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I swear this isn’t just a commercial for my eBay store, but if you happened to go there and buy something, I would not disapprove of your selfless behavior.

§ September 11th, 2018 § Filed under advertising, how the sausage is made, promo, self-promotion, Uncategorized § 3 Comments

So here’s the thing: I’m still planning on an End of Civilization post, but I just haven’t had the time to start putting it together yet. I’ve barely even cracked open the new Previews…I have no idea if that deluxe hardcover edition of Swamp Thing Meets Jesus is finally announced, or if the last issues of the Sonic Distruptors mini-series have finally been solicited. Could be in there, I have no idea.

But anyway…usually when I’m having a lunch break at work, I’ll buzz through the Previews and pick out some likely suspects for my EoC post, and then write up the “humorous” “gags” at home. Alas, this month my lunch breaks have been less leisurely and more “cram this food down my throat so I can get back to processing these huge collections I have to process” and “oh Lordy I gotta get all these things on eBay” and…well, you know, actual work. So, no Previews perusal has occurred as of yet. But soon…soooooooon. Hopefully before the DC Universe streaming service starts up next weekend and I suddenly disappar into binge-watching the Constantine series at long last.

Soooooo…let’s shoot for next Monday for the new End of Civilization. Agreed? Agreed! (I totally spoke for you there, I hope you don’t mind.)

In the meantime, let me tell you about some of the stuff I’ve been working on and processing (and may eventually get to my eBay store, if it’s not there already, and if it’s ite> already sold). Basically, former boss Ralph (I’m trying not to call him “old boss Ralph,” y’know) broght me more boxes of promotional funnybook items from the Good Ol’ Days, back when there was only one (or two) X-Men series, when many titles still had triple-digit numbering, when the only “-gate” we had to worry about had “Water” in front of it. I’ve been digging though them, and within I found:

Malibu Sun #13 from 1992:


…featuring a preview of Spawn #1, back when Image and Malibu Comics were briefly iinked together. As others have commented when I posted a pic of this on the Twitters…”that’s some logo.” Anyway, there are some black and white pin-ups by McFarlane inside, and a short (very short, since it had barely existed at this point) history of Image Comics and where it came from and why, and boy howdy do these things go for a pretty penny on the eBay.

Valiant Comics loved its chromium, as evidenced by this wee little “Ninjak on Sale” display piece from 1994 (I presume):


Measures about 5 by 8 inches, and is basically just a miniature version of the cover to the first ossie drawm by future Marvel head honcho Joe Quesada.

“Hey, where’s the new issue of Thor Corps?” “Why, right below the Thor Corps ‘New Arrivals’ sign, of course!”


Dated 1992. Odd choice to represent Marvel’s publishing line for All Time on a sign that’d be posted about the new comics and left there ’til it sunfaded into nothingness, but who am I to judge?

Speaking of odd choices, please enjoy this unopened pack of First Comics stickers from 1983:

And a closer look at said stickers:


Now, I read and enjoyed Mars as it was coming out, but even I’m like “…what would I do with a bunch of Mars cover stickers?” But stickers featuring First Comics mascot Teddy Q — well, those have no end of uses!

My favorite piece so far is the one that’s in the worst condition (a lot of dings and creases, but somehow never actually displayed!)…this promo poster for the second issue of the original magazine series of Nexus, from 1982:


Never did buy all those original mag-sized Nexus issues…got the third one for the flexidisc, but was otherwise satisfied with the trade collection First released years later. Also, that’s Paul Gulacy art on that nice-lookin’ cover, which I misidentified as “Steve Rude” in my rush to get this thing listed. Ah, well…fixed now.

You know, every time I’m reminded of Nexus, it makes me want to go back and reread all the comics. Man, I don’t have time for that…I’m behind on the new comics as it is. Anyway, Nexus is a good comic, is what I’m trying to say.

Next time…more stuff!

And soon to be featured in a Disney film, no doubt.

§ December 18th, 2017 § Filed under advertising § 5 Comments

So in case you don’t follow me on the Twitterers (and I wouldn’t blame you…my Twitter is dumb) I recently put up some pics there of more items excavated from the Endless Stacks of Boxes of Promo Stuff from the Old Job. And, just for posterity’s sake, and due to the fact that once again blogging time is at a minimum, I thought I’d put ’em up here too.

First up is this 1984 Vortex Comics poster, advertising the Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez run on Mister X:


…and every time I’m reminded of the Mister X series by the Bros., I tell myself “I really need to get my hands on those comics” because (gasp!) I’ve never actually read them. I mean, I’m pretty sure I read a preview/interview about these comics in Amazing Heroes at the time, which got my interest up a bit, but never actually took that final step into purchasing them. Well, what can I tell you, I was a boneheaded teen…as opposed to the boneheaded adult I am now.

Next up is this 1984 poster promoting Marvel’s Doctor Who comics:


…that’s maybe drawn by Dave Gibbons, or maybe Steve Parkhouse, or…well, I’m not 100% sure. We had some back-and-forth on the topic on the aforementioned Twitter. I’m leaning toward Gibbons, personally, though the extra rendering on Tom Baker’s face there is throwing me off a bit. Perhaps one of you can set me straight.

And then there’s this 1992/3 poster pushing Neil Gaiman’s guest-writing gig in Spawn, with some very subtle references to his work on Sandman:


Huh, an Image poster poking fun at DC while advertising Marvel’s hot new character. Interesting.

“Occasionally?”

§ December 1st, 2017 § Filed under advertising, death of superman § 4 Comments

Yet another goodie found whilst digging through the piles of promo stuff…this 1993 flyer advertising the then-forthcoming indie comic release Tandra #12:


The flyer alarmed me at first…I’m not overly familiar with the title, though we did carry it at the time, so I thought at first maybe it was a memorial issue for a deceased creator. No, they’re talking about one of the characters in the book. But, if you read between the lines a bit there, and by “read between the lines” I mean “get ready for that incoming sledgehammer to the forehead,” you can probably spot the (cough) implied criticism of the Death of Superman storyline from just prior to Tandra #12’s release.

That last line of “we will not be throwing a party!” is stirring up some vague memories…did DC have some kind of “Death of Superman” memorial event to advertise the storyline? Or were there such events arranged at stores across the country? At our store the only event we had was “wall-to-wall people inside, a giant line down the block outside,” so having a “party” on top of that would have seemed…impractical. But I’m reasonably sure something of the sort happened to inspire that final line in the advertisement.

Well, okay, we did do one special thing at the store to commemorate the event, and that was to make a window display of comic covers from years past showing many different “deaths” of Superman. …We may have occasionally been smart-asses at times.

Anyway, this I think is an interesting artifact of that period showing how at least this smaller publisher reacted to the overwhelming marketplace blitz of the Death of Superman story. That event did bring lots of customers into stores…but I bet plenty of indie publishers probably felt lost in the shuffle.

Collectors edition Titans collectors comic for collectors.

§ November 29th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, collecting, dc comics, teen titans § 5 Comments

from DC Coming Attractions #81 (August 1983)

Some neat stuff I found.

§ November 21st, 2017 § Filed under advertising, pal plugging, self-promotion, swamp thing § 1 Comment

Here’s yet another installment of “what did Mike find in the boxes of old promo stuff from his previous job this time,” featuring this poster advertising the Marvel graphic novel Death of Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin:


Unlike a lot of the posters I’ve been seeing, this one was totally displayed, with pieces of tape still affixed to the back, and even a couple of tape tears noticeable on the front from where another poster with tape on its back was placed on top of it. Even still, it’s a nice piece of retail history from the very early 1980s.

From a couple of years later is, not a promo poster, but an odd piece of photocopier humor that was passed around in the wake of the release of Frank Miller’s mini-series Ronin:


You see, the joke is the comic is called Ronin, so the picture on the original cover has been replaced with an image of Marvel’s Red Ronin fighting Godzilla, and…well, look, this is what we had before Photoshop and image sharing on your Tumblrs and whathaveyou. Just eighth-generation Xerox copies of Xerox copies of gags being passed around by hand for everyone to enjoy. From the few examples of these I remember seeing way back when, at least this one wasn’t, like, purposefully offensive, which was a rarity in itself.

• • •

Hey, my friend Cathy, who does lots of medically-themed comics (some of which you can sample right here) has started up a Patreon of her very own. I know everyone’s got a Patreon right now and times are tough all over, but if you’ve got a dollar to spare, I bet she’d appreciate it.

And speaking of Patreons, I know I fell behind on mine and its exclusive content a bit, but I have started on the next Swamp Thing-a-Thon installment (covering original series #8, The Lovecraftian One). That should be up soon. I apologize, but sometimes real life gets in the way of doing fun stuff. I’m sure some of you can relate.

Oh, and on the topic of Swamp Thing, I did get a copy of the Bernie Wrightson Artifact Edition from IDW, featuring tons of original art for Swamp Thing another other DC horror comics. I’ll probably post a more extensive review of it soon, but in the meantime, let me assure you that it is sufficiently fantastic. I told myself a long time ago the only Artifact Edition book I’d personally get would be one that featured Wrightson’s Swamp Thing work, and I chose wisely. Not to say the other volumes don’t look great (and they do!) but Wrightson’s originals are the ones I felt I’d appreciate the most, and I wasn’t wrong. This book is printed in almost literally tear-inducing detail…I was comparing the original art in the IDW volume to the original printed comics from the ’70s and…sheesh, wotta revelation. And yes, the werewolf splash and these two covers are in there, too. …So go buy one already! Or order one from me! I won’t stop you!

Suddenly nostalgic for the Miraweb format.

§ November 13th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, swamp thing § 4 Comments

As the ongoing deep dive into the ancient trove of promo material continues, I found this Swamp Thing flyer from 1987:


…featuring small reproductions of pages from Swamp Thing #60 (May 1987) by Alan Moore and John Totleben. Here’s a better look at the retailer-specific info here:


As you can see in the scan, the top edge of the flyer is pretty crunched, but I suppose it’s too late at this point to try to get another copy. And, just so you know, the $1.00 price tag that starts with issue #61 goes up to $1.25 with issue #67, so start saving your pennies now. Actually, I kinda miss that “New Format” era…a little more upscale than the standard 75-cent comics of the time, not quite as dear as the $1.50 “Baxter” books like New Teen Titans. It was a nice middle-of-the-road format with reasonably good print quality.

Feeling a little bemused at how quickly I can still separate out the varying printing formats and price points from back then. Of course, there’s a bit more homogeneity to price points now from the Big Two or Four or Whatever, and not so much hairsplitting over the types of paper used, or cover stock. At least, it seems we don’t talk about it as much.

Had some great expectations for this item.

§ November 8th, 2017 § Filed under advertising § 5 Comments


This is a flyer sent out to comics retailers in the early 1990s advertising First Comics’s Classics Illustrated display rack. Not sure why my previous place of employment never got one…probably had enough shelves and racks and display units in a store already filled to the brim. Just didn’t have the room, I suspect.

However, at some point in the early 2000s, while perusing some of the downtown Ventura thrift shops, I found a store using one of these racks as a display for, I think, old hardcover novels. I asked the owner if she would be willing to sell the rack, but alas, she preferred to keep it to hold about $10 worth of used books.

Most of those downtown thrift shops have gone away now, and I don’t know what the owner of this now-defunct storefront did with this Classics Illustrated rack. Hopefully, once the time did come to close up the business, she eventually did sell it to someone who’d appreciate it, or that she took it home to, I don’t know, hold an array of magazines in the bathroom. I really hope she didn’t just toss it in a dumpster, to let it rot in some landfill.

Anyway, here’s a photo of one someone pulled off the eBay. The rack’s blue color was very striking. I wish I’d been able to talk that thrift store owner out of it.

And don’t get me started on “Copper Age.”

§ October 13th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, batman, publishing, retailing § 5 Comments


Found this in the boxes o’old promo stuff…an ad slick for the videotape release of 1989’s Batman, since we were talking about that very thing a few days back. (The reverse side of the page is a larger, greytoned version of the ad.) If I remember correctly, when I put a reserve on a copy at our local video shoppe, I paid $19.99…saved a whole $4.99 like the bargain hunter that I am! I believe I still have my copy of the video around here somewhere, in case I feel like having a Pan ‘n’ Scan Party in the entertainment den.

Anyway, let me take care of a little business right now, so y’all can go on and enjoy your weekend:

  • Alas, looks like the End of Civilization for this month will in fact be postponed ’til next time. Sorry, my free time was less free these last few weeks, so it’s the blogging what pays the price when that happens. This is also what put a crimp in my Patreon plans this month…Swamp Thing #8 is the next issue to be covered, and it will be covered, I promise. Just gotta clear the schedule.
  • From the comments section for my October 9th post, rag notes

    “[Seventh Generation] sounds somewhat similar to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight_of_the_Superheroes

    Yeah, that was brought up to me on the Twitters as well. For those who don’t know, that’s an Alan Moore proposal for a company-wide event at DC Comics, in which shenanigans are afoot in a dark future for Earth’s superheroes, and part of the plot involves characters coming back to the past (our present of 1987 or so) to prevent whatever was going to cause said dark future. Or you can just read the Wiki link there. That’s not an uncommon trope (like I mentioned, it’s happening in the Justice League comic right now), but funny that it popped up twice in two different DC event books, neither of which ended up happening. Maybe the descendants of Dan DiDio traveled back from the 23rd century to prevent those series from getting published. And if so, why couldn’t they save Frank Miller’s All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder?

  • Jmurphy quite reasonably wonders

    “Mike, there was an omnibus of some kind released on the 4th. Will we be hearing about it here?”

    Yes, yes indeedy. The Swamp Thing Bronze Age Omnibus (and part of my brain still rejects the “Bronze Age” label as a dumb marketing term to help make those old issues of Human Fly seem sellable) is in my hands and ready for my perusal. But, related to those “free time” problems mentioned previously, I still haven’t even removed the shrinkwrap. But there it is, staring at me from atop the pile of comics from the last few weeks that I also haven’t read. However, rest assured, Jmurphy, that the Omnibus is on my Omni-genda.

  • From the comments for October 11th, Zoot Koomie zoots

    “I’m curious about the New Universe cancellation story. How was the implosion of that imprint covered at the time? Was information about the behind-the-scenes turmoil leaking out or was it just hype about line reconfiguration around the Pitt crossover?”

    It was just a short article about how four titles in the New Universe line were cancelled due to poor sales, and would be replaced by as-yet-undetermined new series. The replacement of the editor for the imprint was also noted, from which one may infer behind the scenes troubles, but nothing was explicitly detailed. As far as more general coverage elsewhere in the Comics ‘Zine-a-verse…I don’t remember. I’ll have to look through the Amazing Heroes and Comics Journal collections to see what at least the general tone there was. …Actually, I can probably already guess.

  • DanielT cashes in with

    “Any particular reason your eBay prices are all $ xx.97?”

    Well, as you know, if you price something at $9.99 instead of $10, the $9.99 price point looks like it’s a whole dollar cheaper, right? Well, that $xx.97 price is me undercutting everyone listing things at $xx.99, like the crafty capitalist storeowner that I am, as opposed to those sons-of-bitches undercutting me with their $xx.96 prices, the jerks. How dare they!

  • William Burns fires me up with

    “They have comics in Japan? What ever happened with that?”

    Japan? Never heard of it.

  • The JRC store called, and they said

    “I always like CSN, especially the semi-regular oversized season preview issues that covered the coming quarter/or six months.

    “I was surprised, shocked really, to get a copy a few months back when I happened into a previously unexplored shop.

    “It is little more than reprinted press releases, but there’s still something neat about holding a newsprint style paper in hand.”

    I wonder just how widespread the distribution is on Comic Shop News. I know some stores don’t carry it, which seems weird to me given its low cost and its usefulness to customers, which I’d mentioned in that post. But they must be doing okay…I did a little searching on the Diamond website, and it looks like the per-bundle cost has only gone up a dollar in the last few years, which seems reasonable enough. I know the number of copies per bundle dropped a little bit at some point, but that was prior to the oldest entry I could find in Diamond’s database. I’ll take that to mean that orders on CSN are holding relatively steady. Or they’re charging more for ads to subsidize the price, one of those.

    I’m glad they’re still around. Yeah, it’s a lot of press releases, but as mentioned that’s how many customers get their comics news, so that’s okay. It’s not like there are any other print mags or ‘zines covering the current market, or at least nothing with the reach of CSN. It’s hard to beat “free at the store’s front counter” for distribution.

    And there’s more than just press releases. You get those great Fred Hembeck covers on the special issues, there’s the occasional “Red K” awards issue that pokes fun at recent comics industry hoohar, there are interviews, and of course there is the surreal experience of the Spider-Man newspaper strips that are reprinted therein. How can anyone do without those?

Okay, pals…thanks for sticking with me. Back with More Stuff™ in short order.

This is the title for this post.

§ August 4th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, self-promotion § 3 Comments

They said it couldn’t be done…they said it shouldn’t be done, but I dood it! Part the Sixth of the Swamp Thing-a-Thon over on my Patreon is up, covering issue #5 of the original Swamp Thing series. For the entry fee of only one measly, paltry, barely-noticeable dollar per month, you can see a whole lot more typing by me, America’s Only Comics Blogger. Be the envy of your friends and the bane of your enemies…put yourself on the path to righteousness…grow tall and strong and healthy…by joining today!

In the meantime, whatever you do, don’t think about this:

“He’ll GRILL up your body and eat it as hamb — no wait”

§ July 12th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, archie § 1 Comment


 
 

from Archie #131 (September 1962)

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