You are currently browsing the newspaper strips category

The post that would not end.

§ November 19th, 2012 § Filed under archie, batman, blogging about blogging is a sin, collecting, dc comics, does mike ever shut up, everyone's going to hate me, giant-size man-thing, golden age, how the sausage is made, I have no idea how to tag this, indies, linkrot, newspaper strips, other swamp creatures, retailing, scans, swamp thing § 16 Comments

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!

• • •

Oh, here’s the end of the post! I was wondering where that was.

A bunch of dreck.

§ April 6th, 2011 § Filed under newspaper strips, self-promotion § 8 Comments

Those of you with long memories or are simply stalking me may remember when I wondered, when it came for this series of Bloom County strips to be reprinted in the current Complete Bloom County hardcovers from IDW, if the original versions of the strips would make the cut, or the edited-to-satisfy-busybodies versions would prevail.

I am pleased to say that the original “Dreck” appears in Volume 4 of the Complete Bloom Country in all its glory:


Unfortunately, there is a minor technical glitch with one of the non-Dreck Sunday strips in the book…which, it turns out, is the strip they used on the back cover. Here is the detail from the panel which omits part of the gag song title “Let’s Roll Over Lionel Ritchie With A Tank” –


When I first saw this, I thought briefly that maybe, just maybe, a lawyer suggested against running that title on the cover, resulting in some…odd editing. But the same glitch appears on the strip inside, and the running-over-Ritchie gag is used again in another strip. So, who knows…just a minor screw-up, it looks like, hopefully fixed in future reprintings. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying this latest volume in this excellent and oh-so-welcome series. And besides, all the true Bloom County fans pretty much know that Lionel Ritchie gag by heart anyway.

• • •

In other news…yes, I know what happens at the end of this week’s Brightest Day #23. I’ll talk about it later this week, or maybe early next, after everyone’s had a chance to read it. I should note that sending me links to that one comics news site about it, either via email or through my comments, won’t do much good, since any messages containing links to that site are automatically spam-filtered. I do appreciate that you all thought of me when hearing the news, though, so thank you.

Also, in Write More Good news, here’s what Neil Gaiman had to say about it. And in case you were wondering: Fake AP Stylebook: The True Story. And if that’s not enough: here I am enjoying the fruits of my labor (Twitpic version if you can’t access the Facebook page).

And then there was that time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic strip became self-aware.

§ November 30th, 2010 § Filed under newspaper strips, teenage mutant ninja turtles § 2 Comments


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic strip, 8-12-1992, by Dan Berger & M. Kelleher,
as reprinted in Comics Revue #80


Not quite at Morrison’s Animal Man / “I can see you!” levels of “we’re all just characters in funnybooks” awareness, but still a somewhat amusing and unexpected (if certainly not intentionally critical) bit of self-commentary on the “final battle” cliché.

I began to realize Peanuts was getting a little strange…

§ August 31st, 2010 § Filed under newspaper strips § 16 Comments

…when this happened:


I remember reading this particular sequence when it was new, and even as a kid it struck me as a bit odd. Yes, in a strip where Schroeder knocks out Beethoven on his toy piano and Snoopy keeps a van Gogh (later, after the fire, an Andrew Wyeth) painting in his doghouse, it’s Helicopter Snoopy that most greatly impacted my willing suspension of disbelief. “How…how does that even work?” young Mike wonders. “Does his entire scalp spin around? Does each ear spin freely in its ‘socket?’ How is Woodstock piloting him, exactly?”

I worried about weird things as a kid.

Here’s the full strip that panel is from, embedded here courtesy the official site:

Peanuts

As you may have gathered, I’m currently reading the recently-released Complete Peanuts 1977-1978 hardcover from Fantagraphics, which included the above strip. Now, the sequence of strips from later in the book that this next image comes from is not a story I recall, because I’m pretty sure I would have remembered this character design of the fellow on the left:


That’s a little odd looking for a Schulz design, though perhaps that’s more attributable to the unfamiliar strangeness of any kid character in Peanuts that isn’t part of the regular cast. That fella probably isn’t any more bizarre than, say, Pig-Pen. But mostly I’m just pointing him out because it took me a moment to parse out the character’s face…I had a hard time visualizing that it was his ear on the left there, and his nose on the right. It just looked like a cylindrical blob resting between the turtleneck and the hat. (Link to the full strip.)

Now this panel is awesome:


Yeah, it’s an easy gag, but it’s a perfect gag for the circumstance. And, it’s in the first panel of the strip. I’m sure it would have served just fine as the closing punchline in a strip that wasn’t Peanuts. (Link to full strip.)

For some good Peanuts commentary, may I recommend Roasted Peanuts, a weblog devoted to discussing the strips.

More racial sensitivity in comic books.

§ September 29th, 2004 § Filed under newspaper strips, racial sensitivity Comments Off


Big Chief Wahoo #7 (Winter 1943/44?)


Man, early comic books were always sticking it to our Native American friends. Though, given how comics also treated Blacks and Asians, I suppose no one should be terribly surprised. At least in this instance Big Chief Wahoo was the star of the strip, but was still saddled with stereotypical Indian dialogue (“ugh” and “how” and “-um”s).

Lots more information on this remarkably non-politically correct character can be found at the excellent Toonopedia. This comic book is actually a collection of reprints of a comic strip, and as much as I like old strips, I am woefully uninformed regarding them. Therefore, it comes as a surprise to learn in that Toonopedia article that the Big Chief Wahoo strip, which was originally The Great Gusto, eventually became Steve Roper and Mike Nomad!

And, just for the heck of it, here are some Big Chief Wahoo gum packages.

Open for business.

§ December 5th, 2003 § Filed under newspaper strips § 2 Comments

I’m still fooling around with settings. Don’t mind me.

Meanwhile, take look at this Wizard of Id strip and see if you can figure out what this situation and these characters have to do with The Wizard of Id. I haven’t read the strip in a while…did I miss something?