You are currently browsing the indies category

At the very least, I’d like to find out why the cockroach arms. Or legs. Whatever they are.

§ November 8th, 2019 § Filed under indies § 3 Comments

Seth Michaels asks, in response to my posting about Boris the Bear:

“So what are your thoughts on Roachmill, Mike?”

[FOR THOSE OF YOU IN A RUSH: “didn’t read it, sounds neat.” FOR THOSE OF YOU WITH TIME TO KILL: carry on]

Gotta say…never read it. Not even entirely sure what it was about. I remember it from when it was coming out, seeing it on the shelf and ads in comics/’zines and such, but honestly my primary memory of it was a copy of the second trade paperback pictured above (one of Dark Horse’s early thin trades with the flimsy-ish covers) that we had kicking around the former place of employment forever. Might even still be there, for all I know, haunting the shrouded corridors, a wispy ghost of comics past sending chills into passerby.

Anyway, doing research for this post (i.e. “Googling”) I was reminded that Roachmill actually started at Blackthorne Comics, a publisher perhaps better known today for the large amount of 3D comics they put out (or maybe I just think that because I recently got a bunch of those 3Ders at the store). Blackthorne published a half-dozen issues, Dark Horse ten, and I guess that was about it unless the character popped up in the Dark Horse Presents anthology.

Checking with that font of all knowledge worth knowing, Comic Sans Wikipedia, the Roachmill entry finally has clued me in to the premise of the series. I had the vague sense for all these years that he was some kind of bounty hunter, but it’s a little more complicated than that. I don’t think I knew, or remembered, that it was explicitly science fiction. Also, the Wiki entry notes that the comic’s tone easily switched “between comedy, satire and serious sci-fi” which makes it sound a little Nexus-y to me, and that has me intrigued.

Alas, there’s no really easy way to catch up on them now…as I keep typing here, I’m recalling some very distant memories of there being some minor back issue demand for Roachmill at the old shop, and issues weren’t easy to come by even then. Nearly 30 years on, it’s decidedly less easy to just happen upon them in a shop, I’d imagine, but what with the online stuff all the kids are into, it might not be too much trouble to piece together your full run of this.

Not that I’m looking to do so at this very moment, since I’m still catching up on new comics that came out back in April, but Seth, your question has me reconsidering a comic that I haven’t really thought much about for a long, long time. We’ll add Roachmill to the “get around to reading this in the few short years I have left” mental list.

Post #5001.

§ November 4th, 2019 § Filed under collecting, indies § 9 Comments

I noticed a while back that post #5000 was quickly approaching…then completely forgot to mark the occasion. Though, as was told to me on Twitter, it certainly is somewhat fitting to have an End of Civilization entry for that particular milestone. Or millstone, as the case may be.

But hey, 5000 posts, that’s pretty good, right? Especially given that for the last few years I’ve only been doing about three posts a week. Anyway, see everyone back here in about 6 1/2 years for post #6000!

While we wait, let’s talk a little bit about Boris the Bear.

I’ve written about Boris the Bear before, in this post highlighting a few of the better titles from the 1980s black and white boom. I really, really enjoyed that series and it’s always on my “I should reread that” list, once I, um, catch up on all the new comics that have come out since April.

I acquired in a large-ish collection recent a full set of the Boris the Bear comics, including the Boris Adventure Magazine spinoff, and the Instant Color Classics reprints, and so on. In fact, this collection was so complete, it had both the first and the second printing of the first issue from 1986. If you’ll take a look at the crookedly-displayed comics in the photos below:


The fronts are identical, but the back covers are different (1st print is on the left):


Here’s a closer look at the back cover of the first printing:


I only bring this up because…I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a first printing of this comic before. The copy of #1 in my personal collection is a second print, and now that I’m thinking about it, the first issue of this series I bought off the rack was #2 (the Transformers/robot parody issue). I think I’d read a positive review of the first issue somehow (probably in Amazing Heroes…I mean, not many other options at the time) and ended up- buying the second issue when next I visited the shop since that was what was available.

Now clearly I bought that second printing of #1 eventually, since I have one (I mean, it only follows). According to a blurb inside the second printing, Boris #3 was supposedly released concurrently with the first issue’s reprinting.

I noted the Boris Adventure Magazine earlier in this post…featuring a more immersive parodic experience than you were getting in the main title. I’d only bought the first issue at the time…but this collection has ’em all, so I may end up keeping a few of those for myself. Plus…I don’t havethem here to double check, but I’m reasonably sure the collection had five issues of the series while a couple of the online comic book databases I looked at only have issues one through four. I’ll keep you all updated if there is, in fact, the rare #5 at the shop when I go back in Monday. EDIT: Turns out I was mistaken. There’s just four. No idea why I thought there was a fifth issue.

So anyway, kicking off the next 5,000 posts with a little Boris the Bear talk. TIMELY AS EVER, SEZ I. Thanks for sticking with me and reading all my nonsense, and I’ll have more of it for you later in the wek. See you then, pals.

Important Eye of Mongombo news!

§ July 10th, 2019 § Filed under indies § 3 Comments

…And how often do you see that headline on a website? Anyway, I’ve discussed Eye of Mongombo, the great and sadly uncompleted ’90s comic by Doug Gray a few times on the site before, starting waaaay back in 2003. I even heard from Mr. Gray his own self once or twice (either via email or comment, I can’t remember which now) that he planned on finishing the comic someday.

Well, that someday is today! Almost today, that is, if we can get the fella’s Kickstarter over the hump so that I…er, I mean, all of us can get the finished Eye of Mongombo product we all deserve! Planned as a series of three hardcovers, though digital formats are available as well if you’re one of those…future people.

I mean, okay, yes, it’s a “reboot,” basically retelling the story with new art and such, but I’ll take it! Any Eye of Mongombo is welcome, and if we can get the whole saga this time, I’ll be very happy. First chapter is available here.

Anyway, get yer hinders over there and pledge away…tell him Mike sent you! (And when he says “Mike who?” just kinda shrug and go “um, y’know, Mike.”)

Special thanks to pal Dorian for pointing this out to me. It made me so happy!

I wonder just how shocking that back design on the Badger shirt really was?

§ February 8th, 2019 § Filed under indies, promo § 4 Comments

So I was digging through the endless boxes of old promo materials that my former boss gave me from the previous place of employment, when I came across this thingie: solicitation material from Capital Comics for their forthcoming releases, Whisper #4, Nexus #8, and Badger #8, all due out early summer 1984:

(you can click the following two images to enlarge them)


And it took me a moment to remember…oh, hey, these comics never actually came out from Capital. First Comics ended up acquiring the properties, with those issues of Nexus and Badger eventually coming out as-is, with the same numbering scheme (imagine that!) from First Comics in 1985. Whisper, on the other hand, while also coming out from First in 1985, instead picked up with the Whisper Special, wrapping up the story from the previous issues, and continuing on with a brand new series starting with a first issue.

Looking back on this reminds me of just how close we were to these titles being tiny blips on the marketplace from the early direct sales days, if another publisher hadn’t arranged to acquire them. I know the rights issues behind this transfer was complicated…I don’t think the comics were strictly creator-owned, but I believe eventually they would be. Don’t recall the whole story, and I’m sure someone can remind me.

At any rate, I’m glad the titles survived that initial setback and left us some nice long-ish runs to enjoy. Yeah, I know, given the way the market is now, they may have kinda sorta fell to the side, but for a while there it was nice to see some good ‘n’ weird superhero alternatives on the shelves that had a little wit and style.

That was more than one question, but I had joke answers so I’ll let it slide.

§ October 24th, 2018 § Filed under indies, question time, retailing § 5 Comments

Let’s tackle another one of your questions! BRIAN, YOU’RE UP:

“1. What is your name?”

Michael Ricardo Anatoly Sterling.

“2. What is your quest?”

“3. What is your favorite color?”

Squant.

“4. Probably something that you’ve discussed before, but I’ve missed it, but I’m curious how you go about sorting back issues in the age of constant reboots and New Number Ones (including volumes that slightly change the name on occasion and then change it back). Being a fellow child of age of long runs, where a title might have hundreds of issues to be put in the bin together, I’m curious how it’s done differently when major titles aren’t aiming at Major Anniversary Issues.”

I did go into some detail about this just under a year ago, when pal Cathy posed that question to me. The short answer is basically labeling new title dividers with names and dates to identify series (for example, “Venom [2018 series]”). That admittedly does make the back issue bins appear a bit cluttered, particularly since a lot of these series (especially at Marvel) tend to run short and get relaunched anyway, making for smaller sections, but that seems to be the best way to avoid confusion.

There are a handful of titles where I just haven’t separated out the newer series from the older series, partially from no huge demand (or simple lack of backstock) for a specific title, or not wanting to put yet another title divider on the table, or just sheer laziness. But on the whole, more information is better for customer awareness than less information, so I do try to properly I.D. everything.

Not everything gets its own title divider, of course. I do have, like, an “X-MEN MISC.” section for the piles of mutant mini-series or short-run titles…though sometimes something graduates to its own section. And sometimes if there’s a small run of something related to a longer running title, I might just put the smaller run in the back of the box of the main run…like putting Groo Chronicles in the back of the Groo the Wanderer section.

It can be a real…well, I don’t want to say “mess,” but it certainly is some work keeping on top of it.

• • •

ThomH dares to inquire

“I like it when you discuss old independent comics that I’ve never heard of (a la Jupiter most recently).

“Anything else you’ve read and enjoyed but maybe not talked up on the blog in a while (or at all)?

“I’d love to be pointed in the direction of something interesting, wacky, weird, or just plain awesome.

“Thanks!”

Oh, don’t thank me yet!

I suppose one old indie title I really liked that I’ve never really mentioned here is Ralph Snart Adventures by Marc Hansen.

It has a slightly convoluted publishing history involving multiple series…and going back to the previous question, at the previous place of employment I had them all filed in the same section with notations on the price tags as to which series was which. And, if you pulled up the title divider, I had written on body of the divider which issues comprised which volume of the series, as the price guides at the time had it all messed up. …Probably should’ve made sections for each series, but what can I tell you.

But the series itself…it’s kinda sorta an anthology title with our titular hero as the recurring character in a variety of wild, usually contradictory, adventures from issue to issue. The thread pulling everything together is that Snart has, well, been driven nuts by the pressures of life and is stuck in an asylum, while his brain generates strange and fantastic scenarios in which he may engage. The set-up is a little…well, the idea of “this guy is crazy and his crazy brain invents crazy stuff!” is perhaps not the most sensitive portrayal of mental health issues, but me describing it is probably worse than actually reading it in context. So blame me, not Mr. Hansen.

Anyway, the story functions on two levels…the internal fantasy life of Mr. Snart, and the “real world” shenanigans, mostly revolving around nefarious forces trying to harness the unusual imagination power of Snart’s brain…I seem to recall at least one cliffhanger where his brain has actually been removed from his body! Don’t worry, it gets put back (SPOILER).

If you can get around the set-up, the comics themselves are pretty funny, and Hansen has this great, lumpy cartooning style. It’s been a while since I’ve read ’em, and of course writing about it here makes me want to read them again. Like, you know, I have time. Ah, well, I still have them…didn’t give those up to my store when I opened it up!

If you do seek out Ralph Snart comics, keep in mind that there are some non-Hansen issues…The Lost Issues is all non-Hansen, so avoid. Also, the black and white Volume Two that ran 9 issues is reprinted in color in the first nine issues of the 26-issue long Volume Three. You can find previews of various issues here, along with some extensive descriptions that would probably give you a better idea about this series than my meandering typing here.

• • •

Okay, more questions answered next time, probably! Add more to the pile if you’d like!

By Jove, more Jupiter comics!

§ July 30th, 2018 § Filed under indies, pal plugging § 2 Comments

So I’ve written about Jason Sandberg’s Jupiter before, a wonderful black and white comic that ran in the 1990s and was alas too beautiful for this world, disappearing from the racks in too short of a time.

Here’s the good news: that Sandberg fella is bringing Jupiter back, in digital comics form!


Clicking that cover (or the sidebar ad, if you’re a person that still visits my website directly and also a person that still reads comic blogs, will whisk you away tp Comixology, where you can obtain issue #0. This collection is a compilation of several of the one-page gag strips and some of the longer features from that original series, giving you an idea of what to expect when new Jupiter material starts being released. Yes, that’s right, I said new, and it’s about darn time. I missed this comic and I’m so glad to have it back.

Anyway, here are some samples, including a couple of the one-pagers:

…and some excerpts from the longer stories:

NOTE: none of the Pelasgus stories (which I go on about at length in that older post of mine) are featured, though Pelasgus does make the occasional cameo in a couple of the strips. (Maybe a later collection, hmmmmm?)

Also, full disclosure: Jason and I became online pals quite a while back, and I’ve occasionally plugged his work here (and about which you can learn more at his site), and he’s sent me various print projects of his over the years to distribute at both my previous place of employment and my current one. He’s a good guy and I’m happy to promote his work. I’m especially happy to promote the return of Jupiter, which had been one of my favorites back in the ’90s, and sure to be one of my favorites of the ’10s and hopefully many years beyond.

Bringing up the possibility of a Misfits of Science: Season 2 comic didn’t really fit in the body of this post, so here it is in the title.

§ August 8th, 2016 § Filed under indies, television § 1 Comment

So when I was talking about the black and white boom books a while back (1 2 3) there’s one I totally forgot about and was reminded of when Zack Soto brought it up on his Twitter: MacKenzie Queen!

macqueentpb
Yeah, that’s the cover of the trade instead of one of the issues of the actual series, because if I’m going to “borrow” a pic from the Grand Comics Database, let it at least this time be one that I scanned for that site myself.

Anyway, I’ve written here before about MacKenzie Queen, mostly about the fact that it took me what seemed like forever to track down the last issue of the series. In fact, I found it after I bought the trade, because it figures. And you should go to that link for the ultimate punchline about the whole MacKenzie Queen #5 thing.

I definitely did want to point out this comic, even if it’s a bit after the fact of my black and white funnybook discussion, because this was the first time I was exposed to the work of Bernie Mireault, and just loved it to pieces. Beautifully detailed art delineating crazy magic and aliens and even music, with a great sense of humor…this was right up my alley. The Jam is a later series of his that’s just as great, and even just typing out that name makes me want to pull those out of the boxes and give ’em a reread. …Man, if only I had time to reread all the comics I want to reread.

So, in conclusion: MacKenzie Queen and The Jam…two more positive results from the black and white boom of the 1980s. ASK FOR THEM BY NAME.

• • •

In other news, the long-running Wild Cards anthology series that took comic book superheroes and turned ’em into prose (and then people would occasionally turn them back into comic books, for some reason) is apparently just about to get a live-action adaptation, apparently. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long, kinda sorta, especially now when people are scrambling for superhero stuff to turn into movies and hopefully get some trickle-down from that enormous pile of Avengers movie bucks.

I’m only “kinda” surprised because, as has been brought up in the occasional discussion I’d get into friends with this, the sheer number of different writers and characters they’ve created for the series might complicate any media adaptation deals, though I have zero idea what kind of agreements were in place for this very thing. And it might have been the cost…a superhero TV show means lots of special effects, and while those are probably cheaper to do now than they ever have been, it still ain’t free, and multiply the number of different effects they’d have to work out by the number of characters that could be involved. I mean, there are ways to work around this, of course.

On the other hand, given that George R.R. Martin was one of the instigators of this particular book project, I’m not surprised someone finally pushed this project forward. Seems like I remember a long time ago, reading in Comics Scene, that this was a possible Disney project at one point, maybe?

But whatever. I do look forward to it, as a Wild Cards fan since that first paperback came out way back in 1986 (thirty years? good gravy…and I know it has a 1987 copyright, but I’m about 98% certain it came out in late ’86). I’m trying not to get my hopes too far up, given my reaction to another adaptation of something I greatly enjoyed, but if they can sell me on a live-action version of The Great and Powerful Turtle, I think I’ll be okay with it.

And speaking of comic book TV adaptations…is Dreadstar still in the works? Oh Lordy I hope so.

Only the fourth use of the word “cahoots” in the history of this site. Not counting this post’s title.

§ July 15th, 2016 § Filed under indies § 8 Comments

Usually, when I think of “the black and white boom” (as we have been over the last couple of posts), I tend to associate it with the more exploitative end of this publishing fad…the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles knock-offs, the parody books, the comics that might as well have just been blank inside given they were cranked out solely in the hopes some investor would snap up cases of them for Turtles-esque resale value. And there were the rumors of various forms of funny business in which some comics were supposedly “in short supply” but, oh, hey, this one place that totally isn’t in cahoots with that comic’s creators just happens to have a limited stock of copies for only $19.99 each! What a deal!

It’s easy to forget in the midst of all this, actual quality work was being put out and getting lost in the shuffle and swept away when the End Times came for all the black and whites, good or bad. One such book, mentioned by kiwijohn in the comments to the first post linked above, was Alien Fire:

afirecvr

…a comic I never got around to reading, but the covers always did grab my eye when I came across ’em at my previous place of employment. I bring it up specifically because one of the creators, Eric Vincent, popped up in the comments to express his lament at the series taking the hit when the b&w bust finally happened. Thanks for giving your perspective on the situation, Eric! (Co-creator Anthony Smith also stopped in.)

Internet pal C. Elam was good enough to point out that Border Worlds, another title cut short before its time, is due for a complete reprinting from Dover Books, including a brand-new 30-page conclusion! This is what I get for not keeping up to date on all of Don Simpson’s blogs. This is good news, and if it’s anything like the Puma Blues hardcover (another great black and white book from the period), this will be a tome definitely worth having. Can’t wait to see it.

The black and white boom was an interesting time, and I wish I was a little more involved in the retail end of things then to have more insight on the matter. I mean, I certainly read plenty of black and white books throughout the ’80s, and I sort of miss seeing those oddball titles populating the stands. In fact, I have a hard time thinking of too many black and white title periodical comics (as opposed to the mostly b&w manga titles) on the stands now…and when they are, it’s likely more for aesthetic purposes than a cost-saving measure. I’m pretty sure they could afford to put The Walking Dead out in color, for example. (I’m betting we’ll get color editions of The Walking Dead eventually, anyway, like the color reissues of Bone. Probably not from Scholastic, though.)

I keep saying “I’m going to try to dig up more black and white titles from the ’80s to recommend” and I keep not having the time to research (i.e. “dig through my own collection”). I still plan on doing it, so keep your eyes out for at least one more post on the matter. Or three or four. You know how I am.

Most of these had print runs that some big publishers would kill for today.

§ July 13th, 2016 § Filed under indies, question time, reader participation § 9 Comments

So a few of you had some suggestions re: good comics from the black and white boom, including several that I own and of course couldn’t dredge up from my memory to include in the initial post.

kiwijohn mentioned a couple of titles that I enjoyed, like Border Worlds by Don Simpson:

bworlds4cvr

…a serious science fiction adventure/mystery from the creator of Megaton Man, that, as kiwijohn noted, never got to complete its story. Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve read this…I still have ’em, in what remains of my personal comic collection, so when I have a moment I need to poke through them again. As I recall, the art was gorgeous in this series.

Another kiwijohn mentioned was Xenozoic Tales:

xenozcvr

…probably remembered by a good chunk of the population as Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, a somewhat more commercial name for marketing purposes. Written and drawn by Mark Schultz, and boy, what drawing! The word “lush” was pretty much invented to describe Schultz’s art. There were a number of spin-off comics under the C&D title published by Topps Comics in the ’90s by other creators…can’t say how good those were, but the original Xenozoic Tales is the stuff.

Iestyn Pettigrew is aghast, aghast I say, that I didn’t mention The Trouble with Girls:

twgcvr

…and Iestyn is correct, I should have mentioned it, as it’s a hoot. It’s a parody of manly-man adventure novels/movies/etc. (by Will Jacobs, Gerard Jones and Tim Hamilton) in which our hero, Lester Girls, just wants a quiet evening in with a relaxing book but is constantly beset by spies, ninjas, terrorists, beautiful but deadly ladies, and all your other typical baddies that you’d find in your typical James Bonds or your Executioners or your Destroyers and so on. All very hilarious. Most of it was published by Malibu/Eternity, but it was briefly in color at Comico Comics, and there was a color mini-series at Marvel during one of its short revivals of the Epic Comics imprint. A side note: I think because of our proximity to the publisher, at my previous place of employment it seemed like copies of the first Trouble with Girls paperback collection were always showing up in collections. And not always just a single copy…I think I remember a dozen or more turning up at once in the same assortment. Go figure.

Matthew mentioned To Be Announced:

tbanncvr

…a series that I actually did try to collect. You’d figure, only being seven issues long, it wouldn’t be that hard, but I am still missing a couple. The comic is primarily by Mike Bannon, who was one of the cast of regular characters in the old Cerebus letter columns and is probably the main reason I sought this comic out. Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve read the issues I do have, but I recall being amused by it and I’m sure someday I’ll get around to completing the set.

Hooper mentions Neil the Horse, which I talked about a while back, as well as Tales of the Beanworld:

talesbean7cvr

…also noted by MrJM in the comments, and which I’ve also discussed many times in the past on this site. It did come out during the black and white boom, but I always forget that since the comic is just so unlike anything else on the stands. It’s hard to picture it as part of a “movement” (or “phase,” or “fad”) when it’s totally its own weird thing.

That Augie character (who just hit his 1000th Pipeline column…congrats!) mentions Nervous Rex by William Van Horn:

nerrex2cvr

…and Van Horn, some of you may best know as one of the primary American creators of new Disney Duck comics in the ’80s and ’90s, along with Don Rosa. As an avid reader of the Duck comics during that period, I was very familiar with Van Horn’s work there…but I already knew his name from his children’s books, which I’d encountered during my librarian days. Nervous Rex was one of those comics I’d always meant to look into, as the old job had most, if not all, of them, but just never got around to it, sadly. They always looked like they were delightful.

Anyway, there are a few others mentioned in the comments and I’m going to see if I can add any more personal favorites to the list in my next post. And if you have any more suggestions, you know where to leave ’em!

The post that would not end.

§ November 19th, 2012 § Filed under archie, batman, blogging about blogging is a sin, collecting, dc comics, does mike ever shut up, everyone's going to hate me, giant-size man-thing, golden age, how the sausage is made, I have no idea how to tag this, indies, linkrot, newspaper strips, other swamp creatures, retailing, scans, swamp thing § 16 Comments

So I received a used copy of this hardcover in a collection I purchased the other day:


And, well, I did have it in the shop as a new item before, but I never really did sit down and give it a good looking-at then, despite my enjoyment of Don Newton’s Batman. Thus, before putting it out for sale I thought I’d take it home and give it a read…what, it’s going to get more used? …Well, okay, yeah, I suppose it is, but I’ve the gentle touch of a professional comics handler, and can easily peruse this volume without causing further discoloration, dogearing, spine stress, or, God help us, foxing.

Anyway, I was a fan of Newton’s work, both on Batman and on Infinity Inc., which he had just started to work on when he passed away in 1984 at the too-young age of 49. Reading this book, I find myself struck by one thing, which will hardly be a new or original comment in regards to these sorts of reprint projects, but nevertheless it’s still an honest reaction. The pages are just too white and clean. The Young Mike that’s still rattling around in my head is expecting to be reading these stories on brown-ish newsprint. In fact, when I mentally picture Newton’s art, I imagine dark, moody images…all shadows and mystery. Reprinting in this book on bright pages with bright coloring, even the shadows look like you’re staring at the sun. …Okay, I exaggerate slightly, but still, it was a bit jarring to have the art right in front of me and contradicting my memories of same.

And before you say anything, yes, Infinity Inc. was printed on bright white paper with eye-searingly bright colors, but Newton’s sadly brief tenure there doesn’t have the nostalgic hold his Batman work has for me.

As I was writing this, another sorta unsung comics artist fave of mine came to mind that I’d like to see reprinted in a book like this. I’d totally be all over The Complete Irv Novick.

• • •

One of my readers was kind enough to point out that, in an old post of mine…I mean, really old, within the first month of this site’s life…one of the links I’d posted way back then had apparently since gone feral and now pointed to a porn site. Okay, first off…porn on the Internet? When did that start? And secondly…yeah, link rot. This site is on the verge of turning nine years old, and I’m sure many links in a lot of my old posts now go to destinations I did not originally intend. I mean, if I was sending you to a dirty filthy dirty site, I was usually pretty good about warning you up front.

I’ve heard about some people going through and consistently maintaining and / or removing links on old posts, but frankly, it’s hard enough to find the time to keep with new posts, or sleep. And then there was the great Blogger-to-Wordpress shift I underwent in early ’10, which resulted in some formatting and archived-post issues, and then whatever that company was that was supporting the old commenting system cut that support, so links to those comments are now no bueno, I guess, and…man, sometimes I feel doing a reboot, and just starting this website from scratch. FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNEW BEFORE: WELCOME TO THE NEW PROGRESSIVE RUIN! and then I’d never refer to anything before that date ever again.

I’m not going to do it, but, back past a certain point, my site’s a mess. I do still go back and fix links and formatting and stuff if I have occasion to link to an old post, so I’m not letting things totally fall into barbarism, but…well, just assume any super old link is probably taking you straight to a site that’ll sell you V1aG4a or promise you pictures of people inserting Tab A into Slot B.

However, I am happy to note that I still occasionally edit my very first post to make sure it’s still sending you where I want you to go. Man, had I known they’d be fiddling with those addresses every year or so, I’d have picked something else for my debut entry.

• • •

Reader d asks

“Hey Mike, we all know you have every Swamp & Man Thing appearance, but do you collect The Heap as well? Just curious.”

Well, I don’t have every Man-Thing appearance…I do have every one written by Steve Gerber, as well as the first appearance in Savage Tales (not by Gerber), but from about the ’90s forward, I’ve been a little pickier about touching Man-Things.

That has nothing to do with the actual thrust of your question, which is all about the Heap, the original comic book swamp monster dating back to the 1940s. Sadly…no, I haven’t gone out of my way to seek out Heap comics, though I have picked up some of the latter day revivals, such as this 1971 one-shot I’ve discussed in the past, or this new version from Moonstone, or the Airboy/Mr. Monster one-shot from 1987, in which the Heap plays a prominent role, and is a great comic, to boot.

The original Heap comics are about to be reprinted in a series of three hardcover volumes, and I’m still waffling a bit on whether I can afford to pick these up for myself. My usual argument to talk myself into such things is “if I don’t get them now, I’ll probably never have another chance, at least this (relatively) cheaply,” so we’ll see. I am tempted.

• • •

On a related note, in that it’s asked in the same comments section, Casey wonders

“Mike, have you ever done a post about toxic Teen Titans continuity?”

Oh God, no. What I’d wished I had done is recorded pal Dorian and myself going on and on and hashing it all out and realizing that some of the time frames involved would make some of the adult characters a lot older than they should be, or that some of the lengths of time of team membership would be extremely short, or…hell, I don’t remember now. This was prior to DC kind of pushing the “sliding scale” of the Modern DC Superhero Universe to being about 20 years old, as of Identity Crisis, which I recall thinking was a slightly more reasonable time frame, given the amount of “important” events and continuity, not just for the Titans but for everyone, you had to squeeze in there.

Of course, post-Flashpoint, that scale is now about 5 or 6 years, depending on who you ask, I guess, so it’s all a moot point. And I hear tell Titans continuity has even more exciting problems now, as in some indecision whether there were previous Titans teams or not, but I leave the pondering of that question to younger, abler folks than myself.

• • •

And then sometimes I repost a gag I already made on the Twitter, such as presenting this gag header from Archie’s Joke Book #134 (March 1969 – hey, my birth month!) and lamenting the fact that in no way does the story live up to this title:


…which is just as well, since Archie couldn’t participate anyway:


Oh, scatological humor! You’re the best!

• • •

To bring things back around to the nostalgia of Young Mike from the beginning of this post, just before I soiled it all with continuity nitpicking, porn, poop jokes, and Man-Thing innuendo, I found myself the other day discussing the joys of Omega Men with a customer of mine.

Although I had read the introduction of the Omega Men in those three or so issues of Green Lantern, I didn’t follow them to their own series (which experienced some small controversy in its early issues due to depictions of violence, back in the “they didn’t know how good they had it” days of fandom). It took Alan Moore, a writer of some note, writing a back-up in two successive issues of the series (#26, pictured, and #27) to get me to take a look…and quite wisely, a new storyline in the main feature started up at that same time, giving Moore-ites like me a solid jumping-on point. It helped that 1) the new regular artist on the series was Shawn McManus, for whom I was developing a strong appreciation, and 2) that the comic itself was just a darned weird, creepy, and plain ol’ interesting sci-fi adventure.

As I was talking about the book with the customer, a couple of things dawned on me that, I suppose, shouldn’t have surprised me but did anyway. The actual run of that “new direction” for Omega Men, from #26 to the book’s eventual cancellation, was only 13 issues, plus an annual. It sure felt like it was longer…not in a bad way, I mean. It’s that a whole lot of stuff happened along the course of that comic, and it’s hard to believe they managed to fit it all into only about a year’s worth of stories (well, technically a year…I think some issues ran a bit late, if I recall correctly). Also, there was a Teen Titans crossover, and, of all things, a Crisis on Infinite Earths-engineered Blue Devil crossover, and an appearance in DC Comics Presents, so that probably helped in the perception of the comics’ apparent length.

The other thing that dawned on me was that the series wrapped up while I was still in high school, which doesn’t feel weird for anyone but me, I realize, but still, it seems like it’s more recent than that. Ah, well…tempus fugit, and all that.

I’ve since picked up the remainder of the series, which of course includes the first appearance of Lobo (which guides at a low $7.00, which sort of surprises me, except I suppose Omega Men print runs at the time were fairly large), and despite the occasional terrifying Kevin O’Neill art job, those earlier issues were fairly staid compared to the outright craziness of the McManus-era stories. Still fun, and worth checking out if you can find ’em cheap, which they usually are.

• • •

Just to let you folks know, I’m probably entering Low Content Mode for the rest of the week, or at least lower content mode…the Thanksgiving holiday is coming up, and I’ve also got another project I’m working on at the moment that requires the focus of my creative energy, he said in a hopefully non-New Agey way, so probably you’ll not be seeing much more out of me this week aside from maybe a pic or two. Or you can follow me on the Twitter where I’m still likely to spout off about something. At any rate, I’ll see you on the other side, and please enjoy your Thanksgiving, where applicable, and everyone else, enjoy your Thursday. Thanks for reading!

• • •

Oh, here’s the end of the post! I was wondering where that was.

« Older Entries