“This Gravitar comic book is too hard to read.”

§ July 7th, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging, swamp thing, video games § 9 Comments

Just announced: a few other minis or whatever, plus Swamp Thing, a mini-series written by Swampy’s cocreator Len Wein and illustrated by Kelley Jones. It’s the same creative team as the Convergence: Swamp Thing mini-series from a couple of months ago, which…uh, well, didn’t really do much for me, but that’s more the result, I think, of Wein writing to editorial edict, having to tie othe story into a half-baked crossover event. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of Wein and Jones on a standalone series.

Okay, I’m looking forward to Gerry Conway on Firestorm, too, and, as a longtime fan of Sugar & Spike, and also as a longtime fan of outright evil, this update of Sugar & Spike as grown-up detectives just seems downright amazing. Especially given that Keith Giffen is at the helm. Good thing this is a mini-series because as an ongoing it would have the stink of death all over it, but I honestly can’t wait to see what’s going on here.

You know, if feels like as if a couple of my ideas from this post from a while back are coming to fruition, or at least close enough for horseshoes. …C’MON SOLO ALFRED COMIC.

• • •

In other weird-ass news, Dynamite’s made a deal with Atari to not only create new works based on its properties, but to reprint old Atari-related comics as well. While I’m sure most of you are looking forward to the deluxe hardcover treatment of the Yar’s Revenge cartridge pack-in comic that is surely coming, I’m more intrigued by the possibility of a fancypants edition of the old Atari Force series. Yes, at long last, Tempest and his power-mullet on high grade paper with computer coloring. Oh, and also one of most fun and beautifully-illustrated newsstand comics of the ’80s, featuring the work of Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Mike Baron and Eduardo Barreto, although good luck convincing anyone of that because it was named Atari Force, after all.

Part of me wants Conway and Garcia-Lopez to return and continue the story, but, well, “you can’t go home again, probably,” says the guy who was looking forward to the Swamp Thing comic just a few paragraphs ago. But boy, I sure did look forward to a new issue of Atari Force every month. That was one of my all-time favorites. …Ah, heck, I do want to see them back on the book. I can’t help it. We’re all fanboys about something.

Oh, and if you’re doing new graphic novels based on Atari properties, I volunteer to write this one.

• • •

So, hoo boy, how ’bout that Airboy thing, huh? I discussed the new Image series briefly on my site a little while back, and it seemed like most folks were into it, and then #2 came out and boy, did people turn on a dime. Twitter pal Charlotte took on the task of explaining just what went wrong and it’s definitely worth a read. And it’s good to see that the writer, James Robinson, released a heartfelt and thoughtful apology. A few folks have commented on Charlotte’s article not getting what the big deal is, not understanding that here, in what would ordinarily be the very future-sounding year of 2015, there are still human beings begging other human beings for the right to be treated as human beings, and maybe portrayals like in Airboy #2 aren’t helping the cause. A couple of the more egregious comments have been deleted since I last looked, thankfully.

Anyway, it’s certainly an unfortunate incident, but at least it’s resulted in good discussion such as Charlotte’s article. Hopefully some folks who need to will learn a little something from it.

• • •

Grant Morrison is the new editor of Heavy Metal, and blogging brother Tim O’Neil has just a few words about that particular development.

And Rerun’s older than many of you reading this right now.

§ July 6th, 2015 § Filed under peanuts § 3 Comments

While the designation of “my favorite individual Peanuts strip” will attach itself to a different entry depending on what Peanuts I’ve read most recently, currently this strip holds the honor for me:


Lucy’s panicked interruption is pretty amazing.

Anyway, I’m currently reading Fantagraphics’s The Complete Peanuts: 1993-1994 which is not the current volume, but the one previous to the 1995-1996 volume released just a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, I had missed the 1993-1994 volume as it had come out during that transitional period when I was leaving my old place of employment and beginning to establish my new criminal lair in the heart of Camarillo, and didn’t realize it until one of my regulars pointed out that he too was missing that book.

Rerun is fairly prominent in this volume:


…which reminds me of how I keep thinking that he’s a much later addition to the strip than he actually is. When I was a kid, I read a lot of Peanuts reprint books, mostly those oversized Holt, Rinehart and Winston-published trade paperbacks. Mostly I checked them out of the library, though once I managed to scrape together the $3.95 to get one of my own (And A Woodstock in a Birch Tree from 1979 — still on my bookshelf now!). My introduction to Rerun was about that time, and I understood then that, unlike the other more firmly established characters in the strip, he was a newer addition to the cast, and because I “discovered” him in the late 1970s, it just sort of lodged in my head that he dated from the late ’70s.

Of course, that’s not the case. He was first mentioned in 1972, and actually appeared in the strip in 1973, so Rerun’s been around about as long as I’ve been able to read. Or, to put it another way, for over half the life of the Peanuts strip itself. And yet, he still feels like “the new cast member,” probably because the character was put on the backburner for a very long time, only returning to prominence in the strip’s final years.

I always loved the self-awareness of the character’s name as well, with Schulz seemingly admitting (or just outright saying as such in that 1972 strip) that we were going to go through the aging-from-baby-to-peer-of-Charlie-Brown process again, one that had occurred with both of Rerun’s siblings, Lucy and Linus, as well as Schroeder and Charlie Brown’s sister Sally. Rerun’s sporadic use over the history of the strip did result in some “continuity” (as it were) errors, detailed in this Wiki entry. The accelerated aging process had a few bumps in the road, such as confusion as to whether he was able to walk or if he was still crawling.

Getting back to the 1993-4 edition of The Complete Peanuts, we see another one of Schulz’s crazy one-off kid characters:


…which always look so weird in contrast to the regular cast. It’s almost a literal depiction of the strangeness one feels as a child when first meeting someone outside of your immediate and familiar circle of friends. Yes, “as a child,” we adults don’t have awkward responses like that ever, nosirree. But anyway, someone should catalog all these one-off, usually nameless, characters. “The Forgotten Kids of Peanuts” — almost sounds like a spin-off strip, where children from summer camps and surrounding neighborhoods relate tales of a dog that walked like a human, of a boy with a blue blanket that almost seemed to have a mind of its own, of a swirling storm of dust and filth that may have contained a child within.

No, not the horse.

§ July 3rd, 2015 § Filed under cartoons, superman § 7 Comments

supermandestroyscomet

1. That’s some typesetting.

2. The Pope story is so big, they featured it twice. Unless the Pope is going somewhere after he goes to Zimbabwe, since the destination is cut off in that second article.

3. Well, that’s an unfortunate date. …Even the most innocuous of usage sticks out like a sore thumb now.

4. Honestly, that typesetting. But I’m grateful to this newfangled Digital Versatile Disc technology allowing us to freeze on frames like these for such important projects as, say, looking for injokes or poking some gentle fun.

 
 

still from “Superman and Wonder Woman vs. the Sorceress of Time” (1988)

Links in lieu of content.

§ July 2nd, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging § No Comments

 

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ June 29th, 2015 § Filed under End of Civilization § 8 Comments

Psst. Hey. Hey, you. Stop lookin’ around yourself like that, I’m talkin’ to you. Anyways, you know what I got here? Yeah, you know what this is. This is the good stuff. This is that End of Civilization you’ve been hearin’ all the other kids yakkin’ about. Here, take this July 2015 edition of the Diamond Previews and check it out. Yeah, it’s free. The first one’s always free:

p. 76 – BPRD Neon Sign:


“Uh…is that a long-necked bunny with a top hat and a monocle?”

“Oh, come now, you’re just stretching for a joke at this point.”

“Okay…uh, it’s Señor Wences with a lollipop, and…he’s running really fast, making those speedlines kind of at the top, there.”

“Señor Wences. Really.”
 
 
p. 150 – DC Comics Icons Harley Quinn Statue:


5200 what? 5200 separate Harley Quinn statue designs? “Here’s one of her playing badminton! Here’s one of her doing her taxes! Add on that new wing to the house, here comes a full set of her dressed as every Green Lantern!”

…There seem to be a lot of Harley Quinn statues, is what I’m saying.
 
 
p. 156 – Star Wars Artifact Edition HC:


Yup, going back to the comic’s original art firmly establishes that Camie shot Fixer first.
 
 
p. 165 – Star Trek New Visions The Survival Equation:


OH NO, BYRNE’S PHOTOSHOP CLONE STAMP HAS BROKEN LOOSE, EVERYBODY RUN
 
 
p. 186 – From Hell & The From Hell Companion Slipcase:


Finally, these two books are conveniently stored in one handy slipcase so you can continue to enjoy that one volume again and again.
 
 
p. 218 – Science Is The New Rock ‘n’ Roll:


…In that an uncomfortable number of parents think science is also from the devil? Or that Neil deGrasse Tyson once played a flaming guitar with his tongue before smashing it onstage? Or that if you play the Second Law of Thermodynamics backwards, you hear a mysterious warbling voice intoning “GOD DID IT?”
 
 
p. 268-9 – Jughead #1:


New interpretations of the Archie gang are beginning to pile up…we’re going to see some kind of “Crisis of Infinite Archies” or “Secret Archie Wars” or some darned thing pretty soon. New Look Archie versus The New Archies, “Death of Archie” Archies vs. To Riverdale and Back Again Archies — you know, like that.

Yeah, I’d totally buy that.
 
 
p. 318 – Aliens/Vampirella #1:


DO NOT REVEAL THE SHOCKING ENDING [the Alien Queen emerges from the shadows, wearing Vampi’s costume — unspeakable desires awaken across America].
 
 
p. 451 – The Ages of Iron Man SC:


Let’s see…Silver, Bronze, Copper…nope, no iron. Sorry.
 
 
p. 458 – The Big Bang Theory Kit:


Not pictured: a “Yes, This Store Is Just Like The Big Bang Theory” t-shirt for comic shop owners.
 
 
p. 458 – Ghostbusters The Ultimate Visual History HC:


A whole chapter devoted to close-ups of bro ‘Busters fans crying after finding out just how they’re getting Ghostbusters 3 finally? Delicious.
 
 
p. 478 – Swamp Thing “Flip Mask” Black T-Shirt:


Will be wearing this all day, every day at the shop. Just me, shirt pulled up over my head, silently standing behind the counter. Occasionally I’ll shift slightly in your direction if you speak or make a sound.
 
 
p. 495 – Back to the Future Monopoly Board Game:


Do not pass GO, do not make like a tree and get out of here.
 
 
p. 520 – Pop! Peanuts Vinyl Figures:


Oh, good, I was wondering when Peanuts Zombies would hit the shelves.
 
 
p. 528 – Legend of Zelda Link Deluxe Adult Kit:


“GASP! Master gave Dobby a windsock!”

You’d think my face would be used to egg by now.

§ June 25th, 2015 § Filed under superman, this week's comics § 8 Comments

superman41cvr

So it occurred to me a few days ago, in regards to all my griping about the order in which this “Truth” storyline in the Superman books is playing out, that what we’re getting in the forthcoming Superman #41 (the issue readers were referred to in Action #41, the actual first part of “Truth” to hit the stands) is backstory intentionally deferred until after the in media res chapters we’ve already seen. And now that I’ve seen the issue, that’s more or less what happened, though, well…here’s what the original solicitation says for Superman #41:

“The epic new storyline ‘TRUTH’ continues with the debut of the amazing new creative team of new writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and continuing artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson! What will happen when the big secret is revealed?”

Okay, the storyline continues, so I was wrong about this issue being delayed and thus “the first chapter” of this storyline being skipped with following chapters being released. The egg is in my face, as the saying goes. “The big secret is revealed” in a way, though not how we expected, in that someone knows, but it’s not the big “here’s how the world found out!” reveal everyone was assuming would happen in this issue. And you know what they say about assuming…it makes an “ass” out of “you,” and, um, somebody else, I think…slips my mind at the moment.

The editorial aside to Superman’s reference in Action #41 to having a couple of “crazy weeks,” asking readers to see the then-forthcoming Superman #41 for details, certainly gave me the impression that this would be the issue where the secret I.D. hits the fan, but I was wrong again. Instead, it looks like this will be the book where it catches us up on what happened, while the other Super-books give us the “current” adventures. Don’t know if my previous assumptions were from misdirection or outright being misled, but I’ve been enjoying this particular direction of the franchise so far, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.

I am curious, plotwise, how they’re going to get this particular genie back in the bottle without “magic” or “Brainiac wipes everyone’s memory” or some other similarly cheaty fashion. I know the general meandering direction of the genre has been kinda/sorta away from the secret identity concept, but it still holds firm in some parts. I doubt Superman, the archetypal example of this particular trope, will be left without his Clark Kent for long, but it’s interesting in the meantime.

Keeping it short because I have to be at the store at Stupid O’Clock in the morning.

§ June 24th, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging § 6 Comments

 

  • Pal Dave reports on his cosplay adventures at Heroescon.
  • Pal Andrew’s latest Nobody’s Favorites installment is on a comic I almost wrote about for that music magazine I worked for in the 1990s.
  • The Secret Wars tie-in none of you deserve.
  • So the other day I met my brother-in-blogging Tim O’Neil in person for the first time when he dropped by my shop. In the course of our conversation, it came up, much to Tim’s surprise, that I’d never read Frank Herbert’s Dune, nor could I make it through the movie.

    I believe this revelation deeply disturbed Tim, for arriving in the store’s mailbox a few days later:

    mikedune
    I’m guessing this is a friendly suggestion of some kind.

Angrier about the damaged product than he is afraid of the hideous infernal beast born of the pit roaming his aisles.

§ June 22nd, 2015 § Filed under archie, harvey § 3 Comments

In other news, Veronica has got herself some of that Spider-Man eyeliner:

“Here, try some of our other ‘eye fantasy’ styles, most of which will probably not result in any sort of permanent blindness. We recommend Style 4 in the bottom right corner, ‘Scrambled Eggs and Painted Fingernails.'”

Everyone say hello to Alphonse:


“HELLO, ALPHONSE.”
 
 

images from Hot Stuff The Little Devil #118 (September 1973) and Laugh #208 (June 1968)

Phil Austin (1941 – 2015).

§ June 20th, 2015 § Filed under obituary § 3 Comments

So long, Phil.
 
 

images from The Three Faces of Al CD by the Firesign Theatre (1984) and The Firesign Theatre’s Big Mystery Joke Book (1974)

Also, I’m still a little mad that the most recent She-Hulk series was yanked just as it was finding an audience again.

§ June 19th, 2015 § Filed under retailing § 2 Comments

Collected Editions dropped this in the comments to Wednesday’s post:

“The new JLA clearly seems to me a miniseries posing as an ongoing, unless it’s a case of ‘we suspect Bryan Hitch won’t write and draw this series forever but we haven’t quite worked out when he’ll stop yet’ kind of thing. You mentioned Superman Unchained as one example, which at least ended when it ended; Batman: The Dark Knight was another one of these, meant as a David Finch vehicle, which unfortunately DC wouldn’t kill long after it had died and so it lumbered around eating brains for a while after the fact. I’d as soon that kind of thing not happen again.

As a retailer, do you find that there is some benefit in this miniseries fakery, in that customers are more likely to buy something they think is an ongoing series than a miniseries? I’d think DC could put Bryan Hitch’s name on a Justice League miniseries, let it be known that the story is generally in-continuity-ish, and get the same effect as releasing it as a series (and maybe save themselves some bad blood with customers), but maybe I’m wrong and that wouldn’t sell as well.”

I think there is some level of consumer decision-making based on…necessity, maybe? Like a JLA mini-series, even if marketed as being heavily tied to continuity, wouldn’t “count” as much as an ongoing series, and thus wouldn’t attract as many readers? Or would it go the other way, with readers more inclined to pick up a mini-series, because they know there’s an eventual end to it and they’re not committing to another indefinitely-lengthed ongoing. I don’t know.

It’s especially hard to gauge orders nowadays, with series stopping and restarting at the drop of a hat. I think the Big Two companies are teaching the customer base that everything is more or less a mini-series, and it’s getting harder to determine which series may be likely to gain reader support or which series will get the response of “eh, why bother, it’s not going to be around very long anyway.” How many of the new series launching after Secret Wars are going to be around more than a year before being retooled again, for example? How many of the new ongoings DC is currently in the midst of launching are going to be around next summer? (Not a criticism of those titles in the slightest…just the realities of a difficult market.)

The days of ordering heavily on the early issues for years-long back issue demand on a potentially long-running series is over. It used to be that we would order assuming a certain measure of back issue sales over a certain period of time, and that’s no longer the case. Once a series is done, and replaced with a new series, if it’s replaced at all, the back issue sales for that series will drop down to nearly nothin’. We can’t order assuming long time health of a series and its building an audience. We have to order based on “who will buy it RIGHT NOW.” Sure, maybe a few extra for those folks who may miss a month here and there, but deep-stocking a comic because you think it’ll still be around five years from now and people will still want those issues…probably not going to happen.

…This is perhaps going a little far afield from what you asked, Collected Editions, so let me try to pull it back together. This new Justice League of America series is tied to DC’s current push of new comics that aren’t explicitly tied to In-Continuity World Building, that are more focused on doing their own things via the creators’ individual visions. You still have the other Justice League title if you want your DC Universe tie-ins, but this new book isn’t explicitly referencing outside continuity beyond featuring the current versions of the JLA members. It’s a cool looking book, with a Big Name and a specific hook (“massive widescreen action”) and it’s a first issue of a Justice League title, so I ordered a little more than I would have of, say, some random issue of a Green Lantern ongoing. But I went into it thinking:

1. The purpose of the book is to feature this creator.

2. My assumption is that book will continue to be written and drawn by this creator for about a year.

3. Once the creator is off the book, it’s either canceled or assigned a new team who doesn’t attract the same attention as the original artist.

4. People looking for the early issues will peter off about six months from now, as a hardcover or paperback edition approaches, so order extras accordingly.

Now the comic has been on the shelf for a whole two days, so I don’t know what the actual sales on this will be for me…so far, it’s doing well, but I can’t tell if I’m going to sell through most of the copies, or if I’m going to get stuck with some. I’ll find out as the month progresses, and I’ll figure out how to order on future issues. I do have folks asking me if it’s an ongoing series, and my honest reply is “as far as I know, yes,” since my assumption in #2 above is just my retailer sense tingling. But in this particular case, I don’t think it makes any difference, at least on the customer’s part, if it’s a mini or not. They don’t need to worry about rack sales or back issue sales or any of that stuff I have to lose my luxurious blond mane of hair over. They just have to worry about “will this comic give me my money’s worth” (in this case, $5.99 — yikes) and it looks like, for a lot of my customers, the answer is “yes.” It doesn’t have to be around forever, with an unchanged creative team, to be enjoyed right at this very moment.

Anyway, that’s a convoluted answer to your simple question, C.E. — well, at least, I assume an answer is in there somewhere!

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