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So a long time ago, Alan David Doane asked me to contribute a regular column to his website Comic Book Galaxy. That monthly column, Behind the Counter, ran for a little over a year and a half, until CBG underwent…a retooling? A brief hiatus? I don’t recall now, but it was fun to do and I’m glad Alan gave me the opportunity to do it.
Alan continued blogging at Trouble with Comics, which he just recently relaunched with a whole new slate of contributors, including yours truly (and a few others who are participating but didn’t get their bios in on time, you guys ‘n’ gals).
Now, I warned Alan that between my own site and that store of mine, I’m probably not left with a lot of time or material to contribute there. However, one of the regular features is a roundup of responses to a weekly question, which sounded like fun to me, so that’s where you’ll likely see my input on that site. This week’s question is “Which single creator most influenced your perception of the artform?” and while I’m sure you all think I’m gonna answer “Ernie Bushmiller” or “Frank Miller” or “Alan Mooremiller” or “Charles Miller Schulz,” I think my response may surprise you.
• • •
Speaking of this sort of thing, Tom Spurgeon
just released the first bit of business from his Comics Report
project, the monthly comics magazine you can support right here
for a practically-free two bucks a month. It’s an interview with cartoonist Keiler Roberts, and this preview gives us a sneak peek at the layout and design of the magazine, which is very nicely done. The aforementioned Alan (David Doane, not Mooremiller) has a review of that very thing
on the also aforementioned Trouble with Comics site.
Now it used to be, back in the olden days when I had this now nigh-mythical thing called “free time,” I would regularly scour the new comics ‘zines as they came in. Amazing Heroes, Comics Interview, Comics Journal, and so on…I would absorb these cover to cover, even reading the articles and interviews I wasn’t especially interested in. As these faded away, only to be supplanted by Wizard and Hero and other magazines that…were less to my taste, shall we say, I sort of fell out of the ‘zine reading thing, though I’d still pick up the occasional decades-old Comics Reader I was missing from my run, and maybe, like, one of Roy Thomas’s Two-Morrows mags if something caught my eye. And of course there were comics news sites on this Internet thing, and comics blogs, but feh, who wants to read a comics blog?
It looks as if Spurgeon’s The Comics Report may be a return to the more in-depth comics mag of yesteryear while maintaining the ease of online convenience we’re all accustomed to now. I can’t wait to see the final product. It’s only two bucks a month, like I said. That’s only half the cost of Age of Ultron Versus Marvel Zombies, and I’m sure The Comics Report will be at least twice as good.
So as it turned out, I had a pretty good weekend overall, despite my worries about losing some of my regulars to the San Diego Con. I had a good flow of customers, did some brisk business on the eBays, even managed to get a headstart on the monthly Diamond order where I’ll be ordering enough of the B.P.R.D. neon signs that you’ll be able to see my store from space. And it was a warm weekend, so praise the deity or deities of your choice that I had access to air conditioning at my shop. Wonderful, wonderful air conditioning.
Anyway, comic news: there was a Batman V. Superman trailer folks couldn’t wait to hate (I don’t know, looked interesting to me…Wonder Woman’s in there, too), a Deadpool trailer (talked about here) that apparently provided at least some evidence that a Deadpool movie actually exists, the Archies are meeting the Ramones (will the Archies meet G.G. Allin next? “G.G.! What are you doing with Hot Dog?”), there’s more Multiversity coming from Grant Morrison (inexplicably not called “Multiversitoo”), and so on…
…but I think my favorite news, not from all that San Diego hoohar, is Berke Breathed returning to Bloom County! I’ve seen a mention here or there that it’s coming back as a webcomic, though I haven’t seen an official declaration of that anywhere. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places. Seems to make sense, though…given Breathed’s famous dislike of the shrinkage of strips on the funnypages, working on the web would give him all the room he wanted. Anything that gets more Opus and Steve Dallas and Milo in my life is okay by me. Again, as I demonstrated in this post here, I’m torn between “hooray, something I loved is coming back!” and “no sir, you can’t go home again,” and…yes, new Bloom County won’t suddenly put me back in high school or Reagan back in office or Boy George back on my radio (all situations I would have mixed feelings about…well, okay, I’m all for Boy George being back on the radio) but I am looking forward to seeing what new things Breathed can bring to the table with these old favorite characters.
This reminded me that we’ll soon be seeing Academia Waltz and Other Profound Transgressions, a hardcover in the style of the complete Bloom County/Outland/Opus volumes, reprinting of Breathed’s college strip and other pre-BC work. You can see the Academia Waltz strips here, and, uh, yeah, they’re definitely…um, primordial, but it’s still an interesting look at Breathed’s early development.
Completely unrelated to any of the above, I keep forgetting to mention that I helped Bully, the Little Stuffed Spacebull, with an entry in his 365 Days of Star Wars Comics feature. He even (unknowingly!) posted it on my girlfriend’s birthday! IT’S A BULL-INCIDENCE!
My pal Fred, who worked with me for a while at my old place of employment, has found himself in bit of a financial bind and is asking for a little help. I know things are tough all over, but if you happen to have a buck or five to send his way, it would mean a lot to me and it would certainly mean a lot to him. Fred is a good guy with a wonderful family, and I’m sure we all know how hard it is to ask for help like this no matter how badly we need it.
Fred also has some books he’s written up on Amazon, if you’re so inclined as well.
Just announced: a few other minis or whatever, plus Swamp Thing, a mini-series written by Swampy’s cocreator Len Wein and illustrated by Kelley Jones. It’s the same creative team as the Convergence: Swamp Thing mini-series from a couple of months ago, which…uh, well, didn’t really do much for me, but that’s more the result, I think, of Wein writing to editorial edict, having to tie othe story into a half-baked crossover event. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of Wein and Jones on a standalone series.
Okay, I’m looking forward to Gerry Conway on Firestorm, too, and, as a longtime fan of Sugar & Spike, and also as a longtime fan of outright evil, this update of Sugar & Spike as grown-up detectives just seems downright amazing. Especially given that Keith Giffen is at the helm. Good thing this is a mini-series because as an ongoing it would have the stink of death all over it, but I honestly can’t wait to see what’s going on here.
You know, if feels like as if a couple of my ideas from this post from a while back are coming to fruition, or at least close enough for horseshoes. …C’MON SOLO ALFRED COMIC.
• • •
In other weird-ass news, Dynamite’s made a deal with Atari
to not only create new works based on its properties, but to reprint old Atari-related comics as well. While I’m sure most of you are looking forward to the deluxe hardcover treatment of the Yar’s Revenge cartridge pack-in comic
that is surely coming, I’m more intrigued by the possibility of a fancypants edition of the old Atari Force
series. Yes, at long last, Tempest and his power-mullet
on high grade paper with computer coloring. Oh, and also one of most fun and beautifully-illustrated newsstand comics of the ’80s, featuring the work of Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Mike Baron and Eduardo Barreto, although good luck convincing anyone of that because it was
named Atari Force
, after all.
Part of me wants Conway and Garcia-Lopez to return and continue the story, but, well, “you can’t go home again, probably,” says the guy who was looking forward to the Swamp Thing comic just a few paragraphs ago. But boy, I sure did look forward to a new issue of Atari Force every month. That was one of my all-time favorites. …Ah, heck, I do want to see them back on the book. I can’t help it. We’re all fanboys about something.
Oh, and if you’re doing new graphic novels based on Atari properties, I volunteer to write this one.
• • •
So, hoo boy, how ’bout that Airboy
thing, huh? I discussed the new Image series briefly on my site
a little while back, and it seemed like most folks were into it, and then #2 came out and boy, did people turn on a dime. Twitter pal Charlotte
took on the task of explaining just what went wrong
and it’s definitely worth a read. And it’s good to see that the writer, James Robinson, released a heartfelt and thoughtful apology
. A few folks have commented on Charlotte’s article not getting what the big deal is, not understanding that here, in what would ordinarily be the very future-sounding year of 2015, there are still human beings begging other human beings for the right to be treated as human beings, and maybe portrayals like in Airboy
#2 aren’t helping the cause. A couple of the more egregious comments have been deleted since I last looked, thankfully.
Anyway, it’s certainly an unfortunate incident, but at least it’s resulted in good discussion such as Charlotte’s article. Hopefully some folks who need to will learn a little something from it.
• • •
Grant Morrison is the new editor of Heavy Metal
, and blogging brother Tim O’Neil has just a few words
- Pal Dave reports on his cosplay adventures at Heroescon.
- Pal Andrew’s latest Nobody’s Favorites installment is on a comic I almost wrote about for that music magazine I worked for in the 1990s.
- The Secret Wars tie-in none of you deserve.
- So the other day I met my brother-in-blogging Tim O’Neil in person for the first time when he dropped by my shop. In the course of our conversation, it came up, much to Tim’s surprise, that I’d never read Frank Herbert’s Dune, nor could I make it through the movie.
I believe this revelation deeply disturbed Tim, for arriving in the store’s mailbox a few days later:
I’m guessing this is a friendly suggestion of some kind.
Still in kind of a low content mode here at the site, but I’ll be checking in with a longer-ish post tomorrow about a certain free funnybook event that may be happening this weekend.
In the meantime, here’s pal Dave dressed as his favorite comic book character.
…Dino #10 (June 1975):
Wow, there’s like room for almost another cover in there. Wonder what happened…artist drew pic at the wrong dimensions? Didn’t want to lose the mini-Dino insert at the edge of the cover (necessary for easy rack identification if comics were overlapped on newsstands)? Given that it was Charlton, just plain nobody cared? Who knows? But it certainly grabbed my
attention, so that cover definitely did its job and who am I to question it?
In other news:
- The latest “Nobody’s Favorite” from pal Andrew is a comic you haven’t thought of in years.
- BobH has been presenting a lot of old Comic Reader covers on his Twitter feed of late…lot of great but forgotten pieces on those old ‘zines.
- Oh crud, I missed Ambush Bug’s birthday, but Bully the Little Birthday-Rememberin’ Bull didn’t forget!
Johanna’s long-running site Comics Worth Reading recently had some behind-the-scenes tech trouble, resulting in a corrupted database and years of lost posts. She’s going through and restoring some of the older reviews as she’s able to extract them, but…man, talk about a nightmare. My most empathetic thoughts are sent her way as she deals with this problem.
While this can be a drag, suddenly losing all that work built up over a decade or more, on the other hand I can see where it can almost be…liberating, in a sense. A lot of my posts, once you go back far enough, are so link-rotted or just generally awful that I’d almost prefer you didn’t go back and just read each and every post I’d made. There are lots of links to Haloscan comments that all went away went Haloscan vanished. There are interlinks between my posts that go to the old Blogger version of my site, which I still maintain copies of on my server just to that any old outside links to those old versions of my posts won’t be dead ones. Basically that means for entries from 2003 ’til whenever it was I switched over to WordPress — in 2010 or so — there are effectively two versions of my site here (though I’ve blocked the old Blogger pages from indexing, which should reduce any Googling confusion). Anyway, it’s a mess.
I’ve said before I’d almost want to start a Progressive Ruin 3.0 (2.0 being this site, 1.0 being the site I talk about in my first anniversary post), where I could just begin completely anew, and leave this site as a frozen archive for what has gone before. Or, I could bring over all the best posts from this site, leaving behind the worst ones, and retool the posts slightly so that they are less dependent on off-site links.
But that sounds like a mess, too. What I have been doing, on and off over the years, is that if I link to an older pre-Wordpress post in a newer post, I’ll go back and fiddle with that old post so dead links are either removed or noted as such, or any in-site links are corrected to the modern WordPress site rather than the archived Blogger pages. I haven’t been consistent about it (like in that first anniversary post I just linked to), but at least I try. At the very least I keep checking my first post to make sure it goes where I want it to go.
Ultimately, if I plan on keeping this site around for a while, I’m probably just going to have to bite the bullet and fix each post individually…or somehow program something into the site so that if you access a page here older than, say, 2010, something pops up that says “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” or, you know, something similar.
Anyway, again, my sympathies to Johanna, mixed with a little “there but for the grace of God.” Should probably look into backing up my WordPress database.
In other news:
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