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So in response to the recent news about DC’s lenticular covers for their Villains Month special event, Twitter pal Joe and I had the following back ‘n’ forth:
This is the Eclipso: The Darkness Within
cover in question, by the way, straight outta my collection:
And here’s a close-up of the gem:
Geez, I should have looked a little more closely, and picked one that didn’t still have that bit of flash by the top corner, there. Ah, well. Way to go, younger me.
Now it’s been a while…like “over twenty years” a while, so my memory was that there were two versions of the Eclipso comic, one with a plastic gem and without sans gem…well, that bit is right, anyway, but I thought that you paid a little extra for the privilege of having a big lump on the front of your comic that would dent the comic ahead of it in the box. Turns out I was wrong, thankfully, because I didn’t want to think I dished out an extra fifty cents for that. I do notice that the drawing of the gem is actually removed from the cover that had the plastic gem glued to it, which is nice attention to detail, I think.
Anyway, after a close investigation of the comics surrounding that issue of Eclipso in my storage box, I can determine no damage caused by said gem to any of the comics in front of it. The box was not tightly packed, however, whether by accident or by subconscious desire to avoid pressing anything too heavily against that Eclipso, because like I said in that Twitter post up there, it did occasionally cross my mind that storing that comic was going to terrible, terrible things to other innocent comics. I didn’t worry enough about it to put a backing board or something in front of it as other Twitter pal Christopher suggested, but it was just one of those comic related things floating around in my head, like “which issue of X-Men did snowy Iceman become icy Iceman” and “hold on, I didn’t actually buy X-Force #1, did I?”
Of course, writing about this has me wondering about how our backstock of this Eclipso comic is being stored at the shop. I sure hope we packed the box properly way back when.
Anyway, back to that DC Villains event…I don’t know about the rest of those comics, but we’re gonna sell a billion of those Jokers.
I talked before about how I’m not really looking for any more old comics for my collection, outside of an issue of Dog Boy or two, or ’60s and ’70s fanzines. I mean, sure, if something cool comes along I might snap it up for myself, but by and large there’s not a whole lot of specific back issues I’m actively looking for. This comic I acquired a few months back, for example, was the big one, a comic I’d spent years trying to find.
But there is this one comic that I’d been half-interested in buying, one featuring the debut of a character that’s appeared on and off over the decades, that I’d never seen in the shop in all the time I’ve worked here. I’ve always liked its quite striking cover, however, since I first saw it in a long-ago issue of Amazing Heroes, and decided then I’d buy a copy should I ever get the opportunity.
And then, this weekend, there it was in a collection (the same collection where I found the comic with this page, in fact):
#79, December 1968, featuring the debut of Dolphin as written and illustrated by her creator, J. Scott Pike
Now I suppose I could have gone online and bought a copy from someone, but it’s not something I was absolutely going crazy from not owning…I just figured that sooner or later, a copy would come by the shop, and hopefully it would be in halfway decent shape (i.e. Dolphin didn’t have a mustache drawn on her). As it turns out, it was far more “later” than “sooner,” but, hey, good enough. And now I own a copy of this comic, and the cover looks just as great in real life as it did in that magazine article and on comic cover gallery websites.
Also in the comic is a reprint of the first appearance of Aqualad, and a one-page text piece explaining the idea of fanzines as well as promoting a couple…which is certainly an added bonus for me, given my appreciation for ‘zines.
In conclusion: just what I needed, another comic…but it is always nice to finally find that one elusive item you’ve been searching for, the long itch that finally gets scratched.
• • •
In other news:
Yup, a few more of these Whitman funnybook pre-packs made their way into the shop, only a few short months after that Star Wars one popped up. And while none of these were from series I particularly perused at the time (aside from my Battlestar Galactica treasury edition, and a single issue from the monthly series), even just feeling the (still-sealed!) bags in my hand took me back to that time, so long ago, when I was reading comics. …Oh, wait, I’m still reading them now. Well, you know what I mean.
Like I said, I had the treasury edition (adapting the pilot film) and one issue…that one issue being #3, which was part three of the adaptation of the pilot film, so, well, my 1970s comic dollar wasn’t very well spent, there, I guess. I keep meaning to check out the issues of this series illustrated by Walt Simonson.
I don’t know a whole lot about Shogun Warriors
. I mean, I remember it being on the stands an’ all, and I may vaguely recall the toys the comics were based on as well. This is one of those series that had a price bump partially because it’s a ’70s Marvel title and those are getting harder to find in top condition, and maybe kinda sorta from riding that ’70s toy nostalgia wave even though nobody’s nostalgic for this. (NOTE: I exaggerate for lightly-humorous effect…do not email me with links to your comprehensive “Shogun Warriors Forever” web shrine.)
I can’t even say for sure I’ve ever even looked inside a copy. I’m pretty certain we have a full run in the back issue bins at the shop…maybe I’ll take a look. Someday.
So I was absolutely fascinated
with the Micronauts toys as a kid…I think I had a couple of the figures, and maybe a vehicle, but I think a foot was put down at some point and I had to pick between one or the other parents’-wallet-draining sci-fi franchise toy line, and Star Wars
received my young nod. But boy, did I pore over the one or two catalogs I had for the Micronauts toys, imagining how wonderful they must have been. The only person I encountered back then who had any extensive collection of these toys at all was some friend of a friend, so my direct exposure to these items was tantalizingly brief.
I only ever read one issue of the series…guess which one…though I kept meaning to get around to reading a couple of the later issues that tied into John Byrne’s Fantastic Four run. Though, oddly enough, this mini-series, which I inexplicably bought off the rack, still remains a favorite.
Most of the three-packs shown here contain the first three issues of their respective series, but this Buck Rogers
pack, featuring comics based on the Gil Gerard TV show, holds issue #2 – #4. According to the interesting publishing notes on this Grand Comics Database entry
, the numbering of the series picked up from the previous Buck Rogers
series published by Gold Key back in 1964. So, you know, just 15 years between issues. I wonder if any of the kids buying Buck Rogers
#2 in 1979 were driven crazy, desperately seeking that first issue, thinking they were missing some exciting four-color adventure starring Gerard and Erin Gray and Twiki. Plus, according to that same entry, #10 of the series also went AWOL, just to pick up a few of the Buck Rogers fanboy stragglers not yet driven to madness by the lack of an obvious #1.
A few of you responded to this post in which I wondered what I should read after finishing all the B.P.R.D. comics (which I’m nearly done with, by the way!).
John suggests Planetary, which is a good one, and in fact I did reread the series just prior to the long awaited last issue being released a couple of years ago. I could probably stand to read it again, but may give it a while since it still feels like it’s maybe too soon since the last reread.
Michael suggests Yummy Fur, which is fair enough since I just made a big hoohar over finally completing my run. Believe it or not, I’m not really ready for a Yummy Fur reread…I’ve reread Yummy Fur lots of times, relying on the trade paperback for the initial part of the “Ed the Happy Clown” story, and then reading the single issues that continued Ed’s story, and on through the autobiographical (and semi-autobiographical) stuff. When I finally got that issue #9, I read the Bible story back-up since I hadn’t had the opportunity to read it before. And then I put the number #9 in with my numbers 1 through 8 and 10 through 32, and then my full run of Yummy Fur and I pranced though the grassy fields, hand in hand. …I’ll probably sit down and read it straight through sooner or later, though.
Bruce and “Snark Shark” both recommend Grimjack, one of my all-time favorite series and one I do reread, not necessarily in whole but at least in part, every once in a while. I did a full reread of the series a few years back, and have since gone back and reread an issue or seven here and there when the mood strikes me. I’m pretty sure I wrote about reading the James Twilley-era Grimjack here on the site…or at least I posted a lot about Grimjack after reading all those Twilley issues.
Bruce also suggests, along with David G, Legion of Super-Heroes, which David favoring the ’70s/’80s material, while Bruce extolls the virtues of the Legion era circa Legion Lost (original, not the New 52 version). I have been a Legion man, as David G asks, for many, many years, only recently giving up on the franchise following the, what, fourteenth or fifteenth reboot. I almost, almost, got back on the wagon when I saw that Keith Giffen was drawing an issue or two of the New 52 Legion, and that the Fatal 5 were coming back, and oh boy oh boy the Legion fanboy buried deep within me nearly clawed his way back to the surface, but I stopped him just in time.
…I have reread some short runs of Legion not long ago, such as the “Great Darkness Saga,” and I feel like I reread all the “Five Year Later” stories straight through to the Zero Hour “conclusion” not too long ago (well, maybe about ten years ago), so I’m probably good on those for the time being. However, those later stories that Bruce mentions, the Legion Lost and Legion Worlds comics, I may go back to soon. …I don’t even remember what Legion Worlds is about, so that’s probably a good candidate for a return visit.
philfromgermany is going to make me admit my secret shame: I’ve only read a smattering of Suicide Squad, Hourman and the Christopher Priest Black Panther. …I know, I know, I’m a horrible human being and should be ashamed to call myself a comics fan, but I can say I did like what I read, and should the opportunity arise, I’ll attempt to read them all in toto. (“You stay out of Toto!” “Sorry, Dorothy!”)
Aaron asks, in regards to my Flaming Carrot mention, if I backed the Kickstarter to reprint issues 6 through 12 of the series. Sadly, I did not, but I am glad that the Carrot comics are remaining available for people to read. I really do think that’s going to be the next Big Reread for me, though I’m sure it’ll remind me I don’t have the Kilian Barracks one-shot which always frustrates me. (But I have at least read it at one point, so I can’t complain too much.) I’m especially looking forward to rereading the Carrot comics with Harvey Jerkwater’s particular interpretation in mind.
And in response to Bill: I mean removable labels like these to seal your comics. Pretty much the only thing I use to seal comic bags at home and at the shop. Avoid those pesky tape tears!
• • •
Thanks to everyone for your kind words regarding my post about Errol
. I’m still in that phase where I’m still not quite accepting the idea that we’re never going to see him again. I mean, it doesn’t seem like he’s passed away…he only came to the store once a month, with calls between, so right now it just feels like he’s running a little behind on his regular schedule, not that he’s gone forever.
…Sigh. Stop dying, people I like.
So a while back I decided I was going to go through and put all my B.P.R.D. comics in numerical order, as opposed to the alphabetical order they had been in. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the B.P.R.D. comics (as well as its parent comic, Hellboy) are released in a series of mini-series, each with their own numbering, starting over with a new number one when the next mini-series starts. However, in addition to that numbering, there is a secondary overall numbering system noted in each issue for the B.P.R.D. comics as a whole: B.P.R.D. The Black Flame #1 is also #18 of the whole shebang, as an example.
At least, that’s how it worked ’til the recent release of Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master #3, when the internal numbering system was moved to the cover with a big, fat “#100″ for all to see:
The cover numbering has continued forward from that point, though there are still companion B.P.R.D. mini-series that retain their own, separate numbering.
Anyway, that finally got me to go through and number all the issues on the removable labels (not tape…never tape, God help you) I have sealing the bags shut, using the list found here so I didn’t have to slow myself up by opening each and every issue to note the issue number. (Which is good, since they momentarily screw up the issue numbers in the comics around #57 anyhow.)
Now, I couldn’t just put all these in order and then throw the box back on the Vast Mikester Comic Archives shelves. Oh, no, of course not. After the Orderingening, I picked up B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth #1 (the very first B.P.R.D. comic):
…and read my way forward. I’m up to about issue 64 or so, and it’s quite the addicting page turner, where I find myself saying “well, maybe I’ll read just one more” after finishing each issue. And, like I did when I read all of The Boys over a relatively short period of time, I found myself catching storytelling nuances, or being reminded of certain plot points or character relationships, that I had missed or forgotten in reading these comics in serialized form over several years.
For example (and I don’t know if this is really a SPOILER or not, but here we go), I had somehow managed to forget Panya’s origins as a revived Egyptian mummy. That doesn’t seem like the kind of thing one would forget, but somehow, my impression of “weird psychic woman with perhaps dubious motives that the B.P.R.D. picked up at some point” overtook my memory of “…who also was a mummy” and she was just yet another oddball character hangin’ with the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Not that she still isn’t, but it’s odd that I somehow lost track of where that character had originally come from.
Part of it is, I think, not having reread the particular issues that involve Panya’s specific circumstance since they were originally released. Alas, I am at the point in my life when going back and rereading things is more the exception than the rule. Used to be, as a young Mikester, I’d go back and reread books I’d liked, comics I’ve collected, and so on. Now, who’s got the time? When I’m reading these comic series, I’m reading each installment with a month (or so) gap between issues, and I’m generally not going back and rereading previous issues to be fresh on every single plot point. For the most part, for most comics, that’s not a problem. But once in a while, particularly in series deep in plot and characterization subtleties like B.P.R.D. and The Boys, I can lose track of a detail between issues, and that loss is only compounded with each subsequent issue, separating me even further from that particular detail I may have forgotten. Even something like “she was a freakin’ mummy, you idiot.”
The plus side of this is, of course, the experience has sort of a fresh and new feel to it, going back and rereading this all from the beginning. Certain Big Moments are still stuck in memory, but it’s been long enough that finding out how even those Big Moments fit within the context of the overall story is still a fine pleasure. And to a certain extent, even knowing how particular events turn out, like a character death, it’s been long enough since I’ve read these stories for part of my brain to still think “surely they can get that character out of that trouble.” Basically my brain is working against me too, is what I’m saying.
I’m also sort of thinking what should be next in my Big Reread. In recent years, I’ve read through all the post ’80s reboot Superman, the Baron/Loebs Flash, Concrete, Grendel…I’ve come close to rereading all of Cerebus, but I feel like I’m not quite ready for that yet. I reread all of Nexus about a decade ago, and those recent Nexus installments in Dark Horse Presents kinda want me to do it again really soon. And I should do a Love & Rockets reread…the stuff after the original magazine series, since the mags I’ve probably read about a million times. Well, not literally. You probably realized that.
Maybe, once I’m done with B.P.R.D., I’ll go through my Flaming Carrots. We recently got a number of these in a collection at the shop, and that reminded me of how much I liked those comics, which is the sort of thing that usually gets me to dip into the long boxes at home and pull out my own copies to look at.
I wonder what subtle plot points I’ve forgotten about in those early issues of Flaming Carrot? Like maybe the revelation that the Carrot’s secret identity is actually a fit and fightin’ trim Dean Martin or something. I’ll let you know what I discover.
So Scott McCloud…and this isn’t just name-dropping, this will be important later in the post…was clearing out some storage space, and in the process of making two storage units into one decided to unload a small portion of his comic collection. Not nearly everything of course, mostly just redundancies he also had in collected editions and such. Pal Nat was good enough to haul ‘em over to the shop on Scott’s behalf, and we certainly found a few goodies in there we could use.
But most importantly, in that collection was a copy of this:
Ah, Yummy Fur #9, at last we meet. And now, after literally decades of searching for this issue, my Yummy Fur run is now complete. …I get a prize for that, right?
I’ve mentioned once or twice before about my ongoing search for this elusive little bugger, and now…well, I don’t really have any comic collection white whale to hunt down any more.
But that Yummy Fur. That was the thing. That was what I looked for at shops and at conventions and on the eBays and the Amazons and never seemed to come across a copy. And now I have it, and I, once the hungry young comic fan on his ongoing desperate quest to fill holes in his collection, no longer have that drive, that need, and now, old and tired, will just slowly fade away into comic collecting history as tomorrow’s comics fans push me aside.
Oh, wait, I still need Steve Lafler‘s Dog Boy #9 from Fantagraphics. Okay, forget all that “fading away” business. I’M STILL IN THE GAME, BABY.
And now, the reason I mentioned this was Scott McCloud’s collection (and in case you worried…I checked with him, he’s okay with me talking here about the store getting some of his comics) was because also in the collection were a handful of these title dividers that were made up for a certain special project of his:
For those of you not familiar, this was the title of a mini-comic by Scott and Matt Feazell featuring Scott’s Zot! characters, released between the conclusion of the initial 10-issue color run of Zot! and the launch of the black-and-white run. And in fact, it looks a little something…like this:
Alas, there were no actual copies of Adventures of Zot! in Dimension 10 1/2 in the collection, but having these custom-printed title dividers for them is pretty neat*. They’re full-sized, so you’d have to put your AoZiD101/2 mini-comic in a standard bag and backing board for proper back issue bin display. Also, as an additional bit of personal trivia for you to log into your “Important Facts About Mike Sterling” journal, this was the first Zot! comic I’d ever bought…which then sent me on a search for the previous ten issues, resulting in one of my previous comic-collecting white whales (since found), Zot! #5.
(EDIT: Okay, ignore my previous assumptions about the purpose of that divider. Nat corrects me on the fact that the mini isn’t “Adventures in Dimension 10 1/2″ but rather the original “10 1/2″ from which the later, actual, full-comic-sized Zot in Dimension 10 1/2 comic takes its name, and is most likely the intended recipient of today’s featured title divider. And now I have a headache.)
So thanks, Scott! I promise to give your Yummy Fur #9 a good home! I’ll also give one of those title dividers a good home, too, because I’m totally keeping one of those since, you know, I need to be able to find my copy of Adventures of Zot! in Dimension 10 1/2 easily.
* I wonder if there was ever the temptation to make really humongous title dividers for his oversized Destroy!! comic.
I’m going to pick up on the prediction commentary next week, since both you and I can probably stand a break from it. But don’t forget to submit your own predictions for this coming year! And in other news, I am my own worst enemy.
In the meantime, I suggest you all run out to your local comics emporium and get yourself a copy of Classic Popeye #6, featuring one of those space-filling prose stories that I’m going to recommend you actually read:
…Not that it’s any pillar of originality or anything…you’ll see the ending coming almost just by looking at that title banner, but the interplay between sweetly devious Swee’Pea and the irascible Poopdeck Pappy is a lot of fun. …Speaking of that banner, is that great or what? It really did make me want to read the story, and now I want to go back and read those previous text pieces I’d ignored.
Also, completely unrelated to anything above, since I mentioned being tempted by those Roy Thomas Presents the Heap hardcovers (reprinting Golden Age stories of a proto-Swamp Thing)…yeah, that bullet was bitten and I put my orders in for all three. I am so, so weak. …I’m also thinking of finally getting around to finishing off my runs of books published by 1970s Atlas, because I don’t have enough comics just piled around the house. (Oddly enough, I was reinspired to do so by a customer of mine filling out his New Universe collection.)
Anyway, I hope you’ll forgive me my brief break in discussing your predictions…I’ll finish up next week. And besides, I posted every day this week so far…what kind of crazy person would post on a blog every day?
So I received a used copy of this hardcover in a collection I purchased the other day:
And, well, I did have it in the shop as a new item before, but I never really did sit down and give it a good looking-at then, despite my enjoyment of Don Newton’s Batman. Thus, before putting it out for sale I thought I’d take it home and give it a read…what, it’s going to get more
used? …Well, okay, yeah, I suppose it is, but I’ve the gentle touch of a professional comics handler, and can easily peruse this volume without causing further discoloration, dogearing, spine stress, or, God help us, foxing.
Anyway, I was a fan of Newton’s work, both on Batman and on Infinity Inc., which he had just started to work on when he passed away in 1984 at the too-young age of 49. Reading this book, I find myself struck by one thing, which will hardly be a new or original comment in regards to these sorts of reprint projects, but nevertheless it’s still an honest reaction. The pages are just too white and clean. The Young Mike that’s still rattling around in my head is expecting to be reading these stories on brown-ish newsprint. In fact, when I mentally picture Newton’s art, I imagine dark, moody images…all shadows and mystery. Reprinting in this book on bright pages with bright coloring, even the shadows look like you’re staring at the sun. …Okay, I exaggerate slightly, but still, it was a bit jarring to have the art right in front of me and contradicting my memories of same.
And before you say anything, yes, Infinity Inc. was printed on bright white paper with eye-searingly bright colors, but Newton’s sadly brief tenure there doesn’t have the nostalgic hold his Batman work has for me.
As I was writing this, another sorta unsung comics artist fave of mine came to mind that I’d like to see reprinted in a book like this. I’d totally be all over The Complete Irv Novick.
• • •
One of my readers was kind enough to point out that, in an old post of mine…I mean, really old, within the first month of this site’s life…one of the links I’d posted way back then had apparently since gone feral and now pointed to a porn site. Okay, first off…porn on the Internet? When did that start? And secondly…yeah, link rot. This site is on the verge of turning nine years old, and I’m sure many links in a lot of my old posts now go to destinations I did not originally intend. I mean, if I was sending you to a dirty filthy dirty site
, I was usually pretty good about warning you up front.
I’ve heard about some people going through and consistently maintaining and / or removing links on old posts, but frankly, it’s hard enough to find the time to keep with new posts, or sleep. And then there was the great Blogger-to-Wordpress shift I underwent in early ’10, which resulted in some formatting and archived-post issues, and then whatever that company was that was supporting the old commenting system cut that support, so links to those comments are now no bueno, I guess, and…man, sometimes I feel doing a reboot, and just starting this website from scratch. FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNEW BEFORE: WELCOME TO THE NEW PROGRESSIVE RUIN! and then I’d never refer to anything before that date ever again.
I’m not going to do it, but, back past a certain point, my site’s a mess. I do still go back and fix links and formatting and stuff if I have occasion to link to an old post, so I’m not letting things totally fall into barbarism, but…well, just assume any super old link is probably taking you straight to a site that’ll sell you V1aG4a or promise you pictures of people inserting Tab A into Slot B.
However, I am happy to note that I still occasionally edit my very first post to make sure it’s still sending you where I want you to go. Man, had I known they’d be fiddling with those addresses every year or so, I’d have picked something else for my debut entry.
• • •
Reader d asks
“Hey Mike, we all know you have every Swamp & Man Thing appearance, but do you collect The Heap as well? Just curious.”
Well, I don’t have every Man-Thing appearance…I do have every one written by Steve Gerber, as well as the first appearance in Savage Tales (not by Gerber), but from about the ’90s forward, I’ve been a little pickier about touching Man-Things.
That has nothing to do with the actual thrust of your question, which is all about the Heap, the original comic book swamp monster dating back to the 1940s. Sadly…no, I haven’t gone out of my way to seek out Heap comics, though I have picked up some of the latter day revivals, such as this 1971 one-shot I’ve discussed in the past, or this new version from Moonstone, or the Airboy/Mr. Monster one-shot from 1987, in which the Heap plays a prominent role, and is a great comic, to boot.
The original Heap comics are about to be reprinted in a series of three hardcover volumes, and I’m still waffling a bit on whether I can afford to pick these up for myself. My usual argument to talk myself into such things is “if I don’t get them now, I’ll probably never have another chance, at least this (relatively) cheaply,” so we’ll see. I am tempted.
• • •
On a related note, in that it’s asked in the same comments section, Casey wonders
“Mike, have you ever done a post about toxic Teen Titans continuity?”
Oh God, no. What I’d wished I had done is recorded pal Dorian and myself going on and on and hashing it all out and realizing that some of the time frames involved would make some of the adult characters a lot older than they should be, or that some of the lengths of time of team membership would be extremely short, or…hell, I don’t remember now. This was prior to DC kind of pushing the “sliding scale” of the Modern DC Superhero Universe to being about 20 years old, as of Identity Crisis, which I recall thinking was a slightly more reasonable time frame, given the amount of “important” events and continuity, not just for the Titans but for everyone, you had to squeeze in there.
Of course, post-Flashpoint, that scale is now about 5 or 6 years, depending on who you ask, I guess, so it’s all a moot point. And I hear tell Titans continuity has even more exciting problems now, as in some indecision whether there were previous Titans teams or not, but I leave the pondering of that question to younger, abler folks than myself.
• • •
And then sometimes I repost a gag I already made on the Twitter
, such as presenting this gag header from Archie’s Joke Book
#134 (March 1969 – hey, my birth month!) and lamenting the fact that in no way does the story live up to this title:
…which is just as well, since Archie couldn’t participate anyway:
Oh, scatological humor! You’re the best
• • •
To bring things back around to the nostalgia of Young Mike from the beginning of this post, just before I soiled it all with continuity nitpicking, porn, poop jokes, and Man-Thing innuendo, I found myself the other day discussing the joys of Omega Men
with a customer of mine.
Although I had read the introduction of the Omega Men in those three or so issues of Green Lantern, I didn’t follow them to their own series (which experienced some small controversy in its early issues due to depictions of violence, back in the “they didn’t know how good they had it” days of fandom). It took Alan Moore, a writer of some note, writing a back-up in two successive issues of the series (#26, pictured, and #27) to get me to take a look…and quite wisely, a new storyline in the main feature started up at that same time, giving Moore-ites like me a solid jumping-on point. It helped that 1) the new regular artist on the series was Shawn McManus, for whom I was developing a strong appreciation, and 2) that the comic itself was just a darned weird, creepy, and plain ol’ interesting sci-fi adventure.
As I was talking about the book with the customer, a couple of things dawned on me that, I suppose, shouldn’t have surprised me but did anyway. The actual run of that “new direction” for Omega Men, from #26 to the book’s eventual cancellation, was only 13 issues, plus an annual. It sure felt like it was longer…not in a bad way, I mean. It’s that a whole lot of stuff happened along the course of that comic, and it’s hard to believe they managed to fit it all into only about a year’s worth of stories (well, technically a year…I think some issues ran a bit late, if I recall correctly). Also, there was a Teen Titans crossover, and, of all things, a Crisis on Infinite Earths-engineered Blue Devil crossover, and an appearance in DC Comics Presents, so that probably helped in the perception of the comics’ apparent length.
The other thing that dawned on me was that the series wrapped up while I was still in high school, which doesn’t feel weird for anyone but me, I realize, but still, it seems like it’s more recent than that. Ah, well…tempus fugit, and all that.
I’ve since picked up the remainder of the series, which of course includes the first appearance of Lobo (which guides at a low $7.00, which sort of surprises me, except I suppose Omega Men print runs at the time were fairly large), and despite the occasional terrifying Kevin O’Neill art job, those earlier issues were fairly staid compared to the outright craziness of the McManus-era stories. Still fun, and worth checking out if you can find ‘em cheap, which they usually are.
• • •
Just to let you folks know, I’m probably entering Low Content Mode for the rest of the week, or at least lower
content mode…the Thanksgiving holiday is coming up, and I’ve also got another project I’m working on at the moment that requires the focus of my creative energy, he said in a hopefully non-New Agey way, so probably you’ll not be seeing much more out of me this week aside from maybe a pic or two. Or you can follow me on the Twitter
where I’m still likely to spout off about something. At any rate, I’ll see you on the other side, and please enjoy your Thanksgiving, where applicable, and everyone else, enjoy your Thursday. Thanks for reading!
• • •
the end of the post! I was wondering where that was.
So my girlfriend took another trip to her hometown in Mexico recently, and, like last time, I asked her to grab a few comics for me while she was down there. She couldn’t find any Swamp Thing, sadly, but she did come back with Aquaman, a couple of Avengers comics, a Marvel Adventures: Avengers/Spider-Man flipbook, and this:
You may have noted the double-set of credits on the cover – that’s because the Mexican Superman
comic contains the stories from both the U.S. Superman
and Action Comics
series, which I thought was interesting.
Also, from the text pieces in the back:
For some reason, reading “No More Lois and Clark?” in Spanish makes it seem even more…dramatic, somehow? I can hear “no mas Lois y Clark?” being breathlessly declared in a telenovela commercial. And believe you me, I’ve seen my fair share of telenovelas.
Anyway, like I noted last time, the production values on these are pretty high…slick, thick covers, nice white paper interiors. What few ads there are seem to be house ads or ads for comic-related merchandise (save for a Ticketmaster ad for upcoming rock concerts). And it should probably be noted that one of the Avengers issues I received, Secret Avengers, contained two issues of that series.
ALSO NOTE: “anti-Superman” is pretty much the same in Spanish as in English. Such unfortunate sentiments need no translation, apparently.
So thanks for your responses to my question yesterday…I really wasn’t quite sure what I had to say on the topic, and I’m still not quite sure, but I think I can at least circle the runway even if I don’t land.
Anyway, this particular thought process was kicked off by a comment to my Saturday post, in which I claimed it took the return of the character of Doop to finally get me to pick up a copy of Wolverine and the X-Men. And reader Chance left his response, quite rightly chiding me slightly for not being moved to read said comic simply by the presence of writer Jason Aaron and artist Mike Allred, both of whom are quite formidable talents.
My reply to Chance was that, while there are plenty of creators out there whose work I do enjoy, I don’t necessarily have a desire to read every single project they do. I think Aaron, for example, did a swell job on Punishermax and I liked his run on Incredible Hulk. And Allred…I was a big fan of Madman and The Atomics for quite a while, though admittedly I kind of…I don’t know, burnt out on them, I suppose. It’s not you, baby, it’s me. But it takes a lot to get me to buy into the X-franchise nowaways, and the last time I regularly read any X-titles, it was New X-Men by Grant Morrison and his army of artists, and X-Force/X-Statix *starring Doop* by Peter Milligan and that Allred guy.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough that Allred and Aaron were on the book to get me to pick it up…but it didn’t hurt, either. Had it been just them and no Doop, probably no sale. But that it featured Doop, and it was illustrated by Doop’s original cocreator, and it was written by a writer whose work I have enjoyed…all those facts together got me to pull the trigger on grabbing this book. And even then, I still sorta hemmed and hawed over it for a couple of days. Well, it’s not like I tossed and turned in bed nights on end, drenched in sweat, haunted by the existence of this comic book, agonizing over my decision. But I’d see it on the rack at work, think “hmm, wonder if I should pick that up,” and then finally just decided “ah, what the hell.”
But Chance’s question did open me up to thinking about what creators I do follow without question, whose names I see on books and pick up without pausing to wonder if this was a project I’d be interested in. To use a couple of names that I mentioned in this category yesterday…let’s say someone like, oh, say, Fantagraphics has picked up the rights to that old Chaos Comics character Purgatori. (Okay, stop laughing, work with me here.) It’s been a while since I mentioned Purgatori around these parts, but…that’s a character I’ve never much cared for. I’ve often commented here that I think it’s a terrible character and a terrible comic, which…okay, I know the character has its fans, and I shouldn’t just harshly dismiss it like that, so let’s just say the Purgatori property has been firmly established as not being something in which I’d have any interest. Ever. For any reason.
So let’s say Fantagraphics gets the property, and they eventually announce at a San Diego Comic Con a new Purgatori graphic novel by Los Bros. Hernandez.
Would I buy it? Absolutely I would buy it. Are you kidding?
The Hernandez Brothers have, over the (gulp) decades I’ve been following their work, totally gained my trust. Everything they’ve been involved in, I have enjoyed. And I know enough about them and their creative talents to know that, if anyone could rehabilitate the character of Purgatori in my theoretical example to the point of making me want to read a comic with her, it would be these guys.
Reader philfromgermany noted in his comment, after listing the creators he always follows, that the indie artists and writers usually are working on projects they themselves developed, as opposed to some of the folks who frequent Marvel and DC books who might end up on established properties one might be indifferent to or outright dislike. And I think that’s an important distinction, and one I was sort of pondering when I was trying to write this post for Monday. Though that’s not to say there aren’t lines that can’t be crossed…one indie book comes to mind by a creator I almost always followed which promoted a bunch of previously-debunked conspiracy hoohar…a great disappointment.
But creators working on their own material does do away with some expectations a reader might have toward any given project, depending mostly on one’s appreciation of that creator and trust in his/her storytelling talents. A new original Dan Clowes graphic novel, sure. A Batman graphic novel by Dan Clowes…well, okay, that sounds amazing, but if you really, really hate Batman, even the most pure, unadulterated love you have for Mr. Clowes may not be enough to get you to pick it up. But I have picked up superhero books I’d had no previous interest in because of creators involved…like that run of Birds of Prey written by Gilbert Hernandez, which remain the only issues of that series in my collection.
I’m probably contradicting myself all over the place here, but what can I tell you. I have complicated feelings about funnybook buying. But outside of Aragones, the Hernandez Brothers…um, Clowes, and Chester Brown probably, and someone mentioned Jim Woodring in the comments, so I’m probably good with that too…there aren’t that many people who get a full, complete pass with me in the comics I buy.
Of course I simply can’t afford to read everything, but there are still plenty of names out there that grab my attention, if not necessarily my comic-reading dollar. You can get me to look, but not everything is going to be up my alley. (There’s at least one artist whose style I do really enjoy, but the only thing in recent memory he’s done that I actually wanted to read was, um, a while ago.) Picking and choosing what I read I think gives me a lot healthier relationship with this hobby than simply buying every single thing that comes out that may involve an artist or writer I’ve enjoyed in the past. Sometimes it does come down to a Doop appearance to get me to fish out that wallet.
Okay, I’m not sure if any conclusions are drawn, or if we learned anything today. But Chance’s question stirred up some thoughts that I tried to lay out here in my usual exceedingly verbose and sloppy fashion, and I certainly hope he doesn’t take this as an attack or an overly-defensive response. Thank you, Chance, for inspiring me to explore, just a little bit, some of the strategies some of use in making our comic-buying decisions…and giving some of us an opportunity to think about those creators whose work always gives us joy.
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