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An eye for Mongombo.

§ December 14th, 2003 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on An eye for Mongombo.

I was looking for information online about the sadly-incompleted Fantagraphics mini-series Eye of Mongombo (the only thing I found of significance, beyond sale listings, was a mention halfway down the page in an outdated comic FAQ), and I found this page listing comic book characters that physically transform into either animals or the opposite sex. It’s just part of a larger site that catalogs such examples of shapeshifting in books, movies, paintings, etc. Keep in mind the elaborate list of notations as you peruse the entries.

God bless the internet.

1963: The “Mystery of Edwin Drood” of Comics.

§ November 25th, 2015 § Filed under publishing § 13 Comments

In response to my having noted the inclusion of the previously-unpublished conclusion in the Puma Blues hardcover, reader bad wolf wrote

“[It] makes me wonder how many other series/runs could be completed with only an issue or two’s worth of material, that would add immeasurably to their interest/resale value?”

In particular, he (I’m assuming “he,” apologies if I’m wrong) specifies the Silver Age Marvel pastiche 1963 by Alan Moore and pals, and Rick Veitch’s run on Swamp Thing. Now, Veitch’s truncated Swamp Thing run, for better or worse, was picked up, continued, and wrapped up kinda/sorta by other hands, so likely as far as DC Comics is concerned, that specific period is packagable and marketable as a completed product, should they decide to release trades of that material. Not that it seems likely…they’ve only reprinted Veitch’s run up to issue #81, and that was in a trade paperback that was released in 2006. DC has since skipped ahead to reprinting the Mark Millar (with Grant Morrison on the earlier installments) that start at #140, skipping right over the end of the Veitch run and the conclusion by the replacement creative team. I would love to have a paperback with Veitch’s “alternate” (i.e. original) ending, but unless there’s a sudden explosion of Swamp Thing-mania, I’d be surprised if anyone would go through the trouble to make that happen.

Ultimately, in retrospect it seems so silly. DC objected to, and killed, a story in which a time-traveling Swamp Thing encounters Jesus in what, as far as I can tell, seemed a relatively reverent manner (well, as far as you can go with the Messiah hangin’ with a swamp monster, I guess), and then later publishes Preacher in which God is just straight-up the bad guy. Just goes to show you…well, something, I guess.

Now, the 1963 series was planned to run six regular issues, and then it would be wrapped up in the 1963 Annual, where the retro-styled heroes introduced in the main series would encounter the “Image Universe.” This Wiki entry pretty much sums up why it will probably never happen, even though being able to publish “THE COMPLETE 1963” in a fancy hardcover would probably sell…well, slightly more copies than the series is currently selling now out of quarter boxes in comic shops across the world. Not having that final annual doesn’t hurt the entertainment value of the other six issues, but once you reach that last issue with the cliffhanger ending, you can’t help but wonder what could have been.

Bad wolf wonders about other stories cut down before their conclusions, and other reader Touch-and-go Bullethead suggests a few good ones, especially that Sergio Aragones “T.C. Mars” serial from Sojourn. I’ve actually come across copies of Sojourn over the years, which was a tabloid-sized comics newspaper, so I have seen T.C. Mars (who’s also appeared on a cover, or back cover, of my favorite fanzine Comics Reader). I wouldn’t mind seeing Sergio returning to that.

A couple story endings I wouldn’t mind seeing, though these ships have sailed, sank, and been covered with silt long ago: the Andrew Helfer/Kyle Baker Shadow, which over Conde Nast’s dead body would that be allowed to happen, I’d suspect; and Sonic Distruptors, though after reading Andrew’s review, perhaps I’m better off leaving that in the past.

Oh, and I’d like to see the ending to Eye of Mongombo too, so long as I’m wishing.

Kim Thompson.

§ June 24th, 2013 § Filed under fantagraphics, obituary § 6 Comments

As I’m sure you know, Fantagraphics mainstay Kim Thompson has passed away at the far too young age of 56. I was a fan of Thompson’s work on The Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes, and of course have enjoyed many comics that he helped along the path of publication. Tom Spurgeon gathered together lists of some Thompson-related publications from fans here, and gives a more general overview of his contributions to the comics world here.

A few comics from the archives that have Thompson credited as editor:

Critters was Thompson’s funny animal anthology, containing a high-quality selection of material throughout its run. This issue, near the end of its run, was a follow-up to Mike Kazaleh’s sci-fi comedy Adventures of Captain Jack, catching up with a couple of cast members after the end of that series in a decidedly down-to-earth non sci-fi story. I see in one of the above links that Spurgeon mentioned Thompson’s dismay that Kazaleh didn’t have more exposure in the industry…well, I found Kazaleh thanks to Fantagraphics, and I’ve been a fan since. Once, at a local convention, Kazaleh was a guest, sketching Ninja Turtle after Ninja Turtle for kids, since that’s what he was working on at the time. I asked for a Captain Jack drawing, and he was so happy he almost insisted I take it for free!

I’ve spoken about Eye of Mongombo before…a bizarrely hilarious adventure book in the style of Carl Barks’ duck books, kinda sorta. Still not complete, but still completely great. Thompson is listed as editor, and if he was responsible for getting this published under the Fantagraphics banner…oh, man, thank you.

I miss seeing the occasional J.R. Williams comic from Fantagraphics, but I’m grateful for the ones we got.

I honestly don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t already been said more thoroughly and more eloquently by others about the passing of Kim Thompson. All I know is that his name was on a lot of comics and magazines I enjoyed, and I’m thankful for his efforts in bringing them to us.

So long, Kim.

Soon perhaps to be the #1 Google result for Teaser and the Blacksmith.

§ September 20th, 2010 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, fantagraphics § 11 Comments

Some of you may have noticed that I had sort of an impromptu Low Content Mode on the site last week, aside from Thursday’s post when I just kinda went on and on. No particular reason for it, other than, you know, having some other things to occupy my precious, precious free time. Like doing a little interior house painting. Or shooting people getting shot repeatedly on Red Dead Redemption. Or actually reading the occasional comic book. Or getting my usual daily dosage of five hours of sleep.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to ease off a bit to recharge the batteries. I have been doing this daily for nearly seven years, when, after working all day slinging funnybooks at customers, I come home and write about funnybooks on the internet for free (well, mostly free, he said, gesturing desperately at his Amazon links). Please don’t begrudge me doing some “easy” posts once in a while. (And I put “easy” in quotes, because sometimes the simple posts end up taking as much time to put together as the more content-ish posts.)

I’m overreacting…it’s not like anyone really complained or anything, and traffic on the site has been up, and it seems like a lot of you folks have enjoyed the last week’s worth of entries…so consider my behavior encouraged. But I sometimes do feel like I’m skimping a bit when I do a lot of scan-heavy posts in a row, so…well, there you go. I’m a victim of my own guilt.

By the way, remember how like every year I say “okay, I’m going to stop updating every day” and yet I still keep posting every day? There’s something wrong with me, man.

BOO HOO I DON’T WASTE TIME ON THE INTERNET PROPERLY. Okay, enough of that, let’s move on to this:

I’ve been trying to use the category/tagging function of this site a little more frequently, mostly because I’m tired of seeing all my posts read “filed under Uncategorized” and, okay, fine, to make things easier for the readers, too. I’ve been a bit silly with some of the tags…I don’t know that I’ll ever use “worm-suit” again, but I’m sure someday I’ll once again find use for the “tampons” tag. I think my favorite category is “freak-out”…be sure to click that and scroll down for an old favorite of mine (after the much more recent post).

• • •

So Tom Spurgeon did one of his regular “Five for Friday” polls where he asked folks to list five favorite Fantagraphics publications that weren’t by Chris Ware, the Hernandez Brothers, Charles Schulz, Dan Clowes, and Peter Bagge. For once I managed to participate in the poll, and you can see my entries about a third of the way through this list of results, somewhere.

I found myself wanting to list far more than the five allowed…I did mention in a note accompanying the list I emailed Tom that the only reason I didn’t list James Sturm’s The Cereal Killings was that he’d already used it in his example list. (And come to think of it…has The Cereal Killings ever been collected? I can’t recall that it has. (For those unfamiliar, it’s sorta like the Watchmen/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen of cereal mascots, only far more low key and melancholy than those comparisons may suggest. Also, it’s brilliant.)

One title I did mention was the sadly uncompleted Eye of Mongombo, but when I Googled it up just to make sure I had the spelling correct, I found the blog for Mongombo creator Doug Gray! Specifically, this post featuring newly (as of 2009) commissioned Mongombo art! Pretty cool. Gray also mentions trying to work on the book again, and I sincerely hope he does.

There were several Fantagraphics publications I wanted to mention, like their excellent Popeye collections, or their Zippy books, or any of their Kim Deitch releases, or the pure evil of Scott Russo’s Jizz, or the assorted J.R. Williams magazine one-shots — but I did list his series Crap. Yes, that’s right…Jizz and Crap. Ask for ’em by name! I also thought about mentioning Don Rosa’s Comics & Stories but wasn’t sure if that counted…but looking at that entry which lists Fantagraphics as the publisher, yeah, I guess it would have.

And then I saw other people mentioning Amazing Heroes and Comics Journal in their lists, and I was thinking, damn, why didn’t I think of that?

Oh, man…and there’s Real Stuff, and Anything Goes, and Schizo, and….

Anyway, not sure what the point of all that was, other than “I like a lot of stuff from Fantagraphics and should talk about them more on the site.”

Didn’t see anyone mention Teaser and the Blacksmith, a comic that was…certainly something. Not even sure how to begin describing it, and given the Googling I just performed, if I did describe it I’d become the go-to source on this book and I’m not sure if I’m ready to shoulder that responsibility. (EDIT: Ah, here’s a brief article that notes the premise of the story.)

I was also genuinely surprised no one listed Wendy Whitebread, from Fantagraphics’ Eros division. C’mon, the thing went through multiple printings, and I know I sold a ton of them…some of you have this comic. Don’t deny it.

More blasts from the past.

§ December 27th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on More blasts from the past.

Still perusing some recently-recovered archives of postings from my BBS days…don’t know if they’re of much interest to anybody, but they’re certainly amusing me.

I like this one for reminding me what I was reading thirteen-something years ago:

MsgNum: 1141
From: Mikester
To: All
Subj: My favorite comics, right now
Date: 05/14/95

For no apparent reason, I’m going to list the titles of some of my absolute favorite comics — the ones that, when I crack open one of the many cardboard boxes we get from our distributor and I see that comic inside, I am overcome with joy. (Well, not “overcome,” exactly, but you get what I mean.)

In no particular order, here they are —

1. Swamp Thing (DC)

2. Uncle Scrooge (Gladstone/Disney)

3. Hate (Fantagraphics)

4. Eightball (Fantagraphics)

5. Zippy Quarterly (Fantagraphics)

6. Peep Show (Drawn and Quarterly)

7. Love & Rockets (Fantagraphics) (FUN FACT #1: I’m mentioned in issue #40)

8. Sandman (DC)

9. Preacher (DC)

10. Jim (Fantagraphics)

11. Incredible Hulk (Marvel)

12. Groo (Image)

13. Dr. Radium, Man of Science (Slave Labor)

14. Pirate Corp$/Hectic Planet (Slave Labor)

15. Milk ‘n’ Cheese (Slave Labor)

16. Spectre (DC)

17. Acme Novelty Library (Fantagraphics)

18. Superman (all titles) (DC) (FUN FACT #2: I haven’t missed a Superman comic in about 15 years now)

19. Cerebus (Aardvark-Vanaheim)

20. EC Reprints (all titles) (Russ Cochran)

21. Legion of Super-Heroes (DC)

22. Roarin’ Rick’s Rare Bit Fiends (King Hell)

23. From Hell (Kitchen Sink)

24. Tyrant (Spider-baby) (it’s about the life of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and it has some of the coolest text pages ever seen in a comic book)

25. Bizarre Heroes (Fiasco)

These are just the current titles. This doesn’t include stuff that’s been cancelled (like Grimjack (First), or Eye of Mongombo (Fantagraphics) or Wasteland (DC) or Journey (Aardvark-Vanaheim/Renegade/Fantagraphics) or Dreadstar (First/Epic/Bravura)), but I’m sure you get the idea.

So, what do YOU like?

I’m including this announcement for the then-forthcoming issue of our local mini-comics digest simply because, while this certainly sounds like something we’d do, I have no recollection of planning to include this book with our comic, nor of actually doing it:

MsgNum: 1173
From: Mikester
To: All
Subj: Wood-eye News!
Date: 05/19/95

Issue #5 of Wood-eye should be out in mid-June. It will have a front and back cover by yours truly, and each and every issue will come packed with a free book, “Now That I’m Pregnant, I Have So Many Questions,” while supplies last.

Hey, someone asked what was up with DC’s elemental characters, and I obliged:

MsgNum: 1243
From: Mikester
Subj: It’s all one big…company.
Date: 05/29/95
Reply-To: 1236

Okay, here’s your DC Comics Elemental Update:

FIRESTORM: Ronnie Raymond’s half of Firestorm currently is hanging out in the comic book “Extreme Justice.” Martin Stein’s half (the Elemental part) is tooling around in space somewhere.

NAIAD: The water elemental popped up in “Spectre” recently.

RED TORNADO: The air elemental is being very weird in “Primal Force” right now.

SWAMP THING: All green and leafy and stuff.

And now…reaction to the Spider-Clone Saga as it was happening:

MsgNum: 1258
From: Mikester
To: Dr. Van Van Mojo IV
Subj: It’s all one big…company.
Date: 06/01/95
Reply-To: 1255

Do you mean the ORIGINAL Spider-man, or the Spider-clone that has actually been the Spider-man in the comics for the last fifteen years? (It was revealed just last week…the Spider-clone is the original Peter Parker. Lemme ‘splain for the uncloned here.

Okay, in the 70s a bad guy created a clone of Spidey and the clone and the original fought it out, with the original (apparently) the victor. However, in recent months, someone claiming to be the clone has returned to the Spider-man comics. However, after a number of issues, it was discovered that the Spider-man that has been featured in the
comics since that original Spider-clone story of the 70s was, in fact, THE clone.

So the Spider-man that married Mary Jane…? Clone. Clone clone clone.

I’m sure it must have seemed like a neat idea…but it reminds me a bit of Alien 3 in a way. You know, Alien 2 was all about Ripley rescuing Newt, and, in a way, turning Newt into a daughter of sorts for her. Then along comes Alien 3, which invalidates every success achieved in Alien 2 by killing Newt. You know what I mean.

Anyway, I hate clones. Yuk. Poopie.

And now, some comic investment news:

MsgNum: 1425
From: Mikester
To: Mikester
Subj: Another comic….
Date: 07/04/95
Reply-To: 1021

“Preacher,” I hear, is the current “hot” Vertigo title. A fellow from an L.A. comic shop dropped in the other day to let us know he’s selling #1 for about five bucks, and at conventions they’re up to about fifteen bucks.


And here I am being too earnest for my own good. But, hey, here it is anyway:

MsgNum: 1283
From: Mikester
To: Kassius
Subj: Oh no! Not…COMIC BOOKS!
Date: 06/04/95
Reply-To: 1272

There are comics on darn near everything. You have horror comics, you have historical comics, war comics, autobiographical comics, Robotech comics, western comics, educational comics, humor comics, adventure comics, romance comics, science fiction comics, fantasy comics, comics based on dreams, comics based on television shows, comics with (ahem) naughty parts, comics about slackers, and, of course, comics about flying guys in tights who punch each other.

Comics can be anything. Anything can be comics.

And, finally, while I didn’t note the exact date I said this (sometime in ’95, I’m sure), it perhaps remains the truest thing I have ever written:

“There’s no such thing as a Billy Barty movie that’s COMPLETELY bad.”

I said it…I stand by it.