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Seriously, what kind of nightmarish story is behind FaceFace?

§ June 13th, 2017 § Filed under dick tracy, pal plugging § 1 Comment

So the other day, Fake AP Stylebook cocreator and pal Ken Lowery posted a pic by our mutual Twitter buddy ingdamnit of an interpretation of one of Ken’s childhood Dick Tracy villain drawings. That reminded me that, a number of years ago on this very site, I made up a few Dick Tracy-esque villains of my own and offered them up to Ing for visual reinterpretation. And boy, did Ing deliver:

You can see the full size images in Ing’s tweets here, here and here. Aren’t those great?

You can support Ing via Patreon right here.

You never know when I’m going to call YOU with questions about Cap’n Quick & A Foozle.

§ June 9th, 2017 § Filed under low content mode, pal plugging, question time § 1 Comment

Okay, to follow up on Chris Gumprich’s Cap’n Quick & a Foozle question from a few days ago, on whether or not it sold:

Yes, I did speak to my old boss Ralph about it, and his initial response was “…boy, that was a long time ago.” What he remembers, however, appears to jibe with my semi-educated guesses, that it sold okay at the time, due to 1) being a different kind of comics market then, with more people sampling oddball indie titles, and 2) being created by Marshall Rogers, who was an active “name” artist then (and not the gone-too-early legend he is now). Not a huge seller or anything, but did well enough. At any rate, we agreed it probably moved units that Marvel and DC would probably kill for now.

• • •

Blogging sister Tegan has the latest installment of her essays up at her site: “Tegan and Sara Made Me Queer” is #11 in a series, and you can encourage this sort of behavior by contributing to her Patreon, like I know I do.

• • •

Sorry for the short post, but your pal Mike needs to get some of this “rest” he’s read about in books. I’ll be back Monday with more of this exciting typing you’ve come to know and love!

Almost too much Howard the Duck content.

§ May 31st, 2017 § Filed under howard the duck, pal plugging § 4 Comments

Now I generally like the Howard the Duck movie, as I’ve noted before. No, it’s not a terribly accurate reflection of our favorite fowl Trapped in a World He Never Made, but it has its moments, and more importantly, it has Lea Thompson…and so I don’t end that sentence in an overly sexist fashion, it also has Tim Robbins, who’s a lot of fun.

But Howard the Duck has been coming up in conversation at the shop a lot more often lately, thanks to his cameo appearances in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. I even had one kid (“kid” i.e. approximately late teens/early 20s) point at a Howard the Duck somethin’-or-other in the shop and exclaim “hey, it’s that guy from Guardians of the Galaxy!” so the cultural rehabilitation of Howard amongst today’s youth continues apace. I mean, it has been 31 years since the movie’s release, so I imagine there’s at least a generation or two who either have avoided direct exposure to the film (though it’s been occasionally available via online streaming) or, more likely, weren’t there for the huge bombing of the film and its subsequent equivalence with “disaster.”

I’ve been asked a handful of times if I think Howard may get another film of his own. Despite what I just said, about Mr. Duck experiencing something of a — “popular” resurgence isn’t quite the right term, but you know what I mean — that film still casts a long shadow. As a trusted advisor once informed me, it seems unlikely any studio executive would want to be the fella/lady on record saying “yes” to a new Howard the Duck film. Even though…right now, Marvel Studios has yet to have a poorly-performing release, so if there was a new Howard flick, just on Marvel’s rep alone butts would meet seats. Or it could be Marvel’s first big flop, and we’d be right back where we started.

For the time being, it’s probably just continuing cameos for Howard, which is just fine, and frankly, it’s something of a miracle we’re even getting those. That aforementioned Marvel Studios rep for continuing hit films is most likely what got someone to say “ah heck, a Howard cameo might not hurt anything” and let it in.

Anyway, the reason for all that typing is that, on the occasion when someone unfamiliar with the comic asks me how the movie compares (and believe it or not, the topic comes up quite a bit at the shop), my go-to example has been the particular bit of business regarding “quack-fu.”

“Quack-fu” in the comic is the hook by which writer Steve Gerber (along with artists John Buscema and Steve Leialoha) examines the then-huge pop culture faddish-ness of martial arts:


…the movies, the magazines, the “learn the secrets of the masters” ads, even Marvel’s own Master of Kung-Fu series. It’s an extended and pointed satire of a contemporary cultural trend with the additional contemplation of violence and its acceptance in media and society.

The movie strips “quack-fu” of all that context, and suddenly it’s just another duck joke:


…and a way to move the plot along by having Howard kick butt when it’s convenient.

This may be the most blatant example of Howard’s misuse in the film. Like I said, the movie does have its moments, and overall it’s likeable enough, but you’re not getting the satirical commentary of Howard’s comic in here. (Sorry if I made anyone’s monocle pop out by saying that.) And I wonder if that’s the sort of thing that would translate to a new big-budget Marvel action movie anyway. Can you imagine? “It’s like Network, but with a talking duck!” I mean, it’s not impossible, and would certainly be different from the usual superhero fare, but I don’t know if the world is quite ready for it.

• • •

In other news:

Free to be…comics and me.

§ May 5th, 2017 § Filed under free comic book day, pal plugging § No Comments


So this will be the 16th year of the industry-wide Free Comic Book Day event, and I’ve participated givin’ away all those free funnybooks each and every time. It’s hard to imagine I’ve been doing this for just over half the time I’ve been working in comics retail, but time flies when you’re having fun, I suppose. It’s even harder to imagine that this year will be the third time I’ve hosted FCBD at my own shop. (You can see how it went the last couple of times, if you’re interested.)

I’ve talked about the event a whole lotta times in the past, and I don’t really have much to say beyond what I’ve already said. I’ll set up the tables, put out all the comics, let folks take what they want (I mean, don’t grab the entire stack of a certain comic or anything, but help yourself to one of each if you’d like), set up the special in-store deals that help pay for everything, and let those comic book hijinks ensue. Anyhoo, this post from last year goes into a little more detail re: the hows, the whys, and the wherefores if you’re curious. And if you’re still curious, you can feel free to ask me whatever you’d like in the comments here. I don’t mind!

Plus, if you’re wondering, yes, I did talk pal Dorian into doing his Free Comic Book Day reviews again this year, though he says he’s just going to focus on recommending what he thinks are the better releases, and not spend time slamming the stinkers. That specific post isn’t live yet, so just keep refreshing postmodernbarney.com over and over again ’til the reviews appear very early Saturday morning. EDIT: They’re up!

I’m sure I’ll report back here on Monday about how things went. Every single year, I get the jitters about things not going well, nobody showing up, me still stuck with carton upon carton of leftover freebies…and every year I discover my fears are unfounded as nice, sizable crowds fill my store and happily gather their free goodies. Let’s hope the same thing happens again this year! And you, reading this…if you’re in the area, come by and see us! Me, my girlfriend Nora, my dad, the aforementioned pal Dorian, and the possibly-returning Batman will be glad to see you!

• • •

In other news:

  • Pal Andrew celebrates the 11th anniversary of his site, Armagideon-Time. He’s one of the best writers, and one of the smartest minds, that we’ve got in our virtual neck of the woods here, and you should do yourself a favor and follow his work, if you don’t already.
  • Ken Lowery of Fake AP Stylebook fame — and with whom I helped write a book— has written a brand new comic book available on Comixology: The Night Driver, illustrated by Gavin Guidry. G’wan, get a copy…it’s only $1.99. That’s almost free!
  • Blogging sister Tegan presents…the Last Star Wars Essay. It’s good. Really good.
  • A reminder: Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Electric Current, is still offering up 365 Days of Resistance.

“Star Wars demoted to bimonthly” is hard to imagine now, too.

§ April 17th, 2017 § Filed under captain america, pal plugging, publishing, question time, retailing § 6 Comments

Back to your questions:

Argh!Sims arghed:

“Since you and GregA were discussing it on the Twitters and all … Did you find any more info about the proposed cancellation of Captain America back in the ’80s? That was at least a minor deal back then, and I seem to remember it was going to end around 300, with Cap being aged and having his ‘final’ victory over the Red Skull”

Yup…Twitter pal Greg posted a scan of a news item from an old Amazing Heroes (#69 from 1985, to be exact). I hope he doesn’t mind me borrowing said scan to present it here, since I’m too lazy to scan it myself:


My memory at the time is that is was kind of a minor deal, as you say. Mostly surprise that Marvel would even think about ending one of their…well, maybe not a flagship title, as such, but certainly a long-running title with one of their most famous, if not top-selling, characters. You know, back in the day when every ongoing series didn’t get relaunched every 18 months.

And yes, I did spend some time going through subsequent issues of Amazing Heroes trying to find any kind of follow-up on this announcement, as well as going through the Amazing Heroes Preview Specials that would preview the next few months’ worth of content for individual titles. Alas, I couldn’t track down what I was looking for, which was confirmation of my vague-ish memory of someone at Marvel basically saying “hey, we realized that we couldn’t cancel Captain America, of all titles — that would be be crazy!” I said in the Twitter thread that followed that my belief was that said cancellation might have been forestalled by licensing deals that might have been dependent on Marvel continuing to publish and support the character, but that’s just a mostly uninformed assumption on my part.

Anyway, I am relatively certain that it was said somewhere, in some news story or interview, that the cancellation of that particular title was reconsidered because of the nature of the character and its importance to Marvel. And, if I recall correctly, I think it was also said by someone that the title wasn’t actually in danger of cancellation, and that its inclusion on the list above was a mistake. Now, I owned and have read a lot of comic ‘zines over the decades, so I don’t know where exactly I saw all this…or even if I did, since I should probably accept that possibility. If anyone has more specific information, feel free to let me konw.

• • •

Old pal Brandon wants to know

“Have you ever been witness to a major collapse of shelves or avalanche of comics?

I have seen some pretty precarious shelves in the backs of comics shops before and it was always a concern of mine going into the back room of your old place of employment (though admittedly that was purely anxiety driven).”

Well, true enough, the shelving in the back of my old place of employment was very end-of-Raiders of the Lost Ark-ish, with shelving stretching up to the ceiling, filled with countless comic boxes. It was all quite sturdy and secure, however, and in the three different locations that store had while I worked there, I don’t believe there ever was a major collapse or shelf failure.

Now, that one time someone busted in through the ceiling to steal some…uh, Witchblade and Spawn comics, I thought maybe some of our bookshelves out front were knocked over, but from the look of things it was just a huge mess made by broken ceiling tiles and insulation.

The only time I can remember any sort of in-store shelving collapse was a hook busting loose that connected a shelf to its supporting unit and a bunch of books falling off. No life-threatening epic disaster stories to tell, thankfully. But here’s something to tide you over:

• • •

In completely unrelated news…pal Andrew could use a little assistance, if you’re able.

Every time I mention Mark Russell, I think of the piano-playing political satirist.

§ March 31st, 2017 § Filed under pal plugging, self-promotion, this week's comics § 8 Comments

So the interesting thing about these Hanna-Barbera/DC superhero team-up books is how in most cases, some attempt is made at making them…well, if not in continuity with the regular DC universe (such as its continuity is right now), at least not directly contradictory. Well, to be fair, I don’t know if that’s the case in the Suicide Squad/Banana Splits book since I haven’t read it yet, as 1) I’m not a Suicide Squad guy, and 2) my only real experience with the Banana Splits is enjoying the cover of their theme song by the Dickies. But Green Lantern and Adam Strange cross over into alternate universes to meet Space Ghost and the Future Quest gang, respectively…and even Top Cat falls through some interdimensional portal to meet a cowled crusader of some note (setting up what seems to be a very Howard the Duck-ian premise for the forthcoming series). It’s sort of the difference between the early Marvel/DC crossovers where Spider-Man and Superman have just always existed in the same world and they didn’t get around to meeting each other until 1976, versus the Marvel/DC crossovers from a couple of decades later where the Marvel and DC continuities were explicitly described as “different universes,” with even a jointly-owned character who could facilitate said meetings.

The exception seems to be Booster Gold/The Flintstones, which just throws Booster back in time to the Flintstones’ version of the Stone Age, without worrying about, you know, how Anthro fits in, or whatever. This was written by Mark Russell, who writes the regular Flintstones series, and as such this particular crossover fits right in the darkly satirical tone of that book. Russell also scripts the Snagglepuss back-up in the aforementioned Suicide Squad/Banana Splits comic…and of course I read at least that part of the book immediately. Yes, Snagglepuss is, as the writer describes him, a “gay Southern Gothic playwright” in the 1950s, and how he deals with officious types who don’t approve of him and his work. The brief sample we get is a tad more serious than Flintstones, but Snagglepuss’ dialogue is fun to read, and I look forward to hearing more of what that ol’ mountain lion has to say in his upcoming series.

As for the others: Adam Strange/Future Quest is right in line with the Future Quest series, fitting right in with the tone of that comic…I mean, what’s one more weird adventure character like Adam Strange in a book already full of them? Lots of fun, and, oddly enough, semi-connected to Strange’s appearances in the recently-completed Death of Hawkman mini. Green Lantern/Space Ghost has some nice art by Ariel Olivetti (making it match quite nicely with the Olivetti-illustrated Space Ghost mini from a few years back). Maybe a little wordy, with maybe too many small-ish panels, but you definitely get plenty of story for your buck that way. And while I’m generally surprised at just how much Hanna-Barbera has let DC get away with so far, Howard Chaykin’s “Ruff ‘n’ Reddy” is…well, Chaykin-y. Not for kids, though frankly the number of kids who are currently Ruff ‘n’ Reddy fans can probably be counted on one anthropomorphic paw.

Anyway, they’re all weird, and I enjoyed what I’ve read so far, and I expect I’ll enjoy the Banana Splits one, too. Hopefully they’ll do more Hanna-Barbera team-ups, because quite frankly once I thought of the Killer Croc/Wally Gator pairing, I’d had great need to actually see it.

• • •

In other news:

  • Blogging pal Tegan is writing for Medium, and her recent column on the passing of Bernie Wrighson is a must-read.
  • I have a few favorite artists who’ve drawn the Thing…Jack Kirby, of course, and John Byrne, and Barry Windsor-Smith…and RON FREAKIN’ WILSON.
  • And don’t forget…if you’ve got comics questions for me to answer, or topics for me to discuss, drop ’em in the comments to this post!

No, not actual horses.

§ March 24th, 2017 § Filed under buttons, employee aaron, pal plugging, swamp thing Comments Off on No, not actual horses.

So Former Employee Aaron (in that he’s no longer doing my cruel, heartless bidding…he’s still at my former place of employment) has a buttonmaker, and I’d featured some of his creations on the site before. Well, the last time I saw him, when I stopped by the old shop to do a little horse-tradin’, he had a surprise for me. Another handmade Swamp Thing pin:


Why yes, that is Swamp Thing as drawn by Steve Bissette and John Totleben from Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 (1984). Now to await a formal occasion for which I may use said pin as the perfect complement to my coat and tails.

In other news:

  • So Brian Cronin over at Comic Book Resources put up an article discussing the old Nickelodeon TV show Video Comics, which I talked about myself, due to the Swamp Thing connection, about four years ago. Brian was good enough to link back to my old post, since I had a few additional memories about the show not covered in his article. Thanks, Brian!
  • Hey, Matt Wilson is running a Kickstarter to fund his next comics project, Everything Will be Okay, done in conjunction with Joe Hunter, Rodrio Vargas, and Josh Krach. Looks like it would be fun, and they have a little ways to go yet on reaching their goals, so pitch in if you can!
  • Bully, the Little Punching Bull presents…Daredevil versus Hitler! (No, not that Daredevil.)

Some people suggested I make End of Civilization Patreon-only, but I suspect you’d all kill me if I did.

§ March 10th, 2017 § Filed under pal plugging, self-promotion § 3 Comments

 

  • Bully, the Hopefully Well-Rested Bull, is back from his brief hiatus to correct a most egregious error in Esquire.
  • Pal Andrew has returned to his popular “Nobody’s Favorites” feature, and the character he’s focusing on this time is a real blast!
  • Blogging sister Tegan is an essayin’ machine over on her site, with loads of deep, thoughtful content well worth your perusal. And if you’re a Patreon backer, you’re not only getting extra essays of a more political nature on a regular basis, but Tegan just started a Patreon subscriber-only podcast as well. “Tegan Reads Wookieepedia” is exactly what it sounds like: Tegan hits the ol’ “random article” button on Wookieepedia, the online encyclopedia for all things Star Wars-ian, and lets the commentary spring forth. It’s a hoot. You can check out a free sample of the podcast right here.
  • Speaking of Patreon, and inspired by Tegan’s efforts, I’ve been planning a little bit of an expansion myself on what I’ll be doing with my own Patreon account. I’ve said before I was reluctant to provide “subscriber only” content, because I’d like everyone who reads my site to have access to everything I’m doing. However, my Patreon account has plateaued a little, and I’d like to give it bit of a goose, but at the same time, I don’t want to leave people out of anything I might do there.

    So, here’s the plan. I’m working on an ongoing series of posts, probably two a month, that will be available exclusively to Patreon subscribers, at least at first. Each of these exclusive posts will eventually go public, but not for a few months after its initial posting. Think of it like DC’s old newsstand/direct sales plan for New Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes, where, for example, the comic shop only version of New Teen Titans #1 (1984) was eventually reprinted about a year later in Tales of the Teen Titans #60 (1985) for 7-11s or whatever. Not that my posts will be drawn by George Perez or Keith Giffen.

    These Patreon-only posts will be available to any supporters, so if you’re in for at least a buck a month, you’ll get them. I expect to start this series up in a few weeks, and I’ll let you know when it’s about to begin. I’m pretty sure the first installment will be posted for free here on this site right away just so you can see what you’re in for. Anyway, details forthcoming as I hammer everything out.

  • And speaking of Tegan, the other day she was surprised that this particular service still existed in some form, and I’ve not linked to it in quite a while (the first time being back in 2008!): the Update-A-Tron, which lets you know what comic blogs have updated recently. Yeah, I know, “but feed readers…!” But this is still a handy way to maybe learn about new comic blogs…and people are still blogging about comics, despite the constant death knells!

In which I turn a plug for Andrew into a plug for me.

§ February 10th, 2017 § Filed under atlas, collecting, pal plugging § 4 Comments

So I had a question or two in response to that long-ago post about the Flaming Carrot Comics magazine that I finally acquired. JRC and BobH asked about Flaming Carrot’s appearances in the Visions ‘zine/con program from about the same time period. This was an annual publication produced for the Atlanta Fantasy Fair, and the Carrot appeared in the first issue in 1979, and reappeared in the following issues up through 1987 (according to the Wikipedia article). This means at least a couple of FC’s appearances in Visions did predate the release of the magazine. Well, three, to be exact, since there’s an ad in the back of the mag for Visions #1-#3.

BobH specifically asks if the Visions material (and the 1981 mag) had ever been reprinted, or at least repurposed/retold, and to the best of my knowledge, they haven’t. The only reprintings I know of have been the Dark Horse collections (later partially reissued via a Kickstarter campaign, it appears) but those were just of the Aardvark-Vanaheim/Renegade Press era comics. One of the Visions issues listed in the back of the FC mag notes a story with the Artless Dodger, who appears later in the regular series, though I suspect the latter is a brand new story rather than a reworking of the original. I would love to see these comics from Visions collected someday, but frankly, if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not going to, barring some unforeseen, but quite welcomed, Flaming Carrot renaissance. Or if someone just walks into my shop with them someday to sell to me. I’d gladly pay upwards of a dollar each for them.

• • •

Also from that same post, Chris G. asks how far along I am in my Atlas/Seaboard collecting. As you may recall, Atlas/Seaboard launched in the mid-1970s several color comics (and some black & white mags) by lots of top talent, with the intention of competing with Marvel and DC, and, for various reasons, all those titles went under just a few months later. It’s…interesting, if not always necessarily good stuff, and I decided a long time ago I was going to put together a full set of these. I sort of let it go for a while, but then I started getting large numbers of them in collections brought to my shop, and that restarted the ol’ collecting bug again.

Some of my most recent acquisitions were the first couple issues of the Archie Comics-a-like Vicki, which are among the harder-to-find comics from the Altas/Seaboard line. However, my old boss Ralph is currently holding for me two of the Atlas magazines (a Thrilling Adventure Stories #1 and a Weird Tales of the Macabre #1) so I’ll be a couple of comics closer to finishing the collection. I think I only have about a dozen or so to go. I suppose I could just hunt them down on the eBays, but the fella I bought a bunch from at the shop still has several more boxes to bring in to me, so we’ll see what happens there.

• • •

Hey, lemme thrown in a couple plugs for pals here:

Tegan has just added exclusive content for Patreon supporters that you can read about here.

Joe Hunter has a Patreon going for his cartooning, with exclusive content for contributors. He’s a swell and talented guy, so please check him out.

Andrew is doing Black Orchid Month, because why the heck not, you know? Black Orchid, As Seen on TV if You Watched the Recent Justice League Dark Animated Movie There, which I did just the other day, so I’ll probably have some thoughts on that posted here soon.

Just throwing the phrase “comics blogosphere” out there like it’s still 2006.

§ January 23rd, 2017 § Filed under doog boog, harvey, pal plugging, richie rich, swamp thing § 2 Comments

Okay, so that was a couple of weeks of prediction coverage…hope you all enjoyed the last few posts while I took care of that. I’m still taking 2017 industry predictions in this post here, but we’re nearing the end of January, so I’m probably going to shut down comments there shortly. Get them in while you can! …I’m not sure if I’m going to take 2018 predictions after the next new year, but I still have some time to think about it. Your thoughts could sway this vital decision.

Let me catch up on a few things, here:

A couple or three weeks ago twitter pal Dan put up a picture of the cutest darn Swamp Thing that you ever did see, and one “uh, how much do you want for that?” DM later, I have it in my hot little hands:


Look at how adorable that is. …Dan also designed my Twitter icon, and you can see more of his swell art here.

Recently, I was pricing up a bunch of comics that, um, I may have acquired a while ago and am only getting around to processing now, when I came across this Richie Rich cover and the following thought got stuck in my head and I had to let it out:


…Well, I mean, he is hangin’ out with Casper and all. Also, I had to create the letters “T” and “H” by altering other letters in the same balloon. This is a dumb amount of effort, but now this exists so…um, there it is, I guess.

My blogging sister Tegan just celebrated her lucky thirteenth anniversary of her blog about a week ago, and I certainly wanted to point you in her direction for more of her great writing. Tegan said a few very kind words about me in said post, for which I am most appreciative and flattered. She’s always been one of the comics blogosphere’s (if I may still use the term) foremost essayists on the topic of funnybooks and the industry that mostly supports them, and is always worth reading. (And you can help fund her work via her Patreon.)

Speaking of Patreons, Dog Boy creator Steve Lafler just started one up to support a new series of political cartoons. I do like Steve Lafler comics, so I signed up, and maybe you can, too. I mean, yes, it is political in nature, so you may not see eye-to-eye with him, and that’s okay. However, if you do like his work, Patreon makes it easy to throw a dollar or two his way to directly support his efforts.

But one thing we can all agree on is that Nazis are terrible, and Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Patriotism, brings us another of his Ten of a Kind posts featuring those lousy Ratzis getting what-for, and how.

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