Spoilers mostly for “Clone Saga,” I guess.

§ February 17th, 2020 § Filed under death of superman, question time § 14 Comments

So in answer to my late-night lament that I was comin’ up empty for blogging material for today, Twitter pal Tim posted the following:

“You’re on a desert island, with only one of the following to read:

1. Age of Apocalypse
2. Clone Saga
3. Knightfall / Quest / End
4. Death / Return of Superman”

I responded to him briefly there, before realizing he was actually suggesting a blog post idea to me, because I’m a dummy with a 5-second attention span.

The idea of “Desert Island Comics” is one that’s been discussed plenty of times, I’m sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever really nailed down what would be my choices should I ever 1) be able to afford a cruise ship ticket, 2) actually slip my chain and get away from the shop long enough to take that cruise, and 3) survive whatever sufficient disaster would occur that would let me live and also let me get my comics to shore unwaterlogged.

Ideally my top choice would be “every Swamp Thing comic, with “every Groo comic” and “every Love and Rockets comic” tied for second place, though I supposed Tim’s postulated island reading would be restricted to specific storylines/events rather than the whole series enchilada. So…I guess the “American Gothic” storyline from Swamp Thing, because Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben, and also early Constantine, and also it’s just rad.

BUT ALAS that’s not an option offered up by cruel, cruel Tim. What he does offer me are four iconic ’90s multi-title events, which, for the purposes of deserted island enjoyed, each have the virtue of containing many, many pages of comics with which one may occupy one’s time. But in terms of reading enjoyment…welllll, let’s look at them in order.

“Age of Apocalypse” was the alternate timeline/universe thingie involving the X-Men, which primarily resulted in all the X-books being put on hold briefly while mini-series featuring new versions of the X-characters existing in whatever this parallel reality was. In concept it’s an interesting idea, and I know people enjoyed it just fine, and it certain sold well…but I’m just generally not an X-Men guy. Nothing against them, really, but it’s just with very rare exceptions am I interested in reading any of their books. I mean, sure, I read it for a while in the ’80s, came back for Grant Morrison’s run, and I’ll still go to bat for the X-Men/Micronauts mini. But, aside from that, I just don’t have any interest.

Yeah yeah, I know, “but Hickman’s X-Men is really good!” I’m sure it is, and honestly I was tempted, but I’m so far behind on everything else I didn’t want to add too much new to the “will read eventually” pile.

Okay, next is the dreaded “Clone Saga,” in which it’s revealed that the clone of Spider-Man that popped up in the ’70s and supposedly died was in fact not dead, and has come back to make the then-current line of Spider-comics unnecessarily complicated. Oh, and it also turned out that it wasn’t the clone that supposedly “died” in that ’70s issue, but rather the real Spider-Man and we’ve been reading the adventures of the clone all this time since. Yup, the fans loved that little revelation. That plot twist got untwisted right quick, of course, but if I recall correctly it did such a number on the Spider-books that Marvel did their first of too many relaunches for Amazing Spider-Man, just to clear the stink of what had come before.

I know there are plenty of readers who grew up with the Clone Saga stuff and enjoy it plenty, but again, just not for me. My Spidery tastes are more Ditko-esque in quality, though I have a soft spot for late ’70s/early ’80s Spider-Men, which is my own earliest newsstand exposure to the character. Now as a Desert Island Comic contender, it has possibilities simply through the sheer number of titles and plot permuations to keep one occupied, but I don’t know how much I would actually enjoy it.

Now “Knightfall” etc., the Batman event where he’s put out of commission and a new fella with much less crimefighting restraint takes over, had my interest as it was coming out, at least for a bit. Another thing in concept that was interesting, with a point to make (“so you want Batman to be more violent? Here’s why you don’t want that”) but it just felt like it draaaaged. The “Knightfall” bit was fine, but just couldn’t get into the rest of the event. Didn’t help that I was just plain bored by Azrael. Just really couldn’t care less about him.

Some nice Kelley Jones work in there, though.

Which comes to the conclusion that probably surprises no one, that the whole “Death/Return of Superman” thing would be my Desert Island Comic choice. It still holds together, it’s a real faster-than-a-speeding-bullet progression of the serial particularly as we neared the climax of the “Return” segment. It is filled with a lot of great art and fun writing that very much entertained me as it was coming out, and still entertained me upon subsequent rereads. And in fact, just thinking about it again makes me want to dip into it one more time. Someone find me a deserted island for me to reread this!

Oh for the days when I used to be referred to as “Get on Down Disco Dynamite.”

§ February 14th, 2020 § Filed under legion of super-heroes, superman, what § 5 Comments

So pal Brook (the very one who clued me in to the Hulk single) dropped by on Wednesday after perusing the vinyl record selection at the weekly flea market a town or two over. One of this acquired goodies was the following item, courtesy the year 1978:

And behold the back cover, if you dare:

A closer look at the back cover blurb:

…and if the song title “Lois Gets on Down” didn’t get you to buy this record, surely the idea of “Superman grooving out of sight” would do the trick.

Brook was good enough to let me borrow the record for the week, and…yes, it’s pretty amazing. A number of the songs are disco versions of movie theme music (and I didn’t realize there was another disco version of the Star Wars theme aside from Meco’s, though thinking about it I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised…and the two versions are awfully close). And if you’re wondering, “Mountain Funk” is a disco-ized version of “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

I’ve linked to a couple of the songs on this record already, but here’s the main attraction…the disco-enhanced recording of the John Williams theme from Superman: The Movie. You’re welcome. And be sure to stick around for the weird vocalizations (surely done by those kind women on the album cover).

Also, if I may add, speaking of that cover…Twitter pal Rob pointed out that the nice young lady on the right of the image bears some semblance to Saturn Girl and her ’70s swimsuit costume, and darned if Rob’s not onto something. And I’d bet one can of Billy Beer that there was someone at that same disco dressed like Grimbor the Chainsman.

Gleaming the cube.

§ February 12th, 2020 § Filed under gelatinous cube § 4 Comments

Okay, so I don’t have my Nancy and Sluggo Pops yet, but this release may mollify me somewhat:

Hokey smokes it’s a Gelatinous Cube Pop, apparently a convention exclusive but perhaps available at select retailers, says the linked article. Well, they darn well better select me, America’s Most Beloved Fan of Gelatinous Cube-Related Stuff.

Anyway, that’s pretty wild, but what I’m most astonished by is the fact that the possibility of this actually being A Thing never occurred to me. Particularly after having a Mind Flayer Pop come into the store. And I just checked…there doesn’t seem to be a Beholder Pop either…not even the Beholder knock-off from Big Trouble in Little China.

Not that I need any more tchotchkes in the house. Pop-wise, I have the various Swamp Things, and Popeye, and recently took home a Galactus. That should be plenty, but I’d definitely make room for a Gelatinous Cube. …And a Nancy and/or Sluggo, of course. I mean, honestly, what’s the hold up? Are they tied up by other licensing agreements? C’MON ALREADY

Be pretty wild if he did return as The Outsider.

§ February 10th, 2020 § Filed under batman, publishing § 3 Comments

[SPOILERS for recent events in Batman comics]

So I think none of us who are devoting any minimal amount of thought to the apparent death of Alfred are thinking “if” over “when” in regards to the character’s eventual return. It goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway, that a vital part of a franchise like this won’t be out of the picture for very long. Now granted, Alfred isn’t entirely indisposable — the only indisposable part of Batman is “dude what dresses up as a bat” — but he’s certainly an expected part, and certainly noticeable in his absence.

Anyway, I was thinking about Alfred’s death (and the on-panel death seemed to be about as definite as these things get) and how DC would eventually bring him back, which inspired me to slap together this poll for the Twitters:

Before I get into the results, let me talk about the choices I included. “Never actually dead” is pretty self-explanatory…some kind of fake-out or ruse or clone or whathaveyou, leaving him alive but out of the picture somewhere. This is pretty much the deal with the whole “Death of the Human Torch” story.

The second option, “Magic/science shenanigans” covers things like the Lazarus Pit, or Herbert West-style reanimation, or, well, clones, I guess, so there’s bit of a grey zone between this and the first option. I suppose the Death of Superman would fall under this, though if I recall correctly there was maybe a tiny, tiny bit of life in him so maybe he wasn’t entirely dead and now you’re beginning to see the choices aren’t nearly as cut and dried.

Option three is again, probably self-explanatory…if you don’t know what a reboot is, I refer you to the past decade or two of Marvel or DC comics. But if you need a specific example, perhaps the Legion of Super-Heroes rebooting itself out of a painted-in corner during Zero Hour.

What’s interesting about the results is that “Reboot” was the choice that garnered the most votes in a relatively short amount of time. It’s probably the most cynical of the choices, but not unwarranted by the publishing strategies of the Big Two. It speaks to a lack of faith in publishers providing a satisfying resolution to a story, or committing to any significant changes or plot developments. The Reset Key remains a looming threat.

In my mind, the other two options, “never dead” and “shenanigans,” feel more likely. In chatting with Brian Cronin, who noted that the death of Alfred was perhaps a top-down decision at DC, has me thinking that the ultimate goal will of course be the big “RETURN OF ALFRED” to-do in the Bat-books, or across the DC Universe line, with all the attendant tie-ins and such. A wild plot/character development now lays down the groundwork for a big payday later, everyone hopes.

Now I suppose it’s possible this now just the new status quo at DC, along with Batman having a biological son, or Superman and Lois having a son, but even those are only permanent ’til another reboot passes through. …Perhaps a good follow-up poll would be asking “when?”

The follow-up you never expected.

§ February 7th, 2020 § Filed under comic strips § 5 Comments

So I acquired a collection of comics the other day that included a number of paperback comic strip reprints, including one copy of this book from 1985:

Now as I stated in this post, I mentioned wanting to buy a copy of a Tumbleweeds paperback to see if the strip was as…not to my taste as I recalled. I never did get around to deliberately purchasing one off Amazon, like I’d planned, but hey, one fell into my lap, basically, so that’ll do. It’s a little later in the run than I was looking for (I was thinking about finding one from about the time I originally had a Tumbleweeds book, which was the late ’70s) but the contents don’t appear significantly different from what I remember.

And what do I think of it? Well, okay, I haven’t had much of a chance to read it all — oh for the days when I could just plow through books like these in short order — but what I’ve read has been, you know, fine. It’s cute, with weirdly detailed characters and some soft chuckles. Not the best thing I’ve ever read, but not nearly as off-putting as I remembered.

I do really like this gag on the back cover:

So perhaps my harsh assessment of Tumbleweeds was a little unfair. Though, come to think of it, perhaps it wasn’t as harsh as all thoat, and more a filtering strategy created by the subjective memories in my brain to keep me from, well, wanted to read every comic-related thing. A mild disregard for a comic strip, evolving over years, decades, into “I DO NOT LIKE THAT STRIP, AVOID IT ENTIRELY” so that I’d be able to focus more on the stuff that appealed more.

Again, not bad, just not up my alley…though I like it a bit, so maybe it’s got a foot or two into my alley anyway.

However, here’s the real test…given the last line in that post I referred to earlier…guess which other comic strip paperback ended up in my possession?

Sigh. Yes, I’ll give it a shot, too. I’m a sucker.

Unless the sign meant they were limiting the price to only $2.50.

§ February 4th, 2020 § Filed under found art, retailing § 5 Comments

An artifact of a different time…found this in a collection of comics I acquired the other day. Mixed in with the random volumes of classic comic strip reprints and Lovecraft comics with price tags from my former place of employment (with my writing on them, no less) was the above, clearly a display item from some anonymous comic shop (or otherwise — see below) store.

It’s hard to recall now, in this time of belt-tightening and ordering comics as close to the bone as possible, when such overwrought demand for investible collectibles necessitated 1) placing limits of “copies per customer” and 2) ordering so many copies of a first issue, even from a small indie black and white publisher like this, to anticipate demand so great that you can have enough to go around at five per.

Now there are many possible reasons for this, beyond just keeping the first guy in the door from buying all your copies, leaving none for anyone else. When I posted a pic of this comic on Twitter, I had folks suggest maybe this was being sold in a sports card shop, where demand could be relatively greater (possible, since card shops and everyone else were trying to sell comics for a time there), or maybe this came from a story in Nolan Ryan’s hometown, where folks could be more eager to get this baseball mitts on a funnybook featuring the local-boy-made-good. Or as I suggested, maybe the retailer in question accidentally ordered too many copies and put the “five per” sign on it to attract attention and maybe make it sell more quickly to the sorts of consumers anxious to get in on what would appear to be the new, hot thing.

I don’t recall if there was ever any secondary market demand for this particular book…enough so that anyone saw a significant return on their $2.50 per-unit investment. I know that the copy pictured above, after I took this photo, went straight to the dollar bins.

Your 2019 Predictions, Epilogue: Changeling.

§ February 1st, 2020 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, predictions § 5 Comments

Right on the cusp of February I’m finally finishing up this whole “your 2019 predictions” thing. I’ve directly responded to the forecasts themselves, and now it’s time to go back and do a little mopping up regarding your comments to said responses. (Said posts are located here: one, two, three, four, five, six).

So first off, Brian fills my brain with some thoughts on blogging:

“The metaphorical — and too often literal — death of the old comic blogosphere continues to sadden me. Having been just too young for the Usenet era, I’ve always seen blogs as the right format in my mind for internet discussion (the transition to social media just feels wrong, not withstanding that I’ve gotten off social media myself in recent years). Of course, I then stop and think back to how many of those bloggers I’ve been reading across sites for 15-20 years, and it doesn’t necessarily surprise me that the numbers have gone down so dramatically (whether by death, moving away from posting, or moving to new monetized venues or social streams). But it’s still always an odd sense of not so much an end of an era but an era that ended a while ago. All the more reason to love having The Mikester still doing his thing here!”

Yes, this ties into the prediction posts. The very first 2019 prediction involved readerships of blogs and the lack thereof. I mean…there still are comics blogs out there, though perhaps it’s not the close-knit community it used to be. A lot of the folks I used to link to and virtually pal around with have either severely curtailed or ended entirely their blogging activities, or, as Brian mentions, have moved on to the seemingly less work-intensive social media outlets. I know I’ve been tempted to just go Tweetery-only…it’s a lot easy to be more spontaneous and less worried about feeding the blogging beast there, tossing off whatever brief thoughts and funny images I have handy.

But I think there’s always going to be room for longer-form, slightly less ephemeral content like this, on more permanent venues rather than being buried beneath, or washed away by, the crush of endless aggregated content feeding through social media. Maybe it’s not the “in” thing that it used to be, blogging still remains a useful way of getting your ideas out there and expressing yourself and hopefully entertaining or informing readers.

Now am I going to do this forever? I mean, it feels like I already have, doesn’t it? No idea when I started this back when blogs where just beginning to peak in the early 2000s that I’d be one of the last comic blogs standing from that initial comicblogosphere explosion. Sure, a number of folks used their blogs to get paying gigs or comics work (not necessarily the same thing), but blogging has always been an extension of what apparently is going to be my lifelong career, flamenco dancer funnybook salesman. I like talking about the hobby, the industry around it, and also my eyeballs, apparently. I figure as long as I’m in this business, I’ll probably want to talk about it, and right now blogging is the best way for me to do so. And if something better than blogging comes along…or rather, something I like better than blogging…then I may move onto that.

The other issue of course is, well, time, which a lot of us seem to have less of the older we get. Case in point: this post is going up on Saturday instead of Friday as planned. And there have been a few times over the laset few months where either my life gets in the way, or I have health issues, or I just plain don’t feel like typing, that results in a skipped day or two. I try to stick to the 3-times-a-week schedule, but it doesn’t always work out that way, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. And other folks, I’m sure, just realized one day “no time for blogging, Dr. Jones” because there’s too much other stuff going on, and effectively shuttered their sites. It can be a lot of work for not a lot of return, and that effort may need to be redirected towards other more important tasks.

For me, while the actual comcis blogging is a reward to me in and of itself, there is a small measure of self-promotion at work here. I do have a store, after all, and I have a not-insignificant number of customers who have come to me because I’ve been blogging the better part of twenty years. That’s incentive in addition to whatever drive it is that already compels me to blather incesseantly at you.

Ultimately, there may come a time when the only reader I’ll have for my blog is my roommate at the old folks home that I badger into looking at my posts, but I suspect I’ll continue writing about comics online ’til they pry my keyboard from my cold, dead hands. Or that long-promised meteor falls on me, whichever comes first.

• • •

Thelonious_Nick and Chris V both kinda made the case that Black Label is fine, and it was probably time for Vertigo to go, which I do agree to, despite the facetiousness in my “voice” in that post. There is good stuff coming out from them, and that Joe Hill line, as Chris notes, is pretty exceptional and a fine use of the imprint. I was just saying that the huge success of that first issue of Batman: Damned, penis-driven or not, simply sealed Vertigo’s fate, and DC now had a new imprint for grown-ups that was getting the attention Vertigo used to get and seemingly could no longer. Having Black Label a little more closely tied to the DC brand certainly helps its visibility.

• • •

Cassandra Miller is crossing me with

“At Emerald City Comicon last year, Matt Wagner was asked if there could ever be a Mage 4. He basically said not at this point, but never say never.

“So don’t give up hope! We could get a Matchstick Disco Boogie yet!”

Now there’s nothing in Mage 3 that really precludes more Mage stories. The main thread of the three minis is concluded, sure, but I can see exploring the Mage world a little more.

Yeah, yeah, I know, “it’s done, leave it alone,” but I wouldn’t object to it being revisited. Preferably by Matt Wagner, but I can see other creators dabbling in the milieu. In fact, I bet we see some kind of “Mage Stories”-type anthology with other folks taking a crack at Mage short stories, kinda like that Hellboy: Weird Tales. THAT’S A FREE IDEA, IF ANYONE’S LISTENING

• • •

Rob Staeger steals me blind with

Good news! ‘There’s Swamp Thing About Mary’ won’t be the swan song of Legends of Tomorrow that John predicts… the show’s already been renewed! (As have all the other CW comic-based shows, aside from the soon-to-end Arrow, and the yet-to-debut Katy Keene.)

For half a second there, I had to remind myself there wasn’t actually a Swamp Thing episode of Legends of Tomorrow. But I’m glad it got renewed (wasn’t so sure it would, given that ratings weren’t necessarily wonderful a lot of the time. (But considering the sheer amount of options for TV watching nowawadays, maybe folks should scale down their expectactions for what would count as “good ratings.”) I do hope that more of these superhero shows follow its model of fewer episodes. More killer, less filler, sez I.

• • •

Daniel T terrifically reminds us that the John Byrne Man of Steel omnibus was in fact canceled, with supposedly that material seeing print elsewhere. I hope it’s brought back into print soon…that is the beginning for the Modern Age Superman, and thus of some note.

• • •

Andrew-TLA truly notes

“Personally, I draw a distinction between Dark Horse’s licensed titles and their creator-owned lines. That said, Usagi may not be nearly as big a deal as he should be, but the book had become a DH mainstay, and Stan Sakai jumping ship for IDW is a pretty big deal. Especially combined with Eric Powell taking The Goon back to self-publishing.

“If I’m Mike Richardson, I’m doing whatever I can to make sure Mike Mignola stays happy. And maybe trying to squeeze more Umbrella Academy and Groo from Way and Aragones.”

Yeah, I was having trouble thinking of other big licensed books from Dark Horse, but fell back on the creator owned stuff. They still have Aliens, Predator, Terminator, Stranger Things, a couple of other Netflix-related titles (mostly snapped up to flip on eBay, it seems)…not a lot that’s huge (save maybe Stranger Things) and I’m not sure how much cash flow those are bringing in anway. Used to be I’d sell Aliens comics by theh handful…now it’s very niche.

But every title/franchise that moves away from Dark Horse has got to hurt. I’m honestly surprised losing Star Wars wasn’t a crippling blow. I’m glad it wasn’t, and I hope the company sticks around for a long time.

• • •

Rob Staeger (that guy again?) laments

“Ha, when I predicted the return of Autumnlands in early 2019, little did I know how long the Astro City hiatus would last! Last year was CRUEL, man.”

I believe Kurt Busiek noted that there was some business type stuff to take care of re: Astro City but I hope its return is sooner rather than later. I did see mention of a possible TV show based on it, though, so we’ll see what that does to the comic production should that show actually happen.

• • •

Okay, that’s it. PREDICTION TIME IS OVER until next year when I look at your predictions for this year! Thanks for reading, pals, and I hope everyone got the double-reference in Cassandra Miller’s intro.

I know this is dumb.

§ January 31st, 2020 § Filed under low content mode § 1 Comment

Hi pals. I’m nearly done with the epilogue post to the 2019 predictions coverage, and despite my getting in late I figured it’s be easy to just knock out, but surprise! I typed a lot and still have lots more to go. I will try to get it up on Saturday so I can at least start next week afresh.

Thanks for reading, pals.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Six: Perihelion.

§ January 29th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 1 Comment

At long last, the final installment of my going over your 2019 comic industry predictions (and if you missed ’em: parts one, two, three, four and five).

Like I said last time (and speaking of last time, you should go back and reread that post because I had to fix some errors after its initial publication) I plan to address some of your comments on these posts on Friday. And then…that’s it! ‘Til next January, anyway, when I cover your 2020 predictions!

Enough preamble, let’s get down to business:

Michael Grabowski grasps the following

“1. Absolute Ambush Bug.”

Actually, I’d love to have that. Maybe it could have an introduction by José Muñoz!

“2. A pair of current DC creators will make an attempt at rebooting the Fleming/Von Eeden Thriller concept as a 12-issue Vertigo series. It will be cohesive while still a bit of a challenging read, but will lack the unique approach of the original. Its success will lead to an eventual attempt to develop the series for the streaming entertainment complex.”

Huh. That would have been something. At the very least, I would have expected one of the TV shows or movies to have nicked the visual of the character Scabbard pulling a sword out of his back. Ah well…maybe someday we can get a nice hardcover edition of this series.

“3. (Wishful thinking here. But aren’t these all?) Marvel will publish True Believers editions of Lee- Ditko work, including their unfairly neglected Hulk stories for Tales To Astonish.”

WISHES CAN COME TRUE! A True Believers $1.00 reprint of Incredible Hulk #6 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko came out last year! Now if can get them to do the other five in $1.00 editions, we’d be set. (I know they did one of those $3.99 “facsimile editions” of #1…look, I’m cheap, what can I tell you.)

• • •

Dave Carter has yet another set of predictions

“The X-Men will be relaunched with a new #1 (whether as Uncanny again or a different title).”

Correct! Boy howdy did X-Men ever relaunch. It’s still relaunching, with more X-titles coming! X-relaunches stomping on our comic racks, forever!

“2. Raina Telgemeier’s ‘Guts’ will be the top-selling comic of the year (just not in comic stores, where it will barely make a blip).”

I don’t know if it was the top of the year for sure, but looking around at various real-world best seller lists, where it’s consistently at the top, I suspect, yes, you’re probably right. (Especially given this lst of the top graphic novels of the decade which is mostly Telgemeier and those Dog Boy books (not to be confused with).

Looking at Diamond’s top ten list for best-selling graphic novels for 2019…no Guts to be found. Watchmen is in first place, however, no doubt buoyed by the hit HBO TV show That’s Our Rorschach!

“3. The Shazam! movie will underperform (by which I mean it will stall make over $100M domestically, but that will be considered a failure”

I think it’s considered a hit, enough so that a sequel is on the way. It did make over $100 million domestially…$140 million, according to Box Office Mojo, with over $360,000,000 total including its performance in distant and mysterious lands. …I don’t know why I look at that number and think “huh, that’s it” like $360M is like something I’d lose behind the couch cushions. All these billion-dollar superhero movies have skewed my perspective.

• • •

Philippe Leblanc hugs us with

“1. After audience who saw the movie Avengers: Infinity War got confused and bought the comic Infinity War of the same name rather than the Infinity Gauntlet, people decides that Avengers Endgame is based on the comics ‘Marvel: The End’ from 2003 and purchase this old series en masse.”

I didn’t have that much confusion over War/Gauntlet at my shop, I don’t believe. Most people knew to seek out Infinity Gauntlet. Endgame just seemed to get more people looking for Infinity Gauntlet. Go figure.

“2. DC Comics success with the Swamp Thing TV leads to some interests in a new series. After seeing such a tremendous success to the first title, DC launches ‘The Swamp Universe,’ closely modeled after The Sandman Universe.”

Oh man. Just think, solo titles for Abby. Chester Williams. CRANIUS (his second!).

“3. A popular monthly Lego Comics will be launched, presumably by DC Comics, but maybe BOOM Studios or First Second.”

Still waiting, unfortunately. I’m sure the original graphic novels do okay in bookstores…at least well enough to not settle for the pennies gained from a an ongoing comic book series for comic shop.

• • •

DavidG drops these

“1. This will be the year that DC relaunches Legion of Superheroes, as teenagers, to awful effect. I know I predicted this last year, but I have to be right eventually.”

Believe it or not, the Legion has finally returned to stands…whether it’s awful is up to you, I suppose. I think it’s okay, if a little…busy.

“2. This year’s Avengers movie will be peak Marvel – it will make slightly more than the last one, but won’t be out grossed for a long time, because of superhero fatigue and the key actors finally moving on. And the average person recognising that comics’ fondness for killing characters for a cheap emotional buzz, then bringing them straight back again, is essentially cynical and dull.”

Infinity War did just over $2 billion, which seemed like it would be hard to beat…’til Endgame got within spitin’ distance of $3 billion. I think that you’re probably right about it not being outrgrossed anytime soon, at least until that X-Men vs. The Avengers, Guest-Starring Forbush Man comes out.

Probably too soon for audience cynicism to set in regarding superhero deaths and such, at least in the movies. We’ll see how they’ll deal with the eventual casting of key roles of Iron Man or Captain America.

“3. Not only will there be no new issues of Miracleman, but Neil Gaiman will start to publicly hint that it is all too hard, and he has better things to do with his time.”

No new issues, no, but Gaiman still insists that more MM is on the way! I mean, you’re right, he probably does have better (and higher-paying) things to do, but I’m glad he hasn’t forsaken this project! Been waiting decades for the resolution to that cliffhanger!

• • •

And Adan Espino Michael DeForges it all up in this joint with

“1. After this Realms crossover with Marvel the books that were actually doing well with readers that I am enjoying (Hulk / Venom), will drop in readership due to interruption.”

Popping in at Comichron again, looks like Venom started out the year with close to 59,000 copies of #10, and ended the year with 74,000 of #21, so that seems to be doing okay…of course, other events and various hoohar beyond just War of the Realms would fiddle with numbers, too.

Immortal Hulk started off the year with 41,000 for #11 (a lot lower than I would ahve thought, honest) and ends the year with 50,000 for #28, so 1) sales may be catching up to all the positive attention it’s receiving, and 2) there were 17 issues of Immortal Hulk this year, which…man, I’d thought Marvel maybe eased up on that shit. Anyway, WoTR wasn’t too much of a series killer…I think in general people kind of liked that series, which, y’know, good.

“2. DC releases an indie creators title kind of like Marvel Strange Tales from years back, and Michael DeForge contributes and his story is one that I actually remember past a few months after reading.”

That would have been neat, but I can’t recall anything that was quite like that. What was the last time DC did that? That Bizarro Comics collection DC assembled to have a place to put that “Superman’s Babysitter” story they were finally shamed into publishing? I mean, some of that wasn’t bad. I’m sure indie creators did work for DC, but not on anything as overtly, well, “indie” as your Strange Tales example. No DeForge at DC that I know of, but maybe he can get in on their young adult/”gimme that bookstore money” line of books they’ve been doing lately.

“3. Marvel and DC both continue to release comics that are 20-22 pages long–of which half the pages in said comics have explosions on them for some kind of dramatic gravitas (only to be glazed over by myself)…at which point I will just dig out something tried and true, like Starman or Swamp Thing…or whatever Michael DeForge did in the last couple of years to scratch the sequential story-reading itch.”

Haven’t done a personal survey myself, but I feel like Big Explosion Content hasn’t cut too much into storytelling…at least, not in all the comics I struggled to read with my wonky eyes over the last year. I could’ve used more explosions to give me a break from trying to discern the word balloons.

However, I appreciate your cited alternatives…more Swamp Thing reading is always encouraged by me, of course. And I sure hope Mr. DeForge appreciates the advertising!

• • •

Is that it? Are we done? I think we’re done! Well, except the mopping up, which we’ll do on Friday, so we’ll all meet back here then. Thanks for reading and contributing, pals, and I’ll be back then.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Five: Refuge.

§ January 27th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 5 Comments

Okay, nearly done here looking back at your 2019 comic industry predictions (and here are parts one, two, three and four). Should wrap up the predictions proper today and Wednesday, with some short follow-up to your comments on Friday. And then it’s back to this sites usual diet of me talking about Death of Superman comics.

Oh, and I forgot to mention last time you can still submit your comic-booky forecasts for the remaining 11 months of 2020 right here.

Anyway, let’s get this presagery party started!

Rob Staeger stages the following

“1) Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda reunite for a Legion of Superheroes book. What’s more, it’s been delayed for so long thanks to Doomsday Clock’s reduced pace that the first four issues come out weekly, to make it event and make use of the backlog.”

Unfortunately no…an interesting creative team, but not the one we got (though the one we did get seems to be okay so far). I think you’re right about delays causing some shenanigans, if not specifically like what you mentioned. They basically brought ’em back ahead of Doomsday Clock bringing them back, so…yeah, it got a little mixed up there.

“2) Autumnlands by Kurt Busiek and Ben Dewey finally returns from Image.”

Well, they did a new printing of the first trade earlier in the year, but probably not what you meant. This story on Busiek’s appearance at Comic Con notes that new material is being prepared, so maybe we’ll get something soon!

“3) A popular board game will get its own comic book — possibly Pandemic Legacy or Betrayal at House on the Hill.”

We did get another Clue series (Candlestick) from IDW this year. Otherwise…well, I’m at a bit of a loss, if only because my board game knowledge is fairly limited. I know the games you mentioned there, and I’d probably recognize a few more from my days managing a combo game/comic shop…but if a particularly obscure (well, okay, it probably wouldn’t have to be that obscure given, well, me) game got converted into a comic, I may simply not as recognized it as such, or forgotten the solicitation info, or whatever.

But I think that Clue comic (or “Cluedo,” for those of you in civilized countries) meets your criteria, so points for you on that. Now if only someone would do a dead-on adaptation of this game (including all the weird passengers you had to rescue).

• • •

David Oakes makes like a tree and leaves me with

“I predict that Mike will get at least three ‘Mike will get hit by a meteor’ predictions following his last tweet.”

Not so far, but I haven’t read all the predictions yet. If any turn up, I’ll amend this response! Also, David is referring to this tweet where I also noted that I’d stop doing this prediction things every year if I don’t hit a certain minimum number of responses. Well, you’ll be glad to know I hit that minimum again for the 2020 entries, so look forward to me asking you for your 2021 predictions around December!

“In comics, something even more incredulous than all the joke predictions will happen, and we won’t even be surprised. Ant-Man and Blue Devil are the new norm.”

I was trying to think, what was the most ridiculous thing to happen in comics this year? …That there was a Watchmen TV show, and by most accounts it was actually good? That seemed pretty unlikely.

And Ant-Man…Ant-Man is mainstream, baby! The world loves Ant-Man! That’s about as norm as it gets! And alas, Blue Devil had his chance, what with the TV show Swamp Thing Also Costarring Blue Devil appearing on the DC Streaming service, but that program was too beautiful for this fallen world.

• • •

De lights in with

“A Fortnite comic book will be published.”

I don’t think there’s a physical comic that’s come out, at least not through Diamond, and Googling turns up lots of fan-made comics, so there’s that. However, gird yourself for the parody comic Fartnite, and…hey, look, have I ever told you that I used to get in trouble as a kid for even saying the word “fart?” And now “fart” is, like, on children’s books and toys and fart jokes appear in every kids movie and frankly I’m a bit irked.

“2. Someone involved with Comicsgate will eat a bad egg salad sandwich, spend hours on the toilet contemplating life, and then return to being a total jerk.”

Speaking of farts…well, you know, to be fair, who hasn’t? Okay, maybe not the jerk part. For you. Not me, I’m usually a jerk.

“3. Predator vs. The Planet of the Apes will be published by Dark Horse/Boom and outsells Batman.”

Why this insta-money idea hasn’t been brought to fruition baffles me.

• • •

David Alexander McDonald clowns around with

“1)The DC Universe will be dead before it can finish running the full slate of shows, due to bad numbers. It will be folded into the Warner Media streamer and DC will finally strike a deal with ComiXology to join Unlimited.”

Gotta be honest…surprised it’s still around, too. They seem committed to keeping it around, at least for now (though making rebroadcasting deals with Doom Patrol and Stargirl seems to point to…something). Your scenarios are very possible at some point, but not just yet!

“2) Marvel Comics will get a huge overhaul (again) and Marvel Studios will shock people by cutting back to one or two films a year and disappoint everybody by not announcing either and X-film or an FF film in 2019 (FF will go to TV.)”

Honestly, it’s hard to say if Marvel’s going through a new huge overhaul or continuing an overhaul that’s been going on a while. They did slap a new coat of paint on the X-Men comics franchise and pumped out too many books at once, so maybe that kinda counts.

As far as the movies go…the main Marvel Studios has at least two for this year (Black Widow and The Eternals), plus all the associated Sony Spidey films (liike Morbius), and it looks like we’ve got four Marvel Studios flicks in 2021. So, it’s probably safe to say nothin’ is slowing down with the Marvel movies.

“3) Losing their licenses pushes Dark Horse to revive their Heroes line as a film/tv shared universe. It will not get off to a good start.”

I’m kinda surprised they haven’t, unless the Barb Wire movie is making folks a bit gunshy. But that’s a lot of IP they’ve got sitting around gathering dust. Surely someone must have come sniffin’ around to license the characters, though, right? I mean, the Seaboard/Atlas characters got picked up for films, for God’s sake.

EDIT: David’s comment reminded me…I didn’t address all of his predictions! He answered his own about the DC/Comixology deal (“yes”) and I actually did look up the X-Men/FF movie announcement thing. Turns out while they did say at Comic Con plans were afoot, no specific announcements were made. So, uh…sorry I didn’t answer those right away, David!

• • •

Rob London bridges this post with

“A few prominent long-running comic strips attempts to emulate Nancy by bringing on creators who weren’t born during the Eisenhower Administration and modernizing the strip – I’m thinking Blondie or Mark Trail.”

To be fair, I haven’t read a lot of comic strips over the last year, so I haven’t noticed too much repolishing of the properties there (aside from the two women in B.C. finally getting names).

My guess is that, even with Nancy doing relatively well, that’s still not enough for other strips to take the plunge into such a dramatic shift. Nancy changed so radically I suspect it was a case of “either do something, or we’re cancelling the strip,” and I don’t expect other strips to radically change either without equally dire fates awaiting them.

“2. DC launches a revival of Scare Tactics, the mid-’90s monsters-who-are-in-a-band comic, written by a real-life musician.”

Seems like a natural for the Young Animal imprint, doesn’t it? They haven’t returned, far as I know, but then I haven’t read everything. Maybe they’re in the background of a Harley Quinn issue. Wouldn’t put it past those guys.

“3. With Marvel and 20th Century Fox under the same umbrella, 2019 brings us the return, in some form, of the amazing Apeslayer! http://comiczine-fa.com/features/among-us-walks-an-apeslayer


• • •

That’s that for today…come back Wednesday for the shocking conclusion, and then Friday for the equally-shocking epilogue! Thanks for reading, pals.

« Older Entries