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So on Tuesday, someone came to the shop and asked “do you have that Superman comic with Clark Kent?”
I paused for a second. Probably blinked once or twice. “How in God’s name do I answer that question?” I thought. Just wave my hand in the general direction the back issue bins with all the Superman and Action comics and say “sure, pick one!”
And then I remembered seeing some reference that morning on the Twitter about Superman being in the news for…well, you can click on this if you want to see, if you don’t know already.
Anyway, being generally out of the news-cycle loop for the last couple of days was apparently a bad idea, and left me unprepared for this gentleman’s question, which, in fairness, wouldn’t have been too far off from some questions I’ve fielded over the years. But once I realized what he was talking about, I was able to assist him, let him know when the comic in question was due out, even offered to save a copy if he’d like.
And of course that got me to wondering if I’m going to see a rush on this title from the real-world news interest, but I guess I’ll find out when I go into the store today. Frankly, I’m not sure why this particular plot twist is “news” other than the self-reflexive commentary of “even Clark Kent sees the writing on the wall,” but given we just had a news cycle based around “GASP! Batman fights the Joker!” I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. However, I suppose the coverage of that sort of plot development is an improvement on the ol’ “THIS ISSUE, SOMEBODY DIES!” media stories, the returns of which have diminished quite considerably.
So we’ll see what happens with this Superman comic. But frankly, the news should be covering Maggie #1, the special Simpsons one-shot that features lots of work from Sergio Aragones, as well as Carol Lay, Mike Kazaleh, and other Folks of Note. But that’s just my opinion.
Enough of that…how ’bout this:
Just a quick note to mention that I tried out Cerebusdownloads.com a few days ago. Once a week a new issue is uploaded, you pay about a buck, and you get a download (in a variety of formats) of a full issue of Cerebus from what is arguably the best and most reader-friendly segment of the series, “High Society.” Includes big ol’ scans of the art, all the ads and letters pages/text pieces, plus sketches and production work and much more. Also, you get a bit of video business, where Cerebus creator Dave Sim reads through the entire issue for you, doing voices for all the characters, and there’s music and sound effects, too. Oddly compelling, certainly fun, and I think I’m totally down with having Uncle Dave read me a Cerebus story once a week.
(The Video Cerebus reminds me a bit of the old proto-Nickelodeon TV show “Video Comics,” mentioned before on this site, where, just like the Cerebus thing, a variety of comics would be presented panel-by-panel, with voice actors, narration, and sound effects. If you’re old enough to remember that show, you know what the Cerebus thing is like.)
There’s a free sample you can try out, featuring Cerebus #26 (the first chapter of “High Society”). It’s worth a look, I think.
In other news:
- I have been shamefully neglectful in not plugging The Variants in these here parts. For those of you who don’t know, The Variants is a shocking look into the everyday lives of comic shop employees. 100% funny, 100% ABSOLUTELY TRUE. As someone who may have worked in a comic book store, I support The Variants‘ service and / or product.
- Pal Andrew talks about that beautiful man, Vincent Price.
- Reader Phil directed me to this Peanuts costume and, um. And then I started thinking “is there an adult-size Woodstock costume” and of course there is.
- Speaking of Halloween, pal Dorian has been reviewing horror films all month, and just the other day hit one of my all-time favorites.
- This Yahoo! news story is just this close to being this parody post of mine from a few years back.
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.
- Pal Jim use big brain to talk smart about John Constantine, with an in-depth look at Hellblazer #1.
- Pal Andrew use big brain to talk smart about comic book crossover events, in the context of his latest choice for “Nobody’s Favorites.” You know, I remember liking the comic discussed at the time, but it has been nearly a quarter-century since it came out. After all, I read these comics and didn’t respond negatively to them back then.
- Amid use cartoony brain to post about William A. Emmons, “The Disney Animator Who Almost Was.” Mr. Emmons was only at Disney for a few months in the 1940s, but at the time wrote a bit about his experience in a letter to his sister, reproduced at that link. A fascinating inside look at the early days of Disney.
- Mike use small brain and post about comic pogs over on his other woefully misguided website. I know you folks like it when I post about Death of Superman on this site, so here you go.
- Pal Dorian use floppy brain to post Flop.
REMINDER: today is the day that Swamp Thing and Animal Man finally meet (after that sorta fake-out in the Animal Man annual), kicking off that “Rotworld” crossover hoohar in their twelfth issues. …They meet, they fight until they realize they’re on the same side, and then they team up and fly off into space to fight Galactus. It’s totally awesome. (You can see the diptych image from both covers on this page.)
Also out this week is Spawn #222, which will not only kick off a whole new round of people saying “oh, Spawn, that’s still coming out?” but also gives us another Spidey-tweaking cover to join last month’s:
Specifically, Amazing Fantasy #15
and Amazing Spider-Man #316
, respectively. …I don’t know, I kinda think these are funny, especially with that “SPAWN IS AMAZING” cover coming out the same week as The Amazing Spider-Man
In other news:
Don’t forget that tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day, and I’ve written about it plenty in the past, so click on that “free comic book day” tag on this post (or just click here) to see what I’ve said in previous years. I’ve been spending the last few days preparing for this Saturday, sorting out our comics into the prepackaged age-appropriate baggies (you can read about that particular strategy here) and planning out whatever sales and such we’re going to have that same day.
This year we ordered even more comics than in previous years, particularly since we had really upped our orders last year and we were still mostly through our FCBD stock halfway through the day. I’ll let you know how we did this time around!
Oh, and formerly employee Aaron and his lovely wife (and part-time employee) Kempo will be gracing us with their presence and helping out at the shop that day, since I guess this year they’ll be able to make it. I mean, they claim they had something more important to do on Free Comic Book Day last year, but pffft, whatever.
So, Free Comic Book Day…get yerself to a funnybook emporium and help yourself to some freebies. I recommend the Donald Duck Family comic from Fantagraphics…I think that one was my favorite from this year’s batch. For reviews of most of this year’s offerings, I pass you along to pal Dorian.
• • •
In other news:
- Andrew isn’t just a pal and a fellow Bureau Chief and one of my co-writers on Write More Good(still available, still funny!), but he’s one of my favorite comics ‘n’ pop culture commentators as well. He’s celebrating the sixth anniversary of his weblog Armagideon Time this week, and he’s still one of the best writers in our particular cultural niche. …That’s a “damning with faint praise” compliment if ever there was one, but he is darned good, and if you aren’t reading him yet, get started already!
- Hey, Daniel Butler, artist of Copernicus Jones and my swanky new Twitter icon, now has a t-shirt shop. With monster shirts. You like monsters, right? Of course you do. Go check it out.
- PALS LOOK AT PREVIEWS: Dorian has his monthly installment of Previews for Gays, and Dave has his own Previews overview as well, and I’m glad Dave tackled that “NERD? I prefer the term Intellectual Badass” t-shirt, because frankly, my brain locked up pondering the damned thing.
- And what the heck, here are more plugs for books: Matt Wilson‘s Supervillain Handbook is out and totally orderable by clicking on this thing here:
I read his self-published version a couple of years ago, and it’s a hoot.
Also, She Died in Terrebone, the excellent year-long webcomic by Kevin Church and T.J. Kirsch, is now available in a single volume, and it’s a bargain at only ten bucks.
- Bully flips for Batman. And let’s be honest…who doesn’t?
Here’s an awesome image of some green friends of ours, drawn on green paper by pal Casie:
In a fair and just world, this would be the cast of…I don’t know, a third Expendables
movie, maybe? The Exgreenables
? The Verdant Dozen (Give or Take A Couple)
In other green news:
- Hey, Spencer is back and he’s reviewin’ the funnybooks! Stop by and say hello!
- And now, Crying Miracleman (or “Marvelman,” if you prefer): pencils and inks by Rick Veitch.
- Ragnell examines that latest issue of Wonder Woman that’s riled up some folks recently.
- The hospitals of New York, as presented by Marvel Comics.
- This is one of my favorite books by these guys…like pal Dorian, I’m very surprised it hasn’t become a movie yet.
- Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull That Walks Like A Little Stuffed Bull, presents a post with a series of images that, when taken all in one sitting, will drive you insane. You may not make it past the splash page for the story “Discos and Dungeons.”
- My favorite April Fool’s gag this year…or is it? (I mean, is it a gag, not is it my favorite, which it is. My favorite, that is.)
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