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Your 2019 Predictions, Epilogue: Changeling.

§ February 1st, 2020 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, predictions § 5 Comments

Right on the cusp of February I’m finally finishing up this whole “your 2019 predictions” thing. I’ve directly responded to the forecasts themselves, and now it’s time to go back and do a little mopping up regarding your comments to said responses. (Said posts are located here: one, two, three, four, five, six).

So first off, Brian fills my brain with some thoughts on blogging:

“The metaphorical — and too often literal — death of the old comic blogosphere continues to sadden me. Having been just too young for the Usenet era, I’ve always seen blogs as the right format in my mind for internet discussion (the transition to social media just feels wrong, not withstanding that I’ve gotten off social media myself in recent years). Of course, I then stop and think back to how many of those bloggers I’ve been reading across sites for 15-20 years, and it doesn’t necessarily surprise me that the numbers have gone down so dramatically (whether by death, moving away from posting, or moving to new monetized venues or social streams). But it’s still always an odd sense of not so much an end of an era but an era that ended a while ago. All the more reason to love having The Mikester still doing his thing here!”

Yes, this ties into the prediction posts. The very first 2019 prediction involved readerships of blogs and the lack thereof. I mean…there still are comics blogs out there, though perhaps it’s not the close-knit community it used to be. A lot of the folks I used to link to and virtually pal around with have either severely curtailed or ended entirely their blogging activities, or, as Brian mentions, have moved on to the seemingly less work-intensive social media outlets. I know I’ve been tempted to just go Tweetery-only…it’s a lot easy to be more spontaneous and less worried about feeding the blogging beast there, tossing off whatever brief thoughts and funny images I have handy.

But I think there’s always going to be room for longer-form, slightly less ephemeral content like this, on more permanent venues rather than being buried beneath, or washed away by, the crush of endless aggregated content feeding through social media. Maybe it’s not the “in” thing that it used to be, blogging still remains a useful way of getting your ideas out there and expressing yourself and hopefully entertaining or informing readers.

Now am I going to do this forever? I mean, it feels like I already have, doesn’t it? No idea when I started this back when blogs where just beginning to peak in the early 2000s that I’d be one of the last comic blogs standing from that initial comicblogosphere explosion. Sure, a number of folks used their blogs to get paying gigs or comics work (not necessarily the same thing), but blogging has always been an extension of what apparently is going to be my lifelong career, flamenco dancer funnybook salesman. I like talking about the hobby, the industry around it, and also my eyeballs, apparently. I figure as long as I’m in this business, I’ll probably want to talk about it, and right now blogging is the best way for me to do so. And if something better than blogging comes along…or rather, something I like better than blogging…then I may move onto that.

The other issue of course is, well, time, which a lot of us seem to have less of the older we get. Case in point: this post is going up on Saturday instead of Friday as planned. And there have been a few times over the laset few months where either my life gets in the way, or I have health issues, or I just plain don’t feel like typing, that results in a skipped day or two. I try to stick to the 3-times-a-week schedule, but it doesn’t always work out that way, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. And other folks, I’m sure, just realized one day “no time for blogging, Dr. Jones” because there’s too much other stuff going on, and effectively shuttered their sites. It can be a lot of work for not a lot of return, and that effort may need to be redirected towards other more important tasks.

For me, while the actual comcis blogging is a reward to me in and of itself, there is a small measure of self-promotion at work here. I do have a store, after all, and I have a not-insignificant number of customers who have come to me because I’ve been blogging the better part of twenty years. That’s incentive in addition to whatever drive it is that already compels me to blather incesseantly at you.

Ultimately, there may come a time when the only reader I’ll have for my blog is my roommate at the old folks home that I badger into looking at my posts, but I suspect I’ll continue writing about comics online ’til they pry my keyboard from my cold, dead hands. Or that long-promised meteor falls on me, whichever comes first.

• • •

Thelonious_Nick and Chris V both kinda made the case that Black Label is fine, and it was probably time for Vertigo to go, which I do agree to, despite the facetiousness in my “voice” in that post. There is good stuff coming out from them, and that Joe Hill line, as Chris notes, is pretty exceptional and a fine use of the imprint. I was just saying that the huge success of that first issue of Batman: Damned, penis-driven or not, simply sealed Vertigo’s fate, and DC now had a new imprint for grown-ups that was getting the attention Vertigo used to get and seemingly could no longer. Having Black Label a little more closely tied to the DC brand certainly helps its visibility.

• • •

Cassandra Miller is crossing me with

“At Emerald City Comicon last year, Matt Wagner was asked if there could ever be a Mage 4. He basically said not at this point, but never say never.

“So don’t give up hope! We could get a Matchstick Disco Boogie yet!”

Now there’s nothing in Mage 3 that really precludes more Mage stories. The main thread of the three minis is concluded, sure, but I can see exploring the Mage world a little more.

Yeah, yeah, I know, “it’s done, leave it alone,” but I wouldn’t object to it being revisited. Preferably by Matt Wagner, but I can see other creators dabbling in the milieu. In fact, I bet we see some kind of “Mage Stories”-type anthology with other folks taking a crack at Mage short stories, kinda like that Hellboy: Weird Tales. THAT’S A FREE IDEA, IF ANYONE’S LISTENING

• • •

Rob Staeger steals me blind with

Good news! ‘There’s Swamp Thing About Mary’ won’t be the swan song of Legends of Tomorrow that John predicts… the show’s already been renewed! (As have all the other CW comic-based shows, aside from the soon-to-end Arrow, and the yet-to-debut Katy Keene.)

For half a second there, I had to remind myself there wasn’t actually a Swamp Thing episode of Legends of Tomorrow. But I’m glad it got renewed (wasn’t so sure it would, given that ratings weren’t necessarily wonderful a lot of the time. (But considering the sheer amount of options for TV watching nowawadays, maybe folks should scale down their expectactions for what would count as “good ratings.”) I do hope that more of these superhero shows follow its model of fewer episodes. More killer, less filler, sez I.

• • •

Daniel T terrifically reminds us that the John Byrne Man of Steel omnibus was in fact canceled, with supposedly that material seeing print elsewhere. I hope it’s brought back into print soon…that is the beginning for the Modern Age Superman, and thus of some note.

• • •

Andrew-TLA truly notes

“Personally, I draw a distinction between Dark Horse’s licensed titles and their creator-owned lines. That said, Usagi may not be nearly as big a deal as he should be, but the book had become a DH mainstay, and Stan Sakai jumping ship for IDW is a pretty big deal. Especially combined with Eric Powell taking The Goon back to self-publishing.

“If I’m Mike Richardson, I’m doing whatever I can to make sure Mike Mignola stays happy. And maybe trying to squeeze more Umbrella Academy and Groo from Way and Aragones.”

Yeah, I was having trouble thinking of other big licensed books from Dark Horse, but fell back on the creator owned stuff. They still have Aliens, Predator, Terminator, Stranger Things, a couple of other Netflix-related titles (mostly snapped up to flip on eBay, it seems)…not a lot that’s huge (save maybe Stranger Things) and I’m not sure how much cash flow those are bringing in anway. Used to be I’d sell Aliens comics by theh handful…now it’s very niche.

But every title/franchise that moves away from Dark Horse has got to hurt. I’m honestly surprised losing Star Wars wasn’t a crippling blow. I’m glad it wasn’t, and I hope the company sticks around for a long time.

• • •

Rob Staeger (that guy again?) laments

“Ha, when I predicted the return of Autumnlands in early 2019, little did I know how long the Astro City hiatus would last! Last year was CRUEL, man.”

I believe Kurt Busiek noted that there was some business type stuff to take care of re: Astro City but I hope its return is sooner rather than later. I did see mention of a possible TV show based on it, though, so we’ll see what that does to the comic production should that show actually happen.

• • •

Okay, that’s it. PREDICTION TIME IS OVER until next year when I look at your predictions for this year! Thanks for reading, pals, and I hope everyone got the double-reference in Cassandra Miller’s intro.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Six: Perihelion.

§ January 29th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 1 Comment

At long last, the final installment of my going over your 2019 comic industry predictions (and if you missed ’em: parts one, two, three, four and five).

Like I said last time (and speaking of last time, you should go back and reread that post because I had to fix some errors after its initial publication) I plan to address some of your comments on these posts on Friday. And then…that’s it! ‘Til next January, anyway, when I cover your 2020 predictions!

Enough preamble, let’s get down to business:

Michael Grabowski grasps the following

“1. Absolute Ambush Bug.”

Actually, I’d love to have that. Maybe it could have an introduction by José Muñoz!

“2. A pair of current DC creators will make an attempt at rebooting the Fleming/Von Eeden Thriller concept as a 12-issue Vertigo series. It will be cohesive while still a bit of a challenging read, but will lack the unique approach of the original. Its success will lead to an eventual attempt to develop the series for the streaming entertainment complex.”

Huh. That would have been something. At the very least, I would have expected one of the TV shows or movies to have nicked the visual of the character Scabbard pulling a sword out of his back. Ah well…maybe someday we can get a nice hardcover edition of this series.

“3. (Wishful thinking here. But aren’t these all?) Marvel will publish True Believers editions of Lee- Ditko work, including their unfairly neglected Hulk stories for Tales To Astonish.”

WISHES CAN COME TRUE! A True Believers $1.00 reprint of Incredible Hulk #6 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko came out last year! Now if can get them to do the other five in $1.00 editions, we’d be set. (I know they did one of those $3.99 “facsimile editions” of #1…look, I’m cheap, what can I tell you.)

• • •

Dave Carter has yet another set of predictions

“The X-Men will be relaunched with a new #1 (whether as Uncanny again or a different title).”

Correct! Boy howdy did X-Men ever relaunch. It’s still relaunching, with more X-titles coming! X-relaunches stomping on our comic racks, forever!

“2. Raina Telgemeier’s ‘Guts’ will be the top-selling comic of the year (just not in comic stores, where it will barely make a blip).”

I don’t know if it was the top of the year for sure, but looking around at various real-world best seller lists, where it’s consistently at the top, I suspect, yes, you’re probably right. (Especially given this lst of the top graphic novels of the decade which is mostly Telgemeier and those Dog Boy books (not to be confused with).

Looking at Diamond’s top ten list for best-selling graphic novels for 2019…no Guts to be found. Watchmen is in first place, however, no doubt buoyed by the hit HBO TV show That’s Our Rorschach!

“3. The Shazam! movie will underperform (by which I mean it will stall make over $100M domestically, but that will be considered a failure”

I think it’s considered a hit, enough so that a sequel is on the way. It did make over $100 million domestially…$140 million, according to Box Office Mojo, with over $360,000,000 total including its performance in distant and mysterious lands. …I don’t know why I look at that number and think “huh, that’s it” like $360M is like something I’d lose behind the couch cushions. All these billion-dollar superhero movies have skewed my perspective.

• • •

Philippe Leblanc hugs us with

“1. After audience who saw the movie Avengers: Infinity War got confused and bought the comic Infinity War of the same name rather than the Infinity Gauntlet, people decides that Avengers Endgame is based on the comics ‘Marvel: The End’ from 2003 and purchase this old series en masse.”

I didn’t have that much confusion over War/Gauntlet at my shop, I don’t believe. Most people knew to seek out Infinity Gauntlet. Endgame just seemed to get more people looking for Infinity Gauntlet. Go figure.

“2. DC Comics success with the Swamp Thing TV leads to some interests in a new series. After seeing such a tremendous success to the first title, DC launches ‘The Swamp Universe,’ closely modeled after The Sandman Universe.”

Oh man. Just think, solo titles for Abby. Chester Williams. CRANIUS (his second!).

“3. A popular monthly Lego Comics will be launched, presumably by DC Comics, but maybe BOOM Studios or First Second.”

Still waiting, unfortunately. I’m sure the original graphic novels do okay in bookstores…at least well enough to not settle for the pennies gained from a an ongoing comic book series for comic shop.

• • •

DavidG drops these

“1. This will be the year that DC relaunches Legion of Superheroes, as teenagers, to awful effect. I know I predicted this last year, but I have to be right eventually.”

Believe it or not, the Legion has finally returned to stands…whether it’s awful is up to you, I suppose. I think it’s okay, if a little…busy.

“2. This year’s Avengers movie will be peak Marvel – it will make slightly more than the last one, but won’t be out grossed for a long time, because of superhero fatigue and the key actors finally moving on. And the average person recognising that comics’ fondness for killing characters for a cheap emotional buzz, then bringing them straight back again, is essentially cynical and dull.”

Infinity War did just over $2 billion, which seemed like it would be hard to beat…’til Endgame got within spitin’ distance of $3 billion. I think that you’re probably right about it not being outrgrossed anytime soon, at least until that X-Men vs. The Avengers, Guest-Starring Forbush Man comes out.

Probably too soon for audience cynicism to set in regarding superhero deaths and such, at least in the movies. We’ll see how they’ll deal with the eventual casting of key roles of Iron Man or Captain America.

“3. Not only will there be no new issues of Miracleman, but Neil Gaiman will start to publicly hint that it is all too hard, and he has better things to do with his time.”

No new issues, no, but Gaiman still insists that more MM is on the way! I mean, you’re right, he probably does have better (and higher-paying) things to do, but I’m glad he hasn’t forsaken this project! Been waiting decades for the resolution to that cliffhanger!

• • •

And Adan Espino Michael DeForges it all up in this joint with

“1. After this Realms crossover with Marvel the books that were actually doing well with readers that I am enjoying (Hulk / Venom), will drop in readership due to interruption.”

Popping in at Comichron again, looks like Venom started out the year with close to 59,000 copies of #10, and ended the year with 74,000 of #21, so that seems to be doing okay…of course, other events and various hoohar beyond just War of the Realms would fiddle with numbers, too.

Immortal Hulk started off the year with 41,000 for #11 (a lot lower than I would ahve thought, honest) and ends the year with 50,000 for #28, so 1) sales may be catching up to all the positive attention it’s receiving, and 2) there were 17 issues of Immortal Hulk this year, which…man, I’d thought Marvel maybe eased up on that shit. Anyway, WoTR wasn’t too much of a series killer…I think in general people kind of liked that series, which, y’know, good.

“2. DC releases an indie creators title kind of like Marvel Strange Tales from years back, and Michael DeForge contributes and his story is one that I actually remember past a few months after reading.”

That would have been neat, but I can’t recall anything that was quite like that. What was the last time DC did that? That Bizarro Comics collection DC assembled to have a place to put that “Superman’s Babysitter” story they were finally shamed into publishing? I mean, some of that wasn’t bad. I’m sure indie creators did work for DC, but not on anything as overtly, well, “indie” as your Strange Tales example. No DeForge at DC that I know of, but maybe he can get in on their young adult/”gimme that bookstore money” line of books they’ve been doing lately.

“3. Marvel and DC both continue to release comics that are 20-22 pages long–of which half the pages in said comics have explosions on them for some kind of dramatic gravitas (only to be glazed over by myself)…at which point I will just dig out something tried and true, like Starman or Swamp Thing…or whatever Michael DeForge did in the last couple of years to scratch the sequential story-reading itch.”

Haven’t done a personal survey myself, but I feel like Big Explosion Content hasn’t cut too much into storytelling…at least, not in all the comics I struggled to read with my wonky eyes over the last year. I could’ve used more explosions to give me a break from trying to discern the word balloons.

However, I appreciate your cited alternatives…more Swamp Thing reading is always encouraged by me, of course. And I sure hope Mr. DeForge appreciates the advertising!

• • •

Is that it? Are we done? I think we’re done! Well, except the mopping up, which we’ll do on Friday, so we’ll all meet back here then. Thanks for reading and contributing, pals, and I’ll be back then.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Five: Refuge.

§ January 27th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 5 Comments

Okay, nearly done here looking back at your 2019 comic industry predictions (and here are parts one, two, three and four). Should wrap up the predictions proper today and Wednesday, with some short follow-up to your comments on Friday. And then it’s back to this sites usual diet of me talking about Death of Superman comics.

Oh, and I forgot to mention last time you can still submit your comic-booky forecasts for the remaining 11 months of 2020 right here.

Anyway, let’s get this presagery party started!

Rob Staeger stages the following

“1) Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda reunite for a Legion of Superheroes book. What’s more, it’s been delayed for so long thanks to Doomsday Clock’s reduced pace that the first four issues come out weekly, to make it event and make use of the backlog.”

Unfortunately no…an interesting creative team, but not the one we got (though the one we did get seems to be okay so far). I think you’re right about delays causing some shenanigans, if not specifically like what you mentioned. They basically brought ’em back ahead of Doomsday Clock bringing them back, so…yeah, it got a little mixed up there.

“2) Autumnlands by Kurt Busiek and Ben Dewey finally returns from Image.”

Well, they did a new printing of the first trade earlier in the year, but probably not what you meant. This story on Busiek’s appearance at Comic Con notes that new material is being prepared, so maybe we’ll get something soon!

“3) A popular board game will get its own comic book — possibly Pandemic Legacy or Betrayal at House on the Hill.”

We did get another Clue series (Candlestick) from IDW this year. Otherwise…well, I’m at a bit of a loss, if only because my board game knowledge is fairly limited. I know the games you mentioned there, and I’d probably recognize a few more from my days managing a combo game/comic shop…but if a particularly obscure (well, okay, it probably wouldn’t have to be that obscure given, well, me) game got converted into a comic, I may simply not as recognized it as such, or forgotten the solicitation info, or whatever.

But I think that Clue comic (or “Cluedo,” for those of you in civilized countries) meets your criteria, so points for you on that. Now if only someone would do a dead-on adaptation of this game (including all the weird passengers you had to rescue).

• • •

David Oakes makes like a tree and leaves me with

“I predict that Mike will get at least three ‘Mike will get hit by a meteor’ predictions following his last tweet.”

Not so far, but I haven’t read all the predictions yet. If any turn up, I’ll amend this response! Also, David is referring to this tweet where I also noted that I’d stop doing this prediction things every year if I don’t hit a certain minimum number of responses. Well, you’ll be glad to know I hit that minimum again for the 2020 entries, so look forward to me asking you for your 2021 predictions around December!

“In comics, something even more incredulous than all the joke predictions will happen, and we won’t even be surprised. Ant-Man and Blue Devil are the new norm.”

I was trying to think, what was the most ridiculous thing to happen in comics this year? …That there was a Watchmen TV show, and by most accounts it was actually good? That seemed pretty unlikely.

And Ant-Man…Ant-Man is mainstream, baby! The world loves Ant-Man! That’s about as norm as it gets! And alas, Blue Devil had his chance, what with the TV show Swamp Thing Also Costarring Blue Devil appearing on the DC Streaming service, but that program was too beautiful for this fallen world.

• • •

De lights in with

“A Fortnite comic book will be published.”

I don’t think there’s a physical comic that’s come out, at least not through Diamond, and Googling turns up lots of fan-made comics, so there’s that. However, gird yourself for the parody comic Fartnite, and…hey, look, have I ever told you that I used to get in trouble as a kid for even saying the word “fart?” And now “fart” is, like, on children’s books and toys and fart jokes appear in every kids movie and frankly I’m a bit irked.

“2. Someone involved with Comicsgate will eat a bad egg salad sandwich, spend hours on the toilet contemplating life, and then return to being a total jerk.”

Speaking of farts…well, you know, to be fair, who hasn’t? Okay, maybe not the jerk part. For you. Not me, I’m usually a jerk.

“3. Predator vs. The Planet of the Apes will be published by Dark Horse/Boom and outsells Batman.”

Why this insta-money idea hasn’t been brought to fruition baffles me.

• • •

David Alexander McDonald clowns around with

“1)The DC Universe will be dead before it can finish running the full slate of shows, due to bad numbers. It will be folded into the Warner Media streamer and DC will finally strike a deal with ComiXology to join Unlimited.”

Gotta be honest…surprised it’s still around, too. They seem committed to keeping it around, at least for now (though making rebroadcasting deals with Doom Patrol and Stargirl seems to point to…something). Your scenarios are very possible at some point, but not just yet!

“2) Marvel Comics will get a huge overhaul (again) and Marvel Studios will shock people by cutting back to one or two films a year and disappoint everybody by not announcing either and X-film or an FF film in 2019 (FF will go to TV.)”

Honestly, it’s hard to say if Marvel’s going through a new huge overhaul or continuing an overhaul that’s been going on a while. They did slap a new coat of paint on the X-Men comics franchise and pumped out too many books at once, so maybe that kinda counts.

As far as the movies go…the main Marvel Studios has at least two for this year (Black Widow and The Eternals), plus all the associated Sony Spidey films (liike Morbius), and it looks like we’ve got four Marvel Studios flicks in 2021. So, it’s probably safe to say nothin’ is slowing down with the Marvel movies.

“3) Losing their licenses pushes Dark Horse to revive their Heroes line as a film/tv shared universe. It will not get off to a good start.”

I’m kinda surprised they haven’t, unless the Barb Wire movie is making folks a bit gunshy. But that’s a lot of IP they’ve got sitting around gathering dust. Surely someone must have come sniffin’ around to license the characters, though, right? I mean, the Seaboard/Atlas characters got picked up for films, for God’s sake.

EDIT: David’s comment reminded me…I didn’t address all of his predictions! He answered his own about the DC/Comixology deal (“yes”) and I actually did look up the X-Men/FF movie announcement thing. Turns out while they did say at Comic Con plans were afoot, no specific announcements were made. So, uh…sorry I didn’t answer those right away, David!

• • •

Rob London bridges this post with

“A few prominent long-running comic strips attempts to emulate Nancy by bringing on creators who weren’t born during the Eisenhower Administration and modernizing the strip – I’m thinking Blondie or Mark Trail.”

To be fair, I haven’t read a lot of comic strips over the last year, so I haven’t noticed too much repolishing of the properties there (aside from the two women in B.C. finally getting names).

My guess is that, even with Nancy doing relatively well, that’s still not enough for other strips to take the plunge into such a dramatic shift. Nancy changed so radically I suspect it was a case of “either do something, or we’re cancelling the strip,” and I don’t expect other strips to radically change either without equally dire fates awaiting them.

“2. DC launches a revival of Scare Tactics, the mid-’90s monsters-who-are-in-a-band comic, written by a real-life musician.”

Seems like a natural for the Young Animal imprint, doesn’t it? They haven’t returned, far as I know, but then I haven’t read everything. Maybe they’re in the background of a Harley Quinn issue. Wouldn’t put it past those guys.

“3. With Marvel and 20th Century Fox under the same umbrella, 2019 brings us the return, in some form, of the amazing Apeslayer!


• • •

That’s that for today…come back Wednesday for the shocking conclusion, and then Friday for the equally-shocking epilogue! Thanks for reading, pals.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Four: Prodigy.

§ January 22nd, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 5 Comments

We’re back for more coverage of your predictions for the comics industry of the far-flung future of 2019! You can see parts one, two and three at the links attached to those very numbers. Also, a tip o’the ProgRuin toupee to reader Allan who was the first to identify the source of the “chapter titles” for these prediction posts.

Anyway, let’s get started on this new, hopefully correctly-formatted, pile of prognostications!

Turan, Emissary of the Fly World, buzzes in with

“1. There will be no increase in Aquaman comic book sales.”

Oof, forgot there was actual research involved in this one. Okay, and by “research” I mean “clicking a lot over on the indispensable Comichron website and lookin’ at their numbers there. This is all based on sales through Diamond, and doesn’t seem to include newsstand or digital sales, but I think one can likely extract relative activity from the numbers we are given.

Okay, first off, ye olde Aquaman. Starting with issue #44 in January 2019, we have sales i the 26,000 range. By December, they’d fallen to around 18,000. Now personally, at my shop, the sales fluctuated a tiny bit, but by and large remained mostly stable. I think maybe I’m up, but only by the slightest margin.

The movie’s release in December of 2018 seemed like it gave the title a little boost…just picking a couple of random months earlier in 2018, sales eeemed to be around 25,000, but that movie bump didn’t last very long, it looks like.

“2. There will be no increase in Shazam! comic book sales.”

Started about 46,000 in January, with sales figures still inflated by its relative newness. Ended out the year at about 26,000, which is probably a more realistic “stable” sales figure. In March, the month the film was released, sales for the fourth issue were at about 38,000…probably a combo of the film’s influence on orders, if any, with again, the relative newness of the book. By the beginning of summer it was down to about 34,000.

Sales on the book at my shop have, again, been pretty steady, though there was high demand for the first two or three issues. It’s been pretty stable saleswise for me for the last several months (whenever an issue is actually released).

“3. There will be an increase in Captain Marvel sales. Maybe only a small one, and probably more for the trade paperbacks rather than the regular comics, but still, an increase.”

This one is a little tricky, as Captain Marvel started out the year with a new #1 (of course, it’s Marvel). It was at about 111,000 copies, In December, with issue #13, it’s down to a more-likely regular sales figure of 36,000. Sales fluctuated a bit in the middle of the year, with reorder activity and such, as speculators chased after those early appearances of the character Star.

Sales at my store remained steady throughout the year…big sales on #1, sure, but settling down the rest of the year (those Star issues aside).

Overall I don’t the movies had a huge influence…sales on the title seemed to ebb and flow as expected, outside aberrations like perceived investment opportunity and the like. But however you slice it…man, those numbers look super low to me. Gone are the days of “sell over 100,000 or you’re canceled,” I guess.

• • •

Adam Farrar comes close with

“1. DC Black Label will be quietly abandoned/forgotten. If any of the other announced new books do come out, they’ll have a different label. Older books set to be reprinted with that label, won’t be.”

Still going strong! The 32nd Batman Black Label series should be out soon!

“2. Neil Gaiman & Mark Buckingham’s Miracleman comics start coming out again. (Rocky: But that prediction never works. Bullwinkle: This time for sure!)”

Well, technically you’re correct…we got one Miracleman page by them in Marvel Comics #1000. But for the actual series…I want it as bad as you do, my friend.

“3. Avengers: Endgame will have a post-credit scene hinting at Fantastic Four or X-Men characters as the Disney/Fox merger will have been finalized. Spider-Man: Far From Home will have a post-credit scene that ties it to Into the Spider-Verse at Sony’s instance.”

NEIN! NEIN ON BOTH which is too bad because I would have liked to have seen something like this…probably would have been too soon for anything but a minor reference or glimpse of something-or-other anyway.

• • •

Jason Sandberg bags us with

“1. HBO will acquire the rights to Jim Starlin’s dormant ‘DREADSTAR’ film project. The resulting series will replace and eclipse ‘GAME of THRONES’ as a critical and pop culture phenomenon.”

Would subscribe to HBO in a hot minute if this happened. Alas, ’tis but a dream.

“2. DC will release a SUPERMAN by John Byrne omnibus.”

In the November 2019 order forms! The Superman The Man of Steel Omnibus by John Byrne HC Vol. 1 “collects Action Comics #584-593, Action Comics Annual #1, Adventures of Superman #424-435, Adventures of Superman Annual #1, Legion of Super-Heroes #37-38, Superman #1-11, Superman Annual #1, and The Man of Steel #1-6” it says here.

“3. Marvel Comics and Kulan Gath will bring us a late 2019 announcement of a future Deadpool vs Conan mini-series.”

Not yet, but really, it’s only a matter of time. …I don’t know, has Deadpool popped up in Sacage Avengers yet?

• • •

Andrew-TLA truly ventures in with

“1. A trend that began with Star Wars and has continued with Conan, the Buffyverse, and Firefly/Serenity, Dark Horse will lose another of their big licenses to another publisher. My bet’s on Aliens, Predator, or both.”

If you count “Usagi Yojimbo” as a “big license,” then yes, that moved over to IDW. …I can’t recall if aany of the Big Movie/TV ones slipped away. If anyone else can some up with one, please let me know. But Dark Horse is still holding onto Alien and Predator with both hands right now, I’m sure. They were the last to publish Terminator so that’s likely still with them too.

“2. Disney+ launch brings a mixed bag of reviews. Their Star Wars and Marvel programming is praised, but the lack of such 70’s-80’s classics as The Apple Dumpling Gang and Condorman is a point of criticism.”

There’s always someone who’s going to be disappointed in something lilke this (“HOW DARE THEY LEAVE OUT UNIDENTIFIED FLYING ODDBALL!”) but overall people who have it (like I know I do) seem pretty happy with it. Most of the ire has been with technical glitches, like the artificially-widescreened early seasons of The Simpsons.

But they did have The Cat from Outer Space at launch, so all other sins are forgiven.

“3. Bendis will still be writing at least one of the Superman titles.”

You are correct! In fact, he’s writing two! Can that man do everything?

• • •

Okay, cutting it a tiny bit short this time because I had a late night and I’ve got New Funnybook Day to contend with tomorrow. I’ll be back Friday with more of your preditions! Thanks for reading, pals!

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Three: Cyborg.

§ January 20th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 4 Comments

The coverage of all your 2019 comics industry predictions from last year continues (and in case you missed it, here’s part one and part two). Who was right? Who was wrong? Who was just screwin’ around but I respond to their predictions anyway? LET’S FIND OUT TOGETHER (but don’t forget to leave your 2020 predictions!):

Evan Waters splashes me with the following

“1. Lancelot Link gets a revival comic with people seriously (well semi-seriously) exploring the dramatic and comic possibilities of a chimp-dominated Cold War.”

I feel like we may have missed that Lancelot Link nostalgia window, but I don’t think this is a bad idea. Someone tell Grant Morrison we’ve got his WE3 prequel premise.

“2. One or more indie publishers will announce a long-term development deal with one of the major studios that isn’t Disney or WB.”

I’m sure there are more, but this is the one probably nobody expected…Atlas Comics, AKA the Seaboard/Atlas comics of the 1970s, getting some development deal with Paramount. I do love the Atlas Comics, but this still seems a little strange, aside from studios trying to glom onto anything to make some of that Marvel/Disney super-money. …Okay, this doesn’t really count as a current indie company, I guess, but still, you have to admit, that’s somethin’.

“3. New Spider-Ham comic.”

DING DING DING! Just under the wire, too…was out Christmas week!

• • •

ExistentialMan willfully determines my development with

“1. Comic books will continue to be a source of unlimited creativity, artistry, and fun for millions of readers (just as they always have been).”

You forgot “highly investible for huge profits.”

“2. Trade paperback and hardcovers sales will increase (slightly) through the book store market while sales will decline (again slightly) for direct market stores.”

Apparently spot on, depending on how you define “slightly.” Up in bookstores 16%, while graphic novel sales, at least through Diamond, were down 2%. Taking into account graphic novel purchases through other vendors, like I know I did throughout the year, that 2% figure may be even smaller.

“3) Mike will retire Sluggo Saturdays for good in 2019. He will replace it with a weekly post in which he shares drawings of capybaras from his youth.”

Oof, okay, fair enough, my last Sluggo Saturday was September 2018. I wasn’t trying to end the feature, I just…forgot to do more, I guess. Don’t worry, folks, much like Batman and Robin, SLUGGO WILL NEVER DIE. I’ll try to come up with another one soon.

Alas, there is only one extant capybara drawing from my childhood…unless you count six years ago as “my youth.”

• • •

Thelonious_Nick slightly cuts me with

“1) After the success of the superb ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ movie Marvel gives the green light for the same treatment to Squirrel Girl!”

No “Into the Squirrel-Verse,” sadly enough. But man, if any character deserves to be better known in the real world than even Iron Man or Captain America, it’s Squirrel Girl.

“2) Ongoing Spider-Verse series, with stories rotating among Spider-Man Noir, Sad Middle Aged Spider-Man, Spider-Ham, Spider-Punk, etc.”

Well, we got a mini-series that’s still running…maybe it’ll lead into an ongoing if it sells well enough.

“3) Cullen Bunn starts 52 new horror series in 2019, one every week!”

That sound you hear is Mr. Bunn collapsing from shock at the very idea.

• • •

William Burns scorches the earth with

“1. The rise of electronic comics will really start to bite as Amazon/Comixology explicitly move to a policy of destroying paper single issues and retail comics shops. Many stores will close.”

Don’t feel like Amazon was doing anything special to destroy retail shops beyond what they usual do this year.

“2. Sterling Silver Comics will not be among them.”

I haven’t noticed too many people using my store as a catalog for what they were going to order off Amazon this year…maybe they’re better at hiding it now.

“3. Magdalene Visaggio will be hired to write a high-profile big two title.”

Well, she wrote a Magnificent Ms. Marvel annual, so there’s that. But she certainly seems like she’s been busy (including getting one of her comics turned into a TV show) so she seems to be doing just fine!

• • •

Colin A McKenzie takes off with

“At least one new superhero movie will flop big time, leading to panic at the Marvel/Warner Bros studios that the genre is over.”

Seems like this is going to happen sooner or later…it made Disney gunshy about Star Wars spin-off films after Solo underperformced, for example. But this hasn’t really happened with superhero movies yet. Even Justice League not doing as well as folks had hoped didn’t stop Warners from cranking out more superhero movies. There seems to be life in the genre even still, so we’re probably stuck with Avengers sequels for a while.

“DC streaming service will collapse, and all its series will be picked up on Netflix.”

Honestly, to my surprise, it’s still around. Now, should that new Warners general interest streaming service (which, by the way, will include new DC Comics programming) really takes off, I suspect DC Universe as its own service will not be long for this world. Right now, however, it’s hanging in there. It better hang in there, I just reupped for another year.

“Mike Sterling will develop ocular super powers.”


• • •

John almost got a toilet joke in this little intro here but I thought that would be rude, anyway, he says

“Having teased him in Season 4, Swamp Thing will appear in an episode of Legends of Tomorrow entitled, “There’s Swamp Thing About Mary…” However, getting Mike Sterling and all his friends to watch does not save the show from cancellation and the fifth season is the last.”

Well, Season 5 is underway this year, but it’s too soon to tell if it’ll be the last season. However, apparently there is a Swamp Thing something-or-other in the Legends of Tomorrow chapter of “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” so you kinda hit on something there, John!

• • •

That’s a good stopping point for today, mostly because the next question’s gonna take some research, and frankly I’m too tired to do research right now. SO YOU’RE JUST GONNA HAVE TO WAIT, TURAN. As always, thanks for reading and I’ll be back Wednesday…no, honest, I really mean it this time, I hope.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part Two: Suspicion.

§ January 17th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 8 Comments

My look back at your 2019 predictions for the comic industry continues! (See Monday’s entry for the initial installment.) Getting kind of a late start on these tonight, so let’s jump right in:

Chris Gumprich affords these forecasts

“1. An otherwise forgotten 1960s-era hero will be brought back for the new millennium (do we still call it that?), make a big splash, and be cancelled by the end of the year.”

I suppose that Peter Cannon Thunderbolt series from Dynamite sorta matches what you’re talking about. Mostly forgotten (despite a handful of revivals over the last few years), and made, if not a big splash, at least somewhat of a ripple in that it seemed to attract attention for being a metatextual Watchmen riff. And it wasn’t canceled…it ended, coming to a conclusion. So I don’t know if that’s close enough for this particular game of horseshoes, but, heck, why not.

“2. An otherwise forgotten 1980s series (if there is such a thing) will be reprinted in an omnibus edition, to my amazement.”

Just did a search at my distributor to see what omnibus editions came out all last year…just mainly searched Marvel and DC releases, and I didn’t see anything that stood out as too unusual. I mean, DC did a He-Man omnibus that included DC Comics Presents #47, that was kind of unexpected. But otherwise, nothing like, say, this:

“3. eBay will finally crack down on those idiots listing their CGC copies of Image Comics under the ‘Platinum Age (pre-1938)’ section.”

No, they’ll be too busy cracking down on me because I listed the Fantagraphics mag Honk! in the general area and not in the restricted “adult” section. …Okay, that was a long time ago, but it still really cheeses my crackers.

• • •

Jeff R. rites

“1. DC will have to tread water for three months across the entire line with flashbacks, fill-ins, and out-of-continuity nonsense waiting on the last set of Doomsday Clock delays. Some of the books will be quite good, though.”

There wasn’t quite the direct impact on the DC Universe I think we were all expecting, or meant to expect, from Doomsday Clock, so it didn’t affect any other title’s publishing plans much, far as I can tell. The two big things, though, is that the Big Returns of two classic teams into DC continuity that Doomsday Clock was leading to…was beaten to the punch in the regular monthlies/biweeklies.

“2. Mage: The Hero Denied #15 will end on a cliffhanger, with Matt Wagner and Image promising a much shorter timeframe between it and the launch of Mage: The Hero Delivered, the actual conclusion of the full saga.”

Nope, no waiting another 12 to 20 years for The Hero Disco-Dances: Mage appears to be good ‘n’ over.

“3. Marvel will announce an Ironheart movie as the big summer 2020 next phase starting film”

That would be a nice way to continue the Iron Man section of the Marvel franchise. Even Robert Downey Jr. is into it. Apparently there’s a rumor or a script is floating around or something, but no official announcement that I’ve seen.

• • •

Gareth Wilson sayeth

“1. A major comics company will remove all advertising from its monthly comics.”

Not yet…if ever, since whatever advertising revenue they can still get is probably helping keep those cover prices down at least a little. They’d have to be selling a lot more to justify dropping ads…but if they sold that much more then they could make a lot more money selling ad space, so I think we’re stuck with ads for now. Even if it’s just ads for more comics from the same publisher.

“2. The next Marvel streaming series: Lockjaw and the Punisher.”

Would watch. Especially if Lockjaw gets one of those doggie-shirts/sweaters emblazoned with the Punisher skull logo.

“3. Dreamworks announces Phase Two of the Undergarments Cinematic Universe.”

Finally, once again it will be time for these guys to shine:

• • •

Brian is a very naughty boy with

“1. One of the few DC movies that actually gets released amidst various delays and rewrites drops a mention of the Multiverse and the 52 Earths (as if to explain how the post-DCEU films tie together. Fans and reviewers simply note how 5he Arrowverse did it more clearly and elegantly.”

If this is going to happen in any movie, it’ll be in the forever-forthcoming Flash film Flashpoint, which would likely deal with multiple timelines and universes and all that hoohar, assuming that Flash movie is still coming out and it’s still going to be based on the “Flashpoint” comics stuff.

“2. The Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths — a storyline winding across parts of the fall storylines of each of the shows (including Black Lightning) and culminating in a two-week crossover, follows the pattern of ‘Earth-90’ this year, using serial-numbers-filed-off versions of previous DC television adaptations (with the Smallville characters in particular appearing, roughly filling the niches of COIE’s Earth-2 Kal-L and Luthor). However, due to the expansion of DC Universe’s shows (e.g. Swamp Thing and Stargirl), a number of other side characters to populate multiversal crowd scenes won’t be available.”

Well, I’ve seen only three of the five parts so far of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” thingie, and so far they’re just straight up referencing/using previous and/or concurrent versions of the DC Universe characters. Good on them. I don’t know how many previously-established media-adapted characters were off-limits, but it feels like they wouldn’t be particularly missed given how many folks they did squeeze in.

“3. The new Ms. Marvel series will take the character out of Jersey City and away from her supporting cast to increasingly interact with the wider Marvel Universe and broader issues (beyond those related to the character) — and its subsequent failure will rather lead to heated internet arguments ranging from the male writer to politics.”

I don’t know that we know enough about the Disney+ show yet to know how they’ll be handling the character. Marvel Studios has been relatively careful about how it handles its characters, more or less, so I suspect Ms. Marvel will do fine. I mean, we’ll see, right?

• • •

demoncat_4 torments me with

“1 dc streaming service will announce not only will their new swamp thing tv show make constantine a regular character but also a back door pilot for a new constantine tv show.”


Sadly DC Universe’s Swamp Thing didn’t last long enough to even approach anything like this, though it seems to me the Phantom Stranger kinda sorta filled the Constantine role in the series anyway. Besides, he’s busy on Legends of Tomorrow, which is bit of a weird place for him but at least he’s on TV now.

“prediction two is that marvel will announce that miracleman the silver age has a release date at last and later finally release the complete saga in a massive trade.”

Mentioned last time that while it’s been said that new Miracleman is being worked on, no release date has been set. But a big ol’ fat book of everything under one cover would be nice, wouldn’t it?

“3 dc streaming service will announce a tv series called trinity that will be about super man wonder woman and batman teaming up finally giving fans a tv version of batman at last.”

No, but we did at least get Bruce Wayne in Titans, and they did announce a Superman show for the CW. DC does seem very hesitant to duplicate live action media efforts for their Big Three, but I guess they’ve given up on Superman movies for the time being!

• • •

Kurt bounces in with

“The New Warriors TV show that was originally going to air on Freeform (formerly ABC Family), will finally see the light of day on Disney’s streaming service, and the whole world will finally see how great a hero Speedball is!”

While it appears a pilot was made, the show itself appears to be probably dead. It’d be nice if that pilot would show up on Disney+ so we can experience the live-action Squirrel Girl we all need in our lives, but sadly no sign of it yet. …But all this talk about Speedball being, ahem, “great?” What is this, crazytalk from Crazytown? Get outta here!

• • •

googum googummed

“1. The new Hellboy movie is going to be reasonably successful, so of course somebody’s going to learn the wrong lessons from it, and push another comic movie to a somewhat unneccessary R-rating. Turok, maybe. Or Vampirella.”

Whoops on the “reasonably successful” part. I did enjoy the new Hellboy a lot more than I thought I was going to, though I never really warmed to the new Hellboy make-up. But I feel like the push to R-rated super-movies may have been helped along more by Deadpool‘s enormous box office take than anything else. I mean, that film didn’t have to be R, but thank goodness it was because it was filthy and hilarious. But I see what you mean…like, if they pushed the new Batman up to an R, that would feel totally unnecessary. (“Stop, Joker!” “Fuck you, Batman!” …Y’know, like that.)

“2. Assuming the death of Border Town doesn’t outright sink Vertigo, going forward creators there are going to be vetted to within an inch of their lives. Too much so, so now anyone who maybe said something dumb five or more years ago is unemployable…”

Well…Border Town got axed for reasons more than “saying something dumb,” but I get your meaning. Especially in this day and age, he said oldly, where stupid stuff you did on Twitter in junior high school can turn up when you’re looking for a job now after getting out of college. Some of us have decades of online trails that we can’t escape…take it from me, The Guy Who’s in The Top Google Results for His Own Name.

I don’t know if vetting creators to any kind of extent is going to be much of a thing, to be honest, given that there are certain creators that are, frankly, human garbage who are still getting jobs because some publishers don’t give a shit. It’s going to take what it usually takes in this industry…people getting pissed off after the fact, and the publisher being forced into an apology and corrective measures.

Vertigo itself had been on shaky legs for a while, looking for a flagship title to hang its brand upon after Sandman, Preacher and Fables went away. It was the success of DC’s Black Label, the Imprint That A Penis Built, where swears were also okay, that killed Vertigo and took on projects that would’ve appeared there. I mean, when there’s room on the schedule for Black Label titles that aren’t Batman-related, of course.

“3. DC is going to give Doom Patrol yet another reboot, somewhat conservatively, to more resemble the TV show. Or maybe just to come out on time…”

Looks like they’re sticking with the Young Animal version for now, but I haven’t read any of the latest series yet so I don’t know if they fiddled with the line-up to reflect that critically-successful TV adaptation. I mean, just given the nature of the Doom Patrol, they can change it however they want without a reboot-ery explanation, you’d think.

• • •

Okay, that’s enough for this time. Sorry for the lateness of this installment, but I hope to be back on schedule, and working the room slightly less blue, next week, time and eyeballs permitting. Thanks for reading, pals, and see you Monday.

Your 2019 Predictions, Part One: Odyssey.

§ January 13th, 2020 § Filed under predictions § 5 Comments

Get on board the prediction train, as it’s finally passing through the Progressive Ruin city limits! We’re looking back at your comic industry predictions for 2019 and seeing how y’all did. (And don’t forget to give me your guesses for 2020 and we can do all this again next year!)

Away we go:

BK Munn dazes me with the following

“1. Less people than ever will read the comics blogs.”

Well, overall, I suspect that’s probably true, though I don’t have the stats to really prove it beyond my own site’s. My site is…hanging in there, with not much change from last year traffic-wise (though I’m not 100% convinced my hoster’s built-in traffic reader is all that connected to reality). I do know that I don’t get nearly as many comments as I used to Back In The Day. Pretty sure everyone’s moved on to Instagram or similar for the sort of content that blogs used to provide. I imagine it’s a lot less wordy and easier to digest, versus someone’s dumb ol’ blog like mine where said blogger doesn’t know when to shut up.

“2. There will be more interesting cartoonists making comics in North America outside of the Diamond system than ever before, and it will be impossible for one person or blog or comics news-site to read or even mention half of them during the course of 2019.”

Well, with Tom gone, yeah, seems unlikely there’s anyone capable of keeping up with everything. I’ve not even been able to keep up wtih the comics I want to read, much less do any kind of news coverage of them. But I totally agree there’s a lot of comics work out there, not all of it going through America’s one distributor, and there are plenty of alternative options to show, publicize, and distribute work thanks to this whole “internet” thing that seems to be catching on. Good, the more ways folks can express themselves and share that expression, the better.

“3. Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham will prove the most popular non-Miles character from the new Spider movie and will get his own movie or tv show before Spider-Gwen.”

Spider-Gwen (or “Ghost Spider”) was in that “Marvel Rising” animated thingie…wasn’t just her show, but I think that still counts as beating out Mr. Porker. Unless Spider-Ham had a cameo in some other Marvel cartoon I don’t know about. Wouldn’t put that past anybody.

• • •

Thom H. hollas at me with

“1. A new Legion of Super-heroes book is announced. Written by Tom King. The 9-panel grid returns!”

Announced and released…but not written by Tom King, though. HALF POINT FOR GRYFFINDOR.

“2. The next chapter of Injection is (finally) completed. Sales are abysmal due to the hiatus.”

Last year, comic shops, unlike my eyeballs, remained Injection-less.

“3. Miracleman: Silver Age is still not published. Some new excuse is given for its absence.”

We did get more Miracleman comics this year…one page in Marvel Comics #1000. Hey, it ain’t nuthin’. And Neil spoke about the status of the series this summer and says work is progressing. It sounds like he’s saying there were some contractual deals that had to be taken care of before getting MM underway again, or something? I don’t know. I’m just hoping to see the story finish before my descendants have to read it to me at my gravesite. …Hey, I made it through all of Mage in real time, there’s still hope.

• • •

Bret Sector splits up the following

“1. Marvel will finally get permission to do mash-ups with Disney animated characters like DC is doing with Hanna-Barbera characters…BUT, only the C- and D-list characters like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Roy Disney.”

I keep waiting for something like this to happen (or some kind of overt Star Wars/Marvel superhero intermingling) but they’ve kept it all fairly separated so far. However, we did get this one-per-store-more-or-less variant for Marvel Comics #1000:

Whose room is that? Is that Mickey’s?

“2. In the tradition of last year’s Walking Dead Wine, Marvel and DC will license their characters for Wine offerings. Batman Pinot Noir, Scarlet Spider Red, Rose and Thorn Blush, Champions Champagne (1970’s team, not the current youngsters), and of course Malcolm Merlyn Merlot.”

Ten years ago I gave Pal Dorian a bottle of wine with a custom label featuring his favorite superhero Wildcat:

Here’s a better look at the label:

I suspect if there are going to be any “superhero wines,” it’s going to be folks like me getting custom labels like that, since I don’t see Marvel or DC wanting their characters on alcoholic beverages. That won’t stop folks from making their own wines inspired by superheroes, like what appears to have been going on here. …I don’t know, I don’t drink alcohol…let me know when they create a superhero-themed zero-calorie, sugar-free sports drink.

“3. I predict that prediction posts on comic blogs will become the new internet sensation making progressiveruin one of the hot sites of 2019!”

I’m already the hottest comic blog, baby! Got my house’s heater running even as I type this!

• • •

Myron M. (presumably not “Moose”) offers

“Marvel will stop publishing monthly (paper) comics entirely, moving to a graphic novel-only publication model.”

I feel like this is a thing that may happen eventually, but there’s still life in the ol’ periodical format yet. I know both Marvel and DC are doing “new to graphic novel” stories (even if it’s sometimes reprinting digital stuff), but those don’t seem like they’re going to take over the entire publishing line anytime soon. And even if the Big Two shift over to a primarily trade paperback line, there will likely be some periodical element to their releases. Like, I can see new comics basically being, say, a new Wonder Woman graphic novel every four months instead of a standard sized “floppy” every month (or biweekly).

• • •

Sean Belt whups me with

“TKO Studios new distribution model will do marginally well enough that the Big Two will begin offering some of their books in the same format: a ‘season’ (6-new-issues) in a single book or digitally every 6-8 months, rather than monthly installments.”

No, not yet, but I do like TKO‘s product line. The graphic novels are good-looking, and ordering stuff from them is a cinch. I haven’t carried much of their single-issue comics, but I did have a customer specifically request a set, and those were nicely done as well. Don’t know that he Big Two will offer simultaneous releases in book and single issue formats as a regular thing, since they’re heavily in the “magazine first, collection later” strategy, but it’s an interesting move to give customers that option.

• • •

Okay, that’s enough for now…tune in next time, next Ruin time, same Ruin channel, for more of these here 2019 predictions! And don’t forget to leave me your 2020 predictions!

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” — Peter Drucker

§ December 20th, 2019 § Filed under predictions § 42 Comments

Yes, it’s once again That Time of year, a little earlier than in previous years where I’d think “oh dip, did I ask for predictions yet?” and then put up the post right before the end of the year and have you folks giving me your guesses well in February.

I plan on getting to your predictions from last year in January, but right now, I want you to gather together all your psychic abilities and foresee the future of the comics industry. Specifically, what you expect to see in the Year of Our Iron Man Arno Stark 2020. MAKE DIONNE PROUD. But don’t forget to follow these simple rules:

1. Don’t read the other predictions before entering your own.

2. Don’t criticize other people’s predictions.

3. Don’t predict any real person’s death.

4. Limit of three predictions per person, please! I know of a few of y’all will break this rule, and more often than not I address all the predictions anyway because my heart spills over with kindness and generosity toward my fellow humans on this spaceship Earth, but c’mon, give me a break here.

Okay, you know what to do…pile those predictions in the comments section of this very post here and we’ll meet back in about 13 months to see how everyone did! And like I said, I’ll get to those predictions for 2019 in a couple of weeks.

Thanks as always for your participation, pals…I’ve done this for the past several years, and even though I’ll gripe a bit about the time and effort put into the prediction responses, I really do enjoy it, honest! Don’t believe me? Have a psychic friend check my brain and tell you.

Your 2018 Predictions, Part Six: The Magnificent Warriors.

§ January 25th, 2019 § Filed under predictions § 1 Comment

We’ve finally made it! It’s the last batch of your 2018 comic industry predictions we’re covering in this particular sequence of posts. If you’ve missed any previous posts in the series — first, how dare you, and second, you can find ’em right here: onesie, twosie, threesie, foursie, and fivesie. And I keep telling y’all to put your 2019 predictions right here, so don’t get mad at me next year when I do this again and you’re all “oh woe is me, why did I not contribute? Why? WHYYYY!?!?”

Onward and upward!

Bruce Baugh breaks down the following

“Marvel will not die and crash the direct market in 2018. However, it will do something mind-boggingly stupid that nobody predicted except as a joke, and at the end of 2018, ‘Marvel, WTF?’ will be a dominant theme in reviews of the year.”

Hmm…maybe their price points? Those terrible, terrible $5.99 to $7.99 price points for first issues, or just plain ol’ issues during the series, or especially for installments of a kid-friendly Ms.Marvel/Squirrel Girl team-up series that eventually got collected into a $9.99 paperback, which is what it probably should have been from the get-go anyway? I vote for that.

“There will be a Legion of Super-Heroes revival. It will be grimdark, campy, or (most likely) both. It will not do well, but it will be brandished by Gamergate types accusing SJWs of destroying comics, even though it will have nothing to do with diversity, social justice, or anything of the sort.”

As discussed in a previous post, no Legion book just yet (I think everyone’s waiting for Doomsday Clock to wrap, since a Legion member is tangentially involved). But wouldn’t you say diversity and social justice is ingrained into the Legion? Well, okay, that whole business with Tyroc was a bit…rough, but they were trying!

“One particular event will dominate everyone’s year-end efforts to say ‘oh, right, well, of course, I saw that coming, I just didn’t add it to my prediction list.’ I have no idea what this event will be.”

Is it my endless series of eyeball surgeries? I bet it’s that.

• • •

Chris Gumprich costs us dearly with

“(Am I too late? Gosh I hope I’m not too late!)”

Not as late as the folks who have yet to give me their 2019 predictions!

“MAGE III will ship more often than not, but will gradually become later and later so that by the end of the year we’ll only be up to #10.”

Actually came out on a pretty regular basis! I think the last issue, #15, is taking a little longer because, well, more pages, surely, and there’ll probably be a fancy cover or a folkout or some production hoohar that will require more time. Which is fine!

“After years of teasing and hinting, Ma Hunkel will join the LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.”

I’m absolutely behind on all the CW shows, but I don’t think this happened, but Legends of Tomorrow is the one show were this absolutely could happen!

“I will spend more money at the comic store in 2018 than in 2017. Shouldn’t be too hard, as I spent a whole $20 (Canadian!) in 2017. And that was $20 more than I did in 2016. Or 2015.”

I can’t say for sure if you did or not, but you can always spend $20 (Canadian) at my store if you’d like!

• • •

Anthony hops in with

“Vampirella, unfortunately, will get another ‘ongoing’ that turns into a mini series.”

I think it was just mini-series an’ such this year. It would be nice to just have one ongoing Vampirella series with no relaunching/rebooting/etc. And I would also like a pony. A flying pony, made of gold.

“Avengers Infinity War will be the highest grossing Marvel movie to date.”

According to my go-to site for this sort of thing, Box Office Mojo has Black Panther as the highest grossing domestically, with Avengers: Infinity War right behind. Working in the foreign markets, it looks like Infinity War is indeed tops. Anyway, look at that page for all the data you can stand about this, including totals adjusted for inflation, etc. Speaking of which, turns out, after adjusting for inflation, Howard the Duck is the top-grossing Marvel movie! Who knew?

“CW’s Black Lightning will be received well and join the Arrowverse taking place on Supergirl’s earth 38.”

Like I said above, I’m behind on the CW, but I don’t think Black Lightning is part of the rest of the whole Arrowverse thing yet. (And how weird is it that it’s called “the Arrowverse?” Imagine being told years ago one of the most successfuly TV adaptations of superheroes would be Green Arrow-centric.) As I’ve also noted previously, I feel like the announced “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event next year is going to result in Supergirl being on the same Earth as the other shows…and maybe that’s when Lightning will be merged in, too. We’ll see!

• • •

I am Groot groots

“I am groot.”

No, turned out DC went for it showing Dr. Manhattan in the altogether in Doomsday Clock. And please, in the future, maybe use more delicate language in describing his, well, you know.

“I am groot.”

While it does feel like there was some constriction of the direct market in terms of sales and simple variety of product, one can easily fall into the trap of centering the entire health of the marketplace solely on “the Big Two,” or perhaps “The Big Five,” if you include IDW, Dark Horse, and Image. While there is the usual attrition with new publictions (for example, the number of Images launches that peter out quickly in sales, or simply are D.O.A.) there is at least some measure of commitment, particularly by the smaller publishers, to expand the market with a variety of new books and concepts creators. But, as the old retailer saying goes, “as goes Marvel, so goes the industry,” and a lackluster performance by Marvel can lead to lean times overall, as, like it or not, comic retail stores depend on Marvel and DC to drive regular business and cash flow. A reduction of customer interest in the standard offerings results in a reduction of foot traffic into stores which in turn results in a reduction of eyeballs on new material from alternative publishers. And then from that, creators begin to look for other forms of distributing their products, digitally or otherwise. But all that said, yes, the new Love and Rockets continues to sell just fine, despite your prediction.

“I am groot.”

Nope, still no new Miracleman comics. I’m disappointed too.

• • •

Adam had ’em with

“Long time reader. First time predicting events.”

I hope you’re still around!

“Towards the back half of Metal, Planetary will some how be introduced into the main DC universe in a more prominent fashion…aside from that one time Elijah, Jakita and the Drummer met all these different Batmen.”

Huh…I would have liked that, I mean, so long as your second prediction had come to pass:

“Warren Ellis was notified by DC that they would be using the characters and he gave them his blessing.”

I wonder what he would have said if DC tried this? I mean, yes, he’d likely get paid some kind of royalties for i…I’m really not sure. But on the other hand, he might not want Other Hands futzing about with this characters, which is also understandable. But I’m pretty sure DC owns the property outright, and I can picture them just doing whatever without asking anyone’s permission.

“Prices of Planetary back issues will go up in value. At which point I make a nice chunk of change.”

Ah hah! Blatant market manipulation via your predicting powers, eh, Adam? …Well, okay, I’m not sure how that would work, but still.

• • •

Jay V flies in with

“That Wilkin Boy becomes a breakout character on Riverdale.”

I don’t think so (since I don’t watch the show) but apparently there was a brief reference to him there in 2017!

“Someone finds another Kirby character drawn on a napkin or something and puts out an homage/cash grab.”

C’mon Heidi Hogan, Lady Lumberjack!

“An indie film company gets the rights to put out a movie based on one of the thousands of TMNT ripoffs from ye olden 80’s B&W days. Adolescent Black Belt Hamsters? Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils? There were so many…”

Not yet, but surely it’s only a matter of time before the the Marching Marvel Media Machine finds its way to Power Pachyderms.

• • •

Philippe Leblanc whites out the following

“The Avengers Infinity War movie brings in lots of customers to all comic shops looking for the ‘Infinity War’ comics. No retailers is able to convince excited fans to read the classic series ‘Infinity Gauntlet’ and people buy the sequel ‘Infinity War’ en masse and are utterly confused.”

In my case, I did get a lot of people looking for Infinity War comics, so I spent a lot of time telling them Ifinity Gauntlet was more the inspiration for the film. How they took Mephisto in that comic I have yet to hear. Sales of the Infinity War book were much less…but if they think that was confusing, wait ’til they tackle Infinity Crusade.

“The excitement over the appearance of Swamp Thing in the 2017 video game ‘Injustice 2’ and the critical failure of the Justice League movie makes Warner Bros. scramble to reboot their existing movie properties. They reboot Swamp Thing is a big live-action movie. A new DC Comic series is launched, but is quickly cancelled due to overwhelming demand for a series about Swamp Thing’s sidekick that was introduced in the movie, Baby-Swampy.”

Lots of predictions for Live-Action Swamp Thing, but I don’t know if most of us expected it to be as a streaming show on DC’s proprietary service. I don’t think we’re getting Baby Swampy, but have I yet mentioned that Blue Devil will be on the show?

“Image Comics accidentally publish comics without art. Instead, their comics are replaced for one month with simple white sheet with an elevator pitch for a high-concept movie.”

But enough subtweeting about Mark Millar!

That’s it! We’re done for the year! Well, there’s still an epilogue with additions and addendums and of course the cast of the show finally making it to Earth, so come back Monday, everyone, and we’ll get this all wrapped up! Thanks for reading, and of course thanks to everyone who participated! And don’t forget, Blue Devil is appearing in Swamp Thing!

Your 2018 Predictions, Part Five: Gun on Ice Planet Zero.

§ January 23rd, 2019 § Filed under customer gary, predictions § 6 Comments

So, we meet again! Time to look at more your 2018 comic industry predictions and see how all you amateur fortune tellers did this time ’round! If you’ve missed any installments so far, here are some handly links to parts the first, the second, the third, and the fourth. Also, there’s still time to send in your 2019 predictions right here!

Let’s get this prediction party started:

Longtime customer* Gary Guthrie fishes sinisterly** with

“When Disney finally buys DC, we all get the Jimmy Olsen / Wolverine / BB-8 miniseries everyone has been clamoring for. Goofy is the surprise guest star.”

It really is only a matter of time before everything collapses into the comics singularity. Not yet, but it’s coming, oh yes.

“We can’t say Batman marries Catwoman, because when Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle wed, they retire from costumed adventuring and the Bat-family of books become domestic comedies. Peter Parker and Mary Jane are the surprise guest stars.”

As we know, no knot was tied between the two in either of their identities, so alas, no The Golden Batgirls or The Big Bat Theory or Gimme A Backbreak or I Love Lucius or anything like that was gifted upon us.

“Dr. Manhattan turns out to have been the source of The Spectre’s power all along. Mephisto and Son of Satan are the surprise guest stars.”

I figured at the very least Dr. Manhattan would get on the Spectre for stealin’ his naked gimmick in Kingdom Come. Ah well…there’s still a couple of issues to go in Doomsday Clock for that to happen…or for anything to happen.

• • •

Bret Sector divides us with

“DC’s success with its Hanna-Barbera crossovers will ‘inspire’ Marvel to go all in with Disney character crossovers…Spidey/Mickey; Deadpool/Goofy; and of couse Moon Knight/Dark-wing Duck.”

Like with Marvel/Star Wars crossovers, I’m surprised Marvel hasn’t attempted this, aside from what I’m sure is some Disney-imposed restriction on such things. This of course means no Howard the Duck/Donald Duck: PANTS-OFF in our immediate future, I’m sad to say.

“This year’s return of Marvel Value Stamps and FOOM will lead to the return of the MMMS and a re-issue of the 45rpm marching anthem.”

At the very least, make it a digital download! But I’m afraid the Merry Society still no longer marches.

“DC’s comedian comics from days gone by (e.g., Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope,…) will ‘inspire’ Marvel to start a comedian team comic made up of modern day comedians who also happen to be comic book authors as well – Brian Poehn, Patton Oswalt, Rashida Jones, Zeb Wells, and Del Close are the Comedy Avengers!”

“So what’s going on in this Louis C.K. comic book…ew, gross.”

We did have a comic book by comedians that debuted on Free Comic Book Day, but not quite like what you were hoping for. Which is too bad. In fact, I wouldn’t mind just the Bob Hope comic book coming back. It would probably sell like five copie nationwide, but I’d like it!

• • •

A.J. bops you with this here lollipop

“A Herbie: The Fat Fury movie will be announced.”

Would have loved for this to be true, but we must face the unfortunate fact that the entertainment industry lacks the sheer genius and talent to properly pull off what would be The Greatest Movie of All Time, Perhaps Even Greater Than Frank Miller’s The Spirit.

• • •

David Alexander McDonald calls this “keeping it down” with

“…okay, okay, I’ll try to keep it down this year. You’re an old man now, Mike, can’t lift the way you used to.”

“we’ll see more movement amongst the bigger publishers towards European style albums, with Snyder’s ALL-STAR BATMAN gradually going that way. Marvel will revive their 1980s/1990s graphic novel line, but pooch it badly, while DC will gave trouble being consistent. The *big* winners for a while will be Boom, Dynamite and IDW (who will have Byrne adjust his design for New Visions to start the trend.)”

…I’d say Batman: Damned kinda fits the bill here…it’s been a success so far, goosed along by a little bit of that ol’ fashioned sales booster of “controversy” — and there have been one or two other oversized album-esque publications here and there, but I haven’t seen anyone pushing for the big switchover yet. But at least it appears to be a viable option!

“Movies/TV…DC will work up and promote a riff on Multiversity to tie films and TV shows together. New plans will be laid out to rescue the DC IP. Marvel Studios will promote the idea of a multiverse post-Infinity War as a way of pushing off continuity questions and the hassles of the TV and film arms working coherently together. It’ll still all be MCU. Sony will be embarrassed, Fox’s last X-slate will play out, and there’ll be no more X-Men until 2025.”

Hmm…I don’t think we’ve seen action in either direction so far. The next DC crossover on TV is titled Crisis on Infinite Earths, but it almost certainly won’t involve the movies. (If anything, I’m betting there’s going to use it to get Supergirl on the same Earth as everyone else…there’s my 2019 prediction). And I think Marvel has too much invested in keeping everything at least loosely tied togther…they likely feel the appeal of the TV shows is boosted by their sometimes distant connection to one film contintuity, without dealing with parallel universes and such. I think Sony’s probably fine, as Spider-Man licensing ahd their deal with Marvel Studios has been lucrative (and the Venom movie wasn’t the bomb people were expecting…well, that I was expecting). And…is there still another X-movie coming? I’ve lost track. Whether Marvel picks it up again for the 2025 slate…check back here in 2025!

“Mike will form a jug band and perform in store concerts if nothing but songs about swamp creatures. The band will be called Mike Sterling’s Louisiana Swamp Stompers and their first (and likely last) album will be titled REBORN ON THE BAYOU.”

“MUCK-ENCRUSTED MOCKERY OF A MIKE,” thank you very much.

• • •

Richard Martines sez

“With the addition of Bendis to the already strong line up of King and Snyder, DC will have a boost in quality product that should result with increased sales. Add that to the Art Direction with Jim Lee as the lead guru, and I see a great 2018 for DC.”

Like was mentiond in a previous installment, comic book sales were down a bit overall over 2018. That doesn’t say too much specifically about quality, which is a very subjective measure…but I’ll say all the folks named are doing mostly good work with good readerships over at DC. I mean, it’s hard to find a series more critically acclaimed from the Big Two than Mister Miracle. Bendis hasn’t been the Big Deal that folks were expecting, I think…Superman sales started out strong, but are dwindling back to where they were pre-Bendis. But his Young Justice debut issue did well, and we’ll see how the Bendis-headed “Wonder Comics” imprint does overall.

“I look for Marvel to cut back on titles and focus on increasing quality and sales with less product. This is what Brian Hibbs is asking and it makes sense to me. Not only for Marvel but for all comic publishers.”

Marvel’s hasn’t reversed its decades-long publishing strategy yet!

“Even with Geoff Johns as a voice of comic book fan reason at WB, I see WB continuing with disappointing movies. The Zack Snyder effect of 60 seconds of gorgeous scenes throughout the film, but having too much darkness in the plot, continues to haunt DC movies. Hopefully the Patty Jenkins effect will rise to the top. That said, my son says comic book movies seem to all be getting a bit stale.”

Aquaman certainly turned things around there! I think with its billion dollar take, we may see movies more along those lines than Batman V. Superman (which I liked just fine, but I get why people would be turned off by it). I still think Justice League, while not perfect, was still a fun movie that seemed closer in line to what people wanted, but still so heavily under the shadow of the previous films that folks went in (or didn’t go in, as the case may be) inclined against it. I have no idea what that Joker film will be like, but the next Wonder Woman film will likely continue that particuilar success, and that Harley Quinn film should give us what people liked about the Suicide Squad movie (Harley Quinn) and not give us what we didn’t like about the movie (pretty much everything else in the movie).

And I know everyone’s predicting superhero movie fatique…but it hasn’t hit yet! I mean, Star Wars movie fatigue set in first, who could’a predicted that?

• • •

Rob London bridges the gap with

“A Fantastic Four reference sneaks its way into one of this year’s three Marvel movies – maybe something as simple as RICHARDS WINS NOBEL in a news-crawl.”

This article claims such ann Easter egg in one of the Netflix shows, which everyone missed because nobody was watching that particular esries. So, um…maybe that was an egg, or it was a coincidence?

“Someone tries to bring back the Atlas/Seaboard characters. Nobody is particularly interested.”

Sorry, Morlock 2018 wasn’t a thing, and the world is the lesser for it.

“That Y: The Last Man TV show that has seemed like it was on the brink of happening for like a decade finally starts filming.”

Looks like you were right! GIVE THAT MAN A CRYSTAL BALL! …Oh, wait, you already have one.

• • •

Gregg Butterfield dreams up

“Marvel-Disney will pull the plug on floppies and go all digital on its periodical comics, limiting hard copies to trades and ‘event’ comics. DC and Image will hold out a little longer but inevitably follow suit. What’s left of the traditional comics shop market will collapse; the survivors will be the big ‘pop culture’ shops that focus on toys, games and trade paperbacks.”

Direct Market-geddon did not hit this year…and let’s hope this doesn’t happen until after I retire. Or “retire.” By which I mean “kick the bucket.”

• • •

Dave Carter lusts in his heart after

“The Aquaman movie will perform above expectations and be generally liked by movie-goers.”

That’s certainly an understatement! If you told people 20…hell, ten years ago, that an Aquaman movie would be one of DC’s biggest hits, they’d chase you with torches and pitchforks.

“The Black Lightning television show will not be renewed for a second season.”

Thankfully that didn’t happen and we did get season 2!

“DC’s ‘New Age of Heroes’ comics line will be plagued by delays.”

More like “plqgued with cancellations.” Just keep Terrifics going, DC! I need that comics!

That’s it for now…I should wrap up the predictions on Friday, so I’ll see y’all again real soon now, y’hear?

* “Longtime” as in “knew him from when I was working at the library before I started in comics retail!”

** Maybe a half-dozen people reading this, tops, will get this reference.

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