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Just another miscellaneous Monday.

§ May 27th, 2024 § Filed under cheese dip, obituary, pal plugging, retailing § 4 Comments

It’s another miscellaneous post, as I’m too scatterbrained right now to focus on a single topic, so bear with me until I can get my head on straight again.

• • •

First off, I wanted to plug my pals over there at Vintage Video, the podcast what is plowing its way through all of 1980s major film releases with observations, analyses and trivia imparted in an easy-going and humorous manner, with only the occasional F-bomb. I’ve added a link to the sidebar there that will take you to their site and their archive of over 400 episodes, not even counting the bonus ones you’d get via their Patreon.

Oh, and have I been on this podcast, you may be asking? Why yes, I have, this very episode right here where we discuss the Heavy Metal animated film (and I wrote about the experience here). …And will I be making another appearance on there in the near future? You’ll just have to wait and see!

But, despite my appearing on the show, I hope you check out this podcast. It really is one of my favorites.

• • •

So a couple of days ago over on the Blueskies I talked about how well the Doom one-shot was selling for me:

I’m posting the Adi Granov cover variant here because that’s the one I specifically got the most requests for, and who could blame folks for wanting it?

I implied that it was more of that dreaded speculation that was firing up demand for the book. I was asked why they wanted it, and my assumption was that it wasn’t for any specific reason, just that it was in short supply and that was enough to attract folks with dollar signs in their eyes. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times before. (Frankly, if there was a reason, I would’ve said it was the shots of Dr. Doom’s unmasked face, which they seemed to be more free about showing than in the past.)

However, Chad, the person who had asked me about the speculation in the first place, found the actual reason…apparently there’s a tribute to the late rapper MF DOOM, utilizing one of his lyrics. Well, his fans found out, and showed up a week late to get the comic because retailers aren’t ordering piles of titles to sit around for eventual sale, they ideally order to sell out or close to the initial week.

You can read all about these latest comics market shenanigans in this Comic Book Resources article. ANd I’m sure we’ll get a second printing in six to eight weeks or so, just in time for the MF DOOM fans to be no longer interested, but I’m sure I can still move copies to the regular comic fans. Ah well, What Can You Do?

• • •

A sad farewell to Tom Luth, the long-running, and recently retired, colorist for Sergio Aragones’ Groo the Wanderer. Mark Evanier wrote a bit about his colleague, as did Sergio. The man did amazing work, somehow keeping up with Sergio’s highly detailed artwork, month after month, decade after decade.

So long, Tom.

Also you should find a copy of McCloud’s Destroy!! while you’re at it.

§ February 22nd, 2023 § Filed under cheese dip, indies, publishing § 19 Comments

Ray Cornwall asks regarding Scott McCloud’s Zot!

“I know there’s a trade of the B&Ws, but are they newer versions that should be read over the originals?”

As of now, The Complete Black and White Collection remains the definitive reprinting of that run of stories. However, it should be noted that there’s a two-part story from issues #19 and #20 that was drawn over McCloud’s layouts by Chuck Austen that is not included in its completed form. Only McCloud’s layouts are included. Also not reprinted are “#10 1/2,” the mini-comic drawn by Matt Feazell, and the full-sized “#14 1/2” also by Feazell.

One caveat is that, while otherwise this book reprints these stories as they originally appeared in print, the actual page size of the paperback is slightly smaller than the original comics. That’s the only real major change between the two presentations. So if I get what you’re asking, Ray, no, it’s all pretty much the same.

I am not sure of the printing status of this particular volume…Diamond Distributors doesn’t have it, but it appears readily available from Amazon.

The color issues were reprinted in a single volume by Kitchen Sink Press in 1997. Needless to say, it’s out of print. I checked out Amazon and there was a copy for (egads) $195, but other copies were available for $35 and up, so shop around a bit here and on eBay and such.

There are two more volumes in this Kitchen Sink book series that reprint up to issue #27 (except for the Austen-drawn #19-20). These are pretty much supplanted by the Complete Black and White volume.

I should also point out that Eclipse Comics published a small trade of the first four color issues, in case you wanted to know.

So basically, if you want the complete print Zot! comics collection, either buy all the comics individually (most of which I have available for sale at my shop right now, almost all signed!), or you buy that first Kitchen Sink trade, the black and white collection, the original print copies of #19 and #20, and the two Matt Feazell thingies.

Print, I said. Which leads me to what adam has to say

“I discovered zot thru scott’s website in the 90s. has anyone ever collected that series? don’t know how youd print that amazing episode thats just about falling thru the sky tho”

Adam is referring to the Zot! webcomic published at Comic Book Resources a good couple and a half decades ago.

It’s never been put into physical print, especially that one chapter adam mentioned with the long fall panel, designed for scrolling on a screen more than being divvied up across several pages in a book. I suppose it could be put in a single hardcover or something, though, as Scott himself notes, the artwork is a little “jaggy” and may not present well outside this context. Frankly, though, I think it looks fine. Printing it with jaggies an’ all would give it a solid retro feel, I think!

So, Zot! — it’s good, you should read it!

• • •

Speaking of collected editions, the newest issue of Groo: Gods Against Groo, #3, has the latest word from Mark Evanier about reprint collections of our favorite The Wanderer. And that word is “they’re looking into it,” basically trying to find a print format that 1) won’t cost you all your kopins, and 2) wouldn’t break any bones if you dropped it on your foot.

My personal feeling is that mimicking Marvel’s current “Epic Collections,” which are thick softcovers that contain about, I don’t know, about 15 to 20 issues or so, and usually costing about $40, may be the way to go. There are, what, at least a couple hundred Groo comics, plus the two graphic novels, plus other appearances here and there. That is about the equivalent of around 13 or 14 of Marvel’s Epic collections. Feels doable to me, but I’m not a comics publisher who’d have to pay for all that and then, hopefully, keep them reasonably in print.

At least that seems within reason, and that Sergio and Mark are actively trying to figure it out is good news. Sergio Aragones is a master cartoonist and that so much of it is out of print is a real shame. Thankfully the individual issues remain relatively inexpensive when you find them, so at least there’s that if nothing else.

And a special Eisner for making up the word “Groo-tinuity” goes to….

§ July 28th, 2014 § Filed under adam west, cheese dip, fantagraphics, swamp thing § 4 Comments

So I haven’t really sat down and just written about comics and related topics in a while, so I’m going to see what I can get out of my system in, oh, the next fifteen minutes or so and then crawl off to bed.

Glad to see that Groo Vs. Conan #1 has finally hit the stands…it’s certainly not your typical issue of Groo, not only mixing the world of Groo with the world of Conan, but the “real” world of Mark and Sergio as well. The conceit of the series is that Sergio takes a knock to the noggin, leading him to imagine a story in which the two characters (Groo and Conan, not Sergio and Mark) meet. Thus is an extra layer of fictional reality added to the proceeding, basically making this a Groo “What If” or “Elseworlds” or what-have-you, and not part of regular Groo-tinuity. The Official Handbook of the Groo Universe surely will make note of the story’s non-canonical status.

Ah, I’m just being silly, of course…it’s all a lot of fun, and it’s good to see Groo back on the stands. The Conan material by Tom Yeates and the regular Groo art by that other fellow mix together about as well as you’d expect; it’s jarring, but intentionally and humorously so, and I suspect once we actually get some Groo versus Conan action, it’ll be quite the hoot. Sadly, Stan Sakai didn’t contribute his usually fine lettering job to this issue, likely given current circumstances I believe, but Richard Starkings’s lettering is a reasonable substitute.

Completely changing the subject, the San Diego Con just came and went, which I can tell by the number of people who dropped by the store looking for back issue “keys” over the last few days, and I haven’t really gone out of my way just yet to see what, if any, comic news has emerged from that fire pit. Casual exposure via Internet news sites and YouTube and TV and so on reveals a whole lot of TV show and movie news, naturally, and of course everyone knows about the new Wonder Woman in that forthcoming Superman/Batman movie nobody likes already (I think she looks great, though I couldn’t avoid making the obvious joke because I enjoy being a problem).

Two bits of comic news I particularly enjoyed hearing…well this first one isn’t comics as such, but it’s about the ’60s Batman TV show’s home video release which is vitally important news as far as I’m concerned. The $200 or thereabouts price for the Blu-ray edition of the complete series is a bit dear, and while they’ve announced a stand-alone Season One on DVD, there doesn’t appear to be a Blu-ray equivalent. Can anyone point me in the direction of further information about individual Blu-ray releases for the seasons, or am I just going to have to bite the bullet and grab that complete set? BECAUSE I WILL.

The other big news is Fantagraphics republishing the work of Vaughn Bodé, starting with a big ol’ collection of Cheech Wizard. I do love me some Bodé, as I’ve noted in the past, but oddly enough I don’t have much Cheech Wizard represented in my collection. I definitely look forward to this release.

Oh, and the other news I heard this week was about a reference to a certain swampy friend of ours when you call John Constantine’s phone number. Haven’t done it yet, myself, but I guess I’d better or I’ll have to turn in my fanboy card.

There’s stuff about new Star Wars comics, too, but I’ll get to that later.

And that’s about fifteen minutes of typing (and virtually no proofreading), save for the minute or two scanning the pic. And don’t forget to go read my latest End of Civilization post…and remind me to post the one Diamond Previews listing I accidentally forgot to include this time around!

Now I kind of want to see a “Groo Vs. Nexus” series.

§ June 16th, 2014 § Filed under cheese dip, this calls for hyperspeed § 4 Comments

So after my Groo post from last week, there was some lamentation, both on my site and on the Twitters, regarding the lack of easily-accessible Groo reprints. And, sure enough, a quick search of the Diamond Distributors database reveals that only one book, Groo: The Hogs of Horder (a 2010 collection reprinting the most recent series from 2009), is still available for order.

There have been a number of Groo trade paperbacks over the years, with Marvel/Epic reprinting its Groo comics starting with The Groo Adventurer, followed by The Groo Bazaar, and The Groo Carnival and you probably see the pattern by now. When Groo moved to Dark Horse, the paperbacks reprinting the Marvel/Epic run continued there in the same fashion, making it all the way up to The Groo Odyssey in 2003. Dark Horse also reprinted the various Groo mini-series they published, each in their own trade.

I only sorta vaguely remembered that this was going to be a thing, the Groo Treasury which was going to reprint the earliest material, but was held up due to production issues.

That doesn’t explain why the more recent, and presumably more easily accessible, Groo comics that Dark Horse published aren’t still in print, other than possibly a lack of resources to keep them available, particularly with those foreboding Star Wars-less days looming ahead for the publisher. Or that perhaps with the recent gap between new Groo series, there was a perception that the time wasn’t right to focus on keeping those items available versus promoting other product lines. Or maybe the last batch of printings took a while to move and that discouraged any immediate printing of new stock. Or, who knows? I don’t work at Dark Horse, I have no idea.

I’m hoping the about-to-be-unleashed Groo Vs. Conan sells spectacularly, thus encouraging more thoughts about getting old Groo back into print. That any work by Sergio Aragones, one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists, is not in print and prominently featured in every bookstore everywhere, is a damned shame.

• • •

My old pal Cully (you remember Cully, who got to hang with King Jack) asked, in the comments to that same Groo post, the slightly…well, okay, totally off-topic question of “what would be a good Nexus storyline?” Maybe not completely off-topic, since we are talking about good comics, I suppose.

Someone already responded with “the first 50 issues,” which is Nexus in its prime. As long as you have the original creators, Mike Baron and Steve Rude, working together, you’re pretty okay. Those original 50 did have some art fill-ins from time to time, but it all holds together well. (#29 has guest-art by Rick Veitch, and #28 is drawn by Mike Mignola, for example.) The first four issues of the color series were more or less self-contained, and issues 5 through 8 (which carried over the series’s transition from Capital Comics to First Comics) are an extended storyline, guest-starring the Badger, which is a lot of fun.

Unlike Groo, Nexus does have many currently-available reprint volumes. The first Nexus Ominbus contains the original three-issue black and white magazine series, as well as the first eleven issues of the color series, and at the beginning is as good as place as any to start. The b&w issues, and even the earliest color issues, aren’t quite as polished as the later work, which can only be expected, but there is still an excitement and energy to them that is hard to resist.

Also, I know you were asking for someone else, but Cully, read the Nexus: God Con mini. Trust me on this.

“Uh-oh.” “Uh-oh.” “Uh-oh.” “Uh-oh.” “Ah!”

§ June 13th, 2014 § Filed under cheese dip § 6 Comments

Another favorite moment from comics, from Groo the Wanderer #100 (April 1993) by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier: Groo, having spent months learning to read from the last guardian of a hidden underground treasure, eventually makes his way to a nearby town where he spends all of his time in its library, putting aside his swords in favor of using and enjoying his newly-found skill. Eventually, Groo (to whom the guardian had passed responsibility for the treasure with his dying breath…dying of old age, not of Groo, surprisingly enough) starts bringing some of the gold to the library so they can purchase new material for their shelves.

Word gets out that this town now seemingly has some new secret source of wealth, and treasure-seekers come from far and wide to tear up the town, resulting in the following scene:

…and then Groo does what he does best, only better than usual now that he’s just slightly smarter than he was before, turning the tables on a few old enemies who used to take advantage of his dimwittedness.

It’s one of the two big changes made to Groo‘s formula over the lifetime of its multiple series, with the other being the addition of Groo’s canine pal Rufferto. It’s also one of the few times where Groo is given bit of additional emotional depth, where he finally becomes just self-aware enough to realize what he’d been before and how he’d been treated, and the importance of what was being destroyed, not by his own ignorance as per the conclusion of most Groo stories, but by the ignorance of those around him.

Also, as a former librarian, I do enjoy the occasional message to the masses that, hey, libraries are important. I certainly would have liked to have had access to swords back then to help get that point across.