Black Friday, Mr. Spoiler-pants, what passes for reviews, Jerry Bails, books, Kirby, and Tim.

§ November 24th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Black Friday, Mr. Spoiler-pants, what passes for reviews, Jerry Bails, books, Kirby, and Tim.

Our new comics day was pretty busy, thanks to everyone trying to get in before the Thanksgiving holiday…however, the dreaded “Black Friday” will probably not be too big of a deal for us. My experience is that the big “Black Friday” sales that you’ve been hearing about on the news are more for malls and “big box” stores like Walmart and Best Buy. Small businesses, at least in our area, don’t get that bump in business until later in the shopping season, after customers are tired of dealing with crowded malls and work their way outward into the outlying areas, desperately seeking out present ideas.

So, no, I’m not expecting this Friday to be any busier than normal. (And yes, in the past we’ve tried to attract business with special post-Thanksgiving sales and special deals, but no dice.) Ah, well, that’s okay…I’ve got store stuff to catch up on from not being open on Thursday.

Anyway, from New Comics Day this week…there’s this one customer, and I swear to God this happens every week, who picks up his weekly books, flips through them on his way to the register, and makes sure to point out to me (for example) “Hey, did you see that [shocking revelation from the end of the story] happened in this issue?” This is sometimes accompanied by his waving the page in question in front of my face. And I always respond to him in the same way: “No, I haven’t read that issue yet.” And he did it to me again this week. I need to start hiding in the back room when he comes in.

As for a couple of the comics themselves:

Planetary Brigade Origins #1 – as the title implies, it’s the “origin” of the Planetary Brigade superteam, told in the typical light and witty style of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, accompanied this time by artist Julia Bax. Like its parent title, Hero Squared, this comic cleverly and gently skewers (with love, not contempt) the cliches typical of the superhero genre, while not letting the satire overwhelm the actual superhero adventure. It’s a tough balancing act, but one Giffen and DeMatteis have mastered and is always a pleasure to read.

Enigma Cipher #1 – fast-moving action/suspense, as students from a college class studying a WWII-era Enigma coded message suddenly start turning up dead, and one last student struggles to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. It’s a plot-type that should be familiar to anyone who’s ever seen an action movie (the “we must get the disk” plot, I like to call it, after some computer espionage flick I saw years ago), but Andrew Cosby, Michael Alan Nelson, and Greg Scott do a good job keeping up interest in the story and maintaining reader sympathy for the student-on-the-run.

JSA Classified #19 – takes the classic “organ-harvesting” urban myth, and applies it to superheroes. Again, we’ve seen the “stolen body parts of superheroes” thing before, but not quite to this extent, and not with that urban myth aspect, which, I think, is quite clever. And on top of that, they managed to find some use for a couple of those “Bloodlines” characters that have been floating around for a while. I should note that I read the heavily-medical aspects of this story wondering what our resident medical comics weblogger Polite Scott would have to say about some of the details of this story. In fact, I now think that when I read any comic stories involving medical issues. See what the comicsweblogosphere has done to me?

In other news:

  • Mark Evanier has the sad news that comics historian Jerry Bails has died. In fact, just calling him a “comics historian” doesn’t do him justice…that we have any history of the medium is thanks primarily to the inspiration of Mr. Bails’ early fandom efforts. Please read Mr. Evanier’s post for more details on this man…and like he says, we’re sure to see an issue or three of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego magazine devoted to Bails’ life. (A friend of mine was in contact with Mr. Bails a couple years back, and at the time I had spent a lot of money obtaining one of Bails’ old fanzines…when my friend related the amount I spent on these three mimeographed pages to Mr. Bails, he was…well, either amused or bemused, one of the two!)
  • Augie De Blieck, in his column this week, wonders why there aren’t more books on comics culture from fandom folks…and points out my site, along with the great and powerful Dave’s Long Box, as prime contenders for translation from web-to-paper. Thanks, Augie! And, hey, any publishers out there…I’m game if you are! (I sort of touched on this a while back, as I lamented the ephemeral nature of my site. Someday, once I load up on the necessary amount ink, I’m going to print out a copy of my site, just so there’s at least one physical copy of it in existence!)
  • Apparently there’s a Kirby “meme” going around (which started here) in which you pick which character had the best Kirby design. Jon tagged me, and, alas, I must duplicate the answer of the person who tagged Jon – the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing is my favorite Kirby design. Monstrous yet sympathetic, terrible but lovable, tragic and funny…Kirby never topped this design for sheer versatility. For more of my thoughts on the character, I refer you to what I wrote for Comic Book Galaxy a while back.
  • Tim O’Neil does what I wanted to do with one of the pictures from yesterday’s End of Civilization post, but didn’t have time. Well done, sir, well done.

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