“Established 2014″ reads the sign that I may someday get to display.

§ December 15th, 2014 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 7 Comments

So one of my behaviors that I’ve noticed since opening the new store is that I am, just slightly, a little bit defensive. Hopefully not obnoxiously so, but every once in a while someone new will pop in the door and say something like “oh, hey, a new comic book store! When did you open?” and I’ll respond with “just a little over a month ago butI’vebeendoingthisalongtime Iusedtomanageanotherstoreforyearsandyears butIownthisoneIknowwhatI’mdoingIswear” and that hasn’t frightened anybody off yet but I suppose it’s only a matter of time.

I think it’s a reaction to no longer having the history of my previous place of employment backing me up. I used to be all “yeah, we’ve been around a while…thirty-five years a while” and then leaning back, smiling with arms crossed, as I bathed in the awe and amazement. Okay, I wasn’t that smug about it well maybe a little but I liked being able to reassure customers that this wasn’t some fly-by-night shop and that I wasn’t some schmuck who didn’t know his job…we’d been at it for some time, we’ve got it down, don’t worry, friend.

My current circumstances require me to pretty much start again, to rebuild my reputation as a comic book guy who’s got it together, and so far I’d like to think I’ve impressed upon the newer members of my clientele that I do in fact know what I’m doing. This article in the city paper did help quite a bit in letting interested parties know my history in the business, and this page on my store’s site did the same. In fact, I was starting the “butI’vebeendoingthisawhile” info dump for one customer who pretty much stopped me with “yeah, I know, I saw the webpage!”

Now, the customers I have now who did know me from my previous funnybook-retailing life…I can only assume that they’re used to my particular quirks and, well, “better the devil you know” and all that. …Okay, I’m just joshin’ a little. I do appreciate their loyalty to me, and frankly, I’m touched that they came with me or, at least, are splitting some of their comic-buying business with me. (And for those of you who are curious…that wasn’t an unexpected result of my leaving, and things are still okay between me and my old shop. Read my reply to Roel here for details.)

I’m about a month and a week into this new life of mine, and thus far everything seems to be going great. I’m doing good business, I’m meeting new customers, and it’s beginning to feel a lot less like “I hope people will eventually come into this big box where I’m storing comics on shelves and in boxes, and also I’m so lonely” and more like “hey, I’m running a comic book store, look at all these people who want comics.”

I’ve also gone from “I hope I’m not making a huge mistake” to “why did I wait so long?”

Thank goodness.

Still kind of wondering what 250 consecutive issues of Youngblood would have been like.

§ December 12th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 14 Comments

So I was being a little sarcastic on the Twitters the other day (“what? Sarcasm? On Twitter? The devil you say!”) and posted my surprise at being asked about new issues of Spawn.

That wasn’t just me randomly abusing a comic for no good reason. I was actually genuinely surprised to encounter real Spawn fandom in the wild, after years of my usual Spawn-related in-store interactions primarily being 1) “They’re still making Spawn?” and 2) “What’s my Spawn #1 worth?” (and related, “Will you buy my Spawn #1?”)…oh, and 3) someone busting through our ceiling and stealing Spawn comics.

Now, I am in a new location with a new store, which means a new marketplace with new customers and new demands for product and I’ll stop saying “new” now. What was a mostly moribund seller at the old shop may be a best seller at the new one. Okay, perhaps “best seller” is pushing it a bit, but that anyone is exhibiting any enthusiasm about Spawn at all, and I mean enthusiasm about current and future Spawn issues, not just “ah, I remember reading Spawn 20 years ago,” is bit of a refreshing experience for me.

The other possibility is that Spawn #250 is coming out, with the attendant promotional push, and perhaps that’s helping to stir up some interest in the title again. I made a somewhat mean joke on that darn Twitter account a while back about there being more variant covers for Spawn #250 than I had customers looking to buy it, but perhaps the joke is on me. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I hope I’m not super-offending any Spawn fans out there. I’m really not trying to. Yes, I poked a little fun at the comic, but you have to give it credit for still keepin’ on keepin’ on, after all these years, with Savage Dragon as the only other original Image Comics launch title still hanging out on the racks with a mostly-consistent publishing run. And, at my previous employment, we did sell Spawn…just not a whole lot. I had a few pull list customers who got each issue, and then we’d move fewer-still copies on the rack.

Perhaps in a marketplace where every other comic has a Big New #1 Issue! Relaunch! Reboot! about once every year or two, a comic that just keeps coming out, ticking up those issue numbers into the triple digits, without drawing any attention to itself, simply generates that contemptible-familiarity you’ve all heard about. It’s always there on the stands, no longer the exciting monthly event it once was, but instead a semi-regular missive to those few fans still hanging in there and enjoying it.

I am curious if anyone reading this has been following Spawn for its entire run. I don’t mean “I read it back in 1992, and I just picked it up again recently.” I mean, you started with that first issue way back when, and stuck through the title through thick and thin, never missing an issue, and are now about to buy issue #250 which should be out Any Day Now. I know those fans are out there…there’s always someone who’s the lifelong fan, or maybe simply someone who kept getting and reading each issue out of inertia, or whatever. I would like to know what they think about having read the series as a whole. I mean…is it good? Am I missing out on something? Can someone even just give me a brief synopsis about what’s going on? The title seemingly has taken some fairly wild changes in direction over the years, and I have no idea what it’s even about at this point.

But anyway…250 issues of Spawn. That ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at.

How to almost sell a comic book.

§ December 11th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 5 Comments

So an interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed over the last month at the shop is the enormous attraction DC’s Lego variant covers have had for customers. And I mean customers of all ages…little kids to full-grown adults just zoom right in on those comics. They are appealing…bright, friendly images that bring smiles to the faces of everyone who sees them. “Ooh, look, Lego!” and variations thereof I’ve heard plenty of times.

These covers are doing the job that, alas, many covers of late have not: catching the customer’s eye. Unfortunately, it’s bit of a bait-and-switch, since the contents are the business-as-usual superheroics and not Superhero Lego Adventures of Lego Green Lantern or, you know, whoever. These customers saw Lego Superhero covers, wanted Lego Superhero comics, and were almost universally disappointed not to find any Lego content at all beneath said covers.

This isn’t me busting on DC’s superhero comics…they sell just fine to the folks already inclined toward buying superhero books. I enjoy several of them myself. But this feels like a huge missed opportunity, particularly since many of the people attracted to these covers weren’t necessarily typical consumers of what DC and Marvel usually offer. I hope this didn’t poison the well for any future theoretical Lego Superhero comics, in that people disappointed before by the false promise of those Lego variants may see an actual Lego Superhero comic on the stands and think “nah, that’s just a different cover on a regular superhero comic…that’s not what’s inside” and give it a pass.

I’m hoping there will be some kind of comic book tie-in to the forthcoming Lego Batman movie, but I also hope DC and Lego don’t wait that long to capitalize on that desire from the funnybook-interested public, at least at my shop, for capes ‘n’ tights ‘n’ plastic brick adventures.

(On the plus side, at least these Lego variants were freely orderable and I didn’t have to jump through the usual hoops to get them!)

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ December 8th, 2014 § Filed under End of Civilization § 11 Comments

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve fully performed my civic duty of gazing into the mists of the future and divining what terrors await us all. Now that my store is open, however, and surely everything there will run perfectly smoothly with no unexpected problems cropping up ever at any time, I can finally turn my full attention to warning you…yes, you…of the future that’s coming. Grab your copy of Diamond Previews, the December 2014 edition, and follow along, and also try to guess what joke I totally had to Google-research:

p. 82 – Justice League Dark #39:

Ah, DC’s doing some Marvel-style “killing the goose to get the golden eggs” this month by slapping Harley Quinn on all the variant covers, which may burn out interest in the character once and for all. That said…this Scooby-Doo inspired variant for Justice League Dark makes me want an issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up with Swamp Thing, or even better, someone editing together Scooby cartoons with the Swampy cartoon from the ’90s so we can finally get that scene with Shaggy and Scooby and Swamp Thing chasing each other in and out of an endless hallway of doors while some generic rock-pop song plays in the background.

p. 144 – DC Comics The Justice League Starter Poker Set:

Speaking of Swamp Thing, that looks like him on one of the cards, there, which could lead to some problems: “Hey, Mike’s smiling again…he must have the Ace of Clubs.”

p. 255 – Say My Name T-Shirt:

Sure is nice of Warner Brothers to let Antarctic release a straight-up Shazam! t-shirt.

p. 299 – Lady Death Fetishes Special Deluxe Collector Box Set:

“A 10th anniversary special […] a complete set of first printing copies of all the covers of the Lady Death Fetishes Special! The amazing Deluxe Collector Box set features all 13 of the original covers: Regular, Angelic, Devil Girl, Latex, Lace, Leather, Mistress, Pixies, Art Nouveau, Dressing, Hellish Angel, Cyberbabe, and Bad Girl, and the original Platinum Foil and Gold Foil Editions! Plus, to top it off, a previously unreleased Ruby Red Foil Edition, only available with this set!”

On one hand, I want to make a joke like “paying the $119 retail for this set is practically a fetish for someone right there,” and on the other, I now have ideas for a series of themed ads for my store. “What costume is Mike wearing this w…OH GOD IT’S THE DEVIL GIRL COSTUME”

p. 411 – American Boobs HC:

Comics, everyone!

p. 412 – Exploring Calvin and Hobbes SC:

At last, an in-depth examination of the prehistory for the modern art form of the peeing/praying/possibly both Car Window Kid stickers.

p. 413 – Secret Wars Audio CD:

Imagine my disappointment to discover this was an audio story, and not, say, 12 tracks of rockin’ hits based on the comic books. No “Spidey With The Black Suit On,” no “Hulk Under Pressure,” no “When A Molecule Man Loves A Woman.” Nertz to that.

p. 443 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Boxers:

One of the ways you can tell the Turtles apart is by the kind of instruments they’re holding.

p. 448 – Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Monopoly Game:

Do not pass GO, do not snooch to the n — no…no, I’m sorry, I can’t do it.

p. 449 – Jay and Silent Bob Super Groovy Cartoon Movie Ceramic Mug:

The old gods need to reinvent themselves on occasion to keep themselves relevant. ALL HAIL THE NEW JANUS

p. 454 – Godzilla 2000 Sculpted Pizza Cutter:

Coming soon: the Godzuki Hot Pocket slicer.

p. 459 – Smurfs Monochrome 8-Inch Vinyl Figures:

“Ebon-Smurf and Ivor-Smurf smurf together in smurfy harmony

Side by side on my piano smurfboard, oh Papa Smurf why don’t we?”

p. 464 – Game of Thrones Collectable Dragon Egg Box:

I never thought Diamond would start carrying novelty golf balls, but here we are.

p. 494 – Tamashii Effect Explosion:

“Mom, this popcorn tastes funny.”


Sluggo Saturday #125.

§ December 6th, 2014 § Filed under sluggo saturday § 2 Comments



from Nancy Loves Sluggo (2014) – get yer own!

“Suddenly, eleven years later….”

§ December 5th, 2014 § Filed under suddenly... § 9 Comments

So apparently the traditional eleventh anniversary gift is steel:

Is there a greater gift one could receive? I submit there is not.

It really is hard to believe that I’ve been doing this website for eleven years. It’s been long enough that I’ve had to contact my webhoster about giving me more database space because I’d filled up the amount I was originally allotted. It was bit of a panic that evening when I discovered I couldn’t save any posts or changes to the site or anything until I figured out what happened!

But I’m still here, I’m still doin’ it, even if not as frequently as I had at the start, but I’m not going anywhere yet! Even with the Big Change this year, quitting my previous job as Head Chimp at Seth’s Games and Anime/Ralph’s Comic Corner to go open my own shop, Sterling Silver Comics (for which today is the one month anniversary!), I’m still poking away on this here website, sharing my knowledge, my dumb jokes, the occasional photo, some Sluggo and Swamp Thing talk, and all that. And, of course, occasionally warning you about the forthcoming End of Civilization, which I’ve sort of slacked off doing lately since I’ve been busy, but I’m gettin’ back to it!

As always, thanks to my pals, online and off, for their continued support…to my girlfriend Nora, who continues to put up with me for inexplicable reasons, my parents, pal Dorian, all my customers (new and old), all of you, and, of course, Neilalien, Comics Blogger #1, in whose path we all follow.

I didn’t do a whole lot with my other online projects this year, but I can still be found goofing around on the Twitters so please feel free to follow me there if you’d like. Why, you might see such vital Twitter entries such as my usual complaining about certain types of comics not getting published:

Or you might see the worst Watchmen joke yet:

Or you could see me deliberately trolling people (or am I?):

Or you could see that which I would like to unsee:

Or you can get a small glimpse how your pal Mike runs a comic shop:

Or maybe you might get an off-color joke that your pal Mike is inordinately proud of:

And then there’s this site you’re reading right now: as I like to do every year, here are a list of what I will call “highlights” (for the lack of a better term) from the last twelve months, along with some brief commentary, explanations, or even more bad jokes. Please, enjoy:


This is way too much about X-Force and Deadpool, I ended up selling my personal copy of Batman Adventures #12 (the first comics appearance of Harley Quinn) for $250, the Superman “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style book which brought us this entry at You Chose Wrong, almost got a contact high from this many undergrounds in one place, for only the best-dressed Sluggo fan, the Swamp Thing adventure you didn’t know you wanted…’til now.


I go over your predictions for 2013 (1 2 3 4 and (whew) 5), “SWAMP JACKET / you make my heart…uh, ratchet,” so I joked in December about one of you folks out there buying this for me for a gift and good gravy you delivered (and say, on a totally unrelated subject, I sure could use a new car), how I marketed Miracleman to our customers since nobody else bothered, basically I have to order everything as if it were a mini-series, I review that weird Justice League direct-to-DVD cartoon (“weird” = “actually appropriate for children”), one man’s box of junk toys is another man’s blog post.


Surely this X-Files comic will be a valuable collectors item forever, this Star Trek comic had so many scare quotes I thought Kirby wrote it, I was hoping this would lead to huge sales on this particular Spider-Man annual, one of the few TV shows I made sure to keep up with during the set-up of my shop, bet you didn’t know I had this much to say about Conan the Barbarian comic book sales, they’re finally beginning to reprint more stuff from this series, I (ahem) may have sold my personal copy of Preacher #1 for a lot of money too.

MARCH 2014:

I could probably just order a copy of the new edition of this for the store (wink wink), Bill Mumy’s greatest creative endeavor, I think that actually was the real Bill Griffith who commented on this post about the pretty Sluggo doll, I’d had this post, planned out in my head since I was about 42, I love Steve Lafler comics, sometime I come across Swamp Thing parodies without even trying, all the boys think he’s a spy / he’s got Alec Holland eyes, I may have put this comic for sale in the shop at a ridiculous price.

APRIL 2014:

These two pages look like they were drawn in about ten minutes (ten seconds of which was researching what a guitar looked like, apparently), of course now it would be “Fifty-Two Who Made DC Great,” all that work pinning down the first appearance of Spidey’s black costume and people are still getting it wrong on eBay, oh good gravy I’m going to have to order FCBD books for my store next month, True Life Adventures from Mike’s College Days Comics, still haven’t read all those E-Man comics, yes my Easter was quite smashing thank you, “oh no our window paintings were attracting attention and customers what a terrible thing,” my house is just totally filled with random nonsense like this, the next plague will arise from the germs on this Batman whistle.

MAY 2014:

My postmortem for what’s turned out to be my last Free Comic Book Day at Seth’s/Ralph’s, a quick overview of some entertainment I absorbed while I was ill – which I ordinarily wouldn’t link to in one of these overviews but I gotta pad out May a bit, oh my God they cut Constantine‘s season short because I haven’t been watching it didn’t they, please enjoy this Swamp Thing animated GIF, CRANIUS, too much about me ordering DC’s latest 3D covers, if more Woody Woodpecker stories were like this maybe I’d actually like the character.

JUNE 2014:

They can’t possibly have 52 DC Universe titles on the stands right now do they, one thing about being at a new shop is I don’t have to worry about these “match-to-previous-order” variants for the time being, I wish Swamp Thing could be the new Robin, George Perez Superman is always fun, occasionally Groo was more than just cheese dip jokes, please make Robert Downey Jr. say this in a movie, “kids love shower-assault jokes” said whoever approved this sticker, surely this Lickitung postcard will deliver itself to you in your unquiet dreams, sometimes you just gotta combine discussion of Calvin and Lex Luthor into the same post, that postage stamp joke is super dirty no matter what decade you’re from.

JULY 2014:

I apologize to my Kindle-using readers for not being able to make my site readable for most of you, The Adventures of Off-Model Flintstones, the dude with the feather is obviously having some kind of fit, someone pointed out that the reverse of these cut-outs also show the characters’ backs and that creeps me out like a lot, that Cracked Magazine Swamp Thing drawing is just a little upsetting, still not 100% sure who this is or who drew it, the lead singer of the Dead Milkmen favorited this picture when I posted it on Twitter, that’s two Swamp Thing parodies-via-Powerpuff Girls I own now.

AUGUST 2014:

There is a greater-than-zero chance that if I talk about Star Wars I eventually get to a Lobot joke, I needed my dad to come with me to buy the comic but the book that comic used for photo reference was readily available to me at the library I worked at, I’m still trying to work out how to deal with the naughtier books at my new store, this scene from a Robin Williams movie really does make me crumble like a cookie every single time, Jughead – a monster in any decade, I actually remember to keep my promise to look at the market prices for last year’s 3D comics from DC, where are my promo Frisb…er, “flying discs” from current comic companies, just imagine me droning post after post at you instead of you being able to skim through all these walls of text I put up.


Not quite a Swamp Thing wax cylinder but close, for some reason I’m picturing monks transcribing and illuminating copies of Man-Thing tomes, I did…mostly okay on my orders of those 3D comics though I notice the old shop still has quite a few of some issues — oops, I can still sell lots of the initial Death of Wolverine series but not so much of the follow-ups, oh hey did you hear I was opening my own store, and speaking of which I have the good problem of business building faster than I can adjust my comic orders.


My store has a floor and a door and maybe a little more, Swamp Thing and Sluggo crossover art did not exist until I willed it into being, so I quit my job at Seth’s/Ralph’s, I’ve since received two more packages of drawings from Sluggo Jr. that I promise I’ll feature on this site soon, here’s my sign – what’s yours?


A report on my first day of business at the new shop (plus photos!), a great Peanuts reference for my shop, ah the simple pleasures of a Don Rosa fanzine cover, I’ve bought worse Swamp Thing comics, and I answer your questions (1 2 3 4).


I’ve been buying a lot of Harvey comics at the new shop of late.

• • •

I say this every year, and every year it’s just as true: I am extremely grateful and amazed that I have any readership at all, given my intended and expected audience was just a few friends. That I have as many kind, wonderful and funny readers as I do, as I’ve seen from my comments sections, from emails and from actual physical mail, is quite the pleasure. Even the folks who’ve never said or written one word to me, who come read what I have to say and leave the connection to me at that…thank you for spending at least a little bit of your day here. I hope I can always make the visit worthwhile, for all of you.

And for reading all that, here’s a blurry photo of me “working” in my store a few weeks before opening:

Once again, thanks for visiting my site, and I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

Sorry, friends…

§ December 3rd, 2014 § Filed under low content mode § 1 Comment

…I’ve been tied up with some additional store set-up stuff so your pal Mike’s blogging goof-off time has been curtailed a bit of late. I am working on something for this Friday (it may be a certain somebody’s blogiversary that day), and my End of Civilization post should be up next week. I’m not goin’ anywhere, I’ve just got a full schedule. Thanks for understanding!

Two of those firecracker guys are only seconds away from dying, I don’t know what they’re so happy about.

§ December 1st, 2014 § Filed under harvey § 1 Comment

So I already posted this on the Twitterers with the caption “HARVEY COMICS BODY HORROR” because c’mon, this is just a little terrifying:

…even though once again one of Harvey’s ghost spirits reveals its intermittent intangibility. It looks like Spooky lacks Casper’s fine control over his phantasmal form.

Also interesting, I think, is this:

I don’t think I’d ever seen the Comics Code stamp covered up like that before. Sure, I’ve seen it altered, but obscured almost entirely while still nominally on the cover? That’s new on me. I mean, sure, it’s plainly obvious that this comic featuring the post-life torture of a ruffian haint is perfectly acceptable entertainment for all ages, Code or no Code, but I would hazard a guess that a letter would have made its way from the CCA offices to Harvey if this happened one too many times.

I blow minds for a living. And sell comics. Mostly that second thing.

§ November 28th, 2014 § Filed under question time § 1 Comment

Just a few more questions to go, pals…hang in there!

• • •

Richard J. Marcej blabs

“I’ve had a theory that in the near future DC and Marvel are going to go the way that ‘Love & Rockets’ has. The elimination of the single issue, 20+page comic (which have become nothing more than chapters of a novel, anyway) to a complete, TPB. It’s my belief that that’s why DC had gone to 52 different titles, so that when they make this transformation, they could offer comic shops a new TPB title every week. (one week a Batman TPB, the next a Green Lantern TPB, the next a Flash TPB, etc…) If the big two went this route how do you think this would effect comic book shops, basically turning them into comic book stores to book stores.”

That could be where we’re headed, but that would certainly result in the end of the direct market as we know (to which some folks would cheer, I’m sure). Comics retail is dependent on the weekly new releases, and the repeat business of regular clientele…plus there is a psychological divide between “buying the latest issue” and “getting the trade” that still exists in the marketplace. DC and Marvel are already playing around with pricier formats that are thicker than your standard comic, but are still periodical-y enough to not seem like trades. DC has that $9.99 format (most recently seen with the Batman ’66: The Lost Episode, and Marvel has been issuing thicker staplebound reprints in the $7.99 format (they’ve released some older Star-Lord comics like this over the last year or so). Perhaps slowly moving their monthlies over to these formats, thicker books with more content (almost by necessity anthologies) and higher price points while still keeping them at least semi-periodical may bridge the gap between increasingly-economically infeasible 20-page comics and occasional trades.

• • •

Michael Grabowski grabs for an answer to this:

“I hope this isn’t too personal, but with regard to those Swamp Thing slippers, or Swampy clothing in general, do you find yourself collecting such items in every size available?”

No, no…usually if it’s something I intend to wear, I’m happy with just getting the size I need. For something like my Swamp Thing slippers, while as much as I’d love to have them in my size, the example set I have is enough. (There is a lot of child-sized Swamp Thing clothing from the early ’90s that, um, I’m probably going to pass on, however. “I was just buying these off eBay for my collection, Your Honor.”)

• • •

Dan randomly asks

“Totally random, my girlfriend was debating about continuing to read Wonder Woman after Azzarello/Chiang.
She had the same reaction as you to the fact that Swamp Thing was in the book (ALMOST as instant buy) but she held off to think about it.
As someone who can’t resist Swamp Thing stories, do you think the issue was worth it to a fan of both WW and Swampy?”

If you’re a crazy person like me who needs every Swamp Thing appearance, then yes. As far as any kind of importance to Swamp Thing’s development as a character…well, it’s no big whoop. It’s interesting as it’s the first time Swampy’s popped up in a Wonder Woman comic, far as I can recall, so if that tickles your fancy, go for it. What’ve you got to lose, other than three bucks? As for Wonder Woman fans…well, it’s the beginning of a new direction for the character, so that’s usually a good time to pop in and see if you like where things are going. Granted, issue #36 is getting some grief in online reviews, but boy, it sure sold well for me at my shop. Your Mileage May Vary, as they say.

• • •

Jerry Smith forges the following question:

“Mike, someone already asked about back issues. My question is, where do you see back issues in 5-10 years? Will younger readers ever want full floppy paper sets of titles like Suicide Squad, Nova or Marvel Two-In One? Will the books be worthless (except for key issues)? Or will there always be some demand for old paper comics?”

You know, I feel like I’ve been doing this blog long enough to think that I’ve probably been asked the “where do you think the back issue market will be in five years” about five years ago. Or even ten years. My honest feeling is that there will always be a market for fairly-priced general back issues, and premium-priced high-demand back issues. The collectibles market for comics is still maintaining, so big-ticket items will continue to move, I think. And just from my years of experience, kids are fascinated by old comics, particularly from before they were born, like from the long-ago ancient times of the early 2000s. Whether they’ll want full runs of things…well, depends on the collector. I’ve got a kid right now looking for all the old Metal Men comics he can get his hands on. So, you know, it’s still theoretically possible. If there’s stuff that’s not selling for what Overstreet is listing it at, there’s always the ol’ bargain boxes…price that stuff down ’til it’s at the cost people are willing to pay.

Anyway, I don’t think the back issue market is going away anytime soon, as long as dealers are smart and careful about it.

• • •

Roel Torres rolls out a few questions:

“Hi, Mike! Congrats once again on the new store! Speaking of which, all my questions are new store related: 1) Did you feel a professional responsibility to discuss the idea of starting a new store with the owner of Ralph’s/Seth’s before you left to see how the idea would be received? 2) Doesn’t it pose a threat to their business that you might cannibalize some of their loyal customers? 3) Was there some sort of minimum driving distance required separating the two stores to make sure you weren’t invading each other’s turf? Thanks and continued success in your new venture!”

1. Oh, absolutely. I wasn’t going to stab these guys in the back…I’ve had a good working relationship with these guys for years, and, you know, they’re friends. I want to stay on their good sides! Ralph had known for years I’ve been wanting to open my own shop, and when an actual opportunity finally arose, I made sure to tell both Seth and Ralph of my plans.

2. I like to think I’m not posing that much of a threat…yes, a few customers came with me, which was not unexpected by any of us, and that was not an issue. I’m also getting a whole new clientele out in my area, so by and large, while there’s still a way to go, I’m creating a market out here, rather than eating away at the other shop’s customer base. Plus, we’re readily sending customers to each other, so we’re building a community instead of a warzone, which is nice.

3. I personally decided I wanted to be a good distance away from Seth’s/Ralph’s specifically so that I could avoid stepping on any toes. I’m about a half-hour away, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you lived out here, you’d see that it is most definitely a different area and a different community, and I believe our shops can easily coexist.

Thanks for the good wishes!

• • •

Alex wants to know

“Late to the party, but are you buying Miracleman in single issues as it is coming out, or is that just for chumps like me? I’m not crazy about what it costs, but I’m only buying a handful of titles these days, so I can take it. It’s a good series, and I’ve avoided spoilers for 20 years.

“I’m one of those who grew up hearing how awesome it was, but I dion’t really care to have it in a nice hardcover collection or anything. Upon reading this particular series, I wouldn’t really want someone to pass by my bookshelf, pull it down and flip through it… there’s a reason it’s coming in polybags, that’s for sure.”

Well, I’m something of a Miracleman enthusiast, so I’m getting the single issues even though I have all the originals, out of completeness’s sake. Plus, I get the new coloring and everything put together in order (as opposed to having to piece some stuff together myself). I still can’t bring myself to part with the originals, however, even though I have a store and I need to feed the back issue bins/display cases with stuff.

I’m still convinced Marvel’s only been polybagging Miracleman comics because…well, you know those murder mysteries where the killer has strong motives for killing person C, but also kills persons A, B and D whom he doesn’t know in order to keep the coppers from immediately suspecting him? Anyway, the all-birth issue of Miracleman, and probably the forthcoming all-super-violent issue, are person C in this scenario. There’s no reason for most issues of MM to be bagged, especially when compared to titles on the stands that aren’t bagged. I really do think they were only bagged so that the issue the birth issue wouldn’t stand out as requiring special attention from those folks who think comics are destroying children’s minds. Well, okay, they are, but you know what I mean.

• • •

Chris Gumprich richly proposes

“1. How many of these questions did you expect to be ‘Swamp Thing’ related?
2. Are you as disappointed as I was that they set an episode of Constantine in Louisiana and yet not one single mention of Houma?”

1. I expected a few. I can only blame myself.

2. I’m more disappointed that I haven’t had a chance to watch Constantine yet. Just no time! I promise, sometime before I die I will watch this series. So, you know, in the next few months.

Also last week I blew someone’s mind by telling him Constantine was a Swamp Thing spin-off character.

• • •

Pogressiveruin‘s biggest fan Crowded House slams down this query:

“How long until you are reduced to selling POGs out back to make ends meet, and how far are you willing to go to keep your shelves stocked with these hot-selling items your customers demand everyday?”

If the public demands POGs, I will sell them POGs. I’m not proud. I’m willing to go as far as Ventura to maintain my stock, because I know there’s plenty still at the old shop.

• • •

And my old friend D Latta wraps it up with

“Would you buy a bar of soap at a garage sale?”

Depends how it tastes.

And that is that, my friends! Thank you for your questions, and I hope my answers were, if not particularly illuminating, at least somewhat entertaining, or at the very least correctly spelled. I’ll try not to let multiple years pass before opening the floor like this again…and heck, if you have any questions you want me to answer in the future, just let me know. You know where to find me.

Be thankful there’s only one more installment of this.

§ November 27th, 2014 § Filed under question time § 4 Comments

Before we get into this next back of questions and answers, let me direct you to Bully, the Little Freaked-Out Bull, as he makes his own attempt at the Freak Out post, as discussed Tuesday. WELL DONE, LITTLEST OF BULLS.

And now, for our more dreadful sacrifice, MORE ANSWERS:

• • •

philfromgermany has some germane questions:

“Question 1: Have you read Ostrander Suicide Squad by now?”

Not as a whole, no. I’ve read the first couple of issues, the Justice League crossover, and the one with Grant Morrison in it. Really need to get around to it someday.

“Question 2: You are the god-grand pooba of comics and get to put 5 books together, which writer/artist teams do you pick?”

Aside from the Swamp Thing team I picked out a couple of days ago…hmmm, let’s see…and you said “teams” so I’ll try to pair up creators rather than using single writer/artists:

Superman – written by Rick Veitch, illustrated by Jerry Ordway

DC/Marvel Crossover Spectacular Monthly – written by Mark Waid, illustrated by George Perez

Popeye – written by Gilbert Hernandez, illustrated by Dave Sim

Herbie – written by Bob Burden, illustrated by Art Adams

Archie’s Pal Jughead – written by Gail Simone, illustrated by Kevin O’Neill

• • •

Mike Welch wonders

“When, Korea?”

Well, for quite a while, actually.

(Referring to this, for you newcomers.)

• • •

JRC asks

“Alternate reality Mike: Instead of opening a comic shop, you’ve decided to open a comic company! What is your first month of series/one-shots/minis you publish?

Man, you guys really want to know what comics I’d put together. Okay, just for simplicity’s sake, I’m sticking to a single artist instead of noting inks and colors as well, mostly to save some time here. And I’m guessing by opening a comic company, we’ll be wanting new comics (or at least bringing back some presumably public domain ones).


Spunky the Monkey – monthly series by Don Rosa

Unicycle Tragedy – monthly romance comic by…well, it would be an anthology. ANYTHING AND ANYONE GOES

Giant Pirate Comics – monthly comic by Rick Veitch (what can I tell you…I like Rick Veitch) – either an oversized comic book featuring pirates, or a comic book about actual GIANT PIRATES, like 10 to 12 feet tall, terrorizing the high seas.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Comic by the original MST3K writers, with Joel/Mike and the ‘bots making fun of bad (almost certainly public domain) comics. Something like this almost happened, if I recall correctly.

Jupiter – monthly, if not weekly, by Jason Sandberg – hey, I want this comic back in a bad way.

• • •

John Boylan HAS TO KNOW:

“1. What is your most prized Swamp Thing item/collectible (sentimental or otherwise)?”

It’s hard to pick just one. There’s this Swamp Thing drawing gifted to me by Scott Saavedra early on in the life of this site, one of the very first goodies sent to me, out of his own free will, by a creator I greatly admire just because of this silly website I do here.

Of course, there’s Swamp Thing Chalk, both the actual thing and references to it.

And then there’s this, probably most prized if only because I thought it lost for so many years.

“2. Do you proudly display your love of Swampy at home? And is there photo documentation available?”

Some of it is up here and there…my Swamp Thing statues are in the dining room china cabinet, and most of the other goodies are in the toy room, mixed in with the girlfriend’s massive collection of Spider-Man stuff. Don’t really have a photo of any of it, but eventually I’m going to have at least the original Swamp Thing drawings displayed at the store, so I’ll take a photo of that when I do.

• • •

Tim O’Neil forces me to answer:

“You used to say that you still followed all the Star Wars EU stuff relating directly to the cast of the original trilogy. Now that they’re putting the Prequel era in the past and moving back to a focus on the original trilogy characters, are you going to need to reexamine that policy?

“Or are you all in ride-till-you-die with Luke, Leia, and Han?”

The first New Star Wars Expanded Universe book just popped up in this week’s Diamond Previews, so I gotta think about it. Honestly, not having a final wrap up volume to the original Expanded Universe, putting a cap on all those years of SWEU reading, was kind of a drag. I understand why they didn’t, but it was still disappointing not to have it, and it’s kind of soured me on investing too much time in future ancillary SW storytelling. You know, aside from the comics. And the TV shows. And maybe the occasional novel. We’ll see.

• • •

Mike L dares to query

“Pog Section up and running? ;)”


…by which I mean “not quite yet.”

• • •

John Parker opens a can of worms with

“What’s the most stupid comic you have ever read?”

Well, that would either be this one or this one.

Okay, okay, that was the obvious joke, I guess. But really, comics usually don’t get more stupid than this.

• • •

Tomorrow: the exciting conclusion!

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