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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe not more than Archie’s R/C Racers.

§ June 17th, 2015 § Filed under this week's comics § 6 Comments

It’s a weird thing when you have a second title start up that essentially duplicates the first title, which probably seems like an outdated commentary in an industry that throws a half-dozen Avengers or Batman titles on the new comics shelves at regular intervals. It just seems a little stranger here with a new Justice League title that’s featuring the same team that’s in the already-existing Justice League title, as part of a franchise that, historically, would at least present different casts across the various series. The promise of “massive widescreen action” almost implies a mild criticism of the other title, which doesn’t give you said “massive widescreen action.” The other novelty is that it’s tied to the vision of a particular creator, though as soon as that creator leaves that novelty is gone, leaving the title either to cancellation (i.e. Superman Unchained) or focusing on the vision of Another Big Name Creator, or just becoming a second regular monthly Justice League book, indistinguishable from the other.

Again, probably a dumb complaint in this brave new-ish comics world of Every Character or Team Stars in Two Titles or More, but there it is. This first issue was pretty good, however. It certainly delivers on the “widescreen action,” as promised.

This is almost even more…perverse (but not in a bad way…lemme ‘splain) than its line-crossing cousin Afterlife with Archie, in that it straight-up looks like an Archie comic. Afterlife at least is visually distinct from the rest of the Archie line, both covers and contents. Archie Versus Predator, at first glance, looks just like other Archies, at least inside (the cover pictured above is just one of the several variants available, and the only one that resembles traditional Archie). I do like that Archie is fully willing to do peculiar things with their bread-and-butter properties, probably inspired by the need to more firmly establish themselves in the direct market…hence Afterlife, the Sharknado crossover, another attempt at New Look Archie, and this very series I’m talkin’ about here. The comic is a hoot, though given that this comic contains a significantly larger amount of blood and exposed spines than most Archie titles, I’d definitely keep it out of the hands of young’uns. And for God’s sake, if you’re a store, keep it off the kids rack! Assuming you have a kids rack.

Hard to believe this series is just about done…only two volumes to go, and it was just announced that the final book will include Schulz’s early pre-Peanuts “Li’l Folks” strips! Of note is the introduction for this current volume pictured here, written by a couple of fellas from Rifftrax, which includes a few riffed strips from the founders of Rifftrax, former Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast members Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. A brief sample:

It reminds me of that long-ago missed opportunity when the MST3K gang were to delve into the world of comics, but cutbacks at Acclaim canned the book. (And I see the name of a certain stuffed bull‘s pal mentioned in that long-ago Usenet posting!)

Yet another installment in the ongoing saga of Superman’s No Longer Secret Identity that has yet to see the publication of the first part. A little annoying, yes, but I’ve been actually enjoying the story thus far…it’s a direction that the New 52 Superman needed, one where the character could be explored on its own merits rather than sloppily slapped together as something New and Different and Exciting!

I’m totally in the bag for the Minions, those cute little critters from the Despicable Me films (and their own movie, coming soon to a theater near you), so I thought I’d take a look at this little ol’ funnybook here. And surprise, it’s beautifully illustrated, with one-page mostly pantomime gag strips and a surprisingly detailed and hard-on-my-aging-eyes two-page spread of their secret underground lair. A couple of the gags are on the hokey side (oh no, the Minions are painting the floor and they ended up trapping themselves in the center of the room!) but I’m sure there’s a kid out there somewhere for whom those jokes are completely new. And it all looks so nice it’s hard to hold that against it.

Movies, seen and unseen.

§ June 15th, 2015 § Filed under movie reviews § 9 Comments

(SPOILERS ahead…not many, but enough to annoy you if you haven’t seen the films)

Well, I went in wanting…okay, let me amend that. I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing Jurassic World at all, to be honest. I was perfectly happy waiting to get the disc from Netflix in about five or six months from now. As it turned out, though, there was a bit of a family outing to see the film and I was…perhaps “strongarmed” into going is putting it a little too harshly, but, ah, what the heck, to return to the beginning of this paragraph I went in wanting some dinosaur mayhem and that’s what I got.

While there’s a sameness to all the Jurassic family of movies, it’s probably been long enough since a new one’s been on the big screen that there’s a welcome nostalgic enjoyment to seeing the formula play out with minor variations and…I almost said “improved effects,” but the original Jurassic Park raised the bar so high it’s almost like there’s nowhere else for the effects to go. It was all a bunch of enjoyable nonsense, with, as noted, plenty of dinosaur action (sometimes a little too intense, maybe, judging by the family in the row ahead of us that quietly made their exit about 2/3rd of the way through the film), but I think this was enough. I don’t see a need to pay a return visit to the franchise for a fifth variation on “it appears dinosaurs and humans don’t mix,” but of course we will since the movie made all the money in its opening weekend. However, if the next movie is about a humongous mega-dinosaur mutant threatening the Earth and the only way to defeat it is by somehow growing Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum reprising the role, natch) to giant size and pitting the two against each other, I’ll be there opening day.

One more point, which I thought was interesting (and here’s the SPOILER I warned you about), is how the Tyrannosaur went from the being the Big Bad of the first two films to being, more or less, the hero of the fourth film. A heroism born of familiarity, and certainly played upon by the filmmakers…”enough of this new weird nasty dinosaur, let’s see our old friend the T-rex kick his ass!”

So, okay, I may be a little behind the times in finally seeing this film, but I noticed the new Criterion Blu-ray edition made it to Netflix and, well, I thought I’d give it a shot. This is one of those films where I’ve repeatedly seen the same stills over and over again in various contexts over the decades (the pic of Henry, as seen on the disc packaging above, and of course the hideously deformed baby). For years, without really knowing anything about this movie, I’d assumed the title referred to either that gentleman’s lofty hairdo, or perhaps to that weird baby-thing…I mean, it still can, I guess, but that there’s a more literal explanation in the film is oddly satisfying as well. Emphasis on “oddly.”

I…um, I don’t even know where to start on this movie. It’s like watching a nightmare, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. The terrifying dream logic pushes along the action in this horrible world all the characters are stuck in…it’s compelling and it’s awful, all at once. Not sure what it all means just yet — some stuff I got, some I’m still chewin’ on — and I’m certain if I looked around online I’d have plenty of people wanting to tell me what it does mean, but it’s nice to occasionally experience a movie where there’s still a little room to dig into it after taking a first pass. And imagine, not a digital dinosaur to be seen.

Haven’t really made the time to see this one yet. Perhaps if it starts getting some positive word of mouth I’ll be more inclined to go.

Christopher Lee (1922 – 2015).

§ June 12th, 2015 § Filed under obituary § 5 Comments

Oh man, just how amazing was this guy? From playing Dracula, to recording heavy metal albums in his nineties, to this terrifying bit of information, to this musical piece from an obscure superhero parody, to hangin’ with J.R.R. Tolkien, to…well, just Google him up, everybody‘s talking about the life this man had. And boy, did he ever have one. Pal Andrew speaks more eloquently about his impact than I ever could.

So long, Mr. Lee. You will absolutely be missed, but thankfully you left behind an immense body of work that we can continue to enjoy and remember you by.

stills from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002), just before Lee fights Yoda in a lightsaber battle. …CHRISTOPHER LEE FIGHTS YODA IN A LIGHTSABER BATTLE. C’MON.

In which Mike refers to himself in the third person a little too much at the start.

§ June 9th, 2015 § Filed under collecting § 7 Comments

Sorry for missing out on my usual Monday post…turns out Sunday night your pal Mike’s body said “NO BLOGGING, MUST SLEEP,” and I had to give it a pass.

I’m still a little wiped out, but I was reminded of a story from the Comic Collecting Adventures of Young Mikester, in the far-distant mists of time, of that near-fabled year of 1985. It was then that I picked up a copy of The One #2 off the rack, attracted by the strange looking cover and the fact that it was by that Rick Veitch guy whose work I’d enjoyed in Epic Illustrated:

I looked around the shop a bit, looking for a copy of the first issue. When I couldn’t find it, I put the request in to Ralph (the shop owner and, a few years after this, my boss) for that initial issue. He didn’t have it available just then, but said he’d try to get one for me.

So, for the next couple of weeks, when I made my usual new comics day journey to the shop, I would bug Ralph about the status of my request. “Is The One #1 in yet?” “No.”

“Is The One #1 in yet?” “No.”

“Is The One #1 in yet?” “NO.”

Until finally, one week, I asked if it were in again and Ralph replies “YES! Yes, I have it! Here you go!” and hands me a copy.

With a twelve dollar price tag on the bag.

I know I said “…uh….” I’m sure I blanched a little. As cheap as I am now, I was even cheaper then and I certainly wasn’t expecting that price for the comic.

And then Ralph laughed at my reaction and quickly scratched the “1” out of the price, making the comic two bucks. And thus I learned my les…okay, I didn’t learn anything. Well, except to do similar pranks to my own customers, but that was still a few years away.

Anyway, I actually still have that sticker attached to my copy of The One #1:

I’ve even replaced the bag on that comic at some point since then, carefully removing the sticker from the old bag and placing it on the new one.

Here’s a closer look:

According to the most recent price guide, near mint copies of this comic now price out at $3.00. Hah, I got this comic out from under Ralph for only 2/3rds guide! What a (thirty-years-in-the-making) deal!

Bit late to the whole “Shazam” name-change thing.

§ June 5th, 2015 § Filed under retailing, this week's comics § 6 Comments

A couple of questions popped up in the comments to my last post:

From Thelonious_Nick:

“Here’s something I’ve long wondered: Why are so many variant covers so much more awesome than the regular covers for that issue? If the company really wants to sell more comics, shouldn’t they make the variant cover into the actual cover, and make the boring one the variant?”

I’ve wondered about that myself once or twice over the course of this here weblog — on one occasion wondering why some Star Trek comic decided to use the amazing Gorn photo cover for the limited variant instead of slapping that sucker on the regular edition and selling a ton of copies. The answer is almost certainly aimed at enticing retailers into ordering more copies, which for some publishers may be a safer bet than hoping enough readers will be attracted by the better cover. A retailer orders a certain number of a book, sees a cool-looking variant cover that s/he could get for the shop if orders were raised just a smidgen to a particular sales plateau, and bumps orders up accordingly.

Same goes for those comics that have five, six, a dozen different covers, that are all equally available for order by retailers. They’re not necessarily there in the hopes that customers will buy one of each cover (though that does happen, of course). They’re there to get higher initial order numbers from retailers. Instead of ordering 10 copies of one available cover of Mistress Bikini-Armor #1, a retailer might instead order two each of all six variants for Mistress Bikini-Armor #1, just to make sure there’s enough available of each variant to meet theoretical demand. It’s not much of a bump, probably, but in this marketplace every little bit helps.

From d:

“So how did Convergence and its various tie-ins sell, now that it’s all over? How do you think it will compare with Secret Wars?”

Overall, it did…okay, I think. Some tie-ins did especially well (like the Shazam! one) and some just didn’t do anything for me (many of the Justice League-related titles sold far less than expected). The actual Convergence series itself actually sold very well, surprisingly for a weekly series. In the end, maybe a shorter main series and fewer tie-ins while not putting everything else on hold may have been preferable, but I didn’t seem to experience any kind of decline in revenue while the event proceeded (despite some sky-is-falling scaremongering by certain online gossips).

Compared to Secret Wars, Convergence seemed to lack some measure of cohesion and direction, beyond “here are a bunch of cities from parallel Earths crammed together on one planet, and they have to fight each other to see who survives.” The upshot of the series is that it…undoes Crisis on Infinite Earths which had already been undone, I think, or otherwise just ignored, and, well…maybe if the series had been a more focused 4-part mini instead of a bloated repeating-the-points 9-parter, we might have been better off. In addition, I think Marvel managed to push Secret Wars as something Marvel fans had to read, explicitly tied to the Marvel Universe’s overall continuity, whereas Convergence never really felt like more than “here’s something you might want to read for a couple of months, we hope.” However, I do appreciate that the creators of the series managed to trick DC fans into reading what was essentially a Warlord comic for an issue.

Speaking of Shazam, as I was just a couple of paragraphs back (go ahead, check, I’ll wait) here’s one thing I had noted on the Twitterers the other day:

I’d love to see more only slightly-tangentially related to the wider DC Universe Captain Marvel adventures like in Convergence and Multiversity (and both series showed how the Shazam Family can play nice with other superhero milieus without losing the ol’ Shazam charm), instead of seeing the Big Red Cheese squeezed into the grittier ‘n’ darker comics where he never quite fits in. I know the temptation is to contrast Cap’s innocence with the “real world” of the regular DCU (like in this week’s Justice League, where Cap is distraught at having seen a dead body for the first time…hey, kids, comics!) but it would be nice to have him star in, and be the hero of, his own series, instead of the odd-man-out that he almost always is everywhere else.

I suspect once the always-forthcoming Shazam movie finally does come, and if it’s successful, it’ll establish which tone the comics will follow. Probably more “New 52″ and less “C.C. Beck,” if I were to hazard a guess.

And yeah, I keep calling him “Cap” or “Captain Marvel,” the name he retains in the retro-style Convergence and Multiversity comics, but as since been discarded in favor of being called “Shazam!” for ease-of-licensing-and-market-exploitation-that-doesn’t-conflict-with-Marvel-Comics purposes. I mean, I can understand why DC would want that change, and it looks like they wrote around the old Marvel Family issue of characters who can’t say their own names without switching back to normal humans. But “Shazam” as a name just by itself seems nonsensical…”hey man, why are you called ‘Shazam’?” “Well, it’s the magic word I use to turn into a superhero! The ‘S’ is for ‘Solomon,’ the ‘H’ is for Herc…hey, where are you going?” Personally, I would have gone with “Captain Shazam,” so at least you could still call the character “Cap” or “The Captain” and retain some connection to the Captain Marvel of old. That wouldn’t be any more ridiculous a name than, say, “Batman.” But nobody asked me. Nobody ever asks me. (sigh)

• • •

In completely unrelated news, I was convinced to read the new Airboy #1 from Image that came out this week, in which creators James Robinson and Greg Hinkle tell a story of themselves trying to come up with an angle on an Airboy reboot. SPOILERS AHEAD: Horrible things are done over the course of the story, with drink, drugs, sex, and more drugs, while the creators, Robinson especially, uncomfortably assess their comic-creating careers. It’s probably the last thing you’d expect in an Airboy comic, and probably some 80-year-old somewhere is really pissed off that this was done in a comic named after his favorite comic book character, but it really is a compelling read. And, if you’ve read ahead to solicitations for future issues, you already know that by the end of the comic, somehow Airboy himself appears to Robinson and Hinkle, disgusted by their debauchery.

And what that reminded me of was this comic:

Airboy and Mr. Monster (1987), another comic where an apparent apparition of Airboy appears to help a comic creator through a time of trouble. In this case, it’s the fictional Everett Coleman, whose failed career and torment by some of the evil characters he’s drawn over the years eventually leads to other characters he’s drawn coming his assistance…including Airboy. Now, Airboy is just one of an army of characters who pop up in this book, making the implied team-up of the characters in the title only just technically correct. It’s still amusing that Airboy, of all characters, has now been used twice in these mildly similar fashions.

Special “Retailer Trying to Figure How Many to Order of Each Cover” Variant Cover Month!

§ June 3rd, 2015 § Filed under retailing, this week's comics § 6 Comments

And here comes another month of people seeing the variant covers and thinking one thing and requiring me to explain “no, no, it’s just a variant…the cover image doesn’t reflect the contents.” So, sorry, kids, no Superman versus Joker, no Joker wearing Green Lantern’s ring, no Joker pierced with Green Arrow’s arrows, etc. etc. Also, despite the actual story in this comic taking place after the events in Superman #41, despite Superman #41 being referenced in a footnote in this story, you didn’t miss Superman #41 since it’s not coming out ’til the 24th of this month. Just for your information. …The comic does do a very good job of making you curious about just what did…er, will happen in Superman #41, however. It’s a weird mix of the story being very outside the typical Superman formula, but feeling like it builds on the Superman we know, rather than the “let’s do Superman, but different!” throwing-at-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks that characterized most of Superman’s New 52 existence.

We’re getting three Star Wars comics this week…the regular series, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia. That’s a bit much, almost Avengers-esque in its scheduling, but I do have an awful lot of customers who are interested in just the Star Wars books, so getting all three at once won’t be that much of a burden. I don’t know if I’ve said it on my site already, but the timing and success of the Star Wars books vis-a-vis the opening of my own shop was very fortuitous: the release of the new titles driving new customers into shops, causing them to seek out and find my store, was a strong financial influx just when my young store needed it. In fact, at one point I had double-reordered the first Darth Vader by accident, to which I reacted with “I’m never going to sell all of these.” Of course, they sold out and now I wish I’d triple-reordered them.

I don’t have a dog in the Secret Wars race, and while I appreciate the strong sales on this series and most of its tie-ins, but I don’t have any particular interest in it (but I’m still getting this). Which is fine…nobody can be a fan of everything, and I’m certainly not against it by any means. Between this and Convergence, though, that did leave me trying to figure out order numbers on a bunch of oddball titles at about the same time I’m still trying to suss out the buying habits of my new customer base, and believe you me, my friends, that took all of my comic book retailer super-powers to tackle that particular task. But I’m mostly managing, with a couple of hiccups (who knew people would want that Ultimate End comic, after years of Ultimate comics just not selling). But anyway, I did buy that Future Imperfect tie-in, because it’s Peter David revisiting that old mini-series of his that I enjoyed so much. I guess the Maestro (the evil future Hulk, for those of you who don’t know) has also popped up in David’s recent Spider-Man 2099 run, so I guess I’ll have to look into those, too.

What Mr. Hands from The Mr. Bill Show gets up to on his camping trips.

§ June 1st, 2015 § Filed under scans § 5 Comments

But wait, hold on just a second…earlier in the issue, Smokey the Bear tells us of his tragic beginnings, as a young cub caught in a carelessly-started forest fire:

And look there…the very same white-sleeved hand that we saw battling the squirrels for cigarette supremacy! No, it’s not different people wearing similar shirts…there are no coincidences like that in comics! It’s a deliberate artistic choice, where the creators of this comic were intentionally setting up a faceless fire-setting arch-nemesis for our favorite ursine smoke-eater…the Octopus to Smokey’s Spirit.

I mean, that’s the only logical conclusion.




from Four Color #653 (1955)

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ May 28th, 2015 § Filed under End of Civilization § 13 Comments

It’s back, and more annoying than ever…the End of Civilization, as we gaze ahead two to three months (or up to six months, in the case of some merchandise) to see what dangers loom ahead for the world that we know. Take out your copy of the Diamond Previews, June 2015 edition, and follow along as we see what terrrors await us all:

p. 129 – Deathstroke Book and Mask Set:

If only this existed back when Seduction of the Innocent was published…we could have had manufactured data about kids putting their own eyes out pretending to be Slade Wilson.
p. 140 – Central City Police Badge:

Kids wearing their Central City Police Badge replicas, facing off against kids with their Gotham City Police Badge replicas on the playground, arguing all recess over who has jurisdiction. Oh, what a world that would be.
p. 146 – DC Comics Swamp Thing Action Figure:

“Excuse me, I don’t see the words ‘glow-in-the-dark’ anywhere in this solicitation. Do you expect me to go through life with only two different glow-in-the-dark Swamp Thing figures?”
p. 155 – Godzilla in Hell #2:

“On the Third Circle of Hell, we find the Gluttonous. On the Fourth Circle of Hell, the Greedy. On the Fifth Circle…Rodan.”
p. 157 – Star Trek/Green Lantern #2:

You know, if the Guardians of the Universe just gave Green Lantern rings to tribbles, they’d have the galaxy cleaned up in no time.
p. 217 – Sex Criminals #13 Coop XXX Variant:

Hold on just a second…Coop, doing a naughty picture for a variant cover? Well, I certainly find that hard to believe.
p. 276 – Ink for Beginners A Comic Guide to Getting Tattooed:

Okay, here’s something I’ve probably mentioned here before, but this is good comic-related tattoo advice, based on an absolutely true story.

One day, some folks from a local tattoo emporium dropped by and took some of our freebies — Comic Shop News, some Marvel flyers, etc. — to take back to their place. Some time later, one of those fellows returned to the shop and asked if I could answer a question for him. “Sure,” I said, and he immediately pulled up a sleeve to reveal a large forearm tattoo of a Marvel character.


“Uh…it’s X-23,” I managed to say, not quite believing that this was happening.

“Thanks!” the fella said.

Well, I mean, I guess he was happy, so who am I do judge, but seriously…if you don’t know who a particular character is and are sort of maybe curious about it, the time to find out that information is quite possibly prior to having that character become a permanent part of your body. Just a little bit of advice from your pal Mike to you.
p. 471 – Jurassic World Velociraptor Claws:

Finally they found a use for that warehouse full of unsold Hulk 2099 fists.
p. 494 – Stan Lee 1/6-Scale Action Figure:

I see the smaller scale prototypes are in for how they’re going to replace the real Stan when he can’t do film cameos any more.
p. 494 – The Simpsons Homer Buddha 3-Inch Figure:

There were apparently some marketing issues with the Ned Flanders Jesus figure.
p. 497 – Masters of the Universe Man-at-Arms 1/4 Scale Figure:

“Tom Selleck in a role you won’t soon forget.”
p. 508 – Attack on Titan Levi 1/8-Scale PVC Figurine:

Now if that top of that Titan head that functions as a base were actually some kind of rubbery skullcap, why, you’d have the fanciest topper at the ball, that’s what you’d have.
p. 530 – Hybrid Metal Figuration “Superman DC Comics Version” Figure:

These continuing redesigns of the New 52 Superman are just getting weirder and weirder.
p. 561 – Avengers Age of Ultron 5-Inch Bobbleheads:

“Rick Moranis is ‘Iron Helmet’ in Mel Brooks’s Avengers 3: Men in Spandex.”
p. 566 – Gumby Many Moods Bendable Figure Box Set:

I liked Gumby better when he was just fighting crime on Earth, instead of all these different Gumby Corps fighting each other in space all the time.
p. 567 – The Walking Dead RV Walker Ceramic Cookie Jar:

Little Billy: “Grandma, can I have a cookie?”

Grandma: “Oh, certainly dear, help yourself. They’re in the kitchen.”

Little Billy: “Okay, I’ll go get one right…AAAAAAAH! NEVER MIND, I DON’T WANT ONE!”

Grandma [whispering to herself]: “yessssssss, more cookies for me, excellent
p. 572 – Dungeons & Dragons Beholder Dice Bag:

The second item on today’s list that should have been a hat.
p. FS1 – The Top Ten Greatest Comic Book Video Games article:


Marvel Previews p. 100 – Fallen Son The Death of Captain America TPB:

“If only there were some way we could relive those couple of months where we all pretended Captain America was dead ‘n’ gone for good.”


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§ May 25th, 2015 § Filed under golden age, publishing § 9 Comments

So I had a couple of comic collections come into the shop over the weekend. One was a big ol’ pile of Dark Horse Star Wars comics, which, as it turned out, was about 99% different from the Dark Horse Star Wars comics I already had in the shop for sale (i.e. the ones I had bought for myself but gave up to the shop when I opened). The other was a big ol’ pile of comics from the late ’40s/early ’50s, mostly Disney (including lots of classic Carl Barks), Little Lulu, and other various humor books, all offered up by the original owner.

In the middle of that second pile was one of these, a repackaged comic with a new cover advertising the Blue Bird brand of shoes, offered by the Gallenkamp’s shoe store (who also may be the manufacturer of the shoes, I’m unclear on that).

The comic inside is this issue of Kid Colt, Outlaw from 1953:

Looking up some info on this on the Grand Comics Database, it appears that some years later the Blue Bird repackaging moved on to printing new covers that reflected the contents (just Charlton comics at that point, apparently) and more prominently featuring the shoe store name. The Blue Bird logo from the back cover above is still present on the newer front covers.

Anyway, just an interesting artifact from the days of long ago. I think, maybe, when I was but a young Mikester, I vaguely remember getting a free comic book from the shoe store we frequented. This would have been the mid-1970s. It may have been branded with the store’s name, or a shoe manufacturer’s name, or both…it’s just on the edge of awareness, but I can’t say for sure, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t. I wonder how long shoe stores gave out free comics…or any stores. (I mean, beyond Free Comic Book Day, wise guys.) Radio Shack had their comics (apparently into the 1990s!), I remember grabbing one of these in a video store in the late 1980s. And, apparently, Big Boy made it into the 2000s? More as a magazine-with-comics than as a comic book, but close enough!

I’m sure there’s still the occasional funnybook promotion from stores or restaurants here and there, but I feel like it’s not quite the same, or as prevalent, or as amazing, as it had been.

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