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Was going to give them a little grief about the scare quotes, but that’s actually appropriate usage, I suppose.
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!
So I purchased a comic collection Thursday afternoon, and among the assorted Iron Man issues and a reader copy of Sub-Mariner #1 (1968) and some British edition Freak Brothers comics and the one issue of Secret Defenders that still sells, I found a handful of copies of this:
…the 1983 Spider-Man Fire-Star and Iceman insert for the Dallas Times Herald newspaper, tying into the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends animated series. Note that Firestar gets an extraneous hyphen, which also runs through the interior pages. I was kind of hoping we’d get “Ice-Man” inside the book, too, but no such luck.
Anyway, the story involves our heroes going to see The Nutcracker ballet, but not until after answering nature’s call:
…but ending up in a fight against the surely-must-have-turned-up-in-a-Bendis-issue-of-Avengers villain Daddy Longlegs:
…whose motivation is summed up thusly:
And frankly, that’s a motivation I can understand, more so than the usual reasons of “I want to blow up the Earth/take over the universe/get revenge on the Kryptonian for making me lose my hair.”
The latter portion of the comic involves our super-pals sitting in the audience and actually watching the performance of The Nutcracker, the story of which is retold in the comic. Please enjoy this horrifying version of the Rat King:
…who surely must also have made a cameo appearance in one of the Bendis Avengers comics.
Since this publication was one of interest to a particular locality, there are ads for area businesses throughout the book, generally featuring Marvel characters in varying levels of association. Apparently there’s something to do with “swinging” in this ad:
…which you’ll note neglects the necessary hyphen in Spider-Man.
This ad, placed on the page right next to the previous ad, remembers the space for the hyphen, but not the hyphen itself:
And here’s Spider-Man again, still missing that hyphen, this time shilling for fine RCA television products:
Surely the unnecessary hyphens in each occurrence of “Fire-Star” used up the hyphen quota for this comic, resulting in Spidey’s rampant hyphen shortages. Ah, if only the people placing these ads had access to the decades-later wisdom of Metrokitty.
Now, the Hulk isn’t in the story, though I would have paid one American dollar to have him dressed as one of the toy soldiers in the retelling of the ballet, but he does show up in a couple of ads. For example, this ad, where Hulk’s just kinda hanging out there around those boots for some reason:
Man, Hulk doesn’t even wear boots. What’s going on here.
And please enjoy the subtle menace of this image, attached to a restaurant ad ballyhooing Santa’s appearance there:
No, not Hulk-Santa, the attached ad just says “Santa Claus.” I wonder how many kids interpreted it to mean that Hulk would be there, dressed as Santa? “HULK NOT CARE IF YOU RICH OR POOR / HULK SMASH YOU JUST THE SAME”
…Christmas jokes in August. You’re welcome.
EDIT: For more information about Daddy Longlegs, I refer you to pal Andrew.
images from Spider-Man Fire-Star and Iceman (1983) by Jim Salicrup, Jim Mooney and John Tartaglione
from Girl’s Romances #112 (October 1965)
house ad from Ginger #2 (1952)
house ad from Archie’s Joke Book #127 (August 1968)
detail from ad in Young Romance #193 (Apr-May 1973)
If you’re among the folks who celebrate the Fourth, I certainly hope you have a fun and relaxing day. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be celebrating Independence Day in that most patriotic of t-shirts:
…while speeding around city streets and hanging with your pal Huggy Bear, as our country’s forefathers intended.
Happy Fourth of July, or happy Wednesday for you international types, and I’ll see you…Thursday? Friday? One of those days.
Well, sure, Batman’s isn’t too far off the mark:
And Wonder Woman’s is…well, okay, she is a warrior, so I guess this one can slide:
…but this one doesn’t feel very…Superman-y, you’d have to admit:
And this one makes me laugh, because I’m a bad person:
In comparison, the Green Lantern one felt a bit tame:
…so I decided to do a little copy editing:
And yet, strangely, still in character!