Your 2021 Predictions, Part Six: On Golden Girls.

§ January 21st, 2022 § Filed under predictions § 6 Comments

Back in the saddle again for a few more of your 2021 comic industry predictions! Here are the previous installments: one, two, three, four and five — and part six starts…NOW!

Rob S. steals the show with

“1) As always, I’ll include a hopeful Legion prediction: I expect that the Legion of Superheroes title will continue after Future State, and Brian Bendis will continue to write the series through at least issue 20 (which would bring his run to 24 issues, with Future State and Millennium included).”

Well…there’s a continuation of sorts, with the Justice League/LSH crossover event by Bendis. Whether there’ll be more Legion after that, I don’t know.

“2) Kirkman and Samnee’s Fire Power gets a TV series deal at Disney+.”

No news I’ve been able to find that it’s been optioned for anything, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t. Didn’t stop some gossip site I found from pushing the idea that folks should be investing in copies should a TV show eventually materialize.

“3) There’s an attempt to resurrect some Harvey properties in the same vein as DC’s Hanna Barbera line a few years ago. Mark Russell is tapped to write Hot Stuff. Gail Simone writes Richie Rich.”

This would have been awesome, but I imagine the owner of the IP would probably be appalled. “What…our characters, modernized and interesting? FORGET IT! More retro merch instead, please!”

• • •

Voord 99 confounds my ability to crack wise about his name with

“After the hilarious disaster of my predictions last year, I’m just going with:”

Okay, Voord, lay it on me.

“1. A film will be released in some way.”

Movies were certainly released in some way, with an increased reliance on simultaneous streaming-and-in-theaters releases, and not without the occasional issue. The success of the new Spider-Man movie’s theater-only release may have brought us back to something resembling a regular movie-going experience, if it weren’t for…

“2. We will tell ourselves that something cannot possibly get worse, and it will.”

…oh, hello Omnicron variant.

“3. Following the pandemic, we have a second Roaring Twenties, with a resurgence of flappers, radio serials, and jazz. Superhero comics desperately try to hold on until 2038.”

So I put a rumble seat in my Hyundai Tuscon for nothing?

• • •
Adam Farrar goes the distance with

“1. Miracleman by Gaiman and Buckingham: The Silver Age #1 is released. Is there a sunk-cost fallacy to these predictions? I’ve been pulling for this for so long that I’d hate to drop it and then it actually happens. 2021 shows a lot of promise and maybe it even delivers this! Just one issue. Not all six issues. Not even new content.”

Couldn’t even manage just one reprint issue, alas. But as I’ve been saying throughout this batch of prediction coverage posts, that Timeless one-shot, while not the continuation of Miracleman we’re all waiting for, at least hinted at some new MM content on its way. (I’m betting it’ll be Marvelman, keeping the character distinct from the self-contained Miracleman story.)

“2. Some new Astro City is released. It will be through a new publisher which also starts reprinting the earlier volumes, maybe even in a new format.”

It’s beginning, away. It’s back at Image, and in December they took orders for a paperback reprinting the early issues. So stuff is happening!

“3. The new Spider-Man movie will include a connection to Into the Spider-Verse with cartoon Miles Morales appearing.”

I haven’t seen the movie yet (specifically because I’m not going back to theaters anytime soon) so I don’t know if there was a Miles Morales reference at all, cartoon or not. Apparently there was an oblique reference to Miles, if not by name, in Homecoming.

• • •

DavidG weighs us down with

“1. LSH will be cancelled again, in a new record for shortest run. DC will continue to reprint the Silver Age stuff, because there is still a demand for the zero personality Legion I guess.”

The series itself looks like it’s done, unlesss they pick up again after the Justice League crossover this year. It does look like they’re keeping some of the Silver Age reprint stuff in print, though the only new reprint book this year was a hardcover version of the 1970s treasury edition. …And I like the Silver Age Legion! I mean, it took a 13-year-old Jim Shooter to come in and give ’em personalities, but that was still technically the Silver Age!

“2. Still no new Miracleman. Gaiman will now start denying that he has ever heard of the character.”

Again, we got a peek in Timeless, but it’s likely leading to a Marvel Universe-friendly version and not the Moore/Gaiman one. Pretty sure Gaiman’s not at the “deny everything” point yet!

“3. DC will finally pull the plug on floppies, figuring they have 80 years of content that they don’t know how to exploit anyway, so why deal with the hassle of creating more. Instead they will ramp up repackaging the stuff they have produced despite themselves, the largely continuity free stuff with an actual ending.”

The monthly comics endure, though sometimes it feels like DC is moving to the “all Batman, all the Bat-time” model. I hope the reprinting of old material continues, however…it’s always welcome.

• • •

Dave Carter lusted in his heart with

“I couldn’t possible be more wrong than I was for my 2020 predictions, Right?”

“1) DC’s Kids & YA OGN line gets farmed out, in part or in whole, to one of the Warner book publishers imprints.”

DC’s still doin’ it, near as I can tell, though they appear to have other younger reader/children’s books through other publishers (not so much “farmed out” as just “licensed”).

“2) The threads of Event Leviathan are picked up in Bendis’s Justice League.”

DING DING DING I’m actually caught up on Justice League so I can confirm this as a very palpable hit.

“3) A manga title I’ve never heard of becomes a best seller due to an anime version I didn’t know existed showing up on a streaming platform.”

Um…this is a subjective one, so you tell me…had you ever heard of Demon Slayer?

• • •

will fires at me with

“1) a Black Orchid TV show”

Nope, but I’d certainly watch just to see what the hell they’d do with that.

“2) Disney will buy DC”

Oh man, can you imagine? A post-credits scene on, I don’t know, a fifth Ant Man movie introducing Superman?

• • •

Scott Rowland does…something to get the boat ashore with

“With the loss of yet more licensed properties to Marvel, Dark Horse will merge with another company in a ‘Kitchen Sink buys Tundra’ kind of way, which will involve a media push for the ‘Comics Greatest World’ Properties.”

Actually, it kinda moved in the opposite direction, with Dark Horse getting the license to the “general audiences” Star Wars comics (and if there’s a stupider phrase than “‘general audiences’ Star Wars comics,” man, I don’t know…). That may forestall a merger for at least the near future. Comics’ Greatest World remains largely unexploited in recent times, however.

“DC will continue to haphazardly add old comics to their digital service, but will continue to ignore Sugar and Spike.”

I’ll tell you what, I keep waiting for DC Universe to add more late ’70s/early ’80s Superman comics, but nuthin’ doin’. Still finding plenty to read, but I really want those. Also no go on those Sugar & Spike comics, because why clutter up the service with good stuff?

“Marvel will finally release the 2001 By Kirby Omnibus.”

A crime this hasn’t happened. And by all rights, the Omnibus dustjacket should be solid black. Also, it’s a licensed book, and Marvel ain’t gonna shell out to another company to reprint something.

Okay, enough for today, since the next set of predictions in line are from me and I may or may not spend some extra time on those. Yes, I’m playing favorites. In the meantime, get in your 2022 predictions, even though January is getting a little long in the tooth to still be accepting those and comments will likely be turned off soon. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you Monday!

Your 2021 Predictions, Part Five: The Triangle.

§ January 19th, 2022 § Filed under predictions § 3 Comments

Welcome to part five of about a thousand of my look back at your 2021 comic industry predictions! (Here are parts one, two, three and four). Also, I did drop in an edit to part four in regard to new information regarding a prediction I didn’t have an answer for!

And now…behold:

Michael Grabowski grips me with the following

“1. Riverdale of the Apes”

Look, Michael, how dare you throw this idea out there and have us proceed to deal with the fact it didn’t happen. Apehead! Archie Andrangutan! Reggie Mandrill!

“2. IDW hires Roger Langridge & Chris Samnee to finish their Thor: The Mighty Avenger series.”

That would have been interesting as part of the Marvel Action line, but alas, with that going away, I guess that’s that.

“3. DC hires Michel Fiffe to create a Grand Design-style limited series for the Legion of Superheroes.”

Another great idea which unfortunately didn’t happen (next “Grand Design” book will feature the Hulk). But honestly, DC could do worse. To paraphrase a thing I’ve said plenty of times: what’s DC afraid of, a Legion series that won’t sell?

• • •

Patrick Joseph sayeth

“1. Milestone’s relaunch gets pushed back another year/canceled.”

They actually did come out, and are still being released even now!

“2. Marvel acquires the license to the Hasbro books, and starts reprints of Micronauts and ROM”

Coincidentally, I was processing a certain issue of Incredible Hulk and brought up on the Twitters that Marvel couldn’t reprint this issue due to not having the license to ROM anymore. (As it turned out, Marvel has reprinted the issue, but with pages featuring ROM excised and replaced by a text explanation of what happened on them.)

Anyway, the one thing I wish the rights holders to ROM and Micronauts would realize is that the comics interest in these characters is centered around their connection to the Marvel Universe. Trying to feature the characters outside that context is…not really anything my customers ever wanted, that’s for sure. …So no, those two properties are still divided from the House of Licensed Ideas.

“3. DC goes all digital with periodicals, with collections and OGNs becoming their primary physical product.”

DCs still hanging in there, printin’ their funnybooks on dead trees, just like our primitive ancestors did!

• • •

Thom H shays

“1. Marvel will announce the wrap-up to Hickman’s big X-Men storyline by the end of the year.

Does anything really get wrapped up in the X-Men books? Hickman’s wrapping up his X-Men stint with that Inferno mini, which just ended. But I think the situation he set up is still going on even under the new creative team. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the X-books, so if Hickman had some big plot he was working on that did get wrapped up, I’m not sure. But like I said, the post-Hickman books appear to be of a piece with the work he did.

“2. I guess I can stop predicting the return of Injection at Image. The comic series and the show will both likely be announced as officially canceled.”

Yeaaaah, I wouldn’t look for any Ellis-related projects for the near future.

“3. One new issue of Miracleman is published in 2021.”

As discussed in a previous installment of these prediction posts…only if you count Timeless!

• • •

bret sector divides these up

“1. Brian Michael Bendis will leave comics to pursue hollywood full time…and then return to Marvel in 3 years to a triumphant (in the Kirby sense of the word) return.”

I don’t know about his showbiz pursuits (though a commentor here mentioned he was working on a Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon). He does seem to be in the process of leaving DC…but not back to Marvel just yet.

“2. Dark Nights: Metal and Dark Nights: Death Metal will surprisingly be followed-up this year by Dark Night: Bluegrass…not so surprisingly, Dark Swamp-Thing plays a major role in the storyline.”

It did surprise me that DC didn’t market any new series playing off the “Metal” theme (aside from releasing some variant covers for the series packaged with flexidiscs). But I guess Infinite Frontier was the official follow-up, though they missed the bet by calling it Infinite Metal.

Also, Dark Night: Bluegrass sounds okay, but I’d be mnore into Dark Night: New Wave. At last, dayglo colors on comic book covers again!

“3. Dark Nights: Ambush Bug will debut in 2020 and actually get me to read my first Dark Nights”

I presume you meant “2021,” if only because I think you should get a half-point for Ambush Bug returning in a regular comic. This time it’s Suicide Squad, but who knows where he’ll end up next!

• • •

Roel Torres rolls in with

“My prediction: I will be part of a creative team on a bunch of indy comics that will be published with Diamond Catalog distribution in 2021 and Mike will reference me in an ‘End of Civilization’ post.”

And there he is! Now I have to start doing my End of Civilization posts again to make fun of it. “Frankenrock? More like…uh, Franken-dumber! Amirite?”

• • •

Cassandra Miller crosses the following

“DC’s distributor will continue to alternate between semi-professional and amateurish at best, with no rhyme or reason, driving shop owners nuts. Instead of rethinking things, DC will double down on the ‘going it alone without Diamond’ thing. (They won’t actually *do* anything about the situation until 2022 though.)”

I have to say, I’ve had very few problems with Lunar Distribution. Always great packing, excellent fill rates, almost never have to report a damage. I think since I’ve started using them, I’ve maybe been shorted all copies of a single title twice at most, as compared to that happening nearly every week with a certain other distributor I could name.

Not to say that I haven’t seen complaints from other retailers about them, so maybe I’ve just been exceptionally lucky. As such, I don’t know if they’re “doing” anything about these problems or not, at least not directly. Really, the only problem I tend to have with Lunar is timeliness of shipments, but that seems to be more a FedEx issue. Even then, that’s not been too much of a hassle.

Okay pals, I’ve reached the end of my blogging time for the evening…will be back Friday with yet more prediction shenanigans! (And also contribute to the 2022 predictions right here!) Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

Your 2021 Predictions, Part Four: Transplant.

§ January 17th, 2022 § Filed under predictions § 9 Comments

Again, another short blogging window for today, so I’ll get through what I can of your predictions. (I promise to finish these sometime in January!) (Of 2022!) (Maybe!) Installments one, two and three can be found at…well, the pages I just linked to. And awaaaaaay we go!

Matthew crows about the following

“1. Marvel/DC do some series that go from digital serialization straight to collected version. No printed single issues.”

I know DC did…for example, there was this Harley Quinn: Black White and Red digital series that went straight to a print collection this year:

…And I could’ve sworn DC put out a book of all the Mark Russell-scripted Swamp Thing New Roots digital series, but I can only find a print volume that contains a couple of issues. Presumably the rest are on the way (or already out in a book that this aged brain can’t recall).

“2. Another publisher goes the A Wave Blue World route of only printing first issues and then releasing a collection. (Digital single issues still available.)”

I…am going to have to call “I don’t know” on this one. I’m having a devil of a time trying to research it, and may have to throw myself upon the mercy of my readers to set me straight. Problem is, I order so many comics for the shelf, and there are so many number ones, I can’t keep track of which ones just failed immediately and never put out a second issue, or used the print issue as a lead-in to their digital offerings. I checked a couple of publishers who were likely to do this, and no dice.

If anyone out there has info, let me know and I’ll updated this response.

EDIT: Glen to the rescue!

“3. No major in-person comic/publishing conventions/events in Canada/USA in 2021. Some declare they’re never happening again (see: Book Expo)”

As we saw back in part two, we did have some in-person conventions, mostly later in the year as everyone figured the pandemic wouldn’t be that much of a problem by then. (SPOILER: they figured incorrectly.) One of them was the San Diego Comic Con at Thanksgiving-time, which I assume would fit the criterea of “major convention!”

• • •

Jason Sandberg overcomes his placebo addiction to bring us

“1: DC will launch a ‘Bat-Man and the New Gods’ title with Space Cabbie as the chauffeur of a hybrid Batmbobile/Whiz Wagon.”

I presume by hyphenating “Bat-Man,” you mean the red-suited, domino-masked Bat-Man Kane initially conceived prior to people with talent coming along and making something of the character. If that’s the case, I’m all for this comic idea, with Dumb Batman klutzing around and annoying Orion and Big Barda and the bunch. Alas, did not happen.

“2: We will get a Morisson/Mora KLAUS one-shot, with a sub-plot explaining why KLAUS didn’t appear in 2020 when we needed him the most! Seriously, what gives? C’mon, dudes.”

Make that TWO years without a Klaus! It’s been a blue Christmas without them, assuredly.

“3: DC will publish a ‘Swamp Thing by Rick Veitch Omnibus’ that will include the unpublished issue 88. This leads to a younger generation experiencing a Veitchaissance.”

Not yet, but I’m hoping something like that will happen someday! And I’m all for a Veitchaissance…I’ve loved his work for decades, and fully support it being discovered by new readers…y’know, so long as they, um, kinda look the other way if they come across this.

• • •

demoncat_4 raises a little hell with

“disney marvel will find out they own the rights to omega the unknown and annouce it as a tv series with steve gerber’s blessing and use his never told original ending”

Well, um, the trick with that would’ve been the “Gerber’s blessing” part, given that he, you know, came down with a touch of the “passed away” a few years back. But I do wonder how far deep into the library Disney will go before they adapt Omega into live-action? (And, I’m sad to say, probably not in a form that Gerber would’ve enjoyed.)

“disney will finaly let kevin smith have another crack at howard the duck as a live action tv show.”

Again, didn’t happen…greenlighting a Howard the Duck anything still feels like career suicide for studio execs who have lifespans of mayflies anyway. That said…I wouldn’t mind seeing Smith’s take on ol’ Howard. Yeah, yeah, I know, groaaaaan, but I generally like Smith’s work and think he might have at least have some understanding of the character (unlike the people responsible for that HtD movie, who didn’t at all).

“the cw will announce they have given the short lived swamp thing tv series a two season full order with recurring character ragman back in the dc live action fold at last”

I feel like the brief window of someone saving the show and reassembling the cast is long gone on this. I still hold out hope for some kind of new Swamp Thing TV show or movie, at least!

• • •

LondonKdS mashes up the following bangers

“1. As I predicted last year, DC gives up on traditional serial comics publication in favour of some other format.”

Not yet, though DC seems to be experimenting with other, pricier formats, so there’s that!

“2. Both Marvel and DC do plots in which a long-established big-name character comes out as LGBT. One of them is created by people who know what they’re doing and is praised by all except bigots, the other isn’t and becomes a notorious disaster.”

I don’t think anything’s been a straight-up disaster along these lines, at least from this particular cisgendered fella’s possibly ignorant perspective. But DC had two major stories featuring Tim “Robin” Drake and Jon “Superman” Kent each coming out, and yes, those were mostly well-received with the predictable “b-b-but they should make up NEW characters to be gay instead of changing old ones,” and um hello, Jon Kent.

So those made some headlines for DC, but I can’t recall anything similar for Marvel last year. I mean, I’m sure characters have been revealed to be LGBT (like, I saw Black Cat on a list…did that happen last year, because I missed that somehow, but then I don’t tend to read a lot of Black Cat comics) but nothing news-grabbing like DC. I mean, how do you beat “SUPERMAN’S GAY” as a headline, that’s amazing.

“3. One of the proposed Lumberjanes comics after the end of the main series is a Lumberjanes/Swamp Thing crossover. It ends up unexpectedly controversial, as the team-up involves the Lumberjanes making a major breakthrough in their understanding of the occult stuff going on around them by cooking Swampie’s tubers in the ashes of their campfire and tripping balls.”

why must you tempt me with comics that will never be

• • •

Robcat feverly scratches out these

“1- All DC’s new hire star writers for the monthlies, from outside of comics, will be gone, gone, gone by 2021, but one book will finish in 2022, limping along until it is put out of its misery.”

I was trying to think of something along these lines…maybe Joe Hill? The “Hill House” imprint mostly wrapped up in 2020, but it’s popped back up in 2021 with Refrigerator Full of Heads, the sequel to Hill’s Basketful of Heads, but the latter series is not written by him. Is that kind of what you’re thinking about?

“2- Geoff John’s Legion reboot/original Legionnaires will be back somehow, someway, somewhere. (Honestly, this should be a 2022 prediction. I’m pre-predicting.)”

We’re still technically dealing with the Brian Michael Bendis Legion at the moment, which peaced out with Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes in 2021. That version of the Legion just came back this year with a Justice League crossover mini-series. Who knows what will happen after that…the old Legionnaires coming back makes as much sense as anything else they’re doing with this franchise.

“3- I was gonna say DC abandons the monthly single story comic, but that’s been a regular prediction for a while, so I’m gonna go wild with this: DC brings back Batman Family as a $9.99 monthly comic in a test to see if they could eliminate the monthly single story comic. The cover is great, pin-ups look good, and one story has a star writer/artist team. The other stories are kinda… meh. By issue 4 people have lost interest.”

Like I said to LondonKdS, DC seems to be trying out new formats, and Batman: Urban Legends, a higher end monthly anthology actually is pretty close to your idea of a “Batman Family” comic. Sales seem relatively strong, considering, but being a Batman book helps sell the format. Given that DC is slowly turning into “Batman Comics, Inc.,” that’s probably good news for them.

“I wanted to predict Marvel announces a Fantastic Four movie with John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic, Jenna Fischer as The Invisible Woman, Rainn Wilson as The Thing, and B.J. Novak as The Human Torch but didn’t want to burn a prediction on that piece of nonsense. Man, I’d pay good money to see that, though. Creed as Willy Lumpkin would be pure comedy gold!”

Ah, the old “sneaking in a fourth prediction by pretending it’s not a prediction” trick. Very clever indeed, Anyway, no casting news on FF yet, and I’m betting when they come I’ll recognize just as many names as I did with your list, which is “one.”

“Here’s hoping 2021 was a better year for your eyes.”

So far so good!

• • •

Okay, here’s hoping I can get through more next time! Thanks for reading, folks, and don’t forget to leave predictions for 2022!

Your 2021 Predictions, Part Three: Rose the Prude.

§ January 14th, 2022 § Filed under predictions § 2 Comments

Gonna be a little shorter entry this time, folks…sorry, long day at the office combined with being flat out exhausted = low content mode here. But, I’ll try to cover at least a few of your predictions here today. (And here are Parts the First and Second.)

William Gatevackes opens up with the following

“Warner Brothers’ gambit of moving all their films day and date streaming will backfire financially. They will be scrambling to cut costs and DC Comics will be a main target of these cuts. It could mean massive layoffs or a massive reduction in their publishing.”

In regards to day-and-date streaming…well, I don’t know. One article has Warner executives seemingly happy with it, and another article released just two days later is like “nope, ain’t working.” I don’t much get the economics of streaming anyway, but I’m sure a big budget movie like Wonder Woman 1984 that was planned for theatrical release didn’t get the take anyone was hoping for, what with the streaming option and the theater debut at a time when people really don’t want to be sitting in a theater.

A look at shows a worldwide gross of $166 million. That sounds like a lot of money to you and me, but that’s likely “flop” territory for Wonder Woman. Granted, it wasn’t a surprise and it didn’t hurt plans for another sequel and another movie focusing on the Amazons. Plus, Googling the keywords “wonder woman 1984 hbo max new subscribers” brings up this quote:

“‘The release of Wonder Woman 1984 helped drive our domestic HBO Max and HBO subscribers to more than 41 million, a full two years faster than our initial forecast,’ said AT&T CEO John Stankey in a statement.”

…and 41 million subscribers at between $9.99 and $14.99 monthly apiece works out to…a hell of a lot of money. So I guess these movies are just loss-leaders writ large.

I’m sure someone will pop into the comments to give more accurate statements on the financial implications of all this. Just from this layman’s perspective, I don’t think Warners has anything to worry about in regards to limited box office at the moment.

“2. There will be a new Image title from a heretofore unknown creator that will become the next ‘Walking Dead.’ Meaning crossing over into other media and becoming a cultural phenomenon.”

The only Image book that was really a “phenomenon” this year was Invincible, which had me move a whole lot of copies of the trade paperbacks, and even those giant Omnibus volumes. But those are written by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, so that’s hardly an unknown creator, and plus Invincible was on TV, which is why people were seeking these volumes out in the first place.

Maybe on a lesser level was What’s the Furthest Place from Here?, which again isn’t really by unknowns, and didn’t become a huge cultural phenomenon…but it had a strong following and crossed over into other media in that they had tie-in 7-inch records. So I’m saying that counts!

Plus it gives me an excuse to run this video advertising the comic that was personalized for my shop:

“3. Marvel will at some point either announce or publish a “Predator Kills the Marvel Universe” book.”

More like “lawsuits killed the Predator,” amirite. But apparently everything’s settled all friendly-like now, which hopefully means the original screenwriters are sittin’ pretty. Thus, maybe this will be the year Predator kills everyone in the ol’ Marvel U.

• • •

MrJM jams in the following

“1) Some things will get worse”

Well, publishing scheduling and distributor shipping seemed to be a little more squirrley than in the past. Three different major comic distributors mean three different opportunities for books to be late.

“2) Some things will get better”

Despite everything, business is way up at my shop!

“3) People will disagree about which things got worse and which things got better”

No, I’m reasonably sure the two things I noted above are irrefutable fact. And if we’ve learned anything from the last few years, nobody will argue with actual facts!

• • •

Old customer Kurt Onstad bounces his way into the following

“1) The New Warriors mini-series that was solicited will have at least one issue released this year, for trademark purposes, if nothing else.”

I don’t recall any, and the retailer database shows the last series was 2014 or thereabouts. But don’t worry, the New Warriors haven’t been off the stands long enough for, like, Dark Horse Comics to snatch up the copyright. At least, I don’t think.

“2) Some DC creators will try to push towards ‘Future State’ being the actual future, while others rebel against it, creating a confusing mess that will require a reboot in 2022.”

It seems as if they’re still incorporating elements of that future, such as the “Superman going away” thing in the Super-books. And there are books that are just straight-up set in the “Future State” era, like I Am Batmanand Future State: Gotham. I don’t think it was in any danger of taking over current DC continuity aside from a mini or two and some storylines. Here’s hoping a reboot will never be cessary!

“3) My podcast ( will hit Episode 100.”

Odd, it’s almost as if you knew that would be the case ahead of time…! I’M KEEPING MY EYE ON YOU, MISTER

But y’all can listen to that very episode right here.

Okay, that’s enough shenanigans for today. I’ll be back Monday with yet more of your predictions! And don’t forget to leave me your new predictions for the next 11 1/2 months of 2022!

Your 2021 Predictions, Part Two: Guess Who’s Coming to the Wedding?

§ January 12th, 2022 § Filed under predictions § 12 Comments

Continuing my look back at your 2021 comic industry predictions (part one here). And as yet another reminder, get in your 2022 predictions before much more of 2022 passes us by!

Mike Baehr bares all with

“1. Some of the conventions that run in the second half of the year will try to return at a reduced size”

Well, I’m not 100% certain how to easily verify or debunk this, but this list of 2021 conventions certainly shows a lot of cancellations and postponements earlier in the year. Those taper off as the year goes on, but it should be noted the San Diego Comic Con did run in November for only three days and a smaller turnout.

It looks like a lot of the later cons just ran as scheduled, in those days where we thought all the vaccines and boosters would have make things go back to relative normal. But I’m wondering how things will look for the early part of this year with COVID infections spiking drastically.

“2. Marvel/Disney will finally start cracking down on unauthorized use of the Punisher skull by cops and other right wing yahoos (this one is wishful thinking)”

I didn’t see any major stories about Disney (or Marvel) doing anything about that, aside from creators speaking out against the logo’s unofficial usage. CBR did run this article in 2020 about Marvel’s apparently limited options in regards to this. (I did find this article about removing the Punisher skull image as it was “view[ed] as a rebuke to the racial justice movement.”

Marvel/Disney’s solution for now is just changing that character’s logo into this terrible thing:

…which won’t get any traction and the old skull logo will continue to be associated with both the character and certain distasteful elements in real-world society, but perhaps I should save that for my own 2022 predictions. Anyway, can you picture Frank sitting down and designing that as his image to strike fear into criminals?

“3. Despite hopes to the contrary, there will continue to be be no posthumous revelations about Steve Ditko”

Sorry, no surprise previously-unpublished photo layouts for Playgirl. Maybe next year.

• • •

Jeff R. rites

“1. HBO is going to announce a ton of DC property streaming TV shows, including 3 of these properties: Wonder Woman, Amethyst, Transmetropolitan, Legion of Super-Heroes, and Animal Man.”

Well, it wasn’t any of those (Transmet seems unlikely for Reasons, but remember when Patrick Stewart was interested in the property?), but there was at least that Gotham Police series that ties into that forthcoming Batman movie. And I presume the new Peacemaker series was noted sometime in 2021. Plus, there was that backdoor pilot for the Dead Boy Detectives in Doom Patrol. Plus, I think this supposed Green Lantern series was been floating around prior to that, right? EDIT: Being told in the comments that latest Legion writer Brian Michael Bendis mentioned doing some preliminary work for a Legion of Super-Heroes animated cartoon for HBO, so there you go!

“2. In 2021 the number of major marvel characters who are literally immortal will outnumber those who are not.”

I get what you mean, but technically, all the characters are immortal, so long as they keep selling. Even Uncle Ben pops up from time to time.

“3. Someone, maybe HBO again greenlight’s Elf*Quest as a prestige tv project.”

Someday Elfquest will get that big-budget adaptation! But just not yet, I suppose. In looking this up, I did find this Wiki entry for something that was attempted in 1992:

“In the early 1990s, an ad for a multi-volume animated adaptation of Elfquest appeared in the comic. A few issues later, the Pinis told readers they’d withdrawn from the deal, and that readers should ask for refunds. Those who didn’t eventually received a 50-minute VHS tape from Abby Lou Entertainment, copyright 1992. Covering the first volume of the book, it consists of color still images taken straight from the comic, some minor animation, and spoken dialogue.”

Oh good gravy, that sounds like it must have been very disappointing. I couldn’t find video of it (granted, I didn’t search long) but it sounds almost like those early Marvel cartoons.

• • •

Chris Gumprich pays up with

“1. With the recent explosion of 70s reprints, someone will repackage and reprint the complete run of the legendary Atlas/Seaboard line.”

Media rights for Atlas/Seaboard were snapped up a few years back, surprisingly. I suspect once the movies and TV shows start up, if ever, that’s probably when we’ll start seeing those reprints. Or maybe they’ll simply retool the properties while keeping some of the…semi-baked premises of the comics out of the public eye by suppressing any reissuing.

“2. Archie Comics will present a line of new Archie stories set in the 1950s, with the same light-hearted approach as the originals.”

Not that I’ve seen, unless they slipped a short story in one of their million digests past me!

“3. DC will announce a new line of specialty comics aimed at a traditionally-ignored demographic. It will fail to immediately catch on and be cancelled in eight months.”

At this point a “traditionally-ignored demographic” at DC would be “people who don’t want to read Batman comics,” but I get what you mean. Nothing’s really coming to mind…I mean, they’re still doing young adult graphic novels (neither new nor for an ignored audience). Well, they started doing reprints of their Death Metal series packaged with records, so “record-collecting comic book fans” are having their time in the sun right now.

“And a special, bonus, cheating prediction that I already know is coming true:
4. I will complete my collection of Atlas/Seaboard comics when I finally track down a reasonably-priced copy of VICKI #4.”

HOW VERY DARE YOU. Just for that, I’m not going to sell you my copy of Vicki #4 that I’m using as a coaster for my drink here.

• • •

Hal Shipman sails forth with

“1. DC will continue to awkwardly fumble around while trying to ‘patch’ their storytelling, both in print and in film. The mishmash of post-Future State will almost immediately slide back to an even more awkward form of status quo.”

I guess Infinite Frontier counts, though it’s more of a follow-up exploring the multiversal/rebootery/retconnathon of Death Metal and such, rather than yet another patch applied to paste over those cracks caused by Crisis on Infinite Earths. It seems like it may be a little awkward as I’m still not entirely sure how “every story counts” and characters remembering all their various histories will be properly implemented as such.

“2. Marvel will basically do that with print. But the MCU will evolve more naturally because actors age. Ironically, THIS will be the first time that a comics-based continuity will generally follow a more real world timeline.”

Marvel just keeps on keeping on, with relatively few multiversal shenanigans going on, though Timeless (released just under the end-of-the-year wire) seems to promise at least a little of that. As far as their movies…well, yeah, sure, they’re not going to have 70-year-old Scarlett Johanssen runnin’ around being Black Widow. …Or maybe they should, that would be kind of awesome.

But as far as being the first comics-based continuity to function in real-world time: BEHOLD.

“3. Rather than just putting ‘Heroes in Crisis’ out of continuity and saying, ‘Yeah, we fucked that up,’ DC will make a third (fourth?) attempts to try to paper over Wally West having murdered a lot of people and “rehabilitiating” him, because it almost worked with Hal Jordan. (Attempts #1 & 2 being that Lobdell mini and the Reverse Flash basically being Parallax).”

Pretty much was 2021’s Flash Annual was about…”redeeming” the character and putting the events of Heroes in Crisis behind him. Frankly, I”m surprised it took this long.

• • •

Former employee Nathan dares to darken my doorstep with

“1. In the latest of his escalating series of gimmicks, Robert Kirkman will stealth-cancel Walking Dead Deluxe after issue #12, and the world will learn this when retailers open their shipments of Walking Dead Deluxe #13 to find… Solid Blood #1.”

Oooh, that whole “end of Walking Dead thing was so aggravating. At least he hasn’t pulled anything like that with the delxue edition (though I could use a few fewer variant covers per issue, even as I realize that extra covers is probably what’s bringing the money in).

“2. To everyone’s great surprise, confirmation of Pete Davidson being cast as Adam Neramani in Guardians of The Galaxy 3 causes X-Force Annual #2 to explode in value.”

This just gives me a headache. Anyway, your terrible prediction has not yet come to pass.

“3. There will be at least one lawsuit involving Crossover.”

Nope, everyone seems to be playing nicely! There, I’ve addressed your contribution, Nathan, now getoudda here.

• • •

William Burns fires me up with

“1. Marvel and DC both do a ‘superheroes get vaccinated’ campaign.”

I did find this article from late last year in which DC Comics teamed up with the White House to provide DC-related bandages, coloring books, etc. in support of children’s vaccinations. And Marvel published a special Avengers comic to promote gettin’ your shots.

A quick Googling also shows several folks in superhero costumes to help kids along during their jabs, and a number of promotions extolling parents who get their kids vaccinated as generic no-need-to-license superheroes. So yes, superheroics are doing their part to keep kids healthy and safe.

“2. At some point, Kamala Khan meets Kamala Harris.”

Far be it for Marvel to pass up this opportunity, but if they did it, I can’t find it. Also, I’m kinda circling around a joke relating this to the whole Superman/Batman “Martha” thing but I haven’t quite landed the plane yet.

“3. Lots of local comic shops don’t recover from the virus downturn and close permanently.”

Sadly, I have heard of a few shutdowns, which is too bad. I managed to ride out the period where I literally wasn’t allowed to open, mostly because I was the only employee and I busted my butt doing mail order that whole time, but other shops weren’t so lucky. I don’t know if it was “lots,” but anyone losing their livelihood to this pandemic is too many.

• • •

Nat Gertler is all about the following

“Marvel will launch a COVID-masked hero which will ship the very month that COVID is declared not-a-problem and everyone will go back to everything.”

Not yet, but it really is just a matter of not “if” but “when.” “In the great tradiion of the Disco Dazzler, here comes….”

“Scholastic will start a non-parody kids superhero GN line.”

I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite along those lines…I presume you mean, like, “straight” superheroes in the style of Marvel and DC, just “scaled down” for schoolchildren. As opposed to all the super-type characters on this list. I suspect it’s just a matter of time.

“The Obama’s media company will start dipping a toe into comics.”

Again, not that I can find, unless they’re the secret money behind all these Trump comics. Those sneaky, sneaky guys.

• • •

Brian doesn’t make it easy for me to come up with a joke intro for his name with

“1. As theater openings and scheduling remain more fluid, the core metaplot of the MCU will become more centered in the Disney+ miniseries, with the films being used for big stories with big effects (think of one-shots versus serial storylines), drawing the cinematic universe oddly more towards its parent in style.”

Well, yeah, to an extent, I think. It was Loki and What If that pushed the whole “multiverse” concept that we saw later in the new Spider-Man movie and in next year’s Dr. Strange sequel. Plus Falcon and the Winter Soldier gave us our new Captain America for the time being. So I don’t know if that all counts as “backbone” but it’s certainly teeing up future shots.

“2. With Disney+ and HBO Max getting attention for their superhero and genre properties, we’ll see a new round of ‘studio shops around to create/curate a cinematic universe from another set of comics properties,’ just on a streaming service instead of in theaters.”

The last big example of this I could think of was the Seaboard/Atlas thing I mentioned earlier, picked up by Paramout in 2019. It doesn’t say it’s for streaming, but after Disney’s and Warner’s examples, I’d be surprised if we didn’t at least get simultaneous debuts in theaters and on Paramount+. If there were other major pushes to getting other “comic book universes” I didn’t see ’em. Or I willfully forgot them. Someone wake me when Tubi gets the rights to do T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.

“3. As we all get used to the new media status quo, then…Korea!”

Why, I’m not going to fall for your cheap ploy to get me to put up that


Okay, that’s enough fun for today. Tune in next time, same Spirit-time, same Spirit-channel, for more 2021 prediction talk!

Your 2021 Predictions, Part One: The Engagement.

§ January 10th, 2022 § Filed under predictions § 7 Comments

Well, here we go, pals, for a relatively long-ish ride through all the predictions you all planted on me at the end of 2020. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get crackin’. (Also, don’t forget to give me your 2022 comic industry predictions!)

Bruce Baugh breaks in the following

“#1. There won’t be new issues of Miracleman in 2021.”

Nope, still no new issues yet, but right at the tail end of 2021, on the very last New Comics Day of the year, we got this.

“#2. There will be reprints of First Comics series – not the whole catalog, but a bunch. This is in addition to the Sable reprint being Kickstarted; I get no credit for prophesying things already happening.”

Hoo boy, I’m trying to think if anything came out last year (aside from Jon Sable). Anyway, did a little searching and the closest I can come up with is this Nexus Newspaper Strips paperback, which, you know, Nexus was published by First, and this book does contain a story from the First Comics years.

“#3. There’ll be a livestream of the entire process of making a regular issue of a monthly comic. The creative team and the audience will have fun and the issue won’t be very late.”

I’m sure this happens, on YouTube or Twitch or somewhere, on a regular basis. I did find this video (published on my birthday in 2021, no less!) about an artist who livestreams his comic creation. The video is literally titled “this artist draws entire comic books live on his Twitch streams,” so, um, there we go, I guess.

• • •

DK strikes again with

“1) LSH cancelled (what else is new). DC continues to blow it with this once-mighty franchise. Even Bendis can’t sell this concept to today’s readers. It needs a Grant Morrison.”

Well, with #12 in January 2021 being the last issue for the foreseeable future of the regular series, followed by a two-part Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes shortly thereafter, I think it’s safe to say that particular experiment is mostly ended. Though I should note that there is a Justice League/Legion of Super-Heroes mini coming out shortly, which may be the only way to get Legion characters on the stands anymore: team ’em up with other folks.

“2) The Thing will be the most surprising casting announcment for the MCU. It will be a very big name doing VO work for a Digital Grimm ™.”

We got a director announcement at the end of 2020 (Jon Watts) but no official word on actual casting far as I can tell. I saw a rumor (just a rumor!) about Seth Rogan as the Thing, and, you know, sure, why not. I’m sure it would upset somebody somewhere, but some people are always upset, y’know?

“3) The Immortal Hulk approach will be used to refresh another Marvel major. Everything you know is wrong, there’s a supernatural explanation for a science-based hero yada yada.”

Nothing really jumps out at me, but I don’t read every Marvel comic. At least, from a retailing standpoint, no series has “broken out” like Immortal Hulk did, with a wild new take on a character…except maybe the folling Hulk series. Hulk as a spaceship, powered by an angry Hulk, piloted by Bruce Banner. I mean, that feels like a magical reimagining, anyway.

• • •

googum googumed

“Ah, I keep telling you, I’m never right!”

Oh, don’t be like that, googum! Someday it’ll be your time to shine…and will it be today?

“1. Has there been a COVID-relief book yet? Feels like there should’ve been, but can’t think of one yet.”

And you were right! COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology (which I carry at my shop) was released, and according to the publisher’s website:

“The comics in this collection have been generously donated by their creators. A portion of the the proceeds from the sale of this volume are being donated by the publisher to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) in support of comics shops, bookstores, and their employees who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.”

So Yes googum, There Is A COVID Relief Book. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

“2. Is it time for a Legion of Super-Heroes event? When was the last time DC tried to use them as the tentpole for anything? Maybe it’s due.”

You were close! I mentioned the Justice League Vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes above, which looks something like this:

…but it’s due to release in…well, just a few days, actually. So you weren’t too far off!

“3. I feel like the CW’s DC shows are all sputtering to a stop. That might not be quite right; those shows were probably successful, but not as big as DC/WB wanted them to be. Maybe Doom Patrol as well, that Alfred show, anything else they had going that wasn’t as big as the Mandalorian.”

I looked up this chart here, and if I’m understanding correctly, The Flash has dipped down a bit so far this season in ratings compared to the previous season. Now I don’t know what counts as “a lot” of viewers anymore, in this new world of much more competition for eyeballs. Realistically I’d expect everyone’s expectations to be down, that ratings that would mean death for a show in the past are now considered fine and dandy. Maybe those ratings are, like, “CW good.” Even if they’re only about 1/6th of Young Sheldon‘s take.

For comparison, Legends of Tomorrow‘s ratings last year seemed…well, fairly dire. Stargirl‘s ratings seem to be a bit closer to Flash, but again, I’m not sure what constitutes “good” here. (The latter was picked up for a third season, so they were “good enough” I suppose.)

Also, I don’t know if these ratings take in downloads, streaming, etc. I watched pretty much all of Stargirl on the CW app through my Roku.

• • •

Yes! positively offers theese

“1. The Boys Amazon show continues to be popular and zeitgeist defining, despite a general critical agreement that the third season’s writing fell off a cliff. This could be due Superhero-decontstruction-fatigue, total deviation from the comic, or choosing the wrong Garth Ennis gross-outs to bring into the adaptation.”

Season Three isn’t coming ’til this June, so it’s too soon to say if fans are sick of it yet. I know spinoffs (or at least a spinoff) is planned, so burnout on the show is a greater possibility should that happen.

And good ol’ Garth…some of the stuff he comes up with is, to an extent, tolerable on the printed page, but once moved to film of actual humans doing some of these things…sheesh, yeah, I get your meaning.

I gotta say, though…the forthcoming “superhero burnout” (deconstructed or not) has been offered up for a while in regards to all this media featuring comic book characters, and it hasn’t happened yet. Which frankly, surprises me, too. It’ll happene someday, I’m guessing.

“2. Disney and Warner Bros, sorry, Marvel and DC, announce an Amalgam level joint effort, but it gets derailed. Leaked proposals germinate on the internet and fuel so many clickbait articles.”

Wouldn’t that be something. It would probably take an near-collapse of the entire entertainment market for these two giants to even consider pairing up like that, like when Marvel and DC started doing crossovers all the time while the comics industry’s flaming roof came crashing down upon us all. See also: that Star Trek/Star Wars crossover everyone wants.

“3. Wonder Woman 1984 and Dune enter theaters and streams. No one can say if they made or lost money without a clear metric of success; one gets a sequel, one does not.”

I was looking at the Wiki entry of WW84 (sorry, too tired to type the whole thing, though I suppose I could have instead of typing this explanation), which basically says “yeah, it didn’t even break even in theaters because of COVID, but it sure got streamed a bunch.” Says two follow-up projects are in the works…another Wonder Woman movie (maybe WW92, which will show her waiting in line to buy the black-bagged copy of Superman #75) and a movie just focusing on the Amazons.

That new Dune was released later in the year, at a time when folks were pretending it was safe to go to theaters again, so it actually made back double its budget (or thereabouts) worldwide. Apparently not a breakeven point, according to the Wiki, but better than nuthin’. It also got streamed a’plenty as well. A follow-up is planned for this film as well, in 2023.

• • •

King of the Moon decrees

“Ryan North’s Power Pack will be a massive sleeper hit and Disney will recognize they have gold just sitting there in a kid’s super team with a spaceship.”

Power Pack the comic did…well, so-so, at least at my shop. And doing a quick search shows “yes, there’s a movie coming,” and “yes, there’s a TV show coming” and “nope, it’s all on hold” and I have no idea what’s happening with it now. It certainly is money being left on the table at this point, but I bet Marvel will get around to it soon or later.

• • •

Okay, that’s it for today…come back Wednesday for more perusing of your prognostications!

The internet is now a little more stuffed.

§ January 7th, 2022 § Filed under pal plugging, question time § No Comments

First, the big news:

…Yup, just like the little stuffed fella says right up there, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull’s blog “Comics Oughta Be Fun” is back in action after being shuttered for a bit. The primary focus is currently “Today in Comics History,” but boy, Bully has an endless variety of goodies to give you under that theme. So pop by, say “welcome back Bully” and tell him his pal Mike sent you!

And some site news here: my variant cover-age is going to be on hiatus for a couple of weeks as I start looking back at your comic industry predictions for 2021 (and a reminder: I’m still taking your predictions for 2022!). I received a lot of predictions last time, so it may take me a bit to get through them all, but I’m looking forward to it!

Before that happens, let’s see if I can’t polish off a few more of your questions:

Rob S. steals the show with

“Does your store have a convention presence? (In normal times, that is.) If so, what goes into prepping & transporting inventory for a con?”

Not as such, since I’m pretty much a one-man operation here, though I suppose I could wrangle one of the Legion of Substitute Mikes into running the shop while I manned the table at a show. But…I’m not really much into working cons, frankly. I don’t mind attending them, on the rare occasion when I do, but I don’t want to have to stand there all day watching people around me having fun while I have to work. Sometimes it’s easier to just stay at the store and let anyone attending a local convention come to me, as they invariably do.

Since I’ve opened my shop, at the very few local conventions we’ve had (which have been…not top tier, from what I’ve been told by attendees of same) I’ve had folks passing out flyers for my shop, so, you know, there’s at least that. And in my days at the previous place of employment, the shows we worked required picking out a selection of back issues to bring with us (the pricey case comics, the more popular “hot” stuff, some oddball stuff just to show some variety), tossing them into our respective vehicles, and hauling them over. And then…stand at the table working while watching other people have fun.

• • •

Smicha1 smacks me with

“Well this is a two-part question not two questions, hope that’s okay. And they are both fairly easy to answer I hope.”

What? How dare you.

“What percent of your sales would you say comes from new-on-the-shelf comics? And not counting current comics or trades (back issues still count) what product brings in the most money? I don’t mean an individual product but more like ‘t-shirts’ or ‘Funko toys.'”

Well, I don’t know what the exact percentage off the top of my head, but I will say the majority of sales come from the new comics. That’s the big draw, especially in a store like mine that’s pretty much just comics, with no Pokemon or D&D or stuff like that. Is it half? Maybe it’s half, followed by trades and back issues.

And if I’m understanding the second part of the question, back issues would be the biggest non-new-comics-or-trades product line. But excluding comics altogether…like I said, I’m mostly just comics, so I don’t have many other product lines to sell. I suppose “toys” would be the one, which would include Funko Pops in my mind. Perhaps between Pops and other toys, Pops have the edge. Which surprises me they’re still coming out and are still in demand, but hey, that’s fine.

• • •

philfromgermany asks some germane questions with

“Hey Mike, how are you?”

Fair to middlin’.

“Is that alt-right comic nonsense still going on?”

Oof, yeah, probably. I don’t know, I don’t try to pay any attention, which is usually easy since a number of their comics turned out to be vaporware, right? Anyway, not a thing I have to deal with on a regular basis, thankfully, and it’s not like I have customers beating the door down for this stuff.

• • •

Carlos has designs on me with

“I was curious how well Savage Dragon does at your shop/in the area? I have a sub & enjoy it, but don’t see it on shelves of other shops I visit (in TX). It seems that back issues are hard to find and getting pricy because people are now trying to complete the run. Thanks!”

Savage Dragon, going on for over a couple decades and still by Erik Larsen, God bless ‘im. It hadn’t sold for me at the new shop in a while, aside from pull lists, but I’m beginning to get a little more interest lately. Not a lot of copies, mind you, but at least there’s some interest where before there was none.

And yes, the back issue market on this series is pretty off the wall. I suspect sales at most stores are like at mine, with very small rack sales and the majority of copies going to pull lists. With such small print runs, if an issue is missed then it’s to the eBays to look, where the sellers are not kind in their pricing. I know my pal Cully missed a copy at his local shop a while back, and was calling all over (including my store) trying to find it so that he didn’t have to pay the buck wild price being asked for it online. (He eventually bit the bullet and paid a sliightly less than buck wild price for it.)

But I’m all for the Savage Dragon series. One creator doing the same book forever…just imagine if Rob Liefeld had stuck with Youngblood the same way, for the same length of time, and how amazing that would have been.

• • •

MisterJayEm dashes out this question:

“What do you recommend to uncles(52) looking to buy comics for their precocious nieces(7) and nephews(4)?

“It’s hard to peruse those books without looking like a possible creepo, so I prefer to have a plan before I approach the kiddie section of the funny book store.”

If you’re just talkin’ plain ol’ floppy stapled comics, I always recommend the Scooby Doo books for kids. Those are top notch, fun, and likely recognized by children as they never quite seem to go away, despite it being it as old as both of us.

For a four-year-old, Scooby Doo may be a bit wordy, so some of those comics by Art Baltazar (like Tiny Titans) may be cuter and a litle more accessible. Or there’s Owly, which is wordless, but still good and fun comic booking.

• • •

Michael Grabowski slaloms down the following

“I snagged the last copy of the new Usagi Yojimbo comic this week at an LCS. It got me to wonder: does a retailer such as yourself like selling out completely of a title like that during the first week or would you prefer to order enough to have, say, 2 or 3 left over for more occasional customers to discover?”

Ideally, I’d like to have exactly one copy left of everything I order at the end of the sales cycle to go into back issues. Of course, it doesn’t work that way, usually, but I try to cut it as close as I can.

But the answer to your question is basically “it depends.” Some comics die once they’re not longer visible on the comics rack and in the back issue bins. Those I want to sell out of completely on the shelf, whether it’s the first week or over the month. I mean, I suppose I wouldn’t want them to disappear entirely on the first week so that folks who don’t make it in every Wednesday get a chance at them, but there are a few titles where I’m good with them clearing out fast to make room for other new books. Again, it’s a case by case thing. Sometimes I want them to stick around a bit, sometimes I want them to clear out and get out of my hair, sometimes I want a copy or two for back issues, sometimes I don’t want any in the back issue bins because no one will ever buy them there.

Does that make the monthly comic order complicated? You bet it does.

• • •

And BRR freezes us out of the latest batch of questions with

“Would you consider doing an update to your classic 2005 post on best mailing practices? I would be interested in a permalink at your store’s site, perhaps with a sponsored link to your preferred bag sealing scotch tape alternative. Unless this is a trade secret to be kept from competitors and comics distributors.”

Good gravy, was it that long ago? Long enough that flat rate shipping in the envelope was only four bucks? But yes, maybe some updating is in order, as I do tend to ship comics a little differently now (using some of those solidly built comic mailers that Diamond offers, plus more emphasis on heavier protective cardboard, and more box shipping with bubblewrap). None of it is a “trade secret” or anything, but some common sense and a desire to have comics shipping to me the way I ship comics to others.

That post, by the way, was inspired by my own ordering of a run of The Mink off eBay that was shipped to me in the most ridiculous way possible. And the fella was going to charge me some bonkers amount for shipping that I told him “hey, that’s bonkers.” I wish I’d taken a picture of the box they were sent in…or rather, “boxes” as it was some giant monstrosity cobbled together from multiple containers. For eight comics. Well, I guess they did show up intact, so who am I to complain?

• • •

Okay, that’s it for the most recent question-fest…it’s on to 2021 predictions on Monday! Thanks for reading, everyone!

The terror that autographs in the night.

§ January 5th, 2022 § Filed under employee aaron, pal plugging § 3 Comments

So former employee Aaron posted this on his Twitters the other day…some signed/remarked copies of the Boom! Studios Darkwing Duck from a decade or so ago.

Scribbled in the darker cape area was a message from the writer, pal Ian Brill:

“Aaron – tell Mike to go easy on you!” it says. I’m sure everyone will be unsurprised to learn that I did not in fact go easy on former employee Aaron. In fact, if Aaron is reading this now…GET BACK TO WORK.

Do they even still buy physical textbooks in college, or is it all digital?

§ January 3rd, 2022 § Filed under collecting, death of superman, retailing, variant covers § 4 Comments

So I recently found out that the Roku Channel, which is a free streaming service available on, of all things, the Roku streaming device, features a series called Slugfest. It’s a number of short episodes devoted to the back-and-forth between DC and Marvel Comics over the last eight decades or so. (Yes, I know it wasn’t technically “Marvel Comics” early on, nor was DC technically “DC,” but you know what I mean.) Each episode is only a few minutes long, with a mix of vintage video/images and actor reenactments. (Most interesting is Brandon Routh playing a young Jack Kirby…I mean, he’s got the eyebrows, but he’s gotta be at least a foot taller than Kirby ever was; and Ray Wise as older Jack Kirby is about as perfect a casting as you can imagine.)

I bring it up because Episode 8 of the series, “World Without a Superman,” brings us back to our old friend, Superman #75:

Yes, longtime readers of this site have heard me go on and on about this particular event, from my experiencing the madness from behind the counter at the comic shop I worked at back then, to the aftermarket life the book enjoyed (for varying values of “enjoyed”) in the decades since. Well, if you’re new around here, this here link will catch you up on all those ramblings.

And of course I have touched upon the Death of Superman madness in this very series of Variant Cover-age posts, mostly just talking about the “platinum editions.” But it occurs to me, I haven’t really talked much about the more common black-bagged version in this context. Not that I haven’t spoken about it at length in the past, but I feel like it should at least be brought up, especially in reference to that Slugfest episode.

To give you a little context, the Superman family of books (Action, Superman, Adventures of Superman, and Superman: The Man of Steel) were selling relatively well, at least for us, at the time. They effectively functioned as a weekly Superman comic, with each issue of each series coming out on separate weeks, storylines and subplots flowing from one to the other. It was very effective serialized storytelling. Also, keep in mind we were still riding the wave of the comics book of the late 1980s/early 1990s, so lots of comics were selling very well.

When it came time to order Superman #75, the actual Death of Superman issue, we ordered high. We’d already bumped up numbers on the preceding issues featuring the story leading up to the Big One, but on #75 itself, we ordered something like ten times what we’d normally order on the Superman comic. We were, we thought, taking something of a chance on this event book. It would do well, surely, but well enough to sell us out of 10x normal Superman orders? We’ll see.

Oh, and by the way, when I’m saying “we ordered” and “we thought,” I mean “Ralph ordered,” as my former boss was placing all the numbers, and I was but a lowly employee.

Anyway, as you all know, it came out, lines around the block, stores could’ve sold lots more than they ordered, et cetera et cetera so on and so forth. And the variant sealed in the black bag with all the goodies, the one we ordered the heaviest numbers, was the one in primary demand. Not to say the “standard” edition:

…didn’t also sell, because it sure did. And when the reprints hit, we sold lots of those, too. Needless to say, there were tons of copies of this sold. About 3 million copies altogether, according to the Slugfest episode.

And yes, here we come to the reason for this post. There’s a scene, a reenactment with actors portraying Superman writer Louise Simonson and a friend of hers, just hanging out at home. It had been noted that the Superman creative team were under a Non-Disclosure Agreement regarding the eventual resolution of the Death of Superman storyline (spoiler: he comes back). The scene, going entirely from my memory, was something like this:

FRIEND: “My son is buying lots of copies of this comic. When he gets more money, he’s going to buy more. These are going to put him through college someday.”


And the narrator (Kevin Smith, naturally) makes sure to tell us “the comic only goes for about five bucks now.”

Mmmmm…I beg to differ.

A while back I wrote about the fact that most people who bought the Death of Superman books were not comic collectors, were mostly folks from outside the hobby who picked up an issue out of curiosity or “investment,” who had literally no idea how to properly store or care for a comic book. The vast majority of comic collections I see from around this period, even from folks who bought the bags and boards and Mylar™ and such, are not in Near Mint, or even Fine or better, condition.

In the nearly 30 years since Superman #75 came out, I’d imagine most copies held by non-collectors were not stored well, or even just straight-up discarded once their passing interest in the comic faded. Plus, I suspect attempts to sell the book later to recoup on their investment resulted in some disappointing offers. “Wait, it’s not worth thousands?” It’s probably even worse for the folks who bought copies from opportunistic scalpers, selling them for a hundred dollars a pop the weekend after release (as I heard about locally, and probably wasn’t uncommon elsewhere).

End result: probably not as many minty-mint copies of any version of Superman #75 out there as you may think. It’s not uncommon, but it’s less likely now that you’ll walk into a store with a ready stack of them for sale.

I only ever see one or two at a time of the black-bagged version, and almost never see copies of the standard #75, or even its many reprints. And while I’ll buy the mint copies (or at least cleanly-opened copies with the extras perserved) from collections, I have seen plenty of copies that are just trashed and that I’ve passed on purchasing. As such, it is my belief that a nice copy can still fetch a premium price…and actually does, as I’ve sold more than a few in my shop. And by “premium” I definitely mean more than five bucks.

A quick look at the eBays shows copies of the black-bagged edition selling for, on average, between $10 and $30. Yes, to be fair, I did see a sealed copy sell for $5, but that seemed like an outlier. A couple of the standard editions did sell for about $6 to $8, so that’s a little closer to the show’s assertion. A check of currently-offered copies at Hipcomic don’t show much variation, though they do seem to have a lot more of the reprints than eBay did. (I’m not bringing up “professionally graded” sales, as that’s its own super-distorted marketplace.)

I also did a quick search of a couple of the larger online stores and didn’t even spot any (except for one store that had it for over $150, which is probably why they still have it). Hardly a scientifically thorough search, and for all I know they just had it and sold it before I looked.

The end result is…no, Superman #75, in either its black-bagged or standard edition, isn’t going to pay for anyone’s college. Even the platinum edition might only net you enough to pay for a couple of textbooks. But, I think the “five bucks” descriptor was bit of an underestimation. There’s still a market for these, just that the market value has normalized to meet actual demand, long after that initial rush and immediate scarcity drove some panic buying.

Now that white covered Adventures of Superman #500…if I got five bucks a pop on those, I’d be ecstatic.

Let me know if you’d seen any of those Superman #75s out for sale in your area. Are they going for premium pricing? Are stores stuck with a bunch and trying to unload them? (I’d rather you didn’t mention store names, in case they take offense to being held up as an example of “charging too much” or something.) I’d be interested to hear what’s going on with these across the marketplace now.

Nothing more than feelings.

§ December 31st, 2021 § Filed under collecting, retailing § 1 Comment

Thelonious_Nick asked, in reference to Wednesday’s post

“How do you go about determining if these signature are authentic? Do you up the price for a signature? How much would you bump up Roy Thomas vs. Jack Kirby?”

Another reader, Chris V, gave his answer and I don’t think there’s anything there I’d disagree with. In this particular case, with this collection, my personal answer as to whether or not these autographs are real is “context.”

This was a largish collection, held by a private collector for many decades, kept in some pretty crummy plastic bags but were in consecutive order and very clearly part of an acquired run of books. It looked like a collection where someone bought each issue as it came out (or filled holes in their runs with back issue purchases), read ’em, bagged them up, then kept them in boxes. And that’s where they stayed until they were brought to me.

As such, finding the occasional issue with a signature inside very likely had that signature in it for many, many years. Could someone in the 1970s been going around forging signatures of comic book professionals? Sure, but it seemed like a pretty low-stakes crime for someone to have been pursuing. And nothing about these comics really seemed to make them stand out from the rest of the collection…they were just in there numerically with the other issues in whatever series from which the signed comic hailed. It just looks like a fan took a comic or two to a signing, had it signed, then dropped it back in the collection.

In short, it just feels like the signatures are authentic. Nothing about the collection or how the comics were kept make me suspect otherwise. I realize that when removed from this context, it may be harder to convince buyers of their authenticity, but I’m sure they’re exactly what they appear to be.

Like, I’m totally sure that’s Steve Ditko’s signature on this issue of Speedball. “Hang loose, and have a crazy summer!” it reads. Boy, if anything ever sounds like Ditko….

As for pricing them? Eh, maybe I’ll bump up the price half again, maybe twice. There’s no hard and fast rule on what to price these. Bigger the name, bigger the jump in cost, I guess? Just kinda winging it.

Okay, that’s it for 2021! Come back to my site in 2022 where I’ll ask the quesion “boy, remember how good we had it last year?” And speaking of next year, don’t forget to contribute to the 2022 comic industry predictions post! I’ll be starting to look back at the 2021 predictions in a week or so, so get ready for that!

Happy New Year, pals, and thanks for reading! Stay safe, and we’ll all meet back here on Monday!

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