I don’t know how unsuccessful it was, all my readers apparently bought Grendel from a newsstand.

§ October 30th, 2023 § Filed under fanzines, publishing § 6 Comments

Hi pals…I’m pretty wiped out today so I’m going to apologize up front for a less thorough post. But you folks really stepped up with some info regarding the woes of comics publisher Comico, researching and finding relevant articles in The Comics Journal that I didn’t.

What I was doing when looking through my Journals for the last post was specifically searching out articles along the lines of “COMICO DISTRIBUTES TO NEWSSTANDS.” I stuck mostly to Journals released around mid-1986 through mid-1987. However, if I’d kept going through December 1987, I might have found this feature the mag ran in December ’87, presented here courtesy reader Lars. This is more in the context of Comico’s large printer debt, which the article states

“…Was at least partly incurred as the result of an apparently unsuccessful nationwide newsstand distribution of such Comico titles as Jonny Quest, Grendel, and the three Robotech titles….”

The article also notes other reasons for Comico’s money woes, including the collapse of some distribution companies that owed the publisher money. That particularly rings a worrying bell right now, as the industry is currently splintering amongst multiple distributors after many years of just one company bringing us our comics. I mean, it’s a different situation now — it’s not likely Penguin Random House is suddenly going to disappear overnight — but those of us who remember distributors dropping like flies can’t help but think of those days.

Anyway, thank you Lars for the scans, and thanks also to ChrisB for pointing out other issues of the Journal for me to check out. As Michael points out, the mag’s “Newswatch” section is pretty consistently amazing, and I found myself just paging through article after article being reminded of the many events of the time. This is one of the reasons I like ‘zines, reading about comics news as reported contemporaneously. As I noted on Bluesky, “this is my comics nostalgia.”

I plan on digging through more of these Journals and seeing if I can find any more articles of note, not just about Comico but other topics as well. Though I did spot an editorial by Gary Groth about the end of the black and white/investment boom which I also can’t wait to revisit.

6 Responses to “I don’t know how unsuccessful it was, all my readers apparently bought Grendel from a newsstand.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Maybe the next poll should be on Progressive Ruiners’ favorite black and white boom ’80s comics…excluding TMNT and any other black and white comics that already got votes in the last poll.

    How many votes could Reagan’s Raiders, Elf Lord, Wordsmith, Grips, or Cherry Poptart garner?

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    My money is on Diamond going first, if any of the distributors do. They don’t have any top companies as exclusives any more, to my recollection, and they have decades of ill-will built up.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Reagan’s Raiders”

    NOT as much fun as the title would suggest.

    Was Black Belt Hamsters any good?

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I never actually read Reagan’s Raiders–I wasn’t a fan of that president…

    It would be interesting to know exactly how many TMNT knock-off comics titles there were…at least five or more, I think…what with Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, Pre-teen Dirty-gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos, Naive Interdimensional Commando Koalas, Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils, and Kung-Fu Penguins…

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Okay, looks like there’s a good TMNT knock offs list here:


  • Snark Shark says:

    Adult Radioactive Samurai elephants was Marvels entry in the TMNT rip-off file.

    “Four Savage Pachyderms to Rid the World of Evil!”