In which I bother noted comics people online.

§ May 24th, 2024 § Filed under hulk, superman § 8 Comments

So, a couple of follow-ups:

First, in regards to Amadeus Cho’s explanation for the Hulk avoiding death tolls in his rampages, I said I wasn’t sure if that was per an editorial edict or not. Turns out over on Bluesky, the fella what wrote that comic, Greg Pak, straightened things out saying that it was all him making that decision, not anyone higher up.

Granted, I’m sure the Marvel high muckety-mucks were glad to have something to point to and say “see, our hero who is in Avengers movies and makes us lots of money is not a killer.” And frankly, I’m glad of it too. It’s fun to see Hulk smash up buildings and punch tanks, it’s not quite as much innocently-violent fun (usually) to think about him murdering people in the process. Just one of those “willing suspension of disbelief” deals.

I did just reread the Garth Ennis/John McCrea Hulk Smash two-parter from 2001:

…and in the series, Hulk fights the army, natch, and it is very heavily implied that several soldiers are killed in the process.Tanks are smashed, planes are blown up real good, and you do see men scrambling out of hatches or parachuting to safety. However, deaths are implied in dialog, but there is perhaps enough wiggle room to claim that soldiers have survived but are out of the battle.

Chris K noted the 2001 Startling Series: Banner series by Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben:

This was an out-of-continuity story that, I have to admit, I haven’t read probably since it was released, but it does tell the story of a Hulk who does leave a body count in its wake. As I recall, it’s dark and a little depressing, so if you had a killin’ Hulk on a regular basis, that may be what it’d feel like.

• • •

Again on the Bluesky, I quote-posted famed comics writer Kurt Busiek, because he was talking how DC Comics missed an opportunity by not going wild with out-there storylines right before Crisis on Infinite Earths swept threw and reset everything.

He mentioned as an example of DC kinda/sorta half-heartedly doing that sort of thing was “Supergirl [getting] married in a story no one remembers.” Well, I remember it, because I bought that very issue new off the shelf back in late ’85:

Now this was by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Al Williamson, and I haven’t read it in forever, but my memory is that it was…not good. I mean, nothing wrong with that creative team, of course, but the story itself seemed misguided and, well, weird.

As per this Wednesday post, I’ve been reading a lot of late-era pre-Crisis/pre-Byrne reboot Superman comics. I keep avoiding this particular issue as I recall not liking it, but talking about it this much may have be revisiting it sooner rather than later. Anyway, I did hit on kind of a similar point in that past post, which I mentioned to Mr. Busiek, about Steve Lombard’s progress as a character this late in the game was curtailed by Crisis and the reboot.

Busiek’s response was that around this period, DC was producing Superman story inventory for overseas publication, and then trying to use them up in the U.S. comics, so that actual permanent continuity changes were tricky to pull off. Now, I know DC did release stories in other countries that were eventually reprinted here, such as every issue of the Superman Special, as well as the proto-graphic novel Superman Spectacular.

The Grand Comics Database is usually pretty good in noting when a comic is reprinted from another source. But I can’t find any of the late pre-Crisis era Superman and Action books noted as initially coming from an overseas publisher, while the examples above do. Doesn’t mean they don’t, I just can’t find info confirming it. It would be interesting if that were the case, so I’ll have to look further into it.

As opposed to a “Power Action Computer Kick.”

§ May 22nd, 2024 § Filed under pal plugging, superman § 10 Comments

Okay, first off, before I get into the rest of the post, I want to get this link in here because I was dumb and forgot last time. Old pal Mark, co-creator of Fake AP Stylebook on what used to be Twitter, and co-editor of the spinoff book Write More Good, can use your help.

Mark is currently in an uncomfortable living situation and needs some funds to rehouse himself. He’s reached his stated financial goal, but he can use more scratch just in case, you know? Please contribute if you can:

Thanks for anything you can do.

• • •

Not that I don’t have enough physical comics piled up to read, after being behind for the last several years, I’ve been using the DC Comics digital comics app to look at some old stories I may have missed, and revisit some books that I gave up to the shop/don’t feel like digging out of my boxes at home.

Since I’ve been on an Armored Lex kick lately, I reread this three-parter, probably for the first time since it appeared in print back in 1985:

That’s the middle chapter of a story that ran in Superman #410, #412 and #413 (#411 was a surprise issue celebrating Superman’s editor Julius Schwartz), written by Cary Bates, illustrated by Curt Swan and Al Williamson, covers (which I liked!) by Klaus Janson.

I’ve written before about different inkers’ effects on Swan’s pencils, but I was struck by the expressiveness in the faces here in this particular sequence of panels from #412:

Isn’t that nice? Those are some good looks from Superman that you don’t normally see.

But what I wanted to mention for sure here was…well, let me give you a brief set-up. The story is about Clark reporting on an event Superman was involved in, only it turns out Superman imagined said event and it makes it look like Clark fabricated the whole thing. Clark is fired, and his reputation is shot so he can’t get another reporting job.

Obviously this is a plot by You-Know-Who, but Clark is left adrift in the meantime. As such, he pays a visit to another former Daily Planet/WGBS employee, Steve Lombard, who is currently running a sporting goods store. As you recall, Steve was the one continually pulling pranks on Clark in an attempt to pick on him (pranks that usually backfired due to Clark using some super power or ‘nother).

Now, the digital archive is incompelete for the Super-books, and my own memory of the stories from the time is a little spotty, so I don’t recall the circumstances of Steve losing his job, or on what terms he and Clark were on. But in this particular issue, we see the characters reunite:

…and Steve’s tomfoolery aside, it looks like the two get along just fine. They are genuinely pleased to see each other, and in fact Steve gives Clark a part-time job.

I thought this was a nice bit of character growth for Steve after, what, a decade or so of him being a pain in Clark’s rear? It feels like some of his arrogance has worn away, laughingly admitting his own foolishness in the panels above. It’s a real shame this is butting right up against the Byrne reboot, which would wipe this all away, as I would have liked to have seen more of this mildly less-obnoxious Steve Lombard. Ah well.

• • •

And here, since this seem relevant to the recent Superhero Violence post from the other day, is a panel found by Bluesky pal WormDrivePRO. From Spectacular Spider-Man #118 (1986) by Peter David, Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod, comes this inversion of the “Abandoned Building Battleground” trope:

Huh, just like Thom H. said!

WormDrivePRO is a good follow if you like nice big scans of curated comic panels. It’s a fun feed that I recommend!

“Hulk commit involuntary manslaughter!”

§ May 20th, 2024 § Filed under Uncategorized § 26 Comments

So there’s been some discourse online about editorial denial about specific events/characterizations both explicit and otherwise heavily implied in recent X-Men comics, specifically regarding Jean Grey, Wolverine, and Cyclops. I haven’t read an X-book in probably a decade-and-a-half, so I can’t speak to specifics, but it’s pretty clear the creative teams had one intention with the characters’ particular romantic triangle, and the highers-up are giving the ol’ “noooope” to the whole deal.

This put me in mind of other editorial decrees that seemed…oiut of place to me. This was a discussion on Bluesky, which started with my post here, and I fully acknowledge the contributions others made there with their replies in informing my blog entry here.

I’m going to address the second example I gave there first, in that it’s stated that the Hulk has never purposefully killed. Okay, I don’t know for sure that this was an editorial demand, but here in Incredible Hulk #110 (November 2007) by Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan and Jeffrey Huet, Hulk’s Really Smart Pal Amadeus Cho explains what’s going on:

He continues:

“How many times have you fought the military? How many tanks and helicopters have you smashed?

“And not a single soldier has died.

“Yesterday you brought down the Sentry’s Eyrie. You smashed the top of the Baxter Building.

“You pulverized all these heroes…

“…And yet you haven’t killed a single soul.”

Hulk brings up some examples where he has killed, but Cho counters these were instances of self-defense against other killers, as opposed to slaughter of innocents during mindless rampages. Basically, so long as the normal Bruce Banner/Hulk dynamic is in place, Banner is somehow running numbers/probabilities in the background, exerting some subtle influence to prevent Hulk from murdering people.

There is the caveat that Cho slips in there about “as long as your brain hasn’t been tampered with,” allowing for an “out” for examples of Hulk killing, like, say, during instances of Banner being entirely subsumed by the Hulk’s personality, or removed entirely.

This is all fine with me, to be honest. It feels counterintuitive, that there were no casualties during one of Hulk’s destructive rampages, but This Is Superhero Comics. This isn’t any worse or stranger than super-battles always demolishing abandoned buildings, for example, or like the Flash clearing the area of civilians before the rest of the Justice League fights the Shaggy Man or whatever. It’s not as much fun if you realize thousands of people got slaughtered because the Avengers didn’t get to the scene on time.

For some reason this puts me in mind of the events from Miracleman #15 (the Eclipse Comics numbering, from 1988) by Alan Moore and John Totleben. This is like the exact opposite of the “thank goodness these buildings are empty!” kind of explanation for why every superhero battle isn’t the equivalent of multiple 9/11s. In this issue, Miracleman has his final(?) battle with former sidekick-turned-evil Kid Miracleman, and it’s just mayhem and slaughter all over the place, and it’s not all done by the bad guy:

It works here in context because the superbeings have been presented as above normal human concerns, uncaring about mortal lives, and that when these “gods” battle it’s humanity that pays the price. It’s a theme of the book.

The theme of the Hulk is “man vs. himself,” Banner having to cope with the monster that lives within in. The additional guilt of “and that monster kills a lot of people” would have made it an entirely different book.

Another thing this all brings to mind is Wolverine, where, as I recall, an edict was put down by then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter that the ol’ Canucklehead has never killed anyone. You know, despite this happening in X-Men #133 (May 1980) by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin:

…which was later retroactively explained that these guys Wolverine was fighting were just “injured” and came back as cyborgs or whatnot. Look, I’m not a big X-Men reader, I don’t know the details, but this clearly is a case of obvious intent being subverted by editorial edict. I mean, I get it, the X-Men are heroes, you don’t want ’em killing folks left and right, but this was clearly to show how dangerous Wolverine could be when not kept in check. It’s characterization, it’s a plot element adding tension to the proceedings. It’s a reminder that he’s not just a tough-talking bloke that hangs out at the X-Mansion, he is literally One Savage Dude.

Anyway, you can get into a whole thing just on X-Men comics alone. Jean Grey had to die because as Dark Phoenix she killed millions of beings, that sort of business. She got better, obviously, and I’m pretty sure they’re less shy about letting Wolvie off baddies now.

Should note that Amadeus Cho, in that Incredible Hulk #110 I excerpted above, goes on to tell Hulk that Captain America probably killed a few Nazis during WWII, because, well, it was WWII. Hate to tell you this Mr. Cho, but Cap did a little more than that:

I mean, holy crap. Though to be fair, maybe Bucky did ’em all in.

Plus they had to make sure those two words were in big, bold red letters.

§ May 17th, 2024 § Filed under archie, giant-size man-thing, misfit toys, obituary § 15 Comments

Some very unexpected news this week came via a press release email I received the other day, announcing that Archie Comics was going to enter the facsimile game. You know, the exact reprints, usually ads an’ all, of classic comics at, ahem, current prices. Usually printed on better paper, which is nice, and sometimes they come with a foil cover variant (which I personally may be collecting all of for Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars and Crisis on Infinite Earths, because apparently I’m a magpie).

To be fair, Archie doing facsimile editions isn’t that much of a surprise, given 1) facsimiles actually sell pretty well, at least for me, sometimes better than the current comics featuring the same characters/concepts; and 2) Archie is nothing if not a giant reprint engine, recycling their giant back catalog of comics endlessly through paperbacks and digests.

What is a surprise is the comic they’re using to kick off this new project…the infamous Betty and Me #16 from 1968:

It’s all your fault, anyway, reading this perfectly innocent cover and making it dirty in your filthy minds. I know what you people are like.

Now whether or not this was an intentional dirty gag that the creators of the image (artist: the legendary Dan DeCarlo) tried to sneak by the editors for their own amusement, I’ll let others argue. I’m still recovering from the whole “boner” thing. But this cover has amused for prurient reasons almost from the get-go…I remember seeing in the pre-internet days a photocopy of the cover that had been…artistically altered to more accurately portray the perceived after-the-fact gag. (Kids, ask your grandparents about how visual humor was traded around socially in Ye Olden Tymes thanks to the company’s Xerox machine.)

So…there you go, a fresh new edition of Betty and Me #16 for you to inflict on the unwary, you sickos. Am I going to get one myself? Of course I am, I’m no dummy. And Archie Comics ain’t no dummy, either…this is going to grab some eyeballs, in store and online, and will probably bring more attention to this new endeavor than just, say, reprinting whichever comic that was with Archie, Betty and Veronica sipping straws out of the same drink. (Which I’m sure they’ll do eventually, don’t worry.)

And speaking of other potential facsimiles, I’d like them to do Jughead’s Folly #1 from 1957, possibly the first mention of Elvis Presley in comics:

…and the later Jughead’s Fantasy three issue series would be nice too. But I’m sure we’ll get “first appearance of Cheryl Blossom” and “first appearance of Jughead’s cousin Souphead” before that happens. One can still dream.

• • •

So the last time we met I lamented the fact that we’d probably never get Atari Force action figures. Well, maybe no official figures exist, but esteemed blogging comrade Johanna informed me that she had an Atari Force figure made for her some time ago…specifically “Dart,” seen in this picture flanked by custom figures of DC Comics’ Cinnamon and Scott McCloud’s Zot!:

Here’s a better look at Dart:

Nicely done, and Johanna’s lucky to have these. Now all I need is someone to build a Babe for me, I’ll be set.

• • •

I should note the passing of comics artist Don Perlin, who passed away this week at the age of 94. He was a dependable draftsman, supplying solid work on titles like Defenders and Ghost Rider.

In fact, not too long ago I was rereading the second run of Man-Thing that began in ’79, of which Perlin drew several issues. It’d been a while since I read it, and my memory of Perlin’s work was that it wasn’t suited to the title. However, upon reconsideration the artwork was fine…a little “superhero-y” for what was nominally a horror book, but he did a better job than I recalled. I think part of the problem was the bright coloring, which didn’t help with the mood much. Ah well.

So long, Don, and my condolences to his family and friends.

Should’ve included a little Argh!Yle! figure too.

§ May 15th, 2024 § Filed under lex luthor, misfit toys § 16 Comments

I’ve kind of slowed down on buying action figures for myself…I think I’ve got a couple of Popeye figures pending, and maybe if they do another good Swamp Thing figure that’s different enough from what has gone before, I’ll bite. And someday Funko will do Nancy and Sluggo Pops.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t place an extra order on the forthcoming Ambush Bug figure in case I decide I have to have one:

I mean, look, he even comes with Cheeks the Toy Wonder:

I do still love those old Ambush Bug stories by the late Keith Giffen, and I don’t know that I need a physical manifestation of those comics, but part of me says that I absolutely do. Just standing there, on top of my desk, looking down upon me as I type entries for this very website.

Speaking of action figures, it was pal Andrew who reminded me that the new redesigns for Brainiac and Luthor were specifically more toyetic than the old versions. Not that there was anything wrong with toys of Pink-Shirt Brainiac and Bandolier Jetpack Luthor, but these new versions probably looked like more threatening bad guys for kids to pit against their superhero figures.

In my time-honored tradition of “borrowing” images from the eBays, I present here the classic mid-1980s figures of Luthor:

…and Brainiac:

Beware Brainiac’s “Power Action Computer Kick!”

Don’t think we ever saw that particular move in New Brainiac’s few comic book appearances (“Stop right there, Brainiac!” “Take THIS, Superman!” [kicks Superman right in his Moons of Krypton]).

Anyway, it’ll be nice having a good Ambush Bug figure around. The only other thing that might tempt me at this point is a set of Atari Force figures (the second team), which is highly unlikely but fun to think about.

I suppose I’ll have to talk about the whole Big Barda/Superman/Sleez thing eventually.

§ May 13th, 2024 § Filed under byrne reboot, lex luthor § 20 Comments

Thank you for all the discussion on recent posts, though I didn’t expect George Pérez’s costume design abilities to come up for debate. Granted, even at the time the Luthor Armor Suit was introduced in ’93, I seem to recall a comment or two along the lines of “there goes Pérez again, designing a costume someone else has to draw.”

And Luthor’s suit is…well, I like the design of it, but it was brought up that he doesn’t exactly have peripherial vision in that thing. I presume he has little monitors on the inside of his headpiece there giving him the full 360-degree view. I mean, if my little Hyundai can have a rear-view camera when I’m backing up, surely Luthor can too. And he seems like the kind of guy whose easy solution to a problem is excess engineering.

As to Mr. Pérez’s other costume designs…well, perhaps that’s a topic for another time. But I do like this costume for Donna Troy, though in fairness this one will never be topped…and I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the intentional similarity between those covers before. I do have to agree some of his costuming was…pretty wild.

One other rather more unpleasant thing I wanted to point out before it got lost in the shuffle was this observation from Chris about Lex Luthor, Sexual Assaulter. That is an element that, thankfully, appears to have been dropped from Luthor’s characterization. There are a couple of incidents early on that Chris mentions, both in an early Byrne story, and even in an appearance by Luthor in a Rick Veitch issue of Swamp Thing.

There’s also a bit in the side mini-series World of Metropolis #2, which features a flashback sequence where a teenaged Lois attempts to infiltrate Luthor’s offices to find dirt on the man, in an attempt to impress Perry White. She’s caught, stripsearched (off panel) and then apparently given a whipping by Luthor (also off panel) before being sent on her way. After which, Luthor says “I’m gonna watch the tape of the stripsearch again” and…yeah, ew. Luthor, Sex Assaulter and Pervert, is no longer a thing now, but remains a very off-putting element of the Byrne reboot. Maybe that’s the sort of thing a person like Luthor would do in his position, but Superman comics don’t feel like place for it.

Urgh. Okay, so I’m not ending my post on that ugliness, let me bring this up since Deathstroke came up in the “costume design: good or bad” discussion. Take a good look at this cover:

Can you see the…slight problem here?

Yes, there are some minor cosmetic changes, but it’s still basically the same get-up.

§ May 10th, 2024 § Filed under byrne reboot, lex luthor § 24 Comments

Now in John Byrne’s Man of Steel #3 from 1986, which redefined the Superman/Batman relationship, we get that panel at the end of the issue where Batman says “…in a different reality, I might have called him ‘friend.'” As I said in the post discussing that issue, it was a nod to the pre-Crisis DC Universe that the readers of this comic just saw washed away in, well, Crisis on Infinite Earths.

In Man of Steel #5, we get a much more blatant reference to That Which Had Come Before:

As the mini-series is set up, there are progressively longer jumps in time between issues in order to get the story told in this series from “Superman’s first public appearance” to “the current day DC Universe.” And when we last saw Luthor in issue #4, it was New Businessman Luthor, not the Supervillain Luthor we’d been used to.

But when you see the above image, the very first page of issue #5, you’re meant to think “ah, in the period of time between issues #4 and #5, Luthor has gone back to his pre-Crisis supersuit, maybe things won’t be that different!” Then you turn the page and get:

So no, it was just some poor flunky stuck in that thing, and Lex gets away scot free with his latest hijinks. But once again, the reader is teased with a reference to the old continuity. As time wears on at DC Comics, there’d be more winks and nudges and “hey remember this”-es to pre-Crisis stuff, before just the straight-up efforts to undo Crisis, such as pretty much every big crossover event DC has done for the last decade.

The Luthor super-suit itself wasn’t even around that long. It was introduced in the 40th anniversary issue of Action Comics, #544 from 1983:

…which not only introduced the New Look Luthor, but the New Look Brainiac as well (with the Brainiacs looking like someone’s about to snap a football). We get a few shots of this new suit mysteriously flying around and wreaking havoc, until we get the Full Luthor in this nice, big panel:

And with one or two exceptions, that’s the Luthor we get in Superman stories for the next couple of years, until he’s done away with by the reboot.

Beyond its teasing use in issue #5, the suit continues to be referenced to this very day, including showing up in an animated series. I think the first official post-Crisis usage in comics of Luthor in his armored outfit was in 2004’s Superman/Batman #5 (and shown here on the cover of #6):

…though I haven’t read every single comic so perhaps there was another in-continuity usage that I missed prior to this.

However, this stills holds as a nice example of the journey from “post-Crisis ‘wink’ at pre-Crisis” to “reboot, what reboot?” that DC’s been on for the last three decades.

Old Timer Mike here with some important blogging for you.

§ May 8th, 2024 § Filed under free comic book day, miraclemarvelman, superman § 13 Comments

Yes, it’s another Post of Miscellany for you to enjoy, for varying values of “enjoy.”

PART THE FIRST: Just to follow up on my 2024 Free Comic Book Day post-mortem, there was some concern that no children were spotted in my photos of the store in the midst of Free Comics action.

Well, let me assure you that there were plenty of children passing through the shop to get their free comics, and many, with the assistance of the parents and/or guardians, took advantage of the storewide sales. Some kids showed up in costume (one as the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man, anoother as the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel). A girls softball team showed up, in uniform. Plenty of children thanking me for their comics, A whole bunch of smiling faces.

As was pointed out in my comments, probably not a cool thing to take pics of kids and post ’em to my site without permission. So you’ll just have to take my word that they were there. I promise.

PART THE SECOND: Miracleman talk is back in the news, what with the release of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s The Silver Age in trade paperback form this week. This article on The Beat is about the lack of excitement over the completion of this long-interrupted story. Surprisingly, it includes a link to my own writings on the very same topic from back in January. I’m so used to shouting into the void here, since Linking to Blogs is a thing that folks don’t do much of that anymore, but it is nice to be acknowledged.

Anyway, on Bluesky Mr. Gaiman his own self linked to a New York Times article ballyhooing the release of the book, saying

“It’s interesting seeing the comics press going ‘Why isn’t there more talk of Miracleman: The Silver Age?’ Meanwhile, we get the kind of review that those of us who made comics in the dawn times dreamed of as a kind of grail.”

Now, look, I’ve done my part, which y’all can see right here in this category link, but…I think I’m correct in reading this more as “isn’t it ironic that one world ignores the book, meanwhile this other world is paying attention,” instead of “the comics press are a bunch of dummies, of course people are talking about it.”

The New York Times article doesn’t really counter the idea that Miracleman is mostly ignored within the comics world, and that actual sales aren’t want you’d think they should be, if “you” is me, a guy who waited the decades for Miracleman to start up again. I don’t have to go into again, see what I said at my self-link above, but the passing decades, the delays, the botched presentation by Marvel, all got in the way of a new audience discovering a lost unfinished classic in the process of being completed. Which is a shame. It honestly is very good. Even the initial kinda clunky chapters by Alan Moore have a style and power few comics can match today.

I said this a couple times in response to various discussions on Bluesky, but I feel like maybe the Moore/Gaiman/Buckingham/etc. era of Miracleman won’t properly get its due until it’s all done and collected into trades. At that point it can be sold as a finished masterpiece…assuming Marvel can keep the books in print.

PART THE SECOND AND A HALF: Just for some perspective: In 1985 I was sixteen, still in high school, when I bought the first issue of Eclipse’s Miracleman #1 new off the stands. I am now 55, waiting to eventually place orders for my store for the final chapters of the story begun back then.

PART THE THIRD: So anyway, here’s a picture of Superman from the movie coming out next year:

I mean, it’s fine. The top part looks a little too much like he’s wearing a sweater. I suppose we’ll have to see it in action (either live or CGI) to give it a full judgement. But lookin’ at that picture…c’mon, Supes, buddy, speed it up a bit, there’s something you need to attend to going on outside your window there.

The debate is raging on as to whether this is a good costume or not, whether there’s too much texture on there or if they should’ve gone for a Christopher Reeve-style smooth ‘n’ skintight spandex. I think the latter look, more accurately reflecting appearances in the comics, may be out of favor with studios, but given how superhero movies have been doing lately, what have they got to lose. However, having Wolverine in his classic comic togs for the Deadpool/Wolverine flick, a film that has a very good chance of getting that billion-dollar box office that’s been eluding Marvel for a while, may change some costuming trends.

At the very least I would have liked a brighter, maybe more optimistic look, but again, it’s just one promo photo. All depends on what they do with it. And it’s James Gunn, who actually made people care about Guardians of the Galaxy, so I’m still giving him the benefit of a doubt. I mean, c’mon, Metamorpho, the Fab Freak of 1,000 and 1 Changes, is gonna be it, I’ve gotta see that.

Did my mailman get a copy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles FCBD book before I opened? I’m not saying “no.”

§ May 6th, 2024 § Filed under free comic book day § 9 Comments

Another Free Comic Book Day has come and gone, making my…23rd, outing for the event? However many it’s been since it started, I did ’em all, and I suppose it depends on how you count that one year when the books were just released in dribs and drabs over the summer because COVID.

And I’m pleased to report that this was the busiest FCBD I’ve had yet at the shop, and the most financially successful. It was a little over 20% increase over last year, which had been the previous Best FCBD for me. Which is good, because like I am every year, I’m anxious about how it’s going to go, even though I’ve literally never lost money on the event.

“Money?” some will ask, because even though it feels like word gets out more and more every year, some folks don’t realize that it does cost the retailers a little bit of money to order these giveaways. It’s not a lot, like 25 to 35 cents apiece, but it does add up. Hence the storewide sale I hold at the same time, which, as you can surmise from what I stated above, easily covered the costs.

And speaking of which, I probably could have ordered more than I did on some of the books. I try to have at least a few leftovers to keep for giveaways the rest of the year, either to folks visiting the shop, or for schools and libraries, whatever. Due to the huge crowds I ended up running through a lot of books in relatively short order, so it’s time to boost numbers back up a bit. I did dip into the leftovers from previous years to fill up the tables, and moved a whole lot of those too.

Helping me out this year was, as always, my dad and pal Dorian monitoring the tables, posted out in front of the store, joined by former boss Ralph and my girlfriend Nora keeping tabs on the crowds inside. And yours truly manning that register.

And speaking of overused transitions, my dad took a few photos of the event, including this one of the line waiting outside the store for it to start:

Thankfully, most of those storefronts were closed on the weekends, and one didn’t open until after the line had cleared, so I didn’t annoy any neighbors too much.

Here are a couple of photos of inside the shop:

…including the one photo I managed to snap before I had to get back to being the register monkey:

And yes, in one of the above photos, you can see the short box where I kept extras of previous FCBD throughout the year but forgot to squirrel away before opening. Ah well.

Of special note, Lene of the long-running Shatner-centric Star Trek podcat “Look at His Butt” dropped by to say hello. This was our first face-to-face meeting after being online pals for…just checking the dates, and goodness me, about 18 years! Actually, she and her husband came in the day before, so that was our first in-person encounter…she walked in with a “Hi Mike!” and my immediate response was “I know that voice!” It was swell to see her, and hopefully she can come back in the future for another visit! And a few other readers of this very site dropped by, too, which is always a nice surprise.

So overall, it was a solid outing for Free Comic Book Day. A lot of effort went into it, and my body still feels a little wearied from it, but I should hopefully be recovered when it’s time to do it all again next year!

Free Comic Book Day is…checks calendar…TODAY!

§ May 4th, 2024 § Filed under free comic book day § 1 Comment

Get yourself to a nearby comic book store (like mine) that hopefully is participating in Free Comic Book Day (like mine) and is giving away tons of free comics (like mine) and is having big storewide sales (like mine)!

« Older Entries