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That Lego thing still burns me up.

§ July 31st, 2019 § Filed under pal plugging, retailing § 5 Comments

So occasionally my pals Chris ‘n’ Matt will put out the call for questions for them to answer on their War Rocket Ajax podcast, and this time, instead of breaking their wills with my usual Frank Miller’s The Spirit-related inquiry, I asked them:

“What are your thoughts on the vast proliferation of comic book variant covers?”

…and you can hear their response in this very episode (just under the wire at the one hour twenty-five minute mark).

You can hear what they said there, and I don’t disagree with any of their positions…and there are a few positions one can take on the whole “variant cover” thing. Yes, it’s good to offer customers a choice…if one cover doesn’t catch his/her eye, maybe another will. And it gives artists more opportunities for work, in an industry that’s often short on opportunities and, well, money.

But as Matt says, it’s probably not good to build a business model that depends on the sale of multiple covers to the same person, but in a way, that’s what I’m doing when I’m ordering them for the shop. Multiple covers are a way to push those numbers up…maybe not by much, maybe I’ll order 5 each of Unicycle Tragedy #18 if two covers are offered, instead of just 8 copies if only one cover were available, because yes, there is a percentage of customers who’ll buy one of each. Or if an incentive cover is avaiable…if there’s a variant that’s availble to purchase if you order 25 copies of the regular cover, and my order is at 23…well, maybe I’ll justify the extra expense.

So we’re not talking about big adjustments in ordering on a case by case basis, usually. But an extra copy here, an extra two copies there…it begins to add up, both in my expenses and in the publishers’ income. Every little bit helps them, and may actually help certain titles reach their bottom lines.

One clever use of variant covers was in the ’90s, when Marvel started to offer two different covers for the second issues of new series (of which they had several starting up at around that time). Traditionally, when a new series started, retailers would order larger numbers on the first issue, then cut orders on the second with expectations of a drop-off in sales. Marvel’s issue #2 variants countered this a tad, by offering different covers, which would encourage retailers to up their orders a bit in anticipation of, again, some folks wanting to own both versions.

Of course, that was back around the beginning of the end of retailers wanting to have lots of copies of the eary issues of new series around for future back issue sales. Now there still may be a drop-off with issue #2, but #1s are being ordered so close to the bone (given that there’ll be a new #1 for the same series sooner rather than later, killing back issue demand for the previous series) that just doing variants on everything is pretty much the only way to encourage any upward bumps in numbers.

Chris brings up that he would prefer that the covers actually reflect the contents of the book, and, yup, I’d have to agree. Though to be fair, that’s been a problem even without variant covers. How many Amazing Spider-Man covers during J. Michael Straczynski’s run were just “generic Spider-Man action pose #4” or whatever? Yes, I mean, sure, Spider-Man’s inside the comic, so at least the cover is that accurate, and they weren’t bad drawing by any means, but they revealed nothing about the story inside. Nothing telling the reader “hey, dig this crazy story that’s in this issue…can you believe what’s going on here on the cover? Better buy the issue and find out what’s up!” They weren’t all like that, of course, but enough of them were.

But the variants can be a problem, too, like the covers featuring characters that aren’t in the actual comic, but just on there to promote a coming event or movie or whatnot (like the current Carnage variants) or the covers featuing concepts people actually showed interest in buying ’til they saw the contents didn’t refect the image on the front (I’m looking at you, DC Lego variants).

And don’t get me started on when a specific variant beomes “The Hot One” for no real good reason whatsoever and people start calling the day before release for it. Which, of course, is usually too late to order more.

I mean, yeas, sure, many of the variant covers are nice looking, and folks put a lot of work into them. It can just be frustrating ordering these, and also adds an unnecessary level of consumer confusion to a product that’s already facing an uphill battle in obtaining and maintaining a customer base.

Thanks to Matt ‘n’ Chris for responding to my question.

We interrupt this hiatus…

§ April 16th, 2019 § Filed under pal plugging, self-promotion § 1 Comment

…to let you know that my store sponsored this week’s episode of War Rocket Ajax. Hear pals Matt ‘n’ Chris sing the praises of Sterling Silver Comics! …It was definitely nice to hear after a couple of rough eyeball days, so that was good timing!

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.

Your regular reminder that I have to sell these things for a living.

§ April 20th, 2018 § Filed under nancy, pal plugging, retailing, superman Comments Off on Your regular reminder that I have to sell these things for a living.

To follow up on my last post, I appear to have ordered just about the right number of Action #1000s, at least to cover the initial rush of sales. The main cover, the one by Jim Lee, was the first…well, second, after the “blank” variant…to sell out, and I had several more requests for it after it was gone. Luckily, that cover (and the blank one) were still available for reorder, so I have more coming in. The other variants, I did have a request or two for them after they were gone, but by and large people just bought one (or, um, two or three) of whatever variants were left. And, right now, I have one copy left of the 2000s variant as I head into Friday. Ah well, I’ll have more early next week, and I expect this will be a consistent seller for at least a little while. But if I hear “do you have any Action #1000s left?” all weekend, I may have to reassess my “ordered about right” assumption.

Now the question I have is “will any of this translate to sales for when Brian Michael Bendis takes over the Super-books,” assuming people like the little taste o’Bendis they got in #1000. I have to place orders for his weekly Man of Steel mini-series right quick, and I’m not entirely sure what they’re going to be just yet. Not like this slew of new Marvel #1s in the same order form, where I’m about 90% certain that we’ll see a small bump in sales on those first issues, then we’ll be right back where we were before. Except maybe Thor, which has a $5.99 price point on that first issue, so Dedicated Fans Only Please, Sorry New Readers Who Might Have Picked It Up. Sheesh.

Anyway, can you tell I spent a chunk of my Thursday working on the monthly orders? Yessiree, I certainly was.

Oh, right, back to Action #1000. Pal Matt pointed out a strange anomaly in the Bendis story from that issue, where the villain of the piece refers to Supergirl as Superman’s “cousinsister.” I noticed that when I was reading, and my initial two thoughts were “maybe that’s supposed to represent some quirk in whatever translation device the alien is using to speak to Superman” (except I don’t see any other examples of that in the dialogue) and “maybe there’s something going on in the Supergirl comic I’m not reading that justifies this strange combined relationship term.” Or, as Matt suggests, just an editing error, but it seems weird that something this blatant would be missed. I mean, it wouldn’t even get past the spellchecker, you’d think. Or it could very well be foreshadowing for some kind of revelation down the road. Whatever, it’s strange and it stood out and maybe there’s an explanation coming, I don’t know. Maybe somewhere Bendis is laughing at us…”how cute, they think that was a mistake!” he chortles.

While we wait for our answer to that, in the meantime why not read the beginning of a new series of articles by one of the best writers I know, pal Andrew, as he starts his look, in his own inimitable fashion, at the Charlton Super-Heroes. This is gonna be good, pals, so get in on the ground floor, Mike said cliché-ishly.

And in other news, a couple of folks dropped a link in my comments section to this article on people arguing over the new Nancy strips I mentioned. Basically, it’s about people who realize current Nancy is very good, versus people who are wrong. That has been the way of the world for decades, I’m afraid.

I’m just gonna plug my pal Kurt today…and also mention his podcast.

§ April 4th, 2018 § Filed under pal plugging § 1 Comment

Like it says in the title, I’m going to plug my old pal Kurt’s podcast today…”Welcome to Geektown,” which you can find on the iTunes and other places like Google Play and Stitcher…just search there for it. Anyhoo, Kurt’s taking questions and offering answers on various comics-related topics, and he’d better do a good job at it or he’ll be answering to ME. So if you have your own questions for Kurt to answer, feel free to send ’em in! Keep that boy busy and out of trouble!

Remember when my Swamp Thing posts were all like “HEY, SWAMP THING’S HAND IS IN AN ISSUE OF INFINITE CRISIS.”

§ March 26th, 2018 § Filed under justice league, pal plugging, swamp thing, television § 4 Comments

An Addendumdedumdum to My Most Recent Post: it is now The Future, so I may now reveal the truth behind that No-Prize. It is, in fact, a No-No-Prize, a simulacrum, a deliberate reconstruction of what how a No-Prize may have appeared, constructed by a friend (not Rob, as previously theorized) who shall go nameless here lest Stan the Man himself call down the Merry Marvel Marching Society upon him for such perilous perfidy. Anyway, said friend assembled the pics, slapped ’em on envelopes, and sent them to me and at least one other person just for laffs. YOU GOT ME, FRIEND I AM PROTECTING FROM THE MARVEL ZOMBIE HORDE.

• • •

So the only comic news this week is the revelation that Swamp Thing is returning to the funnybook pages (like, again…he’s always up to something, somewhere, since he’s come back to the regular DC Universe). He’s going to be a member of the revived Justice League Dark title, along with Zatanna and Detective Chimp, as God intended:

…yeah, that’s a new look for him. Saw someone on Twitter (can’t remember who, now) commenting that he’s basically been made to look like Alan Moore, which, okay, that’s kind of funny. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this and the other dozen or so new Justice League titles DC is releasing in the wake of that movie’s success.

• • •

What’s that? You want more Swamp Thing news, you say? Well, you’ve come to probably the right place, as there are a couple of new toys, or at least new to me, that just came to my awareness thanks to being pointed out by pals on the Twitter (and images for which I “borrowed” from this good person’s Twitter feed. First up is one based on the Justice League Action animated series appearing on a Cartoon Network near you.


And then this second one is from the “DC Super Friends” line:


Interesting that both feature Swamp Thing with his traditional weapon of choice, the Huge-Ass Club. Anyway, I suppose I’ll have to track these down, too, even though I’m trying to buy less doodads and tchotchkes but there’s always the Swamp Thing Exception Clause in my life contract as I pass through the other end of middle age.

• • •


Here’s a thing I somehow missed back in the toy stores of yore, but now reproduced in the new popular digital format all you kids are into: the handheld Swamp Thing game from Tiger Electronics, in all its emulated glory.

Anyway, while all you nerds are playing your funnybook game, I’ll be over here playing this manly sportsman-like Electronic Quarterback from Coleco (which, all kidding aside, I actually did play back in the late ’70s, as a friend owned it — I had a basketball version, for some reason, though that specific game appears not to be amongst the emulated here).

• • •

So I did watch SyFy’s new Krypton show (as discussed previously) and…yeah, it seemed interesting enough. At first, it seemed like it was going to go the Smallville route of making the Superman story unnecessarily complicated for the sake of getting any kind of compellingly-watchable TV show out of all this nonsense. But of course this pushes everything far enough back that Superman himself, as we know him, while offstage (for now) and the target of some kind of time-traveling threat, is relatively untouched by the proceedings. In Smallville, despite knowing that yes, this was just a different interpretation of the character, it was difficult to draw a line from what we were seeing in that show to what we knew about Superman. Just…too many weird continuity shenanigans. That’s more the problem with my fanboy brain than anything the producers were doing, admittedly. In Krypton, though, actual events on Krypton are enough of an open book that I could theoretically avoid any such issues.

And I say “theoretically” only because I’m way behind on the few shows I do watch, and adding one more to the pile isn’t going to help matters any. I watched this first one more out of curiosity, but I expect I won’t end up watching any more ’til it’s on a streaming service or discs I can rent from Netflix. I will reiterate that directly connecting the events of the show to the “present” of Superman’s time was the gimmick needed to get me at least somewhat interested, more than just giving us A Game of Space-Thrones That Is Sorta Connected to Superman, Eventually.

• • •

Hey, my old pal Brandon is doing a little research for a collector’s guide project he’s working on, regarding “all your favorite giant rubber animals, dinos and monsters […] Toys by Imperial Toy, Chitech, Dor Mei & more!” If you’re on the Twitterers, you can follow that link and direct-message him there. Or if you’re not on the Tweetings, you can email me and I can pass along your contact information. If you can help him out, please do! Thanks!

Had a long Tuesday…

§ March 7th, 2018 § Filed under pal plugging § 1 Comment

…so while I intend to going back and discuss your responses to The Big Renumbering Hoohar, all I have for you in the meantime is this recommendation that you keep your peepers open for The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America by talented human being Jaime Hernandez:


100% all-ages friendly, and available at a comic shop near you, hopefully!

Actual content coming soon!

§ January 10th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode, pal plugging Comments Off on Actual content coming soon!

1. Probably going to start looking at your 2017 predictions this Friday, so hang in there, pals! Those giant walls of text you’ve come to know and love are on their way! However, keep sending me your 2018 predictions!

2. Don’t forget that civilization ended yet again just last Monday…check it out, if you dare!

3. Bully, the Little Stuffed Magical Imp, is, for Two Thousand and Eighteen, bringing us a Year of Mr. Mxyzptlk (or is that…Mxyztplk?). How is that not like the greatest thing ever!

.

Peanuts to you!

§ December 22nd, 2017 § Filed under pal plugging, peanuts § 1 Comment

Sorry for the downtime here…I missed posting Wednesday due to Christmas stuff, and, well, What Can You Do? I haven’t even had time to see that new Star Warsian film that’s so popular with all the kids these days.

So, basically, I’m just checking in here so 1) you know I’m still alive, or at least was alive as I was typing this, and 2) I’ll hopefully be back in the swing of things once Christmas is behind us.

In the meantime, here’s something I’ve been meaning to link to for a while now that may be of interest to you Peanuts fans. Pal Nat, internationally-recognized Peanuts expert and dapper man about town, has started a Peanuts podcast to accompany his long-running AAUGH Blog. Nine episodes so far, with special guests, interviews, and other Peanuttery shenanigans all hosted by Nat himself, and available either through direct download or online listening at the site, or through the usual podcasting platforms. Go, listen already.

Thanks for reading, pals, and I’ll be back with more Actual Content of my own in short order. I hope you all enjoy your holiday season, however you celebrate it!

I’d ask for a 28-hour day, but that just sounds exhausting.

§ December 15th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, pal plugging Comments Off on I’d ask for a 28-hour day, but that just sounds exhausting.


So pals Cathy (she of the medical mini-comics) and Andrew (he of the nuclear-powered nostalgia) have joined forces to CONQUER THE WORLD…and also to bring you this comic strip about one of Andrew’s…adventures, shall we say. It’s a great piece by a couple of my favorite creative folks, and I hope y’all enjoy it, too.

• • •

I do intend on going back and addressing some of your comments and suggestions from the “who am today’s superstars” post from Monday. The lead-up to Christmas and subsequent lessened spare time have prevented me from really getting going on my responses. Plus, I have an examination of an Amazing Heroes article from 1981 that needs to be written. You know, cutting edge stuff. And oy, my Patreon…at this point, I may just have to call it “Swamp Thing-a-Thon Season 2” once I get that article about issue #8 up. Anyway, the holiday season has kinda put me under the gun this year, so hopefully I’ll be able to free up a little more typin’ time once Santa’s finished his rounds.

And I gotta make time to go see the new Star Wars movie. Look, I gotta have priorities.

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