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I think the world is ready for a Concrete/Thing crossover.

§ June 22nd, 2020 § Filed under cerebus, dc comics, marvel, publishing § 15 Comments

So remember last week when we were talking about the Marvel/DC crossovers, and which ones I thought we the good’uns? Well, a couple of you had questions, so let me address those first:

John Lancaster tossed his line into the water with

“Seems to me that a lot of good crossovers that aren’t Marvel/DC are getting forgotten”

and then he proceeds to list some ones that are indeed good. My focus of the post was specifically just the Marvel/DC encounters, but I had planned on address some of the crossovers involving other companies as well. In other words, let’s talk about Deathmate:

Ah, just ribbin’ ya a little, and I’ve already talked about Deathmate at length if you want to go relive that.

But yes, there were plenty of crossovers among the smaller companies, sometimes even with either Marvel or DC. A personal favorite is 1994’s Archie Meets the Punisher (AKA Punisher Meets Archie, as per the Marvel-published diecut cover version):


General reaction to this at the time when this was announced was “Whaaa–!?” and for good reason, though it turned out to actually be a bit of fun. with art by Stan Goldberg and John Buscema.

Archie Comics, in fact, seems pretty game to cross over their character with other companies even to this say. John mentioned Archie Vs. Predator (which featured some fairly shocking content for an Archie comic, but in this post-Afterlife with Archie world, pretty much anything is fair game, I suspect). We’ve also had Archie meet up with Batman ’66, and the Archie gang turned up in issue #13A of Gen13 back in ’96:


I remember that one surprising me more than the Punisher crossover, for some reason. Like, Marvel and the Punisher were fairly “mainstream” and high profile, versus a relatively unknown (though admittedly popular) indie book. Wasn’t sure what Archie was going to get out of that…except, after thinking about it for a second, exposure of the characters to an audience that might otherwise not have paid attention to them, duh.

I suspect creator-owned titles are a little easier to negotiate with when it comes to crossovers like this, simply due to less layers of bureaucracy being involved. I mean, I’m about to exaggerate a little, but assembling the deal to make this happen feels like it probably only took about five minutes:


Don’t write to tell me I’m wrong, I know I am, but you have to admit the process of Todd ‘n’ Dave getting together to team up Spawn and Cerebus probably was a great deal less involved than JLA/Avengers. And Mr. Sim wasn’t shy about letting Cerebus show up here and yonder in other people’s independent comics, which again probably consisted of a fax asking if they could use the character, and Dave faxing back “yeah, sure.” Okay, granted the two that immediately come to mind are Journey and normalman, both Aardvark-Vanaheim publications at the time, like Cerebus, but I know there were others. Alas, the fabled X-Men/Cerebus didn’t happen (beyond a piece of promo art). But look, all I got for that Mr. Monster/Swamp Thing proposed team-up was a single piece of art as well:


…so we all just have to suffer.

More on specific crossovers next time, maybe, but let’s address Thom H.’s query briefly:

“I mean, is it that difficult or costly to have an inter-company meeting to discuss splitting the costs and profits 50/50? It seems like something two lawyers could do via email.”

As it was explained to me by someone also in the comics publishing business, it’s the potential profits that are a problem. Apparently neither Marvel nor DC feel like they’d be making enough profit on bringing any of these back in print, that having only 50% of the take isn’t enough. Now it seems to me making a little money is better than making no money (believe me, I’ve told myself that plenty of times at the shop after looking at the end-of-day receipts) but the Big Two don’t see it that way, I guess.

My half-facetious solution was that each company get the rights to publish their own paperbacks reprinting their crossovers…like, DC could publish JLA/Avengers under their own trade dress, and Marvel could do the same, titling it Avengers/JLA and putting it out with their trade dress, and they could agree to just keep all the profits from their versions. But I can see other problems arising from this (like, what happens when Marvel lets theirs fall out of print almost immediately…can DC still keep publishing their own?) so that may not be much of a solution.

So I don’t know, Thom…maybe when we enter a cashless society then someday all these comics will come back into print. In the meantime…WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPERSON! I’m sure they have nothin’ else going on right now, let them deal with this issue.

Okay, more crossover talk next time? Eh, we’ll see. In the meantime, be good to each other, wear your masks and wash your hands, and for God’s sake quick setting off your firecrackers at night, old comic shop owners need to get their beauty sleep.

Guess I should have just stocked up the trades while they were still available.

§ June 10th, 2020 § Filed under dc comics, marvel, publishing § 11 Comments


So the 11-year-old niece and the 9-year-old nephew were telling me the other day how much they wanted Marvel and DC to have their characters meet. Specifically, they wanted the Justice League and the Avengers to fight.

“Oh, they already did that!” I told them. “I can show you a book of–”

“A BOOK!?!?” they exclaimed. “Why would you want to read a book of that? We meant a Marvel and DC movie!”

Well, I figure we’re some time away from a movie like that…probably going to take the collapse of the superhero film industry to make everyone desperate enough to band together, much like the ’90s collapse of the comics industry encouraged such crossovers. But, boy, speaking of which we sure did have a lot of those crossovers between Marvel during the ’90s, and while they used to be as common as dirt in the back issue bins before, now that some time has passed they’re not quite as plentiful.

I’m sure part of the reason is the same one I’ve given before, that a lot of the shops that existed during that period, and had wholesaled stock of those titles from distributors and possibly still had extras in storage, are now gone. Maybe their stock made it to other shops, maybe that stock is languishing in some poor bastard’s garage or storage unit, but whatever the cause, those crossovers don’t seem to pop up as often as they used to. Not long ago I had a copy of the Batman/Captain America team-up, and I’d posted a pic on my Instagram…and I had multiple requests to buy it. Demand definitely outstripped supply in that case.

And it’s just not that comic…once common, low-demand examples of Marvel/DC crossovers like Spider-Man/Batman or Batman/Daredevil never seem to last long. And high-demand ones like Hulk/Superman barely even get a change to get put in the back issue bins before it’s out the door.

It’s a shame that the deals between the companies that could result in keeping them in print (like they did in a series of paperbacks collecting them all together) are gone. And no more terrible example of this is JLA/Avengers.

I pulled my copy of the oversized, slipcased hardcover set to eventually show to the niece and nephew, who will probably glance at it briefly, shrug, and tell me “this isn’t a movie,” which is fine. But it was nice to look through it again…and at this size, it’s a lot easier for me to enjoy given the eyeball problems I’ve had of late.

It really is amazing…it’s nothing short of a miracle and Kurt Busiek and George Perez were able to cram in pretty much every character ever associated with either team, fill each page witih multiple panels and plenty of dialogue, and still have it come out at the end beautiful and readable. Sometimes you hear folks talk about how “not an inch is wasted” when discussing comic art, and boy howdy, does it ever apply here.

The real shame here is that it is not in print. This should be a perennial seller, constantly available, and it practically sells itself. So much money being left on the table by not having this available, and so many new fans just missing out on it. Well, okay, some people are just downloading it for free via file-sharing, I’m sure, but they’d probably do that anyway even if it was in print.

I’m saying the book should be available, as well as the other crossover collection paperbacks. But, it was pointed out to me on the Twitters when I was griping about this very thing, the economics of it probably don’t work very well, with money on each copy sold would have to be split between Marvel and DC. My idea was that maybe each company can just publish their own version of the paperbacks and keep all the profits from their own book. Like, DC could put out JLA/Avengers, Marvel could release Avengers/JLA, identical except it’s under the Marvel label and they get all the cash. I don’t know, there’s probably reasons why that wouldn’t work (least of which that the two companies probably wouldn’t want competing products that were essential the same), but…I just want JLA/Avengers back in print. Somehow. Just look at all that work that went into it…only for it to be dropped down the memory hole.

I would like to see Marvel/DC crossovers again…I tended to enjoy most of the ones that were released. I never did get my Swamp Thing/Man-Thing comic, despite cameo gag appearances. Ah, well. I know Todd McFarlane was throwing the idea out there of a Spawn/Spider-Man team up, to generate some excitement and get folks into stores after the retail shutdowns. That’s Image/Marvel, not DC/Marvel, but it’s the same kinda thing.

In conclusion, the niece and nephew better like seeing my copy of JLA/Avengers. At the very least, I’m sure they’ll enjoy that crazy “every character from either team ever” image on the slipcase. Honestly, what kid could resist that?

Look, just go read the entire Wikipedia article on Deathmate.

§ May 1st, 2020 § Filed under market crash, publishing, retailing, valiant § 4 Comments

So the other day I saw that comics artist Dan Panosian had posted a photo from the Deathmate promotional tour he and other artists did in the 1990s. (Here’s another pic showing more of the particpants.)

For those of you who weren’t there in the comics field during the ’90s, or were there and have since buried those memories. Deathmate was a high-profile intercomany crossover event between Image Comics and Valiant Comics. It…had some scheduling issues, shall we say, mostly on the Image side, with one chapter (Red, as they were IDed by color not issue number) coming out after the Epilogue. End result…sold well at first, then customers just kinda gave up on it partway through, leaving retailers with plenty of unsold copies.

I’ve noted Deathmate on this site here and there before, mostly in the context of how it was a symptom of/contributor to the comics market crash of the ’90s. I remember having boxes of these things in the back, and aside from a very brief flurry of interest in Deathmate Black due to it having an early appearance of the now mostly-forgotten Gen13, there were no aftermarket sales. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true, at one point at the previous place of employment we brokered a deal to sell 100,000 copies of our overstock to someone-or-‘nother for literally pennies apiece, and thus were we rid of these things. We got a nickel each, and we were glad for it.

Anyway, back to the tweet…I retweeted Mr. Panosian’s tweet with the comment about how “I’m here for Deathmate content,” which amused him. In the ensuing exchange we had (in which I assured him I wasn’t making fun, I’m genuinely interested in this period of comics) he asked “did it ever finish?”

Okay, you know publishers done screwed up when the folks who worked on the comics don’t even know if the series ever completed. I let him know “well, yes, technically” and that was that.

What amazes me most about Deathmate is how it should have been a slam dunk. Valiant was red hot, Image was red hot, a series pairing up all their characters written and drawn by strong creative teams (and they were!) should’ve sold like each copy was bagged with an original Incredible Hulk #181. And as I recall, the initial installments sold very well…and dropped off almost immediately after that. Even I tried only the first couple of issues and gave up (I think primarily because I was interested in the Valiant characters, but not so much the Image ones). The long delays on many of the books didn’t help, and despite it being emphasized that you could read the installments in any order, that apparently wasn’t true. All in all, it turned out to be a huge mess, and you should really read former Valiant honcho Bob Layton’s thoughts on the topic.

I am curious if any of you folks out there braved the entire series. My opinion of the project is based somewhat on those two issues, but mostly on the retail end of it, where I could probably have built a house using the leftover copies. I’m also curious if anyone is trying to revisit it today, as Valiant is a current thing again and, I don’t know, maybe someone out there has an interest in early Image publications? (If so, send them my way, I’ve got some Spittin’ Image to sell them, too.)

One last thing…as I was looking up those tweets, I found this one where I posted a pic of an original promotional poster for the Deathmate event. Being the wag that I am, I noted the optimism of the poster declaring the event as taking place “over the summer.” But then Twitter pal Corey outwagged me with “they didn’t specify only one summer” and fair play, sir. Fair play, indeed.

Not to be confused with “Bad Idea Jeans.”

§ March 12th, 2020 § Filed under publishing, retailing § 6 Comments

So you may have heard about this new comics company (comprised, I think, of several former Valiant Comics folks) called “Bad Idea,” which the more I talk about this publisher the more hilarious and clearly self-aware its name sounds to me. Anyway, their deal, which is admittedly a bit weird, is that they’re initially only going to be offering their comics to a limited number of retailers, and that said comics wouldn’t be reprinted, collected, digitized*, variant-ized, or spindled or mutilated too, I’m presuming. Originally they announced it was only going to be 20 retailers, then they upped the number to 100, and, well, clearly I’m talking about it here because I managed to get my store on that list.

When I first heard about this, I contacted the publisher, expecting, like, there was going be a $1000 buy-in or something in order to participate. But, nope, just had to fill out an application/agreement thing, and then after whatever selection process was completed, got the email that I was in. I’m not being forced to order more comics than I’m comfortable with, so, you know, I’m willing to give it a shot. And after I announced it on my site and social media outlets, and after the list of retailers showed up elsewhere, I started getting interest from my customers and requests to add their titles to pull lists, so let’s see how it goes.

It is a weird business model, contrary to most business strategies, or what passes for them, at most comic companies. Conventional wisdom is that collected edition sales is where the longterm profit is at, and that digital sales is what all the kids are into, or where the future of comics is at, or that sort of thing. Plus on top of everything else, putting a cap on the number of outlets allowed to even order the books…I mean, it certainly got everyone’s attention, but I hope they’ve figured out a way to make money on this. I’m sure they have, but it certainly seems odd. Which, I guess, is the point.

I don’t know how long these particular strategies are going to remain in place, or how long they’ll stand against general market forces, but I’m glad I’m in there on the ground floor and trying this company out. No idea how it’ll all do, but it has my interest. One thing I’m wondering about is just how to order on these. Like I said, I’ve already had a bit of demand for these from customers, so that gives me at least an idea on what to order. But I can see folks who aren’t near a shop carrying Bad Idea books going down the list of retailers and calling each one, looking for copies to mail order. I like mail order, I do a lot of mail order, so I wonder how many copies extra I should have on hand for this sort of demand? I do not know. Don’t want to go overboard on numbers, but don’t want to be stuck short either. But if any of you reading this want any of these comics, let me know, I’ll be happy to send it to you!

You can read more about the publisher on its site.

* At least officially…sigh.

Be pretty wild if he did return as The Outsider.

§ February 10th, 2020 § Filed under batman, publishing § 3 Comments

[SPOILERS for recent events in Batman comics]

So I think none of us who are devoting any minimal amount of thought to the apparent death of Alfred are thinking “if” over “when” in regards to the character’s eventual return. It goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway, that a vital part of a franchise like this won’t be out of the picture for very long. Now granted, Alfred isn’t entirely indisposable — the only indisposable part of Batman is “dude what dresses up as a bat” — but he’s certainly an expected part, and certainly noticeable in his absence.

Anyway, I was thinking about Alfred’s death (and the on-panel death seemed to be about as definite as these things get) and how DC would eventually bring him back, which inspired me to slap together this poll for the Twitters:


Before I get into the results, let me talk about the choices I included. “Never actually dead” is pretty self-explanatory…some kind of fake-out or ruse or clone or whathaveyou, leaving him alive but out of the picture somewhere. This is pretty much the deal with the whole “Death of the Human Torch” story.

The second option, “Magic/science shenanigans” covers things like the Lazarus Pit, or Herbert West-style reanimation, or, well, clones, I guess, so there’s bit of a grey zone between this and the first option. I suppose the Death of Superman would fall under this, though if I recall correctly there was maybe a tiny, tiny bit of life in him so maybe he wasn’t entirely dead and now you’re beginning to see the choices aren’t nearly as cut and dried.

Option three is again, probably self-explanatory…if you don’t know what a reboot is, I refer you to the past decade or two of Marvel or DC comics. But if you need a specific example, perhaps the Legion of Super-Heroes rebooting itself out of a painted-in corner during Zero Hour.

What’s interesting about the results is that “Reboot” was the choice that garnered the most votes in a relatively short amount of time. It’s probably the most cynical of the choices, but not unwarranted by the publishing strategies of the Big Two. It speaks to a lack of faith in publishers providing a satisfying resolution to a story, or committing to any significant changes or plot developments. The Reset Key remains a looming threat.

In my mind, the other two options, “never dead” and “shenanigans,” feel more likely. In chatting with Brian Cronin, who noted that the death of Alfred was perhaps a top-down decision at DC, has me thinking that the ultimate goal will of course be the big “RETURN OF ALFRED” to-do in the Bat-books, or across the DC Universe line, with all the attendant tie-ins and such. A wild plot/character development now lays down the groundwork for a big payday later, everyone hopes.

Now I suppose it’s possible this now just the new status quo at DC, along with Batman having a biological son, or Superman and Lois having a son, but even those are only permanent ’til another reboot passes through. …Perhaps a good follow-up poll would be asking “when?”

So anyway, as I was saying….

§ August 26th, 2019 § Filed under miraclemarvelman, publishing § 5 Comments

Sorry for the extended hiatus, pals…my eye isn’t *quite* back to where it was before the last incident, but it’s getting there. Now all I have to do is try to remember where I left off.

jmurphy mentioned in the comments from my last post about reprinting the unreprinted comic book series:

“Nearly one-fifth of the way through the 21st century, and Print-On-Demand can’t handle this? One of Warner’s other subsidiaries uses On-Demand technology for out-of-print audio CDs and movie DVDs. Books can be printed on demand, maybe someday the technology will be applied to comic trades as well.”

I’m pretty sure it has been, to some extent. I believe at least a couple of Rick Veitch’s original graphic novels available through Amazon (Boy Maximortal and Rare Bit Fiends), and surely there must be other examples. Turan thinks that ownership shenanigans may give some folks cold feet about doing something similiar, but I suspect wouldn’t be doing it if he thought his intellectual property was at risk.

Hooper triples down on this reprint idea:

“Finally thought of something I wish was/is collected in print – Impact’s Fly by Parobeck and Strazewski.”

Hey, did I ever mention I once met Len Strazewski? Years ago he came into my former place of employment. Nice guy. Anyway, since this is a licensed title from Archie Comics and published by DC, I support it falls within the “non-Marvel/DC” parameters of the original inquiry as to what we’d like to see reprinted And Impact Comics as a whole, I thought, was pretty good. I had the complete set, including the looseleaf Who’s Who binder pages.

Anyway, The Fly is a nice suggestion, and it’s a shame that any Mike Parobeck work is out of print. I was quite partial to The Jaguar as well. In fact, I think there was a lot of solid work in these comics, and if there’s any consolation, at least they should be cheap if you happen to find them in any shops. I’m not even 100& sure I have any in my shop right now.

The King of the Moon proclaims

“I’ve got a cool idea, they could finish MiracleMan”

Oof…again, it’s a Marvel property now, but it started out as someone else’s so we’ll let it slide in there. Yeah, it’s too bad that it all started out as such a big deal and then just kinda…went away. I suppose we’ll see the new, hopefully concluding issues of Miracleman eventually, then reprinted in collected editions forever and ever until Marvel inevitably lets volume 2 fall out of print, requiring anyone waqnting to complete their set of the books to go pay stupid prices for it on eBay. I mean, I’ve waited this long for the story to continue, I suppose I could wait a little longer. Not too much longer, though, I’ve probably only got about 25 to 30 years of life left in me, so let’s get cracking, people. Though every time I hear about Neil Gaiman getting a new TV or movie deal, I think “well, that’s Miracleman pushed back another year or three.” Good for him, honestly, but the comic fan in me is like “ACK, COME BACK TO US NEIL.”

Okay, my eye is twitching at me, so I’ll wrap up this post here. Oh, wait, I thought of another thing I’d like to see in print: Popeye from Charlton Comics. I know IDW did a lot of the Dell/Gold Key stuff, but I have a real soft spot for those ’70s Popeyes. Probably zero market for them right now, but we’re talkin’ ideally, not realistically.

THE EYE SAYS STOP TYPING. Back Wednesday. Thanks for reading, pals.

I am kind of curious regarding the legalities re: reprinting Groo/Conan, since, y’know, Marvel.

§ August 14th, 2019 § Filed under publishing, question time § 3 Comments

So there were lots of good, interesting responses to the question that was posed to me and I reposed to you, regarding the reprint volumes you’d like to see of non-Marvel/non-DC comics material. Both in the comments to that post and on Twitter folks had some solid suggestions. I’m not going to note every single one here in today’s weblogging entry on the World Wide Web, but please feel free to peruse those links and see what you, the people had to say.

BobH brings up what should’ve been the most obvious example, and I’m surprised I didn’t mention it (though I believe I’ve lamented before on the site about the lack of accessible reprintings): Groo the Wanderer. Okay, granted, the majority of them were published by Marvel, but originated elsewhere and remained creator-owned to this day, so we’ll let this one slide.

There is a lot of Groo, and as BobH says, a whole bunch of it never got reprinted. Even those trades collection the Marvel run didn’t get that far into the run, and as I recall the earlier volumes were falling out of print even as newer volumes were being released. And the availability of trades for the Dark Horse run is spotty at best. I just now did a search on Diamond’s retailer site for Groo trade paperbacks, and the only two currently available are Play of the Gods (which is a follow-up to Fray of the Gods, currently out of stock) and Friends and Foes Vol. 2, the second half of that year-long mini-series.

Just two. That’s it. I’m sure nobody is happy about it, especially Sergio Aragones and longtime writer/collaborator/whatever-he-does-er Mark Evanier. I’m pretty sure Evanier mentioned on his blog that plans were in the works for some kind of reprinting, but no news yet that I’ve seen.

It’s a real shame. That so much work, purt’near four decades’ worth, by one of the world’s top cartoonists is not readily available is such a waste.

In fact, that so much work by anyone is out of print is a waste. Even digital availability is better than nothing, though clearly my own bias is toward physical editions.

I mean, there’s hope…that company what did Puma Blues and Border Worlds (even getting Don Simpson to create a new chapter for the latter), so maybe someday we will get that reprint of Bernie Mireault’s The Jam (a great suggestion by Rob)…I mean, it’s not impossible. Also, speaking of Don Simpson, I wouldn’t mind having all of Megaton Man in one place…the series, the one-shots, the webcomics, etc.

Mike’s suggestion of Sam Glanzman’s Hercules had some amusing timing, as I was just talking to pal Dorian during last weekend’s visit to the shop about this very thing. (You can see some examples of this amazing comic right here on this very site from…urgh, 9 years ago.) It was Dor’s impression that a trade or something of this series was coming, and I could’ve sworn that was true, but can find no trace of it in Diamond’s datebase, either current or forthcoming. Maybe I’m not searching the right terms. Maybe the words “Glanzman” or “Hercules” appear nowhere in the solicitation. I wouldn’t put it past some publishers. A lot of his war stuff and the repint of his weird caveman strip Attu turn up, but no Herc.

EDIT: Okay, so I was wrong…Jim points out that Dark Horse did publish one only last year…my mistake was searching only “currently available” and “not arrived yet” entries in Diamond’s database, not the “what has already come and went” section. Sure enough, it came out in 2018, but is currently unvavailable from that distributor. As Jim notes, copies can still be snagged on Amazon.

Cassandra Miller brings up Cutie Bunny, and I adore Joshua Quagmire‘s work on Cutey Bunny. That five issue series plus various other appearances here and there would be great to have under one cover. (And for bonus content, throw in all those bonkers entries for the title from the Amazing Heroes Previews Specials, with details on forthcoming issues that, far as I can tell, were entirely invented for those specials.) Those comics were just crammed full of swell cartooning and funny jokes and all kinds of craziness, and wouldn’t it be nice to have those on nice, clean, white paper with crisp printing.

Augh, I have more I want to say about more of your suggestions, but surely you’re read enough of my typing for the day. Let’s get back to it on Friday, shall we?

All the news that’s fit to get around to eventually.

§ June 24th, 2019 § Filed under atlas, batman, dc comics, publishing § 4 Comments

Okay, first off, right now it looks like everyone’s all “woo-hoo, it’s the 30th anniversary of that first Tim Burton Batman movie starring Prince” and I’ll have you know I’m so ahead of the game, I posted about that film for its 28th anniversary! Take that, Batty-come-latelies! Anyway, I even created a special category for those posts where I talk about my retail memories of that exciting time when the words on everyone’s lips were “Mr. Mom is Batman!?” so be sure to click on that link there and bask in the nostalgia.

Now, one of the problems of doing a comics blog that updates usually about three times a week (or less, depending on which of my eyeballs has exploded this time) is that I don’t tend to concern myself with the day-to-day Hot Comical News that’s all the rage on your Mastodon incidents and no other short-form social media sites. I figure everyone else has got it covered, no one’s coming to my site for anything hot off anybody’s presses, they’re coming here to see me talk about Frank Miller’s The Spirit or Swamp Thing or whatever. I mean, after Journalista folded, I tried once or twice to do big ol’ linkblogs to “hey here’s what’s going on” but quickly learned that was the sort of thing I enjoyed seeing other people do, not, you know, do myself.

But occasionally things come up that I have to say something about, like this relatively old but surprising news that the Seaboard/Atlas Comics of the 1970s, mostly notable for launching big then, um, flaming out, have been optioned for movie/TV deals. And I gotta be honest, my first thought when I heard that was “every single other comic book thing must have been taken” — and please don’t take that the wrong way. I adore those Atlas Comics. I’ve written on and off about collecting them here on the site…and I’m about 80% of the way to having a full collection, so this movie news kinda irks me a bit in that I’m sure the issues I still need will suddenly get cranked up in price.

But back to my point that this seemed like a really strange thing to do. And that’s coming from someone who does like these comics. I’d love to see what they’d do with a Grim Ghost movie, for example, even though the reaction would likely be “that’s just a rip-off of Spawn!” grom the grandparents in the audience old enough to remember the Spawn movie. I mean, I guess some characters might be fun to see in live-action…in discussing this with a customer he mentioned that seeing Morlock 2001 on the big screen would be something else, and by God I can’t disagree. And I think Ironjaw would be kind of amazing as well. So, who knows, I shouldn’t judge too harshly. It’s still pretty surprising…who saw that coming?

Another thing announced a little more recently was the impending return of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and there are a bunch of reports about it on the Googles, but I’ll link to this one because it talks about some tie-in Flight Ring replica merch. I mean, good, I’m all for a new Legion series…they’ve been teasing the Legion, after an extended newsstand absence, in Doomsday Clock, but it’ll be nice to just have a full-on Legion of Super-Heroes title on the stands again.

That said, I don’t know if I’ll be back for it, personally. I hope it does well, I hope it gets a new audience that’ll stick with it and not peter off after a year or two, requiring yet another relaunch. I stuck with the Legion books for a long time, and enjoyed them best I could, but finally gave up after relaunch and reboot and re-whatevers…I didn’t pick up the New 52 titles, and frankly I don’t think I ever finished reading the last couple of issues of the incarnation just prior to that.

The thing that might get me to try it out is 1) the artist, Ryan Sook, seems well-suited to the title, and 2) I have enjoyed the writing of Brian Michael Bendis on the Superman titles, and his take on the Legion may be…”modern” enough, for a loack of a better term, to get the attention of current comic fans, and maybe break the perception that the Legion is a relic of an older time in comics. Well, when you get right down to it, all superheroes are relics of an older time in comics, but anyway.

Like I said, I hope it does well, and I hope it lasts a long, long time, in a marketplace where publishers don’t keep their comics running for a long, long time. One of the things that appealed to me about the Legion was the idea that there was a line you could draw from that first appearance in Adventure Comics #247 in the 1950s to the (then) current pre-first reboot issues. That the “Five Years Later” Legion was the same Legion that had, at one point, had to deal with the Fatal Five or the Super Moby Dick of Space or whathaveyou. That the characters and relationships and such had a continuity to them, a history, that you could see where they’d come from and wonder where they were going. (See also “X-Men.”)

That’s not a feeling that’s going to be replicated in a new series, I realize. Too much water under the bridge, too much resistance to giving readers a new book with a steep learning curve and the idea that “you’ve already missed a lot of what’s happened.” Not saying a new Legion can’t been good, just saying it’s not going to give me that ineffable essence of what I enjoyed about the original Legion, which can’t be helped.

Okay, I typed too much and my eyes need their beauty sleep, but let me just touch upon DC’s recent reorganization of their publishing imprints. We’re down to just plain ol’ DC for their main line, DC Kids for kids what read the DC, and “DC Black Label,” which basically replaces the to-be-shuttered mature-readers, occaionally creator-owned Vertigo label. That makes sense, I suppose…DC’s Black Label books have been a sales success of late, whereas the Vertigo brand doesn’t move books like it used to, just by virtue of having “Vertigo” on the cover. I’m sad to see it go, given Vertigo outlived the other similar imprints from DC and Marvel, like “Helix” and “Icon” and…does “Barkerverse” count as an imprint? Let’s say it does, just to annoy you.

I guess that’s fine, which I’m sure relieves DC to no end. But I kind of wish the Vertigo label would stick around, but if a whole series of Sandman-related titles couldn’t revive it sufficiently for DC’s tastes, I guess that’s that. Gonna be strange seeing the Black Label logo on preacher and whatnot. I do wonder what’s going to happen to the Young Animal imprint…I presume that’s Black Label now, though the “Young Animal” thing actually does get in new readers looking specifically for those. I haven’t read every news story on the topic, so I presume somebody covered this somewhere. Same with “Wonder Comics” Maybe the new imprints will have sub-imprints? EDIT:: Yes apparently so.

Oh, and in other news, the Swamp Thing TV show is still canceled. The jerks.

Quick. someone Ask Jeeves.

§ May 17th, 2019 § Filed under dc comics, how the sausage is made, publishing, swamp thing § 7 Comments

So the plan was to continue my dicussion of DC’s history of getting superhero chocolate into Swamp Thing’s peanut butter, and to do so I was going to, ahem, “borrow” some images from the DC Universe streaming app/service/comic library thing to save myself the time scanning the appropriate images. But lo and also behold, when I went to check out issue #23 of the original 1970s Swamp Thing series, this is what I found:

…It was in black and white. And so was #24. And when I checked other issues in the series, the available online scans from #14 ’til the end of that first run are all in black and white. Oh, and I eventually noticed the little, um, notice that was in the short text intro for each issue letting you know that, yes, this issue you’re about to read is in blcak and white.

That struck me as a bit…odd. I haven’t come across any other series on the service that was originally in color being presented in black and white. Granted, I haven’t done much of a deep dive beyond scattered issues of DC Comics Presents and some Silver Age Green Lantern, and there are literally thousands of digital comics recent thrown onto the service here, but it seems like this is weird.

Now there never was one of those black and white DC Showcase paperbacks for this series, and the entire run of the book was recently recolored and reprinted in that big ol’ Bronze Age Ominbus that came out not long ago. And other recently returned for regrooving and recoloring issues of other Swamp Thing series, like the 1982 run (also in that omnibus) is on the service, in full glorious technicolor. So why did the ’70s series get singled out?

There must be some kind of production issue involved here, though I have no idea what it is. The first thirteen issues are presented in color, and those same thirteen (representing Len Wein’s entire run of stories) were also recolored and reprinted in a hardcover some years back. So, I guess, maybe since those issues were reprocessed a few years back, they were ready for digitizing and uploading, but the later issues had yet to be recolored for that much more recent omnibus and weren’t ready when it was time to get all this online? But then, the pre-Alan Moore issues of the 1982 series had also never been reprinted before, but they’re all up and newly colored…so I have no idea. I’m really just guessing, and someone’s probably already explained why somewhere, but Alta Vista’s down and I know of no other way to search the World Wide Web.

Anyway, thought that was interesting. I’m still gonna talk about those issues soon, but I’m going to have to scan my own comics like some kind of caveman. I have talked about issues #23 and #24, the particularly superhero=y Swampys, on the site before, back in ye olden dayes of comics blogging, back before the meteor struck and killed 90% of Earth’s comics-blogging population. The scans I used then were tiny little things designed for dial-up, and not the glorious giant bandwidth-hogging pics I try to use now, so I’ll get on that in short order.

To follow up on BobH’s question from Friday’s comments section, about whether or not that final caption from issue #24 is in the currently-available print editions…my answer is “I don’t know.” I got pretty wiped out on much of my trade paperback stock during Free Comic Book Day, so I don’t have those Swamp Thing books readily available to peek at. I’m restocking best I can, and those Swampys are a priority what with the TV show about to debut. When last I investigated this important matter, that caption was missing from the then relatively recent hardcover printing, but present in the softcover edition. I believe we’ve had a repackaging of those issues since, so when my stock of those gets replenished, I’ll take a looksee.

In other Swamp Thing reprint news, DC has a series of “facsimile editions” (new printings of classic comics, ads and all, kind of like what Marvel’s been doing lately) coming soon. And House of Secrets #92, featuring the work of Jack Kirby and alos the first appearance of some swamp creature, is on the docket. That’ll make reprint number…man, I don’t know, I’ve lost count of how many versions of this I have. I made a list on this site long ago, and a later addendum or three, and I was up to, what, 15? 16? Whatever it is, it’s too many, and I’ll be adding to that collection soon, it seems.

Remember when comics bloggers were all concerned about “snark?”

§ April 22nd, 2019 § Filed under dc comics, publishing § 5 Comments

Hiya pals! I’m still recovering from my recent eyeball bugaboos, so please be patient as I slowly get the hamster-wheels running on the ol’ Progressive Ruin website again. In case you missed it, I did have a couple of smaller posts over the last few days, and I think that may be par for the course for a little while as my vision continues to defog. So you’re not rid of me just yet.

One thing I wanted to post about last week is the fact that the new DC solicitations include the beginning of the direct market-available reprintings of the new content from the Walmart-exclusive 100-page giants. My thought was that they were probably going to collect those stories into trade paperbacks, but nope, they’re going for periodicals, each containing two installments from the giants. $4.99 cover-priced periodicals, natch, but What Can You Do? I’m sure the trade will follow eventually.

The Superman one (cover pictured here in the post somewhere) is titled Superman: Up in The Sky, and the Batman one is Batman Universe. I particularly like the title of the Superman book, and quite frankly I’m surprised it hasn’t been used yet. Or maybe it has, I don’t know, there are lots of Superman comics. Batman Universe is a pretty good title, too. Hopefully the eventual collection of the Swamp Thing stories from the Walmart giants will be called…what? Swamp Thing: Out of the Muck? Swamp Thing: Born on the Bayou? Swamp Thing: Gotta Defuse It Before? …I bet they go wtih Roots of the Swamp Thing. Y’know, again.

The interesting thing about this…when I made a comment about this on the Twitters, about how nice it was to be able to get these stories since no local Walmarts carried these comics, well, the following happened:


THEIR EYES ARE EVERYWHERE. Though I notice they didn’t comment on my rather cynical observation from a couple of years prior. …Yeah, that’s a tad snarky. Not as snarky as this, but still.

Okay, enough of these shenangians…time to return my eyes to th evault. I’ll be back midweek. Thanks for sticking around and I’ll see — well, “see” — you then.

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