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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!
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.
Over at Trouble with Comics, the question this week is “what are your three favorite resurrections in comics?” Turns out two of my picks are related to two of my answers from last week’s “favorite deaths” question. GO FIGURE.
Anyhoo, once again, I’m sorry for the week of light content. Just had some full days in (cough) The Real World lately, but I’m not goin’ anywhere!
So I posted my Free Comic Book Day announcement in various places (such as my store’s site) yesterday, and thought I’d post it here, too (click to super-size):
Yup, Jaime’s going to have to put up with my shenanigans for a few hours that day, but hopefully enough of you fine folks will drop by to balance out my behavior. Also, that wasn’t the first version of the flyer I posted…I originally posted my initial attempt on Twitter with the comment “I’M NOT A GRAPHIC DESIGNER,” but fortunately Twitter pal Robb stepped in and said “…BUT I AM!” and knocked everything into the decent shape you see above.
Also, I’ve contributed once again to Question Time over there at Trouble with Comics, answering the query regarding my favorite three deaths. In comics, that is. I don’t suppose any of my answers will be any surprise, though I feel bad that I forgot about the one that made fellow Troublemaker Joe’s #3.
The Trouble with Comics Question of the Week, focused on the state of newspaper strips and featuring my typical overlong response, is now live for your perusal. Enjoy, won’t you?
So this week’s Question over at Trouble with Comics is about “enhanced” covers (versus the variant cover topic we covered last week), and what we thought about ’em, and whether there were any we liked, et cetera, et cetera. I threw an answer or two into my response, including one cover I discussed on this site, lo, a decade ago now so I supposed enough time had passed to revisit it.
Fellow Troublemaker Logan had this to say in his own response:
“With the possible exception of the poly-bagged Deadpool card, can any retailer still move their copies of X-Force #1 at even face value? Yet it still gets mentioned in conversations regarding how many copies were sold, how popular the book was, and so on. The only gimmick to it was that there were different trading cards bagged with each issue,* and I don’t recall there being a shortage on any particular card, Mike Sterling would have a better memory of that though.”
The asterisk there was to an editorial footnote reminding us of the “reverse image UPC boxes” which I’d somehow driven out of my mind, though apparently that was a big deal in regards to how “collectible” and “rare” any particular variant of X-Force #1 happened to be. And by “collectible” and “rare” I mean “just slightly more copies of X-Force #1 out there than, say, grains of sand.”
Now, as I do recall, the cards themselves were available in equal numbers. It’s been a couple of decades, but that’s my recollection. But as I noted in this post from a few years ago (where I note the then-decline of Deadpool’s recent popularity and the lack of any kind of promised Deadpool movie…boy, that’s almost “political pundit” levels of foretelling, there), those comics sold like crazy, and even sells once in a while to this day. Yes, even at more than face value. Why, one can get upwards of $3 to $5 bucks per copy, even! Not very often, no, but it does happen.
There is still no shortage of these in the direct market, especially at stores that were open at the time, and even in new stores like mine where they just kinda turn up whether you’re trying to buy ’em from collections or not. And I think it’s because of that proliferation that, even now, even after an actual Deadpool movie is in honest-to-God real-life movie theaters and viewed by presumably willing audiences, there is, like I noted in that old post, still negligible interest in the Deadpool appearances in those early X-Force comics. I mean, people still want those New Mutants #98s with his first appearance, sure (I even had one in my shop for about five minutes last week before it was claimed), but that Deadpool trading card edition of X-Force #1, or that story with Mr. ‘Pool in #2…nope, no one’s biting yet, movie or no.
Sorry, haven’t had a whole lot of blogging time this week, but I did contribute an extensive thingy to the latest Question Time over at Trouble with Comics in which we were asked our opinions on variant covers for comic books. And opinions we did have, let me tell you, friend.
Pal Andrew wrapped up his month-long visit with the Legion of Super-Heroes’ Shrinking Violet, and had a few smart words to say about both her and the franchise from which she was born.
Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Atomic Breath, presents one of the greatest confrontations ever unleashed within the pages of a Marvel comic.
And in case you missed it…the End of Civilization returned to the virtual pages of Progressive Ruin earlier this week. Sorry, I didn’t realize I’d let the feature rest for so long. I can’t promise it every month, but I won’t let half a year go by again without one.
The new Trouble with Comics Question Time is up, and the topic of the week is “favorite anniversary issues.” My response is one I’ve discussed before on this site, but I’m always happy to talk about it.
So Chris in the comments to Monday’s post noted that he often wondered why superhero movies didn’t lead to higher sales on the related comics. His answers — price and availability — are part of the problem, clearly. The other answer, essentially spinning off the idea of availability, and one I’ve noted on this site before, is that it’s practically a lifestyle choice. Going to a comic book store on a regular basis to follow the serialized adventures of superheroes is a commitment, as opposed to seeing a superhero movie every few months or a TV show beamed directly into your lean-to every week, which is good enough for most people.
The other problem is, as Chris also mentions, is that the stories themselves often don’t tend to welcome new readers. I think it goes even beyond that…if someone sees an Avengers movie and comes to a store looking for an Avengers comic, there’s at least three or four to choose from. Or Batman. Or Spider-Man (which, for bonus confusion, has a side series numbered 1.1, 1.2, etc.). It can be hard to pick which one is the one to follow. At least in most cases, if someone comes in and says “I want a Batman comic” there’s usually a comic that’s just straight-up called “Batman” that I can hand them. And to Marvel’s credit, while their flagship Amazing Spider-Man title is doing some different stuff with the character, there’s a side-series, Spidey, which is a more recognizable version of old Web-Head that’s not tied into any post-Secret Wars, pre-Civil War 2 hoohar for the uninitiated to worry about.
Now, it’s not as bad as all that. I still do reasonably good business (and repeat business!) in folks young and not-so-young just popping in and trying out comics that look interesting. Plus, of course, there are always the trade paperback collections for anyone seeking out longer reads. This is generally despite the comics themselves, with confusing numberings and constant reboots making it difficult for titles to get traction and for new readers to catch on and catch up.
Anyway, as usual, there are no answers here. It’s a weird business, but generally a rewarding one for readers who decide to put the effort into it and figure out just how to keep up with the mostly-bonkers publishing end of things.
Be sure to go back and read the comments to Monday’s post…some good discussion there.
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The latest Question of the Week over at Trouble with Comics is regarding favorite romances in comics, and while I considered the Brain and Monsieur Mallah, I went with the response that will surprise none of you.
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