A depressing letter; I’m lonely, oh so terribly lonely; Fanboy; a happy family; out of context merchandise

§ November 21st, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on A depressing letter; I’m lonely, oh so terribly lonely; Fanboy; a happy family; out of context merchandise

This may be the most depressing letter to a comic book ever:

And, yeah, that was the whole letter. Boy, cheer up, fella! (And, um, ixnay on the sleepin’ nude talk…”TMI,” as the kids say.)

Another letter that puzzled me at about the same time was one that was printed in Green Lantern #162 (March 1983):

At the time, the Green Lantern letters pages were comprised primarily of very short letters (either readers were sending in brief missives, or these were excerpts from longer letters), interspersed with plugs for other DC Comics. I sort of got the feeling that the editor didn’t have very many good letters to choose from, so he had to pad out the space as best he could, including letters that he may not have ordinarily run. That was my impression, anyway.

That letter in particular puzzled me at the time, and continued to do so for years afterward. “‘Silver Twist?’ Man, what was that guy talking about? Why would he write into Green Lantern about this?” Yes, I really did wonder about this on occasion…something would remind me of it, I’d think “what was up with that?” in passing, and get on with my life. I just figured it was something that the letter writer made up, and that was that.

Well, something like twenty years after I first read that letter, I finally found out what that person was talking about…the “Silver Twist” was actually a plot element that appeared in previous Green Lantern comics. I like GL, but haven’t read every issue (like my pal Corey), so it may be understandable why I didn’t know what this was. But I can’t be too hard on the editor, either…not everyone is as obsessive about trivial details to the same extent as comic fans.

I remember one of my very few fan letters, written in my misbegotten youth, to some Superman comic or another referenced a minor character from a ’50s Superman story, that had just been reprinted in one of the digests at the time. The editor wisely took it out when he printed the letter, since, well, what did that have to do with the modern Super-books, anyway, and the reference may have confused readers who didn’t read that digest or didn’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of comics.

Luckily, someone invented weblogs a couple decades later, and I can ramble on about obscure and ancient comic topics all I want. Take that, DC Comics editorial staff of the early 1980s!

So when I was thanking Fred Hembeck and Alan David Doane for their kind words in my post yesterday, a depressing thought hit me. Here are a couple people that I get along with, that I like and whose work I enjoy, and with whom I have exchanged extended e-mail discussions. But I may never actually get to meet them in person. Yeah, this is no new observation in this age of internet communication, but it’s just a little discouraging to realize that no matter how well I may get along with some of these folks online, I’ll probably never hang with them in real life. There are several people on my sidebar there with whom I’d probably get along famously…though I bet if I spent any time with BeaucoupKevin and Ringwood Ken, we’d all probably end up in a holding cell somewhere.

I have met a number of people in my weblogroll…all the members of the Associated Comics and Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs, of course, even the elusive (and missing?) “Fred” (EDIT: site since appropriated by someone decidedly not “Fred”), I all knew prior to this whole weblogging thing, either as customers or coworkers. There’s pal JP‘s brother Scott, about whom I can say “ah, I knew him when.” I also know Ro and Randy and Dan and Andy in real life, and I’ve met John Gorenfeld several times, mostly because he’s an old, old (like since elementary school) good friend of pal Dorian.

Of fellow webloggers, the only ones I’ve met are “Lefty” Brown and his swell wife Kelly, when they stopped by on their way down to the San Diego Convention. I have spoken to several more on the phone, such as the inimitable Mag ‘n’ H and the mighty Matt Maxwell, all swell folks.

I’ve met a few of the comic pros in that sidebar as well…I’ve met Sergio Aragones several times, I’ve known Nat and Scott for quite a while (Scott was even nice enough to include me in the acknowledgements in this book…you do own it, right?), I told you about how I met Scott Saavedra, and I’ve even encountered evil mastermind Ross Richie. And let’s not forget old pal Fred Noland.

And I even met the supremely cool Wil Wheaton when he did a signing at our shop a couple years back. Look, here’s a picture I took of him at the time:


And that’s pretty much everyone on that sidebar I’ve met in person. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to meet more of you good folks, and, maybe, you know, stay over a day or two in the guest bedroom…what’s for dinner tonight? You folks like Yahtzee? Can I see the CD collection?

Speaking of Sergio Aragones (as I did in my namedrop-fest in that previous section), I noticed the other day that I am regularly reordering the Fanboy trade paperback, a collection of his DC Comics series (with Mark Evanier and a host of fellow artists) celebrating the history of comics. Mr. Evanier says is his description of the book that it was “pretty much ignored,” but perhaps we’ve got bit of a sleeper on our hands.

If you haven’t read it yet, give it a try…it’s an entertaining love letter to the idea of being a comics fan, that doesn’t necessarily gloss over the more embarrassing elements of same.

A common sight, at our store and at other stores as well, is the family that comes in and meanders about the store, not caring about any of this comic book stuff, while the one member of the family does his shopping. You know, the kid looking for Spider-Man comics while Mom waits not-so-patiently, or (sadly, more likely), Dad looking for comics while his bored children keep asking him “are you done yet?” (And yes, I try to give those kids appropriate “Free Comic Day Comics” that I keep around for such a purpose.)

So it’s always a pleasure when we get a large family in the store (the happy couple, their parents, their grandparents), all of whom are interested in comics, going through our back issues and having a grand old time. I wish I could see that more often.

I was putting up the new posters we got in last week, when I had a thought about the Wonder Woman “Identity Crisis” poster. That’s an odd image to turn into a poster, I think, out of its original context of the Identity Crisis series. The image sort of made sense there, but as some kind of standalone iconic image of Wonder Woman? Holding a noose made from her glowing magic lasso? Seems a bit peculiar to me.

There’s a shirt based on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series that also stikes me as being a bit of an odd choice for a design…I don’t have an image, but it’s a panel of Matthew the Raven telling Dream that “it was good being your raven” or words (a lot of words…it’s a big honkin’ word balloon) to that effect. It’s completely out of context, makes no sense on its own, and I can’t imagine why this image made it onto a shirt.

But it sold well, so what do I know?

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