Your 2017 Predictions, Part Four: In It to Win It.

§ January 19th, 2018 § Filed under predictions § 4 Comments

Okay, let’s knock out a few more of your 2017 comic industry predictions (previous installments: one, two and three). Like I said before, I’ll have follow-ups and corrections to my earlier response in the final part of this series, which should only be three or four months away. And if you have any predictions for 2018, put ’em here, but don’t guess that Tom Strong and Promethea will return to comics, because we already know.

So, once more unto the breach:

Andrew Leal presents the following with zeal

“NetFlix will consider bolstering their Marvel shows (and that sort of but not quite RICHIE RICH thing) with HERBIE (Popnecker, not the Volkswagon or the robot).”

I know it was just a joke prediction, but I would gladly donate pal Ian‘s life savings for a Herbie Popnecker TV show of some kind. I’d prefer, like, a CGI Herbie in a real world setting, or if we had to have an actual actor as Herbie…I don’t know, Matt Lucas? Whatever…I can just picture a Herbie TV show giving kids weird memories they’d half-recall as adults, wondering if they’d just imagined it.

“The Lego BATMAN movie and related tie-ins will make money and bring joy and probably lead some to consider just making the next Batman/Superman movie in Lego.”

It make money, it brought joy, but I don’t think there’s a direct follow-up in the works. And they’re still making DC superhero movies in live action, so no, like, Lego Justice League movie, which perhaps might have done better than the JL movie they actually put out.

“Mike will have fewer GRAPE APE comics in his shop than the previous year.”

I believe this is true. ONE HIT FOR ANDREW.

• • •

Brian offers up

“Marvel’s constant rebooting of titles will finally lead to some new sort of system (vs. having the twelfth number one of a given title, perhaps two or three of them in the same year). Such a new system won’t be any clearer, however.”

The “Marvel Legacy” initiative this year sorta helped to clear things up a bit, though I did have some confusion from some customers (“wait, why is this comic suddenly #218!?”). It would be nice if Marvel just left it as-is, sticking to those higher issue numbers instead of launching into new restarts…but Marvel just ended Guardians of the Galaxy at #150, and you know when they relaunch it, it ain’t gonna be at #151. So this Marvel Legacy “no really look at how long all these series have ran, once you add ’em all together” thing could just be a temporary cosmetic fix, until the next wave of new #1s comes in (which is the rumor goin’ around, I hear).

“Given rising production costs and the maturation of the digital sales market, one of the independent publishers will switch to solely-digital production, allowing for different controls on how ‘books’ are done.”

I don’t think this happened…a lot of the publishers that have been on the stands have surely expanded their digital offerings, but I don’t think anyone’s entirely abandoned print. There could be some small publishing house that I’m not recalling, so feel free to remind me!

“DC will start running into trouble as creative teams on the Rebirth books come and go, making it more difficult to line up the conclusion of the promised two-year line-wide arc.”

I haven’t really noticed too much of a problem here so far…yeah, there have been some team switch-ups, but nothing that seems likely to endanger DC’s long-term plans. Plus, if I recall correctly, Doomsday Clock, the beginning of the end of DC’s two-year plan, takes place a year in the future of the DC Universe, so the rest of the line still has time to catch up. I think.

• • •

MrJM jams in here with

“At least one high-profile/high-stakes criminal prosecutions for the creation and/or sale of politically/socially/sexually radical comics. Creators, retailers & fans share a serious ‘waitwhatohshit’ moment.”

I don’t think any one big thing happened to make us all go “…uh oh,” but there’s always some shenanigans going on as seen on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s main page.

“DC’s Young Animal imprint continues to make comics designed just for me!”

I’m going to say…”Yes. Yes they did. And are. And will likely continue to do so.”

“Alf makes a big comeback.”

Yeah, yeah, I know. But seriously, I’m sort of surprised there hasn’t been an effort to bring those Alf comics back into print. They were actually very popular at the time (as the story goes, even outselling X-Men comics on the newsstand), and had some pretty solid cartooning. Be a shame if they just vanished forever with no permanent edition to preserve them. …C’mon, ALF ARCHIVES…it’s gotta happen.

• • •

Chris Gumprich grumps

“A forgotten 1950s comic gets a new life when reprinted and becomes the darling of the Internet. The creators are unknown and probably too dead to reap any benefit.”

I’m sure 1950s comics were reprinted, but I don’t know that any of them got internet traction. Well, there was that pretty negative review of IDW’s reprints of weird old horror and romance comics which received a bit of attention, but that’s probably not what you meant. I mean, once I publish that complete collection of Spunky the Monkey, then we’ll be on the same page.

“Creators bring a modern take to a beloved 1970s cartoon, ignoring what made it popular in the first place. (My vote is for Hong Kong Phooey, but that was never popular.)”

The 1970s were a real wasteland when it came to cartoons anyone would want to revive…trust me, I grew up in the ’70s, most of those cartoons were terrible. I mean, sure, I watched ’em, but they were still awful. Well, there was Dastardly and Muttley, based on…well, technically a very late 1960s cartoon, but still really part of the 1970s. The comic based on that ignored a lot of the original cartoons…but in a good way!

We did get some ’70s characters in the Scooby Doo Team-up series, but those were all pretty true to their roots. Even Hong Kong Phooey! …Still willing to write that Mighty Man and Yukk revival, DC!

“A big-name creator says something stupid on Twitter, everyone gets upset, boycotts are called, and then promptly forgotten when another big-name creator says something stupid.”

I think we can just assume this happens every year!

• • •

Mike Loughlin laughingly adds

“Trump will show up in a Marvel comic. Readers will not be pleased.”

I think Savage Dragon beat ’em to it. And many people weren’t thrilled…particularly if they liked Trump!

“The Watchmen characters’ appearances in various DC books will derail the series’ plot lines and lead to declining sales.”

There have been tie-ins (more thematically than character appearances) but nothing that’s really completely derailed any of the books. Everything seems pretty well integrated, for once.

“Mosaic will be canceled; readers will be blamed for not pre-ordering/ trade-waiting/ Marvel Unlimited-waiting by someone who works for Marvel.”

There was a lot of talk about “readers not supporting the books” near the end of the year, regarding several announced cancellations. I don’t recall any such talk about Mosaic, which went from the character being a semi-big deal to “you know, I don’t recall seeing any solicitations for this comic for the last couple of months.” Well, okay, I exaggerate, I never noticed that it was gone. Just the latest title to fall by the wayside, without any real fanfare.

• • •

James proclaims

“Trump references E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E.”

Mostly from indies, surprisingly not so much from Marvel.

“Harley Quinn will get a (much needed) new creative team.”

A new creative team was announced last year, and debuted this week!

“The Fantastic Four will remain M.I.A.”

Well, you’re half-right, I guess, depending on how you look at it…half the team returned in Marvel Two-in-One at the end of the year. Technically, the Fantastic Four is still gone, but we’ve got the Fantastic Two on the stands. That’s, y’know, close.

• • •

My old pal mojo_iv squishes these in

“Chuck Austen will return with a 48-page adaptation of the 1988 film Action Jackson.”

Sadly, no. And I totally would have read that.

“Leftover plot points from Secret Wars will be used to justify a crossover between the main Marvel Universe and the Star Wars universe. Galactus will threaten Coruscant and only the 3rd or 4th Death Star or something can be used to defeat him, but it’s powered by Terrigen-infected Ewoks or Hoojibs or something and instead Rey and Quicksilver have to time travel back to the Prequels and stop Anakin and Padme from getting married or something. Meanwhile Jean Grey will kill 80 billion Mon Calamari and be given a pass because Phoenix.”

Okay, the Mon Calamari joke gave me a mean chuckle. But honestly, I am so surprised at the lack of Marvel/Star Wars crossovers (even, like, a full month of themed variant covers) that I can only assume it’s prohibited by highers-up. Otherwise it’d be nothing but “Dr. Doom versus Darth Vader…TO THE DEATH.”

“Dwayne McDuffie will rise from the grave to destroy us all.”

And we’d probably deserve it.

• • •

Okay, time for my beauty sleep, so that I may become even more beautiful, so I’ll pick up on the predictions this coming Monday. Thanks for reading, pals, and I’ll see you then!

We interrupt our current programming for…well, this.

§ January 18th, 2018 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 2 Comments

So those of you with long memories may recall this now decades-old photo, taken by old pal Sean, of me standing in my previous place of employment, back when my hair was naturally that color (and unnaturally parted to the side), reading The Smurfs:

…and perhaps you recall when, for my 40th birthday, Bully, the Little Photo-Manipulating Bull, offered up this slightly-altered image on his site:

Well, get ready to add another variation of this photo to your “Pictures of Mike” collection, which I know you have, because several people have pointed me to a Gilbert Gottfried Facebook fan page where this pic was presented:

Hey, come on now, I clearly don’t need to learn how to have a Giant-Size Man-Thing as I’m obviously holding…a copy…right…OH WAIT I GET IT.

Anyway, I’m pleased to see in the comments there someone, like, immediately identifying me, and someone else there saying “I’d rather have a Swamp Thing,” and I agree wholeheartedly…so here you go, friend! There’s also someone in those comments who briefly describes a meeting with Jim Shooter and getting him to sign a copy of Man-Thing Vol. 2 #1 (said signed copy pictured there as well).

Anyway, as I told one of my Twitter pals when he informed me of this “new” picture…I knew the job was dangerous when I took it! And by “job” I mean “writing a comics blog and putting pictures of myself on it,” which is by no real definition a job, but, y’know, close enough. And frankly, the original Smurfs version is only a tad less embarrassing.

Your 2017 Predictions, Part Three: All or Nothing.

§ January 17th, 2018 § Filed under predictions § 13 Comments

Okay, I meant to go edit in some more corrections and addendums/addenda in the previous posts (part one and two), but I think I’ll wait ’til we’re done going through all the predictions and do a final wrap-up instead. In the meantime, let’s get through a few more of your guesses for the events of 2017…and don’t forget to give me your predictions for 2018!

Rob London bridges the gap with

“Marvel villain Trump (you know, this guy) makes a comeback.”

Not that I can tell (as you might imagine, that’s hard to look up right now…”Siri, find me ‘trump villain evil'”) but I can’t imagine how anyone at Marvel could have resisted.

“DC launches an equivalent to Marvel Unlimited.”

(and Bryan Boles also noted “I think this is the year DC finally has a digital equivalent to Marvel Unlimited”)

Not that I can tell, but this seems like something The People want, since I had more than one person predict it!

“Agents of SHIELD ends in May; its spot in the ABC schedule is taken by a Ghost Rider series.”

Beyond all expectation, it’s still hanging in there. Who knew?

• • •

Wayne Allen Sallee sallies forth with

“Dr. Oz is not Ozymandias. Clark Kent is really Nite Owl from the Watchmen-verse AND Dr. Oz.”

Well…you’re partly right!

“The letter Thomas Wayne wrote to his son Bruce were simply the lyrics to ‘Seasons in The Sun’ by Terry Jacks.”

Close…turned out it was the lyrics to “MacArthur Park.”

“The DC/Watchmen thing will never be resolved because Trump and Putin will fight over something trivial–perhaps the hidden meaning of ‘Seasons in The Sun’–and Russia and the US will bomb each other to bits.”

Oh, Wayne…you know those two crazy kids would never fight over anything!

• • •

Stephen Conway twitters

“Daredevil will be the latest Marvel character to be replaced with a PoC legacy character, but there won’t be any wholly new character that receives their own book.”

Seems like Matt Murdock and his twin brother Swingin’ Mike Murdock are in it for the long haul…though I suppose recent supporting character Blindspot is right there if they decide to do the ol’ switcheroo.

“Several second and third tier publishers collapse. NuValiant folds as their much needed influx of Hollywood money never arrives.”

No comics-aggedon just yet…maybe a couple have fallen off (or at least scaled back) in the last year, but there’s no alarming attrition thus far.

“Charles Soule catches a rather bad cold causing him miss his deadlines, resulting in Marvel having a week with no new comics.”

That man apparently had a very healthy year!

• • •

Rob Staeger stages the new few items

“I’m gonna predict a new Legion series until they give us one. I’m going to go out on a limb and say DC will use some of Tom King’s Batman cred to launch it; he’ll write the first year.”

Hard to believe we’re still waiting for a new Legion of Super-Heroes series…but better to let it rest than just crank out series after series with declining returns. I do like your idea of Tom King writing it, though…that would certainly make it feel different from every other attempt at relaunching the series.

“While I’m making a wish list, I’ll predict another thing I’d really like: DC will publish a collection reprinting some of the Comico Jonny Quest series.”

I’d like a collection of that series from pretty much any source, but it feels like the time to have done that was maybe when the Future Quest series had started way back when.

“Of the original wave of Rebirth books, the first one cancelled will be Blue Beetle. Jaime Reyes will become a regular in a team book soon afterward.”

It didn’t happen ’til this year, with Blue Beetle ending this February…but Superwoman is beating it by a month, ending, well, right now.

• • •

Bully, the Little Foreseeing Bull, stuffs in the following

“Jaxxon the Giant Green Star Wars Rabbit will get his own five-issue miniseries.”

I don’t think this fella’s turned up at Marvel aside from a couple of variant covers…but I’d be all for a Jaxxon series. Except don’t call him a rabbit because:

“Fleishman’s Margarine will become the newest member of either the X-Men or the Inhumans, or both.”

Well, the Inhumans could’ve used the help.

“The crossover event ‘War of the Spiders’ will never finish. Neither will the human race.”

I’m not even sure what “War of the Spiders” even was. Man, crossovers sure do come and go nowadays. I mean, maybe it is still going, who am I to judge? The human race, however, is still going, sort of despite itself.

• • •

Rich Handley palms off the following

“Star Trek comics will cross over with at least two other franchises. One of them will have the word ‘Star’ in the title.”

Alas, no Battlestar Galactica/Star Trek event, nor did Barbra Streisand meet the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise in A Star Trek Is Born.

“The Watchmen’s involvement in DC Rebirth will ultimately turn out to be neither as interesting nor as important as folks are hoping.”

Well, we’ve got 10 more issues to go before we find out, I don’t know, Rorschach is Jimmy Olsen’s father, or whatever. We’ll just have to see!

“Then… KOREA!”

Why, this is just a cheap ploy to get me to run this panel again:

It’ll never work.

• • •

More prediction talk to come in just a day or two! Thanks for reading, pals.

Your 2017 Predictions, Part Two: Bring It On Again.

§ January 15th, 2018 § Filed under predictions § 3 Comments

AND SO IT CONTINUES SOME MORE: more looking behinder to see aheader via your comic industry predictions for 2017 and checking who got it right, who got it wrong, and how good your pal Mike’s memory is. Part one of this series is right here, and if you want to participate in next year’s event, drop your 2018 comics predictions in the comments here.

Let’s jump right in!

Hulk It Up, Y’all! smashes through with

“Monsters Unleashed will be the first truly fun big ol’ Marvel crossover on a long time, which will be much needed after Civil War II”

Well, parts of it were fun, but the series as a whole didn’t seem to grab the same amount of eyeballs as the Civil War event. I suspect, however, it was a sufficient palate cleanser for those sampled it.

“Wonder Woman will be a big ol’ flop, thus further damaging movie studios’ faith in female led superhero movies :(. If that happens, I will not be happy.”

Never fear, Mr. and/or Mrs. Hulk It Up, Y’all! as the Wonder Woman movie was indeed a big ol’ hit.

“That FCBD Star Trek TNG Mirror Universe comic will be a big ol’ load of fun, and somehow less bleak than a certain movie that also has the word ‘Star’ in it that came out this year.”

I quite liked that Mirror Universe story…I don’t read too many modern ST comics, but I make the occasional exception and this was was pretty fun. It was, as you say, less bleak than that one “Star” movie.

• • •

Pelasgus’s Pal Jason Sandberg submits

“Marvel will move several flagship titles to a biweekly schedule. (The change might be implemented in the manner of Waid’s current ‘Avengers’ run with .1 issues).”

There wasn’t a deliberate and consistent effort to duplicate DC’s biweekly books at Marvel, aside from the occasional shipping shenanigans that resulted in consecutive issues being released close together. There were those .1 issues alternating with their parent titles, like you said, but that’s not quite the same as a single biweekly book. As it turns out, Avengers is weekly for a storyline in 2018, which is not something I would have predicted!

“DC will launch a ‘Bat-Man and the Justice League’ title.”

There is a new (biweekly!) Justice League of America title that is basically “Batman and the Justice League,” which was actually solicited in the same month you made your prediction, but my guess is that you may not have known about it. It’s not titled “Batman and the Justice League,” which…well, I kinda wonder how that would have improved sales?

“Boom! Studios will announce a December 2017 ‘Klaus’ one-shot from Grant Morrison & Dan Mora, this will become a beloved annual Christmas tradition.”

Indeedy-doodly. I hope, like you, they do this every year.

• • •

googum googumed:

“There were a lot of comics with Obama covers. Not expecting anywhere near as many Trump ones.”

There were quite a few Trump parody comics in the past year…I think he’s still behind in numbers versus the Obama comics, but hey, it’s only been a year, I’m sure Trump will catch up in the next seven years of his term. But anyway, like I said in this End of Civilization post a while back, there certainly is a different…tone to the Trump books, isn’t there?

“Even though the sales are better than most other books, Marvel still decides to shake up Star Wars; with a new number one and setting stories after Empire.”

I am surprised the main Star Wars book hasn’t been restarted with a new setting and/or focus yet. I bet they’ll do what you predicted here eventually.

“Next big comics death? I’m guessing Storm.”

Storm is still amongst the four-color living at the moment. In fact, did we have any big character deaths this last year? I mean big as in “anybody caring” or “it made the TV news because nothing else was going on that day.” I know a character or three died in Marvel’s event, but I’m pretty sure all that resulted was some shrugging and assuming the character(s) will be back in whatever the next event will be.

• • •

Harvey Jerkwater spills the following

“Marvel will continue its strategy of creating a second version of every hero as well as its strategy of making the original hero temporarily evil (e.g., Superior Spider-Man, Superior Iron Man, the Hydra-fied Captain America) and it will lead to at least one hilarious misfire that will prompt years of ‘can you believe they did that’ internet giggles.”

Honestly, I can’t think of anything that meets that criteria more than Hydra-Cap. And we’ll never be able to let that sink into the memory hole because I’m sure he’ll get dragged out as a nemesis for every other event series from now on.

“The temptation to create a Big Event where the original versions of the Marvel heroes fight the second versions will prove too strong for editorial to resist.”

Marvel did in fact do this with their “Generations” series of one-shots, with Wolvering Vs. All-New Wolverine, etc. It wasn’t so much an event as event-tangent, spinning off from Secret Empire.

“The Punisher will pick up a ‘Mr. Myxyzptlk/Bat-Mite’ style puckish magical imp called ‘Li’l Bang-Bang’ to bedevil him with fanboy questions and magical shenanigans during his relentless mission of vengeance.”

Will pray every day to any entity that will listen for this to someday take place.

• • •

Bob Stec goes this way with

“Trump will NOT appear on comics covers or interiors as President Obama did, instead, he will appear in stories as thinly veiled (but obvious) villains across the Marvel and DC lines.”

The ol’ Trumpeteer has been showing up in lots of indie comics, and he was, shall we say, prominently presented in an issue of Savage Dragon. He’s made a few appearances in recent DC books (noted here), and the Marvel wiki has a couple of not-very-flattering appearances listed here. Nothing quite on the level of Serpent Society Ronald Reagan yet.

“A Marvel Comics Bronze Age Christmas Story Omnibus will be published. Over-sized and re-colored for your yuletide pleasure.”

Again, I’m surprised they didn’t do anything like this. They’ve got enough reasonably good holiday stories to make for a solid omnibus edition.

“Batman ’66/Gilligan’s Island mini-series will be published. It will contain a scene where Sherwood Schwartz and Julius Schwartz meet ‘n’ greet. Written by Keith Giffen and drawn by Kevin Maguire! C’mon you know this would be awesome!”

I can picture this greatness in my head, and I hate you for making me want this thing that will never happen. Unless of course I start a GoFundMe campaign to collect enough cash to commission a story by these guys that only I can get to read.

• • •

Thelonious_Nick cuts in with

“As Marvel sales continue to drop, DC holds steady, and Image gains ground, we start talking of a ‘Big 3’ comic companies.”

As I noted in an edit to the last prediction post, market shares held relatively steady, even if actual monies made dipped. I don’t think anyone’s talking “Big 3” yet, but certainly nobody’s ignoring Image as a powerful player in the marketplace.

“Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Lego Batman movies earn ALL the money this year, Wonder Woman movie is too dark for parents to take their kids to see and fares poorly, Thor 3 seen as derivative and bombs at box office. Latest Spider-Man reboot and Logan stand-alone movie leave theaters after two weeks having barely made a ripple.”

GOTG2 did very well ($860 million), and Lego Batman had a good showing (about $312 million). But everything else you listed there did just fine, too! In fact, I think Logan was the second-highest grossing X-Men movie (behind Days of Future Past). Homecoming had a slightly higher box office than Amazing Spider-Man 2, and the other two movies you mentioned…well, you’ve probably heard how they’ve done!

“Following Life After and Exodus: Life After, the Life After will start its third series–Leviticus: Life After.”

Oh, you.

• • •

Simon says

“Retailers will start merging or collapsing.”

There were a lot of stories over the last few weeks about stores taking financial hits after a lackluster year…I’m sure we lost a few shops, but I haven’t heard of any specific shop mergers to, like, save businesses. Could start happening if problems continue…it’s an option that could be considered.

“Publishers will keep merging or collapsing.”

There’s certainly been some cooperation…Marvel teaming with Archie to get those Spider-Man and X-Men digests into grocery stores, for example, and IDW is still packaging high-end reprints and special collections for other companies. There was stuff like Netflix buying Millarworld’s stuff, but that’s not quite the same. I can’t think of any companies literally merging into one company in our industry, but I do have a bad memory for that sort of thing. Let me know what I missed and I’ll add it in here.

“A mainstream comic mag may launch.”

I get what you mean, but I can’t think of any U.S. publications that would match what you’re probably thinking of. There are plenty of mainstream graphic novels that are doing gangbuster business, like DC Super Hero Girls and anything by Raina Telgemeier, but there isn’t any regularly published comics mag that gets on all the newsstands and in the grocery stories that’s widely bought by folks who don’t normally buy comics…well, maybe Mad, but even that’s not what it was. Hey, maybe someday.

• • •

That’s the end for today…come back soon for part 3 of your 2017 predictions! And, of course, a big thanks to everyone who participated!

Your 2017 Predictions, Part One: Bring It On.

§ January 12th, 2018 § Filed under predictions § 7 Comments

You dreaded its arrival, and now it’s here…part one of 82 of “Mike looks back at your 2017 predictions!” And if you want to be part of the fun next year, drop your 2018 predictions into the comments of this other post from just a couple of weeks ago.

Okay, and awaaaay we go:

William Burns gets the fire started with

“Comixology will stop providing its pull list service for local comic shops.”

This does appear to be the case, but you were only a few months off…seems to be happening first quarter 2018.

“The age of Trump and the Republicans will see the Big Two retreat from ‘diversity’ books in favor of straight white male superheroics. This will be pitched as ‘a return to our roots’ or ‘giving the fans what they want.'”

Yeah, that turned into a real big stink in the middle of the year (as seen in this article, where a Marvel VP’s comments about diversity hurting their sales was countered by an examination of the actual business practices that were more to blame). As it stands right now, there are a number of books with diverse casts on the stands, but the trend on Big Two titles is, as always, “back to the status quo.” However, there’s usually always someone attempting to widen the appeal of the Marvel/DC books sort of despite the companies’ efforts, so the cycle will come around again.

“Batman 66/Maxwell Smart. C’mon DC, you know you want to.”

Man, I know I wanted them to. However, far as I know there’s nothing new on the comics front for Batman ’66 comics (save a trade collection of the B’66/Wonder Woman ’77 team-up). Hopefully something else will turn up…at least a Batman ’66/Wonder Woman ’77/Superman ’78 story.

• • •

King of the Moon waxes and/or wanes upon the following:

“Still no Power Pack ongoing series in the main Marvel Universe.

“Despite having the IP of a family of kids who get superpowers from a magic alien horse and have their own sentient spaceship that successfully ran for 62 issues Marvel won’t print money.”

Well, we did get a Power Pack #63 as part of the whole Marvel Legacy “let’s give one more issue to some cancelled series” hoohar, though I suppose that’s not exactly what you mean. Like, at the very least you’d think there’d be a budget-conscious “Power Pack” TV series on, I don’t know, Amazon or Crackle or something, with an accompanying comic book.

• • •

Gordon R. Dymowski blogs this, pal:

“Marvel will reveal in its books that Inhumans and mutants are the same”

Um…I’m pretty sure they didn’t? I don’t read any Inhumans or X-books so it’s possible this could’ve slipped by me, but I expect if such a thing did happen, the caterwauling that would have ensued would have been hard to miss.

“As part of its REBIRTH Initiative, DC will reveal that Nite Owl is the Earth-Watchmen’s Batman”

Not yet, at any rate, since we’re only two issues into that Doomsday Clock series, now available at a comic shop near you!

“Although larger conventions (like San Diego ComicCon, WizardWorld, etc) will still predominate, more people will attend smaller, local shows due to affordability of larger, turnkey conventions as well as an ability to reach local retailers, creators, etc.”

I don’t know the attendance numbers, but it does seem like there are more attempts at doing smaller, non-SDCC/WW shows in more places. I’ll mark this one down as “I’m gonna need someone else to tell me.”

“No Swamp Thing predictions this time, sorry.”


• • •

LondonKdS accentuates the following:

“Titan will announce miniseries for every Doctor they haven’t depicted yet, including the ‘Shalka’ and ‘Fatal Death’ Doctors. None of them will have more than two issues out by the end of the year.”

Not quite yet, but give ’em time! And I would absolutely plotz if there were any kind of series based on the “Curse of Fatal Death” story. Yes to any comic that would give me Rowan Atkinson/Hugh Grant/Joanna Lumley Doctors.

“Full-scale campaign for right-wing ‘representaion’at the Big Two. One of them will cave in and publish a series which will tank for being blatant and dull propaganda.”

Haven’t quite reached that state of affairs yet, though I understand there are independent attempts at this sort of thing.

EDIT 1/12: Whoops…Michael Grabowski reminds us of something that might fall within this description from the past year.

“Marvel sales continue to fall, DC bump from Rebirth finally ends.”

Looking at the Retail Market Share charts at Diamond…there doesn’t appear to be too much of a significant change from the beginning of the year to the end. There are some ups and downs but market shares appear to be relatively consistent. I would think that the “Rebirth” branding probably did outlive its usefulness, as it’s been removed from the covers…though that may have as much to do with the arrival of the “final” part of that publishing effort, Doomsday Clock, now available at a comic shop near you!

EDIT 1/12 AGAIN: Whoops Part 2, as relative share of the market doesn’t exactly equal relative size of the market, a thing I remembered once I was, y’know, awake. Reports seem to indicate direct market comics shrinkage, so let me look into this a little further.

• • •

Tim Stevens evens us out with:

DC Comics will finally give Aztek the Ultimate Man his due and give him a brand new series.

Not yet, but he did pop up in the Justice League of America comic in December, just under the wire, so that’s close enough for me!

People will continue to insist Marvel hates the X-Men even as the number of mutant related books rise and rise.

Admittedly, that talk seems to have died down a bit of late, with that Disney/Fox deal happening. Maybe it’s still going on in the message boards, but I ain’t lookin’ in there.

People will talk about Image again as a viable 3rd company again as they did circa 2013.

That seems to be the generally accepted Number Three of the Big Two, though the actual strength of that position seems to come and go. It’ll stick around as a major presence for some time to come, I’d imagine.

Marvel will finally recognize what a talent their MarvelCom freelancer Tim Stevens is and give him his one boutique style line within the Marvel Universe a la Gerard Way’s Young Animal.

Nope, sorry, that’s one prediction over the limit, can’t answer that.

• • •

Hooper Triplett doubles down on

“Paul Grist will start a well-received new series that he stop unannounced and never complete.”

OUCH. Anyway, didn’t happen this year. IT’S BECAUSE YOU SCARED HIM OFF, HOOPER.

• • •

Greg A Assumes

Marvel will continue to try to make the Inhumans into a Thing; however, will also continue to have poorly received results.

Nope, Ben Grimm did not become a…oh, wait, I misread that. Well, there are still Inhumans comics, so I guess that counts as still being a thing. Not exactly taking the world by storm, no.

Marvel’s upcoming Inhumans television series will air the exact same number of episodes as Viva Laughlin before being quietly cancelled.

From what I can tell, Inhumans had eight episodes, which is six more than Viva Laughlin aired (though it apparently had 5 unaired episodes). I don’t know if it’s officially cancelled, but word on the street ain’t good. Yeah, that’s right, I get my word from the streets.

DC Comics will launch a new LSH series. Thanks to its unexpected creative team, the new series will have better than expected sales–particularly in digital and book fair markets.

We’re all still waiting to see what’s happening with the Legion as far as a new comic book series goes, but in the meantime, here’s live-action Brainiac 5 from next week’s Supergirl to keep y’all happy:

• • •

demoncat_4 conjures up:

“marvel will manage to get the ff rights back and do a tv show and have doom show up in an avengers film.”

You’re half-right…well, it’s a pending half-right assuming the Disney/Fox deal is permitted.

“dc will decide its time for swamp thing to show up in live action again and have him pop up on both the flash and legends then spun off in his own movie and tv show.”

Honestly, I’m surprised he hasn’t turned up on the CW somewhere, though maybe they had high hopes for that live-action Justice League Dark movie.

“given him now being part of arrow ragman will get his own comic and at last his own action figure and will be hard to get.”

Again, half-right! There was a new Ragman mini-series that started in 2017. And there’s no official action figure yet, but a Google search turns up a lot of custom figures. I guess technically those are hard to get!

• • •

My old pal Skinslip slides in with:

“At least two more Doctor Who ongoings will happen.”

We did get two mini-series, at least…so you were close!

“The Hasbro universe will add at least one more 80s toyline to boost sales”

There was a Transformers/Visionaries crossover comic that started just this month…but it was solicited in 2017, so I’m counting that at least as a partial hit (since, um, I don’t know that it boosted sales all that much).

“Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York will get a second mini series or become an ongoing”

No second series yet, but we did get another Big Trouble mini (“Old Man Jack”) so who knows?

• • •

Eric L takes the L mostly on one of the following:

“The DC Rebirth books will gradually return to a 3.99 price point.”

Very gradually…a series or two got demoted to monthly from biweekly, with the attendant $1 jump in price. I expect the trend to continue.

“The Wonder Woman movie will be critically acclaimed, but underperform at the box office.”

It was critically acclaimed indeed, but did amazingly well at the box office, too! Good news all around!

“The entire Watchmen invading the DC Universe storyline will be ignored or dropped entirely.”

Nope, it’s still going strong, what with the currently-running Doomsday Clock, now available at a comic shop near you!

• • •

Okay, that’s it for now! Tune in same Watchmen-time, same Watchmen-channel, for the next exciting installment!

Actual content coming soon!

§ January 10th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode, pal plugging § No Comments

1. Probably going to start looking at your 2017 predictions this Friday, so hang in there, pals! Those giant walls of text you’ve come to know and love are on their way! However, keep sending me your 2018 predictions!

2. Don’t forget that civilization ended yet again just last Monday…check it out, if you dare!

3. Bully, the Little Stuffed Magical Imp, is, for Two Thousand and Eighteen, bringing us a Year of Mr. Mxyzptlk (or is that…Mxyztplk?). How is that not like the greatest thing ever!


Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ January 8th, 2018 § Filed under End of Civilization § 7 Comments

Back due to poplar demand! That’s right, trees everywhere have insisted that I once again page through the latest issue of Diamond Previews (the January 2018 edition) and warn you of soon-to-arrive direct market items, many of which are…um, made…from trees…? Even Previews itself is…well, I sense perhaps a complex motivation behind said demand, but while we puzzle that out, why not page through your copy and follow along?

p. 72 – Jam (New Edition) SC:

Not a novelization of this comic, as I’d hoped:

p. 83 – Game of Thrones Buttons:

Haven’t read a page of the books, haven’t seen a second of the TV show, can only assume based on this button there’s a kingdom filled with folks wading in shallow water in those big ol’ fisherman pants, fighting other kingdoms like this:

If I’m wrong, don’t tell me…let me have my dreams.
p. 99 – Batgirl #21:

Look, just tell me…is that Swamp Thing on the cover or not? Do I need to order extra copies for myself and my “all Swamp Thing appearances” customers? CLEAR IT UP, PLEASE
p. 150 – Absolute Batman The Killing Joke HC:

Surely some of the 130-somethin’ pages in this new, new edition of Killing Joke will adapt the new prologue from the animated adaptation.
p. 165 – Ghostbusters Crossing Over #1:

A team-up event featuring all the different versions of the Ghostbusters…

…except, of course:

Poor Tracy the Gorilla. Well, maybe he can get a job at that Gorilla Channel that’s so popular now.
p. 194 – Rick Veitch’s The One #2:

The solicit reads “presents a shocking worldview that almost predicted today’s political climate,” and I was ready to poke fun at it, but in all fairness… who could have predicted all this back in the 1980s? Hell, if anything, The One isn’t weird enough.
p. 266 – Gingerdead Man Meets Evil Bong #1:

Speaking of which…this feels like just one step away from another Donald Trump parody comic, somehow.
p. 289 – Vampironica #1:

Okay, we’ve had Archie zombies, Werewolf Jughead, and Vampire Veronica. If we don’t get The Reggimummy eventually, I will be very disappointed.
p. 295 – Jirni #1:

I recognized that I have a problem with recognizing puns or homophones in comic book names and titles, and now that I have recognized this issue, there’s no way I can get caught off guard by any…other….

p. 320 – Planet of the Apes Ursus #3:

So when do we get the series featuring Lucius, the rebellious teen ape from the end of the original film? It’s what the people want!
p. 326 – Belladonna Fire and Fury #4 Wraparound Cover:

Finally, something new to add to my long-neglected gelatinous cube category. My sexy, sexy gelatinous cube category.
p. 356 – Star Wars #1 Signed by Stan “The Man” Lee and Remarked with a Character Sketch by Ken Haeser:

Okay, far as I know Stan Lee never worked on a Star Wars comic, beyond “Stan Lee Presents”-ing them, but what I wouldn’t give for the unholy combination of Threepio’s regular speech patterns combined with Lee’s bombast. “”I suggest a new strategy, Artoo: let that that WILD AND WACKY WOOKIEE TAKE ALL THE MARBLES, TRUE BELIEVER! EXCELSIOR!”
p. 442 – Bloodshot Salvation #7:

“BLACKOUT! A seminal comics milestone told entirely in pitch-black darkness!”

So, it’s like the photo-negative of that one issue of Alpha Flight:

p. 513 – One-12 Collection Halloween Michael Myers Action Figure:

Who needs a scaled down version of Michael Myers when I have a 1:1 scale model right here in the shop!

p. 537 – Star Wars The Last Jedi EAA-058 Captain Phasma Action Figure:

About time Mel Brooks turned his Spaceballs-eye to the new trilogy. Why, hello there, Shiny Helmet!
p.570 – Batman Gotham City 4D Mini Puzzle:

“Batman, the only clue 4D Mini-Puzzle King left behind was this Gotham City 4D Mini Puzzle.”

“(sigh) Well, I guess prefer this to the clues left by Manure Master.”
p. 573 – Star Wars “Yoda Best Dad Ever” Tumbler with Black Lid:

More or less upsetting than the Wacky Wobbler? YOU DECIDE:

p. 574 – Star Wars The Last Jedi Ceramic Sculpted Mugs – Chewbacca:

At first I thought that was actual “hair” on that mug, and I may have gagged a little.
p. 581 – Clue Retro Game:

“Turn the time machine back to 1986 with this Retro Series Clue Game! […] The game has unique collectible packaging and the classic gameplay that you know and love, with retro components based on the 1986 edition.”

“Turn the time machine back to 1986”

“Retro components based on the 1986 edition”

Marvel Previews p. 40 – True Believers Venom Vs. Spider-Man #1:

I know the final version of this will have the “True Believers” banner on the cover, but I still look forward to years of telling people “no, this isn’t the issue of Amazing Spider-Man that goes for stupid amounts of money, sorry.”
p. 103 – Thing Project Pegasus TPB:

I have a vague recollection of complaints in the fan press, from readers and from retailers, about Marvel’s initial paperback release of this story back in the 1980s being indicative of efforts at flooding the market with unnecessary and overpriced product. …All those people were, of course, wrong, because what we need are more books reprinting the classic adventures of Bashful Blue-Eyed Benjy. If you want to save the comics industry, Marvel, then get on that!

special thanks to Bully the Little Snowblind Bull for production assistance!

Not that I’ve really added anything by returning to the topic.

§ January 5th, 2018 § Filed under publishing § 3 Comments

So anyway, I was going back over some old posts and realized that I’d meant to return to your comments about who the big Frank Miller/John Byrne-esque comics superstars are today. I think part of my problem is definition of terms, and that perhaps the Miller/Byrne superstardom was inflated in my memories. I mean, not too much, they were undeniably Big Names, but I think I may have been trying to compare creators of today to a standard that perhaps didn’t really exist as I remembered.

I don’t think I was too far off base; there was a reason why DC handed Superman over to Byrne and said “okay, pal, go to town.” And why Miller was given a six-issue mini-series in a new deluxe format starring demons and future-ninjas and not a single Batman in sight. And some of today’s creators are comparable, I think, despite the business being a quite different beast now. I don’t have much to add to the suggestions you left…I think Alex Ross and Neil Gaiman are probably the two most likely suspects. Okay, Ross covers are all over the place, but should he decide to do interiors on a series, that would almost certainly grab attention. And Gaiman is, well, Gaiman…he gets attention whenever he delves back into comics. And Mark Millar, too…yeah, okay, “boo hiss” but he’s pretty much got free reign to do whatever, and good on him. And I still think if Todd McFarlane came back to a Big Two comic (as unlikely as that is), that would probably suck up all the available money in the direct market. I mean, just picture “Todd McFarlane’s Superman.” Holy cow, I just had a vision of myself diving into my money bin the day after that first issue came out.

Anyway, my response to the original question was perhaps ill-considered…there are plenty of popular creators out there who get an extra amount of attention from fans and news sites/mags, but, as was pointed out, even the most popular creators don’t necessarily appeal to everyone. It’s hard to pick out one or two folks as being superstars, and even when a dummy like me does it anyway in that previous paragraph, there are plenty of pro and con arguments to make. Hey, let’s just agree that everyone is a superstar to somebody. Even if it’s just, y’know, Mom.

• • •

Okay, still taking your comic industry predictions for 2018, and I’ll start looking at your 2017 predictions next week…after an End of Civilization post, hopefully.

By which I mean “who wouldn’t want ME to make more money?”

§ January 3rd, 2018 § Filed under retailing § 3 Comments

So there’s been a lot of talk of late (particularly on Twitter) about comic shops struggling, about how folks with pull lists at their shops should drop in before the end of the year and pick up their stuff (especially if it’s been a while), and about how some shops are getting stiffed on pulls that aren’t picked up.

Now, to the first part, on a personal level, my shop is doing fine. Sure, I’d like to make more money, but who wouldn’t? However, I’m paying bills, I’m paying myself, I’m socking a little away, so I think I’m good. And I haven’t nailed down all the numbers yet, but I’m pretty sure business has increased for me over this past year. It was hard going, particularly given certain publishing “events” and relaunches and whathaveyous didn’t take off as everyone was hoping, but overall, I watched my order numbers and expenses and I think I did okay. Plus, I’m a new store and am hopefully still in the “upswing” part of the sales curve. Nowhere to go but up! …Unless it goes down, of course, but not so far!

What makes it rough is the latter part of the first paragraph here, and that’s the comic pulls. Like I said, there have been a number of Twitter reminders to people to go get their comic savers, which I dutifully retweeted because I’d like that to happen at my shop, too, but this one in particular sorta set me off. No particular reason why that one got me going, but I did a little mini-Twitter rant in response and support of that person’s tweet.

It’s nothing I haven’t said here before, I’m pretty sure. Basically, “pick up your pulls, or keep in contact to let them know you’ll pick up your pulls, or let them know if can’t get your pulls and you need to stop.” …Pithy and catchy, right? Really, all it takes is a call or an email, particularly if I’m calling/emailing you and trying to get you to come in for your stash.

As I noted in my Tweeterings, I had a couple of recent comic saver accounts that I had to cut off. One person I managed to reach a couple of times, got promises that he’d be in to pick up his stuff, and then…nothin’. Another person I could only get the answering machine, and never got a single call back from any messages I left. I wasn’t mean about it, just giving friendly reminders at first, and then the friendly “if you need to cut down your pull or stop entirely, just drop me a line, no problem!” But still, nothing.

These were two regulars, by the way…folks that had been with me since just about the time I opened my shop. Dutifully came in on a regular basis until they didn’t, which is why I maybe let their pulls go a little longer than I should have. (I’ve had a few other pulls that went south right quick over the last few years, but I caught on early enough on most of those that it wasn’t much of a problem.) In these two cases I’m talking about, a lot of the comics involved were Star Wars titles, which thankfully I still have a pretty good market for, so mostly I can reabsorb the stock on these without much difficulty. But, of course, there’s always the stuff in the pulls that have now missed their sales opportunity window, so that’s lost income for me.

Now, I don’t know what occurred in these customers’ lives. I know crap happens, and suddenly your income is cut in half or lost entirely, or you’re going through (shall we say) domestic changes, or there’s some emergency, or something. And as I said in my Twitter thread, calling your local comic dude is probably very low priority if you’re dealing with some serious crud. But at the same time…I’m not asking for much. If I’m contacting you repeatedly (not nagging, but, like, a phone call once every couple of weeks or so) at the very least spend 30 seconds on the phone or the email program of your choice and talk to me. I’ve got my own life (and business) to lead, and don’t want to put a dent in my income, and also don’t want to screw you over if you genuinely are eventually coming in for your books.

So anyway, be nice to your local comic book person, especially if it’s me. You need to cut the list down, or cut it entirely, or put it on hold so you can catch up, or need to make arrangements to pick it up a bit a time…I swear, I will work with you! Just don’t vanish and leave me pulling books for you each week that you’ll never buy and then I’ll never be able to sell.

• • •

Your reminder that I’m still taking your comic industry predictions for 2018 right in this post here, so post ’em if you got ’em! (Remember to follow the rules I have in the main body of my post, please!) I’m going to start going over your 2017 predictions next week, so let that be a warning to you all.

Happy Nude Year!

§ January 1st, 2018 § Filed under happy new year, how the sausage is made § 4 Comments

Here’s to a happy and safe and successful and occasionally nude 2018 for all of us!

Now, for you, a Progressive Ruin Secret: almost since the beginning of this blog, what, 30, 40 years ago, I had plans in the back of my mind for a post titled “AND NOW…IMPLIED NUDITY,” which would feature panels or covers from assorted comic books where the character was clearly intended to be in the altogether, but was covered up in sufficiently Comics Code approved fashion. I mean, nothing particularly salacious…it was stuff from 1970s Flintstones comics and, y’know, like that. No idea why I never got around to assembling said post, aside from fear of the kind of search engine referrals I’d get (not that the ones I get now aren’t particularly…imaginative), but just thought I’d at least present the very cover that inspired the idea: Beetle Bailey #74 (March 1970), my actual copy of which is buried in the stacks of unsorted comics that hopefully I’ll get around to un-unsorting during my day off today.

Thanks for reading, pals, and I’ll see you again in a day or two.

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