So I had a couple of comic collections come into the shop over the weekend. One was a big ol’ pile of Dark Horse Star Wars comics, which, as it turned out, was about 99% different from the Dark Horse Star Wars comics I already had in the shop for sale (i.e. the ones I had bought for myself but gave up to the shop when I opened). The other was a big ol’ pile of comics from the late ’40s/early ’50s, mostly Disney (including lots of classic Carl Barks), Little Lulu, and other various humor books, all offered up by the original owner.
In the middle of that second pile was one of these, a repackaged comic with a new cover advertising the Blue Bird brand of shoes, offered by the Gallenkamp’s shoe store (who also may be the manufacturer of the shoes, I’m unclear on that).
The comic inside is this issue
of Kid Colt, Outlaw
Looking up some info on this on the Grand Comics Database, it appears that some years later the Blue Bird repackaging
moved on to printing new covers
that reflected the contents (just Charlton comics at that point, apparently) and more prominently featuring the shoe store name. The Blue Bird logo from the back cover above is still present on the newer front covers.
Anyway, just an interesting artifact from the days of long ago. I think, maybe, when I was but a young Mikester, I vaguely remember getting a free comic book from the shoe store we frequented. This would have been the mid-1970s. It may have been branded with the store’s name, or a shoe manufacturer’s name, or both…it’s just on the edge of awareness, but I can’t say for sure, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t. I wonder how long shoe stores gave out free comics…or any stores. (I mean, beyond Free Comic Book Day, wise guys.) Radio Shack had their comics (apparently into the 1990s!), I remember grabbing one of these in a video store in the late 1980s. And, apparently, Big Boy made it into the 2000s? More as a magazine-with-comics than as a comic book, but close enough!
I’m sure there’s still the occasional funnybook promotion from stores or restaurants here and there, but I feel like it’s not quite the same, or as prevalent, or as amazing, as it had been.
So it turns out I was wrong, so very wrong, when I suggested that the story on the cover of Amazing Adventures #4 (the Ziff-Davis one from 1951, not one of the three that Marvel Comics did) could no way be matched by whatever story was within:
No, the story is just as crazypants as the cover promises:
Two aliens decide to use love robots to conquer the Earth, but their plans go awry when…well, you can probably guess. You can read it for yourself here
, starting on page 3. Special thanks to reader Paul, who has kindly declined
my offer of quatloos (as my mouth was writing space-checks that my United Federation of Planets Bank couldn’t cash), but I will happily direct you to his website
, to the Inferior 4 Livejournal
where he regularly contributes items of interest, or to Amazon
where you can track down many of his fine works, in print or digital formats.
In other news…man, after that story, do you really want other news? How ’bout this, since Employee Timmy sent this link to me via the Twitter: Dynamite and Dark Horse teaming up for a three-part crossover between Grendel and the Shadow, written and drawn by Matt Wagner. Holy crow. I find this…acceptable. Very acceptable indeed.
Here are a couple of funny animals books picked up at a recent local flea market while finding some goodies for the shop…Goofy Comics #24 (February 1948):
…and Krazy Krow
#1 (1958, reprinting a comic from 1945):
I do so enjoy the off-brand (i.e. not Disney, Warner Bros., or DC Comics) funny animal comics from the Golden Age. So many oddball characters that only so briefly saw the light of day, and are now mostly gone and forgotten save for the occasional archaeological find like these.
The bags for these comics had, shall we say, optimistic pricing written upon them:
…which turned out to be Overstreet’s near mint pricing for the books. As it turned out, the comics were sold for much
cheaper than the marked prices, which is a good thing since the seller had marked the near mint price for the original 1940s Krazy Krow
comic, and not the decade-later reprint this was.
Anyway, I totally kept these for myself, which is one of the two perks I have at this job (the other being the cruel mistreatment of my employees). And I decided to just show them off in this post instead of writing out my usual overly-verbose Monday posts since I’m coming down with a cold, I think, and also I just watched the Breaking Bad finale and you seriously expect me to write anything after seeing that? C’mon.
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, remember those British Dungeons & Dragons ‘zines I posted about a few days ago? I threw them on the eBay, and most of them brought in $10 to $15 apiece, with a couple in the $30 range. But that Dragon Lords #1, with the signatures?
I started that at $8.99, by the way. Figured I’d get about ten or twelve bucks for it. …Guess I’d better break into that additional case of Dragon Lords
#1 I have in the back room…!
Now, about that housekeeping promised in the subject of this post…I’ve had a few scans just sitting on my computer’s desktop, awaiting my use here, and I’m never seeming to get around to creating posts about each of them. Thus, I’m just going to throw them all into this post. Enjoy!
We had this copy of Choice Comics #2 from 1942 in our shop for all of, oh, I don’t know, five minutes before selling it off, but I managed to get a couple of scans from it anyway. I enjoyed Bingo the Kangaroo’s dismissive response to superheroes on the cover there:
I mean, we were this
close to Kangaroo/Parrot Buddy Comedy-Adventure being the dominant genre in the comics industry. If only things went slightly differently…if only
I also got a scan of this tough guy:
This is pretty much what every angry ‘n’ anonymous commenter on every Internet message board and comments section looks like, so don’t mess with ‘em
Marvel recently released a bunch of “Avengers Art Appreciation” incentive variant covers for many of their titles, which featured the characters from the movie as depicted in a variety of art styles, and regardless of whether the comic sporting said variant had anything to do with The Avengers. But I thought this one by Steffi Schutzee in the style of Al Hirschfeld was nicely done:
They all look great, but Hawkeye is particularly amazing:
And finally…cast your minds back to the innocent, carefree days of 1975, where Six-Year-Old Mike sat in front of the TV in the living room, enthralled by the giant bird-monster featured in this episode of Return of the Planet of the Apes
Look at this!” Mike shouted to his mother, but alas, she didn’t come to the room in time to see the bird-monster cart away these…buffalo-things:
So, Dad, if you’re reading my site at home right now, be sure to call Mom over and show these to her, so she can see what she missed nearly four decades ago.
Oh, and this has nothing to do with anything, but I mentioned on the Twitter that I was reading this amazing article about the even-more amazing history of TV’s ALF, and pal Ian…remember pal Ian, he wrote some comics, I hear…he replied to me with a link to a YouTube video of the ALF cartoon’s theme. I’d never heard that before, and it ain’t half-bad. Thanks for exposing me to that, Ian…I take back most of the bad things I’ve said about you!