§ May 27th, 2022 § Filed under retailing § 2 Comments

So here’s a thing I found in one of the many, many boxes of old promo material I inherited from the previous place of employment…a sheet of ordering suggestions sent out by a distributor:

These seem to be all for comics with a cover date of January 1984, which means they were released a couple of months before that, which means this sheet was sent out mid/late-ish 1983.

Now, I love stuff like this…I immediately scoured the boxes and found only one or two more of these. But it’s a great insight into what the comic market was like at the time, outside of just order and sales numbers. This is why I also like period fanzines, in that you get the opinions of the time, what people were anticipating, what reactions they had to new projects, that sort of thing.

Reading this now, we have the advantage of hindsight, like with the note that New Mutants was beginning to drop in sales. We know seven months later that the very artist this writer was ballyhooing in the Dazzler entry, Bill Sienkiewicz, would be taking over and revitalizing the book. Also, I may be reading a bit into this, but I feel like there’s an implied “GOOD” response to the dropping sales, as I seem to recall some resentment at the time from X-Men fans that the very idea of having to buy a second X-title was such a burden. Anyway, they didn’t know how lucky they had it.

Other observations:

I think time has shown that Machine Man was “the worst mini-series yet” is WRONG WRONG WRONG. Also, the idea that Hercules was a low-selling series surprises me, as I thought it’d been relatively popular. Or maybe it was, just graded on the Marvel sales curve it’s still way below X-Men. Anyway, both of these were good comics and strong back issue sellers for a long time.

The “woof woof” on the Marvel Fumetti comic was amusing. I suppose it must have seemed like just more Marvel rack-crowding by pumping out junk, but I bought a copy of that when it was new, and it’s cute and funny! Plus it’s nice to see even black-and-white photos on newsprint of the Marvel crew.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #7 sure seemed like a big deal to this writer, I guess, spurred on by the artwork of Mike Golden. This annual was the goofy Impossible Man story, and yeah, it’s a consistent seller today, only because demand is way up on X-Men as a whole.

The Cloak and Dagger entry is a nice reminder of how hot the comic once was.

I guess this writer’s dog shared the byline, as here we are in the Sub-Mariner #1 entry with an “Arf.” Truth be told, this is like one of the forgotten Sub-mariner titles.

I’m glad the Aunt May/Galactus team-up in Marvel Fanfare #137 got the positive nod. I presume fans were probably amused by the very idea, and I know I certainly bought one. It was also part of the “Assistant Editors Month” event, with crazy things happening in each comic. I’m sure the sales bump was a good idea.

Part two on Monday, where we look at what we should be ordering on DCs! Plus, a mystery title?

Not really Eisner-winning.

§ May 23rd, 2022 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the “international” (i.e. uncut) edition of the classic Swamp Thing movie was released on Blu-ray in the UK.

Lemme ‘splain. When it came time for the initial release of the first Swamp Thing movie to DVD, instead of using the U.S. theatrical release (which contained a minor amount of Topless Adrienne Barbeau), they used a somewhat longer cut (by a couple of minutes) featuring Slightly More Topless Adrienne Barbeau, along with a scene featuring (for some reason) a gaggle of topless dancers. I of course go into detail about the situation in this Eisner award-winning post from 2006.

Well anyway, that edition of the DVD was pulled from the market, and later replaced by actual U.S. theatrical cut without the extra nekkidness. The one improvement of the newer DVD was that it was anamorphic, so the picture filled up your widescreen TV. Alas, that uncut edition was not, so all that extra, um, stuff was relegated to a rectangular box in the middle of your screen.

Eventually, that first Swamp Thing movie did get rereleased in a Blu-ray edition, and while there was some hope it would be the 93-minute uncut version, it ended up being the regular 91 minute flick. I talked a tiny bit about the Blu-ray when it came out back in 2013, and it’s a bit alarming to realize that was almost 9 years ago. (Still haven’t listened to those commentary tracks by the way.)

Anyway, I found out somewhere (I don’t even remember where, the act of finding out must have caused traumatic amnesia) that the uncut version was released on Blu-ray in the UK by 88 Films. You know, like I said at the top there. And did I order it right away? Oh yes I did. And here it is:

I bought it from an eBay seller, who asked me after I made the purchase if I was aware it was a UK disc that would only work on players that could accept Region 2 discs. As I had recently acquired a multi-region player, I let him know it was all good.

At this point he mentioned that he had been selling a lot of these, to which I replied “oh, here’s why” and gave him a short version of the above. Yes, I can achieve brevity when I want to, I know it’s hard to believe. He did not know about the initial DVD release and eventual replacement, and thanked me for the info! Also, there’s no real good way to explain you’re buying the UK edition of Swamp Thing to get the restored footage that features extra nudity without sounding like a real creep. I said “LOOK, I’M A SWAMP THING COLLECTOR!” which seemed to amuse him. I did get this nice note with the item:

I haven’t had a chance to properly watch it yet, but I did pop the two versions into the player and saw that there are different special features between the two versions. The interviews with the actors and creator Len Wein that were on the U.S. disc are not on the UK version, and the UK edition has a featurette about the comic/film connection discussed by a British film critic. The makeup artist’s commentary track on the U.S. disc is not on the UK one, but the UK edition does have an interview with the production designer. Both discs have commentary tracks from Wes Craven, but the UK disc says its Craven commentary has a moderator, so I suspect these are different recordings. I’ll know for sure once I give ’em a listen. Finally, a reason to get around to them!

One other thing I noticed is that, like the U.S. edition, the UK release contains both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film. However, while the Blu-ray is the 93 minute “UNCUT AND UNCENSORED EUROPEAN CUT” (as it says in all caps on the back of the case), the DVD is “89 mins approx.” So it looks like you’re getting both versions of the movie with this package.

Anyway, nice to have the complete film on Blu-ray, which is about as nice as it’s going to get until the 4K 3-D version comes out, at which point I’ll have to buy a new TV just to be able to keep watching Swamp Thing in the best possible way. And, as a warning to anyone of you young’uns over there in Jolly Ol’ thinking about buying or watching this movie for yourselves:

…sorry, must be this high to ride this movie. Come back in a few years, kid.

Pretty sure all Canadians speak just like Bob and Doug McKenzie.

§ May 20th, 2022 § Filed under death of superman § 6 Comments

As I’m processing back issues during the course of my day, I’ll occasionally snap pics of panels or covers or whathaveyou that amuse me for posting to social media.

Anyway, I was playing around with a stack of sealed black-bagged Superman #75s (of which I now have (cough) plenty), when the above caught my eye for some reason. I just pictured someone at DC telling the printer in Canada “okay, we need like 300,000 copies of Superman’s obituary and we need ’em good and fast” and the printer was all “whatever, hoser” before churning out tens of thousands of obituaries for a fictional character who ended up not being dead that long anyway.

It’s also hard to imagine the reaction of whoever it was making those armbands. “Wait, you want what?”

Most hard to imagine of all was the fact that you got all this stuff for only $2.50 American. So, those of you who dared to break the seal on this thing, did you wear the armband? Did you stick the stamps on anything? Did you hang that poster of Superman’s funeral procession on your wall, like a weirdo?

And did you notice that the poster packed with the comic featured the Batman characters, while the separately-sold poster did not (aside from Nightwing), due to some licensing hoohar that also affected DC’s trading card program?

Anyway, it was time for my legally-required Death of Superman post. Sorry, it’s the law, my hands are tied.

If only it were cheap enough to put logos/UPCs/prices on an acetate overlay and leave the artwork alone for every comic.

§ May 18th, 2022 § Filed under advertising, marvel § 8 Comments

So I’ve been processing a lot of back issues lately, as I’ve had several collections (or several boxes from the same collection, in some cases) showing up at the shop. And as I do so, I’m flipping through books and checking conditions and making sure there are no missing pages and such, where occasionally I’ll find an image that amuses me. Out comes the phone, a picture is snapped, and I’ll throw it on Twitter or Instagram or whathaveyou.

Above is one of the pics that struck me, mostly in the ol’ nostalgia bone as I remember seeing that particular house ad in comics I was reading in the early 1980s. Specially 1983, and I think I saw it in the actual Thing series, and I presume the ad ran elsewhere but it was in The Thing where I’ve only seen it. I’m sure one of you kind folks out there will more early ’80s Marvels under your belt will let me know.

As I said when I posted this pic on Twitter, I was amused by the crosseyed, slightly-annoyed Blushin’ Ben Grimm in the smaller cover on the left, logo pushed down low on his brow. Also I wanted to note that it was a shame the actual image in the larger “more room” design was never used for a real cover. What a cheery face to have starring back at you from the racks.

Of course over the years Marvel found new ways to encroach on the available cover image space:

…including going back to the retro banner briefly in the late-ish ’90s:

But for the most part nothing was as bad as this early ’80s favorite:

I’m sure worst examples can be pulled from comics history, but boy that bicycle ad sure annoyed me as a kid.

Worse still is

…but I’ve already gone on about that.

“Overly talky” versus a book that had Chris Claremont writing for it.

§ May 16th, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, dc comics, marvel § 9 Comments

So back in Ye Olden Dayes of this blog, when I wrote about specific comics, all I had to do was dip into the Vast Mikester Comic Archives and pull out a copy of the book I wanted to discuss. “Ah, yes, fetch me that copy of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #106, would you Jeeves, that’s a good chap,” as I reclined into my Marc Newson Lockheed Lounge Chair, quill in hand, ready to pen the latest enthralling installment of Progressive Fancypants dot com.

Well, that changed when all thoughts of fancypantsness went out the window as I opened up my own comic book store, and the Vast Mikester Comic Archives became The Dismal Dregs once I gave over my personal stock to shop stock. Now when I want to discuss a particular book, it’s either one that I came across at my store, one I can pull images from DCUniverseInfinite.com, or I can bum pics off a pal, usually Bully.

It’s particularly frustrating when the books I want to discuss are definitely ones I bought off the stands at the time of release, and long since given up to the shop, such as 1985’s Heroes for Hope Starring the X-Men from Marvel Comics:

and Heroes Against Hunger from DC Comics:

Produced during that time pop culture remembered that Africa was having some problems, these were fundraising comics to aid the fight against starvation. Honestly, I don’t know how much money was raised by these projects, given each had a price tag of $1.50, so the wholesale price was about half that (unless there was a different discount structure in place for these particular books, which is possible), and unless those distributors also donated their share of the profits…well, that wasn’t much per issue going to charity. It’s a little better once you multiply that portion of the cover price by however many copies were sold to retailers (for which I have no info, so I’m gonna make the rough estimate of about 300,000 for the X-Men book, and half that for the DC one), then maybe you’re talking some real money. Maybe not “We Are the World” money, but not nuthin’, either.

I’m sure some enterprising person out there already crunched all those numbers and I’ll hear about it shortly, but that would take some kind of “internet search engine” to locate something like that. I’ll have to ask my man Jeeves to look into it. Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

No, what I’m here to talk about is the impact these books had on me, and possibly also on cultural awareness overall (as far as “comic book fandom cultural awareness” goes on something like this). And all this came about because I was processing a collection the other day that had a copy of the Marvel benefit book. That in itself isn’t terribly unusual…copies of this title show up in collections all the time, far more frequently than the DC counterpart, which is why I presumed earlier the vast disparity in printruns.

But whenever I get a copy, I poke through it and marvel (so to speak) at the creative teams they put together for the short vignettes within…usually only two or three pages long by a specific creative team. There is a bare thread of a storyline connecting everything, but the real meat are the small character bits each short provides, as the various X-Men face personal, emotional challenges. Harlan Ellison and Frank Miller presents Wolverine rising above his savage instincts, Chris Claremont and Brian Bolland have Storm confronting her various self-images, Stephen King(!) and Bernie Wrightson have Kitty face off against…well, hunger (there’s more to it than that, didn’t flip through it agin to refresh my memory, but boy that “Good God, let’s eat!” still sticks with me). And then there’s this, which I took an askew shot of at the shop to post onto Twitter:

…contrasting Magneto’s Holocaust survivor background with the future he may bring about with his battle for mutant superiority over the common folk. I mean, Hitler shows up on this page to praise Magneto, it ain’t exactly subtle. It’s Alan Moore in a very rare bit of Marvel work (his only new post-UK work for the company, I believe), drawn by the underground comix legend Richard Corben. Not shown (except a bit in the last panel of that page there) are the great rotting corpses that only Corben could create. It may very well be one of my favorite bits of X-Men comics.

Here’s the thing about not having these comics readily accessible in my collection any more. I have to depend on my memories of having read the books. Yes, I said I get the Marvel book in collections all the time, but I’m not spending time to flip through each copy that shows up. It was only the other day where I thought “you know what’s good? this Moore/Corben sequence” and decided to take a picture of it so I could say so on the Twitterers. Many of the images and events of this comic stick in my mind clearly, nearly 40 years after I first saw them. That emaciated Kitty Pryde, Wolverine standing triumphant, Storm in her various guises, a guilt-ridden Magneto. I don’t remember a whole lot else from the comic, but those have been living in my brain a very long time.

Now let’s take the DC book. Similar in structure to the Marvel comic, it’s made up of short 2-3 page sequences each by a different creative team, strung together into a semblance of a story. I have two primary memories of this comic, which I definitely bought and read at the time.

The first memory is of a review I read of it in, well, probably has to be Amazing Heroes. Basically the complained about the inconsistency of the writing, specifically citing that Lex Luthor’s characterization would change from segment to segment. An inherent problem, I suppose, in having this many writing cooks in the kitchen.

The other memory was of Luthor weeping when put face to face with starving people. I mentioned that scene online, and it was Twitter pal BobH to the rescue, snapping a pic of that very moment:

As BobH pointed out, that’s by Barry Windsor-Smith and Catherine Jones, an impressive art team by any measure. He also mentions Bernie Wrightson inked by Mike Kaluta (wow!) and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez inked by Jerry Ordway (another shot from BobH):

A look at the credits shows lots of other impressive (and weird) combos. I mean, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson! Curt Swan inked by John Byrne! Walt Simonson inked by Steve Leialoha! (That one’s gotta be weird!) C’mon, Kirby is in this! There’s a lot of what should be some spectacular work in here.

I just don’t remember any of it. Nothing from the book stuck, except that one image of Luthor. (Which I liked, by the way…I always preferred the “yes he’s a bad guy but not a complete monster” pre-Crisis Luthor to the nigh-irredeemable post-Crisis Luthor we’d get only a couple of years after this.) Otherwise my mental image of the book was that it was…cluttered and cramped, overly talky and not as visually memorable or striking as the X-Men comic. The DC one even had its own Big Name Horror Writer in Robert Bloch, for a sequence also drawn by Wrightson, and hand-to-God I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it.

Not to say the X-Men book totally ruled and the DC one drooled or anything. The former had a bit by Mike Baron/Steve Rude, a creative team I normally like, which I looked at briefly in the copy I had at the store and gosh darn if I could tell what was going on. And frankly the DC book sounds a lot better than I remember, but I still feel like it does just sound that way, that something in the execution made it a less memorable offering that the Marvel release.

Lot of words to throw at you to essentially say “I remember one book more fondly than the other” but this is just one of those things I go through as an older fan who’s had a lot of comics pass through my hands. Interesting in that both Jim Starlin and Wrightson were involved in creating the storylines for both.

Anyway, I put this here so that I can maybe get some feedback on the books, about what I’m not remembering, about what was outstanding about the DC book that should be remembered as well as those top-flight stories from the Marvel comic. But I have to be honest, it’s gonna be hard to beat that Magneto strip.

EDIT: Everything old is new again! I just reminded myself that I wrote about these books on the site before, because of course I have! Here I am talking about the Marvel one, and here’s DC…more images (and some linkrot) for your perusal!

Blogging about Free Comic Book Day is a sin.

§ May 13th, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, free comic book day § 5 Comments

A few follow-up Free Comic Book Day questions:

Daniel T crosses over with

“I’m curious about one of the freebies: how excited are people for Dark Crisis?”

That…is hard for me to judge, simply because I was inside working the register while all the free comics were outside getting snapped up by the madding crowds. While I had given away nearly every copy, I can’t say that was more out of interest in the Dark Crisis event itself or simply because it was The Free Mainline Superhero DC Freebie and therefore a top target of FCBD-ers.

I haven’t heard a lot of in-store interest in the comic in general, aside from inquiries into the variant covers. Maybe it’ll be like my experience with the new Flashpoint Beyond event thingie, where I didn’t have a lot of folks asking about it up front, but once it hit the stands then the demand showed up. Or maybe people are just tired with Big Deal Comics with “Crisis” in the title, who knows?

• • •

John Maurer had maur to say

“Isn’t the Avengers/X-Men FCBD book the one that has the speculators drooling because it is the first appearance of Blade’s daughter or some such character? THAT MISTAKE WILL MAKE YOU RICH, MIKE!*

“* OK, probably not, but you might could get like $5-10 each if Disney ever brings the character into the MCU.”

You know, I have no idea what’s going on in that Avengers/X-Men/Eternals thing. Lemme look at the eBays.


Okay, I looked at eBay long enough for the gorge to rise, and sure ’nuff that very freebie is being sold for between a relatively reasonable one dollar up to at least $10. And yes, it’s because it introduces Blade’s daughter. I haven’t had anyone come in after the fact specifically requesting that issue, so I don’t know if the news hasn’t filtered down to my area yet (unlikely) or that the local investors have looked at that item and found it not worth the trouble (more likely). Or many they snapped up stacks of them off the front tables when nobody was looking.

I did a more general search on the 2022 FCBD offerings over on eBay and most things appears to be offered for between $2 to $5 bucks. One person was selling Dark Crisis for $6. Seems pretty mellow this year…usually there’s at least one comic that’s the Speculator’s Choice, but aside from folks pushing that X/Av/Et book hard, nothing’s really standing out.

• • •

Randal Yard sticks it to me with

“Don’t think you need to bother putting Your Pal Dorian’s link up there anymore…in fact, woof, that sidebar of links really needs some TLC. Is it just you and Neil chugging along?”

Yeah, I know, I know, I need to, at least, update some of those links to more current, active locations for some of those folks (like maybe their Twitter feeds). That takes a little bit of time, which I’ve been short on a bit lately. And if you think that sidebar is bad, The Deity of Your Choice help you if you ever poke in on my links page.

In pal Dorian’s case, I was just linking his name to his site pretty much automatically, even though he hadn’t updated in a while. And I just noticed, looking now, that it’s currently going to a domain parking page. I swear I checked not long ago and it was still going to his dormant, but still present, website. At one point I talked with Dor about taking over hosting an archived version of his site on my webspace, but we ran into a difficulty or two trying to move files around and we both ended up just getting to busy to deal with it otherwise. Eep, I’ll have to ask him what we can do about this.

But yes, my sidebar and my links page are both graveyards of dormant or straight-up dead sites, which, y’know, Such Is The Internet. I feel sad about some of those losses, certainly, as I got on well with a number of them. Many of those folks started about the same time as me, or somewhat before, in the Comicsweblogosphere, but I suppose it’s a lot to ask of someone to still be posting about comic books on their World Wide Website nearly twenty years on, like some weirdos.

There are still a few blogs left standing, like Neilalien (whom you mentioned) and Bully the Little Stuffed Bull (slight format change, but still as stuffed and little as ever). Johanna is still plugging along as well. And there are others, as well as newer blogs that have come along.

A good place to look at what comic blogs are still active is the Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron…plenty of folks still “blogging” about “comics,” all of whom guaranteed to be confirmed social deviants. Otherwise, why would they do it? WHYYYY

• • •

Andrew Davison schools me with

“Any pics of happy kids?”

Look, no kid will ever be happier at Free Comic Book Day that the one pictured at the top of this post on the store website from a few years back. I mean, that’s just science.

But like I said earlier, I was at the register most of the day, and didn’t get a chance to take pics. My dad took a couple, like this shot of inside the store:

As you can see, young folks were in evidence, and I can assure you I saw plenty throughout the day.

• • •

Well, that’s that for this year…I mean, there weren’t any “but what good does FCBD do?” or “don’t you lose money?” questions this time ’round (answers: plenty and nope, in that order, please refer to all my previous posts), but that’ll do. Thanks for your interest in the subject, and we’ll see you next week!

Free as can be.

§ May 11th, 2022 § Filed under free comic book day § 7 Comments

I know I promised a Free Comic Book Day report on Monday, but it was delayed for obvious reasons. But now that I’m here for my FCBD debriefing…no, not these kind of briefs:

…anyway, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t know that I have that much to say that’s much different from my endless bloviating on the topic in the past. I mean, it was a good day, gave away a lot of comics, and all the freebies were more than paid for by the amount of business I did that day. It was yet another successful event in the…however long I’ve been doing Free Comic Book Days. Since they started having them, so, like, 21 years or so, I guess?

Had a nice line outside the store in the morning, and when I welcomed everyone as I opened up the shop, I had a few people shouting back “thank you, Mike!” which was nice. And if you recall, last year I set up tables outside the shop to reduce crowding inside, due to COVID concerns. You can see how I had it set up last year here. Again, it all worked out fine, with crowds mostly manageable, and I especially like the fact that I didn’t have to rearrange the inside of the shop to make room for the freebie tables. Though even still, I was still pretty beat at the end of the day even without having to move those big wooden back issue tables inside the store.

In terms of the giveaways themselves, last year I sort of overdid it on the ordering, apparently thinking I was still at the old job in Ventura and pretty much the only game in town. I got my orders down to more realistic numbers, giving away probably just as much, if not more, than last year, but just not getting stuck with as many leftovers. And speaking of leftovers, we took care of much of 2021’s FCBD overstock by putting it out again this year. Plus, I had teachers come in the days following looking for FCBD comics for their kids, and I gave away even more in bulk to them.

My cohorts in crime that day were the usual suspects, my dad as well as pal Dorian, with cameo accomplicing by both my former boss Ralph and my girlfriend Nora. It was Dorian who reported to me during the afternoon that the Marvel book of choice was Marvel Voices, which is nice. He also noted that the Avengers/X-Men/Eternals comic wasn’t getting much love, which was a shame because, um, I accidentally double-ordered that from both Diamond and Penguin Random House. Ah, well, not an expensive mistake, just a storage one.

Overall, another successful venture, even if it may take another year for me to recover. People who ask “why isn’t Free Comic Book Day monthly?” don’t realize they’re trying to kill me. On top of everything else, I had a series of vaccinations just a couple nights before, and apparently the shingles shot did a real number on me. Thursday was the worst, just weak and tired and shaky all day, but it was mostly gone by Saturday. Mostly. I was probably extra wiped out because of that. But no one said running a comic shop would be easy! Well, maybe I did once.

So that’s that, another Free Comic Book Day in the books and maybe if I forget how exhausting it was to do by next May, I’ll do it again!

George Pérez (1954-2022).

§ May 9th, 2022 § Filed under obituary § 6 Comments

This may be my favorite George Pérez cover, with all these villains just crammed together, all lovingly rendered, all exuding personality and menace, and not feeling crowded or cluttered at all. The coloring job by Anthony Tollin certainly helped, of course, but George’s layout made this cover fun when others might have ended up with an eyesore.

The first Pérez cover I ever saw, far as I can recall, was this issue of Logan’s Run:

I picked it up off the stands when it was new and I was about 7 years old. I hadn’t seen the movie yet…it opened in the summer of ’76 and I won’t see it ’til it hits whatever our pre-HBO pay cable station we had in Port Hueneme a few years later (Cinema 6, I believe it was called). But I’m sure I’d heard of the movie, at least, knowing it was science fiction-y, and that cover intrigued me enough to pester a parent to purchase it for me.

Just the other day I was processing some back issues, and came across the “Who Is Donna Troy?” issue of New Teen Titans. And I did something I never do at the shop: I stopped what I was doing and reread this issue for the first time in many years. No superhero fights, just Dick Grayson doing detective work trying to discover the hidden past of his friend Donna. Coplotted by George and the regular writer, Marv Wolfman, the story still holds up, still hits as hard as it did back when it was released in 1984. Marv’s dialogue still rides high on the melodrama, but that’s a feature, not a bug, and this beautifully-drawn issue hasn’t aged a day. I mean, we’d seen in the series before, but George really hammers home that he can deliver emotional punches on the page just as well as the “knocking down buidings/in bad guys’ faces” kind.

I posted a bit about Pérez’s work late last year, wanting to get that out there while the man was still with us, much like how they wanted that JLA/Avengers reprint out sooner rather than later. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the work he’s done, the influence he’s had. I didn’t even mention his long run on Wonder Woman, revitalizing the character after DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths event. Or his eminently entertaining run on Avengers with Kurt Busiek. Or Sachs and Violens with Peter David. Or the “Beatles Life Story” issue of Marvel Super Special he drew. No, really. (Okay, he didn’t do the cover, but still.)

He was an immensely talented, extremely influential, and by all accounts very big-hearted man. He will be missed. So long, George.

from New Teen Titans #20 (June 1982)


§ May 6th, 2022 § Filed under free comic book day § No Comments

Just a reminder that this Saturday, Free Comic Book Day is happening at a participating comic shop near you…and no shop is nearer than my own Sterling Silver Comics, located at the heart of the civilized world in sunny Camarillo, CA! C’mon by and say hello, if you can reach me through the excited crowds getting their freebies!

I’ve written a whole lot on FCBD in the past, given that I’ve been involved in it every year since it started, so click this link to see what words of wisdom I’ve imparted on you in the past. Unless some of the words were dumb, ignore those.

Also, my apologies for the sparseness of updates this week…another early morning doctor’s appointment, combined with a not-great reaction to one of the vaccines I received, have conspired to keep me away from proper blogging. But hopefully I’ll be back to full comic retailing strength by Saturday for the free comic shenanigans. With any luck, I’ll have a good report on the event for Monday! Thanks for reading, pals, and we’ll talk again soon.

Neal and Ivy.

§ May 2nd, 2022 § Filed under obituary § 3 Comments

As I’m sure you heard, legendary comics creator Neal Adams has passed away at the age of 80, which is pretty shocking to those of us who thought that he was just so embedded in the DNA of comics that it was impossible for him to, you know, suddenly not be around anymore.

And of course, he is still around, in that his best work continues to be reprinted again and again, particularly on Batman and Deadman. His dynamic style showing up in Marvel and DC comics at the tail end of the 1960s almost seemed to spark the feeling in other budding comic artists “wait…we can do comics like that?” Since then, his artistic influence has spread to even today, casting a shadow nearly as long as Jack Kirby’s.

I know some hay has been made about his…odd “scientific” “theories” — I’ve toted a couple of those bales myself — and let’s just kinda let those remain one of those eccentricities creative types occasionally have.

And sure, maybe some of his work wasn’t on the “redefining Batman for all time” scale:

…but that’s okay! The man did what he wanted to do, on his own terms, trying out his ideas and still keeping active even up ’til the end of his life. Most importantly, he was an avid defender of creator rights in the industry. You can thank Neal for helping DC, um, “remember” Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman and that they should put their credit on every comic, movie and TV show.

Thanks for everything Neal, even all the weird stuff. Especially all the weird stuff. You were an inspiration to generations of artists and will almost certainly continue to be. So long, Neal.

• • •

We also lost this weekend Ivy Ratafia McLeod, the partner of cartoonist/comics scholar Scott McCloud. Unlike Neal, whom I only knew through his work and interviews and such, I had actually met Ivy many times over the years. She and Scott didn’t live too far away from either my old job or my current store, and they would pop in from time to time to say hello. She was always a very charming and delightful person, and it was my great pleasure to have spent any time with her. My deepest condolences to Scott and their family on this untimely loss.

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