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from Wolverine and the X-Men #17 (November 2012) by Jason Aaron and Mike Allred
So I was asked in the comments to my post on Tuesday to say a little something more about Jupiter:
This was a series by Jason Sandberg that ran for nine issues in the late 1990s. It was an anthology series, where half the book was usually devoted to short strips and one longer story, with occasional appearances by this fella:
…and the other half (more or less) of the comic was devoted to “Pelasgus,” who is the gentleman with the nose on the cover of #1 up there at the top of this post. Pelasgus came into being on the planet Arcadia, and as other humans begin to appear, Pelasgus offers his advice and guidance to help direct these primitive humans towards a more civilized culture:
Over the course of the nine issues, barter systems are created, laws are codified, government is formed, currency is minted, religion begins to take hold, disputes are resolved…and murders happen and drug abuse increases, and Pelasgus and the people of this society try to deal with their changing world. It was fascinating reading, a literal experiment in world-building as problems arise and Pelasgus makes straightforward and cogent arguments on how to deal with them.
Interestingly, in his downtime Pelasgus would make paintings in a style that, perhaps, may look familiar to some of you comic book fans out there:
“Somehow all these creations have become separated from their creator,” continues Pelasgus. “Their hearts are filled with grief as they roam through space and time for eternity.” …Obviously a comment on Jack Kirby’s situation, but I read it as foreshadowing for what was to come for Pelasgus: the world he’s helping to create perhaps will someday separate from him as his influence over it reduces to nothing.
An author’s note in issue #9 promised longer “Pelasgus” chapters in future issues, but alas, that was the last issue, and I’ll never know if my speculation in regards to that Kirby connection would ever come true. Well, I suppose I could just email Mr. Sandberg if I wanted to bug the poor guy, as a previous lamenting of Jupiter‘s loss on this site put me in contact with him, and we’d had some friendly interactions over the years. He even provided a good pile of his mini-comics for me to give away on Free Comic Book Day, which I thought was very kind.
I don’t know how easy to find issues of Jupiter are…I’m not even sure we still have a full run at the shop, and I know I kept reordering copies from some of the indie distributors to have them around. But they’re definitely worth the search.
By the way, I reread all my issues of Jupiter just prior to writing this, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m hooked again…with no more to come! AAAAAUGH
from Fun and Games #13 (September 1980)
AAAAAUGH! It’s terrifying! Demon! Sorcerer!
Well, okay, Charles Schulz just gave Snoopy a speech balloon instead of a word balloon, which he did once or twice over the years. I think we can cut the man some slack. But still, this is the sort of thing that always stops me dead with its…wrongness, somehow. There’s a measure of communication between human and animal characters in Peanuts, of course, but never do the animals explicitly “speak” to any of the children (unless there’s something I missed).
However, there is a strip later in the volume where I spotted the above panel (The Complete Peanuts: 1985-1986) in which Marcie calls Snoopy by the name of “The Lone Beagle,” a sobriquet Snoopy used to refer to himself during one of his flights of fancy in the previous days’ strips. At first I believed it could only have been communicated to Marcie via direct speech. Then again, perhaps Marcie was able to infer the name by observing Snoopy’s acting-out of his fantasy, which opens up yet more questions regarding Snoopy’s undoglike behavior and its general acceptance in the Peanuts universe, but perhaps that’s far enough down that rabbit hole.
In other news:
- There’s some interesting stuff going on between Fantagraphics and Dave Sim regarding the possibility of new packaging of Cerebus material being covered by the Moment of Cerebus site. No idea if it’ll ever happen, but it sure is fascinating reading the back-and-forth of what would be required to make such a project materialize.
This is all in response to Sim’s statement in the last issue of Glamourpuss that he’s pretty much done with comics, and how some folks responding with the desire for him to be able to continue producing work. One of my readers asked for my thoughts on the matter, particularly from the retail end, and…well, heck, let’s just do it here instead of putting it off for another day.
Now, I liked Glamourpuss. Its weird combination of fashion parody and comic strip history was a little mindboggling, but it worked, somehow, and kept me entertained through its entire run. It started off with having me wonder what Dave was up to, and as time went on, I realized the only real answer to that was “Dave was doing something I find entertaining and informative” and that was good enough for me.
It started off relatively well as far as sales go, too…I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but if memory serves it was selling at respectable indie title levels. But, as time wore on, sales did drop, until we had just a couple of holdouts still hanging on and reading the book ’til the end. I don’t know if those readers who dropped the book were expecting Cerebus II and didn’t get it, were looking forward to new Sim material and just didn’t care for it, or just stopped buying comics entirely (a sadly realistic possibility). It’s just the simple fact that Not Everything Catches On, and I’m sorry this didn’t go as well as it did for Dave, and I certainly don’t want him to leave the industry (though I couldn’t blame him if he did).
I think he a good job promoting Glamourpuss, sending out promotional copies (I still treasure my signed copy of #1), calling stores personally (alas, he got our answering machine…when I called him back, I got his voice mail, answered by “Glamourpuss” herself!), his crazy variant covers (“zombie” variants, and variants featuring his Zatanna parody), and free overships of issues (which sometimes sold for us!). This certainly ensured good sales early on, but obviously their effectiveness wore off as time passed.
Now, did I do enough to promote Glamourpuss at the shop? As a funnybook seller, it’s my job to be an advocate for every comic for, you know, the customers I think would enjoy said comic. I can’t shout out across the shop “I think everyone will enjoy this issue of Swamp Thing!” as much as I’d like to, simply because I know it’s not for everybody. And Glamourpuss was always bit of a hard sell. I mean, it was easy (if a little nutty) to describe to people, but hard to find the people who might be interested in such a thing. And given the number of comics we carry and the number of customers with differing tastes that we have and simply given the number of hours in the day, sometimes the most advocacy I can give a comic is just making sure it’s visible on the rack, and occasionally pointing it out to people I think would like it.
I mean, I did what I could. I bought it, I enjoyed it, we carried it at the shop, I occasionally discussed it with folks, but if I could save every comic I liked from cancellation singlehandedly, Jupiter would still be on the stands.
- Pal Jim is still blogging Hellblazer comics in his extremely intelligent and captivating way over at The Laughing Magician. He’s up to issue #3…only 292 issues (at press time), plus all those annuals and tie-ins, to go, Jim!
- Well, well, well…look who’s back. …It’s Adam at Comics Make No Sense! The People have demanded that he revive his fun-filled weblog, and lo, it has come to pass. Go make the man feel welcome!
- Bully, Schrodinger’s Bull Who Is Simultaneously Little and Stuffed, brings us a Ten of a Kind featuring really, really angry folks on comic book covers…which ends in the only way it can, with comics’ greatest symbol of unrestrained rage.
- Look at what was in our pog haul. JUST LOOK AT IT.
from Archie Annual #9 (1957-8)
Long ago, during a stormy evening whilst at sea, Poopdeck Kidd’s wife gives birth to their child:
And thus does Poopdeck’s son enter the world with the name of “Ugly Kidd,” a handle as unlikely as it is appropriate:
Of course, Ugly would soon be better known to the world by his injury-inspired nickname:
On a related note, the future father of Linus, Lucy and Rerun Van Pelt (and apparent PTA fan) attended Santa Monica High School with Popeye:
from Popeye Special #1 (Summer 1987) by Ron Fortier, Benn Dunn and Bill Pearson
…courtesy of the Great Stuffed Bull of the Galaxy, Bully: 100 Things That Make Star Trek Great, a real tour-DeForest of amusing pics and appropriate fontage. (Bully asks that you add your own Things That Make Star Trek Great in the comments, which, um, I may have done.)
So you know how it is when you’re working in a comic book store, and you have this big ol’ pile of old comics you’re processing for the back issue section, and there are a whole lot of issues of Love and Rockets and Eightball in said pile, and you think to yourself “well, I have all these, and they’re really good, but it’s been a while since I’ve looked at them…I should pull them all out and read them again” and of course you don’t really have any time to do any such thing, you’ve barely had a chance to finish reading new comics from last week or the week before, not to mention this Complete Peanuts 1985-1986 which is still awaiting your attention, now you want to add Eightballs and Love and Rockets you’ve already read to the pending read-these-soon stack too?
I think you know where I’m coming from. But apparently I have time to watch TV, because I just watched all of the first season of the new BBC Sherlock series over the last couple of nights, and it turns out it’s quite good. Have you heard of it? You should check it out sometime. …And of course watching that makes me want to whip out far too many Sherlock Holmes books from my shelves, by Doyle and those ones not by Doyle where Holmes turns out to be a time-traveling alien and that sort of thing, and reread those, too. The end result is that, somehow, I need to increase my reading speed, which is already excessively fast, or I need to somehow slow the rotation of the Earth and thus lengthen our days to give me more reading time, or I can somehow talk the boss into letting me stay home and read and he pays me anyway. …So, slowing the rotation of the Earth it is, then.
And there’s that stack of other books sitting on the table next to my bed I need to get through, and let’s not even mention the electronic book-tablet thingie my parents gave me for my birthday a few months ago, and the backlog of books I’m trying to get through on that.
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “but Mike, maybe you should just not acquire so many things to read, maybe pace yourself a bit” but we should really focus on realistic ideas on how to handle my little problem here. More caffeine and less sleep seems to be the only logical and healthy response.
Anyway, speaking of people getting too much stuff to read, my New Zealand pal Bob is back from his trip (which required guest-bloggers for his site, resulting in this excellent “piece of [in-depth criticism]“ from yours truly), and he details the swell bunch of reading material he picked up during his travels. …Hmmm, a couple of those things sound pretty good. I should pick ‘em up myself.
“This is terrible” or “And now, a thing Popeye actually said” or “That is one versatile bull” or “Let’s start an argument about how to spell ‘balogna.'”
from Hospitaliky (1937)
So I don’t buy older back issues for myself too much anymore…partially because I just don’t have the budget to do so, and partially because I have far too many comics as it is, and it’s already a Heculean task awaiting those who have to clear out my home after my eventual demise. But, “he says, after going super-dark in the very first line,” I find a deal I can’t pass up, and this week’s deal is…
…Archie Annual #9, from 1957-8. It’s nearly 100 pages of comics, it’s from my favorite period of Archies, it’s in reasonable and readable condition, and it was under nine bucks. Plus, it has the cutest Midge ever:
…but don’t tell Moose I said that.
Anyway, I do love giant special comics…when I was a kid, I sought out those special anniversary issues, like Detective Comics #500 and Justice League of America #200…I bought the annuals, the anniversary issues, and a couple of decades back, I started collecting all of DC’s Eighty Page (then 64-page, then 48-page) Giants, back when they were still affordable. I used to fish DC’s 100-Page Giants out of the quarter bins, back when “aw, these are just reprints, who wants these” was the prevailing school of thought. I guess that’s just the…frugal side of my collecting bug, wanting more for my money.
Plus, there just seems to be some more…significant about the extra-sized issues. The historical value of the reprinted stories. The special event-ness of the superhero anniversary issues, where, like the “mythology” episodes of X-Files or Lost, something wrapped up, something concluded, something was revealed or something changed, where the running-in-place status quo actually seemed to run forward an inch or two (until maintainers of the franchise forced things to return to where they were). Or, like this Archie annual, the sheer amount of content you received for your money was in itself special, where you were getting, like it said on the cover, a “BIG COMPLETE BOOK” with a squarebound spine and everything, not like that floppy, thin, and not nearly as permanent-seeming magazine that you could get every month.
And as I drove home, with this copy of Archie Annual #9 sitting on the seat next to me, I thought about how there were once stacks of these sitting on newsstands over 50 years ago, in brand new condition, being bought by kids with their quarters, brought home, read, passed along to friends, confiscated by teachers, or left behind and tossed out when it came time for parents to reclaim the former rooms of their grown-up children, and how this copy, this very copy right here now sitting on my desk next to me as I type this, managed to survive the decades and end up with me. So thanks to that kid, who may have been seven or ten or so years old at the time, who’d be at least in his or her sixties now or just about, for investing your quarter so long ago and beginning the chain of events that continued with my Thursday purchase of this comic. And that chain will continue on when the time comes for this comic to move on to someone else.
To that person who eventually gets this comic, hopefully sometime in the distant future, who may think back about the people were part of the chain that eventually passed it down to him: you’re welcome.