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There’s probably an issue -1 somewhere in these boxes.

§ October 11th, 2017 § Filed under promo, retailing § 4 Comments

Okay, so I knew I had this in my possession…I’m pretty sure I’ve posted a pic of it on this site at some point in the last nearly-fourteen years I’ve been blogging here. It’s the first issue of the Comic Shop News weekly newsletter, published 30 years ago:


…and amazingly, it’s being published even today, in this age of widespread online availability of this sort of content, and that’s because the customers still like their weekly news freebie. It’s convenient, it’s cheap for retailers to carry, and I do have folks using it to keep informed and to plan out their future purchases. Not every fan spends all their free time looking around on the internet for comics info…I mean, who’d want to do that? Crazy people, that’s who.

Anyway, of late, I’ve been going through boxes of old store materials (as I mentioned Monday) that belong to my former boss Ralph, looking for items to eBay on his behalf. There’s a lot of promotional posters, company flyers and newsletters, distributor packets, all kinds of goodies. I’d been posting lots of pics of them on my Twitter account, a few things have gone up on the eBays, and a handful of items have, of course, been put aside for display right here on this very internet thingie before your eyes right now.

Which is a long way of getting to the point, which is that in one of these boxes was the previously-unfamiliar-to-me Comic Shop News NUMBER ZERO:


This was sent out to distributors/retailers only as a sneak preview. Four pages long, with some sample news stories (like the one pictured, and “4 New Universe Titles Cancelled” and “Trade Paperbacks Big Sellers”) and come-ons for the newsletter itself, like ad rates, and a full back page detailing reasons to carry CSN.

Now I’m not planning to sell this particular item on eBay, though looking there I see much more recent issues going for some premium prices. I am curious what an actual #1 or #0 would go for, but…I don’t know. Maybe I’ll list ’em for $2000 each and see what happens. Hey, it only takes one person who needs them that badly…!

Taking a break from Bat-talk for a little Bat-talk.

§ September 29th, 2017 § Filed under batman, promo § 6 Comments

So, going through boxes of ancient comic shop promo materials netted me this, a 1986 letter to retailers about the then-forthcoming Batman: The Dark Knight mini-series by Frank Miller:


This letter had six stapled pages, with the last three pages being black and white repos of some of the art (including the famous splash of Batman ‘n’ Robin leaping over the city, and that pic of Superman hefting a tank). Anyway, thought some of you folks would enjoy this look back at a piece of Bat-history.

A few notes:

  • I’m trying to remember reaction to Ronin at the time. I seem to remember…Gary Groth of The Comics Journal, I think, saying Ronin was better than 90% of other comics being published, but it was still crap. Well, I liked it, but I don’t know how well it went over in the retail sense, since I wasn’t involved in that part of the business then. My general recollection is that it had a mixed response at best, sort of a “he left Daredevil for this?” but that’s more gleaned from ‘zines of the time and not so much from actual interaction with people who read it. It’s considered…well, I was going to say “it’s considered a classic now,” but is it? I know it keeps getting repackaged and rereleased but when folks talk about the Big Classic Comic Books from Marvel and DC, it’s Watchmen and Dark Knight and, um, Marvels, I guess, but Ronin doesn’t seem to make it onto those same lists. Which is a shame…I do quite like it.
  • I vaguely remember the coverage in Rolling Stone and Spin, in that there were some pretty good-sized ads run there. Any accompanying articles I don’t recall, though I imagine there were strong…suggestions from DC that “BAM! POW! BATMAN’S OLD AND MEAN NOW!” headlines should be avoided.
  • The description kills me, with the comic “taking place 10 years after Batman has retired, when he’s pushing 50.” So, when Batman is my age right now, in other words. “This is a future Batman, when he’s old, worn out, creaky-boned and cloudy-eyed, just about to keel over and die, just like Mike Sterling.” Okay, maybe it doesn’t say that exactly, but they’re totally implying it.

    The other odd note in the series description, aside from “introducing a new, female Robin” and letting us know Superman will be in the couple of issues, is the declaration that the “Batman paraphrenalia [sic] (will be) updated and computerized.” It seemed weird at first that would be emphasized in the promo materials (hey kids, see how Batman fights crime in the future!), since that’s hardly the focus of the book, but there is that extended sequence with the new Batmobile/tank so, um, technically I guess that’s what they were talking about. Just out of context like this, however, it sort of sounds like “here’s Iron Man’s new armor,” or “introducing the Supermobile” — just, in retrospect, it feels a little diminishing compared to the impact the series would have. How would they have known, of course…they knew they had something special, but just how big it was going to be was surely an enormous surprise.

  • Their attempts at describing the actual printed product is a little amusing, in that the format, will very shortly after this, be referred to as “The Dark Knight format.” Hell, even Marvel described their comics like this as being in “the Dark Knight format,” until eventually someone there realized that was a bad idea, and we got “bookshelf” or “prestige” as names for this type of item instead. I think “prestige” is the solely preferred term now.
  • The Dark Knight 3D Counter Display is pretty neat…my old boss Ralph still has one in his office…a little beat-up, but he said he thinks he has another! This site has a pretty good pic of what the display looks like.
  • As was pointed out to me by a customer who was looking at this letter the other day, some poor soul had to go through and underline the appropriate words by hand. Another artistic skill lost due to computerization.

Though I have to admit I’m curious as to how a rebooted Spawn comic might sell.

§ September 9th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, promo, retailing Comments Off on Though I have to admit I’m curious as to how a rebooted Spawn comic might sell.

marvspotlight1993
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:

wizardpricing
…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!

So pretty much whenever I’m short on blogging time, I’ll just run a picture of a piece of Tekno Comix promotional material…

§ August 25th, 2014 § Filed under promo § 10 Comments

…not that I have a whole lot:


Had a bunch of posters to put on the eBay, and while this one was just a little too beat up to put up for sale, I went ahead and photographed it anyway and kept the picture aside for a rainy day here on this site.

So here you go. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, TEKNO COMIX! “intz intz intz intz”

Here’s that picture of a Tekno Comix promotional flying disc you were asking for.

§ August 20th, 2014 § Filed under promo § 3 Comments


Just popped up in a collection recently, to remind us of those happier times when Mr. Hero and Isaac Asimov’s I-Bots walked the earth.

Here’s a pic from another Tekno Comix promo item I posted a while back.

Leonard Nimoy meets Prisar.

§ May 19th, 2006 § Filed under promo Comments Off on Leonard Nimoy meets Prisar.