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So I haven’t really sat down and just written about comics and related topics in a while, so I’m going to see what I can get out of my system in, oh, the next fifteen minutes or so and then crawl off to bed.
Glad to see that Groo Vs. Conan #1 has finally hit the stands…it’s certainly not your typical issue of Groo, not only mixing the world of Groo with the world of Conan, but the “real” world of Mark and Sergio as well. The conceit of the series is that Sergio takes a knock to the noggin, leading him to imagine a story in which the two characters (Groo and Conan, not Sergio and Mark) meet. Thus is an extra layer of fictional reality added to the proceeding, basically making this a Groo “What If” or “Elseworlds” or what-have-you, and not part of regular Groo-tinuity. The Official Handbook of the Groo Universe surely will make note of the story’s non-canonical status.
Ah, I’m just being silly, of course…it’s all a lot of fun, and it’s good to see Groo back on the stands. The Conan material by Tom Yeates and the regular Groo art by that other fellow mix together about as well as you’d expect; it’s jarring, but intentionally and humorously so, and I suspect once we actually get some Groo versus Conan action, it’ll be quite the hoot. Sadly, Stan Sakai didn’t contribute his usually fine lettering job to this issue, likely given current circumstances
I believe, but Richard Starkings’s lettering is a reasonable substitute.
Completely changing the subject, the San Diego Con just came and went, which I can tell by the number of people who dropped by the store looking for back issue “keys” over the last few days, and I haven’t really gone out of my way just yet to see what, if any, comic news has emerged from that fire pit. Casual exposure via Internet news sites and YouTube and TV and so on reveals a whole lot of TV show and movie news, naturally, and of course everyone knows about the new Wonder Woman in that forthcoming Superman/Batman movie nobody likes already (I think she looks great, though I couldn’t avoid making the obvious joke because I enjoy being a problem).
Two bits of comic news I particularly enjoyed hearing…well this first one isn’t comics as such, but it’s about the ’60s Batman TV show’s home video release which is vitally important news as far as I’m concerned. The $200 or thereabouts price for the Blu-ray edition of the complete series is a bit dear, and while they’ve announced a stand-alone Season One on DVD, there doesn’t appear to be a Blu-ray equivalent. Can anyone point me in the direction of further information about individual Blu-ray releases for the seasons, or am I just going to have to bite the bullet and grab that complete set? BECAUSE I WILL.
The other big news is Fantagraphics republishing the work of Vaughn Bodé, starting with a big ol’ collection of Cheech Wizard. I do love me some Bodé, as I’ve noted in the past, but oddly enough I don’t have much Cheech Wizard represented in my collection. I definitely look forward to this release.
Oh, and the other news I heard this week was about a reference to a certain swampy friend of ours when you call John Constantine’s phone number. Haven’t done it yet, myself, but I guess I’d better or I’ll have to turn in my fanboy card.
There’s stuff about new Star Wars comics, too, but I’ll get to that later.
And that’s about fifteen minutes of typing (and virtually no proofreading), save for the minute or two scanning the pic. And don’t forget to go read my latest End of Civilization post…and remind me to post the one Diamond Previews listing I accidentally forgot to include this time around!
- Siskoid presents his last, best hope for sci-fi TV blogging: “Your Daily Dose of Babylon 5,” where he plans to discuss every episode. The introduction is here, and as I write this the entries for the first two episodes are up, and you can keep up by following this convenient category.
I enjoyed Babylon 5, though I haven’t rewatched the series since giving the DVD sets (and associated spin-offs) a once-through as I acquired them. It was an interesting experiment in long-form storytelling with the constraints of the vagaries of television production, it gave us the fascinating crisscrossing story arcs of Londo and G’Kar, and it brought us Walter Koenig in a great role that made most folks come to say “Chekov who?” It wasn’t perfect, but what in this fallen world is; I probably never need to hear the phrase “with all due respect” ever again, for example. But there was certainly more to enjoy than to not enjoy, and the occasional (“occasional?”) bit of labored dialogue and rough-edged acting isn’t that difficult to endure given the overall success of the venture.
Hey, I liked it, and I look forward to enjoying Siskoid’s review of the series.
- Here’s an article giving an overview of the Kirby family’s side of the battle against Marvel/Disney over the ultimate ownership of Jack’s creations. At the bottom of the article, under “Amicus Curiae Briefs,” are links to PDFs of the actual filings, each with plenty of historical and legal details that comic fans may find of interest. (Thanks to pal Jason for the link!)
- In the latest Pal Andrew news, his latest “Nobody’s Favorite” is a comic I remember receiving at the shop, and I remember selling for the few months it was around, but couldn’t tell you anything else about it. Luckily, Andrew has stepped in and refreshed those memories for me.
Andrew is also relaunching his Ultimate Powers Jam, in which he rolls up characters using the Marvel Super Heroes role playing game, and passes along the results to you to flesh out the character and do with what you will. A sample, if you will.
- Best wishes to Swamp Thing’s cocreator Bernie Wrightson, who is currently dealing with some health issues but is reportedly doing well. Please keep yourself updated at his official Facebook page.
- Speaking of Swamp Thing, old pal Batfatty has sent along this back cover by Bill Wray from Cracked Monster Party #7 (1989), featuring Cracked’s mascot Sylvester P. Smythe following the tragic explosion of his bio-restorative formula experiment:
Hey, it’s purt’near the 25th anniversary of that drawing! EVERYONE CELEBRATE
The last couple of my posts have had me in a bit of a Negative Nelly mode, discussing some current retailing/publishing shenanigans, so I thought I’d try to focus on some of the stuff I love about comics this week, you know, for a little balance. And what’s better than Batman and Swamp Thing busting in on some thugs and giving them what for:
That would be from Brave and the Bold
#176 (July 1981) by Martin Pasko and Jim Aparo, about a year prior to the launch of the ongoing series The Saga of Swamp Thing
, also written by Mr. Pasko.
Ah, man…Jim Aparo didn’t draw Swamp Thing nearly enough, but I’m glad we got what we did. (Check out Brave and the Bold #122 for another Aparo-drawn Swampy/Batman adventure, written by Bob Haney no less.)
So here they are, the images that will comprise the lenticular cover for the Swamp Thing “Futures End” one-shot due out in a few months, which I’ll be ordering, along with a few dozen other similarly-covered comics, in the next week or so with what will be my best, but likely ultimately incorrect, guesses
as to how they are going to sell.
I first assumed, upon seeing that cover, that we were in for something similar to this long-ago issue of Swamp Thing by Alan Moore and John Totleben, where our hero, during his exile in space, tries to build a body from a biomechanical entity and ends up some sort of weird robo-Swampy. That, at some point between the present DC Universe and the 5-Years-Later DCU, Swamp Thing becomes a Robot Elemental and, hell, I don’t know.
The actual solicit on the DC Comics website, which is probably in the Previews I looked at a couple of weeks ago but I’ve been trying not to think about, notes that Swamp Thing is going to war against “the avatars of Bacteria and Metal,” so that’s Metal Thing, I suppose, though “Metal Thing” brings something else entirely to mind. But that’s a pretty neat cover image anyway, so I definitely made sure to save a copy of that animation to help give me an idea of what that slightly-blurry 3D final product was supposed to look like.
As for some of the other covers: I’m all for the return of the Sand Superman; this cover makes me laugh (“GAH! Where’d you come from?”); but not as much as this cover. Man, the Stranger never catches a break. And, they don’t have the animated version of this cover up yet, but I hope they producers of Smallville send the helmet prop over to NBC so we can see this eventually happen in the Constantine TV show.
EDIT 5/21: special thanks to reader Geoph for the improved GIF!
So they found a way to get me to buy those Robot Chicken photo-cover gag variants…GUESS HOW:
This, I realize, comes as a surprise to no one.
On a related note, I had a brief interchange with fellow Swamp Thing fan John regarding the possibility of the existence of color variations of House of Secrets #92, Swamp Thing’s first appearance. It seems that when I’ve posted panels from that original story in the past, Swamp Thing’s eyes were colored red:
…but when John got his own copy of HOS #92, the eyes were colored white-ish:
He wondered why there was an apparent difference between his copy of HOS92 and my own, if perhaps there was another print run of the original where the coloring was altered, purposefully or accidentally. And that had me wondering, too. Mostly along the lines of “how in God’s name am I going to track down this kind of variant for my own collection?”
Well, after a small amount of digging, actually it turns out my scans have been from one of the handful of reprints I have of that story, since I didn’t want to subject my own original House of Secrets #92 to the tender mercies of the flatbed scanner. In those reprints, the eyes have been recolored red from the original version’s white, which is a detail I hadn’t realized had been changed. So, no weird color variations in that original release of House of Secrets #92, I’m afraid. Sorry, price guides and eBay!
Also, I’d be lying if I said that didn’t come as some small bit of relief. Calling store to store asking them to check Swamp Thing’s eye coloring on their copies of House of Secrets #92…I’m not sure the human ear could endure that many hang-ups.
Between having a very long day at work and spending my Tuesday evening doing prepwork for Thursday’s End of Civilization post, I didn’t leave myself a lot of time for an entry for today, other than:
- I do know about the Sofubi Swamp Thing figurine currently being offered:
…having been first emailed about it by reader John K. a few days ago. The figure looks cool ‘n’ all, but at a total cost of about $140 including shipping (according to Google’s currency converter) I’m probably going to hold off for the time being. However, whilst doing the aforementioned prepwork for the EoC, I did spot the other two figures from this particular wave (Superman and Bizarro) being offered in the Previews Import Toys section, so perhaps there’s hope I’ll be able to get my weirdo Swamp Thing toy at a wholesale price via my evil retailing powers.
- While taking a peek at Kickstarter’s funnybook listings, I happened upon this fundraiser for A Deitch Miscellany, a handmade book collecting comics and sketches by Kim Deitch. Well, I like Kim Deitch’s work, and I hope some of you do as well, so maybe take a look at this project and donate if you’re able.
- Bob writes about starting to read B.P.R.D. on a monthly basis, partially in response to my comments about the current steep entry cost to that series.
Tom Spurgeon responds by saying he’d rather not see a rebooting of B.P.R.D., which isn’t really what I want, either, but at this point the series isn’t too kind to anyone new to the franchise. Of course, as we’re all learning again right now with the “Marvel Now #1s” publishing initiative, a relaunch is a jumping-off point as much as a jumping-on point, and starting again with a new B.P.R.D. series (without an attendant Hellboy movie to bump up some awareness) would likely, after a brief spike in sales, end up just selling to the same people who were already buying it before.
As I said, I can see this B.P.R.D. ending and wrapping up its years-long storylines, and the current Abe Sapien title incorporating the B.P.R.D. elements in a perhaps more reader-friendly manner. (Much in the same way I once argued that the Legion of Super-Heroes could be revitalized by making one of the Legionnaires the star of his/her own book, and the rest of the Legion the occasionally-appearing supporting cast.) I wouldn’t think of that as a full-on “reboot” so much as some retooling, but I’m likely just splitting hairs.
So last week, I was contacted by my new Twitter pal John who was asking where one could likely find certain bits of Swamp Thing merchandise from the early ’90s cartoon show. (“The eBay” is probably the best answer, “Mike’s house” also acceptable.) During the course of our interaction, John dropped the tidbit that while he was having trouble tracking down certain items, he did recently obtain what appears to be a crew jacket from the live-action Swamp Thing TV show:
Don’t know anything about it, couldn’t Google up any more info aside from the original auction listing this jacket apparently came from…but it certainly looks neat and of course I’ll need to find one for my own collection, possibly on “the eBay” or maybe “John’s house.”
Thanks, John, for sharing this with us!
So I’ve joked around the shop a handful of times that if I were in charge of Swamp Thing comics, it would totally be just Swamp Thing time-traveling every issue, visiting important characters and events through the DC Universe’s history. (In other words, sorta like the Veitch issues in the middle of this page, but more like this series, just with a muck-encrusted mockery of a man as the lead.)
One of the covers I suggested for this theoretical run (Swamp Thing Adventures in Time and Space, if I may) would have been a take-off on this classic Chaykin cover from 1983:
…but with our pal Swampy in the cockpit.
Well, this Christmas, in secret collusion, Employee Timmy bade Employee Aaron to create this illustration as a gift for me:
I’m telling you, DC…call me
. I’ll even buy the boy a ruler to keep his swastikas straight.
…I’m taking the rest of the week off. I’ll be back Monday, though I may have some kind of thing on Saturday. We’ll see.
In the meantime, that Swamp Thing cartoon I posted here the other day? You can totally get that as a high quality print now. Tell ‘em your pal Mike sent you! (And they’ll respond with “…Who?”)
See you Monday (or maybe Saturday).
So pal Kevin pointed this out to me on the Twitters, and being immediately enamored with it, I asked the artist’s permission to post it here on my own site:
That artist would be Brandon B., and I highly recommend visiting his Tumblr full o’art
(where you can find a higher quality image
of the above cartoon).
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