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All the news that’s fit to get around to eventually.

§ June 24th, 2019 § Filed under atlas, batman, dc comics, publishing § 4 Comments

Okay, first off, right now it looks like everyone’s all “woo-hoo, it’s the 30th anniversary of that first Tim Burton Batman movie starring Prince” and I’ll have you know I’m so ahead of the game, I posted about that film for its 28th anniversary! Take that, Batty-come-latelies! Anyway, I even created a special category for those posts where I talk about my retail memories of that exciting time when the words on everyone’s lips were “Mr. Mom is Batman!?” so be sure to click on that link there and bask in the nostalgia.

Now, one of the problems of doing a comics blog that updates usually about three times a week (or less, depending on which of my eyeballs has exploded this time) is that I don’t tend to concern myself with the day-to-day Hot Comical News that’s all the rage on your Mastodon incidents and no other short-form social media sites. I figure everyone else has got it covered, no one’s coming to my site for anything hot off anybody’s presses, they’re coming here to see me talk about Frank Miller’s The Spirit or Swamp Thing or whatever. I mean, after Journalista folded, I tried once or twice to do big ol’ linkblogs to “hey here’s what’s going on” but quickly learned that was the sort of thing I enjoyed seeing other people do, not, you know, do myself.

But occasionally things come up that I have to say something about, like this relatively old but surprising news that the Seaboard/Atlas Comics of the 1970s, mostly notable for launching big then, um, flaming out, have been optioned for movie/TV deals. And I gotta be honest, my first thought when I heard that was “every single other comic book thing must have been taken” — and please don’t take that the wrong way. I adore those Atlas Comics. I’ve written on and off about collecting them here on the site…and I’m about 80% of the way to having a full collection, so this movie news kinda irks me a bit in that I’m sure the issues I still need will suddenly get cranked up in price.

But back to my point that this seemed like a really strange thing to do. And that’s coming from someone who does like these comics. I’d love to see what they’d do with a Grim Ghost movie, for example, even though the reaction would likely be “that’s just a rip-off of Spawn!” grom the grandparents in the audience old enough to remember the Spawn movie. I mean, I guess some characters might be fun to see in live-action…in discussing this with a customer he mentioned that seeing Morlock 2001 on the big screen would be something else, and by God I can’t disagree. And I think Ironjaw would be kind of amazing as well. So, who knows, I shouldn’t judge too harshly. It’s still pretty surprising…who saw that coming?

Another thing announced a little more recently was the impending return of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and there are a bunch of reports about it on the Googles, but I’ll link to this one because it talks about some tie-in Flight Ring replica merch. I mean, good, I’m all for a new Legion series…they’ve been teasing the Legion, after an extended newsstand absence, in Doomsday Clock, but it’ll be nice to just have a full-on Legion of Super-Heroes title on the stands again.

That said, I don’t know if I’ll be back for it, personally. I hope it does well, I hope it gets a new audience that’ll stick with it and not peter off after a year or two, requiring yet another relaunch. I stuck with the Legion books for a long time, and enjoyed them best I could, but finally gave up after relaunch and reboot and re-whatevers…I didn’t pick up the New 52 titles, and frankly I don’t think I ever finished reading the last couple of issues of the incarnation just prior to that.

The thing that might get me to try it out is 1) the artist, Ryan Sook, seems well-suited to the title, and 2) I have enjoyed the writing of Brian Michael Bendis on the Superman titles, and his take on the Legion may be…”modern” enough, for a loack of a better term, to get the attention of current comic fans, and maybe break the perception that the Legion is a relic of an older time in comics. Well, when you get right down to it, all superheroes are relics of an older time in comics, but anyway.

Like I said, I hope it does well, and I hope it lasts a long, long time, in a marketplace where publishers don’t keep their comics running for a long, long time. One of the things that appealed to me about the Legion was the idea that there was a line you could draw from that first appearance in Adventure Comics #247 in the 1950s to the (then) current pre-first reboot issues. That the “Five Years Later” Legion was the same Legion that had, at one point, had to deal with the Fatal Five or the Super Moby Dick of Space or whathaveyou. That the characters and relationships and such had a continuity to them, a history, that you could see where they’d come from and wonder where they were going. (See also “X-Men.”)

That’s not a feeling that’s going to be replicated in a new series, I realize. Too much water under the bridge, too much resistance to giving readers a new book with a steep learning curve and the idea that “you’ve already missed a lot of what’s happened.” Not saying a new Legion can’t been good, just saying it’s not going to give me that ineffable essence of what I enjoyed about the original Legion, which can’t be helped.

Okay, I typed too much and my eyes need their beauty sleep, but let me just touch upon DC’s recent reorganization of their publishing imprints. We’re down to just plain ol’ DC for their main line, DC Kids for kids what read the DC, and “DC Black Label,” which basically replaces the to-be-shuttered mature-readers, occaionally creator-owned Vertigo label. That makes sense, I suppose…DC’s Black Label books have been a sales success of late, whereas the Vertigo brand doesn’t move books like it used to, just by virtue of having “Vertigo” on the cover. I’m sad to see it go, given Vertigo outlived the other similar imprints from DC and Marvel, like “Helix” and “Icon” and…does “Barkerverse” count as an imprint? Let’s say it does, just to annoy you.

I guess that’s fine, which I’m sure relieves DC to no end. But I kind of wish the Vertigo label would stick around, but if a whole series of Sandman-related titles couldn’t revive it sufficiently for DC’s tastes, I guess that’s that. Gonna be strange seeing the Black Label logo on preacher and whatnot. I do wonder what’s going to happen to the Young Animal imprint…I presume that’s Black Label now, though the “Young Animal” thing actually does get in new readers looking specifically for those. I haven’t read every news story on the topic, so I presume somebody covered this somewhere. Same with “Wonder Comics” Maybe the new imprints will have sub-imprints? EDIT:: Yes apparently so.

Oh, and in other news, the Swamp Thing TV show is still canceled. The jerks.

Quick. someone Ask Jeeves.

§ May 17th, 2019 § Filed under dc comics, how the sausage is made, publishing, swamp thing § 7 Comments

So the plan was to continue my dicussion of DC’s history of getting superhero chocolate into Swamp Thing’s peanut butter, and to do so I was going to, ahem, “borrow” some images from the DC Universe streaming app/service/comic library thing to save myself the time scanning the appropriate images. But lo and also behold, when I went to check out issue #23 of the original 1970s Swamp Thing series, this is what I found:

…It was in black and white. And so was #24. And when I checked other issues in the series, the available online scans from #14 ’til the end of that first run are all in black and white. Oh, and I eventually noticed the little, um, notice that was in the short text intro for each issue letting you know that, yes, this issue you’re about to read is in blcak and white.

That struck me as a bit…odd. I haven’t come across any other series on the service that was originally in color being presented in black and white. Granted, I haven’t done much of a deep dive beyond scattered issues of DC Comics Presents and some Silver Age Green Lantern, and there are literally thousands of digital comics recent thrown onto the service here, but it seems like this is weird.

Now there never was one of those black and white DC Showcase paperbacks for this series, and the entire run of the book was recently recolored and reprinted in that big ol’ Bronze Age Ominbus that came out not long ago. And other recently returned for regrooving and recoloring issues of other Swamp Thing series, like the 1982 run (also in that omnibus) is on the service, in full glorious technicolor. So why did the ’70s series get singled out?

There must be some kind of production issue involved here, though I have no idea what it is. The first thirteen issues are presented in color, and those same thirteen (representing Len Wein’s entire run of stories) were also recolored and reprinted in a hardcover some years back. So, I guess, maybe since those issues were reprocessed a few years back, they were ready for digitizing and uploading, but the later issues had yet to be recolored for that much more recent omnibus and weren’t ready when it was time to get all this online? But then, the pre-Alan Moore issues of the 1982 series had also never been reprinted before, but they’re all up and newly colored…so I have no idea. I’m really just guessing, and someone’s probably already explained why somewhere, but Alta Vista’s down and I know of no other way to search the World Wide Web.

Anyway, thought that was interesting. I’m still gonna talk about those issues soon, but I’m going to have to scan my own comics like some kind of caveman. I have talked about issues #23 and #24, the particularly superhero=y Swampys, on the site before, back in ye olden dayes of comics blogging, back before the meteor struck and killed 90% of Earth’s comics-blogging population. The scans I used then were tiny little things designed for dial-up, and not the glorious giant bandwidth-hogging pics I try to use now, so I’ll get on that in short order.

To follow up on BobH’s question from Friday’s comments section, about whether or not that final caption from issue #24 is in the currently-available print editions…my answer is “I don’t know.” I got pretty wiped out on much of my trade paperback stock during Free Comic Book Day, so I don’t have those Swamp Thing books readily available to peek at. I’m restocking best I can, and those Swampys are a priority what with the TV show about to debut. When last I investigated this important matter, that caption was missing from the then relatively recent hardcover printing, but present in the softcover edition. I believe we’ve had a repackaging of those issues since, so when my stock of those gets replenished, I’ll take a looksee.

In other Swamp Thing reprint news, DC has a series of “facsimile editions” (new printings of classic comics, ads and all, kind of like what Marvel’s been doing lately) coming soon. And House of Secrets #92, featuring the work of Jack Kirby and alos the first appearance of some swamp creature, is on the docket. That’ll make reprint number…man, I don’t know, I’ve lost count of how many versions of this I have. I made a list on this site long ago, and a later addendum or three, and I was up to, what, 15? 16? Whatever it is, it’s too many, and I’ll be adding to that collection soon, it seems.

Remember when comics bloggers were all concerned about “snark?”

§ April 22nd, 2019 § Filed under dc comics, publishing § 5 Comments

Hiya pals! I’m still recovering from my recent eyeball bugaboos, so please be patient as I slowly get the hamster-wheels running on the ol’ Progressive Ruin website again. In case you missed it, I did have a couple of smaller posts over the last few days, and I think that may be par for the course for a little while as my vision continues to defog. So you’re not rid of me just yet.

One thing I wanted to post about last week is the fact that the new DC solicitations include the beginning of the direct market-available reprintings of the new content from the Walmart-exclusive 100-page giants. My thought was that they were probably going to collect those stories into trade paperbacks, but nope, they’re going for periodicals, each containing two installments from the giants. $4.99 cover-priced periodicals, natch, but What Can You Do? I’m sure the trade will follow eventually.

The Superman one (cover pictured here in the post somewhere) is titled Superman: Up in The Sky, and the Batman one is Batman Universe. I particularly like the title of the Superman book, and quite frankly I’m surprised it hasn’t been used yet. Or maybe it has, I don’t know, there are lots of Superman comics. Batman Universe is a pretty good title, too. Hopefully the eventual collection of the Swamp Thing stories from the Walmart giants will be called…what? Swamp Thing: Out of the Muck? Swamp Thing: Born on the Bayou? Swamp Thing: Gotta Defuse It Before? …I bet they go wtih Roots of the Swamp Thing. Y’know, again.

The interesting thing about this…when I made a comment about this on the Twitters, about how nice it was to be able to get these stories since no local Walmarts carried these comics, well, the following happened:


THEIR EYES ARE EVERYWHERE. Though I notice they didn’t comment on my rather cynical observation from a couple of years prior. …Yeah, that’s a tad snarky. Not as snarky as this, but still.

Okay, enough of these shenangians…time to return my eyes to th evault. I’ll be back midweek. Thanks for sticking around and I’ll see — well, “see” — you then.

Man, imagine what I’d write if they paid me to shill for them.

§ September 21st, 2018 § Filed under cartoons, dc comics § 4 Comments

Still enjoying the DC Universe streaming service…well, I’d better, I’m paid up for a year plus those extra three months. I particularly like the DC Daily show, updated every weekday, which (aside from the extra-long first episode) is about 15 to 20 minutes split across three separately-streaming segments: an opening bit with DC News of the Day (promos for newly released comics, media news, what’s new or of note on the service), a second segement that I guess will be for special features (like this week, three of the segments were devoted to a George Perez interview about his DC work), and a third roundtable segment, where the various DC Daily cast members discuss a topic (generally regarding a comic or movie/TV show available on the service, like the pilot for the ’90s Flash TV series). It’s light and fun and an enjoyable enough way to spend a few minutes while, say, winding down after a long day of work at the comic shop office.

That was a long-ish paragraph, so here’s a new one. The other thing I’ve been watching has been the Fleischer Superman cartoons of the 1940s. I’ve seen a handful of the old DVDs that collected them together over the years, and wasn’t terribly impressed with the presentation. I think an eventual release did do right by them, but after being burned a couple of times, I never did get around to checking out any later releases.

But they’re here on the DC service, and they look pretty darn good. “The Mechanical Monsters,” possibly the most famous of the bunch, looks almost flawless:


…while another I watched, “Showdown,” had some light damage to the print, but still very nice looking and perfectly watchable. I look forward to perusing the rest of them as time permits…well, maybe not looking forward so much to “Japoteurs,” because…well, it was wartime an’ all, but hooboy.

The web version of the service, at least via Firefox (haven’t tested other browsers yet) still seems to have an issue with perma-on subtitles:


…but everything’s workin’ fine though the TV streaming.

Sorry, didn’t mean to be a commercial to DC Universe, available at only $7.99 a month, try it today, but I have been enjoying it quite a bit, even with the occasional glitch. And of course I’m greatly anticipating the Swamp Thing live-action series coming next year…as well as Doom Patrol, with…Timothy Dalton as the Chief? Iin full beard? Fighting the Beard Hunter? Well, okay, I don’t know about that last bit for sure, but c’mon DC, justify my subscription costs.

Also waiting for more material to be added, such as the 1960s Filmation Superman cartoon, if only because I watched it a lot as a kid and have this theme music permanently embedded in my mind:


So aside from all that, let me ask you this: wouldn’t you like to see Superman sporting this style of chest emblem again?


Rhetorical question; of course you would.

Digesting these giants.

§ July 27th, 2018 § Filed under dc comics § 2 Comments


So I finally got my mitts on those Walmart-exclusive DC Giants, which I’d talked about a few days back where I kept calling them “digests” for some reason. Thanks to Twitter pal Greg, who took pity upon my predicament and mailed me his set once he was done with them. And once I’m done with them, I’ll probably pass ’em along to nieces and nephews.

Anyway, first off, there are certainly not digest-sized, but the same dimensions as a standard comic book, if a bit thicker. Plus, I like the semi-retro “100-PAGE GIANT” banner across the cover. Slick covers, square binding, nice paper stock (more matte-feeling than the paper DC usually uses on their periodicals…it’s like the paper stock they used on this week’s Flash, if you picked that up). Each story is fronted by a page with the character logo and a brief text introduction, and followed by another page with text previewing the next chapter and reminding readers to be back in a month for the next exciting installment!

It’s a good mix of recent-ish stories (which you can see listed here). Each contains a new story, but the only one I’ve read so far is the Batman one, part one of a two-parter by Jimmy Palmiotti and Patch Zircher, which squeezes quite a bit into just 12 pages while still remaining a solidly entertaining an interesting story, setting up quite the mystery that, given the vagaries of distribution at my local Walmarts (i.e. none, apparently) I’ll have to wait and read the conclusion when it’s eventually reprinted in something for the direct comics market. At 100 pages for five bucks, it’s quite the deal…I know if I was a kid that happened across these in a department store, I’d be thrilled.

It’s a solid effort at outreach by DC, and I hope in continues. I know they have longterm plans for these (judging by the 12-part serial that’ll start in the third issue of the Batman giant), which with any luck won’t be undermined by display and supply issues. I suppose younger kids are less uptight about not getting every single part of a story (“said Mike, who is not a parent of small children”) but only getting a story piecemeal can be frustrating. And Walmart isn’t a comic shop…this is just one more item filling shelf space and I don’t imagine they’re particularly incentivized to upkeep this product line beyond the bare minimum of “put ’em out when we get ’em.” Worries about Walmart and other chain stores carrying new comic stock are mostly unfounded for that reason…they’re not mainline items, people working these stores aren’t going to focus their energies on a $5 comic when they could be selling a $50 video game. They’re not going to replace a good comic shop…or even my comic shop for that matter. But there’s always the chance they could make new fans of the actual experience of reading comics, not just watching the movies, which is the one thing this industry desperately needs.

Well, the superhero comics industry, anyway. Raina Telgemeier comics are doin’ just fine.

“THIS ISN’T YOUR DAD’S TEEN TITANS! Or, um, your kids’ Teen Titans.”

§ July 20th, 2018 § Filed under dc comics, teen titans, television § 5 Comments

So that surprising f-bomb in the Titans trailer had its intended effect — it’s got everyone talking about the TV show, and the DC Universe streaming service where it will debut soon. I mean, I’m not innocent, I had a couple of laughs (NSFW) about it, so DC got themselves almost Todd-McFarlane-buying-baseballs-levels of free publicity. (It also brought out the usual fellas who object every time a person who isn’t white and/or male is cast in anything.)

Now, I mean despite all that, it looks…you know, at least CW-levels of good (which I realize for some folks isn’t saying much). It does seem awfully dark-ish and gritty-ish at a time when it sort of looks like DC is at least trying to back away from that sort of thing in their media adaptations, which is an odd choice…I mean, aside from the odd choice of having Robin do a swear, of course. I feel like Raven is the breakout character here, not that we saw a whole lot of anyone else, but I can see her being especially appealing to young viewers, which is sort of ironic considering.

My other concern, as a retailer who tries to sell comic books (remember comic books? I’ve got a store full of them), is that if this particular bit of dialogue gets traction in cultural awareness, I could see parents steering kids away from Teen Titans comics in the future…”no, you can’t read that, Robin’s a pottymouth!” I did see this phenomenon with Deadpool after that first movie was released…kids wanted Deadpool comics, parents were all “isn’t that R-rated? NO WAY.” Granted, Deadpool comics are not generally speaking for the tykes, but it appeared this reaction was being fueled by the film and not by any particularly awareness of the comics.

Of course, that’s comparing apples and oranges, one of the most successful R-rated movies in history versus a streaming TV show that may be seen by upwards of tens of viewers. Who knows what impact this show will ultimately have, in a world where there is an enormous surfeit of superhero media, beyond the novelty of being part of a network presented by a comics publisher? Sure, I’ll be watching, because SWAMP THING TV SHOW, DUH. And I am curious about the Titans show, and the forthcoming Doom Patrol show (despite my reservations that Robotman will almost certainly have a “cloaking device” or something that will make him look like a normal human and not an expensive digital effect most of the time). And there are the digital comics, which…sheesh, I’ll just have to give up sleep at this point to keep up with everything.

Some folks were wondering why DC would even do this with the Titans, and…well, like I said, to get attention. I mean, aside from Deadpool, you haven’t really seen superheroes with quite so salty tongues. Plus, maybe DC is spreading their Titans demographics…you’ve got Teen Titans Go! for the younger set, you’ve got this new show for the older audiences, and, as was pointed out to me on the Twitters, there’s Young Justice (brand new Season 3 coming exclusively to the DC Universe streaming service, coincidentally!) for the folks who fall in between. I know seeing the shows divided up like that may seem weird to a lot of us who are fully capable of watching all three (or maybe two) of these shows and enjoying them, but hey, that’s marketing!

It was something of a relief to hear concerns that were more in-story character based about that specific attitude of Robin’s, like “why would he even think that about Batman to begin with?” And friend, if the people in charge of the DC Universe digital comics service are smart, they’ll curate a collection of the “Robin Is Pissed at Batman” genre for the edification of those in need.

Anyway, I’m already signed up, as the per-month price was pretty much just what I wanted to pay, so I expect I’ll be reporting directly upon the service here in short order. Maybe I’ll keep a tally of just how many swears I hear per episode. “OOOOH GET THE BAT-SOAP, SOMEONE’S MOUTH NEEDS WASHING”

Good thing there wasn’t a Swamp Thing one, else I’d be traveling across the country looking for it.

§ July 16th, 2018 § Filed under dc comics, publishing, retailing § 8 Comments

(NOTE: I’ve been told that these aren’t actually “digest-sized,” which for some reason I got into my head these actually were, similar to the ’80s DC digests. This is why I wanted a copy to look at for myself! Also, I’ve heard from various sources that they’re racked “with the Pokemon and Magic cards near the registers,” and, um, my local Walmarts don’t appear to have those either, unless I’m really missing that particular series of shelves.)

(NOTE TO MY NOTE: So, uh, just ignore every time I call these things “digests,” okay? Thanks!)

So I’ve been trying to track down copies of those Walmart-exclusive DC digests, mostly to have just at least one sample copy I can look at and discuss here on the site, before passing it on to a niece or nephew. Like, I wanted to know the actual dimensions of the thing, its readability at that size (likely extra problematic for me, Mr. Gots Eye Troubles), the paper quality, the story selection, etc. And as it turns out…no dice at two of the Walmarts in my immediate area. Not that I found the DC Digest display bereft of copies, sitting on a shelf somewhere…I couldn’t find any sign that there were any on display at all.

Now, given the, um, state of said local Walmarts, “not finding something” could be said to be the default result of any product search, and it could very well be that they were there, somewhere, diplayed in plain view in a disused lavatory with a sign that read “BEWARE OF THE LEOPARD” Douglas Adams-style, but I checked all the usual spots and didn’t find a thing. So, let us hope that this was a case of the comics finding their target audience (i.e. not me, Elderly Comics Guy) and the empty displays were removed to make room for economy-sized tins of mixed nuts, and not, as was suggested by some Twitter pals, disappeared into the hands of speculators, a possibility I honestly hadn’t considered but…well, yeah, that could’ve happened.

I mean, it’s just as well…these digests are not for me, but to get kids to try out comics. Despite my near-despotic command over comic sales in my area (via my foreboding Camarillo headquarters at Sterling Silver Comics) I realized not every young’un will come through my doors to discover the sublime delights of Swamp Thing and…well, pretty much just that, but kids like comics and if you get them into their hands, they more often than not will devour them. I mean, read them, but get ’em young enough they may very well eat them…it’s just paper, they should be okay. So yes, I’m very much for the idea of getting comics into the hands of new readers via publishing initiatives such as this one. I have zero idea if it’s actually happening around here, since I don’t know if our local Marts of Wals even had ’em, but they’re out there somewhere, presumably getting into young people’s hands and not just being mailed off to Comic Slabbers, Inc. to get graded and traded.

I heard about some comics collectin’ and retailin’ folks getting bent out of shape over these things even existing, for some reason. I mean, yes, there are new stories mixed in with the reprints, but, c’mon, it’s not like DC is going to sit on that Brian Michael Bendis Batman story…that’ll be a trade or a mini-series or something down the line. Or it could just be “there’s something out there I can’t have!” — how dare there be a Collectible Issue #1 of Something we can’t order through our shops. (‘Course, if it were, then we’d hear “$4.99 for a new 12 page story and a bunch of reprints? BAH!”) I mean, whatever…the good these could do versus…basically no valid argument against, I think. Get kids used to the idea of reading comics…that’s a net gain for the industry as a whole! And it’s not like Walmart’s going to “steal” your customers, since most of those kids weren’t going to your shop anyway, but now, maybe, if they decide they want more comics, maybe they’ll seek you out. You never know. And besides, just given my personal experience seeking them out, it’s not like you’re going to find well-curated permanent comic racks in these shops directly competing with you.

Going back to that DC Comics release, i can see a lot of the actual contents of the initial digest wave right there, and it looks like a pretty solid mix of recent-ish stories. Now, the old ’80s DC Comics digest fan in me was kinda sorta hoping for some Silver Age-y or even Bronze Age-ish reprints, but I realize those may come across as a little old fashioned. But man, at the very least I hope they drop some Neal Adams Batman stories into some of these digests, just to blow some kids’ minds. Here’s that Shirtless Batman fighting Ra’s al Ghul you’ve been waiting all six years of your life to read, Little Billy!

Anyway, these digests are fine in theory (assuming others have better luck than me finding them). If it gets some kids to realize that, oh, hey, these just aren’t movie characters, they came from somewhere…good. I hope whoever got their hands on these reads the hell out of them, leaving it with tattered covers and bent pages and happily awaiting even more.

Let me just end this on saying that this pic of an empty digest display pocket (courtesy Twitter pal Joe) leaves me in deep appreciation of some designer’s dark sense of humor, considering the source of the image:

\
“For all my super-speed I wasn’t (choke) fast enough!” …Me neither, Superman — me neither.

And to be honest, I’m not 100% sure of “1,006.”

§ April 18th, 2018 § Filed under dc comics, nancy, retailing, superman, swamp thing § 9 Comments

Yes, it’s Action Comics #1000 week, marking the 1,006th issue of that series, including issues #0 and #1,000,000 from the pre-New 52 series, the second New 52 #0, those four lenticular issues #23.1-23.4, and am I forgetting something else? Yeah, probably, but here we are, a Superman comic with #1,000 on the cover, which ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at. I’ve taken a copy home (as promised, the version with Mike Allred’s 1960s tribute cover) and I’ve read it…it’s a nice anthology book, with little space wasted. And yes, the red trunks are back, in every tale in this issue, though their return is never really explained. It is commented upon in the Bendis story, using a variation of a joke I made here and I’m sure was made by everyone else on the planet as well. I hope they never explain it, any more than “eh, I just felt like puttin’ ’em back on. LEMME HAVE MY SPACE PANTS.”

Now, beyond the content, I’m just worried about how it’s going to sell. I won’t go into it all again (that first link above has more detail, if you’re interested) but I ordered what I think should be plenty. I filled the large number of preorders I had, and now, assuming the normal level of extra interest this would attract amongst my regular customer base, I should have enough, unless everyone decides that they have to have the same specific variant cover and shun the other nine covers…then I might have a problem. Or if there’s a news story extolling readers/viewers “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GO OUT AND BUY THIS COMIC,” in which case I’m totally not prepared. Well, we’ll see. Hopefully reorders will be available if necessary, because a $7.99 price point is a bit too high a price point to be taking a lot of ordering risks.

• • •

Oh, hey, I guess Steven Spielberg is finally going to be making a Blackhawk movie. Pretty sure he first made some noise about this in…the early 1980s, I think? And while I said on the Twitters that I’m hoping for some War Wheel action, I think you’ll all agree with me that what we really want from a Blackhawk film is WEIRD MUMMY INSECTS:


I mean, do you want Just Another World War II movie, or do you want that? Or this? You’re reading this site, I think I can guess your answer. Or your other answer.

• • •

So a while back I was told a new creator took over the Nancy comic strip, and when I looked then it didn’t do anything for me…but it’s starting to grow on me. I think it’s improving, actually, and this nicely Bushmiller-esque strip from the other day has been making the rounds. Granted, there’s something unnatural about Nancy and Sluggo referencing the internet, but then most of Nancy and Sluggo’s world is nightmarishly unnatural, so, you know, what else is new?

• • •

Oh, almost forgot to mention…Swamp Thing will be appeared in Scooby-Doo Team-Up #40 this July:


My Swamp Thing love is so strong, the actual editor of the comic made sure I heard the news back in January. I am genuinely excited about this.

Collectors edition Titans collectors comic for collectors.

§ November 29th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, collecting, dc comics, teen titans § 5 Comments

from DC Coming Attractions #81 (August 1983)

Oh, did I say “briefly?”

§ October 27th, 2017 § Filed under dc comics, publishing, teen titans § 6 Comments

So earlier in the year I spent some time talking about DC’s “hardcover/softcover” publishing program for New Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, etc. (posts 1 and a 2 and a 3). Thus, if you still need an explanation of what it’s all about, please refer to those posts, because I’m gettin’ back into it briefly for today’s entry.

Before I get to my main point, let me present this to you. Despite being reprints of the direct-sales only New Teen Titans title, the newsstand editions didn’t reuse the previously-published covers, but instead had brand new covers commissioned for each issue, which you can see over at the Grand Comics Database. Some of those covers were pretty sharp, and then there was this weird-ass thing Brian Bolland unleashed upon your unsuspecting 7-11s and Stop ‘n’ Go shops:


Imagine being the fella cutting open bundles of the latest periodicals to fill the racks and seeing that staring back at you. “THE KIDS THESE DAYS, WHAT ARE THEY INTO?” you’d clearly be thinking to yourself. I mean, that’s an amazing drawing, and one you won’t soon forget, but hey, it’s Comics Code-approved, so I guess the kids are safe. Oh, Brian Bolland, you’ve done it again!

Anyway, what I really asked you all here for is to talk about the last issue of Tales of the Teen Titans, #91 from 1988:


…with its Justice League #1-inspired cover acknowledged by artists Michael Collins and Romeo Tanghal. What’s particularly interesting is the frankness of the editorial page inside, explaining that while they wanted to keep all Titans fans caught up with their adventures, the sad fact was that this reprint series just wasn’t selling enough to keep it going. The newsstand customers for this comic are then implored to seek out the direct-sales “hardcover” version of New Teen Titans at comic shops or other venues, or to use the subscription ad in the inside back cover to start getting that series in the mail.

And here’s where my question about this comes in. At the end of the book is a back-up story of sorts, with Nightwing and Changeling giving a brief synopsis of the “missing year” between the main story reprinted in this issue, and the events in the current issue of New Teen Titans, so any readers making the jump from newsstand edition to direct sales edition wouldn’t be lost. The story ends with this panel:


…but the ad he’s pointing to on the inside back cover is this:


…which features only Action Comics Weekly, Power of the Atom and The Wanderers. What I was wondering…was there a separate coupon just for New Teen Titans bound into the comic at this point (seems unlikely), or…if you’ll look back at that scan above of issue #91, you’ll see there’s no UPC code. Thus, this was a copy sold through comic shops…despite being published specifically for newsstands, copies were also available through the direct market for those completists or the thrifty, as previously discussed. To finish my thought, what I was wondering was if there were maybe different subscription ads inside the back covers of copies that went to newsstands versus those that went to comic shops. Alas, I don’t have a copy of the newsstand edition on hand, but it definitely exists.

I honestly don’t know the answer. The previous place of employment no longer has copies, else I’d check there, but maybe one of you can check the copy in your collection and let me know. For your effort, you’ll win the prestigious “Hey, That’s My Name in a Progressive Ruin Post!” award, with a cash value of exactly nuthin’.

My initial thought was that they would have changed the subscription ad for comic shops so that they weren’t explicitly telling readers to send money directly to DC instead of spending money at the place where you presumably purchased that copy of #91. But, then again…that’s still a subscription ad, including (I think) the direct-sales only Wanderers. Anyway, I don’t know, but if you know, please let me know. You know? I realize this isn’t the most vital information in the world, but I am curious. And hey, if you’re a Titans completist, maybe now you’re aware there’s kinda sorta a new story in the back of that last issue you need to have.

Speaking of curiosity, I was wondering just what the sales numbers on this comic were near the end there, and luckily for me, I found the yearly Statement of Ownership in the first issue I looked at (#88):


…and if I’m reading the statement correctly, this sales on this series would put it solidly in the top 25 today. Times have certainly changed. And hoo boy, that’s a lotta returns.

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