“Holding, What, Two or Three Titles at $2.99.”

§ August 25th, 2023 § Filed under zines § 11 Comments

Picking up on the promise from this post, I finally brought home the pile of ‘zines I had sitting at the shop. BEHOLD: Comics Feature #1 (March 1980):

The stack included the first three issues of the run, along with 5-6 and 8-9. These were rescued from my former boss Ralph’s stash of books from the last days of that old shop, and I finally badgered Ralph into selling them to me. So, here they are, more stuff in my house to be sorted into the collection which is already in disarray.

But enough about that. The magazines have some pretty cool features blurbed on the covers I think I’m most interested in the Cary Bates interview in #8, though I’m sure the Len Wein interview in #6 will be fun as well.

What I like seeing on the first issue pictured above is the “DC Adds Pages…Raises Price” tag, reminding me of the days when the adjusting of the standard funnybook’s cost was Big News. Not to be outdone, Marvel gets its own cover blurb on #2 regarding their own page count/price increase news. When was the last time comic price changes were a big point of discussion like this (I mean, aside from DC’s “Holding the Line at $2.99” thing, or just general complaining about how they cost too much?)

Another item on the cover to #1 that…bemuses me, I suppose, the “The Legion [of Super-Heroes]: Then And Now,” if only because I can picture the culture shock if they were to just peek ahead a couple of decades. “Hello fanzine writer! Let me tell you a little about something called ‘Five Years Later.'”

As implied by my statements here, I haven’t had much of a chance to actually crack these open and read the things, aside from a glance or two. I did see a news blurb about Marv Wolfman and Dave Cockrum creating an inventory story teaming Batman with the Blackhawks. I love seeing stuff like this…news about someone creating a fill-in story that may or may not see print. In this case, however, it did, in Brave and the Bold #167, cover date October 1980.

I look forward to finding more gems like these squirrled away in the pages of these ‘zines. Lot of interesting folks working on these, too…Carol Kalish, Don and Maggie Thompson, Carl Macek, Dean Mullaney, Kurt Busiek, Richard Howell, Peter Gillis, Peter Sanderson, Cat Yronwode…the list just goes on and on.

Also, along with these Comics Features, I also grabbed the first issue of this (from 1981):

Look, they got me with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy article, okay? But I’m not sure about all this “Doctor Who” business…that’s probably never gonna last.

11 Responses to ““Holding, What, Two or Three Titles at $2.99.””

  • Sean Mageean says:

    If I recall correctly, that Wolfman/Cockrum B&B story featuring Batman and Blackhawk was set on Earth-Two with Golden Age Batman, as were the B & B issues with Unknown Soldier and Batman, and Catwoman and Batman…all great reads!

  • Brad Walker says:

    I have a couple of articles in Comics Feature. I actually went out to try and get on the editorial staff but it didn’t work out.

  • D says:

    I definitely own that Fantasy Empire issue. The 1st Peter Davidson episodes hadn’t aired yet in my area & I was desperate for any info.

  • ArghSims says:

    Oh man, the Trial of the Flash went on forever… but had it started by the time of the Bates interview in issue 8?

  • LondonKdS says:

    Anybody know why the Fifth Doctor appears to be wearing some kind of nineteenth-century military uniform on that cover?

  • Oliver says:

    I wonder exactly when Bates and Infantino became aware it was DC’s intention to kill off Barry Allen. Was the interminable Flash-on-trial plot a result of them knowing the character was going nowhere?

  • LouReedRichards says:

    I think the Trial of the Flash started ’83-ish.

    I’ve never read those issues, but from everything I’ve seen it does seem interminable. The old Podcast “Tom Vs. the Flash” did a good job of covering it, and making it enjoyable. That’s probably more a testament to Tom’s charm than the actual content of the story.
    I do like Infantino’s art from this period, which I know many don’t care for. It has a futuristic/Filipino-ish influence to it that is certainly unique!

    I discovered Comics Feature much later. If I recall Issue #40 was an accompanying stocking stuffer to the “25 Marvel Comics” package you could order in the Sears (I think) wishbook. I received that gift for several years in a row, a good sampler and introduction to series I wouldn’t otherwise have picked up. Did anybody else ever get those?

    The Comics Feature issue that really stands out to me was #43 (April ’86). At the top in a starburst were the dreaded words “BYRNE LEAVES MARVEL.” My 13 year old world was shaken, I had just started collecting the FF the year before and Byrne was my God; this was tragedy on an epic scale!
    Oh yeah, there’s something about some Miller guy and Daredevil and Batman on it too.

  • D says:

    Any other old folks remember how much the CBG just HATED the Trial of The Flash storyline? Every other issue had some article about how terrible it was & how it was killing the series.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I recall not being too thrilled with the Trial of The Flash…also, by that time it seemed that Infantino’s art had become very sloppy…at a certain point I was only buying Flash for the cool Dt. Fate back up stories by Keith Giffen and Marty Pasko. I did feel sorry for poor Barry Allen, however. But it seems that even recently Barry has not been treated particularly kindly…what with the whole revisionist history of Reverse Flash having killed Barry’s mother, and then having a horrible casting choice in the actor who portrayed him in the DCCU. It would be nice if a light hearted Flash film got made in the future which accurately depicted a good natured,self assured Silver Age-type Barry Allen fighting his Rogues Gallery…if only DC could try to treat The Flash with as much respect as they did Superman when they made Superman:The Movie.

  • Snark Shark says:

    ““DC Adds Pages…Raises Price” tag, reminding me of the days when the adjusting of the standard funnybook’s cost was Big News””

    We didn’t know how good we had it.

    “issue of this”

    I read one of those! Also a Dr Who issue. My LCS still has a stack of other issues. Fairly cheap.

    “Anybody know why the Fifth Doctor appears to be wearing some kind of nineteenth-century military uniform on that cover?”

    Maybe the artist didn’t have photo-references of his outfit?

    “Trial of The Flash”

    IT. TOOK. SO. LONG. And I was reading them as back issues, not month by month.

    “and then having a horrible casting choice in the actor who portrayed him in the DCCU.”

    They screwed that up, big time.

  • Rob S. says:

    I might be the only person who liked the Trial of the Flash. I mean, yeah, it was long — made even longer by numerous flashbacks and fill-in issues with a framing sequence — but I was pretty eager to know how it would all come out. And there’s some pretty neat stuff in it, (SPOILERS) like the reason Barry’s defense counsel, Cecile, hates the Flash being revealed to be that her dad (or uncle) was a beat cop Goldface killed a couple years before to show Flash he meant business. Also, at one point her house collapses, but she saves her life by climbing into a sensory deprivation tank! I dug that stuff.

    But honestly, I already had a lot of goodwill built up for the Flash. In the year or so before Trial began, it was the best the book had ever been from a longstanding drama perspective. From 314 to 325 — when Flash kills the Reverse Flash (on the steps of the church where he’s about to get married!) — it’s pretty great superhero soap opera. The trial loses itself later, taking a few silly detours, and being strung out longer than it needed to be because Bates knew that the series was ending. But I was into it nonetheless, even though every few months it would frustrate me by spinning its wheels too obviously.