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Something fell.

§ April 19th, 2024 § Filed under cerebus § 15 Comments

Hoo boy, comments beget comments beget comments, and I told myself I was going to restrict CEREEBUSTALK to just this week, so I’ll try to cover a lot here in short order.

From Monday’s post, here’s JohnJ with

“…Even got a photo I took at a Capital City Distributors show published by Dave as a back cover. It was a shot of Dave, Colleen Doran, James Owen and Martin Wagner all mugging for my camera.”

Oh, do you mean…this photo, from the back cover to Cerebus #174 (1993)?

(I whited out your last name, in case that was a state secret or something.) Huh, it’s a weird the longer I’m online, the more people tangentially related to the comics I’ve read have found me online. Neat!

JohnJ also say (not a typo, was trying to rhyme)

“…It did seem like he dug a hole by promising 300 issues and having to stretch his story to get there. I found the small type impossible to read so kind of flagged on it as it neared the end.”

I’ll address the second part first, in that the overreliance on text pieces to carry the story in the latter part of the series was…unfortunate. In the “Jaka’s Story” and “Melmoth” sections it worked surprisingly well…usually throwing a giant text piece in the middle of your funnybook generally functioned as a big ol’ speedbump, and a bad habit of a number of 1970s comickers. (I will however give Steve Gerber a pass on this.)

But then we started getting into “Reads” and the text pieces there, which were at least readable, but contentwise a bit…well, we’ll say “alarming.” And then those issues that were almost all text with the pseudo-religious screeds that few if any tried to plow through, what amounted to wasted pages that could have gone to story but instead just supplied pages that could be stapled together to make a full-sized comic.

That sounds awfully harsh, and to reiterate: Dave’s comic, he could do what he wanted with it. But this was a ride that I, and many others, just couldn’t go on. It was literally a period of looking at the two or three pages of comics in each issue and skipping the text pieces and just filing the book away in my Cerebus box. Maybe someone will drop by here to yell at me for missing “the important stuff,” and I do mean someday to try to tackle it again, but…well, What Can You Do™?”

In looking something up, I came across the entry for “Lord Julius” (the Groucho Marx-inspired character) in a Cerebus Wiki, which included what Dave had to say about an unused story idea late in the series:

“[I] wanted to do Groucho as an old man somewhere in the course of Latter Days and just not having room for it. I was going to make Palnu this last lonely outpost completely surrounded by Cirinists and the place was just one big rotgut distillery with Lord Julius and Baskin running everything pretty much by themselves….”

If I may, perhaps a couple dozen or so fewer text pages could have made room for one more appearance by one of Dave’s more delightful characters. I mean, it’s not like the actual Groucho’s later years weren’t rife with the need for some kind of commentary. There’s even a lady who latched onto old Groucho in her own attempt to achieve fame, and if that doesn’t sound like something right up Dave’s alley, I don’t know what does.

Anyway, I’ll save that for my Cerebus fan fiction.

• • •

Thom H. hollers

“Sim did a lot of good work around creators’ rights back in the day. And 300 self-published issues is a huge accomplishment. It’s a shame all that gets overshadowed by his sad Light and Void ramblings.”

Just wanted to say, yes, Dave was (and still is, presumably) a primary supporter of self-publishing. Making it all the way to 300, in whatever form it took, was astounding, and I’m sure he had to do it with naysayers all around him telling him there was no way he was going to succeed.

“I’m sure the phone books still make him some money, but not as much as they would have if he had reined in his worst impulses and stuck the landing.”

I do wonder how well they are selling. I imagine well enough, since they’re still being carried by Diamond, he’s still printing new editions, and I even still sell a volume here and there. Despite how we may feel about how the book went in the end, it’s still a major work in the comics field, and gets attention simply just for that.

• • •

John sez

“…The last few years of the run we had dropped from about 30 people getting it, to just two (and we were only ordering one extra for the rack -that never sold, and then just went to back issue).”

That has me trying to remember how it was selling for us as Cerebus hit that magic 300. I think we still had a few diehards hangin’ on ’til the very end, including yours truly. My hunch is that sales dropped over time, but ordered a few extra for the last issue because that was a fairly momentous occasion. I don’t remember if we actually did sell more of #300 or not. I was even blogging at the time and didn’t make a mention of how it was selling. Ah well, maybe next time. (“What?”)

“I’m always eager to pick up other Dave Sim work just to look at what he’s working on. The Alex Raymond book is Fantastic.”

I’m glad to hear that. I was enjoying the strip cartoonists stuff in glamourpuss, and even told Dave during that phone call I was really looking forward to it. Alas, it’s another victim of my eye troubles as it’s in the backlog of goodies I need to read.

• • •

Mike Loughlin remembers pal-of-the-site Tegan O’Neil’s writings on Cerebus, and Rob S. comes through with the link. And as Rob notes, Tom Ewing already linked to Tegan’s writings in his own series of posts, but I like Tegan and want to link her too.

• • •

Onto Wednesday’s post, here’s old, old friend (as in I’ve known him a long time, not that he’s decrepit) tomthedog with

“I was seriously going to try to finish Cerebus, or at least get through Jaka’s Story, because of Tom’s blog posts, but then I read Tangent again.

“Tangent, dude. Tangent.

“Cerebus deserves to die alone, unmourned and unloved.”

Yeah, that link is a gathering on Dave’s writings re: feminism. SPOILER: he don’t like it, not at all, nuh uh. Also, it’s very, very long, and uses the phrase “feminist-homosexualist axis,” so, uh, you’re warned, I guess.

• • •

philfromgermany has something germane to say

“There were a couple of specials but I cannot provide reprint status: A-V in 3D (with Neil the Horse), Cerebus Zero and Cerebus Jam. You need not skip these to evade the awful stuff.”

This gives me an excuse to add another break to this massive wall of text with that great Cerebus Jam cover by Bill Sienkiewicz:

Cerebus Jam (which I’ve talked about before) is a collection of short Cerebus stories by Sim with other artists, like Will Eisner, Terry Austin, and Murphy Anderson. Fun stuff, don’t think any of it has been reprinted.

A-V in 3-D is a sampler book of various titles being published by Dave’s company Aardvark-Vanaheim at the time, all in glorious three dimensions. According to the Comics Database link, it’s almost all been reprinted elsewhere except the Cerebus story. (Note to Tom W – there’s your answer!)

Cerebus Zero is a one-shot reprinting those issues of Cerebus that, I said last time, were not included in the “phone book” reprints for dumb reasons. Honestly, they should totally be in there, c’mon son.

Also of note is Cerebus World Tour Book 1995, reprinting the short stories produced specifically for the early pre-phone book Swords of Cerebus reprint volumes. Most stories feature Dave collaborating with other creators, like Gene Day or Joe Rubinstein. A six pager entirely by Barry Windsor-Smith is also included, as is a run of strips from the Comic Buyers’ Guide with the in-universe parody of Prince Valiant.

• • •

And speaking of Tom W, he talks about his experience with Cerebus and admires Dave’s mastery of the comics form. I mean, yes, absolutely, there’s no denying he was a master of pacing, caricature, dialog, and especially lettering. Just some of the purpose it was put to was a tad troubling near the end there.

“And the excellent three-pager in Alan Moore’s AARGH!, a publication raising funds to combat Britain’s homophobic Section 28 law which it now seems deeply surreal Sim contributed to. Spoiler: the Sacred Secret Wars Roach has urges.”

Oooh yeah. If you can find this book, it’s great. The Alan Moore/Steve Bissette/Rick Veitch “Mirror of Love” is astounding, but Dave’s contribution delivers a pretty solid, if dirty, laugh.

• • •

Daniel T squares off with

“Sim’s views have never put me off Cerebus for one big reason: his ideas have absolutely no effect on anything, except maybe some of his most ardent admirers. […] He is basically screaming into the, er, void.”

That’s likely true…there may be some of The Usual Suspects on Xwitter still who are all “right on, man” assuming these comic fans actually read any of his comics (or any comics, honestly). But even given his the effective reach of his opinions are nil, they still impact the work itself, which is the real problem. What could have been a masterpiece is…well, I spent two posts already talking about this, you know what I’m going on about.

Whoops, and Daniel also mentions Dave’s wonderful lettering. I wasn’t copying Daniel, I swear!

“…High Society and Church and State show him to be an intelligent, thoughtful writer with a firm grasp of ideas and history.”

Yes, exactly…there are so many good ideas in the comic that when the bad ideas show up, it’s a real showstopper.

• • •

Jim Kosmicki notes

“I know that I’m not the first person to point this out, but Sim really created biggest problems by proclaiming it a 300 issue story early on and then not being able to admit ‘I was young and brash’ to stop when the story really needed to stop. Pushing to fill those last 100 or so issues seems to have ‘forced’ him to let any ideas get on the page.”

to which Daniel T replies

“It is of course entirely possible he had no plan for all 300 issues, but I always thought whatever he might have wanted to do with the character over the last 100-150 issues became less important to him than getting his ideas about things in front of people.”

I don’t know for sure just how far ahead, and to what detail, Dave planned out the Cerebus storylines. But I do have at least one piece of evidence in favor of him having done so, at least to some extent.

Swords of Cerebus, published in 1984, reprints among other issues Cerebus #22 from 1980. In this issue Elrod (Dave’s parody of Michael Moorcock’s character Elric) is killed, but finds he becomes a ghostly spirit who can possess the living (in a parody of DC Comics’ Deadman). Swords of Cerebus includes text introductions to each issue, and for the reprint of #22 Dave says “we’ll find out why Elrod was able to do this around issue #175.” (Or thereabouts, I don’t have the book in front of me right now.)

In 1984, when this volume of Swords of Cerebus was published, Cerebus was around issue 55 or so. In issue #180, published in 1994, we do indeed find out what Elrod’s deal was.

So I think Dave had at least some plan in place…at least with large swaths of the story (“okay, Jaka and Cerebus will journey back to Cerebus’ home town at this point of the series”) while leaving enough room to maneuver for new ideas and plotlines, such as they were.

• • •

Joe Gualtieri recommends

“…you should absolutely read the Last Day.”

I mean, yeah, probably. If you’re going to go at least partly into Cerebus, knowing how it’s supposed to end with #300, you should probably see how it all wraps up. There are some…sour notes even here, given it is late in the series, but the very final scene is pretty wild.

• • •

Smichael swonders

“I am very curious about what the letters pages were like throughout the series…but particularly the last third. Can you share a bit about what reader response was, as seen through the lens of what Sim allowed into this space?”

Hoo boy, that may be more than I’m able to tackle at the moment. I seem to remember Dave doing away with the letter column entirely at some point, replacing them with more text pieces. A sample issue from the “Latter Days” period I popped open to check had almost half the book dedicated to a piece titled “Islam, My Islam,” and oh dear.

The letters column was a wild ride, particularly during the “High Society” and “Church and State” days, but a more detailed description may have to wait until I can take a more thorough overview of the issues. Suffice to say, when the letters column existed, it was never boring!

“…Is it reasonable to see parallels between the last third of the Cerebus run, and the last third or so of Steve Ditko’s published work? It seems like they are both characterized by a domination of ideology over storytelling, and become more and more challenging, dense, alienating, choose-your-term-I’m-trying-to-be-nice…to the reader. Likewise, regardless of public opinion they both remain absolutely unique creations, doing things creatively that no one else could (or would choose to) do, and immediately recognizable as that creator’s work. That lack of regard for public opinion and attitude of ‘this is what I’ve got, take it or leave it’ seems have driven both men’s output.”

I think that’s not a terrible comparison, leaving out the actual content of their positions. Both had the fortunate-for-them apparent freedom to do what they wanted, marketplace be damned. As I’ve repeated over and over again, Dave had the right do whatever he liked with his comic. He can look at everything everyone said here in criticism of Cerebus, and he can say “you guys are all dummies, you just don’t get it,” and he’d completely be in his rights to do so. Dave created something that is uniquely his, representing his ideas as he wanted them expressed, and completed the project with issue #300 as he’d planned.

It may not be the work we ultimately wanted, and some of the ideas we may find repellent. We may mourn the loss of what could have been unambiguously a classic. But there it is, all Dave’s, for us to examine, to interrogate, to debate, or simply to ignore. It’s that last option which is the real shame, but unfortunately work itself tries very hard to encourage that response.

• • •

Okay, that’s the end of Cerebus posts for a while. I didn’t address everyone’s comments, but you all had some good ones, and thank you for them. If you want to still discuss, the comments remain open, but my actual posts are moving on to other topics. Thanks again for your participation, and making me ponder this aardvark once again.

If you do use his last name, remember it’s “Sim” with no “s” at the end.

§ April 17th, 2024 § Filed under cerebus § 15 Comments

So y’all had some good comments about Cerebus and the troubles thereof, with a small side conversation about a 1957 Mighty Mouse I originally talked about on this site 18 years ago (Patrick, if you’re reading this, I replied in the comments with the info you need!)

I also got a comment (that went straight into moderation) from a particular troller who loves nothing more than being rude and insulting. This time he didn’t like me saying, in essence (and in admittedly too many words), “Dave’s worldview was troubling, and it negatively impacted Cerebus.” Which is, I think, about as objective and factual a description of the events as one can manage.

I’m not trying to pile on Dave, here (and yes, I’m perhaps being overly familiar by just calling him “Dave,” but referring to him just by his last name feels weird). There’s plenty of that out there, and some of it a whole lot more harsh than I’m being. I do like Cerebus, there’s plenty about it to admire, but as the more problematic elements begin to slip in, they become harder and harder to ignore as the series rolls along. To repeat myself, they go from informing elements of the story to becoming the story, to its detriment.

This isn’t a case of me, the reader, being “too woke” or whatever. It’s the story going from “being about Cerebus” to “being about Dave and his specific interests,” which is not what we signed up for. Like I said, it’s Dave’s comic to do what he wants with it, but for a whole lot of folks it went in directions that readers didn’t care for. And that ended up being the series’ legacy.

I don’t hate Dave. From what I heard on Bluesky, he seems completely affable in person. A few years back I spoke to him on the phone (and I’ll tell you what, seeing “Aardvark-Vanaheim” on my caller ID was something else). He was calling to set up a time to come by the store to promote a book, and he tried to introduce himself, to which I replied “I read all of Cerebus and glamourpuss, I know who you are!” which made him laugh. We had a perfectly friendly conversation about comics and retailing for a few minutes and that was that. His tour got called off due to COVID, so he never made it by, unfortunately.

But I don’t agree with certain positions he holds, and I don’t like how those positions derailed a comic I so loved. It was so disappointing to see something I’d been following for years wrap up the way it did.


Okay, enough of that. Let’s get to your specific comments, at least what I have time for tonight:

aj had this to say

“…I did borrow the first phone book collection, and, honestly, i cannot tell you what happened in it or even my reactions to events in the books now. literally nothing stands out to my memory. not characters, not events, not dialog. Some might take that as thinking i hated it, but it just didn’t HIT.”

That is a very not-uncommon response to those early Cerebus issues. Very often (in fact, even during the Bluesky discussion we were having on the topic) it would be recommended that you skip the first volume entirely, and go straight to volume 2, the inarguably excellent High Society. The very early issues, especially the first, are…unpolished, shall we say, and don’t fully express the wit and energy that would come in later stories. Generally the suggestion is that you go back to Volume 1 after reading later material.

However, I personally say differently. Which is ironic given that in my personal experience with Cerebus, I read later issues first (beginning as I did early in Church and State, i.e. what would be the third volume) given how I was collecting the series. I was reading earlier stories out of order, with missing issues, basically as I bought them. I did get the Swords of Cerebus books relatively early on:

…which reprinted the first 25 issues (which would eventually be collected in the thicker “phone book” edition pictured higher up in this post). But even getting them somewhat early in my Cerebus hunting-and-gathering, I still had read plenty of the then-newer material.

Even so, I say “read the books in order.” Yes, the early stuff is…the early stuff. It’s rough around the edges, and can be tough going. But it’s the beginning of the story, it introduces many of the major players who will occupy the series. And it doesn’t stay that crude for very long…you get to watch Dave improve in leaps and bounds as the series continues, and in short order it’s recognizably Classic Cerebus.

Just my opinion…there are people who skipped straight to volume 2 and never looked back and were perfectly fine, so there you go!

• • •

Allan Hoffman has a question which is a spoiler for the series, so I won’t quote it here. But I will answer “yes.” Which raises questions about earlier references, in a “was it there in front of us the whole time?” kind of way.

• • •

Chris V enters the formation with

“…I found that the series becomes a terrible slog through the next few volumns, as Sim’s changing personal beliefs take up more and more of the text. I do have more time for the artistry of the later volumns (starting with Going Home), which is where many readers choose to give up.”

I quoted this bit specifically because it allows me to bring up a topic I get asked frequently whenever the subject comes up…if one wants to read Cerebus, where do you begin and end?

I spoke already about where to start…I think Volume 1 should be read, in order, but if you want to go back to it later after reading later issues, I suppose I’ll allow it.

Altogether there are 16 “phone book” collections reprinting most of the series. (For reasons that are mostly dumb, issues #51, #112/#113 (published as a double-issue), and #137-8 are not reprinted, being “in-between” or “epilogue” stories mostly unrelated to the main narrative). If you want to mostly avoid the “bad” part of Cerebus, I would stop with Volume 9, Minds, with the caveat “DON’T READ THE TEXT PAGES.” The first ten volumes cover the first 200 issues, more or less, of Cerebus‘ 300 issue run, which pretty much takes care of all the plot points and such from the earlier issues that you’d be interested in.

• • •

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ll wrap this all up on Friday, and also remind you to read Tom Ewing’s Cerebus essays that I’m hopefully not inadvertently pinching from. Thanks for reading, pals, and I’ll see you soon.

Spoilers for Cerebus #100.

§ April 15th, 2024 § Filed under cerebus § 26 Comments

I’ve talked about this in various places before, and Tom Ewing even points out it out in one of his essays, but Cerebus reaching issue #100 in mid-1987 was a special event. Even the cover, pictured above, looked out of place from the Cerebus covers before or since, reprinting segments of covers of previous issues (specifically #1, #25, #50, and #75) relegated what would have been the standard cover, reflecting the actual contents, to the back.

Let me give you a little lead-up here. (And just to remind you, the title of this post will indeed spoil something major, so if you haven’t read Cerebus and in the statistically-unlikely event you plan to do so, you might want to skip to after the “• • •” bit.)

The series began as a parody of Conan the Barbarian (“Conan the Barbarian” –> “Cerebus the Aardvark,” you see), and in particular the Barry Windsor-Smith version of the character from the earliest issues. The conceit that our lead character is a tough sword-wielding aardvark in a world of humans is one of the initial sources of incongruous humor.

And as the series went on, Cerebus…well, continued being an “aardvark,” obviously. A cartoony rendition of one, anthropomorphized, walking around on two legs, kinda sorta looking like a real aardvark if you squint a bit:

a real aardvark, taken from the Wikipedia page and credited to this source

And as you read the comic, you simply accepted that our protagonist was this weird little grey-toned thing and the representation of the idea of an aardvark just became, well, Cerebus. Cerebus was Cerebus, the focus of the willing suspension of disbelief, and once you suspended that belief, there wasn’t much call to reflect on Cerebus’ nature.

I mean, it came up from time to time. Cerebus used his tail to do stuff (and it would notably pop out of his clothing at quite the inopportune moment). I can’t remember if it’s brought up (or simply implied) that Cerebus’ parents were ordinary humans by this point in the series. And eventually a character states “there are three aardvarks,” which is quite the revelation (and puts me in mind of the still technically unresolved “three Jokers” reveal in that Justice League comic, depending on the shaky canonicity of DC’s Black Label line).

To cut to the chase here, Cerebus #100 hits us with a last page shocker that I’d put up against almost any other cliffhanger in comics. I’ll link the image here so it just doesn’t pop up and spoil people trying to skim past all this text, but what we get is…another aardvark. Hey, that fella saying there were three aardvarks is, as of #100, at least two-thirds correct!

And it’s, as I said, a shock. We were so used to Cerebus just being Cerebus that we forgot he was An Aardvark in a World of Men, that he is, not just in the context of being a funny animal parody of Conan, but in the actual fictional context of the world within the comic, he’s well, a freak. With the introduction of this new aardvark character, we no longer can just have Cerebus be Cerebus. Now we have to think about what it means that there are humanoid aardvarks in this world, what is the relationship between the two aardvarks we’re aware of, where is that supposed third aardvark? The “aardvark” part of the story went from a gimmick to get you to pick the comic off the stands to, suddenly, a vital part of the narrative.

This was a masterful bit of storytelling, one that not only opened up the comic to new possibilities, but forced readers to reconsider their own relationship with, and interpretation of, the unfolding saga. I’ve read comics for a very long time, and this particular issue remains one of the high points of my immersion in this art form.

• • •

Okay, SPOILERS are over, let’s get to the point of all this. Just a few days ago, inspired by Tom Ewing’s essays, I started chatting about Cerebus on Bluesky. Mostly I talked about how, once creator Dave Sim’s personal beliefs and opinions and very life became part and parcel with the comic’s narrative, the series’ potential as an enduring classic was diminished. As I said there, it’s Dave’s comic, he could do whatever he wanted with it. But what he did with it was largely offputting and…wildly controversial in regards to his particular worldview, that now any discussion of the work as a whole has to address this.

There was someone on Bluesky who kept trying to argue with me and others that it’s the fault of critics who keep bringing up Dave’s views in discussing the comic. That the comic should just be discussed as it is, without bringing Dave into it.

Which, as anyone who’s read the comic or is at least familiar with it knows, is an entirely bonkers idea as it’s not critics or readers who brought Dave’s Views into the comic. It was Dave. As I said on Bluesky:

“Dave’s worldview doesn’t just inform the work. To a major extent it IS the work, and trying to discuss CEREBUS simply as a work of fiction without addressing its creator would be a failure of literary analysis.”

It affects literally everything in the comic, once Dave reveals what he believes. Is the degeneration of Jaka over the course of the series simply supposed to represent this one character’s arc, or is it “see what women are like!” I mean, the thought will cross your mind.

The top bit of this post was me trying to discuss a specific part of Cerebus that stuck with me, ever since I read it…I don’t know, given comic cover dates I was either just wrapping up high school, or I was in the summer before I started college. It impressed the hell out of me, and still does. Many parts of Cerebus still impress me. Even in later issues, after, well, everything, the artwork and even the lettering are still outstanding. But in talking about #100, though trying to avoid anything about what happened later in the series, I see I still put a tiny caveat in.

To be clear, as I was writing it just sort of came out of me as I was shunting words from my brain to my fingers, dashing off an initial draft. I refer to anyone who hasn’t read Cerebus as being “statistically unlikely” to do so at this point. I just went ahead and left it in there, since, without really meaning to, I still made at least some reference to the fact that you’re not going to read it, for the implied reason of, well, you know.

I’ve talked about Cerebus a lot on this site. I think most of the time I bring up, even if only briefly the controversy around this comic. It’s almost reflexive. “Yes, I do love the early parts of Cerebus. Yes, I know how it all ended up.” I still love those early issues. I still love that #100. I’m still in the market trying to complete the first 25 issues of the series that I only previously had in the Swords of Cerebus reprint paperbacks. I still hold up the “High Society” story as one of the absolute heights of sequential art.

But I know there will always be an asterisk on the work. And that the great parts of the series will be overshadowed by the not-so-great bits. And what could have been an eternally-read classic is instead disdained if not outright ignored. It really is too bad.

Cameo appearance by my fingers.

§ April 12th, 2024 § Filed under cerebus, nancy, sir-links-a-lot § 8 Comments

So I’ve had a mostly-working eye out for one of these for a while. One had been on the eBays with torn and missing pages, so I kept waiting for a copy that didn’t suck to show up on there for a halfway-reasonable price. And lo, my patience did pay off, as a complete copy of the Nancy Better Little Book from 1946 finally made an appearance:

This volume measures around 4 by 4 inches (maybe a little taller than it is wide). Whitman, the publisher, put out several books in this format, mostly under the name “Big Little Books” which may be more familiar to most of you.

Here’s a look at the spine:

And here’s the back cover:

The first page:

This is the beginning of the actual content, with a small text piece setting up the situation:

But aside the very occasional text piece like that, the book is all comics, one panel per page:

…which differs from most Big Little Books I’ve seen, which would have a piece of art on one page, facing a page full of prose. This has me curious whether the other Better Little Books listed on that back cover are similar in format. Especially the Popeye volume…I’m a sucker for that ol’ sailor man.

Anyway, that’s the latest addition to the Once Vast Mikester Comic Archives. Well, aside from everything else I’ve picked up recently.

• • •


  • There was a new Dreadstar graphic novel just released, Dreadstar Vs. The Inevitable, available via Kickstarter. I gots mine (with a little squiggled signature from Steve Apollo himself, Jim Starlin, on the cover) and I kept meaning to write a litle something about it. But Chad Nevett wrote a lot of something about it, and there ain’t nothin’ there I can disagree with. Go read it, it’s quite the review.

    My personal, and much less in-depth, review: art’s great, the story is wafer-thin despite the obvious allegories, and it comes to a conclusion that I didn’t expect but oddly works anyway. Also, no Skeevo, so points off for that.

  • So Tom Ewing’s been writing a multi-part overview of Cerebus, which are all on one page here, or you can find them at the top of the sidebar in order on the individual posts. It goes deep into its qualities and its impact, good and bad, and this entire series of essays is worth consuming whether you were a Cerebus reader at any time, or just interested in the artform in general.

    I keep saying “I’m going to reread Cerebus one of these days.” Yes, I read it all, in mostly periodical form, mostly one issue at a time, one month at a time. (I started picking it up around issue 70-something, bought back issues back to 26, and have the first 25 in the multiple Swords of Cerebus paperbacks. Though I’m making progress in buying actual copies of the first 25 now!) Tom’s writings make me wonder if I want to make that a half-reread, stopping around 150 or so. …However, I feel like if I make that commitment, I’m going to have to see it through to the end.

I presume the other fella’s name was, like, Blutus.

§ February 15th, 2023 § Filed under cerebus, popeye, retailing § 11 Comments

So last week, will richards remarked

“I seems ta remembersk a parody featuring Squinteye the Sailor (again, more appropriate than Popeye?), but can’t recall which comic that was in.”

I replied in the comments, but thought I’d point it out On Main, as the kids say. To the best of my knowledge, Squinteye stems from the 1985 release Cerebus Jam #1. This was a comic in which the regular Cerebus team, Dave Sim and Gerhard, team up with another creator to produce a short story. Said creators include Murphy Anderson, Will Eisner, and noted Popeye fan Terry Austin, who co-produced this tale of a Young Cerebus encountering a grizzled sailor down at the docks.

Eventually Squinteye bumps into an old adversary:

…who is dispatched in the typical fashion:

…leaving something of an impact on our junior main character:

According to the story notes in this issue, Sim provided very rough sketches of “Squinteye” and Bluto on the pages, which Austin very meticulously finished, including details like the dead Jeep on the (magically-changing) shoulder.

Like most Cerebus art in the main book, it’s quite stunningly detailed, and Austin fits right in with his legendary illustrative talent. It’s well worth tracking down a copy of this comic…all the stories found within are a lot of fun.

• • •

Snark Shark takes a bite at me with

“twitter: ‘somebody’s breaking street date’

“How much trouble can they get in for that?”

Mr. Shark is referring to a couple of posts I made on the somehow-still-functional-mostly Twitter about a customer who came in Tuesday and indicated a DC book released that day had already been purchased by him days earlier. Given that specific books’ release date was the 14th, if he bought it earlier, then some other retailer sold it too early. (Assuming the customer isn’t mistaken of course.)

Putting street dates on books allows retailers to ship them to stores early, to allow for more time to process and count the received goods, as well as report shortages and damages more a more timely replacement. For example, I received DC Comics due for release on the 21st this past Tuesday, the 14th. My shipments from Penguin Random House (containing my Marvel and IDW and, soon, Dark Horse orders) generally arrive the Friday before the following Wednesday’s release date, though Monday is relatively common too. Diamond shipments with goods for sale Wednesday arrive on that week’s Tuesday, but the occasional delay or UPS error can mean I’m scrambling to process the order Wednesday morning before opening for the day.

For the most part, assuming no shipping delays, this is a lot easier on me than in Ye Olden Tymes, when everything showed up on Wednesday for that day’s release, and hopefully the shipment arrived early enough in the morning that everyone rushed through getting the order counted and shelved and maybe pulled for the comic savers before opening. Unless UPS decided to start at the other end of its route and we ended up getting our boxes at, like, 4 in the afternoon, which did happen. (Eventually we just had the boxes held at the UPS center, and I would pick them up on my way to work that morning.)

Now for early shipments to work, that requires retailers to stick to the street dates, and Diamond used to send out “secret shoppers” to keep tabs on stores and make sure they weren’t breaking street dates by putting material out too early. From all accounts I’ve heard, these distributor spies were obvious as all hell, but to the best of my knowledge I’ve never dealt with any, either at my previous place of employment or at my shop. So, either I’ve never been tagged as a secret shopper target, or my secret shoppers knew what they were doing and actually remained secret. Not that it mattered, since I never broke street dates.

To get to Snark Shark’s question, finally, as to what would be the penalty for selling stuff too early — first they’d stop shipping stuff to you early temporarily, and then I’d have to assume if you’re a repeat offender they’d stop the early shipping permanently. That would mean whatever poor bastard got caught breaking street dates would be back to the Bad Old Process of trying to get stuff taken care of the very morning of its release, which can be done but it’s a pain in the ass.

So anyway, don’t do this, fellow retailers. And again, not that I’m sure this happened in the first place in this instance, as I’m half-convinced this particular customer was mistaken about getting that comic early.

• • •

Again, sorry for the dearth in entries the last few days. There’s a period in March where I have a bunch of medical stuff all in a row, so it might happen again. Be forewarned, be forearmed!

Please don’t leave a comment under the name “Big Poopypants.”

§ June 24th, 2022 § Filed under cerebus, retailing § 5 Comments

A couple of questions from last Friday’s posting:

Ray Cornwall comes in from the sea to ask

“How many issues of Cerebus from 1-25 do you have? I was heavy into Cerebus for a long time. I’ve kind of walked away from Sim a bit, although I do have the Alex Raymond book here to read at some point…”

Yeah, I have that same book, too, on the ol’ “to read” pile. Hey, did I ever tell you guys about getting a phone call from Dave Sim? He was calling comic shops to plan in-person visits to drum up interest in that very book (The Strange Death of Alex Raymond, it’s called)…he started to introduce himself and what he’s done, and I was like “I’ve read all of Cerebus, don’t worry, I familiar with you!” which amused him. When he started describing the book to me, I asked “is this including any of the material from glamourpuss (which featured strips about cartoonists including Raymond), so I also surprised him with the fact that I’d read all of that series, too.

Anyway, we set a date for him to drop by, and then COVID happened and alas, it never came to pass. Which is too bad, because I probably would have asked him to sign the issue of the Howard the Duck magazine he’d worked on. Ah, well. I still ordered copies of the book, and yes, I sold a copy or two.

But back to your question. A couple of years back, I decided that, despite having the first 25 issues of Cerebus reprinted in the Swords of Cerebus trade paperbacks (now themselves supplanted by the first Cerebus “phone book,” containing all those stories*), I wanted to see if I could track down the individual issues. My posts leading me into looking at eBay and picking up some of those comics can be found here and here.

I’ve probably bought about…8 or 9 issues of those pre-#26 Cerebuses so far, though I haven’t picked any up in a while. I also have issues #1 and #2 in deluxe Kickstartered reprints, which I think are probably going to have to do unless genuine copies slip through the front door of my shop someday. (I write about that #1 here.)

I really need to get my comics at home in some kind of order before I start going on the back issue trail, fillin’ them holes. I’ve said that before and I never seem to find the time to do it. Dealing with comics all day at work usually means not wanting to deal with them at home, so there you go, I guess. But I would like to have a complete Cerebus run in comic format (even with a couple of reprint ringers) someday. The aesthetics of the covers just tickle something in my brain.

• • •

Daniel asks some very good questions, for which I don’t have very good answers

“RE: Tim Sale, did you ever get a sense of what your customers thought of his work? His art was so wonky and esoteric that it always struck me odd that he became so popular with the mainstream. He was never a natural draftsman, but he had such an exceptional design sense that he was able to more than compensate for whatever he lacked as a traditional figurative artist. A real talent. He’ll be missed.

“I guess that’s a broader question: When accounting for the era in which each was at his/her creative peak, are stylized, design-centric cartoonists (Sale, Simonson, Kirby, Mignola) more popular with mainstream customers than traditional, naturalistic draftsmen like Neal Adams, George Perez, John Byrne or any of their imitators? Or are consumers more conservative and literal in their tastes (not that that’s a good thing or a bad thing)?”

Like I said, good questions, and unfortunately I don’t have any real good answers for you. To respond in very, very general terms, if I received customer pushback it would be against comics that looked “weird,” and if I received specific customer approval for comics art, it would be for those drawn in a more typical, representative manner. (Talkin’ superhero comics here, in case that needs to be made explicit.)

This always varied by customer, of course. Most customers seemed to enjoy Sale’s work…unusual it may have been by typcial Marvel/DC standards, but being the artist on a very popular Batman storyline (“The Long Halloween,” natch) helped “sell” him and his style to those members of the comic-buying public who may have been on the fence about that work. But there were also customers who rejected the art as being “too cartoony” (you know the drill, he’s not the only one).

If I had to hazard a guess, there’s more tolerance for the wide variety of styles available on superhero books than one would expect. And for every comic art style out there, there’s always someone who’s gonna love it and someone who’s gonna hate it. And what I consider “good” won’t be someone else’s taste…had a customer once come in and say “I’m looking for comics with really great art, like [x]” where [x] was, in my mind, a pretty terrible artist. Like, “blind people can tell the art is bad” terrible. But I choked down my bile and proceeded to find comics illustrated in a similar vein.

For the general non-usually-reading-comics public, I maybe have a slight sense that comics that don’t look like what they think comics normally look like may appeal slightly more? The Long Halloween and Superman: For All Seasons didn’t look like normal superhero comics. In fact, a person new to comics might look at it and say “ooh, this is pretty” in a way they wouldn’t if they looked at, I don’t know, a comic filled with fights and cramped panels and whatnot.

But on the other hand some newbies looking for comics want a comic book that looks like what they think it should look like, and the more Spider-Man punching the Rhino in this issue, the better.

So Daniel, I may need to think about this some more. This isn’t much of an answer, but I hope it gets across the ambiguity and difficulty of really trying to answer it.

But it does get me to thinking…who’s the one superhero comic book artist everyone can agree on. I mean, agree is good. I’m guessing George Perez, or Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Who doesn’t love George or Jose? Big poopypants, that’s who.


* I don’t believe the phone book contains the new “bonus” material that was included in the Swords volumes.

A little fancier filler copy than a Cerebus Biweekly.

§ September 21st, 2020 § Filed under cerebus § 8 Comments

Well, I sorta started what I threatened to do here, picking up pre-#26 issues of Dave Sim’s Cerebus for cheap off the eBays. Now, most of them are reasonably priced, at least for my purposes, but the lower numbers, your 1 through 3s or so, are still commanding higher prices. I figured maybe someday those issues would come through the shop and I could buy them then, but otherwise, unless some amazing bargain breaks out, I’ll have to do without.

Well, enter Kickstarter and a new reprint of #1. I figure I’d live if my hopefully someday-complete run of the Cerebus comic books had this version of the first issue. Which isn’t to say I still wouldn’t be willing to get my mitts on one of the original #1s (and not one of the bootlegs…more on that in a moment).

“So what all did you get in said Kickstarter?” you’re probably not asking, but don’t worry, I’m going to show you anyway.

First off is ye olde comic book itself:

with a platinum-colored metallic ink on the cover, instead of red. It contains all the material from the original, but plenty of extras aside, such as promotional art, sketches, period ads for the book, etc. Of note is two pages of storytelling from the original comic redrawn in his modern style by Sim…or as modern as it was in 2010 when those pages were drawn.

On the back cover is where Dave handsigned each copy:

…and that this is #751 of an 800-copy run.

Along with the comic were a small pile of extras, including trading cards, a pretty swell-looking postcard, a sticker, and a bookmark:

I also received Cerebus The Sketchbook, which is, yes, entirely blank:

…with a request from Dave on the inside front cover to send copies of any drawings one might get in this booklet of other cartoonists’s rendition of Cerebus. I don’t have any plans of attending conventions anytime soon…well, yeah, okay, nobody with any sense of self-preservation does, but you know what I mean. So I guess I’ll have to use this to draw my own Cerebus comic. “The Adventures of Cerebus and His Best Pal Spike Merling,” I’ll call it.

Now this next item is pretty cool:

It’s a collection of newspaper and ‘zine articles, and in-house memos/notes, and, as promised in its title, a straight-up history of the counterfeit Cerebus #1s that got dumped on the market a few years after the original’s release in 1977.

Much appreciated is the detail that’s gone into in regards to determining whether that Cerebus #1 you’re looking at is the original or one of the copies:

…which is something I was never quite sure about, to be honest. Once, at the previous place of employment, we actually had an original and a counterfeit #1 in the store at the same time, and I’m pretty sure then I was able to look at them both and see the differences. But if I were, like, handed just one or the other and had to determine which version it was, I might have been stuck. BUT NO LONGER thanks to this handy guide.

I forgot to note that the print quality of all these items is excellent…the new edition of #1 is a thick comic, solidly built and with the crisp newly-scanned artwork they’ve been using in the remastered “phone book” trade paperbacks. I’ve been in the process of slowly converting large chunks of my collection into sellable stock for the store, but some things I’m not letting go. My run of Cerebus is one of them, and I’m pleased to have these as part of it.

Now hopefully #2 and #3 will get the same treatment so I can stop hunting eBay for copies that aren’t hundreds of dollars.

I originally said “A Brief Recap” but I cut out “Brief.”

§ August 10th, 2020 § Filed under cerebus § 15 Comments

So that thing I was thinking about doing back in this post? Well, I dood it.

A recap: my run of Cerebus single issues begins with #26 (the start of the “High Society” sequence) and ends with #300 (very famously the final issue of the series). I have the first 25 issues in reprint form, as collected in the multiple Swords of Cerebus trade paperbacks that predated the phone books.

As I state in that linked post, I’ve had a small bug up my butt about, perhaps, maybe, if I can find them cheap enough, picking up those first 25 issues. This was inspired in part by my old friend Rob bringing in some CGCed copies of early Cerebus and asking me to sell those for him. Seeing early issues of the series, for the first time since I left the previous place of employment, reminded me, even as they were slabbed in their little plastic coffins, how much I liked the imagery on those covers, and the actual just physical-object-ness of the items. Oh, and I still have that #8 for online sale, hint hint, nudge nudge.

Well, that day has apparently come, as I found on the eBays at rock-bottom prices issues 23, 24, and 25, in pretty nice shape. These issues lead right up to my already-owned #26, and as a bonus include the Man-Thing/Swamp Thing parodies. The actual 25 I received is pictured above.

I also picked up a 22 for a reasonable price, and, surprisingly, a copy of the aforementioned #8 for a steal.

I keep mentioned how I got these for cheap, because one of my qualifications for picking any of these up is that I get them for as little as possible. Even if that means lesser condition copies…well, as long as the book is intact and doesn’t smell like cat pee, I’m okay with it. I’ve been lucky so far, getting nice-ish copies (the #8 has a 1/2 inch spine split, which I’m fine with). But the trick is finding them for low prices. My assumption was, with the series over and the availability of the phone books, demand, and prices, for these early issues would drop.

But prices can be all over the map, and I’m not talking about the usual price jump a book makes once it’s sealed inside a graded-comic case. Some are priced to move, others are priced like it’s still the 1980s, but I think that disparity drops the closer we get down to that first issue. And speaking of which…I may pass on trying to buy an original #1 (especially since I have no idea if the seller would know the difference between an original #1 and the counterfeit. Heck, I’m not even 100% sure I know the differences off the top of my head. I did order a Kickstartered replica of the first issue, so once that arrives that will just have to do. And the 2nd and 3rd installments are…still up there as well, but I don’t think we have replica editions of those coming any time soon.

Heck, I don’t know, maybe someone will walk into the store with the first three issues looking to unload. That may be my best shot at getting them, unless I feel like dropping hundred of dollars just to get that last issue I needed. [SPOILER: I don’t.] And yes, I know about the Cerebus Bi-Weekly reprints. I have ’em already. I’m just looking for the originals.

But anyway, even at the cheap prices I got these for, the “old comics budget for Mike” is blown for the time being, so I’ll resume the hunt again in a little while. Feels a little weird looking to fill holes in the collection again, for something that isn’t old fanzines. Or Seaboard/Atlas comics. It’s fun, though, and reminds me that yes, I’m still a comics fan, and not just a dude what runs a comic book store. I can use that reminder once in a while.

I explain the Cerebus Bi-Weekly image eventually.

§ July 27th, 2020 § Filed under cerebus, publishing § 14 Comments

Okay, so about a week ago we were talking about comic book reprints. Specifically, sustained reprintings of entire series or runs, which was brought up because of the forthcoming “Walkin’ Dead in Living Color” series that’s about to be unleashed on us on a biweekly basis. Did I mention last time that it was going to be biweekly? Yup, boy howdy it’s biweekly, a thing that seems…less supportable in the modern marketplace unless it sells for under $3.99 a pop, so I am reconsidering my opinion on whether it’ll be around the full eight years to complete the series.

And I just logged into the Diamond retailer site to check…the first issue (with its multiple covers, natch) is indeed $3.99. Well, gotta pay for them fancy colors, I guess.

Matthew notes

“Kirkman already did a Walking Dead reprint project with The Walking Dead Weekly in 2011. It reprinted the first 52 issues of the series weekly for a year after the TV show premiered.”

I…completely forgot about that. I mean, we carried them all at my previous place of employment, but I don’t think I’ve had a single copy of it turn up in any collections or whatever since I’ve opened up my own store. Like Matthew says later in his comment, print runs seemed to be well under 4,000 copies each in the latter portion of the run, so I suppose it doesn’t surprise me that I haven’t seen them around much. I seem to recall them selling relatively well…not huge numbers, but pretty close to sell-outs and moved reasonably well as back issues.

I suspect the main reason for the low numbers was the availability of the trade paperbacks, which would likely be the preferred method of catching up on a series that suddenly rose to prominence in the public eye and may have started to attract readers who weren’t normally comic book consumers. I mean, yes, sure, there are always a few folks who are driven to comic shops by something they saw on TV or in movies who want the “authentic comic book experience,” which means buying a stapled monthly off the new arrivals rack, but most folks interested in catching up would probably prefer the bigger chunks they can pull off the bookshelf instead of trying to piece it together issue by issue, either through the weekly reprints or the certainly now pricier back numbers of the originals.

Which is why they’re emphasizing the fact that this new color Strolling Fred series is not…well, here, let me pull the direct quote from the solicitation:

“This deluxe, definitive presentation of the story in full color will NOT be collected any time soon, so these single issues will be the only way to experience this.”

And I imagine this will last until sales start plummeting because people coming late to the color series will not be able to find the early issues, which will be long out of print, or they will find them but at greatly inflated prices. Unless there’s a plan in place to keep everything in print for the duration, which, c’mon, let’s not kid ourselves.

What the series does have going for it, aside from, you know, the novelty of color, is backmatter. Series notes, commentary, abandoned plotlines, etc., which will be of interest to the Stalking Ted completist. And, of course, would be a way to get those fencesitters who aren’t necessarily enthused about color, but may be attracted to the idea of learning more about the series, so, you know, completists, like I said.

What this reminds me of a little is Cerebus Bi-Weekly. Now, I own every volume of Swords of Cerebus, reprinting the first 25 issues of Cerebus, and including extra commentary by Dave Sim as well as new cover art and a short story original to the collection (or originally printed outside the series, like the “Silverspoon” strips from the Comics Buyers’ Guide). When I got into Cerebus in the mid-1980s, around issue 70 or so, I started buying the back issues, but decided the Swords books were good enough for the earliest installments, and focused on buying 26 on, to wherever I started picked them up new off the rack.

(Okay, fine, I went to the Grand Comics Database to try to figure it out…issues 74 and 75, the Jaka issues, were the first I’d read, thanks to pal Rob, and I think it was around 79 to 81 when I started buying them new. But I, as they say, digress.)

So anyway, I had the stories, with extras besides, from those early issues. I didn’t need to buy the Cerebus Bi-Weekly series, reprinting each of the first 25 issues in order…but what they had that the Swords of Cerebus volumes didn’t were the letters pages, and editorials, and extra features, and whathaveyou. It was a full reprint of the contents of the original, and since part of the appeal of Cerebus was the occasionally rolicking letters page, and just he whole package in general, it was nice to get a replica of that experience. And thus, I ended up buying all 26 issues of the series (with #26 reprinting some of the material that appeared in Swords of Cerebus, as well as several “Single Pages,” a feature that ran in Cerebus Bi-Weekly that presented work from various cartoonists).

In short (like anything I do on this site is ever short) I double-dipped on stories I already had because I wanted to get my mitts on the extra material. (Note I didn’t buy the follow-up High Society reprints, as I already had the original issues…but apparently the reprints also included sketchbook pages, which in retrospect I would have been interested in seeing. Ah well.) Perhaps the extra material in The Technicolor Dead will grab folks the same way.

Like I mentioned, I’ll be picking it up only because I didn’t the first time ’round, and it’ll be interesting to see if they follow through on doing the entire series (and by the time it’s done, I’ll be 60 years old or purt’near — ack). Also, the solicitation says this is the “definitive” version, meaning they intended it to be color from the start, so I’m buying it the right way, not like all you suckers who bought it in black and white. Hey, don’t get mad at me, I’m just reporting the truth!

Okay, more on the Marvel reprint stuff next time, for anyone I didn’t manage to just alienate right now.

I think the world is ready for a Concrete/Thing crossover.

§ June 22nd, 2020 § Filed under cerebus, dc comics, marvel, publishing § 15 Comments

So remember last week when we were talking about the Marvel/DC crossovers, and which ones I thought we the good’uns? Well, a couple of you had questions, so let me address those first:

John Lancaster tossed his line into the water with

“Seems to me that a lot of good crossovers that aren’t Marvel/DC are getting forgotten”

and then he proceeds to list some ones that are indeed good. My focus of the post was specifically just the Marvel/DC encounters, but I had planned on address some of the crossovers involving other companies as well. In other words, let’s talk about Deathmate:

Ah, just ribbin’ ya a little, and I’ve already talked about Deathmate at length if you want to go relive that.

But yes, there were plenty of crossovers among the smaller companies, sometimes even with either Marvel or DC. A personal favorite is 1994’s Archie Meets the Punisher (AKA Punisher Meets Archie, as per the Marvel-published diecut cover version):

General reaction to this at the time when this was announced was “Whaaa–!?” and for good reason, though it turned out to actually be a bit of fun. with art by Stan Goldberg and John Buscema.

Archie Comics, in fact, seems pretty game to cross over their character with other companies even to this say. John mentioned Archie Vs. Predator (which featured some fairly shocking content for an Archie comic, but in this post-Afterlife with Archie world, pretty much anything is fair game, I suspect). We’ve also had Archie meet up with Batman ’66, and the Archie gang turned up in issue #13A of Gen13 back in ’96:

I remember that one surprising me more than the Punisher crossover, for some reason. Like, Marvel and the Punisher were fairly “mainstream” and high profile, versus a relatively unknown (though admittedly popular) indie book. Wasn’t sure what Archie was going to get out of that…except, after thinking about it for a second, exposure of the characters to an audience that might otherwise not have paid attention to them, duh.

I suspect creator-owned titles are a little easier to negotiate with when it comes to crossovers like this, simply due to less layers of bureaucracy being involved. I mean, I’m about to exaggerate a little, but assembling the deal to make this happen feels like it probably only took about five minutes:

Don’t write to tell me I’m wrong, I know I am, but you have to admit the process of Todd ‘n’ Dave getting together to team up Spawn and Cerebus probably was a great deal less involved than JLA/Avengers. And Mr. Sim wasn’t shy about letting Cerebus show up here and yonder in other people’s independent comics, which again probably consisted of a fax asking if they could use the character, and Dave faxing back “yeah, sure.” Okay, granted the two that immediately come to mind are Journey and normalman, both Aardvark-Vanaheim publications at the time, like Cerebus, but I know there were others. Alas, the fabled X-Men/Cerebus didn’t happen (beyond a piece of promo art). But look, all I got for that Mr. Monster/Swamp Thing proposed team-up was a single piece of art as well:

…so we all just have to suffer.

More on specific crossovers next time, maybe, but let’s address Thom H.’s query briefly:

“I mean, is it that difficult or costly to have an inter-company meeting to discuss splitting the costs and profits 50/50? It seems like something two lawyers could do via email.”

As it was explained to me by someone also in the comics publishing business, it’s the potential profits that are a problem. Apparently neither Marvel nor DC feel like they’d be making enough profit on bringing any of these back in print, that having only 50% of the take isn’t enough. Now it seems to me making a little money is better than making no money (believe me, I’ve told myself that plenty of times at the shop after looking at the end-of-day receipts) but the Big Two don’t see it that way, I guess.

My half-facetious solution was that each company get the rights to publish their own paperbacks reprinting their crossovers…like, DC could publish JLA/Avengers under their own trade dress, and Marvel could do the same, titling it Avengers/JLA and putting it out with their trade dress, and they could agree to just keep all the profits from their versions. But I can see other problems arising from this (like, what happens when Marvel lets theirs fall out of print almost immediately…can DC still keep publishing their own?) so that may not be much of a solution.

So I don’t know, Thom…maybe when we enter a cashless society then someday all these comics will come back into print. In the meantime…WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPERSON! I’m sure they have nothin’ else going on right now, let them deal with this issue.

Okay, more crossover talk next time? Eh, we’ll see. In the meantime, be good to each other, wear your masks and wash your hands, and for God’s sake quick setting off your firecrackers at night, old comic shop owners need to get their beauty sleep.

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