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By Jove, more Jupiter comics!

§ July 30th, 2018 § Filed under indies, pal plugging § 2 Comments

So I’ve written about Jason Sandberg’s Jupiter before, a wonderful black and white comic that ran in the 1990s and was alas too beautiful for this world, disappearing from the racks in too short of a time.

Here’s the good news: that Sandberg fella is bringing Jupiter back, in digital comics form!


Clicking that cover (or the sidebar ad, if you’re a person that still visits my website directly and also a person that still reads comic blogs, will whisk you away tp Comixology, where you can obtain issue #0. This collection is a compilation of several of the one-page gag strips and some of the longer features from that original series, giving you an idea of what to expect when new Jupiter material starts being released. Yes, that’s right, I said new, and it’s about darn time. I missed this comic and I’m so glad to have it back.

Anyway, here are some samples, including a couple of the one-pagers:

…and some excerpts from the longer stories:

NOTE: none of the Pelasgus stories (which I go on about at length in that older post of mine) are featured, though Pelasgus does make the occasional cameo in a couple of the strips. (Maybe a later collection, hmmmmm?)

Also, full disclosure: Jason and I became online pals quite a while back, and I’ve occasionally plugged his work here (and about which you can learn more at his site), and he’s sent me various print projects of his over the years to distribute at both my previous place of employment and my current one. He’s a good guy and I’m happy to promote his work. I’m especially happy to promote the return of Jupiter, which had been one of my favorites back in the ’90s, and sure to be one of my favorites of the ’10s and hopefully many years beyond.

Your regular reminder that I have to sell these things for a living.

§ April 20th, 2018 § Filed under nancy, pal plugging, retailing, superman Comments Off on Your regular reminder that I have to sell these things for a living.

To follow up on my last post, I appear to have ordered just about the right number of Action #1000s, at least to cover the initial rush of sales. The main cover, the one by Jim Lee, was the first…well, second, after the “blank” variant…to sell out, and I had several more requests for it after it was gone. Luckily, that cover (and the blank one) were still available for reorder, so I have more coming in. The other variants, I did have a request or two for them after they were gone, but by and large people just bought one (or, um, two or three) of whatever variants were left. And, right now, I have one copy left of the 2000s variant as I head into Friday. Ah well, I’ll have more early next week, and I expect this will be a consistent seller for at least a little while. But if I hear “do you have any Action #1000s left?” all weekend, I may have to reassess my “ordered about right” assumption.

Now the question I have is “will any of this translate to sales for when Brian Michael Bendis takes over the Super-books,” assuming people like the little taste o’Bendis they got in #1000. I have to place orders for his weekly Man of Steel mini-series right quick, and I’m not entirely sure what they’re going to be just yet. Not like this slew of new Marvel #1s in the same order form, where I’m about 90% certain that we’ll see a small bump in sales on those first issues, then we’ll be right back where we were before. Except maybe Thor, which has a $5.99 price point on that first issue, so Dedicated Fans Only Please, Sorry New Readers Who Might Have Picked It Up. Sheesh.

Anyway, can you tell I spent a chunk of my Thursday working on the monthly orders? Yessiree, I certainly was.

Oh, right, back to Action #1000. Pal Matt pointed out a strange anomaly in the Bendis story from that issue, where the villain of the piece refers to Supergirl as Superman’s “cousinsister.” I noticed that when I was reading, and my initial two thoughts were “maybe that’s supposed to represent some quirk in whatever translation device the alien is using to speak to Superman” (except I don’t see any other examples of that in the dialogue) and “maybe there’s something going on in the Supergirl comic I’m not reading that justifies this strange combined relationship term.” Or, as Matt suggests, just an editing error, but it seems weird that something this blatant would be missed. I mean, it wouldn’t even get past the spellchecker, you’d think. Or it could very well be foreshadowing for some kind of revelation down the road. Whatever, it’s strange and it stood out and maybe there’s an explanation coming, I don’t know. Maybe somewhere Bendis is laughing at us…”how cute, they think that was a mistake!” he chortles.

While we wait for our answer to that, in the meantime why not read the beginning of a new series of articles by one of the best writers I know, pal Andrew, as he starts his look, in his own inimitable fashion, at the Charlton Super-Heroes. This is gonna be good, pals, so get in on the ground floor, Mike said cliché-ishly.

And in other news, a couple of folks dropped a link in my comments section to this article on people arguing over the new Nancy strips I mentioned. Basically, it’s about people who realize current Nancy is very good, versus people who are wrong. That has been the way of the world for decades, I’m afraid.

I’m just gonna plug my pal Kurt today…and also mention his podcast.

§ April 4th, 2018 § Filed under pal plugging § 1 Comment

Like it says in the title, I’m going to plug my old pal Kurt’s podcast today…”Welcome to Geektown,” which you can find on the iTunes and other places like Google Play and Stitcher…just search there for it. Anyhoo, Kurt’s taking questions and offering answers on various comics-related topics, and he’d better do a good job at it or he’ll be answering to ME. So if you have your own questions for Kurt to answer, feel free to send ’em in! Keep that boy busy and out of trouble!

Remember when my Swamp Thing posts were all like “HEY, SWAMP THING’S HAND IS IN AN ISSUE OF INFINITE CRISIS.”

§ March 26th, 2018 § Filed under justice league, pal plugging, swamp thing, television § 4 Comments

An Addendumdedumdum to My Most Recent Post: it is now The Future, so I may now reveal the truth behind that No-Prize. It is, in fact, a No-No-Prize, a simulacrum, a deliberate reconstruction of what how a No-Prize may have appeared, constructed by a friend (not Rob, as previously theorized) who shall go nameless here lest Stan the Man himself call down the Merry Marvel Marching Society upon him for such perilous perfidy. Anyway, said friend assembled the pics, slapped ’em on envelopes, and sent them to me and at least one other person just for laffs. YOU GOT ME, FRIEND I AM PROTECTING FROM THE MARVEL ZOMBIE HORDE.

• • •

So the only comic news this week is the revelation that Swamp Thing is returning to the funnybook pages (like, again…he’s always up to something, somewhere, since he’s come back to the regular DC Universe). He’s going to be a member of the revived Justice League Dark title, along with Zatanna and Detective Chimp, as God intended:

…yeah, that’s a new look for him. Saw someone on Twitter (can’t remember who, now) commenting that he’s basically been made to look like Alan Moore, which, okay, that’s kind of funny. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this and the other dozen or so new Justice League titles DC is releasing in the wake of that movie’s success.

• • •

What’s that? You want more Swamp Thing news, you say? Well, you’ve come to probably the right place, as there are a couple of new toys, or at least new to me, that just came to my awareness thanks to being pointed out by pals on the Twitter (and images for which I “borrowed” from this good person’s Twitter feed. First up is one based on the Justice League Action animated series appearing on a Cartoon Network near you.


And then this second one is from the “DC Super Friends” line:


Interesting that both feature Swamp Thing with his traditional weapon of choice, the Huge-Ass Club. Anyway, I suppose I’ll have to track these down, too, even though I’m trying to buy less doodads and tchotchkes but there’s always the Swamp Thing Exception Clause in my life contract as I pass through the other end of middle age.

• • •


Here’s a thing I somehow missed back in the toy stores of yore, but now reproduced in the new popular digital format all you kids are into: the handheld Swamp Thing game from Tiger Electronics, in all its emulated glory.

Anyway, while all you nerds are playing your funnybook game, I’ll be over here playing this manly sportsman-like Electronic Quarterback from Coleco (which, all kidding aside, I actually did play back in the late ’70s, as a friend owned it — I had a basketball version, for some reason, though that specific game appears not to be amongst the emulated here).

• • •

So I did watch SyFy’s new Krypton show (as discussed previously) and…yeah, it seemed interesting enough. At first, it seemed like it was going to go the Smallville route of making the Superman story unnecessarily complicated for the sake of getting any kind of compellingly-watchable TV show out of all this nonsense. But of course this pushes everything far enough back that Superman himself, as we know him, while offstage (for now) and the target of some kind of time-traveling threat, is relatively untouched by the proceedings. In Smallville, despite knowing that yes, this was just a different interpretation of the character, it was difficult to draw a line from what we were seeing in that show to what we knew about Superman. Just…too many weird continuity shenanigans. That’s more the problem with my fanboy brain than anything the producers were doing, admittedly. In Krypton, though, actual events on Krypton are enough of an open book that I could theoretically avoid any such issues.

And I say “theoretically” only because I’m way behind on the few shows I do watch, and adding one more to the pile isn’t going to help matters any. I watched this first one more out of curiosity, but I expect I won’t end up watching any more ’til it’s on a streaming service or discs I can rent from Netflix. I will reiterate that directly connecting the events of the show to the “present” of Superman’s time was the gimmick needed to get me at least somewhat interested, more than just giving us A Game of Space-Thrones That Is Sorta Connected to Superman, Eventually.

• • •

Hey, my old pal Brandon is doing a little research for a collector’s guide project he’s working on, regarding “all your favorite giant rubber animals, dinos and monsters […] Toys by Imperial Toy, Chitech, Dor Mei & more!” If you’re on the Twitterers, you can follow that link and direct-message him there. Or if you’re not on the Tweetings, you can email me and I can pass along your contact information. If you can help him out, please do! Thanks!

Had a long Tuesday…

§ March 7th, 2018 § Filed under pal plugging § 1 Comment

…so while I intend to going back and discuss your responses to The Big Renumbering Hoohar, all I have for you in the meantime is this recommendation that you keep your peepers open for The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America by talented human being Jaime Hernandez:


100% all-ages friendly, and available at a comic shop near you, hopefully!

Actual content coming soon!

§ January 10th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode, pal plugging Comments Off on Actual content coming soon!

1. Probably going to start looking at your 2017 predictions this Friday, so hang in there, pals! Those giant walls of text you’ve come to know and love are on their way! However, keep sending me your 2018 predictions!

2. Don’t forget that civilization ended yet again just last Monday…check it out, if you dare!

3. Bully, the Little Stuffed Magical Imp, is, for Two Thousand and Eighteen, bringing us a Year of Mr. Mxyzptlk (or is that…Mxyztplk?). How is that not like the greatest thing ever!

.

Peanuts to you!

§ December 22nd, 2017 § Filed under pal plugging, peanuts § 1 Comment

Sorry for the downtime here…I missed posting Wednesday due to Christmas stuff, and, well, What Can You Do? I haven’t even had time to see that new Star Warsian film that’s so popular with all the kids these days.

So, basically, I’m just checking in here so 1) you know I’m still alive, or at least was alive as I was typing this, and 2) I’ll hopefully be back in the swing of things once Christmas is behind us.

In the meantime, here’s something I’ve been meaning to link to for a while now that may be of interest to you Peanuts fans. Pal Nat, internationally-recognized Peanuts expert and dapper man about town, has started a Peanuts podcast to accompany his long-running AAUGH Blog. Nine episodes so far, with special guests, interviews, and other Peanuttery shenanigans all hosted by Nat himself, and available either through direct download or online listening at the site, or through the usual podcasting platforms. Go, listen already.

Thanks for reading, pals, and I’ll be back with more Actual Content of my own in short order. I hope you all enjoy your holiday season, however you celebrate it!

I’d ask for a 28-hour day, but that just sounds exhausting.

§ December 15th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, pal plugging Comments Off on I’d ask for a 28-hour day, but that just sounds exhausting.


So pals Cathy (she of the medical mini-comics) and Andrew (he of the nuclear-powered nostalgia) have joined forces to CONQUER THE WORLD…and also to bring you this comic strip about one of Andrew’s…adventures, shall we say. It’s a great piece by a couple of my favorite creative folks, and I hope y’all enjoy it, too.

• • •

I do intend on going back and addressing some of your comments and suggestions from the “who am today’s superstars” post from Monday. The lead-up to Christmas and subsequent lessened spare time have prevented me from really getting going on my responses. Plus, I have an examination of an Amazing Heroes article from 1981 that needs to be written. You know, cutting edge stuff. And oy, my Patreon…at this point, I may just have to call it “Swamp Thing-a-Thon Season 2” once I get that article about issue #8 up. Anyway, the holiday season has kinda put me under the gun this year, so hopefully I’ll be able to free up a little more typin’ time once Santa’s finished his rounds.

And I gotta make time to go see the new Star Wars movie. Look, I gotta have priorities.

Some neat stuff I found.

§ November 21st, 2017 § Filed under advertising, pal plugging, self-promotion, swamp thing § 1 Comment

Here’s yet another installment of “what did Mike find in the boxes of old promo stuff from his previous job this time,” featuring this poster advertising the Marvel graphic novel Death of Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin:


Unlike a lot of the posters I’ve been seeing, this one was totally displayed, with pieces of tape still affixed to the back, and even a couple of tape tears noticeable on the front from where another poster with tape on its back was placed on top of it. Even still, it’s a nice piece of retail history from the very early 1980s.

From a couple of years later is, not a promo poster, but an odd piece of photocopier humor that was passed around in the wake of the release of Frank Miller’s mini-series Ronin:


You see, the joke is the comic is called Ronin, so the picture on the original cover has been replaced with an image of Marvel’s Red Ronin fighting Godzilla, and…well, look, this is what we had before Photoshop and image sharing on your Tumblrs and whathaveyou. Just eighth-generation Xerox copies of Xerox copies of gags being passed around by hand for everyone to enjoy. From the few examples of these I remember seeing way back when, at least this one wasn’t, like, purposefully offensive, which was a rarity in itself.

• • •

Hey, my friend Cathy, who does lots of medically-themed comics (some of which you can sample right here) has started up a Patreon of her very own. I know everyone’s got a Patreon right now and times are tough all over, but if you’ve got a dollar to spare, I bet she’d appreciate it.

And speaking of Patreons, I know I fell behind on mine and its exclusive content a bit, but I have started on the next Swamp Thing-a-Thon installment (covering original series #8, The Lovecraftian One). That should be up soon. I apologize, but sometimes real life gets in the way of doing fun stuff. I’m sure some of you can relate.

Oh, and on the topic of Swamp Thing, I did get a copy of the Bernie Wrightson Artifact Edition from IDW, featuring tons of original art for Swamp Thing another other DC horror comics. I’ll probably post a more extensive review of it soon, but in the meantime, let me assure you that it is sufficiently fantastic. I told myself a long time ago the only Artifact Edition book I’d personally get would be one that featured Wrightson’s Swamp Thing work, and I chose wisely. Not to say the other volumes don’t look great (and they do!) but Wrightson’s originals are the ones I felt I’d appreciate the most, and I wasn’t wrong. This book is printed in almost literally tear-inducing detail…I was comparing the original art in the IDW volume to the original printed comics from the ’70s and…sheesh, wotta revelation. And yes, the werewolf splash and these two covers are in there, too. …So go buy one already! Or order one from me! I won’t stop you!

Let me just start off this post with something that would have blown the mind of teenaged me.

§ November 17th, 2017 § Filed under market crash, pal plugging, publishing § 6 Comments

First, the plug:


Steve Bissette (whom you may remember having drawn a certain swamp monster of some note) has published a new book, Cryptid Cinema, where he discusses a few of his favorite movie critters. Along the way of the production of this volume, Mr. Bissette asked for my assistance, particularly regarding some of the goofy Swamp Thing merchandise that was produced way back when. Well, specifically, he asked if he could quote some of my old blog posts on the topic, to which I of course said “sure!” So here we are, a big ol’ book by ME ME ME with some help from Steve Bissette that you can order just by clicking on this little box here:


Tell ’em Mike sent you! And when they say “who?” just turn around and run, run like the dickens.

And of course, a big, big thanks to Mr. Bissette for asking me to be involved!

• • •

Okay, now back to Progressive Ruin, which is already in progress:

Dan wonders in the comments to Monday’s post:

“I was never able to find out what exactly ‘Mando’ or ‘Baxter’ paper is besides ‘a kind of paper they printed comics on.’ Are they brand names? Named after inventors? What other uses do the have? Newsprint I get – it’s what they print newspapers on.”

I…don’t know. I just assumed they were names assigned to various kinds of paper stock by the manufacturers. Just doing a quick Googling I found a couple of references to “MANDO paper,” as in the “Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company. I didn’t find many specific references to this being the same mando paper stock as used in comics, outside a message board entry or two, but maybe someone who knows better can clear it up.

Baxter paper I’m not so sure about…there are some references to a couple of paper companies with “Baxter” in their name, including, confusingly enough, a fictional Leland Baxter Paper Company that supposedly constructed the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building. I’m pretty sure that, like I said, it was just a name assigned by the manufacturer to its product, and again, if anyone has a more specific answer, please chime in!

EDIT: Thom H. notes in the comments that Baxter paper appears to have originated from the Great Northern Paper Company (which was one of the possible sources I turned up in my own search). Ben backs this up in the comments to my Monday post, and both fellas point to this weblog posting and comments for sourcing.

From Wednesday’s post, James G. asks

I got out of comics for a while, and was pulled back in by Transmetropolitan, which is a pretty awesome way to get back into the medium. So there is a bunch of stuff that you mention (Deathwatch 2000, X-Men #1) that I don’t even know what that means, or what it’s implications to the direct market, retail system, etc were. I don’t even know what a Deathmate is, unless it’s an ex-GF (buddum-chihhh, I’ll be here all week). Can you elaborate a little, or is there somewhere (other than googling that for me) that you could recommend?

James, I apologize. I’ve been doing this so long (I mean, selling comics, not just blogging about them, though that’s likely the case as well) that I just throw out references here and there and everywhere and assume that just because I know what I’m talking about, that everyone else will too. I do attempt explanations when I can, but some events just loom so large for me in my recollections of the Comics of Decades Past, I forget not everyone was there experiencing the same magical times that I was.

The big deal with X-Men #1 was that there were five variant covers for the issue (which you can see right here, with the newsstand edition included as well), with each cover released in subsequent weeks. The first four covers formed a larger image, and the fifth variant featured all four covers linked together in a wraparound foldout cover. This came out around the peak of the comic market boom, and orders on these comics were out of control. I think the combined total made this the highest ordered comic at least in the modern age, or maybe even since the Golden Age…trying to look this up to confirm just brought me to a bunch of comic book “investment” sites, which depressed me, but trust me…there’s a lot of copies of this.

Now, don’t get me wrong…the comic sold great. We sold a ton of them at the time. Hell, even I bought one. (Just one!) But we had a bunch left over as well, as at the time the store purchasing strategy was “this is the first issue of a new ongoing X-Men series, the first since the Silver Age, better have lots on hand for all that back issue demand!” I’ve joked that even since opening my own shop, I’ve acquired a small backlog of some of these first issues without even really trying to buy any, and by “joked” I mean “accurately described my specific experience.” They just kinda…show up, man. They do still sell even now, on occasion. Of course, even given the large amounts of copies that were printed, perhaps copies are not as easy to track down now, given that many stores at the time that may have had overstock are now gone, and that a significant percentage of people who bought it at the time either lost them or didn’t store them properly. This is something I discussed a while back, if you’re interested.

Deathmate was the greatly-anticipated crossover between the then new and hot publishers Image Comics and Valiant Comics. I actually did a write-up on this, oh, about 12 years ago, which is good because I could barely remember the “story” details now. Anyway everyone overordered it, it had problems with shipping delays, I think some people were put out that Spawn wasn’t involved (or only just barely) and it turned into a huge backroom burden because it didn’t sell anywhere close to expectations. As noted in that post I linked, I was happy to rid myself of these for the princely sum of one slim nickel each, and good riddance.

“Deathwatch 2000” (boy, comics were big on death then, you know, not like now) was the big crossover event from Continuity Comics. Continuity was the company run by legendary comics artist Neal Adams, with most of the titles seemingly drawn by him or at least drawn in his house style. They had bit of a following…in particular Armor, Samuree and Megalith seemed to be the most popular. Now, here’s where things get a bit fuzzy, as I don’t remember the specifics, but I seem to recall some kind of special “#0” issue that was part of the storyline but wasn’t, like, sold on the stands. Specifically, there were some hoops for readers to jump through in order to “qualify” for getting that issue…honestly, I just can’t recall what it was. I just remember we had too many of that comic. (And no, I’m not talking about the Valeria the She-Bat comics Continuity released as yet another hard-to-get premium comic, the details for which I also can’t recollect.) Hopefully, as I plow through those boxes of old promotional material from the previous place of employment, I’ll be able to glean some clues as to what specifically was going on.

Zoot Koomie zoots

I had completely forgotten about Continuity Comics. If you’re looking for content to write about, I’d be interested in a retrospective.

As you see just above, my memories of Continuity are pretty limited. I didn’t read any at the time (though I was tempted by Echo of Futurepast, their anthology comic). I’ll see if I can come up with anything more.

I was buying lots of Dark Horse, First, and Eclipse books at the time and still didn’t recognize most of their titles when I looked them up just now. How did they sell compared to the other small publishers?

Pretty well, actually. There were the Big Two (National Periodical and Timely Comics) and then there were the larger small-press companies (the three you mention, plus probably a couple of others), the not-quite-as-big-as-the-bigger-smaller-publishers (companies like maybe Fantagraphics and, yes, Continuity), and then the small-small publishers, who did their one or two titles every few months and that was that. Of course, that’s just talking about periodicals…once you factor in Fantagraphics’ book publishing, that boosts them up a bit. And plus, I’m just going on personal experience…maybe there were stores where, say, Jon Sable Freelance outsold X-Men. Hey, it could happen.

I sort of touch on this topic in this post, where I mention that it was kind of a different comics market back then, with people more willing to try books from indie publishers. Sales on what probably look like strange, offbeat books to current eyes likely sold better than you’d expect. Probably at numbers that Marvel and DC would love to have now.

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