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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)

NOTE: Official stance of this website is that girls are NOT — repeat NOT — yucky.

§ June 26th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, brat finks, dc comics, wonder woman § 9 Comments

So I took in a fairly sizable collection of comics, ranging from the 1960s to the far-flung future of circa 2005, and therein was a copy of Brave and the Bold #63 from 1966:


…which, in the decades I’ve been at this, have only actually seen in person a relative handful of times. On the Twitters, I suggested I’ve seen a copy of this comic only about once a decade, and I don’t think that’s too far off. I’ve seen lots of copies of Brave and the Bold issues around it, but not this specific one. Not sure why…just fewer copies out there in the wild, I guess, at least in our general area. I don’t know if people are just holding onto them in their collections, or maybe the actual issue just didn’t sell well at the time. I mean, maybe some (not all…some) young boys looking at the shelves trying to find something to read would pass on the comic that stars a couple of yucky ol’ girls, so is that a reason for reduced availability now? I’m not sure.

At any rate, I don’t see this issue very often, but I’ve been wanting to read the darn thing for years, so I took it home to peruse prior to putting it back out for sale. Hey, look, I gets my perks where I can. And, as a professional funnybook handler, I can flip through this periodical without any significant reduction in condition or resale value.

Okay, I’m writing this post instead of reading the comic, but I’ll get to it. I did flip through it long enough to find the thesis statement for this visual essay:


…so I’m looking forward to what is almost certainly going to be a whirlwind experience. At the very least, let’s look at that cover…I love how huge and eye-catching those logos for Supergirl and Wonder Woman are, even with their disembodied, worried-looking faces hanging out at the edges there. This must have been something else to see brand new on the rack, which that shiny red background behind the logos glaring out at you.

The issue was also filled with those quarter-to-half page house ads for DC Comics, including one for the very comic we’re looking at right here:


…and boy, did 1960s DC like the word “chicks.” And the phrasing that they’re teamed up in “the super-est romance of all time” — well, “Suffering Sappho!” I guess.

Here’s an ad for Jimmy Olsen getting up to his usual weird-ass stuff in his own comic:


Was James Bond really known for being boastful? Sardonic, maybe, but I never thought he was that much of a braggart. But then it does say Jimmy is more boastful, so I guess Bond doesn’t really have to be so much.

I don’t really have much to say about this ad except it’s for Ultra the Multi-Alien, who is, of course, awesome:


…and well-played on the “you’ll be drawn to his magnetic force!” blurb.

There’s a lot going on in this Fox and the Crow ad, ballyhooing the debut of Stanley and His Monster:


and if you want to learn more about the Brat Finks, why friends, you find yourself on probably the only comics blog in the world with a “brat finks” category you can click on and enjoy.

Just your average Halloween post in April.

§ April 28th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, halloween, swamp thing § 3 Comments


SPOILER: Super Friends #28 only sort of features Swamp Thing (and those other characters) as they were in fact party-goers changed by magic into the beings they were dressed as. Anyway, that was one brave dude who thought dressing as the Demon, an actual creature begat from the sulfurous pits of Hell, at least in the DC Universe in which they both live, was a good idea. Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly public knowledge that the Demon was really from hell, but honestly, anyone actually living in the nightmare world that surely any superhero-filled reality would be should know better.
 
 

house ad from DC Comics cover-dated January 1980 – so it was probably out the September previous…you know how it goes

“Looks and feels like real alligator skin, and it sure wears like iron!”

§ April 14th, 2017 § Filed under advertising § 6 Comments


 
 

from Roy Rogers Comics #86 (February 1955)

Was going to give them a little grief about the scare quotes, but that’s actually appropriate usage, I suppose.

§ November 9th, 2015 § Filed under advertising, self-promotion § 1 Comment

So recently I reclaimed a whole bunch of old MacUser magazines from my parents’ garage. I was actually just going to recycle them…in fact, I had actually dumped them into my parents’ recycling bin when nostalgia took over and made me pull ’em back out again and take them home for one last perusal before I dump them into my own recycling bin…or sell ’em on eBay, whichever I decide. Now, most of these are from around my college days, the late ’80s and very early ’90s, filled with reviews of Hypercard stacks, ads for external 300mb hard drives for $2500, and defensive lamentations regarding the 3% home computer market share. But I am enjoying the rereads, particularly the occasional column from the late Douglas Adams, a huge Mac proponent.

In the back page ad section for the June 1988 issue, I found this:


I’d never heard of this particular project, and can’t seem to find any trace of it upon the Internet. The ad claims the comic is “packed with professional graphics That [sic] can be cut, copied and pasted” which makes me wonder if this was some kind of elaborate clip art library packaged in a comic book story format. Or, perhaps, panels were assembled in multiple layers, and each layer element of the drawing can be separated out by an art program. Or maybe I’m overthinking it and they’re just saying you can cut ‘n’ pasted panels willy-nilly. That they compare it to other “art libraries” makes me think “clever clip art presentation” more than “comic book.”

Right off, the claim that it’s the first “computer comic book” is off, given that Shatter beat it to the punch by a few years (unless they mean “distributed by diskette” which, well, still would like some citations there but maybe they’re right).

A prison with guards that work “9-5” seems like asking for trouble. You’d probably need some kind of night crew for that, right?

“A story better than Superman” – well, I can think of a few Superman stories over the years that would certainly pale in comparison to a clip art collection.

And it’s good to know a Certificate of Authenticity for a computer disc doesn’t sound any more or less silly than, say, a Wizard #1/2 certificate guaranteeing that this isn’t some fake copy of The Maxx #1/2, thus frustrating the huge counterfeit Maxx market.

Plus, I’d forgotten 400k diskettes were even a thing at one point. I thought it was a pretty big deal when we moved on up to 1.44mb floppies. Who could possibly need more space than that?

Anyway, this was just some sort of weird thing I noticed and thought I’d share with you all out there. I wonder if this ever was actually released? If anybody out there knows, let me in on it!

• • •

In other news, the latest Trouble with Comics Question o’The Week is up, asking “which creator and work was the most paradigm-shifting.” Usually when I see the word “paradigm,” I turn and run the other direction because that’s clue #1 that the conversation is about to go way over my head. But, I gave it my best shot, and I believe my answer is totally correct because I’m awesome an’ stuff. Another fellow answered with the same creator and work, and made some very good points about how it’s affected storytelling vis-à-vis packaging that I completely missed, so I guess I was only at about 90% awesomeness this time. Ah, well, we all have our once-a-decade low moments, I guess. But, go read…and keep checking back, because we’ve got some “moore” (WINK) good questions coming up soon!

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