John Goodman’s finest role.

§ October 20th, 2021 § Filed under cartoons, retailing, undergrounds, variant covers § 6 Comments

So in Monday’s post, where I was talking about variant covers in the “real” non-comics world, I brought up the multiple foil covers used for the Raiders of the Lost Ark novelization. I did say at the end of the post I didn’t think many people were actually buying all the different covers to be completists, but I’m sure it’s not nobody.

Well, Turan swooped in with some bookstore-sellin’ experience, to inform that book publishers weren’t producing multiple covers for their titles as a means of encouraging multiple sales. It was more for encouraging displays from sellers, or for offering more options possibly to attract different demographics by using different cover images/designs.

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and my comics retailing hammer may have been aimed at those old Raiders books. To be fair to me, I didn’t necessarily say that book publishers were doing multiple covers for the same reasons comic publishers seem to do so…at least, maybe not back then. But discussing those books in close proximity to comics probably implied as such, for which I apologize. But I’m sure there are still book collectors out there snapping up all variations of a new book’s release. C’mon, have you met book collectors?

Anyway, back to the comics…while I’ve been hitting the “variants are there to get multiple sales from the same customer” nail fairly hard around these parts, Turan does bring up other possibilities that I haven’t really considered. There is always the possibility of a comic publisher trying to attract a buyer that may not care for one cover, but definitely like another. I have over the years had customers walk up to the counter buying a comic they wouldn’t normally because of a specific image used on one of the many variants. In fact, a certain still-extant comics blogger of some note may have bought a variant cover or two simply because it had an unnamed swampy gentleman thereupon. So, basically, I should’ve pointed out this reason for variants long ago.

As for variants being issued to inspire creation of in-store displays…well, sure, comic stores could do, and have done, that. I don’t know if that was the explicit intent of comic publishers, but more a natural extrapolation by more clever shops to take advantage of the material offered. I mean, who knows. And again, this is something I’ve sort of done in the past…I mean, I try to display all covers on my racks anyway, but I haven’t gone out of the way to make a specific separate display of just variants in a long time (we did way back when with the 1990s X-Men and Spider-Man #1s). I don’t know if my racking these books like this counts:

…but boy, it almost got me to buy both covers. I do have to admit I was very tempted to display these covers on opposite sides just to annoy everyone, but cooler heads prevailed.

• • •

To follow up on some other previous posts, I received my newest shipment of weekly Marvel comics from their new distributor Penguin Random House. As I’d expected from how some replacement damages were shipped to me last week, PRH has responded to widespread criticism of their piss-poor packaging and the excessive damages of comics that resulted.

Like Lunar (DC’s distributor) PRH is now packaging their books inside a cardboard box, surrounded by bubble wrap inside another cardboard box. Frankly, the outer box isn’t quite sturdy enough (or large enough to allow for more wrap) to my tastes, but it’s definitely a step up from the last couple of weeks. I did experience some damages, but they were fairly minor dings on six comics, and to be honest I don’t know if these came from their time in transit or before (or as) they were packed in the boxes.

Also, replacements for all of my damages from last week (and there were a lot) arrived early this week. (I initially thought I was missing one, but that’s only because I didn’t recognize the variant cover as being a certain title. AGAIN WITH THE VARIANT COVERS.)

Here’s hoping things continue to improve, and that a certain other distributor who shall go unnamed here will begin to feel at least some pressure to step up their own game. To be fair, I only received two damaged books from them this week, but in the past that just meant I was due for a real problem the following week. We’ll see.

Now I hadn’t heard about this, but on this week’s episode of the Longbox Heroes podcast (being listened to even as I type this), apparently there have been other odd problems with PRH…such as filling an entire order of a book, not with the regular cover, but with the 1/25 or 1/100 ratio variants, which is pretty wild (and possibly quite the windfall for the less scrupulous retailers). I haven’t experienced that particular problem yet, thankfully.

• • •

And now, some good news…the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers is finally going to series, airing on the free TV app Tubi:

As has been noted, the styles of “Characters Created by Gilbert Shelton” and “Characters Not Created by Gilbert Shelton” do, um, clash quite a bit, but given the premise of the series (the Freak Bros. are spirited away from their ’60s/’70s stomping grounds into the world of today) that seems only fitting. I’ve seen a few of the shorts they did with this voice cast (which is great, by the way) on YouTube, so I’m looking forward to some full-length episodes.

6 Responses to “John Goodman’s finest role.”

  • I remember years ago, DC had a month where all the covers were head-and-shoulders close-ups of the main character (I think Marvel had done something similar before). My local shop didn’t make a special display out of them, but the covers certainly made an impression all lined up together on the “New Releases” rack.

  • Matthew Murray says:

    Just saw that the final volume of the Attack on Titan manga has retailer exclusive variant covers for Kinokuniya, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. I know there have been a few other series (like Monstress) that have had variants of collected editions for Barnes & Noble as well.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Another “I’m so old that…” post: I’m so old that I can remember the proposed animated Freak Brothers film entitled “Gone with the Weed.” This was in the mid-70s, and I remember an account somewhere (in “Comics Reader” or “Comics Buyer’s Guide,” probably) of Gilbert Shelton appearing at some convention to promote it. That left me with an impression that the film had actually been completed, and in later years when I realized that I had not heard of it since I assumed that it had been judged unreleasable (perhaps, after “9 Lives of Fritz the Cat” bombed at the box office, the market for animated adaptations of underground comics was presumed to be dead). Only recently did I think to look on-line for details, and determine that, though such a film was certainly planned, it was never actually made. (Perhaps what Shelton showed at the convention was test footage, or maybe he just projected some sketches while reading from the script.)

    There actually was a Freak Brothers movie made in the 1970s, one that added Mr. Natural to the mix. It was live action, and it was unauthorized, and…it was hardcore porn, which of course makes it unsuitable for discussion on a blog that caters to young people. I will note, however, that it was released on DVD, and can be bought through Amazon.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    “after “9 Lives of Fritz the Cat” bombed at the box office”

    I found this movie in the “Cult Classics” section of my local video store in the late 1990s and rented it. It is honest to God one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

  • J. Kevin: You’re right in how they looked. Our front window display for those was not alphabetical. It was fairly prominent from our location, which was a red light plus a bus stop.

    Not recalling the order of release, an example might have been (Kyle Rayner) Green Lantern, Firestorm, Spectre, like that.

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