Don’t be a dupe, get Jupe…iter.

§ March 31st, 2023 § Filed under indies, pal plugging § 23 Comments

Gird whatever needs girding, as Jason Sandberg is bringing new Jupiter print comics to you via Indiegogo! The campaign is already fully funded, but you still have nearly a month to get in there and order some great funnybookin’ for your own home or office. Lots of swell add-ons to be had as well! I’ve been a longtime fan of Jupiter and pal of Jason, and this work gets my highest recommendation!

I’ve written about the original late-1990s print version of Jupiter here, though I don’t think the Pelasgus feature is continuing. Maybe if we all demand a Pelasgus graphic novel….

You can hear Jason talk about his comic and the Indiegogo campaign on the Longbox Heroes podcast with Todd and Joe. I know the interview isn’t noted in the description but it’s there, I promise! I’m listening to the interview in episode #651 again right now. And at one point the three of them start talking about my favorite topic — me! — so definitely worth a listen.

• • •

Okay, to continue the 1980s indies talk…yes, I’ll get back to some of your older comments, but let me react to a couple newer ones that aren’t…parody songs? Is there something in the water? What’s going on with you nuts.

Customer Sean asked about maybe including Marvel’s Epic imprint or Dark Horse into my indie comic rankings. Well, Epic might be okay, even though it’s not really an “indie” in the sense we mean it here, and Dark Horse is still an ongoing concern and I was trying to stick to companies that are defunct, or at least no longer the same operations they were back in the ’80s. I think both the Comico and the First Comics brands returned within the last few years, but I’m not sure of their current statuses.

It’s funny…this puts me in mind of a long-ago article in The Comics Journal #98 (May 1985) by Jan Strnad, “The Alternative Comics Cadaver Derby.”

Following the demise of publishers Capital Comics and Pacific Comics, Strnad wondered who would be the next company/cpmpanies to fall, and thus lists several then-extant publishers and lays the odds on who would “win” by dying off first.

The general premise of the commentary is that the closer to being like Marvel Comics they were, the more likely they would “lose” the derby by surviving. And conversely, the higher quality of the material they publish, the more likely they were to “win.” A bit cynical, a bit smartass-y, a bit…well, right, kind of.

About three quarters of the companies listed are still around…including the Journal’s publisher Fantagraphics, which has managed to stick around despite publishing good comics.

Anyway, was reminded of that article, and wondered a bit what a modern version of that would be like — NOTE: NOT INVITING GUESSES AS TO WHAT CURRENT PUBLISHERS WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS. I’m just curious what new factors would go into deciding who might live/who might die. Obviously the companies with the most variant covers and the highest ratio of CGC-slabbed investibility would be the big “losers” of that derby now.

Fine sarcasm is a lost art.

Sean also mentions looking back at the black and white boom, and I’ve said before I was only on the retail side of things for the tail end of that era. Mostly I was a wanderer through the wreckage, observing the boxes of unsold comics, the countless Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dark Knight Returns parodies that came and went unsold, the b&w publishers slowly petering out or pivoting to color, the poor bastard at that one convention who had a longbox full of nothing but Shadow of the Groundhog.

Thankfully, my former boss, who did ride out that era, avoided overordering and getting stuck with the terrible comics cranked out to take advantage of the boom. But I read a lot about it as it was happening, saw it on the shelves (not to as great extent at my soon-to-be place of employment, but certainly saw it elsewhere), so I imagine I could say something about it. I mean, I suppose I just did. I also wrote about Solson Comics last year, so I’ve at least served part of my sentence.

But that’s enough for now. See you all next week. And ease up on the song parodies in the comments, geez louise.

23 Responses to “Don’t be a dupe, get Jupe…iter.”

  • Sean Mageean says:


    Sorry about going overboard on the goofy sidekick song parodies. I guess it happened because I had commented the other week that DC had way too many Robins, Wonder Girls, Kid Flashes, etc. Then Snark Shark joked about the idea that there shouls be a too many Robins song, and it just kind of built from there. I had two more planned: “All The Aqualads Are Drowning In The Deep Blue Seas,” and “Why Are Speedies So Needy?” (about how Ollie Queen is not a great mentor, but he’s not as bad as Mento…)–but I will stop.

    Anyway, about New 52 costumes, yes, they were mostly bad…although Jim Lee’s Aquaman look in the early issues of New 52 Justice League was pretty cool, I thought. But soon enough they made him look like Poseidon again. Sigh. I never cared for the New 52 or Rebirth Superman and Batman costume redesigns–and Jim Lee’s obsession with piping. DC should have just stuck with the old school trunks. Early on in New 52 Power Girl got a really bad costume redesign as well–thankfully it didn’t last. As to the early Rebirth Action Comics, it would have been better in Clark had sported a t-shirt with no “S” symbol,and was just doing his hero thing in casual clothes like an updated version of Iron Munro from the Young All-Stars.

    What a great Comics Journal cover by Kevin Nowlan. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Galaxy Comics and am now curious as to what Alex Toth material they printed?

    As to Epic –I get that Epic was a Marvel imprint, so it’s a bit of a cheat, but the fact that characters including Groo, Coyote, and Dreadstar were published by both Eclipse and Epic makes it worth exploring, I think. And with Dark Horse I guess I meant touching on what was being printed by them in the late ’80s–but fair enough that they are not a defunct publisher.

    One of my favorites from the black and white comics boom was the Southern Knights, created by Henry and Audrey Vogel, with the early issues drawn by Butch Guice. The team was lead by a comic book collector/scientist named David Shenk who became Electrode–he basically had Lightning Lad powers. Then there was Connie Ronnin–an Olympic fencing medalist who could generate a psychic sword; Kristin Austin–a University student and mutant who basically had the strength of Power Girl but couldn’t fly; and Mark Dagon–a literal dragon named Moranderin who could morph into a human form as well. Later, a character named Aramis Merrow was added–he was a teenage warlock from the 17th century whose parents had placed him in suspended animation to save him when their coven was under siege…he was revived in the 1980s and joined the superhero team. It was first published by The Guild, but then David Anthony Kraft’s Comics Interview imprint began publishing the title. Kraft printed a few other comics, including Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves (also written by Henry Vogel), and M.I.C.R.A. . But Southern Knights, though a humble black and white independent comic, was a fun read, a bit influenced by Claremont and company’s X-Men, and Wolfman and Perez’s New Teen Titans.

  • LouReedRichards says:

    I hunted that issue of TCJ down in the mid-90’s for the Toth interview. It was pretty difficult finding much Toth info anywhere and that article (reprinted from 1970!) was a godsend.

    Oh yeah, the Alternative Comics Cadaver Derby was fun too!

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    I really enjoyed Epic (Illustrated?). DREADSTAR started there and I really loved the black and white artwork and then the color artwork a few issues later.

    Was there an Epic Illustrated before Epic the comic? Marvel had the science fiction one with the Day of the Triffids adaptation. Was Epic Illustrated published at the same time? Anyone?

  • Sean Mageean says:


    Epic Illustrated published its first issue in 1980–and was at first going to be called Odyssey (Stan Lee hyped it up for awhile in Stan’s Soapbox). It was basically Marvel trying to get in on some of Heavy Metal’s market, and doing a good job for awhile. Epic Comics started in 1982, due to Epic Illustrated’s initial success. Epic Illustrated ceased publication in 1986.

    The Comic adaptation of The Day of The Triffids to which you are referring appeared in a Curtis (Marvel) magazine called Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction, in issue no. 1, published in 1975.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    Come and listen to my story ’bout a man named Mike
    Those song parodies, well he doesn’t really like…

    Ok, I’ll stop, even though I have one about the b&w boom and bust set to a Minor Threat song forming in my head as I type.

    Anyway: Alex Toth comics I’ve never even heard of! Whoa! It’s a shame that more Toth material isn’t readily available. I bought a few of DC’s Showcase b&w reprints specifically for the Toth material. No offense to the other creators involved, but The Witching Hour and the House of… titles were pretty meh until you came across those 6 or 8 magical Toth pages (also Wrightson, Adams, Aragones, and a handful of others). It’s a shame Toth rarely worked from a good script. I don’t think he had the highest opinion of most of his fellow creators, but I would have loved to see him paired with a scripter who could groove with his sensibilities.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Mike Loughlin:

    Was that “Come and listen to my story..” to be sung to the tune of “Runaround Sue” by Dion? Or you could mix and match…call it:”The Reader of the Pack.” Or how about: “Reading In The Comic Shop” as a parody of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room?”

    I’ve recently been getting into the Bronze Age DC supernatural comics to an extent…sometimes there’s some good Wally Wood or Jim Aparo art to be found there as well. And the George Tuska art is usually decent. Plus, quite often there are fantastic Nick Cardy or Neal Adams covers. I recently got a copy of the Unexpected no. 119 which has a cool Bernie Wrightson story.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Sean: thanks. I know I could use the Google machine, but I hate not getting help from real humans.

    I suspicion it won’t be long before we see MAGNUS: ChatGPT FIGHTER 2023.

  • Donald G says:

    Sean Mageean:

    “Come and listen to my story . . .” is to be sung to the tune of “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. It’s the theme tune of “The Beverley Hillbillies.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Donald G:

    How about some modified Woody Guthrie…

    “If you’ll gather ’round me, children,
    A story I will tell
    ‘Bout Mike Sterling, a comic vendor,
    Camarillo knew him well.”

  • Mikester says:

    Everyone’s fired.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    That Rog 2000 Pacific Comics reprint one-shot is making me nostalgic for “The Art of John Byrne; Or Out Of My Head (volume one)” –man, that was great!

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    A minor question. I like George Tuska. But a friend of mine knows I buy from Mike and asked me to check on two specific Adventure Comics digests because of his artwork. My friend doesn’t collect by artists, but I can see him being like 70s me with Rich Buckler.

    So I guess I’m asking what made him stick out? The titles he worked on? The inkers? My friend just gives me a vague “what can I say, you own all of the Dell Dracula, Frankenstein, and Werewolfs, I can’t explain subtlety to you.”

  • Sean Mageean says:


    Tastes may vary, but I think what is cool about George Tuska is that he goes all the way back to the dawn of comics, working in the Eisner & Iger sweatshop starting in 1939–so, like Jack Kirby, he was a long timer and his style evolved over the decades. Also, he drew really attractive women! When I think of Tuska I mainly think of Early bronze Age Teen Titans (inked by Nick Cardy), and Iron Man! But he did many classic Golden Age comics now worth a pretty penny and also a lot of Lev Gleason “Crime Does Not Pay”-type comics in the Atomic Age.

  • Aaron says:

    Before everyone jumps to the B&W boom that I remember (mostly) firsthand, any chance of documenting which characters and companies are illustrated on that cover?

    Feel free to document them all, as I can’t swear that’s Elfquest. (I was 9, then, so if you want to hear about which Whitman Donald Duck stories were killer and which were duds…)

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    Sean M: Donald G got it, it was “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.” A “Waiting Room” parody, you say? If I were to pen one it would be about the (purely theoretical) Daredevil: Target #2.

    Wayne: Hard to say what hits with whom, but I also wonder why someone would be a George Tuska fan. I don’t have anything against his art, it looks like what I think of as Bronze Age Marvel House-style. On the other hand, that’s what I thought of Sal Buscema for years before I saw his individual strengths, so what do I know? Maybe I need to read more of his work to see it’s appeal.

  • Sean Mageean says:


    Cerebus the Aardvark, The Spirit, Dalgoda, Omaha the Cat Dancer, Neil the Horse, Reuben Flagg, and Zot! I don’t know who the guy dangling from the cliff edge is—maybe it’s a self-portrait of Kevin Nowlan, the artist who drew the cover.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Sean & Mike: yep. Teen Titans. But if he went back to Crime Doesn’t Pay, I can easily see anyone being impressed with the growth of the artist’s work.
    My friend doesn’t own much before Bronze Age.

    He’ll send me images of books he picked up. Then say, look, Tuska. Then House of Forbidden Love, for a buck, and I think, I owned that. So its cool when I can fill someone in.
    But sure, Tuska, Buckner, Buscema, Steve Broderick, Tony Tallerico, the same way we talk about Wrightson and Wood.

    Thanks for the added input.

  • LouReedRichards says:

    Tuska is a bit like several other veteran comic artist. Solid craftsmen and storytellers without a lot of razzle dazzle to their work. He strikes me as being of that generation where this is a JOB, once he turned off the drawing table light, he was completely done thinking of comics until the next day. That might sound like a slight, but I mean it as a compliment.

    Tuska’s Iron Man is fun stuff, nothing earth shattering, but decent enough. I can see someone being particularly attracted to his work*. Never have been able to figure out why Tuska’s Iron Man boots are so floppy** looking though.

    * I like post JLA Mike Sekowsky quite a bit, so my opinion might be suspect.

    **insert your own Captain Beefheart joke here!

  • LouReedRichards says:

    @Sean – That’s Robert Crumb hanging from the cliff.

  • Sean Mageean says:


    Thanks — that makes sense that it would be Robert Crumb hanging from the cliff.

    I get what you mean about Tuska–and that’s my problem with a lot of contemporary comics–there aren’t as many good craftspeople and storytellers in contemporary comics as there were in the Silver and Bronze Ages…when artists like George Tuska, Dick Ayers, Marie Severin, Don Heck, Sal Buscema, etc. got the job done.

    I picked up a Bronze Age The Unexpected recently (no. 127) and found it amusing that in a George Tuska-drawn story, the young couple looked like Dick Grayson and Lilith Clay–not too surprising as Tuska was drawing the Teen Titans during that same era.

    I’m not a big Mike Sekowsky fan…always thought his art looked clunky…but I am a big Post Sekowsky JLA fan–meaning I believe Dick Dillin’s art was a huge improvement.

    Take a Walk On the Wild Side of the Negative Zone…

    …It’s Safe as Milk…

  • Hal Shipman says:

    Weirdly, I can’t remember a single Pacific Comics title, much less buying anything of theirs, though I definitely remember their name.

    [opens Wikipedia]

    Oh, I guess I got Ms Mystic. But other than that, I guess I saw their stuff on the stands, but never bought anything else. I must have gotten the Rocketeer stuff after it was at First.

  • Snark Shark says:

    ” Galaxy Comics”

    Never heard of that one.

    “Crime Does Not Pay””

    Oh, I love those!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Hal Shipman:

    Rocketeer never got published by First to the best of my knowledge…it went from Pacific to Eclipse to Comico to Dark Horse. And now, since Stevens’ passing away, IDW has had the license but generally puts out sub par offerings with quite often mediocre art, unfortunately.