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Okay, maybe you didn’t demand it.

§ December 29th, 2007 § Filed under all star batman Comments Off on Okay, maybe you didn’t demand it.

Because you demanded it, and because I had a little free time…here you go, some banners declaring your love for the absolutely fantastic, and desperately misunderstood, All Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder (shortened here to All Star Batman for clarity’s sake):

Download ’em, upload them to your own image host, and post them proudly, proudly I say, on your weblogs, message boards, business websites…wherever appropriate. (Just don’t hotlink them, please.)

No, there’s no need to thank me. Your tears of joy are enough.

How to make the entire internet hate me.

§ December 28th, 2007 § Filed under all star batman Comments Off on How to make the entire internet hate me.

Yes, as I posted in that Twitter doodad yesterday afternoon, former employee, podcaster, and bon vivant Kid Chris filled in when I found myself shorthanded at the shop, with Employee Aaron in the drunk tank recovering from the flu and Employee Jeff working his second job as a strip-o-gram unable to make it in. However, the call went out, and Kid Chris, from his secret lair somewhere 60 miles south of us, jumped into the Kid Chrismobile and sped his way up to the store to answer my call.

And as usual, when you give Kid Chris and I a chance to put our brains together, we generate some solid ideas for a better future and a stronger America.

To wit:

We’ve developed a comic book rating system based on how many All Star Batmans something is worth. You know, like “this comic is as good as two All Star Batmans.” However, I’m sure you already see the problem, since All Star Batman is itself the pinnacle of comic book excellence. Anything being equivalent to two or more ASBs is only theoretical, and quite impossible given our current level of comic book technology. Like the speed of light, you can only approach the 1.0 of ASB, but never exceed it.*

Therefore, items are ranked by percentages. For example, let us take All Star Superman, the second-best All Star book. No one denies that All Star Superman is swell, and personally I think it nearly achieves perfection. Therefore, under our ASB scale, it’s ranked as follows:


Then let’s take something, like, oh, Incredible Hulk #112, a perfectly acceptable, but not outstanding, superhero book. It’s competently done, and entertaining enough, but not a top-flight example of the medium. Nothing to be ashamed of, certainly, but not compelling reading unless you’re already reading the book. So, it gets…


And then there’s something like, say, Countdown Presents Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman & Batwoman, where the title is about as long as the plot outline for this issue. Now, I kinda enjoy it, but it only exists for DC Multiverse continuity fanboys, and doesn’t do much to really advance the actual “search for Ray Palmer” at all. As I noted before, every issue is pretty much the same…our team pops in, looks around, “hey, things are different here,” get into a fight or two, find out they just missed Ray, move on. As I said, only DCU fanboys need apply, but that’s me, I’m afraid…I know it’s no good, but I like revisiting these Elseworlds anyway, which is why it gets this high a score:


Now let’s take Ultimates 3 #1:


It was stapled, and the pages were in order. I think.

Hopefully, you get the idea, here. It’s better than my “is this comic better than the tree the paper came from” idea, anyway. And best of all…who’s going to argue about the standard used? Everybody loves All Star Batman.

As if that’s not enough, Kid Chris and I determined that, using the properties of Shade the Changing Man’s M-vest, we can retroactively insert a reason for the actual separation of the Vertigo universe from the regular DC universe, and perhaps use it to reintegrate them together again.

Oh, and Kid Chris has rescinded his statement that Jack Kirby was the Rob Liefeld of the ’70s. In case you were wondering.

* Okay, I know there’s some theoretical scientific discussion about some faster than light effects, but until I have evidence of quantum entanglement of All Star Batman comics, just go with me here, okay? Though I suspect discussions of light speed is not going to be the thing folks will object to in this post….

Sunday don’ts.

§ May 20th, 2007 § Filed under all star batman Comments Off on Sunday don’ts.

WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR: We had a female customer of ours spot All Star Batman and Robin #5 on the rack, exclaim “Ooh! Finally!” and then ponder for a few moments over which of the two covers to buy.

Her options:

Her final decision:

Just thought that was worth mentioning.

WHAT YOU PROBABLY DON’T CARE ABOUT: I was processing part of a collection today, and was tickled by this tiny, tiny banner across the bottom of Strange Tales #137:

There’s just something goofy and appealing about that image of those two fellas mentally squaring off. Plus, the pic has “repurposing” written all over it.

WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE: Every once in a great while, a small flying insect will flitter just a tad too close to one of the machines what makes your funnybook polybags…


A poor little bug, frozen forever in time, locked within the face of a polypropylene bag as it protects a copy of Child’s Play 2: The Official Movie Adaptation from the ravages of man and nature.

Anyway, I was sorta grossed out by it when I pulled that bag out of the package, so I thought I’d scan ‘n’ share it with all of you.

No need to thank me.

(EDIT: To clarify…I’m only kidding about using the fly-bag. I disposed of it properly and safely…in an envelope I just mailed to Chris.)

This post is comprised of miscellaneous topics, separated by horizontal lines.

§ May 17th, 2007 § Filed under all star batman Comments Off on This post is comprised of miscellaneous topics, separated by horizontal lines.

Conversation at the store:

Employee Aaron: “I wonder what George Takei’s power is on Heroes?”

Me: “The power of being incredibly cool.”

Employee Aaron: “…I’ll accept that.”

…And then Employee Jeff asked about the sequence in the most recent episode, where he wondered if Hiro’s father (Takei) really taught Hiro expert swordsmanship in so short a period of time. That resulted in this shameful display:

Me (in my best Comic Book Guy voice): “Well, if you were to refer to your copy of All New Collectors’ Edition #C56, better known as ‘Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali,’ you will see that during the course of the story, Ali trained Superman in the sweet science while in another dimension…a dimension where time passes at a far different rate to our own dimension. Only minutes would pass by in the ‘real world’ while hours, or even days, could go by in this other dimension.

“Perhaps, with his time-altering powers, possibly even unwittingly, Hiro altered the passage of time for his father and himself, allowing them hours or days of training while only a short period of time passed outside of Hiro’s influence.”

Employee Jeff: “…”

Employee Aaron: “…I need to go sit down now.”

The whole Mary Jane “sexy” statue brouhaha reminded me of this oddity from a while back: the Marvel Milestone Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy statues:

The sculpts are absolutely identical, save for the heads. This should tell us something, I’d imagine.

And then there was this Mary Jane statue, which I mentioned in a previous End of Civilization installment:

And, as pal Dorian had noted, the “sexy” MJ statue is still better than this damned thing:

Why? Why would you want that?

Speaking of offending people, I wanted you to know that I had this title banner all ready to go when All Star Batman & Robin #5 was finally unleashed on the marketplace:

I was going to replace my regular title banner just for the day, without comment, just to…well, be annoying, I guess. But right now, with all the hoo-har over the sexual nature of the aforementioned Mary Jane statue, I thought maybe now may not be the best time to splash Wonder Woman’s rear end across the top of my page. I mean, sure, all you folks reading this site would get that I’m just messin’ around, but I suppose I don’t need the additional grief it could bring at the moment.

I wasn’t even going to bring it up, except for one thing. Would you like to know when I made that banner?

According to the file creation date of my original image, I made it on April 26th.

Of 2006.

It’s been about a year since the last issue of All Star Batman. It’s been several months since the last issue of Ultimates 2 (also out this week). And, as I’ve noted before, it’s been a year (and counting) since the last issue of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk.

Quite frankly, this is embarrassing. Appalling and embarrassing. There’s no excuse for alleged periodicals to be this late. I’m willing to cut folks a little slack, but once we’re measuring lateness in years, it becomes obvious that something’s broken at Marvel and DC.

Come to think of it, when was the last time a Frank Miller project was released on a timely basis? Daredevil? I remember the delays on Ronin. Dark Knight Returns #4 was so late DC actually released a promo item for stores to post, announcing its arrival:

And I’m sure most of you remember the delays on the Dark Knight sequel. Did the various Sin City series maintain a schedule? I’ll have to check.

Do any of Marvel and DC’s lateness problems have any repercussions? I mean, aside from readers giving up on the books and the occasional, sheepish “yeah, I know we’re late, we’re working on it!” interview in Wizard? Or have the companies 1) realized that readers are accustomed to late books now being the norm, and 2) grown attached to the slight sales bump provided by the low-rent star-f’ing of having minor league “celebrities” write their books regardless of their consistent lateness issues, and therefore just don’t care?

Wow, that got bitter, fast. I really just wanted to say, hey, finally a new issue of All Star Batman, it’s a hoot! But I’m too pissed off right now to be particularly enthusiastic about it.

But here are some questions I’d like to see answered by the powers that be:

1. Why are these books so late?

2. What is being done to correct this problem?

3. What is being done to prevent this problem from recurring?

4. What are you doing to repair the erosion of consumer (and retailer) confidence in your products?

Let us lighten the mood with a little joy:

I hadn’t known that there was a flash animation of the Alan Moore-vocalized “March of the Sinister Ducks” song:

…but now I do.

And since some of you were wondering how this turned out:

And you can blame Kevin for this.


§ November 25th, 2005 § Filed under all star batman Comments Off on Okay…

…seeing a complaint about this in this week’s Wizard was the last straw. So, one more time….

The “bizarre” dialogue in this panel, from Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All Star Batman & Robin #2, which has caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth at Batman’s “out of character” behavior:

…is explained in this panel, on the very next page:

It is explicitly stated in the narrative that Batman is behaving in such a fashion to test Dick Grayson’s reactions.

I don’t know…maybe my copy of the comic was the only one that had that second panel in it.

Not saying the comic is perfect, but I’ve seen too many people present that first panel (or other panels of Batman’s extreme behavior) as if it were how Batman is normally characterized in this book, not mention the explanation on the very next page, and go into hysterics about “Miller ruining Batman.” If you don’t like the whole sequence (or the whole book, for that matter), fine, but don’t pretend that particular piece of dialogue just came out of nowhere, with no context. I mean, you wouldn’t catch me doing that.

Okay, now that I’ve alienated everybody…let’s talk about New Comics this week:

First off, we were shorted a bunch of titles, including the new issue of Walking Dead (which, according to our distributor, we may or may not ever receive) and Giant Monster #2 (sorry, Ross!), plus several other smallish-press stuff. Very annoying.

Comics Journal #272, which we did get, reprints some choice pages from John Stanley’s Thirteen Going on Eighteen comic. Great stuff, and well deserving of a full reprinting.

The new issue of Warren Ellis’ Jack Cross came out, and was met by a handful of customers telling me that this will probably be their last issue. And it seems to me that, looking at some online reviews, a lot of people don’t care for the series. (And by “online reviews,” I mean reviews from reasonable and rational people, who more often than not are Ellis fans — not knee-jerk “I don’t like Ellis he’s weird” message board reviews from people scared and/or jealous of him.) I don’t see this as being any better or worse than other Ellis projects of this type, but I haven’t really given it a careful reading, so I’m not the best judge. Reasons I’ve heard include “confused politics” and “going to the ‘I’m a Hard Man‘ well too many times.” Well, if things go south, they can always retroactively make this a DC Universe title and turn Jack Cross into the new Spectre. (Just kidding, please don’t kill me.)

Evil Ernie in Santa Fe #2 – Hey, that offer on the back cover stating that readers can return their copy of the comic to the publisher if they don’t like it, and get their money back? Can retailers do that too?

Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories #663 – New Don Rosa story, featuring Donald Duck reteaming with the rest of the Three Caballeros. It’s part one of (I think) three, and it’s a whole nine pages, which kinda steams my clams. But nine pages by Don Rosa is like 27 pages by anyone else, so I guess I can let it slide.

Holy smokes, a new Palookaville (#18) is out, featuring the continuation of Part 3 of “Clyde Fans.” Filmed in “Depress-o-vision,” certainly, but a new Seth comic is always something to celebrate. I just hope the story wraps up before I hit retirement age.

Okay, so remember a couple days ago when I was poking fun at reporters who use the forty-year-old cliche of “POW! BAM!” headline titles?

Well, here’s another one, but this title is funny, and therefore exempt from my scorn:

“Bif! Pow! PLOTZ! Jews and the invention of the American comic book”

Ah, “plotz,” truly you are a great word.

In which Mike is all over the map.

§ September 15th, 2005 § Filed under all star batman, market crash, retailing Comments Off on In which Mike is all over the map.

Pal Dorian told me about this cover for the third printing of Supergirl #1. It’s an homage to the introduction of the original* Supergirl, it’s charming as all get out, and it’s a darn shame it’s the exact opposite of the godawful mess that’s actually inside the book. Ah, well.

Hey, there’s some kind of giant orange lizard creature on the cover of the new Marvel Knights: 4. I hope the Thing fights it inside.

YOUR EMBARRASSING STORY OF THE DAY: Several years ago, I had a customer who, as it happened, was blind in one eye, and was wearing a patch over said eye. He asked me if we had a particular item in stock. I told him that, no, we were out of that item at the moment. He asked if we could ever get it back in stock, and if so, if I could let him know when it does show up.

I told him that I’d keep an eye out for it.

Even as I was saying it, I was thinking “maybe this isn’t the best way to say this to this particular customer,” but too late…it was out of my mouth.

Luckily, he wasn’t offended…and maybe I was worrying just a tad too much, but boy, to this day I can’t believe I said that to him.

Congratulations to Will Pfeifer on hitting his weblog’s one year mark! Go visit his site, and give him some well-wishing along with the Duke!

And vaya con pollos to weblogging mainstay Franklin Harris, who’s putting an end to his site, for good this time. We’ll miss ya, Mr. Harris!

Someone, somewhere, at this very moment, is having a heart attack over how Batman is portrayed in All Star Batman and Robin #2. But man, I couldn’t stop laughing, not so much as to the actual content of the story, but to Frank Miller’s hearty “screw you” to the fans who want their Batman deadly serious. (And yeah, I know Batman’s behavior was, mostly, supposed to be an act to get reactions out of Dick Grayson. Still damned funny.)

Okay, just when you’ve thought you’ve heard the last of this…so, about the early ’90s comic crash….

Now stop that groaning, this’ll only take a minute or two.

Anyway, we were trying to pin down if Superman #75 (the dreaded “Death of Superman” issue) came out at the same time as Turok #1 (the dreaded “Death of the Comics Market for All Time” issue). Some folks said “yay,” others, like commenter Gardner said “nay,” and, lacking easy access to our invoices of the time, I sought an answer elsewhere.

And that elsewhere was Comiclist, which not only has current new releases, but new release lists dating back to ’91, complete with a search engine. Looking there, Superman #75 was scheduled for release in mid-November 1992, and Turok #1 was due April of ’93.

Now, there were a lot of #1s coming out at the same time as that Turok, but the only really big one was Marvel’s Infinity Crusade. However, with Marvel having gone to that “Infinity” well a few too many times over too short a period, it didn’t do so well. So, basically, Turok wasn’t facing much competition from other titles that week. However, looking at these lists, I see quite a few things that most stores (including our own…we’re not innocent in this) probably way overordered. Sigh…this much “nostalgia” isn’t healthy, I’m sure.

On a (mostly) non-comic-related note, pal Scott (who is also secretly pal JP‘s brother) has had his book turned into a movie directed by Harold Ramis and starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, and freakin’ Randy Quaid. Hey, pretty cool.

And in other movie news: “The Legend of Cabin Boy.”

* Freudian slip alert: as I was typing this sentence, I was intending to type “original,” but somehow I typed “real.” I see what the deepest, darkest recesses of my fanboy brain is thinking….

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