§ March 24th, 2023 § Filed under indies § 13 Comments

Okay, first thing’s first…in my last post I referred to a comment left on the Dilbert post by a real dummy who turns up on occasion to impress us all with…well, with nothing, because he always just looks foolish. However, I made the mistake of not specifying which comment, as I figured it was likely self-evident. But I did hear from a few of my regulars, who feared perhaps I meant them, and I’m here to say…no, you’re all good. If you’re a semi-regular commentator, or even a new one, who participates in good faith, you’re fine. Just don’t be like this guy, who is the, ahem, scumdog in question.

My apologies to anyone for whom I may have caused undue anxiety!

• • •

Okay, I left off last time halfway through one of Customer Sean’s comments, so here’s the part I’m responding to today

“And what about the great–if short-lived–Pacific Comics? Cool and fun content by Jack Kirby, Neal Adams (except for the goofy Skateman), Mike Grell, Dave Stevens, Steve Ditko,Bruce Jones, Richard Corban, Michael T. Gilbert, Sergio Aragonés, and others. And the coloring on Pacific Comics–by Steve Oliff–always made those comics pop! I would say Pacific Comics and Eclipse Comics–who took over publishing some of the Pacific Comics titles after Pacific Comics folded–were my two favorite Independent publishers of the ’80s.”

Yeah, they’re okay.

Oh, okay, fine.

Pacific Comics was a mail order outfit, a series of retail stores, a distributor and a publisher that began operations in 1971, founded by the brothers Bill and Steve Schanes. According to the Wikipedia article, they were 13 and 17 years old respectively in ’71 when they started all this, which is pretty amazing.

Now, the Wikipedia article says Pacific “dipped its feet into publishing” with a 1979 John Buscema art portfolio, which seems to ignore this:

One, which was a comics magazine published by Pacific in 1977. Steve was one of the credited character models for the lead story. I have to admit, I’ve never read One myself, but I’ve seen tons of copies of this over the years, even having had a few come through my own shop in its 8 1/2 year history. I might even have one in the back issue bins right now, I’d have to check.

My earliest encounter with Pacific Comics releases was spotting them on the spinner racks at the newsstand I used to regularly visit in the early ’80s before switching over to an actual comic book store for my new books. I remember seeing Jack Kirby’s Captain Victory and Sergio Aragones’ Groo the Wanderer there

…and the only reason I can come up with for not buying them at the time was that my comic dollars were limited, and with this indie titles being a buck (or a buck fifty) a throw, versus the…I forget, 50 cents, 60 cents each thaqt DC and Marvel books were, I just didn’t seem to have the budget for them. It really baffles me that I didn’t at least buy Groo given my childhood of being a big Sergio fan. Ah well, What Can You Do?

I think the first (and possibly one) Pacific Comics series I bought new off the rack was 1983’s Berni Wrightson Master of the Macabre

…purchased of course because this was the fella what drew Swamp Thing. Somehow this was the book that got me to splurge a whole $1.50 for a non-Marvel/DC, non-Extra Special-Sized Spectacular comic book. I seem to recall feeling as if some paradigm had shifted, now that I’ve moved into the slightly pricier realm of indie comics.

And a year later, after Pacific had gone under and Eclipse Comics picked up their titles, I’d apparently thrown comic budgets to the wind as I bought my first Groo, the previously-announced-by-Pacific-but-now-it’s-from-Eclipse Groo Special, new off the rack for the princely sum of $2. Which would lead me to paying back issue prices of all the previous Groo issues, which, thankfully at the time, were still pretty low. Not as low as buyin’ them new, but that’s what I get for being a cheapskate at the time. It did however instill the comic-buying lesson of “buy it new if you want it.”

I would also later go on to pick up as back issues the great EC Comics-informed anthology series Alien Worlds and Twisted Tales, mostly written by Bruce Jones. And of course I became familiar with their other releases simply by virtue of handling the books over my decades of comics retail. Familiar enough to understand that Pacific Comics was a high quality publisher of excellent comics that alas died out too soon, but helped establish a precedent for other indie publishers to follow.

13 Responses to “Pacified.”

  • A. J. Payler says:

    Coincidentally, at the moment I am most of the way through my first reading of Alien Worlds and it is indeed mostly great stuff.

    Murderers’ row of artists, surprising with every page turn–Al Williamson! Dave Stevens! John Bolton! George Perez!–well up to the task of following in the aforementioned footsteps of EC.

    The hit-to-miss ratio of Jones’ writing is high as well, making more than just a feast for the eyes. A few regrettable attitudes towards women do tend to show up repeatedly–nothing to the level of, say, latter-day Dave Sim or anything so stomach-churning–but sufficient to be worth noting. The genre of SF as a whole didn’t have the greatest track record at the time in any case, so it was probably unlikely to have stood out to most contemporary readers, who were surely overwhelming male.

  • Sean Mageean says:


    I’ve never read One either–but it sure looks like The Greatest American Hero TV show stole this superhero’s look!

    Thanks for responding to my questions! : )

  • Chris says:

    I remember first reading about Pacific in an article in Comic Scene, unfortunately the first comic of theirs I picked up was Skateman! I had the aim for awhile of collecting a complete run of all the comics they released which seemed achievable and affordable. I liked Pacific Presents and Vanguard illustrated, obviously The Rocketeer was the highlight in the former, but there were some interesting features in both. Mike Baron had an interesting couple of stories featuring a character called Quark that I would have liked to have seen more of. It’s unfortunate that Pacific folded when they did, they seemed to suffer from the slowness/unreliability of their creators (Kirby and and Ditko notwithstanding though they weren’t exactly bringing their A game).

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Murderer’s Row of artist’s indeed. Alien Worlds was an easy sell for me back in 1982 – those gorgeous covers by Chiodo, Stevens, Stout, Bolton, and Brunner just begged me to hand my cabbage over to my LCS. I reread that series every two or three years and it still delights me every time. I believe the first seven issues were published by Pacific and then, in late ’84, Eclipse began publishing the title (for two additional issues) with a noticeable drop off in art and storytelling. In no particular order, those first seven issues contained interior artwork by: Tom Yeates, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Richard Corbin, Dave Stevens, Roy Krenkel, Tim Conrad, Ken Steacy, Nestor Redondo, and fine work by Val Mayerik. There was even a 3-D with early artwork from Art Adams!

  • Remco says:

    Yeah, I can see how the “JK Rowling is not a terf” poster could’ve been mistaken for the dummy. For what it’s worth, she is, and her actions have really boosted terfism here in the UK, and caused a lot of suffering for trans people.

  • Mikester says:

    Remco – trying to claim JKR isn’t a TERF at this point is at minimum a mistake, and it doesn’t take a whole lotta lookin’ to find some new offense, no matter how supposedly innocuous her initial comments were.

    The comment from GFSM was singled out by me because he’s a repeat jerk here, who just pops in, leaves a dumb comment, and leaves.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    He was the guy who had a s#it hemorrhage (old Polish saying) over wearing masks, I’d bet. Back in the before times of 2020.Too bigoted to use the name Swamp Sluggo.

    Or Skateman, the bastard.

  • Sean Mageean says:


    I think it was shrewd on the part of Pacific Comics to repackage Berni Wrightson’s black and white stories from Eerie and Creepy magazines as a full-color anthology mini-series, and that set the ball rolling to reprint Jim Starlin’s Darklon the Mystic stories in full-color (also originally presented in black and white in Warren Magazines), which then lead to Eclipse Comics doing similar reprints with Wally Wood and Frank Brunner material.

    Also, with the exception of Starslayer no. 2 (the first appearance of Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer), all of the Pacific Comics issues are easily affordable and there aren’t that many to hunt down to have a complete run. Kudos to whoever designed Pacific Comics cool looking logo, too.

    Also, I think the highest praise should be given to Pacific Comics and the Schanes Brothers for being all about creators’ rights–that’s how they got Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, Mike Grell, Steve Ditko, Sergio Aragonés, Richard Corban, et al on board; because Pacific Comics was (to my knowledge) the first comics company which would let creators retain full ownership of their creations. I think, perhaps, Atlas/Seabord Comics sort of set the precedent a few years earlier, in that they were willing to give creators very high rates, return artwork, and let authors have rights to original characters they created–which seems weird, considering ex-Marvel head honcho Martin Goodman was the owner of Atlas/Seabord.

    As to people’s comments about the Kirby and Ditko material published at Pacific Comics not being their best work, that may be so, but at least these industry workhorses were finally getting to own their own creations. Personally, I find Captain Victory and Silver Star entertaining enough…but Ditko’s Missing Man is a bit of a head-scratcher…I wonder why he didn’t publish his character Static (which was published through Charlton and Eclipse) at Pacific Comics?

    It’s too bad Pacific Comics fell into financial difficulties and went belly up; I guess from extending lines of credit to too many retailers who didn’t pay the Schanes on time…and Starslayer and Elric defecting the First Comics. But at least Pacific Comics was a noble experiment.

    As a follow up to Pacific Comics, it seems like a deep dive into Eclipse Comics would be cool, since Eclipse took over several Pacific Comics titles once Pacific went bankrupt. And since Steve Schanes went on to found Blackthorne Publishing, that could make for an interesting follow up as well.

  • Mikester says:

    Wayne – yes, at the beginning of the pandemic he left a comment on my site referring to masks as “slave scarves.” The most charming!

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Mike: that was the phrase. As I mentioned, he’s some other comic shop state’s problem now. Maybe.

    But there’s cosplay, right? The guy could have easily come to your store dressed like Pandora or Madame Xanadu. I think they both had scarves that covered their neck and sometimes faces.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “I might even have one”

    one One #1? My!

    “Berni Wrightson Master of the Macabre”

    That one’s very good!!

    Sean Mageean: “but it sure looks like The Greatest American Hero TV show stole this superhero’s look!”

    OR they both stole that look from Leo Sayer!

    “considering ex-Marvel head honcho Martin Goodman was the owner of Atlas/Seabord.”

    I’m guessing he was desperate to get some talent whom otherwise wouldn’t have left Marvel or DC.

    “he’s a repeat jerk here, who just pops in, leaves a dumb comment, and leaves.”

    Maybe it’s secretly John Bryne!

  • Nat Gertler says:

    I guess that I’m enough older than you that I was picking up Pacific titles when they were coming out, dating back to about Starslayer 2, which I saw on a trip to New York City from my college. One thing it’s hard to realize now is that Pacific was using a wider color palette then the other comic publishers at the time, and this made their issues just scream at you from the rack showing colors that you never really seen in a comic book before.

    I think that I’ve yet to reprint anything that Pacific actually put out, although I did reprint Salimba, which was created for Pacific but ended up at Blackthorne after Pacific collapsed.

  • Sean Mageean says:


    Have you considered contacting Jack Kirby’s family, Mike Grell, Bruce Jones, etc., and making an offer?

    I think it would be cool to reprint as many of Pacific Comics titles as possible in trades. Especially Captain Victory, Silver Star, Starslayer, and Bruce Jones’ anthology titles Twisted Tales and Alien Worlds. Or did some other publisher, like Dark Horse, already reprint some of these comics?

    Also, some of the Eclipse Comics line could really use reprinting as full color trades–especially Sabre, Aztec Ace, DNAgents, and Mr. Monster.

    As to Pacific Comics colors–yes, they really popped! I think Steve Oliff color most of the Pacific Comics line.