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“HDMI Jack” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

§ October 16th, 2023 § Filed under indies, marvel § 13 Comments

So in response to my post about the passing of Keith Giffen, LouReedRichards brings up a title that I’m sort of shocked at myself for not remembering. On one hand, I couldn’t list everything, but on the other hand, I really should have pointed out this comic from 1987:

And here’s a sample page from the first issue:

Did ol’ Keith do 12-panel pages throughout the series? Oh he sure does, for the most part, with some smatterings of six and nine panel pages, so this is one series dense with storytelling. Even the last issue, featuring several guest artists (like Fred Hembeck! Walt Simonson! Trina Robbins! Jim Starlin!) is mostly 6 or 9 panel grids. There’s the occasional breaking of the format, including a pretty stunning two-page spread in the first issue.

So here’s the thing about this comic.

I remember really looking forward to it. I even picked up one of the promo posters at the comic shop, where they had a stack they were giving away, and had it put up at home. And I bought each issue off the stands as it came out, its release coinciding with my beginning months of college.

And I’m pretty sure that was the one time I read it. Well, okay, I probably reread the whole series once it was complete. And it’s been 35+ years and I remember very, very little of it. As I flipped through my copies, extracted from what remains of the Vast Comics Archive, I remembered bits here and there, some of the conceits of the series, the character designs, etc. But there is a lot going on and I’m sure there are plenty of details I’m forgetting.

Hell, I even forgot that this was written by former DC Comics stalwart Cary Bates.

I remember really liking the series. But I couldn’t tell you really anything substantial about it, beyond “dude falls into a TV world” and I’m not even sure that’s 100% correct. But glancing through it, it’s definitely a showcase for this era of Giffen’s art. I definitely would love to be able to reread it, but “rereading older comics” is on the backburner while I’m still trying to catch up with the new stuff. As I posted on Bluesky:

“Well, if I’m going to reread every book and comic I’ve bought and kept over the last five decades, I’d better get started.”

In some cases, it may be just enough to remember that you liked a think, even if it no longer lives in your memory and you don’t have time to revisit. Ah well.

And it took three and half decades, but I finally get the punny joke of the title. …No one’s ever accused me of being too on the ball. Do I need to tell the Ms. Tree story again?

Breaking comics news from 1978.

§ June 30th, 2023 § Filed under fanzines, marvel § 21 Comments

From The Comic Reader #163 (December 1978):

Not released: that specific Rolling Stones project and any Marvel-branded Amityville Horror book.

Definitely released: the Meteor adaptation in Marvel Comics Super Special:

Now Marvel did eventually release a Rolling Stone comic, Voodoo Lounge by Dave McKean(!) so there’s that. And the band also shows up in an issue of What If.

But Amityville Horror, best to my knowledge, went nowhere at Marvel, except maybe providing some inspiration for other horror stories. But honestly, if Gene Colan was going to draw any of these things, it should have been this one. His nice moody, spooky art could’ve made something out of that haunted house tale.

Void Indigone.

§ June 9th, 2023 § Filed under marvel, publishing § 17 Comments

Okay, you characters in the comments from Wednesday’s post got all Void Indigo on me, so I thought I’d look into that situation a bit further.

Void Indigo was a graphic novel and short-lived comic series by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerick, released in the mid-1980s under Marvel’s Epic imprint of mostly creator-owned material. Here’s what the cover to the initial installment, released in sequence in Marvel’s graphic novel line between Rick Veitch’s Heartburst and…Dazzler: The Movie?

It made…quite the stir when it was released, for its violent content, upon which I cannot report as Void Indigo remains a blind spot in my Gerber reading. And due to its truncated nature, I never sought it out, since I figured “it never finished, why bother?” But one shouldn’t be so cavalier about dismissing a Steve Gerber script, especially since we’re not getting any more, so someday I’ll get my hands on these and check them out myself.

My expectation is that, by modern standards, the “shocking” content will be less shocking to current eyes (as noted in one of the responses to Wednesday’s post), but I would like to see it myself.

Since I had my 1980s Comics Journals out, I flipped through to see if I could find their article on the whole situation, and lo, there it was, in #95 (February 1995). Here I have a scan of the just the first part of the article, as it goes on for another half-page:

Apparently lateness was being pushed as much of a reason for cancellation as whatever horrible, soul-searing content within the comics themselves. Low sales at would-be-a-huge-hit-today numbers were also a problem. The article mentions later that the customs seizure basically amounted to nothing, as with the book’s cancellation the problem had solved itself.

There’s also a note in the article about Marvel not taking returns on the two issues of this aborted series, saying everyone was sufficiently warned about the book and thus shared the risk is carrying the thing. Which is absolutely bonkers, and I don’t know if they eventually relented or not. I’ll have to search further up in The Comics Journal‘s numbers to see if there’s a follow-up report.

On top of all that, there’s a retailer…actually, the owner of a comic store…actually actually, the “President” of the company, so I’m changing my title at my shop straight away…who expressed a “moral objection” to carrying Void Indigo. So, damn, I have to read this comic now. Just what is going on in this thing?

One additional note: I remember, at the previous place of employment, in a box of papers and other promo materials, there was a Void Indigo thing, apparently released by Gerber his own self, that was either a script for the unreleased #3, maybe outlines for future issues, something. But it was definitely a stack of stapled paper with otherwise unavailable Void Indigo content. What the provenance of this item was, and where it may be now, following the shut-down of that shop and the scattering to the winds (or to my former boss’s storage, or even to my own backroom) of much of that stuff. Wish I could tell you more about it, or that I even looked inside, which I didn’t since I hadn’t read the other entries in the series, so reading later installments wouldn’t have done me any good.

What makes me wonder, though, is that the article says Gerber was behind, so I don’t know that there was even a script for #3 ready. Unless, of course, he finished it later to try to sell the book elsewhere, but…I don’t know, seems very unlikely. I guess that mysterious stack of paper will remain mysterious ’til I track it down.

So, Void Indigo…I’m betting folks would hardly bat an eye at the content today, or at least it wouldn’t be any worse that Crossed or Faust or Eo…you ever see Eo? No, not the Michael Jackson thing, the Tim Vigil comic? Boy, if that retailer above had a moral objection to Void Indigo, he’d probably renounce all worldly possessions and join a monastery if Eo was shoved into his hands. Assuming he didn’t catch on fire.

I guess I’m now on a quest to find Void Indigo. This is terrible. My site is making me buy more comics. That’s not how it’s supposed to work, I’m supposed to be making you all buy more comics from me. This isn’t fair.

Just in time for me to have bought all those ROM back issues for the store, too.

§ May 26th, 2023 § Filed under marvel, publishing § 21 Comments

Well, this was as real week for “that’s the last thing I expected to hear”-type news, starting with the stunning return of failed-toy-but-reasonably-successful-comic-character ROM Spaceknight to Marvel Comics!

Now as far as anyone can tell, this “return” seems to be limited to reprinting the original material, in this case in those large Omnibus editions and at least one facsimile edition in the form of a reprint of issue #1. Also included will be those crossover issues that, previously, had been on the reprint-banned list and skipped over in trade collections for other characters. For example, an issue of Power Man and Iron Fist will be in Omnibus #1. (Which has me wondering…Peter David put an unarmored, totally human ROM in an issue of Incredible Hulk…will this Not Approved by the License Holder appearance get into an omnibus?)

At any rate, this is exciting news, with the license holder apparently discovering with the attempted ROM comics revival at another publisher a few years back that the ROM people want is the Marvel version. And my recommendation…if you want these, get your preorders in as soon as possible and buy them right away. No idea how long Marvel has the license, or under what restrictions (like how often can they reprint these books). I don’t know if waiting for cheaper “Epic” paperback collections would be wise.

And I don’t know if Marvel would be allowed to reissue some of their other trade collections that previously omitted any ROM appearances. Most notably, there’s an issue of Incredible Hulk that prominently featured the Spaceknight, #296 from 1984, that when reprinted had all of ROM’s appearances in the story replaced with text pieces explaining what happened without mentioning the character by his at that point unlicensed name. Be nice to have that fixed.

After the ROM announcement, people responded with “wow, now do the Micronauts,” and lo, Marvel done did the Micronauts. Like ROM, these comics will also be issued in the large Omnibus hardcover format, preceded by a facsimile edition of the initial Micronauts comic book. Most of the comments I made about the ROM reprints above can be applied to the Micronauts as well. Order early, order often!

I don’t think the Micronauts popped up in other Marvel comics as much as ROM did, but there’s at least the X-Men/Micronauts mini-series so hopefully that’ll make it in. Also, it’s actually pretty good.

The third, slightly less surprising news, is Image Comics announcing they’re shifting their distribution to Lunar. I mean, “less surprising” in that I figured another biggish publisher would split from Diamond and move elsewhere eventually, and that Image was one of the likely suspects.

Like with Marvel, Image will still be available through Diamond, but likely at a worse wholesale discount. This is a pretty significant hit to Diamond, I would think, and one I thought would be a fatal blow. But, given that apparently a number of retailers have stuck with Diamond for their Marvel business, despite it costing more, I imagine the same will occur with Image. So, you know, Diamond’s not done yet. But I can picture a day, maybe years from now, when the company will be “Your #1 Source for Sexy Anime Bikini Girl PVC Statues, and Only That!”

It will be nice to have a couple different sources for reorders, in case one of the other is out of stock on something. And the distributor competition has been good for Diamond, in that my shipments are relatively error free compared to, well, the last couple of decades. I know that’s not the case for everyone, as when I mentioned this on the Twitters I heard from another retailer that the missing/damaged books in his shipments have been just as bad, if not worse. As such, I’ll just consider myself lucky, and hope they’re not building up to a shipment where all my boxes are delivered on fire or something.

image from Incredible Hulk #418 (1994) by Peter David, Gary Frank and Cam Smith

And now, some Comics Code-approved nudity.

§ May 17th, 2023 § Filed under marvel § 17 Comments

So I was reading the Adventures on the Planet of the Apes series, the first few issues of which being a reasonably faithful adaptation of the classic 1968 movie, as presented by Doug Moench, George Tuska, Mike Esposito, and John Romita (who redrew Taylor’s face throughout the book).

And I was a little surprised by the number of pages devoted in the first issue to our lead characters just runnin’ around in the altogther:

That’s a few samples, provided entirely for educational purposes. I mean, yes, it’s fairly tame, naughty bits dutifully covered, but there were more butts than I expected. I honestly would’ve thought the Comics Code Authority (R.I.P.) would have compelled Marvel to draw little Speedos on everyone.

But then again…the source material, the movie, was G-rated despite the presence of brief nudity, so maybe the Code was all “eh.” Plus, it was the ’70s, we were likely less uptight about butts then, not like now with all those anti-butt laws on the books. Everyone was letting their freak butts fly, friends.

The material in this color series was reprinted from Marvel’s black and white Planet of the Apes magazines, which was not bound to any of the Code’s rules, but as far as I know not much, if anything, was changed in the translation to color. Not just talking about the nudity, but some of the more mature themes discussed (talk of gelding Taylor, Taylor speaking about making love) made it through.

Interestingly, Taylor being stripped naked during his trial didn’t make it into the comic. Also, the last lines of the film, the ones Taylor speaks after seeing, well, you know, are softened a bit. (I think it’s not until an issue of the 1980s Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League that the particular epithet in question makes it into a Code-approved book).

So yes, this was a semi-deep dive into butts for no real good reason other than “oh, say, that’s a higher butt quotient than in most comics I read, save Nightwing” and thought it was worth noting. I like seeing what did and did not get by the Code in those days, when they didn’t like you using the word “zombie” or showing folks gettin’ stabbed in the eye.


§ February 17th, 2023 § Filed under marvel, publishing § 16 Comments

So I was talking with customer Sean the other day (Sean you may know from his appearances in my comments sections here) about this odd coincidince from a couple of Marvel comics released in 1984.

First off was Fantastic Four #271, released in June of that year, featuring story and art by John Byrne. Featured is a tribute tale in the style of the old Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko “pre-superhero Marvel” monster comics, in which a strange creature or ‘nother is menacing the Good People of Earth, and someone (sometimes one lone brave man who may or may not be a scientist) must find a way to defeat it.

In this case, the monster is Gormuu, attacks upon whom only seem to make him larger and more dangerous. Our hero of the hour is Reed Richards, in the years before he and the rest of the Fantastic Four were exposed to cosmic rays and gained their super powers. Here we see Reed decide on a course of action, to the shocked response of a pre-Thing Ben Grimm:

Anyway, Reed sets his plan into motion, causing Gormuu to grow, GROW, which is cool with Gormuu at first, until he notices…

…eventually expanding into nothingness, as while he was growing in size, he was not increasing his mass. As such, his atoms dispersed across the universe and Reed chalks up his first(?) kill.

Two months later, in Avengers #250 (by Roger Stern, Al Milgrom, and, for this section of the comic, Roy Richardson), the titular team find themselves in conflict with the villain Maelstrom, who is also absorbing energy to increase his strength.

Vision realizes Maelstrom’s devices and controlling the flow of energy to him and that flow must be stopped:

…but Starfox (Starfox?) sez, he sez that the energy must instead continue to flow, and while the Scarlet Witch is incredulous, Vision, who knows a little something about mass density, picks up what Starfox is puttin’ down:

And couple pages of shouting and punching later, the plan is in full effect, and Maelstrom finds the extra energy he was getting is now out of control:

…and as you can see, totally pulls a Grommu, in fairly similar panels, and also expands into that aforementioned nothingness.

Again, these comics were only released two months apart, so it was a coincidence that the conclusions were so similar, surely. Unless of coursre this was an elaborate practical joke by the creative teams. The big surprise is that while the books were produced by two different editorial offices at Marvel, so the similarities wouldn’t have been caught, Big Jim Shooter not catching this ahead of time seems like it would be unlikely, unless it was too far along in the process to change up the stories. I have no idea, and am not even sure if anyone at Marvel ever acknowledged this happened. Did this ever get mentioned in interviews or reviews of the day that anyone saw?

I was a regular Fantastic Four reader at the time, and had picked up Avengers #250 because I would pick up extra-sised/anniversary issues of pretty much anything whether I regularly read the book or not. I can still remember being taken a little off guard by that Avengers conclusion, thinking “didn’t I just see that same ending somewhere” and realizing it was just a couple of months prior. Again, a weird coincidence, and one I’ve thought about for quite a long time.

Specal thanks to Bully, the atomically-dispersed bull, for his production assistance!

Yes, I know the Impossible Man is also Mr. Mxyzptlk, this post is already complicated enough.

§ July 29th, 2022 § Filed under dc comics, marvel, multiverse talk § 6 Comments

In response to your many emails, comments, Tweets, phone calls, faxes, certified letters, numbers stations broadcasts, and telegrams, I will discuss the upcoming 30th Anniversary “Death of Superman” comic, probably next week in my usual timely “ripped from yesterday’s headlines” fashion.

But today, we’re back to the Marvel mutliverse! When we last met, I was talking about two specific questions that had some to mind regarding it. In that post I was curious as to the origins of the designation “Earth-616” for Marvel’s “main” Earth. That was something I’d been wondering about for a while.

The next question is one that popped into my head relatively recently, which is “does the Marvel Multiverse have a specific Earth for the heroes of DC Comics?”

The answer it seems is “no” — it looks like the idea is that Marvel’s multiverse and DC’s multiverse are two separate multiverses, comprising part of a larger Omniverse, if you will. I mean, it’s something like that…a little handwaving to create a mutually-beneficial metafictional construct that ensures one company isn’t a specific subset of another company’s milieu. That said, as per DC’s Multiversity, there are a couple of Earths with characters obviously based on Marvel properties. And Marvel of course has their Justice League analogues the Squadron Supreme, but each of the main Marvel and DC Universes remain separate from each other’s multiverses.

Sort of.

I was perusing the Wikipedia list of Marvel’s multiverses and there is an Earth-7642 where both Marvel and DC’s characters live and can crossover with each other. So Superman/Spider-Man, Batman/Hulk, all those intercompany events where, like, Superman’s all “ah yes, I’ve heard of this Spider-Man fellow out in New York” but the two characters never got around to meeting before…that’s this Earth.

This is presumably separate from those between-company events where characters specifically travel between universes in order to meet, like in Superman/Fantastic Four. I’m assuming in this case it’s presumed that Superman is traveling from the prime DC Universe to the prime Marvel Universe. Unless each universe has an Earth with their company’s characters that spefically cross over into the other company’s universe, versus the regular “prime” Earths doing so, and does anyone else here have a nosebleed or is it just me?

I probably should mention Earth-9602, Marvel’s designation for the alternate universe created when the Marvel and DC universe were merged together during the Marvel Vs. DC mini-series. That’s the Amalgam Universe, effendi, where Iron Lantern and Spider-Boy hang out, probably never to be seen again.

Now on the other side of the aisle, Doomsday Clock, which all of you out there read and enjoyed, posits a future intercompany event between Marvel and DC. The couple of caption boxes describe the perfectly named “Secret Crisis,” mentioning the non-copyrightable name of Thor and references a “green behemoth,” presumably the Hulk and not, I don’t know, the Impossible Man maybe. I’m assuming this is supposed to represent another breach between the main Marvel and DC multiverses, though it could be a specific Marvel Earth within DC’s own multiverse…it’s vague enough. It might even be that Marvel-inspired Earth from Multiversity. Who knows.

I’m making this more complicated than it already is, and I’m sure you’re as sick of the world “multiverse” and I am of typing it. And look, I know I didn’t even mention Access, the character created specifically to travel between Marvel and DC. Or that Earth-7642, Crossover Earth, also has other characters that crossed over with Marvel, like the Archie characters.

So to reiterate: from all appearances the Marvel and DC Multiverses are each their own thing, and do not exist within each other’s multiversal array. Each universe contains analogues of the other’s characters, however Marvel has an Earth where all characters of all the companies coexist. But some stories explicitly use a multiversal crossing of some sort to allow Marvel and DC to team up.

I think I’ve got that right. If I got any of that wrong, please send all corrections to pal Ian.

Before Marvel started cataloging all these separate Earths (more of which I’d like to talk about…I’ve got questions about the Earth where the Marvel LEGO video games take place), the Watcher in What If? #1 wasn’t even sure where that first Superman/Spider-Man hoohar took place:

…though to be fair, he didn’t say he didn’t know, just that doubts exist as to what universe that meeting belonged. It’d be just like Uatu to not tell us. …Actually, it wouldn’t be, this dude blabbed a lot in this series.

Anyway, thanks to Twitter pal WormDrive PRO, we have these samples of letter column concern in regards to that first Superman/Spider-Man team-up from Amazing Spider-Man #158 and #159 (1976):

I don’t know what the ultimate resolution or response was to that editorial “what do YOU think?” but boy, that letter writer sure was mad about the guy logically bitten by a radioactive spider and thus given spider powers meeting an alien arbitrarily sent from an exploding planet. I suppose it’s a tribute to Marvel’s construction of a shared universe that some readers would get so upset about the intrusion of elements that would seem to disrupt it. I mean, it’s only just a comic book, they should really just relax…the very idea that maybe the two companies just wanted to have some fun and see what happened when they paired their heroes (and also make a ton of cash in the process) was a distant second to the threat that the Marvel Universe might be “diluted” by this most unnatural contact.

But the question was eventually answered. It’s Earth-7642. There you go, long ago letter writer, that’s the solution. See, wasn’t that easy?

The neighbor of the beast.

§ July 26th, 2022 § Filed under marvel, multiverse talk § 8 Comments

So it turns out you folks had a lot to say about their funnybook multiversal experiences. In true Progressive Ruin fashion, where YOU Are The Content™, I will do a post covering your comments, but in the meantime, lemme type a few words about Marvel’s various universes.

When I got to thinking about what my first experience was with multiverses in comics, my mind immediately gravitated towards DC. It ’twas DC what rode that parallel universe horse to exhaustion, making it a huge part of their fictional milieu. Not that Marvel didn’t fool around with parallel Earths an’ such as well (probably most notably earlier on with the Squadron Supreme. But as I reflected on this, it likely turns out my very first encounter with multiverses in comics was that very first issue of What If?. I wrote about that comic at length a few years back, so I’ll just say here that the Watcher giving a everyone a crash course on alternate realities in that book pinned down the concept for me at age 7, probably long before I was wondering why there were two Supermen in this DC comic, and why does one of them have gray temples?

There were a couple reasons why Marvel’s multiverse had come to mind recently. I mean, I’m sure in general it’s just the overall Disney-generated zeitgeist infecting pop culture at the moment, courtesy their movie/TV vectors. But I started wondering about two things.

First was “why is Marvel’s ‘main Earth’ called Earth-616?” I mean, like, why that specific number? This is something I’ve kind of wondered about since first coming across that particular designation in a 1983 Captain Britain story by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. Or rather, seeing some panel reprinted somewhere, since a U.S. reprinting wouldn’t happen ’til the mid-1990s. Here it is from the U.K. Marvel comics magazine Daredevils #7:

I was of two minds. One, that “616” was a known alternate for “666,” the most evil phone number prefix. I thought maybe “Alan Moore was making some kind of sly comment on the Marvel U.” by calling it that. My other idea was that it was simply a larger number given to Main Marvel Comics Earth, indicating it’s just an Earth, not the Earth, in contrast to DC’s “Earth One,” “Earth Two” etc.

I’ve actually wondered about that for a while, and finally sitting down to do some extensive research (i.e. looking it up on Wikipedia) it turns out…both are possibilities? Frankly, I feel like Alan Davis’s explanation that the previous writer on the feature came up with the term as, I had guessed, an implied criticism of Marvel’s superhero shenanigans, carries a little more weight. I don’t know if that writer, David Thorpe, ever used it directly in his stories or were just background he created for the series that were passed on when he left the book. Anyway, this archive of the old Marvel blog goes into detail, direct from Davis’s mouth.

Now, the second question about Marvel’s multiverse that I’d been pondering…will have to wait for Friday! Thanks for reading pals…and if you have more info or opinions about the above, please feel free to leave a comment. I always like hearing from you all.

Special thanks to Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull of Earth-Prime, for his help with this post. Also thanks to…somebody, maybe Neil Gaiman I think, for the title of this post, from whom I shamelessly stole it.

“Money? Oh, no thank you.”

§ June 20th, 2022 § Filed under marvel, retailing § 5 Comments

The last time we had a comic book tie-in to the Fortnite video game, we were mostly caught offguard by its immediate and immense demand from customers, mostly from lots of new faces who wanted the codes inserted into the issues for the game. The end result was reports of shortages and price gouging, lots and lots of desperate phone calls looking for the comics, and DC reprinting the issues multiple times.

In the usual comic marketplace, second (or later) printings don’t see anywhere close to the same demand as the first printings (except sometimes from speculators who from all appearances randomly pick certain reprints as being “valuable” and snap ’em up for eBay sales). However demand for DC’s Batman/Fortnite reprints remained very high, often selling out as quickly as the first printings.

Sales on the series did become less frenetic eventually, as retailers were able to adjust their orders on the first printings of issues 3 (I believe) and above after seeing demand for the first two issues. As such, eventually there was plenty to go around (particularly in areas like mine where there is a high incidence of comic shops) and the desperation to track down these comics decreased. Plus, there was the hardcover release that not only collected all these comics together, but also included a code for all the items previously offered as well as a bonus item.

When the later printings came into stock, the primary thing I was asked about them was if the codes were still included. That these were reprints made not a difference to most of these customers, only that they could still get these game codes. As I recall, the people who did want first prints were almost exclusively existing comic collectors. The new customers, the ones that entered the shop to get added material for their video games, they couldn’t care less what printing it was so long as the codes worked.

Which brings me to the Marvel Fortnite: Zero War comic.

This was a slightly slower burn than the Batman/Fortnite book, at least for me. Probably several reasons for that, like being the second major publisher out of the gate to do this gimmick. Also, that initial order numbers were probably much higher this time, resulting in more copies to meet demand (again, especially in locales like mine where there are plenty of comic stores). My own order was…pretty high, but on its Wednesday release I began to think “uh oh, I may have made a mistake” as sales were not encouraging at first. That changed quickly, and by the weekend they were gone…and I’m still getting calls for them.

That I’m still getting calls now even after what I presumed would be a much higher print run and much higher local availability tells me demand likely exceeds those Batman sales. Maybe it’s just more people want “Spider-Man Fortnite” (which is how I’m hearing it referred to) than Bat-Nite, maybe it’s that we’ve had a year or so for awareness of “codes can show up in comic books!” to percolate throughout Fortnite fandom. Regardless, demand for these comics is still being driven by the inserted game codes, nearly all these new customers citing the codes are reason for their purchase.

Which is why it is exceedingly baffling that the second printing for this first issue will not contain the code. Quote from the solicit: “PLEASE NOTE THAT EACH SECOND PRINT ISSUE DOES NOT CONTAIN A REDEEMABLE CODE TO UNLOCK A BONUS DIGITAL COSMETIC IN FORTNITE.” (EDIT: originally used other solicit info which was vague; this is the info from the Penguin Random House solicit)

Now it’s possible I missed and/or forgot the announcement that only the first printings would contain the code. I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, so I wouldn’t put it past me to have overlooked it. I still ordered lots of the first print #1, so I did okay. And all the solicit for the first printing said was, quoting again, “Each first print issue contains a redeemable code to unlock a bonus digital cosmetic in Fortnite!” Doesn’t explicitly say “not in the reprints!” but, well. Again, could’ve missed that notice.

Still doesn’t make this any less stupid a decision. It’s the codes driving these sales. The reason the vast majority of people have been buying these, in my experience, was the codes for the game. If they’re reading these comics at all, it’s a secondary concern. Nearly everyone who asked about the Batman reprints asked if there were still codes. When I suggested that the first issue of this Marvel series would be reprinted, I was asked “would it still have the code?” Nobody is going to buy this to keep up on the story.

BEFORE YOU COMMENT/SEND IN EMAILS, I know I’m making some blanket statements here. There are always exceptions. As a Twitter pal noted to me, maybe the reprint is for “the discerning gamer whose only in it for the lore.” And I’m sure that’s the case. I HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT NOT EVERYONE IS BUYING THIS FOR THE CODES (OR SPECULATION).

But most are. As was also pointed out, maybe the decision to omit codes in reprints might not have been Marvel’s decision. Or it could have been Marvel’s strategy to get higher orders on first prints to avoid having to do reprints. I have no idea. But it’s a regrettable decision that’s going to disappoint a huge new audience coming into comics, even if only fed in by a gimmick…but that’s still money that a tiny industry like comics can’t afford to lose the trickle-down from a business that makes some real cash.

If only it were cheap enough to put logos/UPCs/prices on an acetate overlay and leave the artwork alone for every comic.

§ May 18th, 2022 § Filed under advertising, marvel § 8 Comments

So I’ve been processing a lot of back issues lately, as I’ve had several collections (or several boxes from the same collection, in some cases) showing up at the shop. And as I do so, I’m flipping through books and checking conditions and making sure there are no missing pages and such, where occasionally I’ll find an image that amuses me. Out comes the phone, a picture is snapped, and I’ll throw it on Twitter or Instagram or whathaveyou.

Above is one of the pics that struck me, mostly in the ol’ nostalgia bone as I remember seeing that particular house ad in comics I was reading in the early 1980s. Specially 1983, and I think I saw it in the actual Thing series, and I presume the ad ran elsewhere but it was in The Thing where I’ve only seen it. I’m sure one of you kind folks out there will more early ’80s Marvels under your belt will let me know.

As I said when I posted this pic on Twitter, I was amused by the crosseyed, slightly-annoyed Blushin’ Ben Grimm in the smaller cover on the left, logo pushed down low on his brow. Also I wanted to note that it was a shame the actual image in the larger “more room” design was never used for a real cover. What a cheery face to have starring back at you from the racks.

Of course over the years Marvel found new ways to encroach on the available cover image space:

…including going back to the retro banner briefly in the late-ish ’90s:

But for the most part nothing was as bad as this early ’80s favorite:

I’m sure worst examples can be pulled from comics history, but boy that bicycle ad sure annoyed me as a kid.

Worse still is

…but I’ve already gone on about that.

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