You are currently browsing the from the vast Mikester comic archives category

Making a…some kind of leap in collecting, not quite sure, it’ll come to me.

§ January 30th, 2023 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives, indies § 2 Comments

So anyway, I was bugging pal Nat about finding a copy of Quantum Creep #1 from Parody Press, featuring an early script job by him, and having him autograph it for me. Then Sunday he surprises me with a fresh copy from his own stock personalized just for me! Sometimes I’m luckier than I deserve.

In case this isn’t obvious, Quantum Creep is a parody of the sci-fi TV show Quantum Leap (which has a currently-running reboot/relaunch which is quite enjoyable, by the way). Hopefully this isn’t telling tales out of school, but Nat told me that he and his partner on the book, Ted Slampyak, were presented with that cover (painted by Thad Rhodes III) and tasked with writing a spoof of the show around it.

I haven’t yet had a chance to properly read it yet, but a quick glance through the book show it’s appealingly cartooned, and I’ve spotted a few good gags…it’s written by Nat, after all, and I know he’s funny and clever. And now that I have this comic, I’ll need to complete my collection of Nat’s Parody Press books, of which there seem to be quite a few listed in this book’s editorial page. And some of those I’ve never even heard of before, surprisingly, so this will be quite the education!

“Any Time Is Toad Time.”

§ June 17th, 2022 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives, obituary § 6 Comments

Added another old comic to the personal collection this week, the relatively hard-to-find 1970 underground Tales of Toad by a pre-Zippy the Pinhead Bill Griffith:

It’s one of those comics I’ve kinda/sorta wanted to get, though all three issues of this series was reprinted in a good-sized anthology book of Griffith’s material some years back. But it’s nice to have The Original Thing…it’s like my semi-ongoing attempts to acquire the first 25 issues of Cerebus that I already have in the Swords of Cerebus reprint books.

Anyway, since I got a #1 in my hands, I went ahead and kept the 2nd issue that I’ve had floating around the shop for some time. Now I just need a #3 to show up eventually. I remember at the previous place of employment we had all three issues, and I probably should’ve picked ’em up then. But I also think that about the two copies of Cerebus #1 we had (original and counterfeit) and oh well.

• • •

I wanted to acknowledge the passing of comics artist Tim Sale, probably most famous for Batman: The Long Halloween, but I’m more a Superman: For All Seasons fan myself.

A unique talent whose contributions to the medium were always a special event. He’ll be missed.

I also saw that Everett Peck, probably best known in comics for Duckman, passed away this week.

I remember getting this in at the shop back in 1990, thinking “huh, what the heck is this” and taking a copy. Very weird and funny, and I was probably just as surprised as Peck was when it became an animated TV show. I honestly didn’t know much about him, so that article I linked was quite informative as to his actual breadth of work.

It’s a hard week for losing unique talents…my condolences to the friends, families, and fans of both Sale and Peck.

The Comic Reader #11 (July 26th, 1962).

§ September 11th, 2020 § Filed under fanzines, from the vast Mikester comic archives § 7 Comments

This is the earliest example of The Comic Reader fanzine that I own, three mimeographed pages stapled together, two of them printed both sides. Included is an extended review by Roy Thomas of ACG’s Magic Agent.

The front page is made up of current news items, most notably the following:

“SPIDERMAN [sic] — This hero will be missing from a few issues of AMAZING, but if this trail [sic] run in this mag is a success, then expect him back as the star of — (title as yet uncertain).”

Initially it took me a second to parse out that “AMAZING” as Amazing Fantasy…according to the Grand Comics Database, #15 came out in early June, which means this ‘zine was released as Spider-Man’s debut appearance was only about two monthss old. This news about a test run in Amazing Fantasy didn’t pan out, as that was the last issue of the series (and if I remember my Origins of Marvel Comics correctly, Stan Lee said, for what it’s worth, Spider-Man only made it into the comic because it was the last issue. “Ah, throw that weird character into the book, not like it’s gonna hurt sales.”

Regardless of whatever mess I’m making with my recollection of comics publishing history, it’s still pretty neat to be holding this artifact talking about Spider-Man when the character was literally brand new.

I picked this ‘zine up from eBay about a couple of decades back. paying $30 for the item. “$10 a page!” I’d say when I would discuss this with folks who pretended to be interested. Of note: at the time I had a mutual acquaintance with the sadly now-deceased Jerry Bails, the very man who had assembled and distributed this very ‘zine back in ’62. Said acquaintance informed Mr. Bails of my purchase of this copy of The Comic Reader #11, and the price I paid for it. It was reported back to me that Mr. Bails was, quote, “bemused.” …That’s probably the correct response.

Zippy Stories #1 (1977) and #2 (1978).

§ September 9th, 2020 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives § 5 Comments

Not entirely sure where I obtained these…could have been from my previous place of employment, or (I’ve had these long enough) from the days when I’d frequent comic book conventions. But they’re pretty neat, little digest-sized comics. This first issue is a first printing, with black, white and red interiors (later printings were black and white only):

Here’s a sample page to show you how the red was used:

And #2 is all black and white:

In 1982, these were reprinted in the Zippy 2-in-1 Special magazine, which I don’t own, but maybe will get my mitts on someday out of Zippy-completeness.

Buy This Book of Odd Bodkins (1965) and Dan O’Neill’s Comics and Stories Vol. 2 #2 (1975).

§ September 7th, 2020 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives Comments Off on Buy This Book of Odd Bodkins (1965) and Dan O’Neill’s Comics and Stories Vol. 2 #2 (1975).

For this week I’m just going to show off some oddball things from my collection that 1) I haven’t shown on the site before, and 2) didn’t give up to the store for sale. Today’s goodies are a couple of underground comix from Dan O’Neill, which are related to a couple of books I have featured here in the past.

First item is Buy This Book by Odd Bodkins, an oddly-sized 1965 collection of Odd Bodkins strips, measuring about 5 1/2 by 10 inches:

And here’s the back cover:

It’s about as tall as a regular comic, but may 2/3rds as wide, with a thicker-than-normal textured paper cover that’s blank on the inside. I’ve had this for years, but honestly I don’t think I realized it was as old as it was until I was looking up for information about it. Always pegged it as a 1970s thing, but shows you what I know.

Another O’Neill item in my collection is this, issue #2 of the second series of Dan O’Neill’s Comics and Stories from 1975:

Magazine-sized, black and white, features a little Odd Bodkins material but it’s mostly examples of his comics work. At some point a $1.00 sticker was placed on the cover over the original 75¢ price, a common practice at the time for undergrounds. The title is over course a play on Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, the long-running anthology comic once published by Dell Comics (hence the “Hell” logo in the corner). Just goes to show you that the whole Air Pirates thing didn’t stop Mr. O’Neill from thumbing his nose at The Mouse.

There were five of these Dan O’Neill’s Comics and Stories altogether…the one I have is the last of the second series from 1975, and the first series ran 3 issues in 1971. I know my former boss Ralph had more than this one issue in stock at the time I bought this one (for a whole $1.50, according to the price tag still on the bag), but I didn’t pick up any more than the one. Ah, well.

Since I don’t say it anywhere in the post itself…Ducktales was pretty good.

§ August 23rd, 2017 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives § 3 Comments

So I was poking through my enormous number of Gladstone/Gemstone/Whateverstone softcover albums of Carl Barks duck comics…you know, the ones that came shrinkwrapped with the trading cards, plus the handful that didn’t…the ones that came out one or two volumes a month for well over a decade…the ones where I occasionally add up how much those all cost me over the years and even with the employee discount I come up with a number that’s way higher than I care to think about…you know, those ones. Anyway, I was revisiting a volume or two after having watched the the premiere of the new Ducktales cartoon, which had put me in the mood for duck adventures of either a Barkians or Rosa-esque nature. And in there, tucked amongst the too-many slim albums, was the above Dynabrite comic.

Now, I’ve talked about Dynabrite comics on the website before, but for the 5% of my readers out there who don’t have my every utterance committed to memory, let me ‘splain again. This was a Whitman imprint from the late 1970s that reprinted comics from the Gold Key library on nice, bright paper with good coloring, no ads, and under thicker covers. The books were a little larger than the standard comic book size, and staplebound. They cost a little more than their regular newsstand cousins, but were very nice packages of comics.

This particular example, Gyro Gearloose and the Disney Ducks, is from 1979 and reprints several Gyro stories by Barks published in Dell’s Four Color series from the late ’50s/early ’60s. I don’t remember when exactly I bought this, but it must have been sometime between my reentry into reading Duck comics in 1987 (when I followed Don Rosa to his first Scrooge story) and before the entire Barks run of Gyro stories were reprinted in album form starting in 1993. I don’t imagine I would have bought this after getting the same stories reprinted in upscale form in those albums, but then again, I’ve been known to double-dip occasionally on some comics because I happen to like the cover or because I’m crazy.

Even as I look at this now, and I think “this is redundant, and I have a store, so I have someplace I can sell this,” I find myself not really wanting to. I mean, I could think about this in a weird collector sort of way, like “I should have at least one example of this particular publishing imprint in my collection,” though 1) I know full well what a Dynabrite comic is like, I don’t need reminding, and 2) who am i trying to impress, really? Well, sure, I’m trying to impress all of you, but now that I’ve blogged about this particular item, it’s served out that purpose.

I suppose the real reason is mostly sentimental, I guess. Some of my very earliest comic book memories, from when I was maybe five or even younger, come from Disney comics. Specifically, I remember being fascinated by Gyro’s little robotic friend Helper, and the background shenanigans he’d get up to:

Even though my ownership of this item doesn’t date from my childhood, the characters are still a definite memory from that time. So really, for no good reason beyond that, I’ll be hanging onto this for a while longer.

Anti-Hitler Comics #1 (Summer 1992).

§ August 14th, 2017 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives § 1 Comment

For a while there, New England Comics (the publishers of The Tick) were releasing several reprint series of Golden Age-era stories…mostly forgotten, probably public domain, and almost entirely strange. The longest running, and, for my money, the best of the bunch was Tales Too Terrible to Tell, a fat ol’ comic stuffed with terrible stories that, despite the title, they were telling anyway. Most issues of this and the other reprint books included copious historical notes about the publishers and the stories themselves. The reprints are all black and white, and reproduction is usually pretty good, depending on the source material they’re using…there’s the occasional muddy page, but if you don’t like it, go buy your own copy of the color original, effendi!

There were other reprint titles along other themes, such as Extinct! (featuring the oddball not-horror comics of the period) and My Terrible Romance (you can probably guess), and then there was this:

That awful feller Hitler gets what’s coming to him in the stories within, generally involving him being in Hell, and, y’know, good riddance. My main memory of actually having this book on the new comics rack at the time was the fact that the blue “Anti-” in the logo didn’t immediately register with people on first glance. The first thing a customer would see upon browsing the shelves were the big bold ‘n’ black words “HITLER COMICS” which, as I recall, elicited a comment or two. I would respond “Anti-Hitler Comics, ANTI!” and they’d look again and go “ooooooh, okay.” The little yellow slash symbols over the swastikas didn’t really come across at first glance, either…maybe it’s the fault of the cover design, or maybe it’s just that things like swastikas and the name “Hitler” cut through whatever attempts you can make to, um, soften the blow, I guess.

There are only really two stories inside…”Futuro Kidnaps Hitler and Takes Him to Hades,” which is, well, what it says on the tin:

That’s a great splash page which was probably something to behold in color…and the rest of the story suffers a bit by not being in color. The small-ish panels are filled with highly detailed but somewhat confusing activity that could have used a little color to make the action a tad more clear. (I, an effendi, should apparently go buy my own color copy of the original!) Anyway, Hitler is shown being shuttled from one punishment to the next, while Futuro tries to stop Hitler and Satan from teaming up to defeat him…and, well, as the text pieces note, this was published right after America entered the war, and the creators apparently felt they couldn’t just outright kill off Hitler since in the real world he was going to continue being an ongoing problem. It was enough that the story promised its readers that Hitler would get the punishment he deserved someday, either in this world or the next.

The second untitled story (save for the name of the story’s hero, the Unknown Soldier…not the DC Comics guy) is a little more peculiar, in that Hitler is presented as being Satan himself, who pops up to offer a solider, George Smith, safety and heroism in battle now, in exchange for his soul later.

The Unknown Solider uses his supernatural powers to attempt to intervene, while Hitler/Satan allows George his moments of heroism, only to instill cowardice in him later after removing his soul to undermine the troops’ morale. Hitler/Satan of course gets his comeuppance, as George regains his bravery after speaking to spirits of fallen heroes, and sacrifices himself in battle…stopping a German advance and freeing his soul from Hitler’s grasp.

These are a couple of nice, little-seen examples of wartime propaganda comics, and it would have been interesting to see what more the editors of this series had available. Alas, though a second issue was promised on the back cover, it never appeared. But if you need more anti-Hitler (or just anti-Nazi in general) funnybookin’, let me direct you to this Twitter hashtag.

In which I buy something I didn’t actually need, but wanted anyway…which probably describes most everything I own, to be frank.

§ March 3rd, 2017 § Filed under collecting, from the vast Mikester comic archives § 12 Comments

So my old boss Ralph has been processing a bunch of comics magazines, including those two Atlas/Seaboard magazines I mentioned a couple of weeks back. Well, I finally got my hands on those two items, which I’ll probably talk about in the near future, but before that, let me discuss something else I acquired from Ralph at the same time…The Captain Kentucky Collection Volume 1 (1981) by Don Rosa:

And here’s the back cover:

…as well as a closer look at those pics ‘n’ captions, since they don’t show up too well in that scan:

I’ve written a few times before about how I first found the work of Don Rosa in the Comic Reader ‘zine, where they were reprinting his Captain Kentucky comic strips. I thought they were pretty great, and I always kept a lookout for any more work by Mr. Rosa, which brought me to his Don Rosa’s Comics & Stories magazines, and, eventually, to his official Disney debut in Uncle Scrooge #219. (And that of course sent me on a journey rediscovering the work of Carl Barks, but that’s a story for another time.)

Anyway, I didn’t really need this, as such. I own this 2001 hardcover which reprints every CK strip:

…but it doesn’t have that great cover from the ’81 magazine, and there’s an introduction in the mag that isn’t in the hardcover. Plus, there’s those two great photos I have scanned above. The magazine also has an index to “People Offended” and “Places Destroyed” which I thought was funny, and unique to this publication…but it turns out the hardcover also that this index, expanded to the strip’s full run and not just the first 50 installments, which I didn’t recall.

For the most part, I try not to repurchase (or “double-dip” on) things I already own, says the guy with about fifteen different versions of House of Secrets #92. But there are always exceptions, and I remember really wanting this CK mag when I first heard about back in the ’80s, but thinking I missed the window of opportunity to get one and that I’d just have to piece together the run in the Comic Reader. Having that hardcover should have been enough, but finally seeing the mag in person while digging through Ralph’s boxes sort of rekindled that collecting desire. Even though at the time when I first saw it, I said “ah, I’ve got all those strips, I don’t need it” — but sure enough, a couple of days later I was on the phone with Ralph, telling him “sigh, okay, hold that Captain Kentucky ‘zine for me, too.”

And now, here it is, in my hands. Another weird old hole in the collection, filled. Like I said, I didn’t need to own this, but I sure am happy to finally have it.

So I finally got my mitts on one of these.

§ February 3rd, 2017 § Filed under collecting, from the vast Mikester comic archives § 7 Comments

Actually, I acquired it last week, but, you know, other things popped up that kept me from telling you about it earlier than this. But here it is, the hard-to-find Kilian Barracks magazine-sized edition of Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot Comics #1 from 1981:

I didn’t realize (or had forgotten) these were serially-numbered, so my copy is #2171 out of 6,500 copies:

…or however many copies still exist today, after who knows how many have been lost/destroyed/tossed out over the years.

Now, I’ve actually read this at some point…someone I knew had a copy and I was able to read theirs, but this was years ago, and at this point, this is going to be a brand new reading experience for me.

I’ve said before I’m not really collecting a whole lot of old comics for myself at this point…I’m trying to finish out my collection of Seaboard/Atlas, there’s an issue or two of Inferior 5 I still need, and a handful of Three Mouseketeers, and I’m always on the lookout for fanzines. But this comic here, this Flaming Carrot mag, is one I’ve been wanting to own for a very long time, and when I saw one turn up for cheap on the eBays, I had to grab it. Most copies up there seem to be alleged “high grade” copies, or slabbed in those plastic tombs, and selling for hundreds of dollars. As you can probably see from the scans, this was a…well-loved copy, and actually priced at a reasonable amount. (An amount made even more reasonable by a 10 dollar “thanks for being a swell cat” discount code that eBay had sent me.)

Now all I need to do is get copies of the earliest Flaming Carrot appearances in those Visions mags. Well, I’m sure I’ll win the lottery any day now.

What if my dad had bought me Son of Satan #8 (Feb 1977) instead?

§ September 12th, 2016 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives § 11 Comments

This is a scan of the cover to the first issue of What If, dated February 1977. In fact, this is my personal copy. When this comic was released, I was seven years old, and I was at home, sick, suffering one of my several bouts with bronchitis. My dad, about to go grocery shopping, asked if there was anything I wanted while he was out, and I asked him to buy a comic book for me. Didn’t specify which one…pretty much anything would have been good to seven-year-old me.

And What If #1, the very copy pictured above, is the one he picked out for me. Now, as a seven-year-old Mikester, I don’t really recall just how familiar I was with either Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four. I mean, sure, I suppose I knew Spider-Man from the cartoons, at least, and I’m pretty sure I’d seen FF comics once or twice…my cousin had a copy or two I remember perusing, and I know I inexplicably had a copy of this terrifying comic from just a few months prior, so I had some passing familiarity with the concept. And though I don’t specifically recall watching any, I’m sure I’d probably caught an FF cartoon or two along the way.

As such, this comic was more or less one of, if not the, earliest Spider-Man and/or Fantastic Four comic of My Very Own, and naturally it’s one that played with the established continuity of the characters.

I got the concept, I’m reasonably certain. Repeated exposure to the old Land of the Lost TV show and its heady-for-’70s-kid-vid sci-fi concepts of parallel universes and time paradoxes and whatever probably helped prime me for the premise of this comic. The Watcher, the bald fella what lived on the Moon and watched things, would present to us, the bronchitis-afflicted seven-year-old readers, what could have happened if things just went a wee bit different in the Marvel Universe that we knew. Or, in my case, only barely knew, though this issue did a good job of explaining “here’s what really happened, and now here’s what we propose might have happened” and even my young illness-addled mind could grasp it. Helping matters is a one-page catch-up on the origins of the characters, which I’m sure I appreciated.

Also helping was a two-page spread where the Watcher goes into detail about what he means by “parallel realities” and “alternate times” and all that other hoohar, providing examples from previously-published Marvel comics. Amusingly enough, the spread also includes this bit of business referencing the company’s recent crossover with DC Comics, in which ol’ Web-head meets Superman:

…and of course plays coy as to whether or not this actually took place in another universe. I hadn’t read that particular crossover yet when I first read this first issue of What If, but I knew about it from ads I’d seen, and even then I knew that a character from Marvel Comics meeting a character from DC Comics was a Big Deal. I felt at the time like somebody was getting away with something by sneaking Superman’s blue-sleeved arm into this comic…and you know, decades later, looking at it now, I still feel like that, and it makes me laugh.

Anyway, this comic sure packed in a lot of information about the Marvel Universe, introduced me to a lot of characters (like Namor and the Puppet Master), and through its emphasis on “this is different from what actually happened!” I was surprisingly not confused by what was regular Marvel continuity and what was alternate-continuity shenanigans. I ended up being mostly a DC Comics kid, as it turned out, but this issue of What If gave me at least a small level of comprehension of what to expect from the House of Ideas whenever I delved into their catalog.

Oh, and those copies of the Origins of Marvel Comics and Son of Origins books, reprinting classic early Marvel stories and that I would eventually discover on my local library’s shelves, helped a lot, too.

I didn’t end up following What If on a regular basis, but I would pick up the occasional issue as the whim struck me. I think a large part of the appeal was the sense of, perhaps, finality to some of the stories, or the idea that Big Things could happen here that couldn’t happen in regular continuity. Okay, “and then [x] dies at the end!” was a common theme, as was “What If [x] Never Became [Superhero Identity]” (answer: [x] becomes [Superhero Identity] anyway), but even still there was a sense of no one being safe, the threat of inevitable tragedy, the permanent change to the status quo, even if it’s just for that one-off story.

It’s probably my primary nostalgia-trigger for comics collecting. Seeing a stack of What Ifs (like I did over the weekend, prepping more back issues at my store) reminds me of that rush of discovery, long ago, from picking through that first issue over and over again. It also pulls the old comic book sales trick of asking a question on the front cover, a question that’ll compel the potential reader to plunk down his 50 cents (or more, adjusting for inflation). The question’s built into the title of the series, which is brilliant. “What if Spider-Man kept his cosmic powers?” I don’t know…what if he did keep his cosmic powers? I must pay whatever the cover price is for that particular issue to find out!

I’ve had a lot of comics from that time of my childhood fall to the wayside…read to pieces, thrown out, lost. But I held onto that What If, nearly forty years on. And it looks it: Comic Book Retailer Mike is aghast at the condition Young Comic Book Reader Mike let that comic fall into. Clearly, however, that was a comic that was read and loved, over and over again.

Loved it so much I put my name in it so none of you rotten thieves could claim it for yourself:

Probably the one time I got top billing over Stan Lee. Also, I apparently required many different pens to scribe my name into this comic. And just to let you know, I’ve since learned to spell my name correctly on the first try. Usually.

« Older Entries