So I finally got my mitts on one of these.

§ February 3rd, 2017 § Filed under collecting, from the vast Mikester comic archives § 7 Comments

Actually, I acquired it last week, but, you know, other things popped up that kept me from telling you about it earlier than this. But here it is, the hard-to-find Kilian Barracks magazine-sized edition of Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot Comics #1 from 1981:


I didn’t realize (or had forgotten) these were serially-numbered, so my copy is #2171 out of 6,500 copies:


…or however many copies still exist today, after who knows how many have been lost/destroyed/tossed out over the years.

Now, I’ve actually read this at some point…someone I knew had a copy and I was able to read theirs, but this was years ago, and at this point, this is going to be a brand new reading experience for me.

I’ve said before I’m not really collecting a whole lot of old comics for myself at this point…I’m trying to finish out my collection of Seaboard/Atlas, there’s an issue or two of Inferior 5 I still need, and a handful of Three Mouseketeers, and I’m always on the lookout for fanzines. But this comic here, this Flaming Carrot mag, is one I’ve been wanting to own for a very long time, and when I saw one turn up for cheap on the eBays, I had to grab it. Most copies up there seem to be alleged “high grade” copies, or slabbed in those plastic tombs, and selling for hundreds of dollars. As you can probably see from the scans, this was a…well-loved copy, and actually priced at a reasonable amount. (An amount made even more reasonable by a 10 dollar “thanks for being a swell cat” discount code that eBay had sent me.)

Now all I need to do is get copies of the earliest Flaming Carrot appearances in those Visions mags. Well, I’m sure I’ll win the lottery any day now.

Dan and Bernie.

§ February 1st, 2017 § Filed under obituary § 3 Comments

Longtime comics artist Dan Spiegle has passed away, and his frequent creative partner Mark Evanier has an extended remembrance of the man and his work.

I met Dan Spiegle once. He had come into my previous place of employment a couple of decades back, trying (if I recall correctly) to find out if an art job of his that he’d completed for another publisher (which had gone under) had been published by someone else. I don’t remember the exact thing he was looking for, now, all these years later. My vague memory is that he had done something for Classics Illustrated, maybe, just prior to CI’s then-publisher First Comics going under, and was trying to see if someone else put it out. Not this issue, which was published, but, like, something much later in the run. Ah well, whatever it was, I don’t recall, but I did enjoy that brief time I got to speak with him and at least try to help him out.

What helped me recognize him right away was a couple of things: one, I’m pretty sure I’d seen a self-caricature or two of him around by that time, though trying to Google one up now didn’t turn up the picture I remember. Two, there was the then-recent “Famous Comic Creators” trading card set which featured the card pictured above. Those cards were handy mugshots for funnybook stars back in those pre-widespread common-use-of-the-Internet days.

Also, I should mention that Mr. Spiegle had a big, friendly smile. I can still picture just how happy a guy he seemed to be.

Anyway, I enjoyed Mr. Spiegle’s work over the years, as I’m sure many of you did as well. I think I first ran into his art in the back-up “Nemesis” stories from Brave and the Bold in the early 1980s, though I’m sure I’d seen it before. There was a strange one-shot story in the Omega Men run that still sticks with me after all this time. And should Mr. Evanier happen to read this, he can add me to the list of people who read Hollywood Superstars. The one series he worked on that I did not read extensively is his collaboration with Evanier on Blackhawk, which is one of those runs I always meant to get around to gathering and reading but never had the opportunity, unfortunately. I still intend to…the one or two stories I have read were great, and I certainly want to see more. I may have to wait for a reprinting, or a digital version, or for a full run to fall into my lap in a collection I purchase. Maybe someday!

So long, Dan…thanks for all the great comics, and I look forward to finally getting around to that work of yours I haven’t read.

• • •

In other comic creator news, as I’m sure you’ve heard, Swamp Thing cocreator Bernie Wrightson as retired due to health reasons, leaving him essentially unable to draw. You can read the announcement at his official site. That really is a shame that someone so talented is left unable to do what he does so well, and I very much hope that someday there’ll be improvement enough to let him back back to it. Best wishes to Mr. Wrightson and his family.

Comments are off because, y’know, there’s always somebody.

§ January 30th, 2017 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot Comments Off on Comments are off because, y’know, there’s always somebody.

I was going to post about some silly things today, but right now doesn’t seem like the time. Instead, let me post some links to the ACLU, the Council on American-Islamic Relations,the Trevor Project, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Planned Parenthood, the Ali Forney Center, NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, ProPublica, RAINN, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, all of whom can use some support right now.

And just so there’s some comic book content, let me direct you to my pal Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Feistiness, who is presenting 365 Days of Defiance!

I’ll have some actual comic content in a day or two, I promise. But I really couldn’t bring myself to write anything light and fun without addressing the elephant in the room, and doing at least this very small thing will hopefully help somebody out.

And here come the requests to GIF that Adrienne Barbeau scene.

§ January 27th, 2017 § Filed under swamp thing § 3 Comments

So I’ve had a couple of late nights over the last two days, and, for some reason, before going to bed last night, I thought “you know, I really need to learn how to make GIFs.” You know, as rational people do. And of course, all it takes is downloading the right program to do it for you, and then suddenly I seem to have a handful of Swamp Thing GIFs on my hands. What a shock to everyone, I know.

I ended up posting them to the Twitterers, if you’d like to pop over there and see what madness I’ve conjured up, and also let Twitter take the bandwidth hit instead of me.

First off is this, a variation on the old “Swamp Thing Approves” still pic I’ve posted over there from time to time. I love the little off-camera nod he gives before throwing the thumbs-up.

Then there’s this bit of insanity, identifying pretty much the exact spot in the film where I began to think “hmmm, this movie may be a little off-model from the comics.”

More thumbs-up action, this time featuring the kids to whom Swampy was responding back in that first GIF. That kid on the right doesn’t know how a thumbs-up works…or he’s so excited that he’s lost control of said thumbs-up.

Here’s an example of nature’s eternal battle of Jogging Men with Guns versus Jogging Swamp Creature.

And lastly, some Animated Swampy comin’ right at you. Finally, some good use from this DVD.

Anyway, this is how I spend my free time now, I guess.

Yet another thing Wolverine has in common with the Three Mouseketeers…

§ January 25th, 2017 § Filed under three mouseketeers, wolverine § 4 Comments

…is the fact that they coexist in worlds with comic books based on them. For example, here’s ol’ Canucklehead holding an X-Men comic in the most recent Logan trailer:

…and here are the Three Mouseketeers reading a letter from a fan of the Three Mouseketeers comic wondering how mice are able to read and write:


…which begs the question, if Little Petey is so convinced of collective illiteracy of mice, then why did he address the letter to them? Unless of course Little Petey, as a big fan of the Mouseketeers, reluctantly buys into the premise that they can read and write, and is asking, in his somewhat rude way, for an explanation of their decidedly non-mouse-ical abilities. (The answer, of course, is that the mice went to school.)

Now Marvel Comics has long established that a version of Marvel Comics exists in the Marvel Universe, publishing semi-fictionalized accounts of the superheroes in their world, so seeing Wolverine holding a somewhat sloppily-manufactured X-Men comic in that trailer has precedence. But the idea that someone at DC Comics discovered a tiny community of talking, literate mice and decided “let’s make a comic book based on this!” instead of “let’s sell them to scientists who will dissect them and find out what’s wrong with them” or, more likely, “OH MY LORD KILL THEM, KILL THE MONSTERS” — well, that’s a bit weird.

Then again, it may be that Sheldon Mayer was a kind, gentle soul who believed in simply providing wholesome entertainment for kids and used the Mouseketeers as inspiration for his art. Though that wouldn’t stop someone else from tracking them down and exploiting them in more cynical ways. I mean, they’re getting mail…clearly they’re not hard to find.
 
 

from Three Mouseketeers #3 (Sept/Oct 1970, reprinted from Three Mouseketeers #6, Jan/Feb 1957) by Sheldon Mayer

Just throwing the phrase “comics blogosphere” out there like it’s still 2006.

§ January 23rd, 2017 § Filed under doog boog, harvey, pal plugging, richie rich, swamp thing § 2 Comments

Okay, so that was a couple of weeks of prediction coverage…hope you all enjoyed the last few posts while I took care of that. I’m still taking 2017 industry predictions in this post here, but we’re nearing the end of January, so I’m probably going to shut down comments there shortly. Get them in while you can! …I’m not sure if I’m going to take 2018 predictions after the next new year, but I still have some time to think about it. Your thoughts could sway this vital decision.

Let me catch up on a few things, here:

A couple or three weeks ago twitter pal Dan put up a picture of the cutest darn Swamp Thing that you ever did see, and one “uh, how much do you want for that?” DM later, I have it in my hot little hands:


Look at how adorable that is. …Dan also designed my Twitter icon, and you can see more of his swell art here.

Recently, I was pricing up a bunch of comics that, um, I may have acquired a while ago and am only getting around to processing now, when I came across this Richie Rich cover and the following thought got stuck in my head and I had to let it out:


…Well, I mean, he is hangin’ out with Casper and all. Also, I had to create the letters “T” and “H” by altering other letters in the same balloon. This is a dumb amount of effort, but now this exists so…um, there it is, I guess.

My blogging sister Tegan just celebrated her lucky thirteenth anniversary of her blog about a week ago, and I certainly wanted to point you in her direction for more of her great writing. Tegan said a few very kind words about me in said post, for which I am most appreciative and flattered. She’s always been one of the comics blogosphere’s (if I may still use the term) foremost essayists on the topic of funnybooks and the industry that mostly supports them, and is always worth reading. (And you can help fund her work via her Patreon.)

Speaking of Patreons, Dog Boy creator Steve Lafler just started one up to support a new series of political cartoons. I do like Steve Lafler comics, so I signed up, and maybe you can, too. I mean, yes, it is political in nature, so you may not see eye-to-eye with him, and that’s okay. However, if you do like his work, Patreon makes it easy to throw a dollar or two his way to directly support his efforts.

But one thing we can all agree on is that Nazis are terrible, and Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Patriotism, brings us another of his Ten of a Kind posts featuring those lousy Ratzis getting what-for, and how.

Your 2016 Predictions, Epilogue: The Karate Killers.

§ January 20th, 2017 § Filed under predictions § 6 Comments

Now I’m sure we all have other things on our mind today, but I’m still gonna wrap up my look back at your 2016 predictions, and if you’re just joining us, you can catch up on parts one, two, three, four and five at those handy links there. Also, I’m still taking your 2017 predictions for the time being, so drop ’em in there while you can.

Okay, I’ve covered all the actual predictions, but a few of you had some things to say in response to my last couple weeks’ worth of posts. First off, Andrew mentions in response to my assertion that no webcomics have been adapted into film/TV:

“No actual webcomics have made it to any screen yet, but the first season of SyFy’s Channel Zero is taken from the short story Candle Cove by Kris Straub. He’s the cartoonist behind Chainsawsuit, Broodhollow, Starslip, Checkerboard Nightmare, and a few other things here and there.”

I knew about the show, and the original story, but hadn’t realized its webcomic connection. Thanks for letting me know!

DanielT corrects me on my mistaken belief that no TV shows based on Image properties had cropped up:

“Outcast. Though I’m not surprised you forgot/didn’t know about it because I NEVER hear or read anything about it.”

Geez, you’re right. You could have pointed a gun at me and demanded I name an Image Comics-based show that wasn’t The Walking Dead and I would never have been able to come up with it. I seem vaguely to remember even…giving away promo postcards? Something like that? Anyway, yeah, you’re right, I totally forgot about it. Don’t think I’ve even seen frame one of the show, or who’s on it or even what channel it’s on. Can’t know everything!

A.J. comments

“I gotta say, the section intros are genius. ‘James kings me with’ is inspired.”

Yeah, I do that mostly for my own amusement, though I should note the irony of giving your intro the single most boring one. Sorry about that…it’s been a long day! Anyway, I try to do one for everyone, though sometimes I got nuthin’, and sometimes I make a reference that wouldn’t be obvious to the casual reader, but just to that person in question. (For example, the commenter from Thailand where I used the word “ties’ in his intro.) And that’s how the sausage is made, everyone!

Allan Hoffman clarifies, in response to my Miracleman comments:

“Neil Gaiman has said there are administrative/legal things (yes, still) that are holding things up. When that clears up is anyone’s guess.”

It seems shocking that would be the case, since I thought Marvel through money at whatever barriers there were until they went away. But, I guess it wouldn’t be Miracleman unless there were ridiculous delays of some sort. Now you modern-day kids know what we elderly folks went through when MM was still occasionally coming out through Eclipse!

David Alexander McDonald has more to say…! (I tease because I love!)

“The redemption of Jay Garrick was actually what I’d expected — the thing with the Man In The Mask was a gimme, especially when fake-Jay’s doppleganger on Earth-1 was named Hunter Zolomon.”

Yeah, sorry about that, I sorta read your prediction as “the guy who claims to be Jay Garrick will redeem himself,” because I couldn’t remember the timing of the episodes vis-à-vis the time of your initial prediction. But you’re right…as soon as the Man in the Mask showed up, it couldn’t have been more “LOOK THIS IS THE REAL JAY GARRICK” if it had a caption pop up every time he appeared reading “THIS IS THE REAL JAY GARRICK.”

David also says, as a follow-up to his prediction that he’s spend money with my store

“I never did buy anything from you, but that was because the Dawn figure got sold the day before I went to pull the trigger on it. Ah well. YOUR TIME WILL COME, MIKESTER.”

I’LL GET YOUR MONEY YET, DAVID ALEXANDER MCDONALD!

Thelonious_Nick notes that my Paper Girls/Stranger Things comparison was closer than I thought:

“Ha ha–I thought Stranger Things WAS pretty much Paper Girls, though they changed the girls to boys for some reason. I really irritated my wife by pointing out the parallels/ripped off ideas for each episode.”

Was it really that close? I haven’t read Paper Girls yet, and only have watched the first episode of Stranger Things, which didn’t really grab me. Is this another Invisibles/The Matrix bit of hoohar?

David Alexander McDonald (what, him again?) notes in regards to Defenders reprints

“There’s a number of other Defenders comics releases aside from the Masterworks digital collections. There’s been a Defenders Epic Collection (The Six-Fingered Hand), Doctor Strange And The Secret Defenders, and Deadpool And The Secret Defenders is coming out next month.”

Oh, there’s definitely plenty of Defenders goodies available or soon available. I was just going off the “omnibus” comment, assuming complete, sequential reprints of the original series was meant, which is why I only specifically pointed out the Masterworks volumes. (If I recall correctly, only one of the Defenders Masterworks is currently available, which is why I pointed out their availability via digital means.)

MrJM dares consider the following possibility

“I think a Tarzan/Alf comic would solve a̶l̶l̶ some of our nation’s woes!”

Alf could’ve eaten Sabor and saved Tarzan’s parents, which…well, would have nipped all this “King of the Jungle” business right in the bud, frankly.

philfromgermany says

“Instead of getting on Vertigo’s nuts, people might wanna read some of the titles they put out, like Sheriff of Babylon, Fables ever after, Unfollow or Astro City…
Is this still good natured ribbing or should some people just look for a new hobby if comics makes them so bitter?”

Now, in fairness, the person who made the initial comment about Vertigo is a longtime customer of mine who reads probably 95% of Vertigo’s output. His reaction was more “I can’t keep up!” than “I hate all this Vertigo stuff!” honest! But, without impugning the quality of any of the Vertigo output, I do have to note that it’s not quite generating the interest or excitement it once did. A lot of comics aren’t, nowadays, so it’s not all on Vertigo. There’s just no “gotta read it” book with more widespread appeal that would attract attention to the imprint as a whole, like Preacher or Sandman or even Fables once did. And frankly, I keep forgetting Astro City is under the Vertigo brand now.

Mike Loughlin sez, he sez

“I like that they put the Young Animal series in their own imprint as I think Vertigo should be creator-owned (or at least co-owned) comics vs. DC properties. Incidentally, would love to see what the Young Animal creators would do with Tim Hunter or Black Orchid.”

I’ve often said to customers that DC’s Young Animal imprint feels like early DC property-based Vertigo, which seems to help sell it to more than a few folks who miss that particular era. I think keeping creator-owned books and the DC-inspired “edgier” books in separate imprints is a good idea, too, but I can’t help but feel maybe a new Vertigo title based on an established DC property could bring more eyeballs in that direction.

And finally, Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Just Plain Sugar, Honest cracks wise with

Hey, I’d buy an Angel Love hardcover treasury! that is, if I had enough money left over after buying my

[youalreadyknowwhatpicturegoeshere.jpg]


Well said, Bully and Angel!

Thanks for sticking through all this, pals, and let’s do it again next year! Don’t forget to leave me your 2017 predictions…and I’ll see you on Monday with some non-prediction stuff, hopefully!

Your 2016 Predictions, Part Five: The Spy in the Green Hat.

§ January 18th, 2017 § Filed under predictions § 4 Comments

We’re in the home stretch of looking at your 2016 predictions…parts one, two, three, and four are still right where I left ’em. And please, give me your 2017 predictions if you so desire.

• • •

Longtime customer Rob marches in with

“I’ve only got one, but from the last 6 months, it appears that DC Vertigo has a new strategy. So I predict that DC Vertigo will launch a new (ongoing or mini-series) title every week for the entire calendar year, in an effort to make me not care about Vertigo comics anymore.”

It seemed like they were cranking out a whole lot of ’em for a while there, didn’t it? They seem to have scaled back some now, while still searching for the new Vertigo “killer app” to put the imprint back on its feet.

Hwy, maybe if they did an actual weekly Vertigo comic…an anthology series featuring short chapters of old favorites and new concepts, just to see what people respond to. That sounds neat to me, if only because I’m not the person who’d be handling the logistics of it.

• • •

vester invests in the following:

“1. DC Comics will recruit an artist or writer who has worked in recent years in Marvel”

Darn it, I’m always terrible at this sort of thing because I never can keep track of or remember who’s going where and doing what to whom. I checked some of DC’s recent “exclusive creator” hires (for example), but it’s usually someone who’s worked for Marvel and DC among others. But I can’t think of anyone on par with, like, John Romita Jr., a longtime mostly Marvel dude, coming over to work on Superman, like he did a couple of years back. Maybe someone out there with a brain that isn’t old and decaying like mind can clue me in.

“2. The Iron Fist actor for the Netflix series will probably be a white person.”

Yeah, that certainly turned into a thing.

“3. Batman v Superman will be ok, but not AS GOOD as it looked like in the trailers and Ben Affleck will be named the best Batman in DC Comics movie history.”

Welllll…I thought it was okay, and I thought it was better than promised in the trailers, but I hear tell I may be in the minority opinion on this. I do believe most people thought Affleck made a good Batman, and are looking forward to his turn in a solo Batman film…however, there is only one Best Batman in the movies, and I think we all know who I’m talkin’ about.

• • •

Mike Loughlin laughs it up with

“Marvel sales will take a sizable hit, mostly due to 1) audience indifference and 2) Marvel Unlimited.”

On a case-by-case basis, certain new Marvel series launches haven’t…done entirely well, far as I can tell. But overall, their market percentage, per Diamond’s stats, seem to have hovered around the same levels throughout the year. Now, maybe per-unit sales have dropped across the board for everybody, and, say, 40% of the market at the beginning of the year represents a lot more than 40% at the end of the year, but relatively speaking Marvel’s in about the same position it was.

• • •

Mick slips me the following:

“1. Dynamite hires Jim Shooter to provide a satisfying conclusion to the Dark Horse Gold Key revival. This leads to”

I’d actually forgotten Dynamite had the Gold Key characters. No Shooter on the project, it appears, alas.

“2. Dynamite and Valiant work together to get Unity 2000 finished and published as a trade, along with most of the old Valiant/Acclaim stuff in all of its awkardly-licensed glory. This, strangely enough, leads to”

I’d like to read a completed Unity 2000. Again, sadly, did not come to pass.

“3. Jim Shooter updates his blog.”

He did! A few times!

• • •

Dan mocks my pain with

“DC will publish Absolute Editions of ‘‘Mazing Man’ and ‘Angel Love.’ Dark Horse will celebrate their 30th anniversary by releasing an Omnibus edition of ‘Boris the Bear’ including all the post-DH issues.”

Would buy the hell out of all these. Well, okay, I’d have to think about Angel Love for a minute. But I own all the ‘Mazing Man and Boris the Bears and would love to have nice, permanent editions of them. …I don’t know if there’s a market that would support this sort of thing, but it’s nice to think about.

• • •

Kid Kyoto has got no time for The Man’s rules with

“1-A second tier publisher (Valiant maybe, or even Dark Horse) will go digital only. Publishing is so much easier when you dont have to futz with those pesky atoms.”

Haven’t made that jump yet!

“2-The Legion of Super-Heroes will return in a new reboot. (Early 2017 prediction, the LSH will be cancelled)”

Close, but wrong year! Also, OUCH.

“3-Batman and Superman return to normal, for a bit anyway.”

Well, yes, kind of…Superman is back to “normal” in the most abnormal way, but we’re still seeing how that plays out.

“4-Image passes DC to become the #2 publisher, at least for a few months of the year. Maybe just one. But still the writing is on the wall.”

Boy, lots of people predict Image passing DC pretty much every year. If Image had more than one Walking Dead, that might happen.

“5-Big Vertigo push at DC, since nothing else seems to be working.”

Vertigo seemed to slow down a bit, in favor of other big pushes at DC!

“6-Which brings me to the big one… DC. Wow things are dire sales wise. I took the New 52 thing 5 (!!) years ago as a jumping off point and I think many others did too. So… what might work? Maybe move to the multiverse? Each title is a self-contained universe, not linked to the others. That would be neat huh?”

“Rebirth” is kinda/sorta a return of multiversal storytelling, in a way, considering what’s going on, so you’re not too far off!

“7-Which brings me to the bigger one… DC management. At this point Didio and Lee’s record has to be making for some awkward questions in Warner. I would expect new management soon.”

They’re still hanging in there!

“Sorry didn’t notice the 3 prediction limit…”

WHY, KID KYOTO, WHYYYY

• • •

Harvey Jerkwater nicely suggests

“1. ‘Batman V. Superman’ will be pretty good and do very large business, further encouraging other studios to push for (a) more superhero/comic book movies and (b) more shared universe movie series. This will lead to some horrible boondoggles. But not in 2016.”

I don’t know if BvS specifically encouraged more superhero movies, shared universe or otherwise, since everyone still seems to be pretty gung-ho about them right now regardless. I mean, Universal is still gonna do their Universal Monsters shared-universe movie thing, right? That would sound like a boondoggle, unless it gives us more Creature from the Black Lagoon, which would be great. Also, this movie would suddenly be official canon.

“2. Sam Wilson will continue to share the role of ‘Captain America’ with Steve Rogers through the year. The Fantastic Four will not return to the stands in 2016.”

Correct, and also correct. …I’m actually sort of getting anxious for a new Fantastic Four series. Hope it’s good.

“3. The ‘meatball party’ episode of ‘Teen Titans GO!’ will inspire a crossover led by Cyborg and involving meat products fired at high velocity. It will be awesome. I CAN DREAM.”

Had to look up this episode and what the hell is even going on over there. One can only hope the live-action Cyborg in the forthcoming Justice League movie follows this characterization.

• • •

DavidG whizzes

“The Suicide Squad movie will out gross Superman/Batman. Captain America will outgross both of them, but will prove to be the high water mark of Marvel movies.”

SS didn’t quite match BvS’s take, but Civil War did beat them both in the box office. It wasn’t Marvel’s top-grossing film, but whether it’s the high-water mark of Marvel films quality-wise depends on you, the viewer at home!

“Someone at Marvel will notice that the Inhumans are not and never will be the X-Men, and that there is a reason they have never sustained a title for more than a couple of years (hint: it’s because they are very very dull). So the X-Men will feel the love again, despite the minis use marketing push they give to the movies.”

They’re still trying withe the Inhumans, while also doing a new X-Men launch this year. Having their Inhumans and their muties, too, it appears.

“DC’s Rebirth will just make everything worse, hard as that is to believe.”

I think by and large people like “Rebirth,” to be honest, and it appears to have done a good job correcting some of the missteps from the New 52.

• • •

Bruce Baugh breaks the following

“Either Marvel or DC will start providing digital sales figures. Because of Amazon’s longstanding disinterest in doing things like that, the figures will be aggregated so that it’s impossible to distinguish sales via Comixology and anywhere else. The data and its limits will set off horribly ugly, horribly dull arguments.”

I don’t think they’ve been providing digital sales figures aside from generalities, as you’ve noted, but apparently Mad‘s recent statement of publication includes digital sales. Since Mad is published by DC, I’ll call that a hit! Now to see if we get specific sales figures on more titles in the future…not that I can recall a statement of publication appearing in an actual comic book lately.

• • •

Tec15 predicts

“1) Suicide Squad will comfortably out gross Captain America: Avengers 2.5, despite all the Hot Topic, Edgelord Joker jabs the internet makes.”

As discussed above, Civil War beat it out by quite a bit, though SS’s take was nothing to be ashamed of.

“2) Warner Bros will announce a number of AAA games based on DC characters. In response Disney will announce a mobile tie in for Marvel.”

Not a big mobile gaming fan, but there was a DC game app that seemed to have a bit of money put into it. And there seems to be no shortage of Marvel mobile games, judging by the number of screenshots I see on my Twitter feed.

“3) DC will announce a new digital first Lego Batman title.”

Not yet, far as I can tell, and if they don’t, it can only be because DC Comics hates money.

• • •

Crowded House pushes me out of the room with

“1. Superhero movies will continue to be massively profitable and will dominate the entertainment industry for at least a while longer, though the cracks in the facade of sustainability will begin to show.”

They certainly seem to be not leaving us any time soon. As I’ve said here and elsewhere, it looks like a bad superhero movie is now generally seen as a bad movie, and not necessarily an example of why superhero movies are going to die Any Second Now. That shores up the sustainability a bit.

“2. In response to these cracks, both Marvel and DC launch their newest plans to continue their dominance at the box office-a sentient virus that turns their viewers of superhero movies and TV shows into members of that movie/TV show. Now they can never end, because everyone you know will be touched by the virus, and you have to know what happens to them. And then you’ll be caught, and you’ll be part of them now. Yes. You are one with them, they are one with you. The superheroes never have to stop. Never. They will always be with you, in you, within you. Feel them in you. They come for you. But don’t worry, it’s all for the best.”

I, the living embodiment of Frank Miller’s The Spirit, finds this a tad farfetched.

“3. Disappointingly, none of post-end credits reveals at the end of any Marvel or DC movie will feature Herbie Popnecker.”

Our country’s second-greatest shame.

• • •

And that was that! Thanks for participating, everyone, and remember to leave me your 2017 predictions! Probably one more post following up on your comments to these posts from the last couple of weeks, so I’ll see you Friday for the exciting epilogue to our journey!

Your 2016 Predictions, Part Four: One of Our Spies Is Missing.

§ January 16th, 2017 § Filed under predictions § 7 Comments

Okay, I should be able to wrap up my look back at your 2016 predictions this week…if you need to catch up, here are parts One, Beta, and C. And don’t forget to give me your 2017 predictions!

• • •

Tim B buzzes

“1. There will continue to be a Kamandi shaped hole in DC’s line up. (I know I predicted this last year but If I keep on predicting eventually I’ll be proved wrong)”

You were a lot closer this time ’round, with the Kamandi Challenge Special coming out this week, and the actual Kamandi Challenge series to follow shortly! It was all announced last year, so I’m calling this a hit! Hooray for you!

“2. The Defenders Omnibus/digital release to coincide with the Netflix series.”

No specific tie-in volume to the still-forthcoming Defenders series yet, but I suspect there will be at some point. In the meantime, it looks like that a lot of the Marvel Masterworks volumes for the original Defenders series are available on Comixology.

“3. Have a Good Year (no I don’t mean the tyre…)”

Well, I can’t suppose I can complain. I mean, I made it out of 2016 alive. We’ll see about 2017.

• • •

Gareth Wilson volleys over the following

“1) Deadpool will make a brief cameo in a Marvel movie or TV show. Yes, Deadpool, and yes, mainstream Marvel.”

I think that would be funny, but no go so far. Doesn’t help that the Deadpool media license is restricted to a studio that isn’t Marvel Studios, so no surprise appearances in Avengers Part 6: The Space Phantoms Attack or anything. Probably more likely to see Howard the Duck cameos.

“2) Superman will be killed off on the Supergirl TV show.”

Probably keeping that in the bank for a later, less ratings-y season.

“3) In the comics, the Fantastic Four and several prominent X-Men will be stranded in another universe.”

Apparently at the end of Secret Wars, Reed and Sue are off traveling the Multiverse or some darn thing, so while they’re effectively out of the Marvel Universe for now, the only thing stranding them is the fact that Fantastic Four comics aren’t really selling at the moment. The X-Men also haven’t been kicked out yet, far as I can tell, though I’m sure once everyone buys the Inhumans as the able-to-be-exploited-in-media-Marvel-can-actually-own replacements for them, off the X-Men go!

• • •

My old, old customer Kurt Onstad has a ball speeding in with

“1) Fox and Marvel will finally come to an agreement that brings the FF under the Marvel Studios banner.”

As much as everyone hoped and prayed for this to happen, hopes and prayers had their usual effect of “bupkis” and no apparent movement on this front yet. I was in the minority, probably, thinking that, while that recent Fantastic Four wasn’t, well, good, they could possibly build a worthwhile sequel based on it. I mean, the parts were there, something could be done with them. But I suspect we’ll get yet another reboot or three before Marvel can ever reclaim them.

“2) Superman vs. Batman will not do as well as originally predicted, leading to a glut of ‘Is the Superhero Movie boom finally over?’ articles followed immediately by Civil War breaking previous superhero movie records, allowing us to mock incessantly the previously-mentioned articles.”

I don’t think Civil War broke any records, but it brought in over a billion bucks worldwide, so no one’s complaining, I’m sure. BvS didn’t break the billion mark, but still made about $900 million and again, that’s nothing to sneeze at. I didn’t notice any more “superhero movie fatigue” reporting this time around…we’re probably more likely to get “less bad superhero movies, more good ones, please” articles at this point, since superhero movies don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

“3) Speedball will show up in the Damage Control TV series, leading to him finally getting an ongoing series again. (Of all my Speedball-related predictions over the years, I think this one has the best chance of actually coming true…)”

Damage Control hasn’t made it to the air yet, but I’m betting we’ll see Speedball in a live action something-or-‘nother, sooner rather than later.

• • •

Adam Farrar predicts the farrar future with

“1) DC will at least attempt to celebrate Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary with as much fan fare as they’ll devote to Green Arrow’s 75th and Barry Allen’s 60th anniversaries. It might not be as big a deal as they did for Superman or Batman so it will still be underwhelming but it might not look as bad. Meanwhile, DC and Marvel will not celebrate the 45th anniversaries of Swamp Thing and Man-Thing to heighten the anticipation for their 50th anniversaries in 2021.”

She got a special anniversary comic, some postage stamps, a “75th Anniversary” logo/label thingie, a special feature in Variety, and some other stuff, so there was some attention paid to her last year! And while I’d love to see special Swamp Thing/Man-Thing 50th anniversary celebrations, I’d keel over dead from shock if DC or Marvel acknowledge this in any significant way. Looks like it’ll be up to me.

“2) Marvel will launch a new on-going ‘Fantastic Four’ comic that reunites the core cast. This will most likely come out of a crossover.”

Not yet, but when it does happen, I’ll bet money that it will indeed be out of a crossover.

• • •

Philippe Leblanc barbs me with

“1) DC Comics and Marvel comics will stop publishing comics altogether declaring the whole thing ‘a pointless exercise.’ They’ll both experiment with a model where they release Excel spreadsheet with adjustment to their respective communities bound and stapled with various full page drawings of Batman (for DC) and Wolverine & Punisher (for Marvel). Marvel will keep Ms. Marvel going as its last comic title while DC will keep a Black Canary as its last title.”

I’m pretty sure Marvel and DC are desperately hoping their parents companies don’t declare publishing comics a pointless exercise! Also, while they’re looking for cost-cutting publishing measures, I don’t think they’ve quite gotten to the point of the Spreadsheet Pin-up Variant comics. And alas, Black Canary‘s solo book has fallen to the wayside (while still appearing in other comics), but I hope Marvel does keep Ms. Marvel going up ’til the bitter end of the company, if only to spite, you know, jerks.

“2) Comics shops will sell less Marvel and DC comics to an alarming degree. Comic shop owner begin largely diversifying their offering in a mad attempt to save their shops. A resurgence of creator-driven, indie comics will save the market. Diamond collapse.”

Well, a lot of Marvel relaunches of late have not sold quite to expectations, but both Marvel and DC are hanging in there. I wouldn’t want to see Diamond collapse, however. The plan we have in place now may not be perfect, but I think we’d all be much happier improving what’s already there, rather than just stripping it away without an improved replacement, or even just any kind of replacement, ready to go. Too many livelihoods would be disrupted or outright demolished. I am in no way creating an allegory to any other thing that may be going on right now.

“3) Copra will become the best-selling comic of 2016”

Imagine a world were this could be true.

• • •

Erik swings in with

“People will start reading Tarzan comics again, having finally realized how awesome Tarzan is.”

We got that Tarzan/Planet of the Apes series, and that’s doing okay! Probably not exactly what you meant, but it’s a start. But honestly, I don’t know what would make Tarzan a major player in the comics market again. Everything that comes out now is a niche in an already niche market, and once relatively popular licenses like Tarzan, or the Shadow, just struggle along or depend on oddball crossover events to get attention. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with oddball crossover events (Tarzan/POTA and the recent Shadow/Twilight Zone series are fun!), but it’s hard for them to get traction on their own. Not impossible (Shadow: Death of Margo Lane did okay), but sometimes properties can get a bit long in the tooth and harder to sell to new audiences. (Says the guy who still sells plenty of Batman.)

There’s probably a much longer essay in this answer than I’m making time for now. Let me think about it a bit more.

• • •

Andrew ventures in with

“1. Dark Horse will announce a deal and/or ongoing talks to develop one of their company-owned properties as a live-action streaming series. Early reaction is ecstatic as most commentators forget that most of the publisher’s best and highest profile output is creator-owned.”

Does Dark Horse have any properties they outright own? The Mask, maybe? I can see them pushing a new media exploitation of that over, say, trying to get a Concrete movie going. But nothing that I saw this year, alas.

“2. Deadpool will fail to meet expectations at the box office. Not to Fantastic Four levels, but enough that studio executives should realize that R-rated superhero movies are a tough sell. They won’t, but they should.”

Hoo boy, pretty much the opposite happened. It seemed like they were falling over themselves to make edgier, R-ratings-er superhero movies after Deadpool took off.

“3. IDW will somehow manage to hang onto their Disney licence. The books will, however continue translating European stories and sell at a price point beyond the reach of most kids’ pocket money.”

I don’t know, kids have a lot more pocket money nowadays. And they’re buying comics…but mostly not Disney ones. Well, okay, that’s not true, they’re buying Frozen and Disney Princess…but the traditional Duck and Mouse books are still going to the older fans.

• • •

Bret Sector subdivides his predictions as follows:

“1. Your standard Marvel comic will clock in at $4.99.”

Not just yet, though that price point does seem to pop up a little too often.

“2. iPad Pro will come in a giant-sized treasury edition for optimal reading of digital giant-sized, bronze age treasury editions.”

I would love this, but can already feel my eyeballs drying from the heat.

“3. Omnibus omnibi (i.e., 10,000+ page omnibus collections of omnibus collections with stainless steel reinforced spines and their own mahogany pallets) will be all the rage, in particular Deadpool OO.”

I can see archaeologists from future civilizations digging up books like these and wondering “just what sort of gods where these people worshiping, anyway?” So perhaps we lucked out that these sorts of books haven’t popped up in Diamond’s solicitations yet.

• • •

Wayne Allen Sallee sallies forth with

“1. DC will continue to put out mini-series throughout 2016, rather than introducing ongoing titles.”

As we know, we got “Rebirth” instead. Still got plenty of minis squeeze in there, though!

“2. Someone, somehow, will find out what Jim Lee actually does on a daily basis. I hope that someone is you, Mike Sterling. Please keep a journal.”

I tried, Wayne, but, you know, the restraining order an’ all.

“3. PAPER GIRLS will be developed into a film. Set in 1988, it does well enough that other films will be made that take place in the fairly recent past, much as we saw a lot of films set in the 50s a few decades ago.”

Not just yet, but that’s not a bad prediction. Though it seems like the Netflix show Stranger Things may have some influence pushing people into that recent-nostalgia TV/movie-making phase.

• • •

Rob S. sneaks in like a thief in the night with

“1. There’ll be a new Legion comic announced by the end of the year. A big-name writer poached from Marvel will write it.”

No announcement yet…time will tell if you’re right about the second part.

“2. Afterlife with Archie will ship a dazzling two (2!) issues in 2016.”

DING DING DING winner winner chicken dinner! Unless you count second printings, in which case three issues shipped.

“3. DC will continue teasing connections to old timelines, but keep the general context of the New 52 universe.”

I believe you just described the entire “Rebirth” event.

• • •

That’s enough for now. Come back soon for the exciting conclusion!

Your 2016 Predictions, Part Three: One Spy Too Many.

§ January 13th, 2017 § Filed under predictions § 3 Comments

…Aaaaand welcome back to Mike Goes Over Your 2016 Predictions at Excruciating Length, but if you’re just joining us, parts One and Two of this Predictapalooza may be found at the links attached to the words “one” and “two” that you just read. Also, if you want to chip in with your comic industry predictions for 2017, here is where you’d want to go.

• • •

googum googums:

“1. When Marvel’s ream of new titles aren’t all immediate million-sellers, a lot of them get cancelled. But the criteria for what gets cancelled and when is going to seem completely arbitrary. One critical darling gets cut, while another with worse sales goes on; and so forth. Feelings are hurt.”

Marvel’s cycles of relaunches and cancellations seem to have been just business as usual, though it appeared the ending of the Squadron Surpeme spinoff Nighthawk got a lot of attention. I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more cut-short runs in the near future, based on how some of the newer launches have been doing.

“2. After doubling-down on Batman doesn’t immediately yield huge profits, DC is forced to go further down its list of properties to reboot. House of Mystery, Kamandi, and Sgt. Rock are all brought back; with varying levels of success.”

You were close on Kamandi, which is coming back in a month or two…though not really a “reboot” so much as a gimmick “round-robin” series, which still looks like fun anyway. I mean, in a wider sense, DC did sorta reboot everything mid-way through the year, but there wasn’t really any chance-taking with most of the books, as far as properties go. I mean, the most oddball book of the bunch is Hellblazer, really.

“3. Batman v. Superman might do well in theaters, but not as well in the action figure aisles. With a glut of ‘Batfleck,’ it lingers on shelves and causes future superhero figure lines to be cut back.”

I haven’t noticed any scaling back of the action figure business in the wake of BvS, but we’ll see what they do for Wonder Woman. If anything, I’m seeing an upswing in solicitations for the high-end figures…the $50 to $100 ones in the fancy boxes with too many extra hands or heads. That’s in addition to continuing offers for the standard-issue figures, so it’s not as if they’ve backed off from general interest figures in favor of boutique collectibles. …To be honest, I haven’t been in a store’s toy aisle in quite a while, so I don’t know what’s warming the pegs.

• • •

Anthony hops in with

“1. Flash/Arrow universe will NOT crossover with Gotham or Supergirl”

Not with Gotham, but definitely with Supergirl. Twice, even!

“2. Marvel glosses over Miles Morales being in the 616”

He has an ongoing, and he was part of the Civil War II event, so Marvel hasn’t started ignoring him yet!

“3. Godzilla Resurgence doesn’t get released in America”

Had to Wiki it up, but it looks like it had a limited release and did manage to make a not-insignificant amount of cash. Not bad for an old radioactive monster.

• • •

PTOR conjures up

“The Dazzling Dystopian Disney/Marvel Mighty Marching Merchandising Machine for the Benedict Cumberbatch Doctor Strange movie will CRUSH me under its brobdingnagian weight, and I’ll be selling off internal organs in a vain attempt to keep up.”

Whether he was crushed beneath said Doctor Strange merchandise, I don’t know…can one of you guys swing by his sanctum and check up on PTOR? Anyway, there was a lot of Strange merch, because 1) it’s Marvel, and 2) it’s Disney, so that should come as a surprise to nobody. But really, all you need is an Eye of Agamotto replica pendant. And maybe the cape.

• • •

David Alexander McDonald tries to do me in with

“1) DC. Dan DiDio remains in place. Geoff Johns, surprisingly, doesn’t get sucked into Hollywood yet again. On the comics front, nobody can make up their mind what they’re doing any more because everything seems to be falling down and failing, even The Dark Knight III, which collapses under its own weight of hubris as it bangs on. Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman Earth-One becomes the focus of increasing amounts of hate, until DC pulls the book and issues an apology for daring to take the character back to her roots. The DC Multiverse ends up confusing everybody because one faction wants to run with ‘anything goes!’ while another faction is terrified by the financial hits DC took in 2015 and wants to contract the whole damn thing back to core books.

“The dregs of the New 52 finally stagger to issue #52 and DC reconfigures all over again, without actually bothering to reboot. Due to the stress of all of this, in October Dan DiDio grows hair.

“Batman v Superman comes out, staggers, and dies, continuing Warner Bros’ disastrous streak, but Suicide Squad makes it. Heads roll at Warner Bros, and rumours of strange things being done to the Wonder Woman film emerge from the darkest corners of gossipville.

“The TV front continues to cook along. The end of Flash season 2 kills Harrison Wells off again (nobly), redeems Jay Garrick, and makes it clear that there’s more than two universes to play in, enabling a possible Supergirl crossover (that everyone will deny can ever happen, until it does.) Legends Of Tomorrow will sneak Booster Gold in. Now on a mad streak, the Berlantiverse will bring back John Constantine once again, on the way to launching him into a fourth DCCW series, this time DC’S HOUSE OF SECRETS.”

So, that’s prediction #1, eh? Geez louise. Well…Dan and Geoff, still around. DKIII is actually still selling very well for me, despite delays and adding a ninth issue. WW Earth-1 is still around, and people seemed to like it. Folks seem okay with the multiverse shenanigans. Don’t know if anyone was “terrified,” but DC did reconfigure without exactly rebooting, so good call there. Dan’s head remains bald and beautiful.

NEW PARAGRAPH. BvS and Squad both did fine, if not the billion point five everyone expects superhero movies to make now. Haven’t heard anything odd about the WW movie, and heads could be rolling at the WB, but when aren’t they at any major media company?

THIRD PARAGRAPH FOR PREDICTION ONE, DAVID: They did replace Wells with another Wells, and I hope they serve up a new Wells every year. Jay Garrick was redeemed, but probably not in the way you were expecting, and yes indeedy we have the DC Multiverse on people’s televisions, somehow (including that Supergirl crossover!). Booster Gold apparently does have something in the works, but not tied to the other shows. Constantine ain’t back on TV, though the actor from the TV show will reprise the character for the animated Justice League Dark movie. I’d love a House of Mystery show, however.

“2) Giant-Size Man-Thing. Er, Marvel. Marvel’s All New, All Different not-a-reboot (honest) will run into major issues because of the Perlmutter decision to screw with the Fantastic Four and the X-Men and promote the Inhumans. Editorial will try to push more graphic novels out, and more omnibuses. There will be mass confusion.

“On the film front, Deadpool will do okay, X-Men: Apocalypse will not. Captain America: Civil War will fall a bit short of expectation financially, but this again won’t be superhero fatigue but ongoing cinema trends. Doctor Strange will do okay, if not gangbusters, although production will be fraught due to a very tight time frame.

“Marvel TV…will see Jessica Jones given a second season, Luke Cage being a huge hit, Daredevil officially getting season 3, and all of the shadows around Iron Fist being blown away as though punched by a fist that’s become like unto iron! Um, anyway. Agents Of SHIELD will get a fourth season, and inexplicably have a story that gives us Man-Thing in time for the Doctor Strange movie. Agent Carter will get a third season as well, this time with twelve episodes. Other mooted Marvel TV shows will fade quietly away again, both MCU and otherwise. There will be a big foofawraw as Fox, in desperation, attempts a Fantastic Four TV show, having drowned the FF sequel in the bathtub.”

Well, FF is still out of the picture, and the confusing X-Men promotion will actually be this year, 2017. Nobody gets the huge Inhumans push, though their comics are doing…okay, mostly. Marvel’s graphic novel program is still pretty much business as usual, and folks seem to be taking it in stride.

Deadpool way exceeded expectations, while Apocalypse did okay but not as well as people hoped. Civil War and Doctor Strange both did extremely well. People still like their superhero flicks!

Jessica Jones was indeed renewed, Luke Cage went over well, Daredevil was also renewed, and I don’t know how Iron Fist will do, and in fact I’m not quite sure what your prediction means! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did get a fourth season, but we’ll see if a fifth is in the offing. …Ooh, too bad about Agent Carter, though. And oddly enough, Fox is attempting an X-Men tie-in show, but that doesn’t start ’til next month.

“3) At some point during the year I will contact the Mikester and buy something from him. Why will this happen? Because. Mike’s one of the good guys, has been generous with his time and words, and deserves our support. SO SAY WE ALL (c’mon, you poozers, SPEAK UP!)”

LISTEN TO THIS VERY WISE, IF VERBOSE, MAN.

• • •

Jer sez

“1) The big events this year will revolve around movies. Batman v. Superman, Captain America, and Doctor Strange will all do well. Audiences will respond to Suicide Squad with a baffled WTF, though it will probably do well financially. None of these movies will do much for comics except that we might have a shot at finally getting all of the original run of Suicide Squad into print.”

Well, a movie called Civil War certainly played a part in getting a Civil War II on the stands. And I think you called it on Suicide Squad, though some people did react well to certain aspects of it (like Harley Quinn). And yes, the classic Suicide Squad is coming out in trade!

“2) On the TV front – Legends of Tomorrow on the CW will do reasonably well, but not better than the Flash. Supergirl will probably get picked up for a second season, but if it doesn’t it’ll move to CW. It’s a coin toss as to whether Agents of SHIELD gets a fourth season or not, but I’ll go ahead and say that it gets the axe but ABC puts together a different Marvel show to fill the timeslot. DC will fumble the ball with the Legends of Tomorrow comic book to the surprise of no comics fans, but to the bafflement of fans of the TV show looking for tie-ins.”

A quick look at some articles on the matter noted that Legends of Tomorrow didn’t do all that great, though its ratings doubled during the “Invasion” crossover. And as noted already, Supergirl did move to the CW, and S.H.I.E.L.D. got its fourth season. And while I liked DC’s Legends of Tomorrow comic, it definitely wasn’t the TV show, though it’s not like I had anyone asking for a specific tie-in for it anyway.

“3) On the comics front – no big events this year and the great jumping off point for old readers that both of the Big Two gave to readers last year means that there will be lots of handwringing and gloom-n-doom analysis and we’ll get dozens of articles all year about the decline of the Direct Market.”

We did get big events from DC and Marvel, which did fine and didn’t cause an attrition of readers, that I noticed, though DC’s Rebirth numbers are beginning to normalize, and a lot of Marvel’s post-CWII relaunches are landing with a big “thud.” There’s always “the end of comics” market analysis talk, but some of these flops ain’t helpin’.

• • •

Interstate Shogun hits the road with

“1. With the reprinting of Master of Kung Fu in Omnibus editions becoming a big hit for Marvel, a new ongoing series will once again be tried. That’ll be the good news. The bad news? Kaare Andrews will write and draw it.”

No new ongoing, which just slightly surprises me. With eveything else Marvel is throwing at the wall, I mean, why not?

“2. With the success of Dark Knight III, and with DC looking for anything that will sell, another series will be announced, Dark Knight IV: Dark City. In this one, a beaten down Bruce Wayne travels to Russia to box a heavyweight contender with spiky blond hair. Along the way, Bruce also tracks down a serial killer with a taste for hookers. He even takes one bowling to try to lure the killer out. Great family fun for all!”

Well, in all seriousness, there seems as if there will be a Dark Knight IV, which was announced in 2015. Of course, if it’s out by 2018, I’ll be shocked.

“3. The new Miracleman material will finally come out in 2016 and it won’t seem like such a big deal. Miracleman will be subverted into the 616 with little fanfare and become buddies with the Sentry.”

No new MM stuff out yet, but they longer they wait, the less anyone’s going to care. I mean, I’ll care, becaues I’ve been waiting for the continuation of that story for decades, so what’s a few more months/years?

• • •

Back on Monday for more! And give me your 2017 predictions!

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