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So I had a couple of comic collections come into the shop over the weekend. One was a big ol’ pile of Dark Horse Star Wars comics, which, as it turned out, was about 99% different from the Dark Horse Star Wars comics I already had in the shop for sale (i.e. the ones I had bought for myself but gave up to the shop when I opened). The other was a big ol’ pile of comics from the late ’40s/early ’50s, mostly Disney (including lots of classic Carl Barks), Little Lulu, and other various humor books, all offered up by the original owner.
In the middle of that second pile was one of these, a repackaged comic with a new cover advertising the Blue Bird brand of shoes, offered by the Gallenkamp’s shoe store (who also may be the manufacturer of the shoes, I’m unclear on that).
The comic inside is this issue
of Kid Colt, Outlaw
Looking up some info on this on the Grand Comics Database, it appears that some years later the Blue Bird repackaging
moved on to printing new covers
that reflected the contents (just Charlton comics at that point, apparently) and more prominently featuring the shoe store name. The Blue Bird logo from the back cover above is still present on the newer front covers.
Anyway, just an interesting artifact from the days of long ago. I think, maybe, when I was but a young Mikester, I vaguely remember getting a free comic book from the shoe store we frequented. This would have been the mid-1970s. It may have been branded with the store’s name, or a shoe manufacturer’s name, or both…it’s just on the edge of awareness, but I can’t say for sure, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t. I wonder how long shoe stores gave out free comics…or any stores. (I mean, beyond Free Comic Book Day, wise guys.) Radio Shack had their comics (apparently into the 1990s!), I remember grabbing one of these in a video store in the late 1980s. And, apparently, Big Boy made it into the 2000s? More as a magazine-with-comics than as a comic book, but close enough!
I’m sure there’s still the occasional funnybook promotion from stores or restaurants here and there, but I feel like it’s not quite the same, or as prevalent, or as amazing, as it had been.
So it sounds like, based on reports of order numbers, the forthcoming Rocket Raccoon series has achieved that perfect storm of movie tie-in combined with variant cover availability based on exceeding certain percentages of orders of previously-published strong-selling comics, resulting in what sounds like an enormous amount of copies about to flood the market in just a few months. Oh, those variants should sell out just fine, they usually do, assuming their prices aren’t hiked up to ridiculous heights. But the regular cover editions…well, you know how hard it is to find a copy of the regular cover for Superman Unchained #1? There you go.
Of course, it feels like those percentages we have to beat are creeping up ever so slowly, but that may just be my innate paranoia from being in this business for too long. To get those “Deadpool Dressed As Princess Leia” variants on Ultimate Slapstick #1, you have order numbers on the regular cover that either meet or exceed 125% of your orders on Man-Thing Team-Up #17, and of course that was the issue you ordered extra on because, go figure, Man-Thing was teaming up with Deadpool in that issue. So, you have to order lots of Ultimate Slapstick because if you don’t get those “Deadpool Dressed As Princess Leia” variants, the store in the next town over will, and people will go there to get their comics if they think you can’t get them, and you can’t have that.
And then, a couple of months down the road, the debut issue of This Will Be A New Marvel Movie Soon, We Hope #1 will pop up in the order forms, and to get the “Wolverine in Various States of Undress” variant cover, you’ll have to exceed 125% of your numbers on Ultimate Slapstick #1. And so on, and so on, until all the trees are gone and the Lorax departs the Earth in disgust.
Now, it’s not necessarily chained like that, with one book you need to inflate your orders on tied to a previous order-inflated book…I’ll need to go back and do some of that “research” I’ve heard so much about. However, every time I see that “exceed X%” instruction, I feel like I’m being taken for a ride. Of course, nobody’s forcing me to do it, but like I said, if I don’t, another shop will, and in the current comics marketplace, you don’t want to give your customers a reason to not come to your shop.
The only way to fight back is for no shops to order any of these types of variants, but that’s not likely to happen. Or maybe to wean the direct market off dependence on Marvel and DC [imagine hysterical laughter here].
I’m not entirely unsympathetic to the publishers. The whole variants scheme is to keep numbers up in a marketplace where retailers would prefer to keep their overhead low, by encouraging orders to maintain at certain levels. Sure, you could order just 20 copies of this, but there’s a special 1 in 25 variant cover you can probably sell for a premium, so why not just bump up the order just a bit, why don’t you? Thanks, you’re a pal!
Some of the smaller publishers, like Boom! and Dynamite, have order percentage incentives as well, but it’s more along the line of “we’ll give you an extra discount if your order on this issue of this series matches or exceeds 90% of the previous issue,” and that seems a little more reasonable to me. Or, in some cases, matching orders on a previous issue would result in returnability, which I’m pretty okay with, too. I’d love if the returnability option was a little more widespread with Big Two releases, but I suspect the discounts we enjoy with them would shrink by a considerable margin once those publishers start shouldering more of the burden of unsold stock. It’s more in the publishers’ interests for the retailer to warehouse their books, whether they sell or not.
In conclusion, I think that Rocket Raccoon comic actually sounds like it’ll be a fun read. I certainly hope everyone will want to read it. I mean, we pretty much need them to.
So one thing that occurred to me recently, and may have been brought up somewhere on the Internet since DC launched its New 52 initiative three years ago and I missed since I can’t read the entire Internet, is how this “The New 52!” slug that’s slapped on all of DC’s covers is like one more barrier to new readers. It’s a very minor
barrier, and one that’s easily explained if someone in the know is around to explain it, but it’s still one more bit of weird information, the meaning of which is not immediately obvious, one more thing that says “this is an indicator for people already in the club, and not for people such as you.” “52 what
?” I’ve heard more than once.*
We’re probably stuck with that “The New 52″ logo for the time being, even as others have noticed that the majority of the original 52 titles DC launched in September 2011 have since been cancelled, or at least retooled and restarted. Abandoning the New 52 idea would be tantamount to an admission on DC’s part that the publishing initiative was a failure, and I don’t expect that to happen. More likely is that, assuming Warner Brothers would want to continue publishing comics and not just turn all those properties over to the toy companies and animation departments, there would be a new rebranding of DCs publishing line, and yet another overhaul of their books. It would allow them to save at least some face to some extent, by spinning it as not giving up on the New 52, but instead moving the DC Universe forward to…the Great 38! Or, you know, something like that.
Since DC is stuck with the New 52 concept, I would almost prefer that DC would fill out their line of non-Justice League/Batman/Superman/Green Lantern comics with mini-series. I mean, intentional mini-series, marketed as such, not just planned ongoings that get canned after eight months. There’s no shortage of characters and concepts in DC’s vaults that could stand to be aired out a bit…put ‘em in a series for six to twelve months, collect it into a paperback when it’s over, and now DC has something to show as a pitch for a new movie or TV pro…I mean, something they can sell in bookstores. And if it sells really well…what the hell, then make it a new ongoing series. I realize that’s more work, editorially, but if books are getting cancelled left and right anyway, might as well jump up right after falling down and declare “I meant to do that!” (And it would make my job a little easier, since problem I describe here is now comic-ordering status quo.)
Going back to what I was talking about at the beginning: a lot of what we, folks what read the funnybooks on a regular basis, take for granted is confusing to the uninformed. They are confused that there can be more than one ongoing series starring the same character, each with its own storylines and continuity, but they sometimes the series do tie in together, but not all the time. Batman and Detective are two entirely separate series, except when they’re not.
The very idea of issue numbers can be confusing. It’s such an obvious thing to me, and to you, that I don’t know how they can be confusing, but to someone not used to the vagaries of comics publishing, they are. That there are so many different series, several of them at least superficially no different from many others (“all these say ‘Avengers’ on them…they’re all the same, right?”), with so many numbering schemes, with so many restarts and reboots, it’s…well, it can look like bit of a mess.
The alternative is no issue numbers (at least on the cover…one could be present inside with the copyright information), and emphasizing the cover date, maybe. But that would create new problems, with people looking for, I don’t know, the April and May 2014 editions of Hawkeye, for example.
And then there’s the series within the series:
That’s Action Comics
#32, but it’s also “Enemy of the State Chapter 1″ and it’s part of the “SUPERMAN: DOOMED” crossover event. But it’s not Chapter 1 of the SUPERMAN: DOOMED event, since we just wrapped up the “Infected” segment of DOOMED that ran through all the Superman books. It helps that DC put the additional visual cue of the border around the edges of the cover to clue people into the idea that all these comics with similar borders are related to each other. But that’s still a lot of information to throw at someone not used to comic book company design and marketing decisions.
I mean, I get it. In this marketplace everyone’s struggling to make their comics stand out, and making each issue part of some crossover event or special storyline is an attempt to make that comic seem like essential reading, like you’re missing out if you’re not grabbing the latest installment of this exciting adventure!
Of course, this assumes that new, uninitiated readers are taking in all this information being shoved into their eyesockets and trying to parse it. Sometimes it’s just enough Batman is on the cover, and that’s all the information they need.
* At least “Marvel NOW!” seems a little more obvious in meaning and intent, if not any less coated in flop-sweat.
So just the other day I was reminded of Image United, Image Comics’ big crossover event featuring the company’s founders and their characters all doin’ something or other. The most recent issue of the series, #3, was released August 18, 2010. As of right now, Image United‘s gap in publication exceeds even Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk‘s delay between its second and third issues by about three months.
According to our distributor, Image United #4 has a supposed release date of 12/25/13, which is, well, Christmas, but it does fall on a Wednesday this year, so I guess it’s theoretically possible it could be on sale that day, assuming your local comic dealer isn’t all sauced up on whatever else he’s put into the eggnog. Also, it’s the last on-sale date of the year, which means that’s likely just a placeholder date, sometimes used by Diamond on items with…indefinite arrival times.
A quick Googling shows a comment on the subject from our pal Rob Liefeld back in June, who gives us 2014 as The Year Image United Would Continue. …Anyway, show of hands from folks surprised by this publishing development? …Anyone?
In fairness, and spurred on by Employee Timmy who suggested this, I looked into the dates ‘n’ fates of the single greatest Batman series ever published, All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, by Arthur Miller and Jason Lee. I think. It’s been a while.
Anyhoo, the last issue published was #10, solicited February ’08 and released 9/24/08, well over five years ago, back when the sun shone more brightly, and I still had a good strong grip on my hopes and dreams. Orders for issue #11 were originally solicited April ’08, and then resolicited in September of that year. Issue #12 was solicited in June ’08, then again in October. Needless to say, #11 and #12 never came out, and both listings on the distributor site have a big fat red “CANCELLED” on them. They also both have FOC (“Final Order Cut-off”) dates of 12/31/19, so, you know, I have a long time to think about that. The series was supposed to wrap up in a separate mini-series, but nothin’ doin’ just yet. (Related: it’s a damned shame I’m not in that Wiki article as one of series’ defenders. I mean, who loved that comic more than me?)
I guess, kinda sorta, that makes All Star Batman a strong entry in the Longest Funnybook Publication Delay in The Middle of A Storyline That Still Possibly Will Get Completed Someday, since I’m not sure it’s entirely off the table. Another quick Googling shows comments from a 2012 interview with Jim Lee on a site not to be linked to or named here that he’s not given up on continuing the series. So who knows. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see it someday.
And then there’s that gap in Miracleman‘s publication, but let’s not get me started on that topic again.
image from Image United #2 (December 2009)
So relatively recently, apparently, we’ve been selling back issues of the Morbius series from the early 1990s. Now I knew we’d at least sold the issues crossing over with the Siege of Darkness storyline, since we’d had folks specifically seeking those issues out. However, when I finally stuck my nose into the box to see what issues I had to pull out of the backroom to restock, lo and behold, the section was nearly empty.
Basically what I’m telling you is that it’s been a while since I’ve done the full restock on the Morbius books. I’ve dipped into the backstock boxes to pull out more copies of the Siege of Darkness issues, and the first issue Rise of the Midnight Sons crossover tie-in, but that’s about it. I haven’t really given that old, cobwebbed Morbius box — underlit, mysterious shades roaming about it in the darkness, the quiet sound of a slow drip of water into a shallow pool — in the backroom a good going-through. And what I found whilst digging through said box was a small stack of these:
…the shocking second printing of 1971’s Amazing Spider-Man
#101, republished in September 1992, the same month as the debut
of the Morbius
series, and featuring…well, I’ll let the corner cover blurb tell you:
This comic also has that metallic-ish silver ink on the cover, which may not come through very well in the scan. But you know the kind of thing I mean, especially if you collected comics in the ’90s, the gimmick cover’s prime time.
Anyway, I’d completely forgotten that this particular reprint even existed. I knew Marvel did stuff like this, like reprinting the first Silver Sable appearance when she received her own series. But nope, this thing totally slipped my mind, as did the Morbius Revisted reprint series that briefly ran concurrently with the main series, during that crazy time in this industry when the market could support two series starring the Living Vampire. (As, you know, opposed to now, where it can’t even support one.)
Of course, the annoying thing about a reprint like this is the fact that the story totally ends on a cliffhanger, with Morbius teaming up with the Lizard to take on ol’ Webhead, leaving it up to you to find the then 20-year-old #102 to wrap up the story. (Or, um, Marvel Tales #253 from 1991, reprinting #102.)
Just thought this was an interesting artifact of its time, created to support the launch of a series starring one of Marvel’s third-stringers, now primarily only of import because it’s a reprint of a pricy Amazing Spider-Man back issue. Plus, it’s, like, the middle chapter of the Amazing Spider-Man’s Six Arms Saga, and where’s our trade paperback and / or live action film adaptation of that?• • •
In other news: Miracleman is coming back
. How ’bout that.
Trying to get a read on Batman’s expression on the cover, there. Bemusement? Concern? Anger? Bewilderment? Who can say.
Anyway, this is a freebie book that should be available at your local funnybook slinger emporium, spotlighting DC’s back catalog of trade collections divided up by character, imprint, panicked line-wide relaunch, kid-friendly reading, et cetera. There’s even a section spotlighting graphic novels by Alan Moore, which probably thrills him to pieces.
Of note is a section devoted to “suggested reading order” for books featuring some of their major superhero characters, which is useful since I kinda lose the thread of the Batman continuity after Final Crisis. The Superman section appears to give up on continuity order about halfway through its list, placing New 52 reprints before, like, all the pre-New 52 Superman/Batman reprints, among other things, and lumping all the non-continuity-ish books like Red Son and All-Star Superman and Birthright at the end. Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali is also near the end of the suggested reading order, when in fact it should be first in line. Heck, it should be the only Superman comic you need to read.
At the end of this book are three “blank” pages with a “NOTES” heading, in case you need to jot down your thoughts and feelings about Superman: Earth One being placed in the “25 Essential Graphic Novels” section of this freebie. The notes pages are designed to look like original art boards, which is a little strange…make sure your notes don’t result in more than about nine panels per page; you’re not George Perez.
In conclusion…I like the cover. Ryan Sook did a good job. Even Superman’s new costume is almost bearable. But surely the Justice League has better things to do than waste their time reading comic books.
Also out this week:
Okay, I figure if they make at least two
more Smurfs movies, that should give us enough time, and the publisher enough incentive, to keep reprinting the Smurfs comics in U.S. editions ’til they’re caught up.
…I have big dreams.
AAAAAUGH! It’s terrifying! Demon! Sorcerer
Well, okay, Charles Schulz just gave Snoopy a speech balloon instead of a word balloon, which he did once or twice over the years. I think we can cut the man some slack. But still, this is the sort of thing that always stops me dead with its…wrongness, somehow. There’s a measure of communication between human and animal characters in Peanuts, of course, but never do the animals explicitly “speak” to any of the children (unless there’s something I missed).
However, there is a strip later in the volume where I spotted the above panel (The Complete Peanuts: 1985-1986) in which Marcie calls Snoopy by the name of “The Lone Beagle,” a sobriquet Snoopy used to refer to himself during one of his flights of fancy in the previous days’ strips. At first I believed it could only have been communicated to Marcie via direct speech. Then again, perhaps Marcie was able to infer the name by observing Snoopy’s acting-out of his fantasy, which opens up yet more questions regarding Snoopy’s undoglike behavior and its general acceptance in the Peanuts universe, but perhaps that’s far enough down that rabbit hole.
In other news:
- There’s some interesting stuff going on between Fantagraphics and Dave Sim regarding the possibility of new packaging of Cerebus material being covered by the Moment of Cerebus site. No idea if it’ll ever happen, but it sure is fascinating reading the back-and-forth of what would be required to make such a project materialize.
This is all in response to Sim’s statement in the last issue of Glamourpuss that he’s pretty much done with comics, and how some folks responding with the desire for him to be able to continue producing work. One of my readers asked for my thoughts on the matter, particularly from the retail end, and…well, heck, let’s just do it here instead of putting it off for another day.
Now, I liked Glamourpuss. Its weird combination of fashion parody and comic strip history was a little mindboggling, but it worked, somehow, and kept me entertained through its entire run. It started off with having me wonder what Dave was up to, and as time went on, I realized the only real answer to that was “Dave was doing something I find entertaining and informative” and that was good enough for me.
It started off relatively well as far as sales go, too…I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but if memory serves it was selling at respectable indie title levels. But, as time wore on, sales did drop, until we had just a couple of holdouts still hanging on and reading the book ’til the end. I don’t know if those readers who dropped the book were expecting Cerebus II and didn’t get it, were looking forward to new Sim material and just didn’t care for it, or just stopped buying comics entirely (a sadly realistic possibility). It’s just the simple fact that Not Everything Catches On, and I’m sorry this didn’t go as well as it did for Dave, and I certainly don’t want him to leave the industry (though I couldn’t blame him if he did).
I think he a good job promoting Glamourpuss, sending out promotional copies (I still treasure my signed copy of #1), calling stores personally (alas, he got our answering machine…when I called him back, I got his voice mail, answered by “Glamourpuss” herself!), his crazy variant covers (“zombie” variants, and variants featuring his Zatanna parody), and free overships of issues (which sometimes sold for us!). This certainly ensured good sales early on, but obviously their effectiveness wore off as time passed.
Now, did I do enough to promote Glamourpuss at the shop? As a funnybook seller, it’s my job to be an advocate for every comic for, you know, the customers I think would enjoy said comic. I can’t shout out across the shop “I think everyone will enjoy this issue of Swamp Thing!” as much as I’d like to, simply because I know it’s not for everybody. And Glamourpuss was always bit of a hard sell. I mean, it was easy (if a little nutty) to describe to people, but hard to find the people who might be interested in such a thing. And given the number of comics we carry and the number of customers with differing tastes that we have and simply given the number of hours in the day, sometimes the most advocacy I can give a comic is just making sure it’s visible on the rack, and occasionally pointing it out to people I think would like it.
I mean, I did what I could. I bought it, I enjoyed it, we carried it at the shop, I occasionally discussed it with folks, but if I could save every comic I liked from cancellation singlehandedly, Jupiter would still be on the stands.
- Pal Jim is still blogging Hellblazer comics in his extremely intelligent and captivating way over at The Laughing Magician. He’s up to issue #3…only 292 issues (at press time), plus all those annuals and tie-ins, to go, Jim!
- Well, well, well…look who’s back. …It’s Adam at Comics Make No Sense! The People have demanded that he revive his fun-filled weblog, and lo, it has come to pass. Go make the man feel welcome!
- Bully, Schrodinger’s Bull Who Is Simultaneously Little and Stuffed, brings us a Ten of a Kind featuring really, really angry folks on comic book covers…which ends in the only way it can, with comics’ greatest symbol of unrestrained rage.
- Look at what was in our pog haul. JUST LOOK AT IT.
THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO DO: Somehow completely forget that the comic order is due, like, THAT EVENING, and you completely drop freakin’ everything to get that bastard typed into the computer and then suddenly there’s like a thousand different Uncanny Avengers #1 variants you have to figure out and you’re all “Uncanny Avengers, oh dammit Marvel” and you’re trying to balance out order plateaus and ratios and what have you to get the right amounts of everything and oh Lordy I was actually feeling nostalgic for the time when we were only dealing with pre-bagged copies of X-Force #1, each with a different card.
Anyway, the order’s in. Hopefully I didn’t have a slip of the finger while speedily entering the order and accidentally got 5,000 copies of the Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan statue. I mean, I only need a thousand.
Also, there are some Avengers Vs. X-Men follow-up series, which hopefully won’t go the way of the Fear Itself follow-ups, where we went from the main series selling pretty well to the series that followed having us think “hmmm, well, maybe we can glue these back together into trees.” My general feeling is that once the main event is over (whether it’s Avengers Vs X-Men or Fear Itself or whatever) then the readers are pretty much done with that particular idea, too, and don’t need these supporting series after the fact. It’s like “yeah, okay, we did that, what else you got?” I mean, nothing against the comics themselves…maybe they’re fantastic. But it’s better to move on before the diminishing returns set in, which is something that goes against everything that’s ever happened in the comics industry ever, but still, c’mon.
In other news, a lot of hay has been made about Superman and Wonder Woman hooking up in Justice League, which, yeah, I don’t know. Hasn’t the point of nearly every previous story featuring an attempted Superman/Wonder Woman romance been “Superman and Wonder Woman really shouldn’t be romantically involved?” Well, okay, maybe not Kingdom Come, and I’m sure there’s another story somewhere I’m forgetting. But, hell, why not, so long as DC’s new publishing policy is “throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks,” this isn’t any better or worse than other decisions they’ve made. And I’ll link to this news story about it because the headline is kind of amazingly crass. This is showing up in real world news sources too, which is even more amazing.
I get some folks at DC want to try new things, which is cool, and I’m sure the attention doesn’t hurt, but DC Comics only has itself to blame for teaching me over the years, among other important life lessons, that Supes and Wondy aren’t meant for each other. Besides, I prefer the Batman/Wonder Woman romance that they sorta danced around in JLA.
Also at DC, Rob Liefeld is outta there, apparently unhappy with how things were going behind the scenes. I honestly figured he’d be done and gone three issues into Hawk & Dove, but he worked on ‘em all, I believe, and went on to do even more titles, at least for a bit. Ah, well. …I was thinking “maybe Marvel can get him back again” and then I was wondering what the absolute last title would be that he would do, and Howard the Duck was the first thing that popped into my head. I would break my “no non-Gerber Howard the Duck ever” rule for a Liefeld Howard.
For some reason, I was reminded of Image United…if you don’t remember this as yet uncompleted mini-series, ask your grandpa if he recalls buying it off the stands. Anyway, checking with the distributor, issues #4 and #5 are in the system, with “scheduled” shipdates for the end of the year. I put “scheduled” in quotes because they both have the same date, the last shipping day of 2012, which makes me think they’re placeholder dates and not the real thing. I guess we’ll see. We’re not quite up to Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk levels yet, but soon. Soon.
Pal Jim just started up The Laughing Magician: A Reader’s Guide to Hellblazer, a blog documenting his thoughts and analyses as he reads through the adventures of John Constantine. As a Constantine fan since Swamp Thing #37 (June 1985), I mightily approve of this endeavor.
…Speaking of Hellblazer, there’s been some discussion among pals of mine about what’s going to happen when the series hits #300. I’m not sure what sales are like on the book…it does okay for us, moving low-ish but consistent numbers. Jim says his shop orders only 3 copies a month. I suspect this series, now DC’s highest numbered series being published, is getting a little long in the tooth in this era of digital sales and reboots and people wanting to be able to get the “whole” story right away rather than just jumping in and hanging on. The recent retooling of the Hellblazer trade paperback line, reprinting all the issues in consecutive order in books with actual volume numbers on the spine, is a start in rebuilding some readership, I suppose, but I think a restart after 300 is within the realm of possibility.
I mean, I have no idea. Maybe DC has a great new jumping-on point planned with issue #301 with a wonderful creative team that’s sure to get a whole bunch of new readers. This Hellblazer message board is listing fan nominations for dream creative teams for a post-300 series, including several names I’d love to see on the series myself. And when I search on the Googles for more info, the first result I find for Hellblazer #300 is, well, me. Well, specifically, reader Jeff R.’s prediction for what will happen regarding the series this year. My gut feeling is that Jeff is right…#300 will wrap up the Vertigo run, and we’ll get a New 52 version of ol’ Johnny in his own series. (I mean, aside from Justice League Dark, which he also appears in…and has been a fun read, in case you haven’t been following it.)
Like I said, I don’t know, and I haven’t been keeping up with the comic news sites lately, so it’s very possible I missed any news on this topic. And if I did, I’m sure I’ll hear about it in the comments. But I hope Hellblazer does continue its numbering past 300…when everyone else is starting over with new first issues, it feels right that Constantine would continue to be his old contrary self and buck the trends.
Michael G. suggests:
“How about a comic where crucial story-event panels are hidden behind a scratch-off coating like that used on lottery tickets? In fact I can’t believe they didn’t already try that in the early 90′s.”
You know, this idea sounds so probable, especially in the gimmick-laden comics industry of the 1990s, that I think my brain actually tricked itself into believing such a thing actually happened. …It didn’t, at least not that I’m aware of, though if I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will correct and / or remind me. But I swear, I’m sitting here thinking “I know I scratched off something in a comic book…but what? WHAT?” and I’m hoping the answer isn’t “eyes from every character’s face” because that would be a bit weird. But…I don’t know. Was there maybe some kind of contest insert that needed scratching? I have no idea, but Michael G. bringing that up really triggered a very vague sense that such a thing has happened within recent memory.
Anyway, such a coating would have to be on a thicker paper to resist tearing, like maybe on a stiff paper centerfold or, perhaps, on the inside back cover, given that the cover was sturdy enough. How much more awesome, would, say, Wild Dog (already an awesome comic) have been, had the reveal been concealed by scratchable coating? “WHO IS…WILD DOG? Scratch here with a coin or key to find out!”
It did remind me of a particular…adult entertainment card set that we carried, way back in the wild ‘n’ wooly days of the trading card boom, and well out of the reach of young’uns, in which some of the special randomly-packed insert cards did indeed feature this scratch-off technology. I Googled shameful things to bring you hyperlinked, certainly Not-Safe-for-Work proof of these cards’ existence, and here you go. …It’s about as classy as you’re expecting.
And before you mention it, no, I’m not confusing scratching off these cards for my vague memory of scratching off something comic-related. I never once applied coin-to-cardboard on those trading cards, NOT ONCE well maybe once NO I DIDN’T SHUT UP
But anyway, if DC Comics is looking for a way to make that cover for Catwoman #0 even sexier…well, you folks there can have this idea for free.
EDIT 6/15/12: Corey (Ottawa) reminds us of this G.I. Joe cover from late last year!
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