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- So you folks remember Batman paying a visit to my shop during Free Comic Book Day? Sure you do. Anyway, here’s the Facebook cosplay page for customer Mark, who may or may not have had something to do with that particular occurrence.
- Pal Andrew looks back at a few Nobody’s Favorites from the 1980s Superman reboot. One of these days I need to do a post about this particular event, how it was both sort of necessary and sort of a symptom of the End Times…someone remind me. …Though come to think of it, it would probably be 1,500 words basically getting to the same point Andrew arrives at in a single short and elegant paragraph. Well, we’ll see.
- Surely you’ve been following along with A Month of Board Games, as presented by Bully the Little Pop-O-Matic Bull?
- Pal Shane, one of the Old Timey Comics Bloggers who was there with us back in the days when people read comic blogs, has returned and is now posting at Near-Mint Hero. Hi Shane!
Now here’s a thing I’d totally forgotten about: the 8-page Marvel Spotlight giveaways from the mid-1990s. I mean, I completely forgot this was even a thing. I remember the various iterations of the regular DC promo flyers, the Eclipse Comics one…but no memory at all of this one from Marvel. It’s got the usual features: the individual issue spotlights, the brief interviews with creators, the full checklist of every comic due out that month. I know we must have had carried these at the shop, and I’m sure I shoved them into the shopping bags of customers, but…nope, these have completely departed what’s left of my mind.
Anyway, this turned up in a box of comics that looked like it had been pretty much untouched since the 1990s…all the usual X-Men and Avengers comics that you see in every collection, plus a small stack of Wizards probably used to price said comics — RECREATION OF THEORETICAL PRICING EVENT PICTURED BELOW:
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…And as usual with collections like these, there are a small handful of comics that are actually of use, and then there’s the pile that goes straight to the bargain boxes. Ah, well. But it was neat seeing that old Marvel Spotlight…makes me wish for the days of regular individual company “coming attractions” freebies again, though those have been mostly supplanted by the Comic Shop News weekly paper and by Diamond Previews and oh, maybe the internet too, I guess. I mean, yeah, there are occasional high end free preview comics from Marvel and DC, but that’s not quite the same as a regular newsletter. The things one can get nostalgic for….
In other news:
- DanielT asked in response to my recent End of Civilization post:
“…I presume Erik Larsen coming to Spawn did absolutely nothing? How does Spawn sell for you compared to Savage Dragon?”
Well, despite my joke from that post, Spawn appears to be slowly crawling up in sales. Yes, it’s true that for the most part, this series sells pretty much at the same level, month after month, with the occasional fluctuation, and right now we seem to be in a slight upward trend. It seems unlikely that it’ll ever come close to its ’90s heights again, but what titles do? That it’s still selling at all is a success worth noting.
Now Savage Dragon…it’s fine, more power to Larsen to keeping it going and staying true to his vision, but it’s bit of a hard sell around here, I’ve noticed. Well, at least on the rack…I have pull customers for it, but it’s not a title that people just sort of casually grab off the shelf anymore. Even at my previous place of employment it wasn’t a comic purchased by walk-ins…it mostly just went into hold boxes. Which is a shame, because it is a solid and weird superhero comic. Hopefully our area is just an oddball one, and that it sells just fine elsewhere.
And you know what? Good on both McFarlane and Larsen for not relaunching/rebooting their respective series with new #1s!
- Hey, after a long hiatus, Dr. Polite Scott has resuscitated his site and once again doing comics medically-related funnybook blogging! Encourage that man to stick around a bit…go, read!
Longtime reader Wayne passed these two screen shots my way, from an episode of the TV series Naked City. He apologizes for the time stamps, indicating that the images are from the year 2025, if man is still alive…oops, wait, wrong year. Anyway, Wayne was reminded of this after I pointed out another funnybook cameo in a moving picture entertainment, and here you can see Amazing Fantasy #15, with the first appearance of what’s-his-name:
…and Journey into Mystery #83, the debut of that other fella:
Okay, sure, this bit of TV trivia has made the rounds before, but hey, it’s neat, so why not put it here, too. Now if anyone has stills of that 1980s episode of the 700 Club where they go after comics, and are particularly unamused by crucified Professor X in the X-Men graphic novel, please feel free to send those my way, too!
• • •
And speaking of Elvira, which I was a few days ago and linked back to just a couple of paragraphs back, reader Paul
directed me to this story
of how Cassandra Peterson might be hanging up the ol wig ‘n’ dress for good. As Peterson herself says in the story, she’s been saying she was going to stop portraying Elvira for like three decades now, so I suspect the Mistress of the Dark will still be around a bit longer.
• • •
Reader Daniel, remembering that I featured Condorman
on my site once
way back when, thought I would be interested in this Sunday newspaper strip adaptation
as well. And sure, of course I would be. No idea it ran in the papers, though I do have memories as a young Mikester of various short-run strips tying into something-or-‘nother in the funnypages, and I suppose this is yet another example of that.
• • •
And finally…I helped Bully, the Little Bull What Don’t Need No Help, with a pancake post
! Go, enjoy the yumminess!
I’ve had a particularly long Tuesday, so all I have energy for, before I crumble to dust before your eyes, is to type out this link to Pal Andrew, who has answered my question posted to him re: his favorite Swamp Thing story.
I should ask him more Swamp Thing questions…he’s good at answering them!
Trouble with Comics had a massive response to Question Time this week…so massive that the responses were posted in three parts, all of which can be found here. The Question this time around is “what are your three favorite current titles?” and you can find my response at the end of Part Three.
Also, Twitter pal Ryan is Kickstartererering a comics-related novel he’s written, Four Color Bleed, and you can check out the details about that, including a preview sample of the novel, right here. Plus, my pal Weshoyot is one of the artists on the project, so you’ll be helping her out, too!
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A few days ago I was chatting with pal Nat, and somehow the topic came up about a particular bagged four-pack of comic books published by Hamilton Comics in the mid-1990s that was distributed exclusively through the Walmart store chain. Three of the included books were the Eek! the Cat mini-series, pictured here in a scan “borrowed” from this eBay auction:
Nat wrote one of the stories featured in this comic, which is why he owns a couple of copies of the four-pack, and also why he was able to let me know the fourth comic in said pack was inexplicably the comic book adaptation of the Alex Winter/Tom Stern horror/comedy film Freaked:
(Image also “borrowed,” this time from the Comic Book Database.)
Now, why Eek! the Cat and Freaked were paired up like this, aside from Hamilton having these apparently piled up in a warehouse and undistributed to comic book shops (sadly, because I would have been all over that Freaked comic) I don’t know. But this was bit of an oddity, I thought, and what use is this blog if I can’t showcase oddities?
In regards to my previous post, pal Andrew had his own take on the decline of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and makes a cogent argument that it wasn’t necessarily Zero Hour what done the deed.
And hey, blogging brother Tim has also opened the floor to questions, so while you’re waiting for me to finish answering what you’ve asked me, why not pick Tim’s brain?
BIG SPOILERS FOLLOWING for DC Universe Rebirth #1 (like you don’t know ’em already) and…well, I don’t really spoil Captain America: Steve Rogers #1
So anyway, about this:
First, I’m not thrilled about full spoilers for this comic getting spread all over the place days before it’s even available for sale. Comics can be a hard enough sell already, without removing yet one more incentive for buying. “What shocking surprises await within? Well, read this website and find out…save yourself buying the comic.” Gee, thanks guys, not like I didn’t order a pile of these for my shelves.
There are a couple of things that keep this from being entirely disastrous, saleswise. It could be that said spoilers might encourage people to pick up the comic, in a “I gotta see this” kind of way. Not to mention, actually reading the comic is an entirely different experience from reading a list of plot points. And there’s the fact that it’s 80 pages of comics for $2.99, which is a swell deal, though I suppose the more critically-minded may be of the “the food was terrible, but such great portions!” opinion on the matter.
Plus, there’s the fact that, believe it or not (and as I’ve mentioned on my site before) some people going to comic shops aren’t plugged into every social network and comic website, and their engagement with comic news begins and ends with walking into the comic shop, looking at the rack and picking out their books, and walking out again. Oh, and reading them eventually, too, I guess.
Anyway, I enjoyed the comic, and hopefully my customers will, too. Oddly enough, it’s actually strangely touching at one point, when a character who’s returned from the pre-New 52 universe finally connects with one of the rebooted characters. It’s probably as emotionally affecting as it is because it’s not just that we’re seeing these two characters reuniting, but that the fictional universe we readers thought was washed away forever may have a chance at coming back. Yes, that’s a silly thing to get emotional over, but I’m not made of stone.
I know DC has tried to walk back, or at least refurbish, revamps/reboots before…Kingdom and “Hypertime” being the most notable line-wide attempt at doing so. That the New 52/Flashpoint reboot was so obviously a last-minute decision, with the cracks showing almost immediately, the overall story premise of “Rebirth” being a pushback against a timeline purposefully inflicted by unknown parties upon the DCU certainly brings all these shenanigans to an almost metatextual level. That these parties appear to be the characters from Watchmen, one of the sources of the “grim/realistic” superhero trend that “Rebirth” appears to be rebuffing…well, no danger of subtlety of theme here, I suppose.
And speaking of which…holy crap, they’re using the Watchmen characters in a DC Universe thing. And not in a dream sequence, either. My guess is the same as when “Before Watchmen” was unleashed onto an unsuspecting world — Watchmen TP sales are moribund, and this is a way of spurring interest in the book again. Or maybe someone figured, hey, what the hell, this will get everyone’s attention, and lo, they were right.
Yes, yes, I suppose I should be angry about the violation of the sanctity of a classic work, but I have to tell you, I laughed and laughed. Partially because I’m amused by the idea of, I don’t know, Batman vs. Rorschach or something, and partially because I love seeing everyone else’s reaction to it. Anyway, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted and I’m sure I’m a bad person for thinking so.
Seriously, though, this whole “New 52 was an attack on the DCU” thing is a weird but interesting way of dealing with continuity issues, and would be quite clever if it were the planned outcome of the New 52 way back when, and not just a way to directly address a rushed reboot that didn’t quite take. This Rebirth one-shot is still an entertaining read for the continuity-minded superhero fan, a snapshot of where the DCU is now, what brought us here, what problems need to be resolved, and the sheer hilarious gall of bringing Watchmen into it. That’s gotta be worth your $2.99.
And you guys had to go and try to spoil this story for everyone, too! CAN WE NOT HAVE NICE THINGS
Turning out to be another Low Content Mode week at the ol’ site, due to other plans and Free Comic Book Day prep and so on. Sorry about that! One of those plans involved a family member buying me and the girlfriend tickets for Captain America: Civil War for a Thursday night viewing, so I’ll be rushing out of the shop and straight to that this evening. I’ve been hearing that it’s almost as good as Batman V Superman, but I guess I’ll see for myself soon enough.
I’ll probably get back to your questions starting next Monday, but in the meantime, remember to attend Free Comic Book Day this Saturday wherever you shop or bank, but try to come by my shop and meet ME ME ME and oh also Jaime “Love and Rockets” Hernandez, who’ll also be there, I guess. “Love and Rockets” is his actual middle name, by the way. I wouldn’t lie about that.
Also, I responded to the latest Question Time over at Trouble with Comics, re: my plans for convention season (do those plans involve excessive nudity? You’ll have to click that link to find out!). And pal Andrew is continuing his “Me and the Terrible ’90s” series, if you want to read good comics blogging, unlike what you’ve been finding on my site lately.
Anyway, happy Free Comic Book Day to everyone this weekend, and I’ll be back this Monday. Though I bet I’ll probably show up here before then plugging Free Comic Book Day again. Did I mention Free Comic Book Day? FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
First off, let me point you in the direction of pal Andrew’s latest endeavor, a personal retelling of his frontline battles that could only be called “Me and the Terrible ’90s.” That link will take you to Parts One and Two of the series, and will also show you the immediate precursors looking at awful merch ads from Wizard (as opposed to all those great merch ads). Anyway, it’s more great writing from Andrew, and that’s always worth celebrating.
Now, if I may plug myself (“…In public!? GASP”), here is the most recent Question Time over at Trouble with Comics, in which we discuss those creator(s) that we did not like at first blush, but gained an appreciation for as time went by. Please note my use of the parenthetical pluralization on “creator(s)” is mostly theoretical, as each and every one of us somehow managed to pick the same person. And it’s the worst person we could have picked for this. We are all horrible people. At least I can manage to lightly salve my soul with the knowledge that I once got to shake this person’s hand and thank him for all his great work. I don’t know what all those other guys at TWC are gonna do. (Also, the last link in my answer is supposed to go to this…not sure how that other link got published, since the correct link is in my final draft of the response, but we’ll get it fixed!)
Now let me address a couple of questions from my latest “ask me stuff” post:
Thom H. ashks:
“Any thoughts on the Ellis/Shalvie/Bellaire book Injection? I think it’s the best book on the stands right now — not to mention the best thing Ellis has written in years — and I don’t see much written about it on the Internet. How does is sell for you? Have you read it? How does it compare to other Ellis work in your opinion? etc. etc.”
I haven’t had a chance to read it…the dread irony of owning a comic shop is less time to read comics, I’m sure I’ve said before. But, it’s selling reasonably well for an Image book…not Walking Dead heights, no, but certainly better than some of their D.O.A. titles. It has a consistent following, and the occasional latecomers who catch up on the back issues. It’s also one of the few comics that customers regularly point out to me as one of their favorites, so…you know, that’s encouraging. As far as how it compares to other Ellis titles…well, like I said, I haven’t read it, but that customers are regularly talking about it makes it probably one of his most well-received books since Moon Knight.
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Jay from Tennessee graces my land with
“Of course in your opinion, what is the best series of Shadow comics in the past 40 years and why?”
Well, that would be the Andrew Helfer/Kyle Baker run during the late 1980s…actually, the whole 19-issue run was good, with Bill Sienkiewicz on the first story arc, and the four-issue mini-series that kicked this iteration of the Shadow off, by Howard Chaykin, is a hoot as well. But Helfer/Baker’s particular brand of irreverence and black humor really did it for me, and you were never quite sure just what horrible thing was going to happen next. That they managed to (um, SPOILER ALERT, I guess) kill the Shadow and keep him dead for several issues was a remarkably entertaining feat, and the cover to the final issue is a thing of beauty.
I’ve read and liked other Shadow comics since, but they all seem so staid and mannered compared to the freewheeling craziness of Helfer/Baker’s run. I did write a bit about this series over a decade ago, so some of the links in that old post are going to be broken. Sorry about that! But this was a fine series, and now it’s been 27 years since I started waiting for that one-shot to wrap it all up!
Congrats to pal Nat for winning an award for his Snoopy Treasures book!
And here’s a reminder that I’m still taking your questions and suggestions for the blog right here. I may start responding on Tuesday, due to my needing to get an early start for something on Monday and possibly won’t want to stay up late Sunday working on the site. …I’m the worst blogger.
1. I’m still taking questions and/or topics for discussion re: this crazy comics business we’re all interested in, if you’d like to contribute any. I’ll probably start going through them this coming Monday.
2. The latest Question Time over at Trouble with Comics involves creators we once liked but not so much anymore, and my response is more about my changing attitudes and perceptions rather than a reflection on the creator in question. It’s not you, pal, it’s me.
3. Hey, pal Dave resurfaced at his currently-retired site to present a comic he wrote.
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