As someone who likes Ralph Snart, I would have appreciated that.

§ February 12th, 2024 § Filed under publishing § 12 Comments

I’ve written before about my nostalgic perusal of the magazine racks whilst shopping at the grocery store. I still do it, every Sunday evening (my usual hunting-and-gathering time) though the selection doesn’t change a whole lot between visits, and usually it’s only publications like this:

I mean, no offense to anyone out there into coloring cat farts, ready to frame, and I know there must be a few of you since this is Volume Freakin’ Eleven, but I just don’t swing that way, friends.

But every once in a while I spot something that at least gets me to pick it up and flip through it as I decide whether or not to take it home, like some Lord of the Rings mag that’s been on the rack there for a while. But this past Sunday I spotted this (one of the two copies left, so I’m presuming it must have sold at least a few copies) and had to get it:

At last, I have the Ultimate Guide. Sorry Scott McCloud, this is what will finally help me understand comics.

Okay, I make fun, but I honestly haven’t done much more than skim through it so far and it looks…you know, at least surface level sufficient in covering comic book history. It’s certainly not going to be so granular as to explain why Bob Kane sucks or how come the whole “Quack-Fu” thing in the Howard the Duck comic was a multi-layered parody/social commentary versus just another duck pun in the film, but for someone just dipping their toes in, it may whet their appetite.

The tiny heading at the top of the cover reads “Hollywood Spotlight,” a brand name that’s also brought you similar mags about the Transformers and the A-Team and various Marvel movies, so that’s the impetus for this publication. It’s for the reader who’s seen the superhero films and maybe wants to learn more about the source material, which, you know, isn’t a bad thing. The timing maybe is a little bad, given the superhero movie market is, if not dying, then at least stumbling around a bit coughing blood spittle into its hands (I mean, we’ll see how Deadpool & Wolverine does), but there’s always someone discovering these characters via the films that do exist and this mag might make a good primer.

That said, like I noted above I haven’t read it yet. The Golden Age and the Silver Age of comics each get about three or four pages apiece, I see an article about horror comics and Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent and the Comics Code, a thing about event comics like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars, and so on. The focus is of course on Marvel and DC (with a handful of movie stills to remind us of the final evolved form of comic books, natch), though there a feature on indie comics, a sidebar about Maus, and, well, back to DC with Watchmen and Dark Knight. Can’t wait to read what they say about Alan Moore.

Hey, here’s a bit about Gail Simone and “Women in Refrigerators” which is not something I expected in here. And of particular interest to me is this article about the ’90s market crash, ooh yeah feed that into my eyeballs. “Origin of Image Comics” is in here too, which I always said was “Marvel artists leave Marvel to create their own Marvel,” but it looks like this article goes a little deeper into that.

It all wraps up with “How Comics Took Over Hollywood,” likely without the addendum that, um, not so much anymore, but overall it looks like a very general overall approach to comics history. I don’t know what they’ve got wrong yet, and they’re covering a lot of ground for a ~100 page magazine, so certainly Your Favorite Topics undoubtedly got short shrift (“no 10-page examination of Ralph Snart, c’mon“). But it appears to do what it’s meant to do, give someone who knows all these “Holy Classic Characters, Batman!” from their media adaptations at least somewhat of an idea of where it all came from. Hopefully that’ll be enough to get them to at least look deeper into the parts that only get passing mentions.

Oh, and I’m afraid to say one of the first full page images in the mag is of Bob Kane posing with a Batman painting I’m sure he claimed he painted. SPOILER: he didn’t.

12 Responses to “As someone who likes Ralph Snart, I would have appreciated that.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Did Sheldon Moldoff paint Bob Kane’s Batman paintings as well as being the ghost artist on the Silver Age Batman comics?

  • Martin Gray says:

    ‘ I don’t know what they’ve got wrong yet’

    That’s exactly how I read these things, I can’t help it. Sounds like a decent enough mag to pique the interest.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Cat Farts is already up to Vol. 11? Darn, I missed an issue!

  • Thom H. says:

    — That is a big bunch of white guys. And one green one, I guess. I hope there are more women and people of color on the inside of the magazine.

    — That’s a great looking Superman. Does anyone know who the artist is?

    — I don’t think I’ve ever seen (or noticed) Wolverine’s ears being colored differently than the rest of his mask. Is that a thing?

  • Chris V says:

    Thom-Yes, every time Wolverine has worn a yellow mask with a secondary colour. His first appearance in Hulk #181. His original (Uncanny) X-Men costume. X-Men #1. The Larry Hama run on Wolverine.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s inside the Iron Man suit.

  • Thom H. says:

    @Chris V: You’re right — I’d never noticed that difference between his yellow/blue costume and his tan/brown costume.

    To be fair, it seems to depend on the artist. I did a quick survey, and Cockrum doesn’t really do the little yellow ear detail. Byrne/Austin are pretty consistent with it and then switch the mask to straight black when the tan/brown costume debuts. John Cassaday brings it back in Astonishing X-Men, but it’s just the rim of his ear.

    Trimpe’s version in the Hulk is kind of all of over the place, but maybe it’s not a good example since the costume was still being nailed down at that point.

    Wild. I’ll never not see that now.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Thom H

    My guess is that Superman is drawn by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez or else Dan Jurgens with inking by Jerry Ordway.

  • Dean says:

    What happened to Gail Simone, anyway? She used to be one of DC’s big names, but I haven’t seen anything by her for years.

  • Thom H. says:

    Simone is rumored to be one of the writers of post-Krakoa X-Men, mostly on the basis of an X-Men story she’s written for Marvel’s upcoming Free Comic Book Day title. Not sure what she’s been up to in the meantime.

  • Roel says:

    Do the articles have bylines? I’m curious on who wrote them.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “I mean, we’ll see how Deadpool & Wolverine does”

    i think it’ll be their last BIG hit for awhile.

    “Can’t wait to read what they say about Alan Moore.”

    “He’s like, a WIZARD, man!”