Now I can love the Hulk!

§ January 24th, 2020 § Filed under hulk, low content mode § 1 Comment

Alas, due to an early morning eyeball doctor appointment, I won’t be staying up late the night before to compose the next installment of the prediction posts. But don’t let my infirmity prevent you from adding to next year’s series of posts by adding in your comic industry forecasts for 2020!

I’ll be back Monday with the next entry covering the 2019 predictions, but in the meantime please enjoy this photo I took of my very own copy of the “Nobody Loves the Hulk” 45 RPM single, previosly discussed here:

Thanks, pals, and I’ll see you after the weekend.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Four: Prodigy.

§ January 22nd, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 4 Comments

We’re back for more coverage of your predictions for the comics industry of the far-flung future of 2019! You can see parts one, two and three at the links attached to those very numbers. Also, a tip o’the ProgRuin toupee to reader Allan who was the first to identify the source of the “chapter titles” for these prediction posts.

Anyway, let’s get started on this new, hopefully correctly-formatted, pile of prognostications!

Turan, Emissary of the Fly World, buzzes in with

“1. There will be no increase in Aquaman comic book sales.”

Oof, forgot there was actual research involved in this one. Okay, and by “research” I mean “clicking a lot over on the indispensable Comichron website and lookin’ at their numbers there. This is all based on sales through Diamond, and doesn’t seem to include newsstand or digital sales, but I think one can likely extract relative activity from the numbers we are given.

Okay, first off, ye olde Aquaman. Starting with issue #44 in January 2019, we have sales i the 26,000 range. By December, they’d fallen to around 18,000. Now personally, at my shop, the sales fluctuated a tiny bit, but by and large remained mostly stable. I think maybe I’m up, but only by the slightest margin.

The movie’s release in December of 2018 seemed like it gave the title a little boost…just picking a couple of random months earlier in 2018, sales eeemed to be around 25,000, but that movie bump didn’t last very long, it looks like.

“2. There will be no increase in Shazam! comic book sales.”

Started about 46,000 in January, with sales figures still inflated by its relative newness. Ended out the year at about 26,000, which is probably a more realistic “stable” sales figure. In March, the month the film was released, sales for the fourth issue were at about 38,000…probably a combo of the film’s influence on orders, if any, with again, the relative newness of the book. By the beginning of summer it was down to about 34,000.

Sales on the book at my shop have, again, been pretty steady, though there was high demand for the first two or three issues. It’s been pretty stable saleswise for me for the last several months (whenever an issue is actually released).

“3. There will be an increase in Captain Marvel sales. Maybe only a small one, and probably more for the trade paperbacks rather than the regular comics, but still, an increase.”

This one is a little tricky, as Captain Marvel started out the year with a new #1 (of course, it’s Marvel). It was at about 111,000 copies, In December, with issue #13, it’s down to a more-likely regular sales figure of 36,000. Sales fluctuated a bit in the middle of the year, with reorder activity and such, as speculators chased after those early appearances of the character Star.

Sales at my store remained steady throughout the year…big sales on #1, sure, but settling down the rest of the year (those Star issues aside).

Overall I don’t the movies had a huge influence…sales on the title seemed to ebb and flow as expected, outside aberrations like perceived investment opportunity and the like. But however you slice it…man, those numbers look super low to me. Gone are the days of “sell over 100,000 or you’re canceled,” I guess.

• • •

Adam Farrar comes close with

“1. DC Black Label will be quietly abandoned/forgotten. If any of the other announced new books do come out, they’ll have a different label. Older books set to be reprinted with that label, won’t be.”

Still going strong! The 32nd Batman Black Label series should be out soon!

“2. Neil Gaiman & Mark Buckingham’s Miracleman comics start coming out again. (Rocky: But that prediction never works. Bullwinkle: This time for sure!)”

Well, technically you’re correct…we got one Miracleman page by them in Marvel Comics #1000. But for the actual series…I want it as bad as you do, my friend.

“3. Avengers: Endgame will have a post-credit scene hinting at Fantastic Four or X-Men characters as the Disney/Fox merger will have been finalized. Spider-Man: Far From Home will have a post-credit scene that ties it to Into the Spider-Verse at Sony’s instance.”

NEIN! NEIN ON BOTH which is too bad because I would have liked to have seen something like this…probably would have been too soon for anything but a minor reference or glimpse of something-or-other anyway.

• • •

Jason Sandberg bags us with

“1. HBO will acquire the rights to Jim Starlin’s dormant ‘DREADSTAR’ film project. The resulting series will replace and eclipse ‘GAME of THRONES’ as a critical and pop culture phenomenon.”

Would subscribe to HBO in a hot minute if this happened. Alas, ’tis but a dream.

“2. DC will release a SUPERMAN by John Byrne omnibus.”

In the November 2019 order forms! The Superman The Man of Steel Omnibus by John Byrne HC Vol. 1 “collects Action Comics #584-593, Action Comics Annual #1, Adventures of Superman #424-435, Adventures of Superman Annual #1, Legion of Super-Heroes #37-38, Superman #1-11, Superman Annual #1, and The Man of Steel #1-6” it says here.

“3. Marvel Comics and Kulan Gath will bring us a late 2019 announcement of a future Deadpool vs Conan mini-series.”

Not yet, but really, it’s only a matter of time. …I don’t know, has Deadpool popped up in Sacage Avengers yet?

• • •

Andrew-TLA truly ventures in with

“1. A trend that began with Star Wars and has continued with Conan, the Buffyverse, and Firefly/Serenity, Dark Horse will lose another of their big licenses to another publisher. My bet’s on Aliens, Predator, or both.”

If you count “Usagi Yojimbo” as a “big license,” then yes, that moved over to IDW. …I can’t recall if aany of the Big Movie/TV ones slipped away. If anyone else can some up with one, please let me know. But Dark Horse is still holding onto Alien and Predator with both hands right now, I’m sure. They were the last to publish Terminator so that’s likely still with them too.

“2. Disney+ launch brings a mixed bag of reviews. Their Star Wars and Marvel programming is praised, but the lack of such 70’s-80’s classics as The Apple Dumpling Gang and Condorman is a point of criticism.”

There’s always someone who’s going to be disappointed in something lilke this (“HOW DARE THEY LEAVE OUT UNIDENTIFIED FLYING ODDBALL!”) but overall people who have it (like I know I do) seem pretty happy with it. Most of the ire has been with technical glitches, like the artificially-widescreened early seasons of The Simpsons.

But they did have The Cat from Outer Space at launch, so all other sins are forgiven.

“3. Bendis will still be writing at least one of the Superman titles.”

You are correct! In fact, he’s writing two! Can that man do everything?

• • •

Okay, cutting it a tiny bit short this time because I had a late night and I’ve got New Funnybook Day to contend with tomorrow. I’ll be back Friday with more of your preditions! Thanks for reading, pals!

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Three: Cyborg.

§ January 20th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 4 Comments

The coverage of all your 2019 comics industry predictions from last year continues (and in case you missed it, here’s part one and part two). Who was right? Who was wrong? Who was just screwin’ around but I respond to their predictions anyway? LET’S FIND OUT TOGETHER (but don’t forget to leave your 2020 predictions!):

Evan Waters splashes me with the following

“1. Lancelot Link gets a revival comic with people seriously (well semi-seriously) exploring the dramatic and comic possibilities of a chimp-dominated Cold War.”

I feel like we may have missed that Lancelot Link nostalgia window, but I don’t think this is a bad idea. Someone tell Grant Morrison we’ve got his WE3 prequel premise.

“2. One or more indie publishers will announce a long-term development deal with one of the major studios that isn’t Disney or WB.”

I’m sure there are more, but this is the one probably nobody expected…Atlas Comics, AKA the Seaboard/Atlas comics of the 1970s, getting some development deal with Paramount. I do love the Atlas Comics, but this still seems a little strange, aside from studios trying to glom onto anything to make some of that Marvel/Disney super-money. …Okay, this doesn’t really count as a current indie company, I guess, but still, you have to admit, that’s somethin’.

“3. New Spider-Ham comic.”

DING DING DING! Just under the wire, too…was out Christmas week!

• • •

ExistentialMan willfully determines my development with

“1. Comic books will continue to be a source of unlimited creativity, artistry, and fun for millions of readers (just as they always have been).”

You forgot “highly investible for huge profits.”

“2. Trade paperback and hardcovers sales will increase (slightly) through the book store market while sales will decline (again slightly) for direct market stores.”

Apparently spot on, depending on how you define “slightly.” Up in bookstores 16%, while graphic novel sales, at least through Diamond, were down 2%. Taking into account graphic novel purchases through other vendors, like I know I did throughout the year, that 2% figure may be even smaller.

“3) Mike will retire Sluggo Saturdays for good in 2019. He will replace it with a weekly post in which he shares drawings of capybaras from his youth.”

Oof, okay, fair enough, my last Sluggo Saturday was September 2018. I wasn’t trying to end the feature, I just…forgot to do more, I guess. Don’t worry, folks, much like Batman and Robin, SLUGGO WILL NEVER DIE. I’ll try to come up with another one soon.

Alas, there is only one extant capybara drawing from my childhood…unless you count six years ago as “my youth.”

• • •

Thelonious_Nick slightly cuts me with

“1) After the success of the superb ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ movie Marvel gives the green light for the same treatment to Squirrel Girl!”

No “Into the Squirrel-Verse,” sadly enough. But man, if any character deserves to be better known in the real world than even Iron Man or Captain America, it’s Squirrel Girl.

“2) Ongoing Spider-Verse series, with stories rotating among Spider-Man Noir, Sad Middle Aged Spider-Man, Spider-Ham, Spider-Punk, etc.”

Well, we got a mini-series that’s still running…maybe it’ll lead into an ongoing if it sells well enough.

“3) Cullen Bunn starts 52 new horror series in 2019, one every week!”

That sound you hear is Mr. Bunn collapsing from shock at the very idea.

• • •

William Burns scorches the earth with

“1. The rise of electronic comics will really start to bite as Amazon/Comixology explicitly move to a policy of destroying paper single issues and retail comics shops. Many stores will close.”

Don’t feel like Amazon was doing anything special to destroy retail shops beyond what they usual do this year.

“2. Sterling Silver Comics will not be among them.”

I haven’t noticed too many people using my store as a catalog for what they were going to order off Amazon this year…maybe they’re better at hiding it now.

“3. Magdalene Visaggio will be hired to write a high-profile big two title.”

Well, she wrote a Magnificent Ms. Marvel annual, so there’s that. But she certainly seems like she’s been busy (including getting one of her comics turned into a TV show) so she seems to be doing just fine!

• • •

Colin A McKenzie takes off with

“At least one new superhero movie will flop big time, leading to panic at the Marvel/Warner Bros studios that the genre is over.”

Seems like this is going to happen sooner or later…it made Disney gunshy about Star Wars spin-off films after Solo underperformced, for example. But this hasn’t really happened with superhero movies yet. Even Justice League not doing as well as folks had hoped didn’t stop Warners from cranking out more superhero movies. There seems to be life in the genre even still, so we’re probably stuck with Avengers sequels for a while.

“DC streaming service will collapse, and all its series will be picked up on Netflix.”

Honestly, to my surprise, it’s still around. Now, should that new Warners general interest streaming service (which, by the way, will include new DC Comics programming) really takes off, I suspect DC Universe as its own service will not be long for this world. Right now, however, it’s hanging in there. It better hang in there, I just reupped for another year.

“Mike Sterling will develop ocular super powers.”


• • •

John almost got a toilet joke in this little intro here but I thought that would be rude, anyway, he says

“Having teased him in Season 4, Swamp Thing will appear in an episode of Legends of Tomorrow entitled, “There’s Swamp Thing About Mary…” However, getting Mike Sterling and all his friends to watch does not save the show from cancellation and the fifth season is the last.”

Well, Season 5 is underway this year, but it’s too soon to tell if it’ll be the last season. However, apparently there is a Swamp Thing something-or-other in the Legends of Tomorrow chapter of “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” so you kinda hit on something there, John!

• • •

That’s a good stopping point for today, mostly because the next question’s gonna take some research, and frankly I’m too tired to do research right now. SO YOU’RE JUST GONNA HAVE TO WAIT, TURAN. As always, thanks for reading and I’ll be back Wednesday…no, honest, I really mean it this time, I hope.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Two: Suspicion.

§ January 17th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 8 Comments

My look back at your 2019 predictions for the comic industry continues! (See Monday’s entry for the initial installment.) Getting kind of a late start on these tonight, so let’s jump right in:

Chris Gumprich affords these forecasts

“1. An otherwise forgotten 1960s-era hero will be brought back for the new millennium (do we still call it that?), make a big splash, and be cancelled by the end of the year.”

I suppose that Peter Cannon Thunderbolt series from Dynamite sorta matches what you’re talking about. Mostly forgotten (despite a handful of revivals over the last few years), and made, if not a big splash, at least somewhat of a ripple in that it seemed to attract attention for being a metatextual Watchmen riff. And it wasn’t canceled…it ended, coming to a conclusion. So I don’t know if that’s close enough for this particular game of horseshoes, but, heck, why not.

“2. An otherwise forgotten 1980s series (if there is such a thing) will be reprinted in an omnibus edition, to my amazement.”

Just did a search at my distributor to see what omnibus editions came out all last year…just mainly searched Marvel and DC releases, and I didn’t see anything that stood out as too unusual. I mean, DC did a He-Man omnibus that included DC Comics Presents #47, that was kind of unexpected. But otherwise, nothing like, say, this:

“3. eBay will finally crack down on those idiots listing their CGC copies of Image Comics under the ‘Platinum Age (pre-1938)’ section.”

No, they’ll be too busy cracking down on me because I listed the Fantagraphics mag Honk! in the general area and not in the restricted “adult” section. …Okay, that was a long time ago, but it still really cheeses my crackers.

• • •

Jeff R. rites

“1. DC will have to tread water for three months across the entire line with flashbacks, fill-ins, and out-of-continuity nonsense waiting on the last set of Doomsday Clock delays. Some of the books will be quite good, though.”

There wasn’t quite the direct impact on the DC Universe I think we were all expecting, or meant to expect, from Doomsday Clock, so it didn’t affect any other title’s publishing plans much, far as I can tell. The two big things, though, is that the Big Returns of two classic teams into DC continuity that Doomsday Clock was leading to…was beaten to the punch in the regular monthlies/biweeklies.

“2. Mage: The Hero Denied #15 will end on a cliffhanger, with Matt Wagner and Image promising a much shorter timeframe between it and the launch of Mage: The Hero Delivered, the actual conclusion of the full saga.”

Nope, no waiting another 12 to 20 years for The Hero Disco-Dances: Mage appears to be good ‘n’ over.

“3. Marvel will announce an Ironheart movie as the big summer 2020 next phase starting film”

That would be a nice way to continue the Iron Man section of the Marvel franchise. Even Robert Downey Jr. is into it. Apparently there’s a rumor or a script is floating around or something, but no official announcement that I’ve seen.

• • •

Gareth Wilson sayeth

“1. A major comics company will remove all advertising from its monthly comics.”

Not yet…if ever, since whatever advertising revenue they can still get is probably helping keep those cover prices down at least a little. They’d have to be selling a lot more to justify dropping ads…but if they sold that much more then they could make a lot more money selling ad space, so I think we’re stuck with ads for now. Even if it’s just ads for more comics from the same publisher.

“2. The next Marvel streaming series: Lockjaw and the Punisher.”

Would watch. Especially if Lockjaw gets one of those doggie-shirts/sweaters emblazoned with the Punisher skull logo.

“3. Dreamworks announces Phase Two of the Undergarments Cinematic Universe.”

Finally, once again it will be time for these guys to shine:

• • •

Brian is a very naughty boy with

“1. One of the few DC movies that actually gets released amidst various delays and rewrites drops a mention of the Multiverse and the 52 Earths (as if to explain how the post-DCEU films tie together. Fans and reviewers simply note how 5he Arrowverse did it more clearly and elegantly.”

If this is going to happen in any movie, it’ll be in the forever-forthcoming Flash film Flashpoint, which would likely deal with multiple timelines and universes and all that hoohar, assuming that Flash movie is still coming out and it’s still going to be based on the “Flashpoint” comics stuff.

“2. The Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths — a storyline winding across parts of the fall storylines of each of the shows (including Black Lightning) and culminating in a two-week crossover, follows the pattern of ‘Earth-90’ this year, using serial-numbers-filed-off versions of previous DC television adaptations (with the Smallville characters in particular appearing, roughly filling the niches of COIE’s Earth-2 Kal-L and Luthor). However, due to the expansion of DC Universe’s shows (e.g. Swamp Thing and Stargirl), a number of other side characters to populate multiversal crowd scenes won’t be available.”

Well, I’ve seen only three of the five parts so far of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” thingie, and so far they’re just straight up referencing/using previous and/or concurrent versions of the DC Universe characters. Good on them. I don’t know how many previously-established media-adapted characters were off-limits, but it feels like they wouldn’t be particularly missed given how many folks they did squeeze in.

“3. The new Ms. Marvel series will take the character out of Jersey City and away from her supporting cast to increasingly interact with the wider Marvel Universe and broader issues (beyond those related to the character) — and its subsequent failure will rather lead to heated internet arguments ranging from the male writer to politics.”

I don’t know that we know enough about the Disney+ show yet to know how they’ll be handling the character. Marvel Studios has been relatively careful about how it handles its characters, more or less, so I suspect Ms. Marvel will do fine. I mean, we’ll see, right?

• • •

demoncat_4 torments me with

“1 dc streaming service will announce not only will their new swamp thing tv show make constantine a regular character but also a back door pilot for a new constantine tv show.”


Sadly DC Universe’s Swamp Thing didn’t last long enough to even approach anything like this, though it seems to me the Phantom Stranger kinda sorta filled the Constantine role in the series anyway. Besides, he’s busy on Legends of Tomorrow, which is bit of a weird place for him but at least he’s on TV now.

“prediction two is that marvel will announce that miracleman the silver age has a release date at last and later finally release the complete saga in a massive trade.”

Mentioned last time that while it’s been said that new Miracleman is being worked on, no release date has been set. But a big ol’ fat book of everything under one cover would be nice, wouldn’t it?

“3 dc streaming service will announce a tv series called trinity that will be about super man wonder woman and batman teaming up finally giving fans a tv version of batman at last.”

No, but we did at least get Bruce Wayne in Titans, and they did announce a Superman show for the CW. DC does seem very hesitant to duplicate live action media efforts for their Big Three, but I guess they’ve given up on Superman movies for the time being!

• • •

Kurt bounces in with

“The New Warriors TV show that was originally going to air on Freeform (formerly ABC Family), will finally see the light of day on Disney’s streaming service, and the whole world will finally see how great a hero Speedball is!”

While it appears a pilot was made, the show itself appears to be probably dead. It’d be nice if that pilot would show up on Disney+ so we can experience the live-action Squirrel Girl we all need in our lives, but sadly no sign of it yet. …But all this talk about Speedball being, ahem, “great?” What is this, crazytalk from Crazytown? Get outta here!

• • •

googum googummed

“1. The new Hellboy movie is going to be reasonably successful, so of course somebody’s going to learn the wrong lessons from it, and push another comic movie to a somewhat unneccessary R-rating. Turok, maybe. Or Vampirella.”

Whoops on the “reasonably successful” part. I did enjoy the new Hellboy a lot more than I thought I was going to, though I never really warmed to the new Hellboy make-up. But I feel like the push to R-rated super-movies may have been helped along more by Deadpool‘s enormous box office take than anything else. I mean, that film didn’t have to be R, but thank goodness it was because it was filthy and hilarious. But I see what you mean…like, if they pushed the new Batman up to an R, that would feel totally unnecessary. (“Stop, Joker!” “Fuck you, Batman!” …Y’know, like that.)

“2. Assuming the death of Border Town doesn’t outright sink Vertigo, going forward creators there are going to be vetted to within an inch of their lives. Too much so, so now anyone who maybe said something dumb five or more years ago is unemployable…”

Well…Border Town got axed for reasons more than “saying something dumb,” but I get your meaning. Especially in this day and age, he said oldly, where stupid stuff you did on Twitter in junior high school can turn up when you’re looking for a job now after getting out of college. Some of us have decades of online trails that we can’t escape…take it from me, The Guy Who’s in The Top Google Results for His Own Name.

I don’t know if vetting creators to any kind of extent is going to be much of a thing, to be honest, given that there are certain creators that are, frankly, human garbage who are still getting jobs because some publishers don’t give a shit. It’s going to take what it usually takes in this industry…people getting pissed off after the fact, and the publisher being forced into an apology and corrective measures.

Vertigo itself had been on shaky legs for a while, looking for a flagship title to hang its brand upon after Sandman, Preacher and Fables went away. It was the success of DC’s Black Label, the Imprint That A Penis Built, where swears were also okay, that killed Vertigo and took on projects that would’ve appeared there. I mean, when there’s room on the schedule for Black Label titles that aren’t Batman-related, of course.

“3. DC is going to give Doom Patrol yet another reboot, somewhat conservatively, to more resemble the TV show. Or maybe just to come out on time…”

Looks like they’re sticking with the Young Animal version for now, but I haven’t read any of the latest series yet so I don’t know if they fiddled with the line-up to reflect that critically-successful TV adaptation. I mean, just given the nature of the Doom Patrol, they can change it however they want without a reboot-ery explanation, you’d think.

• • •

Okay, that’s enough for this time. Sorry for the lateness of this installment, but I hope to be back on schedule, and working the room slightly less blue, next week, time and eyeballs permitting. Thanks for reading, pals, and see you Monday.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part One: Odyssey.

§ January 13th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 5 Comments

Get on board the prediction train, as it’s finally passing through the Progressive Ruin city limits! We’re looking back at your comic industry predictions for 2019 and seeing how y’all did. (And don’t forget to give me your guesses for 2020 and we can do all this again next year!)

Away we go:

BK Munn dazes me with the following

“1. Less people than ever will read the comics blogs.”

Well, overall, I suspect that’s probably true, though I don’t have the stats to really prove it beyond my own site’s. My site is…hanging in there, with not much change from last year traffic-wise (though I’m not 100% convinced my hoster’s built-in traffic reader is all that connected to reality). I do know that I don’t get nearly as many comments as I used to Back In The Day. Pretty sure everyone’s moved on to Instagram or similar for the sort of content that blogs used to provide. I imagine it’s a lot less wordy and easier to digest, versus someone’s dumb ol’ blog like mine where said blogger doesn’t know when to shut up.

“2. There will be more interesting cartoonists making comics in North America outside of the Diamond system than ever before, and it will be impossible for one person or blog or comics news-site to read or even mention half of them during the course of 2019.”

Well, with Tom gone, yeah, seems unlikely there’s anyone capable of keeping up with everything. I’ve not even been able to keep up wtih the comics I want to read, much less do any kind of news coverage of them. But I totally agree there’s a lot of comics work out there, not all of it going through America’s one distributor, and there are plenty of alternative options to show, publicize, and distribute work thanks to this whole “internet” thing that seems to be catching on. Good, the more ways folks can express themselves and share that expression, the better.

“3. Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham will prove the most popular non-Miles character from the new Spider movie and will get his own movie or tv show before Spider-Gwen.”

Spider-Gwen (or “Ghost Spider”) was in that “Marvel Rising” animated thingie…wasn’t just her show, but I think that still counts as beating out Mr. Porker. Unless Spider-Ham had a cameo in some other Marvel cartoon I don’t know about. Wouldn’t put that past anybody.

• • •

Thom H. hollas at me with

“1. A new Legion of Super-heroes book is announced. Written by Tom King. The 9-panel grid returns!”

Announced and released…but not written by Tom King, though. HALF POINT FOR GRYFFINDOR.

“2. The next chapter of Injection is (finally) completed. Sales are abysmal due to the hiatus.”

Last year, comic shops, unlike my eyeballs, remained Injection-less.

“3. Miracleman: Silver Age is still not published. Some new excuse is given for its absence.”

We did get more Miracleman comics this year…one page in Marvel Comics #1000. Hey, it ain’t nuthin’. And Neil spoke about the status of the series this summer and says work is progressing. It sounds like he’s saying there were some contractual deals that had to be taken care of before getting MM underway again, or something? I don’t know. I’m just hoping to see the story finish before my descendants have to read it to me at my gravesite. …Hey, I made it through all of Mage in real time, there’s still hope.

• • •

Bret Sector splits up the following

“1. Marvel will finally get permission to do mash-ups with Disney animated characters like DC is doing with Hanna-Barbera characters…BUT, only the C- and D-list characters like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Roy Disney.”

I keep waiting for something like this to happen (or some kind of overt Star Wars/Marvel superhero intermingling) but they’ve kept it all fairly separated so far. However, we did get this one-per-store-more-or-less variant for Marvel Comics #1000:

Whose room is that? Is that Mickey’s?

“2. In the tradition of last year’s Walking Dead Wine, Marvel and DC will license their characters for Wine offerings. Batman Pinot Noir, Scarlet Spider Red, Rose and Thorn Blush, Champions Champagne (1970’s team, not the current youngsters), and of course Malcolm Merlyn Merlot.”

Ten years ago I gave Pal Dorian a bottle of wine with a custom label featuring his favorite superhero Wildcat:

Here’s a better look at the label:

I suspect if there are going to be any “superhero wines,” it’s going to be folks like me getting custom labels like that, since I don’t see Marvel or DC wanting their characters on alcoholic beverages. That won’t stop folks from making their own wines inspired by superheroes, like what appears to have been going on here. …I don’t know, I don’t drink alcohol…let me know when they create a superhero-themed zero-calorie, sugar-free sports drink.

“3. I predict that prediction posts on comic blogs will become the new internet sensation making progressiveruin one of the hot sites of 2019!”

I’m already the hottest comic blog, baby! Got my house’s heater running even as I type this!

• • •

Myron M. (presumably not “Moose”) offers

“Marvel will stop publishing monthly (paper) comics entirely, moving to a graphic novel-only publication model.”

I feel like this is a thing that may happen eventually, but there’s still life in the ol’ periodical format yet. I know both Marvel and DC are doing “new to graphic novel” stories (even if it’s sometimes reprinting digital stuff), but those don’t seem like they’re going to take over the entire publishing line anytime soon. And even if the Big Two shift over to a primarily trade paperback line, there will likely be some periodical element to their releases. Like, I can see new comics basically being, say, a new Wonder Woman graphic novel every four months instead of a standard sized “floppy” every month (or biweekly).

• • •

Sean Belt whups me with

“TKO Studios new distribution model will do marginally well enough that the Big Two will begin offering some of their books in the same format: a ‘season’ (6-new-issues) in a single book or digitally every 6-8 months, rather than monthly installments.”

No, not yet, but I do like TKO‘s product line. The graphic novels are good-looking, and ordering stuff from them is a cinch. I haven’t carried much of their single-issue comics, but I did have a customer specifically request a set, and those were nicely done as well. Don’t know that he Big Two will offer simultaneous releases in book and single issue formats as a regular thing, since they’re heavily in the “magazine first, collection later” strategy, but it’s an interesting move to give customers that option.

• • •

Okay, that’s enough for now…tune in next time, next Ruin time, same Ruin channel, for more of these here 2019 predictions! And don’t forget to leave me your 2020 predictions!

C’mon, surely somebody loves the Hulk.

§ January 9th, 2020 § Filed under hulk, pal plugging, swamp thing, this week's comics, watchmen § 2 Comments

So the other day I noticed on pal Brook’s Instagram that he posted a picture of his latest rare vinyl acquisition. I of course immediately asked him if I could feature it on this here comic book weblog, and he said that was fine…and also since he was going to be dropping by the store Wednesday for new comics anyway, he’d bring it in for me to see in person.

And here it is, with some new photos I took at the store once I had that record in my umngainly mitts, an original 45 RPM single of “Nobody Loves the Hulk” by the Traits, released in 1969:

This is a pristine copy, only removed from its original mailer by the seller to check its condition prior to selling. And speaking of the mailer, here it is:

And why not, here’s a pic of this classic piece of vinyl itself:

And did I play it on the in-store turntable? I wasn’t going to, as a’feared as I was to do damage to this artifact, but Brook insisted that I did, so I dood it. If you weren’t lucky enough to be there when I did, you’ll just have to replicate the experience best you can by listening to this:

Brook also forwarded this link to an interview with one of the people behind this recording. Apparently it was originally sold only through mail order ads in comic books, with only some of the 2,000 copy print run selling that way, the rest being dumped off in various places. Given the condition of Brook’s copy, this seems likely to be some kind of warehouse find, probably sitting in a box somewhere for decades after being discarded by the original owner. Who knows? But Brook got one and, um, perhaps I may have my own copy on its way now too.

Big thanks to pal Brook for bringing that in.

In other news:

This thing came out this week, which made for a nice addition to my personal collection given that the majority of the reprint material inside is taken from the Watchmen supplements for the DC Heroes Role Playing Game, the originals of which I’d sold off long ago. Thus, it’s nice to have them again.

Also reprinted therein are the entries for the Watchmen and related from Who’s Who in the DC Universe (and given the publication of Doomsday Clock, they really are in the DC Universe!), plus the covers for said Who’s Who issues, as well as material from Amazing Heroes and a Dave Gibbons cover for The Comics Journal.

Most hilariously, it includes that bonkers Rorschach appearance in The Question #17. I mean, sure, why not.

Turns out, when asking longtime customer and fellow Swamp Thing afficionado, and Watchmen and Planet of the Apes expert Rich Handley if he needed a copy…turns out, he was actually consulted regarding content for this book! He was asked what extra Watchmen stuff should be included that hadn’t already been offered in reprint form elsewhere…and I’m presuming whoever it was at DC asking this already knew about Question #17 so I won’t blame Rich for that. Anyway, due to changes in editors and whatnot, Rich didn’t seem to get a credit or even a “thank you” inside (at least, I couldn’t find one in the tiny print, given my ailing eyeballs) so just mentally add his name in there when you’re reading it. Okay? Okay!

Also, in other other news:

Also out this week is Swamp Thing The Bronze Age Vol. 2:

I didn’t really pay much attention to the original solicitation for this book. I just figured “ah, it’s just reprinting that big ol’ Swamp Thing omnibus I already bought, I don’t need this,” but reader, How Wrong I Was. It includes a lot of material not in the big ol’ hardcover…enough material that I probably should have passed on it and just waited for the paperbacks. It has the Challengers of the Unknown issues with Swampy and Deadman, it has the DC Comics Presents and Brave and the Bold team-ups.

Most importantly, it has all extant material related to the unpublished #25 from the original series! Now, I already had copies of the pencil and inked interior pages included here, but this volume also contains pencil roughs for other pages, the script, a paste-up of the letters page for that issue(!), and even the inked-and-logoed cover! Pretty amazing. I’d kinda hoped they had enough of this issue done that they could have released it as one of DC’s currently “facsimile” reprint line, a “reprint” of a #25 that never was, but looks like it wasn’t as finished as I’d thought. Ah, well. But this is great to have, finally.

Now, if we can get DC to reprint the finished pages ‘n’ script from that pulled “Swamp Thing Meets Jesus” story should they ever get around to collecting the stories from that immediate era…that’d be somethin’.

The movies are a whole ‘nother matter.

§ January 6th, 2020 § Filed under superman § 8 Comments

Well, so far this holiday/post-holiday season appears to be “Mike’s short on blogging-time” season as well, which is one of the reasons I didn’t post last Friday. By all rights I shouldn’t be posting for today, and instead sleeping the sleep of the just, but I decided not to let the site lay fallow for that long, ain’t you lucky.

So anyway, a couple of updates…a few days ago I asked for your help in getting my friends the Beckners reach their GoFundMe goal to stay housed and fed through the month. And…they made it, thanks to all of you, and my pals on the Twitters. That means a lot to me that you all were able to chip in, and it certainly means a lot to them as well. Thank you very much.

I also wanted to leave one last reminder that I’m still taking your 2020 comics industry predictions before I start looking at how y’all did with your 2019 predictions later this week (hopefully)! 2020 is only a few days old (and what a few days those have been, sheesh) so get your forecasts in before it’s too late!

I would like as well to respond a bit to something Daniel said in the comments to my last post:

“The fact that people are more concerned with Superman having red trunks than with making the character interesting and compelling for a 21st century audience tells you everything that is wrong with DC Comics these days.”

Well, my friend, let’s not be too hard on folks here. First, regarding the costume…I’ve written here and on Twitter about the…inappropriateness of the New 52 Superman costume. The weird armor-style texture to the suit seemed unnecessary, the lack of the trunks left the solid blue of the suit unbroken in an unaesthetically-pleasing manner (giving the impression in a way that he was “naked,” kinda sorta), and the worst offense in my eyes was that collar. The raised collar had an almost regal feel to it, which had the effect of further setting Superman apart from the people he was protecting.

Now one of the things that would make a person like Superman bearable to regular folks is his aligning himself with the ordinary populace. Yes, okay, he’s still in a fancy costume, but the traditional Superman suit is an old-timey circus strongman costume plus a cape. It’s humbling, it comes from lowbrow origins and yet still has a colorful, dymaic flair. It’s fancy on a relatable scale. Once you start throwing in armor and that collar, the overall impression becomes one of being above and ruling the masses, rather than fighting with them.

So the trunks, I think, are kind of a big deal, at least on a psychological level. Their return is symbolic of the discarding of the unappealing, ugly costume and the ugly, unappealing feeling that it represented. Sure, we still have the collar-cuffs holding over, and frankly I’m surprised they’re still drawing those in even now, but those are a fairly minor offense.

To Daniel’s larger point, the need to “modernize” Superman for today’s audiences, is much trickier, and certainly not something that’s going to get cracked in a late-night blogpost by your pal Mike. The problem is that if you change Superman too much, it no longer feels like Superman (see, for example, the majority of the New 52 relaunch). Or you can update his supporting cast (a little more feasible) and/or his setting (which they do anyway…current Superman comics don’t take place in 1938, after all).

The main way to update Superman is through more modern storytelling techniques, which, like it or not, we’re getting now via Brian Michael Bendis’s tenure on the titles. For all of BMB’s…quirks, it feels like a modern Superman comic. Not to everyone’s tastes, perhaps, but it’s a step in that direction. It reminds me a little of the post-Byrne reboot Superman titles from the 1980s, where they expanded the ensemble cast, depended more on continuing subplots, etc., differentiating themselves from the simpler, more standalone stories prior to the reboot. Not to say there weren’t stabs at issue-to-issue ongoing character bits in the earlier Superman books, but that form of subplotting felt more tacked on then, versus being a more intrinsically weaving into the fabric of the stories post-reboot (and even now).

One could argue that something was lost in the transition from the more classically-styled Superman tales versus the soap-operatic style that replaced them. One can’t deny that Superman sales jumped enormously following that change, whereas one can argue, still, whether the character of Superman itself benefits best from this form of modernization. Being compelling for today’s audiences is a struggle not unique to Superman but faced by pretty much any current comic published by Marvel or DC. It’s a difficult balance to find, keeping what’s special about each property while adjusting it for today’s market. Superman’s managed to make it this far, where so many haven’t, so I wouldn’t count Big Blue out just yet.

…And it continues without that collar and with the trunks!

§ January 1st, 2020 § Filed under happy new year § 10 Comments

Happy New Year, all you folks what still read comic blogs, here in the far-flung future year of Y2K20. Here’s to a better and brighter year for all of us.

image from Superman #355 (by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Joe Staton)

And frankly, I don’t have the memory to do any “decade” lists.

§ December 30th, 2019 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, watchmen § 3 Comments

Every year around this time I think “I should really do a year-end review,” since I haven’t done one on this site since…probably 2005, I’m guessing without looking to see if I’m right? Anyway, it’s been a while, and the reason I don’t do it is mostly because…well, because I feel limited in direct experience with the vast array of comics that come out each year. Probably a strange thing for a guy what owns a funnybook store to say, but “ordering, racking, and selling” ain’t the same as “reading,” and I feel like I can’t put my dime down on “THE BEST COMIC OF THE YEAR” when my actual reading experience is limited to the handful of comics I’ve mananged to consume over the previous twelve months.

And especially this past year, where (as perhaps you may have heard whispers of in the dark alleys and not heard me complain about nearly daily on this site) I’ve had problems with my vision. My keeping up with the new comics, which had already fallen a bit behind due to my reading more slowly due to all this stuff, pretty much stopped entirely sometime in April. I managed to read a comic here and there, sometimes with some difficulty (I read at least one issue of Doomsday Clock with a large magnifying lens), but mostly I’ve been just letting things pile up.

I said “until recently” because as my vision has become more or less stable-ish in the last couple of months, I’ve been going through my stacks, pulling runs of books and just reading them straight through from where I left off ’til today. As such, I’m caught up on the Superman books, Immortal Hulk, Justice League, Event Leviathan, and, yes, Doomsday Clock. Oh, and the Tales from the Dark Multiverse comics, too, which I probably like more than I should. Thus, I’m making some progress, slowly but surely. Oh, and I’m caught up on the Legion of Super-Heroes reboot, having just read the first two issues of the new series Sunday evening. (Not quite sold on it yet but we’ll see where it goes.)

So as you see, I don’t have quite the pool from which to draw…not exactly a wide range there. I’ve got a lot of other stuff I want to read set aside, but at the very least I’m trying to keep up with those titles so I don’t get even further behind.

Moral of the story: take care of your eyeballs, folks.

Of course it occurs to me that I can do some kind of year-end thingie just from a retail perspective, and I suppose the biggest trend of the year I’ve noticed is more speculation (apparently driven by certain comic-investing websites and YouTube videos and such). Not that folks speculating on what comics are going to be “hot” and “expensive” and “”rare”” (that last one gets double quotation marks) is anything new, or ever really went away. It’s just that I’ve noticed a lot more of it in the past year (sometimes with no apparent rhyme nor reason). Which, you know, that’s fine, whatever you’re enjoying, but at the same time it makes things a lot more difficult to order. Asking for that variant the day before it comics out, or everyone grabbing the first issue of something, and then the second issue shows up and doesn’t sell at all. It can be a little maddening, but that’s why they pay me the big bucks. (NOTE: no big bucks are actually paid to me.)

On the other hand, a new publisher that distributes their own books directly to retailers, TKO Studios, has been working out quite well for me this year, getting their first batch at the store back in February and a new round of books in November. They’ve done well for me, they’re very convenient to order, and they’re solidly-produced items. Very nice additions to the product lines my store carries.

Oh, and so I have at least one year-end award for a specific comic, Doomsday Clock gets the award for “Best Comic Titled Doomsday Clock.” Yes, I know you’re shocked. Hopefully someday we’ll find out why they hoed this row for so long just to bring back the Justice Society of America and the Legion of Super-Heroes when current Justice League comics brought also brought back the Justice Society and current Superman comics brought back the Legion on their own.

Well, who knows, if I ever catch up maybe I’ll do a year-End Awards thing for 2019 in, I don’t know, 2023. Watch this space!

In the meantime, a couple of reminders:

Lots of folks have contributed to the GoFundMe for my old friends the Beckners, which is greatly appreciated. As I type this, they are a mere $95 away from their goal, so if you can pitch in even a little bit, that would be wonderful.

Plus, I’m still taking your predictions for the 2020 comics industry. Will it rise? Fall? Become more dumb? CHIME IN WHY DON’T YOU

This post brought to you by Star Warsing.

§ December 27th, 2019 § Filed under low content mode, pal plugging, star wars § No Comments

I was indeed Star Warsing last night…and into this morning, so I got home way too late and tired to put together a proper entry here on Progressive Ruin Online Punditry Magazine, so just a couple o’links and reminders today.

[On the topic of Rise of Skywalker: good, though I can understand some of the criticisms levied at it by rational, reliable film commentators. It does leave me wondering what George Lucas’ wrap-up to the saga would have been…I mean, completely bonkers, sure, but Star Wars needs to be a little bonkers.]

Anyway, LINKS:

My friends the Beckners still need a little more help to get through this month, so if you can give a bit to their GoFundMe, I’d appreciate it, and they would definitely appreciate it.

I’m still taking your predictions for the comics industry in 2020, so get ’em in already!

Thanks, pals, and I’ll see you on Monday.

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