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Well, now I’m at the point where the to-read pile of comics is beginning to creep every so slightly upwards each week, as I find myself with decreasing amounts of time to keep up with them. The side effect of owning a store, surely, particularly since it’s still just me running the place seven days a week, so “free time” is no longer the easily-obtainable commodity it once was. “Read ’em at work,” I’m sure someone may cry out, but I’m generally too busy trying to make some coin of the realm while at the shop, and I’m sure it wouldn’t help matters any for comic book guys ‘n’ gals across the nation to perpetuate the idea of “wow, a job where you just sit around and read comics all day…sounds like hard work, har har.”
It’s not as if I get all that many comics, either. And I manage to make time to read the Peanuts reprints and last week’s release of Kate Beaton’s new book, so it’s not as if I have towers of unread runs of Those Other Avengers and Swamp Thing’s Kung-Fu Force teetering over me in my Gentleman’s Reading Room. Like I said, it’s a slow creep, a small stack getting gradually, almost imperceptibly higher each week, filling me with no small amount of nostalgic lament for the days when I’d bring home the week’s new comics, and just sit there and read ’em ’til I was done with the stack. Now I have my allotted comic reading time, where I read what I can until I have to go on and do whatever the next thing is.
Okay, it’s not quite as regimented as that, but I’m a little more aware of the free time I have and more careful about how I spend it. Like spending an hour or so every other night writing a comics blog.
Some of the comics that are getting backlogged on me:
The Maxx – Sam Keith and William Messner-Loebs’ weirdo Image comic from the early days of the company, now being reprinted issue-by-issue by IDW. I read the first six issues of the original release back in the ’90s, and cut it from my reading list in a cost-saving measure, I think, and sort of regretted it ever since. I fell behind on reading the newest reprintings, but knowing this is a finite run makes it easier to deal with. I suspect this comic holds together better reading all together over a short period of time, anyway, rather than absorbing it in monthly installments.
Haunted Horror and Weird Love – two of Craig Yoe’s bimonthly reprint series, which are great, don’t get me wrong. However, being as how most of the stories contained within date from a time when comic publishers weren’t scared of piling the text into each panel, it can take a little longer to properly appreciate each issue. Which is great…get that $3.99’s worth out of each installment, but sometimes they get sorted to the bottom of the pile as other, more current, more easily absorbed titles get read first.
Miracleman – well, sure, I read ’em all the first time when Eclipse Comics published them decades ago, and still have those issues in what’s left of The No Longer Quite So Vast Mikester Comic Archives. I’m still buying the reprint issues, partially to appreciate the recoloring/remastering, partially to complain, and partially to support the series so that we can finally get the new Miracleman stories by Gaiman and Buckingham, picking up from where they left off twenty years ago, or whatever it was. Tends to get left for last because I don’t feel like prying off the mostly-unnecessary polybags.
In conclusion, “a bloo-bloo, I don’t have time to read my funnybooks,” which is the whiniest of my complaints ever. I think I’m in good shape, though, so long as I don’t backlog myself into a warehouse full of boxes filled of unread comics, awaiting that day I’m bedridden with some horrible yet non-reading-impairing illness that will allow me to catch up.
And that’s just comics. Here’s a stack of hardcovers sitting on an endtable in the bedroom, and the Netflix queue, and…ugh, someone tell the Grim Reaper I can’t fit death into my schedule for the next few decades, I have too much entertainment to follow.
• • •
This week’s Question Time over at Trouble with Comics addresses the most terrifying of queries: “DO COMICS MATTER?” The answer is of course, NO WAY, NUH UH, FORGEDDABOUDIT…well, okay, we all say they do, more or less. SPOILERS. Also, this time around everyone’s question is put up as a separate blog entry, so this little ol’ link here
to this week’s question time should take you to all of them. You’ll need to scroll down a bit to see mine…stop when you find that one somewhat familiar picture of me (which has been altered ever so lightly).
So a couple more thoughts to wrap up “Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing Week” here on Progressive Dot Ruin Comma Com Interrobang:
I never saw the Swamp Thing movie in the theater. I’m not sure why. It’s not as if I didn’t know it was out. I think I even watched a review of it on Siskel and Ebert’s TV show. I suppose I just never thought about it. I was twelve or thirteen at the time, and my parents probably would have taken me to see it if I’d asked. Plus, at that point I was beginning to ride my bicycle to local theaters once in a while to see movies…I know I made a bike trip to go see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It’s possible that Swamp Thing may not have made it anywhere close enough to me to go see…there were plenty of theaters around, but in 1982 they were still mostly one or two screens, and I’m guessing it was pretty unlikely they were going to throw away a screen on some dumb low-budget rubber monster movie. It’s possible it made it to one of the several drive-ins in our area, but I doubt they would have let me ride my bike into the lot.
Ah, well, just one of those mysteries, I guess. At least I have both the original “naughty” DVD and the new Blu-ray to experience the film as God intended…on a big ol’ flatscreen in the privacy of your own home without having to deal with fellow filmgoers, who are usually the worst.
Anyway, speaking of the film, as I have been this week so I don’t know why I really needed the segue, Reader Jonathan from Australia emailed me about this recent article, 23 Things We Learned from Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing Commentary. Just what it says on the tin, it’s a list of interesting bits from the Blu-ray commentary that I still haven’t found time to listen to, but I really need to, now. And by the way, if you get a chance to listen to Jim Wynorski’s director commentary on the Return of Swamp Thing DVD, that’s a hoot as well.
• • •
I forgot to mention I once again participated in this week’s Question
over at Trouble with Comics, where the query posed to us this time was “name a comic where a later creative team exceeded the work done by the comic’s original creators, but without
‘damaging’ the initial work.” That’s a hard question to paraphrase, by the way. But answer the question I did
, and one guess as to which comic character I may have discussed.
Oh, and you should be reading the rest of the site, too. A new feature started up this week, Mick Martin’s “It Takes A Villain,” which promises to be a fun read. TWC is turning into the kind of comics ‘zine I’ve missed reading, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. With any luck, maybe I can find the time to do more than just answer a question every week! …Ah, who needs sleep, anyway?
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.
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