on the Daredevil portion (I believe), and what looks like a fun little plot, buuuuutttttt…

    This does sort of run against the ‘self-contained’ vibe that book really should keep, right? Do you think these sorts of things can be pretty good and turn out alright when you get the right guy steering the ship?”

    I’m not totally against crossovers. Keeping it simple with just Spider-Man and Daredevil, and, like you say, having Waid writing both titles…that sounds like a good time. And it’s very Silver Age-y Marvel, with a nice, simple crossover between a couple of characters. No cosmos-spanning, every-Marvel-title-spanning menace needed.

    My main objection with crossovers is more with the company-wide event-type things that force folks to push aside their own storylines to make space for the Beyonder or for Atlantis Attacking or whatever. And even then, depending on how the creative teams handle it, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. (The Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-ins in Green Lantern at the time are a good example of using crossover-event shenanigans for a book’s own benefit.) But for readers who aren’t following every event that comes down the pike, having yet another tie-in to a separate series they’re not interested in, yet another “INFINITE FEAR COUNTDOWN INVASION” branding above the comic’s regular logo, can be bit of a turn-off.

    I wonder how the creative teams of these books feel when it’s time for the thrice-yearly event tie-in? Is it “oh boy, a challenge!” at fitting the editorially-mandated event into their plotlines, or “ah, crud, there go my plans for the book over the next month or two,” or a mixture of both?

    I’m probably oversimplifying things a bit, but I picture the editor, puffing on his giant stogie, picking up the phone to call his writer to say “Look, there’s this event we’re having, see? And it’s gotta go in all the books, see? And we want you to play along, see?” And the writer, knees shaking, stammers out in reply “y-y-y-yes sir, Mr. Big, sir,” and immediately hunches back over his typewriter, sparing only a brief, sad glance out the window at yet another sunset he will again only experience from his under-lit office.

    Anyway, Alex, I hope that answers your question. And probably created some new questions in the process.

18 Responses to ““…And starring Edward G. Robinson as ‘The Editor-in-Chief.’””

  • ExistentialMan says:

    I think every publisher should have to go through you for variant cover approval.

    It would kick ass to see a month’s worth of Sluggo variants from Marvel and DC.

  • Roger Green says:

    Thanks for the verification.
    i just read the first Peanuts book this fall. Love that idea of a variant.

  • Lawrence Fechtenberger says:

    At the risk of taking a passing joke too literally, I feel compelled to point out that R. Crumb had a reason for numbering one issue of ZAP COMIX with a zero, which did not apply to any subsequent comics that used that gimmick: He had meant it to be the first issue, but the original art disappeared; he then created some new material, and published that as ZAP #1; then, he found photocopies of the missing art, and published that, labeling it as #0 so that people would know it was done before #1 and would not think his skills had gone backward.

    I have a general recollection that, in the earliest stage of the zero issue fad, there was usually some attempt made to justify the numbering. Either the zero issue was a promotion for a forthcoming series, containing a few pages of hype and a short teaser story, or it came out after the series was underway and collected appearances by the character that had predated the first issue. Eventually, though, publishers began using the gimmick merely as way of issuing two first issues (#0 and #1), in the hope that speculators would feel obligated to buy both. For awhile there it seemed as if EVERY new series began with a zero issue.

  • De says:

    Is the title of today’s post a reference to the great film, Four Star Final?

  • Lawrence Fechtenberger says:

    Or the radio series “Big Town”?

  • Casey says:

    I can remember, vaguely, when seeing Thor suddenly pop up in a Spider-man comic, for example, was an unexpected thrill. I wish crossovers between two or three characters
    happened a little more often than universe-spanning this-is-gonna-change-everything-but-not-really piles of crap.

  • googum says:

    Those polybagged Spidey #1′s? They aren’t blank, as such.

    I’ve been so burned by Marvel and DC that I haven’t read a crossover in its entirety in years. I tend to like the books wandering around the outskirts anyway; but I was thrilled to see if not a crossover, a little acknowledgement of events between Hellboy and B.P.R.D.

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    ‘I wonder how the creative teams of these books feel when it’s time for the thrice-yearly event tie-in? Is it “oh boy, a challenge!” at fitting the editorially-mandated event into their plotlines, or “ah, crud, there go my plans for the book over the next month or two,” or a mixture of both? ‘

    I know Dwayne McDuffie wasn’t happy about it:

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=21073

  • Alex says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Mike.

    I haven’t read a major crossover in a long, long, time, but I did approve of how Jeff Parker managed to work “Fear Itself” into two issues of the Hulk title. Even though the event meant that his main character did nothing more than get beat up (because that’s how things were going down in another book, to the best of my knowledge), Parker found a way to make it pretty interesting by working MODOK and some of the other supporting characters into the story.

    But I have no idea if it added anything to “Fear Itself” as a whole (I would guess no), and I guess I don’t know whether that was the goal or not.

  • John Ostrander was the master of using crossovers to support his series; each and every crossover tie-in during Suicide Squad was a highlight, from Millennium to War of the Gods! I’ve never read Invasion, yet I doubt it could be superior to the Squad’s Invasion tie-in.

  • IvoryTower says:

    “My main object with crossovers”

    *desk slap* Objection! *dramatic point*

    (No, this comment doesn’t mean anything other than to point out a minor typo in a hilarious, nerdy way. I’m a Phoenix Wright fangirl.)

  • Mikester says:

    IvoryTower – Oops. Fixed now. (I actually caught a handful of similar errors in this post before putting it up…guess I missed that one!)

  • swamp mark says:

    mike…is there any chance you can get Rich to drop the bombshell? Three weeks of teasing is enough! Thanx for your help.

  • Mike Nielsen says:

    While I agree that Ostrander’s Suicide Squad made the best of the crossovers, I’m finishing reading my run of Fury of Firestorm and the crossovers there really tend to stop the ongoing storylines cold so Ostrander could do the obligatory crossover issue.

    So far it has not been a good thing for Firestorm’s run.

  • skyintheairwaves says:

    For some reason that “giant stogie” paragraph just creased me up! People around here at work were asking me what was wrong as i failed to stifle the laughter, instead reducing it to a ‘whiffle whiffle’ sound.

  • DanielT says:

    The GL tie-in with COIE is the textbook example of how to do it.

    I don’t think Steve Englehart gets nearly enough credit these days. Sure, you hear about his work on Detective and how Nixon killed himself in Captain America, but he did so much good work beyond that. (The entire GL run is great as is most of his Silver Surfer. His JLA run I still think is the best in the group’s history.)

  • Mikester says:

    DanielT – Englehart’s run on GL was about 50% fun superhero adventure, and 50% completely bonkers, which of course made it one of my favorite comic book runs of all time. I really should write more about it on my site.

  • DanielT says:

    Exactly. Unfortunately, once it became GLC it tilted too much towards completely bonkers.