The eBay, and Mike goes on at length about something he really can’t do anything about.

§ November 28th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on The eBay, and Mike goes on at length about something he really can’t do anything about.

Found on the eBay…a Nancy & Sluggo puzzle set:

From this auction. More Nancy ‘n’ Sluggo fun here.

Also found on the eBay: pin-up art of Christina Aguilera in the slave bikini outfit that Princess Leia was wearing in Return of the Jedi. Now that’s a specific interest.

So I found this CD at my local book/music/coffee shop yesterday:

…and quite frankly, it surprised the heck out of me. Steve Martin’s three records from the ’70s were reissued fairly early in the CD era, but this fourth album from ’81, the least popular and the most critically slammed, was seemingly forgotten. Half of it featured Martin’s stand-up act, the other half his banjo playing, and it was pretty unlikely that anyone saw a potential CD release as anything but a hard sell.

Whenever the primary delivery system for recordings shift from one format to another (in this case, from LPs/cassettes to CDs), there are always a few things that slip through the cracks, never to be seen again. I assumed The Steve Martin Brothers was going to be one of these forgotten relics, lost to history.

So imagine my surprise, flipping through the comedy CD section and suddenly coming across this album. Really, it was the last thing I’d expected to see.

The Steve Martin Brothers got lucky…some small label somewhere managed to talk Warner Bros. into leasing the rights to this album to them so they could get it out there for poor saps like me who had a Steve Martin Brothers-shaped hole in their collections.

But how many more recordings are out there are long forgotten, buried in the archives of a monolithic entertainment corporation, or lacking in any ownership to provide for their caretaking? How many of those recordings exist only in formats that are incompatible with modern technology, where the tech required to play them are becoming, more and more, expensive specialty items?

And all this thinking, as per usual, leads me to the comics industry.

The analogy isn’t exact, I know. But I got to wondering about all the work produced over the decades’ long history of the comics industry, and how so much of it now is forgotten, unread save by a few hundred (or certainly in some cases, a few dozen) collectors, if it’s remembered at all.

In the cases of Marvel and DC, chances are at least fair-to-middlin’ that some of their more popular older material will get reprinted, what with the Essentials and the Showcases and the Masterworks and the Archives. Even Archie has some reprints of their own older material, in their digests and the occasional softcover.

But for the off-brand stuff? Not so much of a chance…it makes me sad to think that some cartoonist, long ago, worked hard on his Spunky the Monkey strip to get it in before the deadline, saw it go into print once, and then it was consigned to the dustbin of history as the disposable entertainment it was.

Like I said, there are collectors still looking for this stuff, but where obsolete recording formats have expensive specialty equipment standing in their way, old comic books have 1) relative scarcity and 2) generally higher “collectors” prices blocking new readership for old stories.

This is just me being all weepy about old comics and the creators who put so much work into them (okay, to be fair, some put a little more work into ’em than others), only to see their hard work presented to the public once, then tossed aside, forgotten. I realize that the alternative is that everything ever published stays in print and available forever, which is of course not a realistic option. But I’d hoped that at least, say, Scribbly and Herbie (just to pick two examples) would have seen some kind of extensive reprinting by now. There’s always the digital option, I suppose, with online archives (legal and otherwise) of comics that are otherwise unavailable.

I’ve covered this topic before, I realize, but I got to thinking about all that lost work and I had to get it off my chest yet again, so thank you for indulging me.

So, in honor of the reissue of The Steve Martin Brothers, the CD I never expected to see, and to end this post on a more “up” note, I want to ask you folks: What comic book reprint/reissue surprised you the most? What funnybook stuff did you expect would never see the light of day again, and yet…one day, there it was, on a bookshelf right in front of you, large as life.

It’s hard for me to choose one, but I think maybe DC’s Showcase Presents Haunted Tank is right up there. What’s your pick?

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