Bringing up the possibility of a Misfits of Science: Season 2 comic didn’t really fit in the body of this post, so here it is in the title.

§ August 8th, 2016 § Filed under indies, television § 1 Comment

So when I was talking about the black and white boom books a while back (1 2 3) there’s one I totally forgot about and was reminded of when Zack Soto brought it up on his Twitter: MacKenzie Queen!

macqueentpb
Yeah, that’s the cover of the trade instead of one of the issues of the actual series, because if I’m going to “borrow” a pic from the Grand Comics Database, let it at least this time be one that I scanned for that site myself.

Anyway, I’ve written here before about MacKenzie Queen, mostly about the fact that it took me what seemed like forever to track down the last issue of the series. In fact, I found it after I bought the trade, because it figures. And you should go to that link for the ultimate punchline about the whole MacKenzie Queen #5 thing.

I definitely did want to point out this comic, even if it’s a bit after the fact of my black and white funnybook discussion, because this was the first time I was exposed to the work of Bernie Mireault, and just loved it to pieces. Beautifully detailed art delineating crazy magic and aliens and even music, with a great sense of humor…this was right up my alley. The Jam is a later series of his that’s just as great, and even just typing out that name makes me want to pull those out of the boxes and give ’em a reread. …Man, if only I had time to reread all the comics I want to reread.

So, in conclusion: MacKenzie Queen and The Jam…two more positive results from the black and white boom of the 1980s. ASK FOR THEM BY NAME.

• • •

In other news, the long-running Wild Cards anthology series that took comic book superheroes and turned ’em into prose (and then people would occasionally turn them back into comic books, for some reason) is apparently just about to get a live-action adaptation, apparently. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long, kinda sorta, especially now when people are scrambling for superhero stuff to turn into movies and hopefully get some trickle-down from that enormous pile of Avengers movie bucks.

I’m only “kinda” surprised because, as has been brought up in the occasional discussion I’d get into friends with this, the sheer number of different writers and characters they’ve created for the series might complicate any media adaptation deals, though I have zero idea what kind of agreements were in place for this very thing. And it might have been the cost…a superhero TV show means lots of special effects, and while those are probably cheaper to do now than they ever have been, it still ain’t free, and multiply the number of different effects they’d have to work out by the number of characters that could be involved. I mean, there are ways to work around this, of course.

On the other hand, given that George R.R. Martin was one of the instigators of this particular book project, I’m not surprised someone finally pushed this project forward. Seems like I remember a long time ago, reading in Comics Scene, that this was a possible Disney project at one point, maybe?

But whatever. I do look forward to it, as a Wild Cards fan since that first paperback came out way back in 1986 (thirty years? good gravy…and I know it has a 1987 copyright, but I’m about 98% certain it came out in late ’86). I’m trying not to get my hopes too far up, given my reaction to another adaptation of something I greatly enjoyed, but if they can sell me on a live-action version of The Great and Powerful Turtle, I think I’ll be okay with it.

And speaking of comic book TV adaptations…is Dreadstar still in the works? Oh Lordy I hope so.

Gaspar Saladino (1926(?) – 2016).

§ August 5th, 2016 § Filed under obituary, swamp thing § 2 Comments

Gaspar Saladino was the letterer’s letterer, providing logos and text for many a comic book for several decades, for Marvel and DC, and designed logos for all the 1970s Atlas books (such as this great one for Grim Ghost), and many, many more.

And of course he created the logo for a comic book series of particular importance to me:

swampthinglogocvr6
And also did the lettering within, designing the distinct balloons for both Swamp Thing’s thoughts and his rare vocalization:

swampthing6panel
He was a great talent, and an essential part of the look-and-feel of those early Swamp Thing comics. He’ll be missed.

Mark Evanier has an obituary (he mentions that there’s some question to Saladino’s actual birth year, hence the question mark in this post’s title), and Todd Klein has an overview of some of Saladino’s early DC work (parts 1 2 3).

So long, Gaspar.

The whole “Superman” section of this post sort of got away from me here.

§ August 3rd, 2016 § Filed under superman, this week's comics § 5 Comments

younganimalpreview
So I have to say I was pretty amused by this week’s preview booklet for DC’s “Young Animal” imprint. As you can see by the cover, it apes the look of DC’s Who’s Who series, down to including Who’s Who-style entries for some of the characters in the first few pages. The rest of the pages are filled with art samples from the forthcoming titles. Mostly I’m impressed by the “lo-fi” nature of the preview, a black and white digest-sized pamphlet that stands out in this age of full-color sampler comics and full-size first-look magazines, selling ideas, not production values. An interesting statement on the aesthetic of this line, I think.

superman4rebirth
What’s interesting about the Superman titles during DC’s “Rebirth” initiative is that, all things considered, people shouldn’t like them. This is about as convoluted a set-up as you can have for a Superman franchise, involving parallel universes and whatnot, and oh Superman and Lois have a son, too…but ultimately people are interested. It’s a combination of “here’s something sorta new with the character” and “this isn’t the New 52 version of Superman you didn’t like, but the one that’s been around since the 1980s Byrne revamp, more or less.” The hooks for the two series have been engaging (with Action focusing on the maybe-redemption arc for Lex Luthor and the mystery of the Other Clark Kent, and Superman focusing on the Supes/Lois/Jon family dynamic).

I generally prefer Action, and at first I wasn’t entirely thrilled with this week’s issue of Superman…there’s a whole lot of fighting with the Eradictor, and not a whole lot else…but it does provide the next step is Jon’s evolution as the Son of Superman, and that does leave me wanting to see more. Which, of course, I’ll eventually be getting in the forthcoming Super Sons book, co-starring Damian Wayne…which makes me wonder. Did DC’s relative success in giving Batman a biological son pave the way for DC doing the same for Superman? But then, a father/son dynamic has been present in the Batman comics for decades…it’s just now the son is actually his son, not a ward or an adoptee, so there’s not really any change in that dynamic.

I guess in the Superman franchise, Supergirl sort of filled the role of the mentored youngster, but that’s not really the same as “Superman has a child.” He’s not even really had any kind of established Robin-esque sidekick like Batman, despite Supergirl’s occasional guest appearances. So, while Batman having a son didn’t really affect the franchise, giving Superman a son does alter things from the established model quite a bit. (It strikes me, sometimes, how lonely Superman seems to be in the pre-Crisis days…going to the empty Kent home, keeping his double life secret from his friends, even separated from Kandor in either its shrunken city or on-an-interdimensional-planetoid forms.)

Anyway, this is just a lot of meandering about a current plot development that will likely go away in whatever big shakeup the whole “Rebirth” thing is eventually leading to. The current story of “Parallel Universe Superman” will probably be wrapped up sooner rather than later, and whatever permutations that make this Superman differ from the Official Licenseable Version will be sanded away. But in the meantime, the Superman books have made for intriguing reading, if only for exploring how flexible the franchise is after nearly eight decades of existence.

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ August 1st, 2016 § Filed under End of Civilization § 14 Comments

The End of Civilization is staring us right in the eyes, friends, and you get to stare right back into that abyss with the latest issue of Previews! Grab your copy (the August 2016 edition) and follow along, why don’cha?

p. 44 – Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1:

p44nopower
Man, musical comics are really hard to do, so how are they going to pull this…oh, it’s short for “universe.” Never mind.
 
 
p. 54 – Muhammad Ali HC:

p54ali
I know this is supposed to cover his life as a whole, but it’d be a shame to have his team-up with Superman compressed to just a few pages.
 
 
p. 80 – Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #1:

p80cyberneticlip
“Oh yeah? Cybernetic lip, cybernetic lip!”
 
 
p. 122 – He-Man/Thundercats #1:

p122hmthund
He-Man’s gonna have a lot of ‘splaining to do to the Thundercats regarding the whole “Cringer” situation.
 
 
p. 284 – Archie Meets The Ramones #1:

p284arcramones
Okay, every single time something like this comes up I always make a joke like “and then they should team up with G.G. Allin!” which is exactly what I said when this series was originally announced.

So let me change my reference: boy, I sure hope the Archies meet Throbbing Gristle next! “IN THIS ISSUE, JUGHEAD MEETS THE HAMBURGER LADY!”
 
 
p. 302 – Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York #1:

p302btlc

greenwarlord
 
 
p. 338 – Betty Boop #1:

p338boop

I freely admit I did not know I needed a Howard Chaykin-drawn Betty Boop drawing until I saw it in this Previews.
 
 
p. 485 – Super Mario Adventures GN:

p485smb

This is the weirdest variation on the old “two brothers on opposite sides in the Civil War” trope that I’ve ever read.
 
 
p. 508 – Wonder Woman Coloring Book SC:

p509wwcolor

“So what color should her panties be?”

“FRANK, NO”
 
 
p. 509 – Home Alone The Authorized Coloring Book SC:

p509home

At last, my days of coloring in unauthorized Home Alone coloring books are over.
 
 
p. 509 – 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die:

p509101horror

Oddly enough, one of the movies listed is actually titled 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die.
 
 
p. 526 – “For Darkseid” Red Heather T-Shirt:

p526darks

And also “FOR ZARDOZ!”
 
 
p. 630 – Star Trek Pizza Cutter:

p630pizzacutter

Obviously based on that scene from “Who Mourns for Adonais” when Apollo grabs the Enterprise with his giant projected hand and uses it to cut his godly-sized pizza.
 
 
p. 643 – Howard the Duck Molded Head Mug:

p643htdmug

Either the greatest piece of Marvel Comics merchandise of all time, or the one artifact by which future civilizations will pass their harshest judgement.

Jack, Richard, and Jerry.

§ July 29th, 2016 § Filed under obituary § 4 Comments

As I’m sure you may have heard, Jack Davis, “MAD‘s Maddest Artist,” passed away this week at the age of 91. Now, I loved MAD, and I loved the work of Jack Davis both there and in the other EC Comics (this is probably my favorite horror cover of his). If you remember, a few years back a rumor briefly went around that Mr. Davis had passed away, and I had a tribute post ready to go. I held off posting ’til I had confirmation, and of course it turned out he was fine. But, not one to let a little bit of work go to waste, I posted it anyway, because why not celebrate a great talent while he’s still with us? We should do that more often.

So, here’s that post, with plenty of links to samples of his work. Like all of the man’s art isn’t permanently embedded in our collective consciousness anyway.

Another comics artist passed away this week: Richard Thompson, creator of the strip Cul de Sac. Unfortunately, his strip ran at a time when I wasn’t really paying attention to the comic strip world, beyond archival reprints of other older strips. I’d seen his work, of course, and always made the mental note of “I’ve got to dig into his material,” but never got around to it. What I’ve seen of it, though, has always impressed, and it’s clear from the outpouring of grief at his loss just how much love and respect he had earned. In a way, I’m sort of lucky…I still get to discover how wonderful his talent was, and that excitement of being exposed to a new great work is still before me. This time, I will seek it out, and not just put it on the back burner.

Also passed away this week is one of the stars of the Babylon 5 television series, Jerry Doyle, who played Garibaldi. He was the down-to-earth, sardonic voice that grounded all the alien warfare and ancient prophecies and other sci-fi shenanigans…sort of a gruff “everyguy” that you couldn’t help but like, even as the character went through some dark places. The creator of Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski, wrote this funny and touching tribute.

As much as I want to write “enough already, 2016,” I’m going to point you to pal Andrew who has some smart words on what Achewood so accurately calls “the only game in town.”

“Arcane is, like, grody to the max.”

§ July 27th, 2016 § Filed under cartoons, swamp thing § 4 Comments

So the full Justice League Dark animated movie preview is out there on the internettings, which is a special feature on the soon-to-be-released-in-physical-media-preferred-by-the-old Batman: The Killing Joke DVD and/or Blu-ray that some of you out there seem to be very excited about. Anyway, the video clip I have here is just the short version of said special feature, which you can go out there and find if you’d like, but I wasn’t comfortable just posting it in its entirety:


Of note: Matt Ryan, star of the Constantine TV show and reprised the role on an episode of Arrow is back providing the voice of John Constantine in…Constantine’s first animated appearance, I think? Unless someone hid him in the background of an episode of Teen Titans or something.

Also, Swamp Thing is in the cartoon, his first animated appearance since this cartoon and the one or two sneaky cameos in one or two other DC animated thingies. No voice credit for ol’ Swampy as yet, so I happily throw my hat into that mossy ring. I always imagined him with a sassy valley-girl type voice, as I’m sure all of you have, too.

And they weren’t happy about Thor being called the “God” of Thunder, either.

§ July 25th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot § 1 Comment

Longtime reader Wayne passed these two screen shots my way, from an episode of the TV series Naked City. He apologizes for the time stamps, indicating that the images are from the year 2025, if man is still alive…oops, wait, wrong year. Anyway, Wayne was reminded of this after I pointed out another funnybook cameo in a moving picture entertainment, and here you can see Amazing Fantasy #15, with the first appearance of what’s-his-name:

…and Journey into Mystery #83, the debut of that other fella:

Okay, sure, this bit of TV trivia has made the rounds before, but hey, it’s neat, so why not put it here, too. Now if anyone has stills of that 1980s episode of the 700 Club where they go after comics, and are particularly unamused by crucified Professor X in the X-Men graphic novel, please feel free to send those my way, too!

• • •

And speaking of Elvira, which I was a few days ago and linked back to just a couple of paragraphs back, reader Paul directed me to this story of how Cassandra Peterson might be hanging up the ol wig ‘n’ dress for good. As Peterson herself says in the story, she’s been saying she was going to stop portraying Elvira for like three decades now, so I suspect the Mistress of the Dark will still be around a bit longer.

• • •

Reader Daniel, remembering that I featured Condorman on my site once or twice way back when, thought I would be interested in this Sunday newspaper strip adaptation as well. And sure, of course I would be. No idea it ran in the papers, though I do have memories as a young Mikester of various short-run strips tying into something-or-‘nother in the funnypages, and I suppose this is yet another example of that.

• • •

And finally…I helped Bully, the Little Bull What Don’t Need No Help, with a pancake post! Go, enjoy the yumminess!

“You drive to the Final Order Cutoff, get out of your car, cut off your Final Order….”

§ July 22nd, 2016 § Filed under question time, retailing § 3 Comments

Okay, he also has some pog-related questions there, but I’m not quite ready to tackle those yet. However, PTOR has the honor of having the last question from that last Question Time post from all those months ago, and that question is THIS:

“How do you keep on top of Diamond / Previews constant ‘newly announced product’ and ‘just now added-on variants and reprints’ that are announced DAILY (with their own dedicated web pages on the Previews site)?

“I’m just a guy trying to keep up with the solicits of pretty much ONE CHARACTER (Doctor Strange, natch) and the constant newly announced stuff is hard to consistently track.
How do you do it for your entire store’s new inventory?”

It’s actually not as bad as it seems. Yes, there’s a constant stream of emails and announcements and whathaveyou, but when it comes to actually ordering all these different items, there’s generally only one or two places to go.

In the Diamond retailer website, you’ve got the Final Order Cutoffs page, where you can adjust your initial orders on comics and toys and other products from select vendors…generally Marvel, DC, IDW, Dark Horse, Image, Zenescope, and some others. Usually any newly announced variants or reprints from these companies will get listed here. This is the place where, if you noticed that your order of 100 copies of X-Squirrels isn’t selling very well on the rack, and you feel like your pending order of 75 copies of issue #2 is going to be way too much, when that issue shows up in the Final Order Cutoff listings you’ll have your chance to drop those numbers down to the far more reasonable 5 copies you should have ordered in the first place.

Then there’s the Previews Plus order page, where all the new products…not just comics, but pretty much everything Diamond carries…show up for your ordering pleasure. Sometimes there’s overlap with the Final Order Cutoff page, but if there is whatever numbers you may have placed will be shown here too. But generally this is the place where you put in your numbers for new product that didn’t show up in the monthly catalog.

Pretty much all new product that Diamond announces shows up in one place or the other. There are rare exceptions, such as the rush print job DC tried to do on the 2nd print of DC Universe Rebirth. We were told to contact our sales rep directly with orders, as, due to its rushed nature, it would not be in the Final Order Cutoff listings.

Occasionally there are special lists made available for other new products (like offers for some San Diego Comic Con exclusives), which are made obvious to anyone logging into Diamond’s site. Like, literally a banner across the top of the page telling you “HEY, PLACE YER ORDERS ALREADY, SHEESH.” Well, maybe not in those words exactly.

And then there are periodic liquidation sales and other special offers, which either show up in email or just when you go to Diamond’s site, but that’s for previously-available product and not quite as vital, but definitely welcome. You just kinda have to keep an eye out for those.

New product, though…the announcements come all the time, but there’s really only a couple of places to put in your orders, so it’s reasonably easy to keep up on that stuff.

And now that I’ve revealed all these secrets to you, PTOR…I’m afraid I’m going to have to kill you. Nothing personal. But that’s just how it goes in the world…of comics retail.

Also I would count how many different Richie Rich titles there were, and be amazed.

§ July 20th, 2016 § Filed under sterling silver comics § 6 Comments

So I finally achieved another milestone with my shop…I’m in the retailer directory listings for the 46th edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide:

overstreetad
Yeah, that’s only a scan of part of the listing…buy the Overstreet Guide, out today in your local funnybook store, to see the rest!

There don’t seem to be quite as many shops in the directory as there were when I first entered the comics business, way back when…or even before that, buying my first copy of the guide and flipping through it endlessly, looking at all the ancient comic titles that were mysteries to me unless they happened to be one of the tiny black and white cover reproductions included on that page. And peering through the pages and pages of comic book stores, with cool and/or odd names, and seeing what different categories of products each one offered.

But now, there I am, my own store, listed in the newest price guide. Yeah, I know, Small Business Owner Mike is thinking “geez, it’s just buying an ad and sending in your info,” but Comic Book Fan Mike can’t help but think I’m now a part of a grand old tradition, corny as that sounds. And before you get on me, yes, I’ve been doing this long enough to know the debates over price guides, the impact (good and bad) on collecting, their feasibility vis-à-vis the modern online marketplace, why isn’t Yummy Fur in there yet, etc. etc.

Can’t help but still think it’s pretty neat to be listed, though. Wonder what Young Mikester would have thought, looking through the directories in that long ago guide, had he known one day his store would be in there?

He probably would have thought “WOO HOO! I’d get free comics, whenever I wanted them!” and I wouldn’t have had the heart to set him straight.

Here are a couple of big things I noticed in the Elvira: Mistress of the Dark movie.

§ July 18th, 2016 § Filed under movie reviews § 6 Comments

So just on a whim (mostly because I was reminded of the film the other day and that I hadn’t seen it) I rented 1988’s Elvira: Mistress of the Dark from Netflix, and…well, it was amusing enough, I suppose. Elvira’s always likeable (unless, I guess, if you’re Vampira) even when the material is a bit slight, and even though my brain is still refusing to process the ending musical/dance number, it’s overall a watchable, silly movie.

However, there are a couple of things I wanted to point out. First, in the bowling alley scene, we are introduced to the bad guy’s goons (one of whom is the late Jeff Conaway of Taxi and Babylon 5 fame). To demonstrate that at least one of said goons is a slow-witted dolt, he is of course given a comic book to read:

elviram1
And it isn’t just any ol’ comic book…it’s Amazing Spider-Man #299, also from 1988, featuring Todd McFarlane’s second art job on the title, as well as featuring Venom’s first “on-screen” appearance in a panel or two:

amazing299cvr
That’s worth a small amount of money nowadays, so as the fella in the still above was manhandling the comic something fierce, Mr. Comic Shop Owner here was cringing a bit. And then Jeff Conaway ripped the comic out of that guy’s hands and tore it in half:

elviram2
URGH.

Well, I suppose it could have been worse. If they’d filmed this scene a few weeks later, it might have been Amazing Spider-Man #300 that the prop guy bought off the rack at the local 7-11 and we could have been watching a comic that now regularly sells for two or three hundred bucks being torn in half. In a looping GIF. Forever and ever. Pinned to the top of this site.

Second thing I noticed:

elviram3
Sure were a lot of boob jokes in this film. Who would have guessed?

« Older Entries Newer Entries »