Frankly even the top-selling comic book would have at best “a cult following.”

§ May 29th, 2017 § Filed under question time § 4 Comments


Mikey Wayne lays the following on me:

“In light of the promises/suggestions that both the JSA and Legion of Super-Heroes will soon rebirth themselves into comic stores everywhere:

“For each team, which member would you most like to see rebirthed and why? If you could choose the creative teams for each book, whom would you choose?”

For the Legion of Super-Heroes, that’s easy…I’ve said before I’d like to see a Brainiac 5-centered Legion relaunch. Brainy as the cool, rational, scientific center surrounded by the utter madness of “Bouncing Boy” and “Matter-Eater Lad” and so forth, just trying to do his job despite all the crazy nonsense in which he finds himself mired. As far as a creative team…I’m always bad at picking out folks for this sort of thing, but I feel like Warren Ellis would make this absolutely bonkers. He’d give us a Brainiac 5 that actually seems like he’s intellectually superior to everyone around him, I’d think. And yeah, he’d probably be all bastardly-like, but not on purpose…he’s trying to be helpful, to fit in, but he’s so far beyond everyone else that he comes across as kind of a jerk without meaning to. (As opposed to some previous portrayals, where he pretty much was a jerk.)

For an artist, I’d say…well, so long as we’re playing pretend here, Paul Chadwick. I’d love to see the 31st century as drawn by him…I’m picturing a more futuristic sci-fi version of his series The World Below. Like, weird to the point of being creepy, which I bet Ellis could work with quite nicely. Man, now that I’ve described it, I’d love to see it.

With the Justice Society o’America, that’s a bit harder to choose. I really want to say Jay “Golden Age Flash” Garrick, but the Flash family is already pretty mired in the whole “Rebirth” thing and I’d prefer a character that’s a little more standalone. I’d maybe say Wildcat, partially because I think pal Dorian rubbed off on me after all these years and I would like to see a new, ongoing title starring his favorite character. I don’t really have a hook for the character as such, except even as I started typing this sentence the creator “Matt Wagner” came to mind and I can totally see Wildcat sorta remodeled by him into a Spirit/Shadow/Green Hornet-ish type crime fighter. I mean, he’d still totally be a boxer who puts on his Wildcat outfit and goes out to punch crumb-bums what need punching, don’t get me wrong. But Wagner could make just that much weirder, with only the occasional intrusion from the superhero element (maybe treated as a more supernatural occurrence) but with plenty street-level action with gangsters, creeps, dames, and beat cops. I would read that in a heartbeat.

• • •

Dani makes me retreat with

“Mike… one thing I’ve been wondering… just between us nerds… What exactly did you say to Encyclopedia Brown to make him snatch out your eye?”

Friends, sometimes running jokes from my beloved BBS days of decades ago follow me into the wide world of the internets.

…But basically what I told that Brown guy was “BUGS MEANY IS RIGHT.”

• • •

Chris Gumprich wonders

“1. Have you noticed an uptick of non-comics people coming in and asking for comic versions of the various DC-TV heroes?”

This is sort of a variation of the question “do the movies help comic sales?” and the answer is generally “not a whole lot.” The movies and TV shows increase awareness of the characters, certainly, but as discussed in the past, people who are fans of comic book movies and TV shows don’t suddenly acquire the “go to a comic shop on a regular basis” lifestyle. That’s not to say I haven’t had the non-initiated come in and ask for Supergirl comics, or grab Flash off the shelf. There is a slight increase, but compared to the number of people who get all the Flash and Supergirl adventure they need a couple of dozen weeks out of the year, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot. But, you know, a little is better than nothing!

“2. Do you think CAP’N QUICK & A FOOZLE would sell today? Did it sell in 1983?”

Well, for the latter part of the question, I’m going to have to say “I don’t entirely know,” since that was about five years before my entry into the world of comics retail. I’ll have to ask my old boss Ralph when next I talk to him, so I’ll update you later. My guess is that it sold…okay, in that this was the early days of the indie market still, and the black and white boom and its subsequent effect of making people not want to buy indie books was still in the future. Probably people were experimenting a little more with trying out different things, and Cap’n Quick & a Foozle may have benefited from that. Plus, Marshall Rogers was still a draw, so it may have sold just on his name alone. Again, I’d have to ask someone who was there to be sure.

Would it sell today? This is going to sound bad, and it’s no reflection on the great work of the late Mr. Rogers, but the answer is probably “no.” It’s too hard for any new titles to get real traction, so just by pure percentages, a series, particularly a weird-ish indie series, may get a small cult following but probably wouldn’t sell all that greaet. Just too tough of a market nowadays. Maybe “Cap’n Quick and a Zombie,” or “Deadpool and a Foozle.”

• • •

Andrew Davison schools me with

“If Swamp Thing falls over in the forest, and there’s no’one around to hear him, does he make a sound?”

Now, in the similar question regarding a tree falling in the forest, with no one to hear…in that case, I would say it doesn’t make a sound. If no one, meaning the lack of presence of ear canals that can interact with the resultant vibrations caused by the tree’s impact that can in turn be translated by an attached brain into what could be interpreted as “sound,” then no, no sound was made. The potential for sound is created, but no “receivers” as such exist to covert that potential and have it be recognized as sound.

However, Swamp Thing has anywhere between one and two ears, depending on who draws him, so he’d hear himself making a sound as he fell. I mean, assuming he’s real, and not just drawings on paper, of course.

4 Responses to “Frankly even the top-selling comic book would have at best “a cult following.””

  • James G. says:

    I guess the question to go along with “Do the movies help comic book sales?” is, “Are comic books just scratchpads and test beds for movies now?” And I don’t mean the obvious Mark Millar Of Course They Are Universe. But even Marvel and DC, are they just looking for movie ideas to play out? Iron Man 3, Age of Ultorn, Civil War, etc.

    Are current comics by the big two just storyboards for films?

    It’s probably already been asked / analyzed. But here I am, regardless (here I am, regardless could be the name of my third memoir).

  • Damien says:

    I’m guessing there won’t be a Nazi Cap movie now, in fact I think there is more chance of a Cap’n Quick movie.

  • Rich Handley says:

    Did you just imply… that Swamp Thing isn’t real??

    I… I just…

    I’m shattered.

  • jim b. says:

    Foozle! Foozle rocks man.

    It was a favorite at the time for some discerning readers, including the creator Marshall Rogers, but it just didn’t set the world on fire. Still, there was a t-shirt from Graphitti Designs.