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Welcome to the house of sketches.

§ July 23rd, 2021 § Filed under indies, original art § 2 Comments

So Wednesday I mentioned I obtained a Pirate Corp$ sketch by Evan Dorkin about thirty years ago from…still can’t remember the guy’s name! Tad? Scott? Chickie? Chasley? No idea.

But I still have the sketch, and I realized it wasn’t fair to tell you about the sketch without showing it to you. As such, let me rectify the situation by presenting it now:


Nice pic of Blue and Charlie, I think! I adjusted the scan shown above to make the lines more visible. However, if you click on the pic you’ll get a very large image of the original unadjusted scan.

Pirate Corp$ (and later, Hectic Planet) was a fun comedy/adventure comic that well demonstrated Evan Dorkin’s penchant for being able to mix actual emotional drama with wild comedy. It’s another indie of yesteryear that I miss…unlikely to ever return, but at least I still have all the original issues to continue enjoying. And, of course, that wonderful original drawing.

It cost me two dollars in American loot (two-sixty Canadian).

§ July 21st, 2021 § Filed under indies, original art § 4 Comments

At some point in the early 1990s, someone decided to hold a comic convention in our area, specifically in a large building at the Ventura Fairgrounds. It was also the same day as the usual giant swap meet that generally occupied the entire venue, so there were enormous crowds not there for the comic show that we had to navigate in order to set up our shop’s presence there.

Thirty years on I can’t recall much about the event beyond the inconvenience of trying to get in an’ out of there (especially during the middle of the day when one of us had to run back to the shop for something we needed). I do however recall three specific things (and one “maybe” thing):

1. Ol’ Forrest J. Ackerman speaking to a small but rapt group of fans, all of whom (Forry included) sitting on a bunch of folding chairs just kinda in the middle of the floor of the show, no separate room, nothin’ roped off. Just everyone kinda sittin’ there. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, especially Mr. Ackerman, a person I understand totally enjoying talking about stuff.

2. I bought a copy of volume one of the Action Comics Archive Edition for ten bucks in an auction.

3. The “maybe” thing: I believe it was at this show I picked up a group sketch by Evan Dorkin of the Pirate Corp$ cast for another ten bucks, from a fella who’d been active in the local comics retail scene at the time and was just trying to unload a bunch of his stock. Boy, I haven’t seen him in decades…I can’t even remember his name at this point. (Was it “Greg?” I can’t recall.) But I still have the sketch, framed and on display in the house! Anyway, if it wasn’t at this specific show, it was certainly around this time.

Remind me to scan and post that Pirate Corp$ sketch at some point.

And for 4) we’re back to a specific memory of this show, where cartoonist Mike Kazaleh was a guest, signing comics and drawing sketches for the folks who came to his table. Now, Mr. Kazaleh had then just started drawing for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics published by Archie, and that was the big selling point for his appearance at the show. As such, it appeared to be all TMNT all the time for him as he interacted with guests, drawing pics of Michelangelo and the other not-as-good Turtles, signing TMNT comics, and so on.

Now I was (and still am!) a fan of Kazaleh’s work, particularly of his creator-owned sci-fi anthropomorphic comic book series Adventures of Captain Jack. So, between waves of children hitting his table, I made my way over there, told him I was a fan, and asked if I could buy a sketch of Captain Jack.

Well, clearly he was surprised that there was actually someone there asking about something that wasn’t teenage or mutated or reptilian. He drew a quick but nice drawing in his sketchbook, ripped out the page, and handed it to me.

I said “Great! How much do I owe you?”

He replied “oh man, I’m just happy someone asked me about Jack. You can have it for free.”

Me: “Ah geez, I gotta pay you something.”

MK: “…Okay, how ’bout a dollar?”

Me: “Only a dollar? That’s not enough! …Look, I’ve got two dollars.”

MK: “Okay, sure!”

We had a pretty good laugh, and though I don’t remember the details of the other conversation we had, I do recall that I enjoyed talking to him. And yes, I should have at least given him $10, since that seemed to be the amount I was handing out at that show. If Mr. Kazaleh would like the additional eight dollars, I’ll happily send it his way.

Over the years, the sketch got stored away between some move or two over the last decade or so, where it stayed until I recently started digging through some boxes and pulling out some of my own old artwork. Now I have it out, and I need to find a frame for it.

And of course I’ve also finally scanned scanned it so I can show it off to you folks. I had to do a little brightness/contrast adjusting to maximize its visibility, as the art’s lines are pretty light. The actual paper is white, not this dingy color, I promise:


Isn’t that nice? I miss Captain Jack comics. I miss a lot of those ’80s/early ’90s indies.

The Department of Variants.

§ June 21st, 2021 § Filed under indies, variant covers § 3 Comments

So back in 2014, when I was still at the previous place of employment, our prep for what would turn out to be the final Free Comic Book Day I worked at that store, we took advantage of a special deal Valiant Comics offered. If we ordered a minimum of 500 copies of that year’s FCBD offering from the publisher, Armor Hunters Special #1, we would be able to receive custom-printed copies with our logo on the cover. Now 500 copies at a quarter a pop our cost, for a total of $125, was just a drop in the bucket in the overall expenditures for our Free Comic Book Day event, so we went for it, resulting in this:


One, they actually ran two logos, one for Seth’s store and one for Ralph’s, though I suppose the restriction wasn’t “number of store logos” but rather “what will fit in that space, and hopefully isn’t straight-up pornography.” Two, you can probably tell which logo was actually by A Real Artist and which was by The Overworked Comic Shop Manager Who Knew How to Color In Letters in an Art Program. As to that URL, pretty sure I told ’em “just put it in there somewhere” and somewhere is indeed where they put it.

Anyway, aesthetics aside, one of the unintended but probably-should-have-expected-because-comics consequences was phone calls from collectors trying to obtain copies of our customized version of this freebie. Lots of calls. Valiant press-released a list of stores what went for these branded Armor Hunters, which sent folks our way. (Honestly, I’m surprised so few stores took part in this.) And I believe we did mail out quite a few, but true to the spirit of FCBD we didn’t charge for them (just asked for shipping costs…and waited to send ’em out after the event).

That was the one time I did the whole retailer-variant thing, which I’d been thinking about over the last couple of days in relation to a collection of comics I just took in. Specifically, I acquired a bunch of Department of Truth variants, several for each issue released so far. There were a handful of the regular variants available through Diamond, but the vast majority of them were covers specifically produced for retailers, like this cover for #1 by Peach Momoko:

Now, to get that Valiant variant, it was relatively easy…just hit that minimum and provide the artwork. For these kinds of variants, featuring specific artwork by actual professional artists, it’s a whole different scale of business there. I don’t know the specifics of what had to be done with these Department of Truth variants, but I do know with other retailer variants I’ve looked into, it required ordering a certain minimum number of the regular covers, then committing to a certain amount of the retailer variant, sometimes at a higher-than-normal wholesale cost. Regardless of the details, it costs a lot and you end up with a boatload of comic books. Huge numbers of books, more than my current rinky-dink operation can deal with.

Every time I crunched the numbers on these, it always looked like the end result would be me having to dump all those extra copies of the regular cover (above what I’d normally sell) for pennies on the dollar, or just plain recycle them, and hope sales on the retailer-variant cover the cost. But the larger stores with the more efficient (i.e. more than one dude running the shop) mail-order department probably is in a lot better position dealing with these. And that must be the case given the number of retailer variants that exist for comics. I mean, Department of Truth alone…

Anyway, speaking of that comic, I already knew there were a number of variants for issue #1, but I just wasn’t aware how many. The main cover of the first issue looked like this:


…but interspersed with this cover during its initial distribution was this cover (about 1 in every, what, 6 copies?) replacing Kennedy’s image with Lee Harvey Oswald:

And of course there were the usual “ratio” variants, where you could get 1 copy for every X copies of the regular you were ordering. These existed at the 1-in-10 and 1-in-50 levels (which you can refer to on this page, as I won’t be putting every cover up here). There was also a 1-in-100 variant, which I am putting up here:


…due to its “homage” to the writer’s other weirdly popular comic Something Is Killing the Children. It is noted as “Cover F” on the back cover…a letter designation is assigned to most, but not all, of these Department of Truth variants. (If you’re also wondering if this particular variant has staples, you know where to look.)

This series turned out to be in very high demand, and after the quick sellout of the first issue, reprints were quickly produced. Five printings of #1 as of this posting, with the 2nd print pictured here:

These reprints, at least on the first issue, were simply coloring variations on the initial release. But also wildly in high demand, often from collectors and investors looking toward resale. Like many reprints, which are seen by some as “rare” collectibles, their relative scarcity in comparison to the comic it’s reprinting, drive their demand to occasionally outrageous levels.

But nearly all the rest of the #1s are retailer comics, which you could buy at conventions, or, more likely since there weren’t conventions for a while, obtained via mail order. Often they had small print runs (like about 500 or so) and a quick scan of several of these retailers’ storefronts show them long out of stock. However, this version of that first Momoko cover I posted, but sans logo:

…was used for a foil variant that apparently was sold directly by the writer himself, if I understand correctly? This only had a print run of 100 copies, so the premium prices on the secondary market for this edition can run quite dear. (And yes, before you ask, I had one of those in this collection…it was one of the first to sell!)

As you scan down that catalog of variants, you see the process not slowing down much. A lot of the “altered color” reprints, along with a bunch of retailer exclusives, are listed for every issue. Issue 9 isn’t listed there yet, but I can assure you the same goes for that one as well.

As I go through this collection of Department of Truth variants, it has me thinking again about looking into getting a retailer variant of my own. Given the response we had far and wide from folks trying to get that Armor Hunters variant, I imagine I could probably move enough copies of my own store-exclusive edition of…something. Just a matter of me deciding to put my dime (well, lots of dimes) down on something that I’d want representing my shop. I don’t know if I can top this Archie Vs. Predator exclusive, but I’d love to have a House of Secrets #92 homage on some comic for my store to sell. Too bad Herbie is off the stands…an HOS92-type cover with a lollipop sitting in the foreground with a shadowed Herbie lurking behind, with a giant “Sterling Silver Comics” logo adorning the image. It’s too beautiful to imagine.

Okay, I don’t know how educational all that was, and it was a little off-model from the rest of my variant cover-age posts. I know I said I’d do the Marvel 35-cent variants this time ’round, but that was turning into more of a thing than I was really up for at the moment. There’s a lot to unpack there, along with varying distributor marks, and the larger direct sales vs. newsstand editions secondary marketplace…I’ll get to it all eventually.

The harder the variant, the more glorious the triumph.

§ June 7th, 2021 § Filed under indies, market crash, variant covers § 12 Comments

So back in 1968, Mad Magazine pulled this cover gag on issue #123:


…part of the joke being there were only (as far as anyone knows) four different serial numbers printed on the covers. In essence, that makes this one of the first “variant” covers in the modern sense (predating that darn Man of Steel #1).

Now, I don’t think anyone expected fans to actually collect all four variants, despite what it says there on the cover. Clearly the multiple printed numbers were only there to add a bit of verisimilitude to the gag. Now of course Mad would eventually, actually, once the technology existed, put genuine serialized numbering on some covers, like this issue from 1995:


This reminds me of ack in ye olden tymes of the 1980s, I was, I don’t know, 12 or 13 or something like that, when I first saw a printed personlized message in one of the magazines to which I subscribed. (It was either Games or Omni — yes I know that’s a little weird.) Not just my address being printed directly onto the cover instead of being printed first on a mailing label that was glued to the mag. But an actual message to me, using my name, printed (and memory fails me here, as I haven’t thought about this in decades) on the cover, or inside the magazine itself. Look, I don’t know when this sort of thing became available, if it’d been happening elsewhere before it showed up in the mags I read, but all I know is that I thought that was pretty cool. My copy of the magazine was personalized to me, and totally different from everyone else’s copy, which technically was true before anyway just given the mailing label, but you know what I mean. But it was only a short leap from this to putting a sequence of “limited edition” serial numbers on a cover.

For the purposes of my ongoing discussion, this type of “variant” cover I’ve been discussing only just barely counts. Well, Mad #123 does, obviously, but the others…when we think of variant covers on comics, we’re likely thinking of comics marketed with two or more covers, often with differing art or enhancements or even just coloring.

Also, there’s intent…the typical variant covers are there to either get a customer to buy more than one cover, or to provide enough variations that a customer otherwise possibly not interested in the publication might spot a cover he likes and is enticed to buy.

Serial numbers printed on a comic’s cover are a sales enticement as well, but not in the same way. Different numbers on different copies do make them variants, when you get down to it, but, like no one’s literally “collecting them all.” Or, come to think of it, maybe someone’s trying…I’ve been in comics retail for nearly three and a half decades, I know what kind of stuff you weirdos get up to. That said, a serial number implies “limited edition” — “there’s only so many of these in existence!” — so that part of it does (or hopefully does) get a customer’s attention and with it, a purchase.

One publisher that took it to an extreme, and made serial numbering part of their trade dress, was Triumphant Comics:


A closer look:


I’m trying to remember how these specifically sold for us at the shop at the time, and alas that data was expunged from my brain at some point over the years. I do remember not having much, if any, back issue movement on them, either at the time or well after the fact, a combination of general market malaise in the 1990s crash times, along with the fact the company itself was only around a year or so.

The print runs probably looked impossibly small at the time, after the huge successes of X-Men #1 and X-Force #1 and all that nonsense moving millions of copies into shops, a portion of those then even selling to customers. Having a comic with a 12,500 print run and being serially numbered probably looked like a collectibility and-therefore-sales-slam-dunk:


Just kinda randomly picking through the comics, stated print runs of between about 15,000 to 30,000 were the most common. The outlier was this freebie comic which, being free, naturally had the largest number that I saw:

Not much else to say here really…their publishing strategy was to make their comics look more collectible, and, well, you can get copies for a buck a pop on eBay (one listing for a single issue for $5.99 including free shipping…which basically makes that a buck as well). Anyway, it was an interesting try at a gimmick building off a market with multiple price guides and an expanded emphasis on “limited editions” and “collectibles,” done in, it seems, by that market suddenly going away.

These is one more thing I’d like to point out, and that was this letter of encouragement from another comics personality of note that was printed on a back cover:


Which reminds me…I hope none of my comments here are taken as disparaging of the actual contents of these books. I’ve…never actually read a Triumphant comic. Big Jim liked what he saw, anyway. But this year’s worth of Triumphant books represented someone’s hard work and effort and dream to get their stories into print, and good for them. They had an interesting hook with the serial numbers to stand out on the shelves, but unfortunately things just didn’t work out. That’s just how it goes sometimes, and that’s especially how it went in comics during the mid-1990s.

Okay, next up in the variant cover-age…maybe some actual variant-ish type variant comics! Hey, did Defiant Comics have variants? I don’t remember.

Also, thanks to Customer Dave for lending me some of the Triumphant Comics from his collection for the production of this post. Hmmm, so long as I have ’em on hand, I’ll give one a read.

Too Much Variants Man.

§ June 2nd, 2021 § Filed under indies, variant covers § 12 Comments

So BrianF said in the comments to my last post

“Love what yer doing but I’m surprised there’s been no mention of the ‘comics shot by a bullet’ variant”

I’m glad you’re enjoying this series, BrianF…I’ve been having a lot of fun writing it! But as to the “shot with a bullet” “variant,” I am presuming you mean Jab #3, published by Adhesive Comics in 1993 (featuring a Too Much Coffee Man story by Shannon Wheeler, hence the title of this post).

I’ve actually posted about this comic here on the site a long time ago, back in 2005, and you can see that entry right here. However, I went ahead and pulled my copy of the comic out of the What’s Left of the Vast Mikester Comics Archive to rescan for today’s post:

Here’s a close up of the bullet hole (I laid the cover out on the counter of my shop and pushed the paper aside a little so that you could see, yes indeedy, there is a hole there):

And as I noted last time, the bullet hole itself was incorporated into several of the story pages in this anthology:

(An aside: the example I used last time for an interior shot was by a cartoonist named Tom King…presumably not the same Tom King writing today about how superheroes are sad and/or possibly up to something.)

To BrianF’s point, I was going to respond “this isn’t really a ‘variant’ cover as such, but a ‘gimmick’ cover, in that the only available version you could get was the one with the gimmick, much like the only version of Shadowhawk II #3 you could buy was the one with the perforated fold-out cover. Not to say there can’t be overlap between a gimmick and a variant, such as having a standard cover and a deluxe fancy cover, like WildC.A.T.s #2. But in this case Jab #3 were all distributed with bullet holes, and didn’t have variants as such.”

That’s what I was going to say. But hold onto your shorts, BrianF, as I was wrong!

Let me repeat that, in larger, redder letters, given my being wrong is such an infrequent occurrence:

I WAS WRONG

Okay, before you wags say anything, yes, every bullet hole is going to be different and thus every copy is technically a variant. But c’mon, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I decided to check if perhaps this book was offered in an “un-bulleted” edition, given as I haven’t looked inside it probably since I last posted about it in 2005.

And lo, feast your eyes upon this order page from the inside back cover (click the image to increase the caliber):

Holy crow. Okay, before I get to the obvious stuff, let’s look at the part where the publisher sez:

“…The normal edition of JAB was shot in stacks of 10 copies so that only the tenth copy became a Special Collectors Edition with powder burns on the cover.”

There was a 1-in-10 variant of the regular in-store edition that had powder burns. BrianF, I acknowledge your initial assertion…the “shot with a bullet” comic was indeed released with variants.

But as you all can see for yourselves in the ad, that wasn’t all! Four other editions, with holes caused by increasingly larger and more destructive ammunition, were offerred via mail order only:

I’ll go ahead and post the relevant text from the ad here:

In addition to that 1/10 powder burn variant, there were supposedly 20 copies apiece of each of these other variants. And in case you couldn’t tell from the image:

Powder burns and the shell for the used ammo included! All signed and numbered! And I salute the fact that the more money you get charged, the apparently less comic book you receive.

I looked…I didn’t see any copies of the larger-caliber versions up for sale or even display anywhere, but it’s a large internet and I’m sure I missed it. But apparently they do exist, as per these comments from Jab contributor Shannon Wheeler his own self (via Brian Cronin’s article on this very topic from 10 years ago!).

Therefore, BrianF, if I may reiterate: the Bullet-Shot Comic is a variant comic, with multiple versions once available. Um, good luck finding those now, I guess, but look out for counterfeiters making “fake” Jab #3 variants by reshooting the regular edition with their own shotguns. Surely the most rampant of funnybook crimes.

NOTE: found at least one online retailer that had a placeholder listing for this issue, with theoretical prices in grades running from “Fair” all the way to “Near Mint.” Um, yeah, hey, let me know wnen you get a near mint copy of this, I’d like to see it.

I wonder what the chances are for Walking Dead II: Walk Deader #1 coming out by 2025?

§ July 20th, 2020 § Filed under indies, publishing § 12 Comments

The big news over the weekend was the announcement that The Walking Dead cook series would be returning to the stands in a new biweekly reprint series…in color.

I was pretty sure something like this was going to happen…I predicted it here once or twice over the years, but honestly I thought they’d just go with colorized trade collections. I suppose a new color reprint comic book series might help get folks back into the habit of visiting comical-type bookstores again, what with the effect the real life plague has had on business.

Now I expect Robert Kirkman will see this project through to the end…though I do think the possibility of sales on the reprint series falling os low that they’d switch over to doing color trades only. I know the press release states “no trade collections for a while,” but we’ll see what happens if and when circulation drops to precarious levels.

This is nearly 200 comics they’ll be reprinting (I’m assuming the various specials will be included), and I’m wondering what the exact market for these will be. Walking Dead completists, sure. And there’ll be the investor-types who’ll probably want multiples of the first issue, and will want the color editions of whatever “key” issues turn up. There are the folks who didn’t read it the first time, either because it was in black and white, or they just up and missed it. Personally, I may pick up the series myself, since I skipped it initially but had enough interest in it that I’d poke through the occasional issue. We’ll see.

New editorial backmatter will be presented in each book, which may get the old readers to pick it up again, at least for a while. But 200 issues of something you’ve already read, even if it’s now in color, at twice a month over the next eight years, is kind of a big ask. I imagine sales eventually are going to depend heavily on those readers who hadn’t read it before, plus a handful of those old Walking Dead fans who cannot resist the new colorized temptation. It’s gonna start big, I’m sure, but I’ll be selling single digits on these by the time 2028 rolls around. Aaaand I’m sure by that time the trades will have started coming out.

Anyway, this is some project, and like I said, I’m surprised they opted for the comic book format versus the trade. Now to start pestering Dave Sim about Cerebus But Now in Color #1.

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.

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