“Outasite! Miss Bikini Luv in Space!”

§ February 13th, 2015 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives, retailing § 7 Comments

This is one of the last back issues I got for myself from the old job before departing my employment there:


…I’d forgotten that I even had it, until I came across it while reorganizing some comics at home. I tried glancing through it right now, and boy, I think I’ll need to wait ’til I’m more awake than I am because I just can’t just process the information this comic is throwing at me. I mean, I can barely run the gauntlet that is this book’s cover, there’s so much going on there. The stories do give the appearance of trying really hard to achieve that crazy anything-goes wackiness that all you late 1960s nutty teens were into.

The best, or at least most tolerable, of the bunch is probably the Bikini Luv story:


…drawn by Jim Aparo, of all people, sorta/kinda circling around a vague Wally Wood-esque style.

Since opening my shop, aside from the few new comics I pick up every week, I’ve kept precious little for myself from any collections that have entered the store. In fact, it has primarily gone in the other direction, the vast Mikester Comic Archives having been about 1/2 to 2/3rds sacrificed to the store’s back issue bins. But there have been one or two things that have made it back to my house, such as finally putting this in the ol’ swamp monster collection. And there was this comic (speaking of 1960s comics trying awfully hard to be funny) which nicely filled a hole in a run.

But I’ve been good. I need to make money, and I can’t make money if I keep everything for myself, so I’ve been behaving. I did mention to a customer that I kept that Supernatural Thrillers, and he said “that collecting urge never really goes away, does it?”

No…no, not really.

Now that you mention it, he does kind of look like a PEZ dispenser.

§ February 10th, 2015 § Filed under hulk, superman § 9 Comments

Now here’s a thing I’ve not seen before:


This is copy of the Marvel Milestone reprint of the original Hulk #1, sealed in a polybag promoting the 1994 Incredible Hulk video game. Sealed inside the polybag is a smaller pack of…something, sealed within its own cellophane wrapper:


It appears to be a stack of three or four large-ish trading cards, or perhaps stickers, but it’s hard to say.

I’ve never seen this comic packaged like this before, but I wasn’t frequenting video game stores or even video game sections of toy and department stores, so it’s easy to believe that I missed it. What is odd is that I haven’t come across these in any collections in the ensuing 20+ years until this past week. But then again, I hadn’t seen one of these ’til this past week either, so there are still plenty of surprises out there for me.

Anyway, if any of you folks out there have bought and opened one of these wrapped Hulk comics, please let me know if those are trading cards or something else in that little package there. Thanks!

• • •

Commenter reaction to the Superman cover scan I posted yesterday was fairly unanimous in their negative responses to John Romita Jr.’s drawing. And…yeah, that’s not a great cover. Things look significantly better within the actual book, honest. I generally like JRJR’s art, though, as I believe I’ve stated on this site before, it’s a rarity for his art to be on a project I have any interest in reading. In fact, it’s been quite a while. On Superman he and Geoff Johns been doing fun work, bringing some life to a franchise that had been mostly ill-served by DC’s linewide revamping…though, as I’d said, Superman comics as a whole have been improving of late. We can probably stand to have one or two fewer Superman comics on the shelves, maybe, but what can you do.

Someone take my quotation mark keyboard key away from me.

§ February 9th, 2015 § Filed under superman § 11 Comments

SPOILERS for Superman #38 to follow:


So this issue contained two big events in the history of the Man of Steel: first, the acquisition, or, rather, revelation of a new power (the ability of expel all the solar radiation in his cells at once, creating a big explosion and hopefully not giving everyone in the immediate area cancer), and second, finally revealing to his best pal Jimmy Olsen that he and Clark Kent are one and the same.

I’m okay with both of these things, which I’m sure the powers-that-be at DC are relieved to hear. When I first heard “new power,” I figured it’d be some crazy thing that’d be around for a couple of issues until plot machinations or creative team forgetfulness/disdain did away with it. I mean, they still might, but it’s nice that the new power is explained as a natural extension of how we understand Superman’s powers to work. Plus, it has that Space Battleship Yamato/”wave motion gun” effect of Superman only getting one shot at using it before having to wait a day for his “solar batteries” and superpowers to recharge. (It also reminds me a little of the nova blast power of the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch.)

And regarding Jimmy…well, there’s not a lot to say about that other than it’s sort of about time. The issue’s been brought up before, as I recall, particularly in the Silver Age, where Jimmy would say something along the lines of “it’s best I don’t know Superman’s secret identity, so that his enemies don’t use me to get to him!” Again, it’s a change that can be undone in short order, but I’m looking forward to seeing the repercussions of Jimmy sort of taking the position of “normal person confidant” that Lois held in the pre-New 52 universe.

Now, I said I’m “okay” with this, but…well, this is kind of the weird aspect to it, in that I’m sort of not “feeling” the full impact of these changes. This New 52 Superman still doesn’t quite feel like the “real” Superman to me, which is a completely ridiculous thing to think about a comic book character, but there it is. Of course, then you have to ask, well, who is the real Superman, and there’s no good answer to that, either. Superman’s undergone enough changes/soft reboots/full-on reboots over the years: the Golden Age Superman certainly feels different in tone from the Silver Age Superman, and 1970s/early ’80s Superman is a different animal from the previous versions, and the the post-Crisis John Byrne start-from-scratch reboot is a whole other hoohar altogether.

But the thing about all those Supermen is that you can sort of feel a connecting thread through them all, that they were all drawing from the same essence-of-Superman well. Even the Byrne relaunch, though perhaps a bit on the rough side at first, eventually came ’round to feeling more Superman-ish, though perhaps that’s more due to 25+ years of dozens (hundreds?) of creators churning out lots of Superman material that, averaged out, gave us a recognizable modern Superman that outgrew his ’86 reboot.

The New 52 Superman seemed to break that thread, likely due to a seeming lack of a plan aside from “do something different,” giving us a character that sort of looked like Superman but didn’t really feel like him or act like him, and, aside from Grant Morrison’s entertaining efforts in early issues of Action Comics, didn’t really have much of interest going on in any of his comic book appearances. Of late, that’s changed for the better, as recent Superman-starring titles have had a reasonable increase in quality, and have gone a long way in rehabilitating Superman’s character in that he now sort of feels like the Superman we remember.

That said, this version of Superman (the New 52 version, which itself seems to have have a number of different sub-versions since the 2011 relaunch) doesn’t feel like he’s been around long enough yet for These Big Changes to have the impact they should have. There’s too significant a break between Superman Now and Superman That Has Come Before for these changes to feel like additions to the legend. Right now they just feel like “here’s something else different that we’re experimenting with for this Superman-like character we’re publishing while the real Superman is on hiatus.”

Totally not a fair thing to think, and honestly, I have been enjoying the Superman comics of late, and I do look forward to seeing how they’ll follow up…but man, what I wouldn’t give to have seen the Curt Swan-drawn Superman telling Jimmy he’s Clark Kent, and having it stick as part of the ongoing saga, and not as a dream, hoax, or imaginary story.

Oh, and there’s a third change to Superman, in that his New 52 costume is now mildly less terrible, though it still has that awful collar and there’s no forgiveness for that.

And I’ll be the third Google reference.

§ February 6th, 2015 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives § 4 Comments

So in that big collection I picked up last weekend were a couple of rare-ish goodies, such as this digest-sized parody of Charles M. Schulz’s religiously-themed non-Peanuts cartoons:


That’s just the title from the front cover; clicking that image will bring up the entire cover which may offend the more sensitive viewer. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, as eBay tends to be a bit iffy on adult-y material like this, taking some auctions down and leaving other auctions for the exact same item up seemingly at random. Not that other people having this same thing on eBay would have been much of a problem…the only Google references I could find at first were some webpages from one of the artists responsible. However, you can now find this review from pal Nat, since I avoided the whole eBay issue by selling the darned thing to him.

Another rarity is Rick Altergott’s first self-published issue of Doofus from 1992:


…prior to Fantagraphics unleashing the Doofus-verse across an unsuspecting world. It’s in a squarish format, about 8 by 8 inches, with a stated print run of 350 copies.

• • •

I apologize for the extended communications blackout over the last week and a half. A combination of a lingering illness and extra hours/projects at the new store have left me with little blogging energy in the evenings. Thank you for sticking around and hopefully I’ll be back up to speed here sooner rather than later.

Low content mode continues…

§ February 2nd, 2015 § Filed under low content mode, pal plugging, retailing § 4 Comments

…or “no content mode,” as this site sort of took a vacation after last Wednesday, due to my recovering from a chest cold only to go full bore into a nasty headcold I’m still recovering from. And, as it turns out, when you own your own business and you’re the only employee, you don’t get a day off to shake off the sniffles. Ah, well, “as a wise man once said” an’ all that.

To follow up on my last post, all those Groots that once danced their little hearts out in my shop are now scattered to the four winds. I knew Groot was fairly beloved in my area, judging by the mostly positive reaction to that giant cardboard standee of Groot in my window, but it was still pretty shocking how quickly the Dancing Groot toy hightailed it out of here. And despite my initial trepidation, the demo-ing of Dancing Groots did not drive me crazy, possibly due to the brevity of their presence, but several customers would push the demo button and immediately apologize to me, figuring I was sick of listening to that clip of “I Want You Back.” Honestly, it didn’t bother me, though I was quick to remind folks that pushing the button again didn’t stop the clip, but rather, extended the play.

Also, the melodious strains of the Jackson 5 have been haunting me in my dreams, but perhaps that is an unrelated issue. Not unrelated, however, is this amusing image contributed by reader Brian, combining our favorite ambulatory plantlife that isn’t Swamp Thing with one of our favorite Lois Lane covers.

Another little adventure I undertook this weekend was making a quick trip to Los Angeles to the studio of famed artist Coop to acquire a largish collection of comics he was looking to get out of his way. I probably could have just stayed there all day, looking at all the neat things he had tucked away in all corners of his workspace. And Coop himself is a swell guy…I recommend Coop to all my friends and family. Here is some photo evidence of the gentleman artist tolerating my proximity.

Speaking of artists and their endeavors, there’s another Kickstarter I’d like to promote…it’s already met its funding goal, but you may still be interested in getting a copy of Death Saves, a comics anthology about characters in role-playing games and how they met their respective demises. I’m specifically recommending it due to a story written by blogging-and-birthday-brother Andrew Weiss and illustrated by longtime ProgRuin pal Matthew Digges. So contribute already!

Remember the last Kickstarter I recommended to you guys? It just wrapped up, making over three times its goal! I’m pretty sure that was all thanks to me, so let’s try to do the same for Death Saves, too!

What if the surprise villain in the new Fantastic Four movie is just a completely faithful adaptation of the Impossible Man?

§ January 28th, 2015 § Filed under fantastic four, retailing § 12 Comments

So I put it in my Twitter feed, I put on my store’s website, I put it on the store’s Facebook page, so what the heck, let’s put it here, too:


My first response upon cracking open the case of these Dancing Groots was “oh no, they have ‘try me’ buttons” which means I can expect to hear these every single day for what little remains of the rest of my life. And then the thought occurred to me “I wonder what it would sound like if I pressed all of the buttons at more or less the same time,” quickly followed by the idea that I should take a video of it and share it in all the places listed previously. And thus, there it is…the Camarillo Local Groots Choir, performing just for you.

In other news, there’s buzz about for the new Fantastic Four trailer, mostly because we’ve been hearing terrible things about changes made to the concept that strayed perhaps too far from its comic book origins, and this is our first look at what the filmmakers were actually doing. And…well, it at least seems like it will look nice. Some have noted that the trailer seems a mite too serious for something that’s called the “Fantastic Four,” but the more somber tone does differentiate itself from the previous FF movies. Plus, it now looks like a highbrow sci-fi movie rather than just another superhero film, which I find a bit more interesting, and perhaps more in line with the actual origins of the comics. Well, okay, maybe not the “highbrow” part, but you know what I mean.

As for the reported changes in the FF’s origin….I don’t know, I think so long as we end up with something approximating the characters and relationships we know from the comics, it almost doesn’t matter how they start out. It’s almost enough that the receive their abilities from scientific misadventure, which is close enough. (And most people going to see the movie won’t notice or care that the origin’s been fiddled with.) At any rate, the trailer did its job: it’s piqued my interest in a film I was somewhat indifferent/mildly negative about. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to someday have an actual Doctor Doom in a Fantastic Four film who was Reed’s college roommate who blew up his own face in a failed experiment and later got armor from monks, but there’s always the next reboot in, like, four or five years from now.

Meanwhile, Giant Robot Mike devastates the city.

§ January 26th, 2015 § Filed under retailing § 3 Comments

So folks have asked how I feel about the two big events forthcoming from DC and Marvel — DC’s Convergence, in which they replace all of the regular series with two-part semi-out of continuity mini-series for two months, and Marvel’s Secret Wars, apparently leading into a line-wide reboot of of their titles — and my somewhat sarcastic and wearied response was “picked a great time to open a store.”

Wearied because my initial reactions were “how am I going to order these” and “will my comic saver customers want all these Convergence tie-ins even with the characters they normally follow” and “oh boy, more first issue Marvels” and so on and so forth. Like I also said on the Twitterings, while Fan Mike is intrigued and wants to see what happens, Retailer Mike is dreading having to decide on numbers for these things.

Now, particularly in the case of the Convergence event, it’s late enough in the process that we have information on what actual titles are going to be released but early enough that I can still get feedback from my customer base on what titles they’d actually be most interested in. Specifically, I can directly ask my pull list customers which titles they’d want for sure. I’ve already had a few check in with their Convergence lists, so with any luck I’ll have the comic saver situation under control. I’d like to make the assumption that because they get, say, Flash in their pulls, they’ll want the Flash-related Convergence tie-ins…but they may not, because they’re outside the continuity of the regular series. And rack sales will be quite the trick to figure out, too.

Despite my initial response regarding the timing of these events vis-à-vis the opening of my shop, I’m actually in a pretty good position. I’m just starting out at a new, smaller store, so I don’t have the large customer base that I did (at least, not yet!). Ordering mistakes are thus at a reduced scale…if I order a comic thinking it will sell to a significant portion of my customer base, but it turns out to only appeal to a couple of folks…well, at my previous place of employment, that could have been an expensive bust of dozens of unsold comics, because I would have had to order more to anticipate what might have been demand from our many customers. But, since I’m at the smaller shop, my financial loss would theoretically have been less. It would still suck, but just not as badly, being stiffed with only a relative handful of copies I’ve ordered for the shelf versus how ever many I might have ordered for the other store.

Also, I’m paying very close attention to my order numbers and sales, and keeping tabs on what’s increasing, what’s descreasing, what my customers care about and what they don’t. Not that I didn’t do that at the old job, but we had years of sales histories to go on, and a fair amount of stability/predictability. In my new position I have to not only go by my weeks of sales histories, but also keep an eye on new customer growth and attendant product demands. I think I have a pretty good handle on what numbers I’ll need on these Convergence books, so I’m not really anticipating the scenario of taking a huge hit on any misordered books. I’m sure I’ll not get the numbers exactly…even with planning ahead, I may pull some of these books on spec for comic saver customers who don’t want them and they’ll be returned to the shelf, but I’m reasonably certain I’m not going to take a bath on these. Maybe a quick rinse.

Marvel’s reboot is still a little ways off, so I have more time to agonize over it. Likely it’ll lead into a wall of new first issues, and I think by this time we’re all old hands at dealing with new Marvel #1s. Once we get a little closer to the main event, I’ll have a better idea how many new Avengers-related titles I’ll be dealing with.

Anyway, Fan Mike needs to make sure he orders one of each cover for the Swamp Thing Convergence tie-in, and Retailer Mike better get his money for ‘em.

The end at last.

§ January 23rd, 2015 § Filed under predictions § 10 Comments

Here it is, the last installment of looking back at your predictions for 2014! And if you want the fun to repeat next year, give me your 2015 comic industry predictions!

• • •

Ed 208 gives me 15 seconds to comply with

“1. Saga increases in popularity, leading to a boost in merchandise sales (especially to teens) and discussions with HBO/Netflix about a series (most likely animation).”

Saga definitely has been doing quite well, with the collected editions requiring constant reorder, both at my former place of employment and in my current digs. The only merchandise I can think of would be t-shirts, and while I don’t have any numbers on how those are doing, I suspect they’re not doing too badly. As noted in a previous prediction post, the creators of Saga don’t seem to be pursuing any media adaptations at this time…which doesn’t mean people aren’t knockin’ their doors down to get the rights.

“2. Either Marvel or Image will release a digital-only series that is a huge success critically, though not financially.”

I honestly don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the digital side of things, which I realize is a huge blind spot of mine. But, that said, I don’t think either company released a digital-only series (or digital-first then print-shortly-thereafter) series, or if they did, it didn’t make a big enough splash for a dopey ol’ Luddite like me to notice. If this didn’t happen, it’s only a matter of time before it does, and I’m guessing the scenario of critical-but-not-financial success is a likely possibility.

“3. DC, in an attempt to imitate Marvel’s success with diversity, will introduce a new series focusing on LGBT character(s). It will not be handled well, or received kindly by DC’s audience.”

We’ve had Batwoman for a few years now, which hasn’t been a bad comic even given the unfortunate creative conflicts, but aside from some supporting characters in Gail Simone’s Batgirl, and the return of Alan Scott’s boyfriend in Earth 2, I can’t think of too many other LGBT characters being in the forefront. Well, there was this, speaking of Batgirl and of stories not being handled or received well, which does have me wondering what they’re going to do when it comes time to reprint that in a collected edition. Preface it with the apology, maybe?

• • •

MikeyWayne waxes eloquently with

“1. DC Comics will reduce its publishing line to three ‘families': Batman, Justice League & Green Lantern. Two remaining Superman books, Flash, GA and WW get a ‘Justice League’ heading, and everything else in the DCU is canceled in the DC Implosionary Spectacular of 2014.”

This is almost frighteningly plausible, even if it didn’t happen. And with the demise of nearly all the Green Lantern books, that’s one less franchise for DC to stand on. Let’s see what happens after DC’s Convergence event.

“2. Multiversity WILL come out! (I can dream, can’t I?)”

DING DING DING your dreams have come true!

“3. Image Comics increases market share, primarily at the expense of DC, to become the true No. 3 publisher and the best creators continue to flock to them.”

Discussed previously, Image has been hovering around the 10% mark, but DC and Marvel’s marketshares seem to be them pushing each other back and forth, more than seeing attrition due to the smaller publishers. But I’m sure that’s a factor, if even a small one.

• • •

HoorayforGooba! cheers

“Rocket Raccoon spin-off live-action TV show. Book it.”

We’re getting a Guardians of the Galaxy animated series in 2015…that’s close! (And regardless…Rocket will always be animated, unless live raccoon training has made some leaps and bounds I’m not aware of!)

• • •

Former Employee Nathan dares darken my doorstep with

“1. We will see an issue number with *two* decimal points. Possibly something like 5.2.1, but more likely something like 5.1.NOW. This will be the last straw for Mike Sterling.”

I think I stopped counting the number of “last straws” the industry has given me a couple of decades ago.

“2. There will continue to be an uncomfortably antagonistic relationship between The Big Two and fans about what The Big Two think fans want and what fans think they want. Image will continue to, by and large, prove them both wrong.”

That’s been the case for years and likely won’t change. “WE WANT THIS!” is shouted, and they are given [this] and then it doesn’t sell. Ah well. And while Image has had some successes, there has been more than one release from them where I couldn’t move any issues, so they don’t have the magic formula either.

“3. IDW will do a massive, line-wide crossover of every single one of its licensed properties.”

Well, maybe technically, if you do the ol’ “the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossed over with Archie, Archie met the Punisher, Punisher met the X-Men, X-Men met Star Trek, therefore Star Trek and TMNT are connected” thing. But an actual official crossover with everyone all mixed together into the same mess? Well, they’ve come close (there was that X-Files crossover with other IDW licensed properties earlier in the year, and the Cartoon Network thing that just happened), but nothing completely comprehensive.

• • •

Ryan Q says that he’ll be true with

“Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America will be underwhelming in the box office. While the X-Men: DOTFP and Amazing Spider-Man will be box office hit.”

I looked up the numbers, and while nobody did Avengers Movie money, nobody suffered too much, it looks like. From Box Office Mojo, the total takes (domestic and international) were as follows:

Guardians of the Galaxy: $772,772,112

X-Men Days of Future Past: $748,121,534

Captain America The Winter Soldier: $714,083,572

Amazing Spider-Man 2: $708,982,323

Geez. Hey, Marvel, can I borrow five bucks?

“Marvel will relaunch Captain America, Iron, Fantastic Four books.”

Two out of three ain’t bad!

“Robin will return this year.”

Looks like Robin returned in a comic from the last shipping date of last year…or did he?

• • •

There’s no getting away from Employee Aaron as he asks

“My one prediction on comic books for this year is that Pre-New 52 Lobo will Hunt Down This new glow-face Lobo and after a few issues of beatdowns and maiming Pre-52 Lobo will feed this imposter to his space Dolphins.”

Almost the opposite, my mustachioed friend. The New 52 Lobo almost immediately did away with the previous Lobo, which kind of surprised me…I was expecting some kind of “LOBO VERSUS LOBO” event that would drag on for too long. The brevity of the encounter was sort of refreshing.

• • •

Dhaamin thus spake

“1. Marvel will realise why ‘Hawkeye’ is successful and bring out more solo titles with great talent behind them creating stories with a defined style and sense of direction without having to succumb to a universe shaking cross over every other month.”

We did have a couple of titles following the Hawkeye “formula,” most notably She-Hulk, and surprisingly Moon Knight, but that seems more the exception than the rule.

“2. Scott Snyder will finally hint at maybe working with Image or another Indie label.”

He definitely turned up at Image with Wytches, which did quite well for itself.

• • •

My friend Sam stayed just the same with

“1. Due to either delays or cancellation, Hawkguy won’t make it to #25. If it does, it will be a completely different direction and creative team resulting from Fraction’s total break with Marvel.”

Still waiting on 22 to come out!

“2. 2 more avengers books will start at #1, possibly to replace books that are ending at #30 given Marvel’s apparent new Logan’s Run series length policy.”

We had Captain America and the Mighty Avengers start last year, so I guess that counts. And the new Uncanny Avengers #1 was solicited late last year, so that almost counts, maybe. Then the one based on the cartoon had a new #1, and another Secret Avengers #1, and I’m not even counting the intentional Avengers mini-series…I’m calling that a “hit.”

“3. After the Deluxe Color HCs, Oni will re-release Scott Pilgrim starting at the beginning in yet another format, be it color TPB, omnibus or ‘artist’s edition’.”

Didn’t happen last year, but it’ll come this year or next, I’m sure.

• • •

David Alexander McDonald deserves a break today with

“1. Multiversity won’t actually come out this year, to the surprise of no-one.”

Surprise!

“2. Guardians Of the Galaxy will do very badly, mainly due to Marvel/Disney not knowing what sort of promotional strategy to formulate. As a result Ant-Man will be pushed back to the end of 2015. Captain America: The Winter Soldier will offset the losses, but Kevin Feige will rethink Phase Three. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D will be renewed by the skin of its teeth, and the start of the second season will bring a bit more of the crazy that the first season lacked. Marvel will also aggressively pursue TV projects, but their animation division will gradually falter and die.”

Guardians did well, which did come as a bit of a surprise to a lot of us, I think. That “Marvel” brand can get butts into movie seats. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by all accounts did improve this season, but I fell behind due to opening the new store, so I can’t verify this myself. Marvel certainly has plenty of other TV projects coming, including the aforementioned animated GOTG, so they seem to be keeping things going so far.

“3. On the DC side, Arrow will get more into the super powers end of things, but the Flash and Constantine pilots will not be picked up. The DC animation division will feel the loss of [Bruce Timm] seriously this year, and the projects that go ahead will be wretched examples. Expect a New 52 culling more savage than any before, but equal numbers of new books to make up for the cancellations. Expect additional alternate strategies beyond the weeklies. People will begin to see tonal shifts in the books, but the bigger shift won’t come until 2015 as DC heads into the last full year of the New 52. Month 52 of the New 52 will be the last of it…but it won’t presage a 2016 return of the old universe(s) but a drastic change of approach to the comics market. We will see signs of this through 2014.”

That’s about six predictions squeezed in there, you sneaky guy, but let me see if I can hit ‘em all.

3a) Yes, more crazy superhero action in Arrow. This is a good thing.

3b) Flash picked up, a huge success; Constantine picked up, may or may not be cancelled now, I have no idea at this point.

3c) DC’s animated projects have been about at the same level as before in quality, if not in quantity…if you didn’t like them before, you don’t like ‘em know, and the other way around as well. Animated TV shows seem to have been put aside for live-action, though they did just announce an animated Vixen series for online viewing, if I recall correctly.

3d) A bunch of New 52 titles were announced as cancelled at the very end of 2014, and we won’t know what’s replacing them ’til after Convergence, I think.

3e) Not really much in the way of new alternative publishing strategies, beyond what they were already doing with digital-first titles and the Earth One series of original graphic novels.

3f) Not sure what signs of future strategies we’re seeing if any yet, beyond the willingness to do near-full culls of once popular franchises (like Green Lantern). It is interesting to note that we are getting a short-lived return to pre-New 52 continuity with these Convergence mini-series, but whether that’s just the intended temporary publishing stopgap for DC’s move to the west coast, or a way to test the waters for a possible line-wide rollback, remains to be seen.

“Also, I forgot my usual Squirrel Girl mention. She’ll turn up in Agents Of SHIELD and end up having fun times with Fitz, who’ll be revealed as a furry.”

One more, eh? That’s okay, since it’s about Squirrel Girl. I do wonder when she’ll make her live action debut. It’s gotta happen, right? Maybe it’ll be post-credits sequence in the forthcoming film Howard the Duck: Age of Doctor Bong.

• • •

And that’s that, my look back at your 2014 predictions. Sorry it took so long, but at least I got to end it with a reference to Doctor Bong, so it was worth the trip.

Next week: no predictions! Not a one!

I am really really tired and almost put off this post, but would like to finish the prediction coverage before 2016.

§ January 21st, 2015 § Filed under predictions § 3 Comments

Nearly done looking back at your predictions, and still gathering 2015 comic industry predictions!

Let’s go!

• • •

PabloV, AKA one of my commenters, relayed

“1) Peter Parker will be back, which will collide with Otto’s Spidey. But sales for Superior Spider-Man will still be good, so somehow, both characters will fill the role of the friendly neighborhood. And Amazing Spider-Man title comes back with Peter of course, in time for the movie.”

Pretty much what happened, though aside from a couple of follow-up issues, the actual Superior Spider-Man didn’t stick around, which surprised me. The SSM character is involved in the current “Spider-Verse” thing, though.

“2) 2014 will be the Bendis’ year in Marvel. Some of the events will be written by him and he will have three titles by himself. Of course, some of these titles will suck, some will be fine.”

He’s on Uncanny X-Men, All-New X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, so there you go. As to the actual quality of said titles…it’s not my cup of tea, but others really like it, so suckage or lack thereof is up to you. As far as I can remember, the only “event” as such that he wrote was the Guardians/X-Men crossover.

“3) Guardians of The Galaxy will be a, surprisingly, good movie (not as GREAT as Avengers, Dark Knight etc but still decent). People who didn’t believe in this movie will change their names to RockyRacconRulz or GROOTGROUPIE87.”

It was a good movie, I thought. I didn’t keep track of any name changes, however, aside from my brief flirtation as “Draxster.”

• • •

ArghSims arghed

“1) WINTER SOLDIER and DAYS OF FUTURE PAST will both be well received films, by both comics fans and general movie goers. Brubaker, Claremont and the artists will get “Thanks” credits, and hopefully some bucks.”

Ed Brubaker got a story credit on the Cap sequel, and I don’t remember if he got any kind of creator credit, but Chris Claremont and Len Wein have actual cameos in the X-Men film! (I remember thinking as I sat there in the theater…”wait, was that Len Wein?”)

“2) THE BRAVE AND THE MOLD, a Batman-Swamp Thing team up series written by Mike Sterling, will be the surprise hit of Summer 2014.”

Only in my mind, ArghSims, only in my mind.

• • •

Tim B. naturally stated

“There will continue to be Doom Patrol & Kamandi shaped holes in DC’s output.”

The Doom Patrol did pop up in Justice League #30 (after some brief references in previous issues from the end of 2013). Kamandi remains AWOL, far as I know unless he had a cameo or something in one of the twelve other Batman titles I didn’t follow.

“The Superman/Batman film villain will be Darkseid, announced at/first preview footage at Comic-Con 2014, a week or so before Guardians of the Galaxy film is released, people accuse DC of just ripping off Thanos. Kirby’s ghost’s eyes roll for the rest of 2014 and well into 2015…”

Didn’t happen, but not an unlikely scenario.

• • •

The Mutt barked

“2014 will see a Godzilla comic book and a Pacific Rim comic book leading to a major cross-over event.”

Well, Del Toro is all for it, because of course he is, he’s all for everything, but outside of fanfiction and Photoshopping, nothin’ doin’ yet.

• • •

Sespus healed our negativity with

“My fellow commenters will have a lot of gloom-and-doom predictions having to do with movies, but the 2014’s comic book movies will actually do just fine.”

Yeah, most of them actually did okay. And by “okay” I mean “more money than I’ll ever see in ten lifetimes.”

• • •

Adam Farrar sees far with

“1) Due to slipping sales, IDW will relaunch its primary GI Joe titles (GI Joe v3, GI Joe Special Missions v2, and the already ended Cobra Files). Larry Hama’s GI Joe A Real American Hero will soldier on to the continued enjoyment of myself and a little over 7,000 other people.”

G.I. Joe was relaunched, and Real American Hero is continuing. A gold star for you!

“2) Marvel will launch ‘Savage Hulk’ a series like their ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ and ‘Savage Wolverine” featuring rotating creators telling whatever stories they see fit. The first story arc will be by Jim Starlin.”

There was such a series, but it was seemingly canned after only six issues. Starlin was planned to do a storyline for the title, but was instead moved to its own mini-series Thanos Vs. Hulk, which was probably a good idea.

• • •

MrJM jammed in

“1) Mike will have a happy birthday on March 13.”

Yeah, it was okay.

“2) Marvel won’t do right by Jack Kirby.”

Surprisingly, a settlement was reached between Disney/Marvel and the Kirby estate, and if Jack Kirby’s foremost proponent says that Jack ‘n’ Roz would have been “real, real, real happy” with the results, then we can safely assume things went well.

“3) I will continue to search for superhero comics that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with my teen-aged nephew and niece.”

BAM.

• • •

rook017 checkmates us with

“1. Bendis and Johns will form their own company. They will create their own universe and write everything.”

Not yet. Probably the next move for both of them once they’re out of favor at their respective companies. …Not being negative or critical, honestly, it’s just no one stays on top at either company forever. I can think of more than one Giant Comics Creator who seemed immortal and unstoppable who ended up scrambling for whatever work they could get. Honestly, though, Johns seems like he’d just do TV full-time if comics go south for him.

“2. A major comic book movie starring a woman will be announced. Reaction will be ‘How can SHE get her own movie before Wonder Woman or Black Widow???'”

I’m sure that was the reaction to Captain Marvel though that seems to be the reaction to any movie announcement, superhero or not.

“3. Progressive Ruin will split off to form several blogs (Daily Mike Sterling, More Progressive Ruin, Mike Sterling’s Progressive Runes) forcing followers to read several blogs to get all the scoops. Readers drop off, forcing a reboot which makes no one happy.”

I think I aged three years just reading that.

• • •

Rob S. robs the spotlight with

“1. Archie is going to land another serious creative team on another of its Red Circle titles.”

They did announce creative teams, and I’m assuming they’re serious, especially since it’s Dark Circle now, instead of Red Circle. You can read about the teams here.

“2. We’ll see hints of missing characters like Wally West and Donna Troy in DC books before 2014 is out, but their first real appearance of any note won’t be until 2015.”

Wally actually does appear in mid-2014. Donna Troy apparently was mentioned in issues of Red Hood and the Outlaws early on in the New 52 relaunch, when they were still frantically trying to figure out what was in the new continuity and what wasn’t. It was eventually decided that prior Teen Titans teams hadn’t existed, and Troy’s existence was retconned out of the retcon, as it were. She apparently returned in the last issue of Wonder Woman for 2014, but we’ll get more of her over this coming year, which surely will please everyone.

“3. Dark Horse will announce a couple of new big license to partially take the place of Star Wars.”

No one thing seems intended to be the replacement for Star Wars, as far as I can tell. Which is good, since putting all your eggs into one licensed basket is a bad idea, in case some giant international company comes along to buy a comic book publisher, and then buys the property that you licensed to make comics from, and then takes away your license to give it to the comic company they actually own, but what are the chances of that happening?

• • •

NeverAsk asks

“1. Multiple writer changes on Fantastic Four, with each one promising to ‘bring the focus back to the family.'”

The creative team has remained mostly stable, though apparently they’re canning the series due to sales, and not because a movie studio that Disney doesn’t own is exploiting the property.

“2. Deadpool will kill the Marvel Universe again. Or marry it. Maybe both.”

Deadpool did get married, but just to one person, not the entire Marvel Universe. Pretty much the entire MarvU did show up as guests, however.

“3. Archie comics? Still awesome.”

Are they still publishing Afterlife with Archie? And also publishing Sabrina? Then yes, they’re still awesome.

• • •

Next: Mike looks at your predictions, the final chapter! Honest!

Don’t complain that I spoiled the post-credits scene for Guardians of the Galaxy…you’ve had your chance to see it.

§ January 19th, 2015 § Filed under predictions § 7 Comments

Welcome to part four of looking back at your predictions for 2014, my five remaining readers! And if you five haven’t added your 2015 comic industry predictions to the pile, then get crackin’.

• • •

jobcab taxis in with

“1. Marvel will officially yank the Star Wars license away from Dark Horse”

I think I may have heard a little something about that recently.

“2. For his 50th anniversary, Daredevil will regain his sight.”

Not that I’ve seen (click) but I’ve been reading the regular Daredevil series this year and it didn’t happen there. …In fact, how many stories have there been about Daredevil getting his sight back? I can think of…two, maybe?

EDIT: Tim O’Neil tells me Daredevil was temporarily re-sighted in last month’s issue of Iron Man.

“3. Galactus’ new herald will be H.E.R.B.I.E. And it will be awesome.”

While that would be the ultimate expression of the menace of H.E.R.B.I.E., sadly I don’t think that happened anywhere except in our dreams, joecab. I did peek at the Wikipedia entry for our favorite little helper robot to see what’s been going on, and there it was I learned that a “deactivated H.E.R.B.I.E.” was in the extended version of the 2005 Fantastic Four movie. First, I was surprised there even was an extended version of the 2005 Fantastic Four movie (soon to be known as “the good Fantastic Four movie), but second, and more importantly, we were this close to having live-action H.E.R.B.I.E. and that’s a darn shame.

• • •

Jeff R. gets jazzy with the following predictions:

“1.) Guardians of the Galaxy will be a colossal flop.”

Well, hate to tell you this….

“2.) The Legion of Super-Heroes will have an ongoing book again by the end of the year.”

The Legion did pop up in Justice League United near the end of 2014, but nothing about a new title yet. I hope they follow my suggestions.

“3.) The First issue of Mage:The Hero Denied will at least have been solicited by the end of the year.”

That would have been nice…I’m a big fan of Mage.

Let’s see…the first series, “The Hero Discovered,” ran from 1984 to 1986. Eleven years later, in 1997, “The Hero Defined” started up, running ’til 1999. Sixteen years on, no word on when the third series will debut. Hopefully someday soon!

• • •

Jerry Smith rigged these forecasts:

“DC’s move to the West Coast will result in a massive loss of employees who don’t want to move, streamlining their editorial process and letting Marvel have their pick of editors/employees. DC books will not improve in quality.”

Haven’t seen any news on any DC employee attrition, but I think it’s too soon to tell. Let’s keep an eye on this for 2015.

EDIT: Tim O’Neil tells me that Tom Brevoort has mentioned Marvel’s hiring of some ex-DC employees.

“Captain America II will make back its money but not be a critical success.”

According to that link in my responses to Jeff, the second Cap film was the third-highest grossing flick of the year, which ain’t too shabby. And over on the Rotten Tomatoes tote board, it has a 89% positive reviewer rating, so it did surprisingly well. To be frank, I expected a second Cap film to be okay, but it actually was really, really good. And not just “good for a superhero movie,” but just plain good.

“Marvel will launch a team of gay Avengers. The book will be called Gay Avengers.”

That would have been absolutely amazing, if only to hear The Usual Suspects get their knickers in knots over it. I bet I could totally sell a comic called Gay Avengers.

• • •

Mike Loughlin lines up the following:

“With Jeff Parker on board, DC will release more comics that aren’t super serious and over-the-top violent. They’ll get acclaim from discerning readers and sales will plummet.”

Parker’s Aquaman is doing okay, I think…and DC did release other somewhat gentler in-universe comics (like Gotham Academy) which is selling…well, not great, but it has its audience.

“DC will release a New Gods series. It won’t be very good.”

Not really a standalone series, but we did get a New Gods/Green Lantern crossover event that probably would have been well-served by maybe being only half as long. And, to be honest, it didn’t really do a lot to sell anyone on the New Gods concept. …Kinda like the Legion of Super-Heroes, maybe the New Gods/Fourth World stuff needs to just go away for a while and let everyone kind of forget about and / or stop being sick of them.

“The next Marvel character to be killed will be The Punisher. Again.”

Well, Wolverine. You were close!

• • •

Luke trusts his feelings with

“Comics mergers – somewhere in and among Image, IDW, Boom, Dynamite, Devil’s Due etc, there will be some consolidation, acquisition or the like.”

IDW absorbed Top Shelf, which surprised the heck out of me, but that was early 2015. Ah, what the heck, close enough.

• • •

vester is very invested in these forecasts:

“1) As DC’s moving west, people who will say ‘no’ will be in Marvel.”

Like I said before, it may be too early to determine the full results of this movie. Let’s see what happens this year.

“2) More Batman-related and Avengers titles.”

This is what we call in the biz a “gimme.” Not that a lot of them have done that well or are doing that well, but they’re there filling up shelf space that “Worthwhile Artistic Comics #1″ could have used, and that’s the important thing.

“3) Image Comics sales will totally surpass the Big Two at the end of the year.”

On an individual basis, I certainly wish several Marvel and DC titles would sell as well as Walking Dead or Saga, but for every Image that sells great, there are a half-dozen or more that, shall we say, appeal to a more select audience and don’t move as many copies. As I covered in one of the previous four hundred entries of my 2014 prediction coverage, Image has been hovering around 10% marketshare so it’s not doing too badly for itself.

• • •

Mike Nielsen improves his ratings with

“1) Showcase Presents Tomahawk will appear. I’ve only predicted it every year since you started doing this, I’ll be right sometime.”

We did get Showcase Presents Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew…that’s close, right?

• • •

Crowded House didn’t dream it’s over with:

“1. At some point, Superman gets his red shorts back.”

I’m assuming you meant in New 52 continuity, because in, like, merchandising and the Adventures of Superman out-of-continuity comics, he totally had his red shorts. But no, we’re still stuck with that dumb super-armor, which is a shame because the actual Superman comics have been pretty good lately.

“2. The Ancient Ones awake from their slumber and consume the world in one gulp. Darkness is everywhere, all is lost, the people cry out in despair cursing a god who will not listen to their prayers. There is nothing to be done, all of humanity is doomed, its last days of existence weeping at the hours lost, the stories never again to be told, the memories that will fade into nothingness with nothing to mark their passing. There is no more, there is no more.”

Yeah, my birthday was pretty rough this year.

“3. Sonic Disruptors #8 is finally released.”

Hey, we finally got some of Joe Kubert’s Redeemer…anything’s possible!

• • •

An Anchor at Bay goes overboard with

“1. del Toro will announce that the Justice League Dark script has been finalized and will start shooting in 2015.”

I will not believe in a del Toro Justice League Dark movie until I’ve bought my ticket for it and am sitting in a movie theater waiting for it to start. And maybe not even then.

“2. Constantine and Swamp Thing will develop a strong sense of trust and become best friends finally.”

That would be like those 1970s Tom and Jerry cartoons where now suddenly they’re pals and they go on adventures together and are no longer trying to murder each other, and that would be terrible.

“3. John Constantine will quit smoking but replace his habit with hallucinogenic tubers.”

Just had to check some recent appearances, and he’s still smoking! Kind of surprised, actually. Does he smoke in the TV show, because I still haven’t seen the darned thing.

• • •

Xanadude takes my breath and leaves me blind with

“1) a second Wonder Woman title will launch, focusing on supervillains, SciFi, Steve Trevor/ARGUS. azarello will continue the current Ww title by not acknowledging it.”

There was a second WW title, Sensation Comics, reprinting digital first (mostly) non-continuity comics, which of course the writers of the New 52 series wouldn’t acknowledge (but probably should have followed its lead).

“2) the Miracle man monthly floppy will undersell, while everyone buys the tpbs”

I’m not sure how well it’s selling overall, but the comic was beginning to improve in sales slightly at my shop, though Marvel’s doing its best to kill the series, it feels like.

“3) the new Ms Marvel will sell poorly and also be accused of being culturally insensitive by the left and pushing a radical Muslim agenda by the right”

It’s selling not badly, and to some acclaim, but there will always be that segment of the population that fears something because it focuses on a person/culture That Isn’t Like Them. And to them we say “suck it up, you wieners.”

• • •

amrothery ventures in with

“1. By the end of the year, Marvel will have produced ZERO issues of Walt Disney Comics and Stories or Uncle $crooge.”

Exactly right, sir! Though I would give anything to have that Gladstone Gander/Longshot battle committed to four-color immortality.

“2. The Fantagraphics reprints of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck will continue as scheduled.”

Also correct, and God bless ‘em for these things of beauty.

• • •

Derooftrouser…um, gets his pants on the…ceiling? — with:

“1. The sequel to Man of Steel will not be inspired by the All-Star series or be called ‘The Goddamn Batman vs Superman’.”

If it’s not inspired by this comic, then what are we even doing as a people.

“2. Neither will it feature The Rock as Swamp Thing, to lead into the Justice League Dark movie.”

I am oddly okay with the Rock as Swamp Thing.

“3. Still no news on ‘The Spirit 2: Spirit vs Shadow’.”

Please do not tease me with such beauty.

• • •

Mike Zeidler sidles in with

“1. DC launches a digital only, non-continuity DC COMICS PRESENTS to fulfill monthly Time-Warner quotas for copyright renewals.”

That’s not a bad idea. So it’ll probably never happen.

“2. FISHNETS AHOY launches, with art by Robert Wilson IV”

If I can’t have Brian Bolland on art for this Zatanna/Black Canary comic I’ve been demanding, it looks like Robert Wilson IV wouldn’t be a bad second choice.

“3. Mike Sterling tries to review the super-long everything cut of the WATCHMEN movie but is stymied by all DVDs turning to dust at the same time.”

I had this out in my “rewatch soon” pile, but then, um, I opened a store. I had a movie out from Netflix since the first week of November that I finally watched this past Saturday night. I went to go see the third Hobbit movie last week, a good month or so after it opened. This is the time I have for movie watching. …But I owe you that review, and someday I will get to it.

• • •

rubber cat bounces these off of me:

“1. The year passes by with no mention of Carrie Kelley in the Batman books”

She was primarily in Batman and Robin, right? Some Googling about seems to show that she was written out of the ongoing plot a while back, in favor of focusing the book on the return of Damien Wayne. However, there seems to have been some casting rumors regarding this character for the forthcoming Batman Vs. Superman Guest-Starring Everyone Else While We’re At It, so if she turns up, look for her back in the comics again.

“2. Marvel announces Howard the Duck reboot scheduled to hit theaters 2017″

A strangely prescient prediction, given the surprise cameo at after the end credits of Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s probably still going to be a long time before any studio executive puts his signature on a Howard the Duck movie approval, but I can see Howard popping up here and there in forthcoming Marvel movies.

“3. The Gotham TV series does decent in the ratings but isn’t a big hit.”

It actually looks like Gotham is doing pretty well for itself…I think it’s safe to say it’s a hit. It’s certainly very divisive…some of you love it, some of you hate it. I only caught about five minutes of it, but maybe I’ll catch it on DVD, once they invent the 72-hour day.

• • •

That’s enough typity-typing for me for today…be back soon with more prediction coverage!

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