§ December 10th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

1. Regarding that link to the article about Japanese animation I posted last night: if you can believe it, that was actually on Yahoo‘s front page as a featured news story! Okay, I know not everyone is as mired in this stuff as I am, or as most of you are, so it’s likely news for a lot of people somewhere, but it was still amusing.

FARK seems to have picked up on this as well, and the accompanying discussion is the “anime is kewl” / “anime is teh suck” debate that you’re probably already imagining.

1a. Speaking of news articles related to our hobbies: when was the last time any of you saw a “BAM! POW! Comics Aren’t for Kids!” (or “BAM! POW! Comics Are Big Money!” or whatever) headlined news story in the wild? I don’t mean ironic uses in the comics press…I mean in, like, an Associated Press article, or in a local weekly paper, or anywhere else that doesn’t balk at using references to a 40-year-old TV show* when writing their headlines. I think it’s been a good decade since I’ve seen a headline like that…but then, I haven’t been looking.

2. There’s this Metafilter post regarding the comics market boom and subsequent bust, with a link to someone relating his experiences as a comic dealer during said boom/bust.

As someone who rode out that particular period, the one thing that sticks in my head is the large number of people asking for “comic book Becketts.” The Beckett guides, for those of you who don’t know, are prices guides focusing on sports cards. For some reason, people were leaving the sports card hobby in droves and diving headfirst into comics as the “hot, new collectible.”

I also remember getting asked a lot about what comics would be good “investments.” My general answer was that they should buy comics they like to read, so that they’ll always be worth something to them. But not enough people listened, I’m afraid.

3. Yesterday at work, pal Dorian was looking at the latest San Diego Comic Con update flyer, and read aloud the phrase “John Cassaday, best known for his work on Astonishing X-Men….” I responded that this was probably a fair statement, since more people are reading Astonishing than Cassaday’s other major project, Planetary.

However, which series do you think people will still be reading in 5 years? Or 10 years? The series published by the company whose parent company has shown a long-term commitment to their trade paperback program, or the company who has let even their most recent paperback releases go into spotty availability? Plus, as soon as the new hot writer and/or fad comes along and sends the X-titles into yet another direction, support for the older “new” directions will drop in favor of the new “new direction.”

Of course, it helps that Planetary, when it is done, will be a self-contained unit. Contrast that with Astonishing, which will be just a sequence of chapters in the ongoing serial of the X-titles.

3a. I don’t intend this as a criticism of Whedon and Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men run, honestly. Cassaday’s art is, as always, stunning, and Whedon…well, the comic’s not aimed at me, but I can tell that Whedon is at least attempting to tell a story sans the usual Claremontisms and continuity baggage, and with a light sprinkling of wit. As X-Men comics go, it’s not a wire hanger in the eye.

4. Recently acquired at the shop: a big ol’ pile of Classics Illustrated and several Dell and Gold Key comics of the ’60s and very early ’70s, plus a smattering of Marvel monster books and some of your standard-issue nutty ACG comics. Expect to see some of these popping up over the next few weeks, both here and on Dorian’s site. I’ve got a good one for tomorrow, so be sure to tune in.

Anyway, some of the Classics we received were some of the harder-to-find ones…the later issues that only had three or so printings (compare to the first issue, “The Three Musketeers,” which went through over 20 printings). There are a couple I’ve never seen in all these years, such as #166 (“Tigers and Traitors”).

As I was noted the printings of each of the Classics we received, I started thinking about this series…why did some issues go into multiple printings, while some (such as the Edgar Allan Poe issues) have only a couple printings, and a handful (such as Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”) only have one printing? You’d think the Dickens story would be reprinted every year around Christmas for the run of the CI series, but nope…only one edition in 1948.

5. 2005 is not really shaping up to be a good year for comic book inspired films, it seems. Shane over at Near Mint Heroes posted a link to this Fantastic Four promo image which doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope (not that I had any in the first place); I’m still not sold on the Sin City film; Elektra is…well, for God’s sake, just look at it; and I have even lower expectations for Constantine after reading that interview with the director in Wizard. Batman Begins is the only one I’m not dreading…but we’ll see. It’s got a long way to go to wash away the memories of the previous four live-action Bat-films.**

I think I’ll just stay home those nights and read a book.

EDIT: Pal Tom points out something I missed at the above Fantastic Four link:

“Marvel’s first family of comic superheroes takes the world by storm as the longest running comic book series in history comes to the big screen.”

As Tom says…what about Action? Or Detective? Maybe they meant Marvel’s longest-running series.

* Admittedly, it’s a cool 40-year-old TV show.

** Well, okay, three for me…I still haven’t seen the fourth one, since just its trailer was warning enough.

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