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They might want to avoid reissuing some of those Golden Age Wonder Woman comics right now, too.

§ August 3rd, 2018 § Filed under big red cheese, racial sensitivity § 10 Comments

So the word I got in an email from DC Comics this week was that the recently-announced collection of the Golden Age Captain Marvel story Monster Society of Evil, slated for release next Feburary, was cancelled. This is the second time in recent years DC canned a planned release of this story, as a hardcover solicited in mid 2009 was also taken off the schedule shortly thereafter. The reason given this time was “due to concerns over its contents,” or in other words “we don’t want news items about racism in Shazam comics during the month lead-up to the Shazam movie.”

And yes, there are some…unfortunate caricatures in this particular run of the Big Red Cheese’s adventures, as I recall. I did get a chance to read this story myself quite a while back, in an oversized slipcased hardcover reprint from 1989 loaned to me by a friend:


…That picture was taken from a recent eBay listing, by the way, where you can find several copies of the book for prices ranging from hundreds of dollars to too many hundreds of dollars.

Anyway, back to the racism. It’s hard to say outright that “oh yeah hey this story is great well you know except for that whole Steamboat business” because, well, c’mon. You can look at it as a historical artifact, a “product of its time” as they say (though real world events should tell you that time isn’t nearly as far away as people would like to think). I know it’s been suggested that it be released with some ginormous disclaimer on the book warning about the racial shenanigans therein (as has been done with the past with other archival comics and cartoon reissues on DVD), which would allow the publisher to cover its corporate butt while still making their mon–er, I mean, still preserving classic material for future generations. I know the earlier DC Archives reprints of Captain Marvel Stories had their fair share of similar problems, but, yeah, they didn’t come out with a multimillion dollar movie hot on their heels.

It’s also been suggested some other publisher take on the project so that DC doesn’t take the heat, but…yeah, if someone’s going to make a big public stink about it, it’s not going to matter whose business name is on the spine or how big the disclaimer is.

Anyway, it’s probably all just as well. I get why DC wouldn’t want to risk the bad publicity, and there are plenty of stories from the same period by the same creators that aren’t, you know, afflicted with related subject matter.There’s lots of later material, too…at the very least, let’s get color reissues of those E. Nelson Bridwell/Don Newton stories from the late ’70s/early ’80s:


I mean, they just fight Satan in those…that wouldn’t stir up any trouble, surely.

MIKE VS. TWITTER.

§ July 23rd, 2018 § Filed under big red cheese, blogging about blogging is a sin, retailing § 9 Comments

So the other day, a small gag occurred to me that I felt I should post on Twitter, and that gag was this:


Those of you who know me, or have at least read me for a while, know that’s a very Mike joke for me to make. Anyway, I thought it was cute, a silly gag, not a great one, that maybe my Twitter pals would get a chuckle out of, given most of them are comics-savvy and would understand the joke.

Well, for some reason, this tweet has received more “retweets” and “faves” than anything I’ve ever posted on the Twitterers before, outside of my contributions to Fake AP Stylebook. I don’t know if it counts as “going viral,” but by my supremely low standards it’s at least a very minor virus, perhaps only a slight infection. Regardless, it’s received far more attention than I would have thought..perhaps because of the timing with the release of the Shazam! movie trailer (more on that later in the post).

As per usual, whenever something I’ve written makes it outside the usual circle of “People Who’ve Learned to Tolerate Mike and His ‘Writing,'” I get to hear from people who don’t seem to..quite get the humor, which, okay, in all fairness maybe they’re trying to be funny back at me and I’m too lame to grok their superior hilarious commentary. Like, there seem to be more than a few folks who appear to believe that I’m…actually going to do this to some poor bastard stuck behind a window selling tickets? C’mon, son, I’ve worked retail for a living for decades, I’m not going to do that to my counter-jockeying brothers and sisters.

Then there’s the one fella who seemed to get, like, pissed off that I didn’t seem to realize that the Big Red Cheese isn’t actually called “Captain Marvel” anymore, but “Shazam,” thus invalidating my gag. Look, pal, read this post from about three years ago (near the middle somewhere) where I complain about the name change at length. TL;DR version: if they had to change the name, they should’a called him “Captain Shazam.”

There were some actual funny responses, which I always appreciate. Pals Ian and Myles were tuned into the same strange frequency with their replies:

(excerpt of the accompanying image…see his tweet for the full thing)


And this response made me MAL (“MAL” of course being the popular internet acronym all the kids use for “Make Audible Laughter”):


But Angel pretty much sums it all up with:


Oh, Angel, my friend, my blog here is pretty much my 15-year-long effort at trying to annoy as many people as possible. That tweet’s only the very tippiest-tip of that iceberg.

To those of you sick of seeing that tweet pop up in your feeds…I’m very, very sorry. And I’m sorry that it’s here again on my personal blogging website that you’ve surfed to on the World Wide Web.

• • •

Speaking on being annoyed on Twitter, someone drive-by hit one of my tweets on the whole “Wedding of Batman” thing (which I wrote about on my site here and here), where I said I felt for the stores that ordered huge numbers on #50 expecting the event but getting no event, while simultaneously being relieved that I appeared to order the exact number. Said drive-by-er’ reply was, in effect, “looks like you should have ordered more, dummy” with an excerpt of some article from somewhere talking about how that issue of Batman sold anyway, regardless of how things turned out. Of course, he went back into my Twitter timeline, past my own follow-up tweet where I stated “yes, of course it sold, it’s #50 of Batman, dur hey” so he could snark at me.

Well, let me tell you something, my retailing expert friend…I ordered a good number of these Batman #50s. Didn’t go overboard, didn’t have any kind of in-store event planned or anything…just lots of copies to put on the shelves. I had plenty pulled aside for the pull list customers, I had lots of walk-ins, I had plenty of phone calls from folks desperately seeking copies…and after that initial week or two of sales were over, I had exactly one copy left. That one copy, as I type this, is still on the shelf, even after having a particularly healthy and busy week at the shop…probably one of the biggest non-Free Comic Book Day weeks I’ve had this year. Lots of people coming in and out the door, calling the shop, etc., but none of whom needed that last copy of Batman #50 on my rack.

Basically, I ordered Batman #50 almost perfectly. I had almost the exact number of copies I needed to meet immediate demand. Now, that’s not to say someone won’t rush in demanding any and all copies of #50 when I get into the shop on Monday, but for the initial sales window for a new comic (which is primarily its first week of release), I exactly, save for that one remainder, met my local demand. So, no, person on Twitter I muted almost immediately because you seriously cheesed my crackers, I didn’t need to order more, because I ordered just right, thank you very much.

Sorry to go on about this, but the one thing that really makes me angry regarding store stuff is when other people, especially people who don’t know what they’re talking about, try to condescendingly tell me how to do my job. Also, when people seal their comic bags with tape. SO. ANGRY.

• • •

Oh, right, I was going to say something about the Shazam! trailer. Don’t have much to say, really…looks like it’ll be fun, despite my issues with Cap not being called “Cap” anymore. Also, it’s very much the “modern” take on the character, where Cap…er, Shazam is simply Billy in a grown-up body, as opposed to the “classic” version where Billy Batson and Captain Marvel were more or less treated as different people, and even referred to each other as such. Well, I suppose the classic version might have been a little too strange for modern audiences…the Big-starring-Tom-Hanks formula would more likely meet modern expectations for this particular premise. But I’ve gotta say…seeing Billy shout “SHAZAM!” and then transform…that was pretty great to witness in live action.

I’ve got a few old Captain Marvel entries from, egads, 2005 that I’ll need to clean up and link back to in a current post, so someone remind me to do that before the movie comes out.

Seriously. Just call him “Captain Shazam.” That would be okay.

§ November 12th, 2015 § Filed under big red cheese, this week's comics § 6 Comments

jlu15
This was fun while it lasted…Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier and pals using the “Justice League” concept to pull together whatever characters they felt like for a couple of issues of wild adventure, before moving on to the next grouping of heroes. This last storyline, mixing up DC’s WWI and WWII characters with modern superheroes, was a hoot, and totally summed up by a line of dialogue on the two-page spread featuring all the characters charging into action: “This is pretty freaking cool.” Unfortunately the series is a victim of Too Many Justice Leagues, and something had to go. Too bad, this book had really turned around and was beginning to pick up readers again.

jldsw
Speaking of Justice Leagues, the premiere New 52 title is in the midst of its Darkseid storyline, and here are a whole bunch of one-shots featuring our heroes in the midst of having become “New Gods” themselves. Actually more fun than it sounds, and these one-shots are probably better at presenting the changes in these characters than the main JL comic itself. This one in particular, featuring Shazam, is completely bonkers, as Shazam has been cut off from the gods that originally provided his powers and is introduced to the new pantheon of beings supplying his current abilities. It’s a bunch of craziness, and while the abrasive personality of this New 52 version of Billy Batson certainly grates, the story just powers along from god to god, each of whom are just kind of jerky to Billy, and it’s pretty amazing. Also, I still hate that he’s called “Shazam” now…I understand why, but I don’t have to like it.

supermanaa1
Yeah, I know who wrote it. It was still…not too bad. The story of young Clark Kent adjusting to his powers is a good idea, though the true horror of a super-powered child has been explored in alarming fashion already. If you liked that bit in Man of Steel with Clark’s burgeoning powers overwhelming him at school, here comes seven issues of it. The frequent “anime faces” take some getting used to, and some of the plot contrivances are a tad eye-rolling (Clark’s flight in front of witnesses explained away as a “gas pocket” exploding), but overall it’s a pleasant enough read. I do like the introduction of the concept that some other citizens of Smallville just by necessity know about Clark’s abilities, and hopefully we’ll see how that plays out over future issues.

bus2
I meant to say something about the first volume of The Bus from some time back, reprinting that most enigmatic and surreal of strips about an older gentleman, a bus, and the occasional confluence of the two, that I primarily remember from old Heavy Metal mags. Well, here’s volume two, with new strips about those very same things, still done with the most exacting linework, and the most bizarre circumstances therein. I haven’t done more than flip through it yet, but it looks like The Bus hasn’t lost any bit of what made it so special since it originally ceased running in the ’80s.

bsupermanlt
This cover is perfection. I would read the comic this cover is presenting, but of course it’s just a variant. Too bad.

Bit late to the whole “Shazam” name-change thing.

§ June 5th, 2015 § Filed under big red cheese, retailing, this week's comics § 6 Comments

A couple of questions popped up in the comments to my last post:

From Thelonious_Nick:

“Here’s something I’ve long wondered: Why are so many variant covers so much more awesome than the regular covers for that issue? If the company really wants to sell more comics, shouldn’t they make the variant cover into the actual cover, and make the boring one the variant?”

I’ve wondered about that myself once or twice over the course of this here weblog — on one occasion wondering why some Star Trek comic decided to use the amazing Gorn photo cover for the limited variant instead of slapping that sucker on the regular edition and selling a ton of copies. The answer is almost certainly aimed at enticing retailers into ordering more copies, which for some publishers may be a safer bet than hoping enough readers will be attracted by the better cover. A retailer orders a certain number of a book, sees a cool-looking variant cover that s/he could get for the shop if orders were raised just a smidgen to a particular sales plateau, and bumps orders up accordingly.

Same goes for those comics that have five, six, a dozen different covers, that are all equally available for order by retailers. They’re not necessarily there in the hopes that customers will buy one of each cover (though that does happen, of course). They’re there to get higher initial order numbers from retailers. Instead of ordering 10 copies of one available cover of Mistress Bikini-Armor #1, a retailer might instead order two each of all six variants for Mistress Bikini-Armor #1, just to make sure there’s enough available of each variant to meet theoretical demand. It’s not much of a bump, probably, but in this marketplace every little bit helps.

From d:

“So how did Convergence and its various tie-ins sell, now that it’s all over? How do you think it will compare with Secret Wars?”

Overall, it did…okay, I think. Some tie-ins did especially well (like the Shazam! one) and some just didn’t do anything for me (many of the Justice League-related titles sold far less than expected). The actual Convergence series itself actually sold very well, surprisingly for a weekly series. In the end, maybe a shorter main series and fewer tie-ins while not putting everything else on hold may have been preferable, but I didn’t seem to experience any kind of decline in revenue while the event proceeded (despite some sky-is-falling scaremongering by certain online gossips).

Compared to Secret Wars, Convergence seemed to lack some measure of cohesion and direction, beyond “here are a bunch of cities from parallel Earths crammed together on one planet, and they have to fight each other to see who survives.” The upshot of the series is that it…undoes Crisis on Infinite Earths which had already been undone, I think, or otherwise just ignored, and, well…maybe if the series had been a more focused 4-part mini instead of a bloated repeating-the-points 9-parter, we might have been better off. In addition, I think Marvel managed to push Secret Wars as something Marvel fans had to read, explicitly tied to the Marvel Universe’s overall continuity, whereas Convergence never really felt like more than “here’s something you might want to read for a couple of months, we hope.” However, I do appreciate that the creators of the series managed to trick DC fans into reading what was essentially a Warlord comic for an issue.

Speaking of Shazam, as I was just a couple of paragraphs back (go ahead, check, I’ll wait) here’s one thing I had noted on the Twitterers the other day:


I’d love to see more only slightly-tangentially related to the wider DC Universe Captain Marvel adventures like in Convergence and Multiversity (and both series showed how the Shazam Family can play nice with other superhero milieus without losing the ol’ Shazam charm), instead of seeing the Big Red Cheese squeezed into the grittier ‘n’ darker comics where he never quite fits in. I know the temptation is to contrast Cap’s innocence with the “real world” of the regular DCU (like in this week’s Justice League, where Cap is distraught at having seen a dead body for the first time…hey, kids, comics!) but it would be nice to have him star in, and be the hero of, his own series, instead of the odd-man-out that he almost always is everywhere else.

I suspect once the always-forthcoming Shazam movie finally does come, and if it’s successful, it’ll establish which tone the comics will follow. Probably more “New 52” and less “C.C. Beck,” if I were to hazard a guess.

And yeah, I keep calling him “Cap” or “Captain Marvel,” the name he retains in the retro-style Convergence and Multiversity comics, but as since been discarded in favor of being called “Shazam!” for ease-of-licensing-and-market-exploitation-that-doesn’t-conflict-with-Marvel-Comics purposes. I mean, I can understand why DC would want that change, and it looks like they wrote around the old Marvel Family issue of characters who can’t say their own names without switching back to normal humans. But “Shazam” as a name just by itself seems nonsensical…”hey man, why are you called ‘Shazam’?” “Well, it’s the magic word I use to turn into a superhero! The ‘S’ is for ‘Solomon,’ the ‘H’ is for Herc…hey, where are you going?” Personally, I would have gone with “Captain Shazam,” so at least you could still call the character “Cap” or “The Captain” and retain some connection to the Captain Marvel of old. That wouldn’t be any more ridiculous a name than, say, “Batman.” But nobody asked me. Nobody ever asks me. (sigh)

• • •

In completely unrelated news, I was convinced to read the new Airboy #1 from Image that came out this week, in which creators James Robinson and Greg Hinkle tell a story of themselves trying to come up with an angle on an Airboy reboot. SPOILERS AHEAD: Horrible things are done over the course of the story, with drink, drugs, sex, and more drugs, while the creators, Robinson especially, uncomfortably assess their comic-creating careers. It’s probably the last thing you’d expect in an Airboy comic, and probably some 80-year-old somewhere is really pissed off that this was done in a comic named after his favorite comic book character, but it really is a compelling read. And, if you’ve read ahead to solicitations for future issues, you already know that by the end of the comic, somehow Airboy himself appears to Robinson and Hinkle, disgusted by their debauchery.

And what that reminded me of was this comic:


Airboy and Mr. Monster (1987), another comic where an apparent apparition of Airboy appears to help a comic creator through a time of trouble. In this case, it’s the fictional Everett Coleman, whose failed career and torment by some of the evil characters he’s drawn over the years eventually leads to other characters he’s drawn coming his assistance…including Airboy. Now, Airboy is just one of an army of characters who pop up in this book, making the implied team-up of the characters in the title only just technically correct. It’s still amusing that Airboy, of all characters, has now been used twice in these mildly similar fashions.

While part of me likes the idea of Sivana first encountering Mr. Mind as a tequila bottle worm, the rest of me realizes this is an idea probably best forgotten.

§ March 31st, 2010 § Filed under big red cheese § 7 Comments

from Shazam! The New Beginning #4 (July 1987) by Roy & Dann Thomas and Tom Mandrake

(For the nitpickers, here’s Cecil explaining the whole Tequila worm thing.)

And now…things you don’t tend to hear the Marvel Family say any more.

§ February 4th, 2009 § Filed under big red cheese Comments Off on And now…things you don’t tend to hear the Marvel Family say any more.

from Shazam #35 (June 1978)
by E. Nelson Bridwell, Don Newton & Kurt Schaffenberger


I love the Don Newton-era Shazam! stuff, but darn if they weren’t a bit peculiar. I mean, even by usual Captain Marvel standards.


In other news:

  • At one of my favorite blogs, Armagideon Time, Andrew has a few words to say about Final Crisis and the nature of event books. It’s another thoughtful and critical take on FC that’s well worth your time to read.
  • Two links to Kevin, not that the boy needs the traffic but hey, these made me laugh: first, seriously, I was in on the events that eventually resulted in this image, and Kevin’s right…don’t ask; second, the URL may not be work-safe, but I think it’s safe to assume this was the subtext of pretty much every Star Trek episode.
  • Bubblegum Aesthetics has a few nice words to say about me and my site…THE BRIBES ARE WORKING:

    “Funny without feeling strained, snarky without being truly mean, and never letting hipster cool get in the way of genuine joy, Sterling’s blog is the best virtual comics shop you could ever visit.”

    Well, shucks. Thanks, Mr. Bubblegum!

"Yours for old Shazam…."

§ September 19th, 2008 § Filed under big red cheese Comments Off on "Yours for old Shazam…."


Pictured above is a Mary Marvel Fan Club card from 1946, acquired in that collection I’ve been scanning ‘n’ photographing from all week. It came in an envelope along with a merchandise sheet and a “welcome to the club” letter ostensibly from Mary herself, plugging the merchandise, reminding folks of the paper drive, and giving fashion tips:


CLICK TO MAKE SHAZAM-IER

Speaking of Mary, here’s a column by Customer Jim reminiscing about the Mary Marvel of old, and lamenting her treatment of late.


In other news:

  • More news from the Beanworld: Larry Marder has posted the solicitation information for two Beanworld projects: the first Beanworld hardcover, reprinting issues #1 through #9, and the all-new, all-color Beanworld Holiday Special! Go see Larry for more info and art samples!
  • Speaking of solicits, from DC’s listings for December:

    “SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING BOOK ONE HC
    Written by Alan Moore
    Art by Stephen Bissette, Dan Day and John Totleben
    Cover by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben
    Writer Alan Moore’s seminal horror series is now published in hardcover for the very first time — including the never-before-reprinted SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20, in which Moore wraps up the previous storyline and sets the stage for the groundbreaking tales that were to come. Collecting SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20-27, this first volume features the stories that put Moore on the comics map in the 1980s thanks to his unique narrative style and deconstructive storytelling. Created by a freak accident, Swamp Thing believed he was once scientist Alec Holland — but when he discovers his true nature, it shatters his universe and sends him on a path of discovery and adventure.

    “Featuring the art of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, this groundbreaking work features mind-blowing, genre-defying stories starring the rich, complex character that Neil Gaiman called ‘The No. 1 New Classic Monster’ in Entertainment Weekly.”

    At long, long last, we’re getting a reprint of Alan Moore’s first Swamp Thing issue, left out of previous reprintings due to its being more of a wrapping up of storylines from Marty Pasko’s run than a beginning for Moore’s own story. (And hopefully the new hardcover will restore the missing caption from the last page of Saga of the Swamp Thing #24, which isn’t in the most recent softcover edition.)

    Tom Bondurant, in his own DC solicits examination, wonders if I know why there haven’t been any Showcase Presents reprintings of the entire first Swamp Thing series (including the never reprinted in their entirety, at least in the U.S., post-Wrightson #11-#24) and the pre-Moore Saga of the Swamp Thing by Pasko, Tom Yeates, and the first ST work by Bissette and Totleben. I don’t know, aside maybe from royalties issues, or maybe a feeling that non-Wrightson, non-Moore/Veitch ST sales wouldn’t justify reprinting. I really have no idea.

    The black and white Showcase books would be an okay solution…as Tom says, the first series would fit in one volume, and a second volume could cover all the pre-Moore stuff (though instead of including the early Moore issues to fill the rest of the book, I’d go after the Brave and the Bold and DC Comics Presents stories…and maybe somewhere there’d be room for Swampy’s star turn in those Challengers of the Unknown comics).

    That initial 13-issue story in Saga of the Swamp Thing by Pasko and Yeates, et al, ain’t too bad. (And 14-19 are pretty good too, actually…I’ll write more about those some other time.) It’s a bit overwritten, captions and word balloons overwhelming the art at times to the detriment of the story, but it still holds together as a fine example of modern horror. It’s been mostly lost in the large shadow cast by Moore’s run, but still deserves some attention. And hell, it’s cheap…even if it’s never collected, you can pick up those issues for a couple of bucks each, by and large.

    But if any of that early Swamp Thing can be reprinted, especially in color, I’d like to see those Nestor Redondo issues from the original ’70s series on nice paper, finally. His style was quite a bit different from Wrightson’s — a little more polished and slick, maybe — but still quite beautiful and moody and, again, hidden in the shadow of a more famous and highly-regarded run in the same series.

    And I’d like a cheap, full-color reprinting of Sugar & Spike…you know, so long as I’m wishing for things I’m not going to get.

  • Via the mighty Neilalien: the Sound Effect Generator. “pwoik coo pwoik coo croaaak-croaaak tsssss-tsssss blug-blug”

Mike’s New Comics Day Lunchtime Update 3007.

§ November 29th, 2007 § Filed under big red cheese Comments Off on Mike’s New Comics Day Lunchtime Update 3007.

1. So what’s up with the art in Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #3? There seem to be a quite a few photocopied (or Photoshopped) faces and bodies used repeatedly throughout the issue, particularly with Uncle Sam late in the book. I know it’s a time-saving device and all, but it’s just obvious to the point of distraction this time around.

I’d make some scans, but our store scanner is dead slow and I don’t want this to be a Dinner Update.

EDIT: Dwayne’s got all the evidence you need.

2. All Star Batman and Robin #8 is a thing of beauty, and woe betide you if you think otherwise. I love you, All Star Batman and Robin.

3. I looked at the character descriptions on the package backs of the new Shazam! action figure set, and this is what they say about Hoppy the Marvel Bunny and Billy Batson:

“A quiet newsboy by profession, BILLY BATSON was chosen by the wizard SHAZAM! to take on the alter-ego of Captain and protect the world. He’s even more effective when similarly powered HOPPY THE MARVEL BUNNY is by his side.”

I love the fact that this is all the explanation for Hoppy that they give you. Okay, chances are most people buying this will be in their 40s or older and know who Hoppy is, but there’s a possibility someone somewhere is going to be totally baffled by a rabbit in a superhero costume.

This is all somehow Roy Thomas’ fault.

4. Eros Comix’s Blowjob has had 22 issues? Good gravy. Er, so to speak.

5. Employee Aaron: “This comic is very quality!”

Me: “This comic is full of quality!”

Employee Aaron: “This comic couldn’t be more quality!”

Me: “Quality? This comic is soaking in it!”

Employee Aaron: “This comic is oozing quality from every pore!”

Me: “This comic is suffering from quality leakage!”

Employee Aaron: “Er….”

Me: “Too far?”

Employee Aaron: “Quite.”

6. Well, Sensational Spider-Man #41 is out, and it looks like we were all right about what’s gonna happen to Peter, Mary, and Aunt May (and as I first alluded to way back when). ‘Course, there’s one more issue left in this story, which should come out sometime before Christmas ’08, so there could be a last minute twist — we’ll see.

But it’s a moot point, since, according to the last installment, the only comic you should buy was part two, so you’ll never read the rest of the story anyway.

Oh, and a quick glimpse through Death of the New Gods #3 would seem to indicate that my theory about what’s really going on is on the right track. I haven’t actually read the issue yet, but I’m going to interpret the info I gleaned from my quick scan as supporting my argument. It’s my weblog, so there.

Scattershot Sterling Strikes Again.

§ November 26th, 2007 § Filed under big red cheese, retailing Comments Off on Scattershot Sterling Strikes Again.

I think “Plastic Man in Disguise” is a good paint scheme for a room:


Okay, I know it’s not an exact match, but I swear, that’s the first thing I thought when I saw that.

(from this episode of Deserving Design with Vern Yip)


Alas, it was not a Black Friday weekend for us, as once again in our area all the shoppers went to the malls and the big box stores, and there no love for the small businesses. Luckily we had a good eBay week to make up for it, but really, bleah.

Going by the past couple of years, once we actually get into December things will improve, but for Black Friday, it’s mostly a case of all of our clientele risking life and limb at the shopping centers, or, even more likely, wisely staying home and saving themselves the headache.


Why you shouldn’t work for Mike, One:

Employee (and film student) Jeff: “I ordered my $3000 camera through Amazon.”

Me: “You did? Did you use the Amazon.com link on my site?”

Employee Jeff: “Er…no.”

Me: “What!? Why not?”

Employee Jeff: “Um…I forgot?”

Me: “You dick!”


I actually came across this in a comic the other day and thought “hey, that’d go nice with my Fearless Fosdick post,” but I see Booksteve beat me to it: a Fearless Fosdick ad for Wildroot Cream Oil.


Dear DC Comics:

You know, you got people all excited about your Green Lantern “Sinestro Corps” series, even folks who normally won’t have anything to do with any comic book that doesn’t have an “X” in the title. People are really interested in what’s going to happen next. The one-shot tie-ins are selling well. The second and third printings are selling well. I even had someone ask “hey, is that comic where Ion fights Superman Prime out yet?” Yes, someone actually asked for an Ion comic. Yeah, I know it’s a different Ion, but still, that’s like a Christmas miracle a month early.

So please, for the love of God, get Green Lantern #25 out sometime soon. I have people asking me for this every day. They’ve been asking me for the last few weeks…it’s only about three weeks late, sure, but it’d sure be nice to have it on our shelves soon.

I mean, c’mon, delaying a crossover event thing like this…who do you think you are? Marvel?

Love, Mike


In the “reordering out of spite” department…we’d apparently sold out of Will Eisner’s The Plot, so I put in a reorder for it through Diamond’s online system yesterday. Should have it in again soon.

Gee, why would I do that if it wasn’t worth my time? Oh, wait, it is.

Yeah, I know…”Bitter, party of one.”


Just thinking: take, for example, Shazam! #1 from the early ’70s. That was a much anticipated comic, which attracted “investors” who bought multiple copies. As these things usually go, the prices on Shazam! didn’t go anywhere, so for decades afterward they occupied quarter bins.

Eventually, it turned out that, after the majority of Shazam! comics had spent years being used and abused in said bins, that there weren’t a whole lot of mint copies left. And, suddenly, coupled with general interest from collectors in the ’70s market, the few mint (or near mint) Shazam! #1s still around finally acquired some value.

Now, I was thinking about the collections we tend to see nowadays. Lots of folks coming by with big bags of funnybooks that “are really old” and “had been sitting in the garage/closet/car trunk” for a while, which invariably turn out to be landfill funnies from the late ’80s/early ’90s. And, invariably, are never in anything approaching mint condition.

That got me to thinking…maybe what happened to Shazam #1 will also happen to ’90s books! Perhaps enough copies of Shaman’s Tears #1 will end up being destroyed and worn that unslabbed mint copies will become rare and expensive!

Alas, the print runs on ’90s books were so high that, even assuming only 10% remained mint, that’d still likely leave more than enough for any potential collectors desperate to fill their Brigade collections. Ah, well.

I’ll see my unslabbed Shadowhawk II #1 at $75 bucks someday…someday.


Why you shouldn’t work for Mike, Two:

Carla (visiting our shop last week): “Hey, aren’t you employee Aaron?”

Employee Aaron: “Yes I am!”

Carla: “Wow, you’re a lot smarter than I expected.”

Employee Aaron: “Thanks!”

Okay, one more Shazam! post….

§ March 30th, 2005 § Filed under big red cheese Comments Off on Okay, one more Shazam! post….

So I did remember correctly regarding the revamped Mr. Mind’s acquisition of a little wearable translator:


By comparison, here is his “classic” appearance:


I did appreciate the apparent effort in making the newer Mr. Mind still look sorta “cute” and amusing, while addressing the modern audience’s need for something a bit more “realistic” looking. Yes, I realize I’m talking about a “realistic”-looking telepathic alien worm. Quit staring at me like that.

To follow up on this morning’s post…I hadn’t forgotten about Captain Marvel’s appearances in JSA, where commenter Zack points out that he’d been having a romance, of sorts, with Stargirl. Well, actually, the much younger Billy Batson had been, but the much older looking Captain Marvel making eyes with the teenage Stargirl caught the attention of Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, thus causing some minor (so to speak) problems. That was a really weird, but oddly logical, plot point to be addressed, I thought. It was sort of interesting to see it brought up, but we’re probably better off now that Cap seems to be out of the JSA book, putting that plotline to rest.

And Sivana popped up in Outsiders (where Captain Marvel Jr. appears to be hanging his hat) a while back, apparently much more bloodthirsty than in any of his previous appearances. I don’t read this book, so I can’t really provide any kind of cogent commentary on it. In the brief glances I did have of the relevant issues, both characters seemed a little out of place (not that there’s anything wrong with the title, I might add)…but then, seeing Captain Marvel Jr. in any context other than a Marvel Family-related story always throws me off. (EDIT: Pal Dorian tells me that Captain Marvel Jr. was only in the book for that particular storyline…oops, thought he was a regular member, for some reason.)

Commenter Rob points out that great DC Comics Presents annual featuring Cap and Superman vs. a super-powered Sivana, drawn by Gil Kane in his usual dynamic style. The script was by Joey Cavalieri…his dialogue never really worked for me in any of his comics work, unfortunately, but the real star of this show was Kane’s action-packed artwork.

To commenter Bill‘s question, regarding which issue of Alter Ego had the proposed Roy Thomas revamp of Captain Marvel that was even more horrifying than this one…I’m afraid I don’t know! I haven’t dug through the vast Mikester Comic Archives to pull out my stack of AEs to check. When I have a little more time, I’ll be sure to do so! It’s really worth seeking out just to see the bullet we dodged. (If it sounds like I’m being a little hard on Mr. Thomas…well, I don’t mean to be. The vast majority of his work I’m perfectly fine with, and this Captain Marvel story of his (and Gerry Conway’s) is still one of my favorites…but I guess he can’t hit a home run every time!)

Okay, tomorrow morning…no Shazam! talk, I promise.

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