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William Burns, what have you wrought?

§ August 16th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 8 Comments

One thing I didn’t spell out in Wednesday’s post about what comics I’d like to see in new trade/hardcover collections is, well, the financial end of it. I’m sure every publisher would like to have everything in print at all times for ready sale, monetizing their past as much as they’re able.

But printing these things cost money. And ordering these things cost money. I wish I had copies of every single trade paperback available in my shop, but leaving aside where I’d store ’em all, even my vast Deathmate-built fortune couldn’t swing paying for such stock. Picking and choosing what I carry and being willing to special order items is the best I can do.

And going back to the publishers…even if they did, for example, do an extensive reprinting of all the Groo the Wanderer issues in a series of nice, new trade paperbacks, there’s no guarantee that they’d sell well enough to justify the effort, to cover the costs of keeping them all in print and available at all times. Now, I know they’re great, and you probably know they’re great, but despite what that one movie said, just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come. In an ideal world they would, but, well, you know.

Also, publishers only have so much money and resources and personpower to spread around, so I’m trying to hard not to read too much into the fact only two Groo paperbacks are currently available, that perhaps they’re just focusing on something else at the moment. It’s hard to publish and sell comics in the U.S. nowadays, so like how I have to pick and choose what to carry at the shop, publishers have to pick and choose what they throw their efforts behind.

So, I’m not trying to be critical of any publishers and their efforts to maintain a solid reprint line by wondering “hey, why don’t they do this?” We’re just wishing aloud here about what we’d all like to see, and I’m sure many publishers would like to see them too, if they were able to do so.

That was a lot of apologizing for someething nobody complained about. Er, sorry about that…I just kept thinking someone was going to call me on it ever since I posted on Wednesday, and had to get it out of my system.

If I may follow up on something else, longtime reader Rruce noted that one of my suggestions, ELementals, would be a bit tricky as its creator, Bill Willingham, never had the opportunity to really complete his work on the title, and the Elements comics that followed were…well, likely would seem out of place in a comprehensive collection of the title and wouldn’t make for a satisfactory read in toto.

Which brings up the topic of collecting incompleted work, which I’d count Elementals under, as well as BobH’s suggestion of 1963. The interesting thing about the Dover reprints I talked about last time, for Puma Blues and Border Worlds, was that the creators provided, if not outright conclusions, then at least new chapters to bring those books to more satisfying endpoints. Granted, the likelihood of the same being done for Elementals or 1963 is slim to nonexistent, which is too bad. It’s a loss, is what it is…it’s good, solid creative work that’s now strictly in the realm of those comic fans who feel like piecing together runs from back issue bins, rather than in the larger, potentially more lucrative world of The Fancy 1963 Complete Hardcover Featuring That Annual That Would Have Been Published Originally Hardcover, giving someone yet another Alan Moore book they could have sold.

Onto happier news, Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Carrots, wanted a Flaming Carrot collection. Well, as mentioned by that darn BobH, there is one coming! There have been reprint volumes for the Carrot before, but they’re long out of bring. It’s called the Flaming Carrot Omnibus, and when it was announced, the weird selection of issues included (#1-2, #4-11, #25-27) is peculiar, but 1) Flaming Carrot ain’t exactly continuity-heavy and messing up the order won’t hurt much, and 2) this get the Flaming Carrot/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team-up in that first volume, so hopefully that’ll goose sales enough to keep the books coming.

One other series came to mind that I’d like to see a trade of is Jim Valentino’s normalman. Yeah, okay, it’s been collected twice…original by Slave Labor Graphics (I have that one!) and later by Image (which includes some of the post-mini appearances) but both books are in black and white, and boy does this series scream for color. I loved the look of the original comics, and would much appreciate having that experience duplicated in a nice color collection for current audiences. As I said when I started today’s post…that probably wouldn’t be cheap to make or sell.

Probably have yet another post in me on the topic, so I’ll get back to it next week. Thanks for reading, pals, and as always, please keep leaving your comments. They’re always appreciated.

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?

Just picture that scene with Bruce reciting the lyrics to Clark in Batman V Superman.

§ August 12th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 23 Comments

At long last, back to your questions!

William Burns has a hot take about

“What non-Marvel/DC currently uncollected comic (book or strip)do you know you could sell the heck out of if they would only collect it?”

That feels like it should be an easy question to answer, but it really isn’t. There’s the stuff that’s out of print that I would like to see published in new editions, like…I don’t know, all of the Alan Moore/Don Lomax back-ups from American Flagg!, maybe, but I’ve no idea how it would sell. Or the latter portion of Chester Brown’s “Ed the Happy Clown” stories from Yummy Fur (or at least all the Bible stories), which…well, might sell okay, I suppose. But I’m having a really hard time thinking of something that would really take off that hasn’t already been snapped up by somebody for repackaging.

You know, I get the occasional inquiry from folks looking for the various knock-offs of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that came out during the black and white boom of the early ’80s. Maybe a collection of some of those weirdo comics all slapped together under one cover could be a surprisingly popular item.

But otherwise…geez, I don’t know. I think a book putting together all of Bill Willingham’s Elementals might do okay, if there’s any bleedover from fans of Fables looking for more of his work.

Or how ’bout archival reprintings of Cracked magazine? I still get a little interest in Cracked and I suspect it could sell, especially with all that John Severin work in a lot of the issues.

But beyond that…geez, I’m drawin’ a blank. Maybe some of YOU out there have some ideas.

• • •

Brad Walker flies this in

“I just re-read the origin of J’onn J’onzz. Was there ever an in-story reason why his fellow JLAers Superman and Green Lantern didn’t give him a lift back to Mars?”

I…wondered that a lot myself when I was but a Young Mikester. I think that may have been part of the reasoning behind the various permutations of the Martain Manhunter’s assorted backstories. “Everyone else is dead” or “it was from long ago in the past and Mars is dead now” or “JJ is the last survivor of Mars<" or "Mars is at war they don't want him back/banished him" and so on. Not having read every early Martain Manhunter story, I don't know if this particular query was ever directly addressed in the texts, but I suppose the answer back then would have been "then we wouldn't have any Martain Manhuter stories to tell."

• • •

Chuck V. telepathically sent me


Oh, I can read your mind, Chuck V., and you’re thinking “that recent spate of DC movies could only have been improved by the inclusion of sequences just like this one,” and I can’t disagree, friend.

• • •

philfromgermany has a word for

“Any characters or concepts you’d like to be given the DC/Kamandi Challenge treatment?”

Well, Swamp Thing, natch. Just issue after issue of cliffhangers featuring our favorite muck encrusted mockery of a man. …Hey, I think we have the premise for our Swamp Thing: Season Two comic!

Almost typed “much-encrusted,” which technically is true as well.

§ July 17th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 4 Comments

Oh hey, remember your questions? Let me poke at a couple more of them:

Matt M. howls at the moon with

“Hey Mike. Who should play Blue Devil in the inevitable TV show?”

Well, the answer to that is, of course, Ian Ziering, currently appearing as Blue Devil’s alter ego Dan Cassidy on America’s favorite TV show about a muck-encrusted mockery of a man…no, no, not Last Man Standing, I’m talkin’ about Swamp Thing, natch.

Now, I’m generally terrible at playing the “cast the superhero movie game” (except for this instance, where my casting for Wolverine is perhaps even greater that Hugh Jackman), so I hesitate to try to come up with someone suited (heh) for the role. Not that we’ve seen Mr. Ziering as said Blue Devil yet, nor are we likely to, or at least much of him, as Swamp Thing is headed to an early grave, as perhaps I’ve mentioned on this site before.

So what I propose, to make up for whatever reason the decision was made to can the show, is to do the ol’ switcheroo. Start up a Blue Devil show starring Ian Ziering on the DC Universe service, which guest-stars Swamp Thing, and they can pick up all the plotlines and such from Swampy’s show. Yes, I agree, this idea is genius, and I shall allow DC and Warner Bros. to have it for free. You’re welcome.

• • •

JohnJ jingleheimers the following

“I’m curious how many customers attempt to buy multiple variant covers of new books. Primarily just on the $3.99 books but also on the #1000s. I’m given the option and if there is an Adam Hughes or Frank Cho cover available instead of the main cover, I’ll pick that instead. There must have been a screw-up on a recent Superman cover since I thought I ordered Hughes and ended up with a Rob Liefeld variant! It left me to wonder if his art has finally improved or if the inker decided to only ink half the lines.”

Okay, first, I don’t even remember that Liefeld variant, because that totally would have been the cover I took for myself. Maybe I missed it? You know, all those eye problems and such. But sure, covers get solicited with one artist and ship with another all the time. Well, not all the time, but it happens and the distributor sends out notices regarding the changes ahead of time.

And second…oh yeah, people buy multiple covers of the same comic. And yes, I very definitely had people buying multiples of the recent #1000s, and more than one person buying every variant of those #1000s. Yes, that cost a lot. I’ve even bveen tempted to pick up both covers on things, but I usually resist unless (surprise!) Swamp Thing is involved. Thanks a lot, Justice League Dark.

You ask “how many customers,” and it’s certainly not all of them. But absolutely a few. Which is fine, but can sometimes make ordering for the shelves tricky. You never know if a certain variant is going to catch on or not.

• • •

Kurt bouces in with

“Whatever happened to the New Warriors TV show?”

Well, they cornered Nitro and he used his blowing-up power to blow up which took out part of a city, and then Speedball became Penance, which was weird, and….

…Oh, you mean the actual TV show they announced ages ago? No clue. Just from what I can glean from the internet, which has never lied to me, they’re still working on it, though it no longer has its original broadcast network of Freeform. Didn’t see any news whether that situation has changed (and this article from January of this year has it listed as “in imbo”), so in the meantime, let us all just hope and pray for a comics-accurate depiction of Night Thrasher.

Yes, yes, and the “blonde Latina” thing.

§ June 21st, 2019 § Filed under question time § 13 Comments

Okay, I’m going to tackle another inquiry from the last time I took questions from you folks…but first, I encouragge you to look at the responses to Monday’s entry. Some alternative watchlists for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, incorporating ideas/arcs I didn’t consider, and some discussino of just why Kryptonians weren’t all that into space travel. I know comment sections can be a nightmare on the internet sometimes, but I’m glad my readers here are thoughtful, interesting, and funny. Thanks, pals.

• • •

Dave’s here, man, with this

“I am lately having resurgence of love for work of John Byrne. Re-reading all his old stuff! So I’d be happy to read about what you think of Byrne’s stupendous output. Like what is favorite/least favorite, if you ever met him, anything about John Byrne really (except X-Men).”

Now, John Byrne…that’s definitely a thing. I’ve never met the man, but some of his commentary online that one came across from time to time, specifically from his message board, would strike me as…..well, it would range from “inadvertently funny” to “downright disagreeable.” A lot of it struck me as the words of someone who didn’t much like where the industry is heading or his place in it, and, yeah, sure, I can understsand that, but then he’d gripe about how calling the heroes “Supes” or “Bats” was diminishing to those characters, and…well, look, I really shouldn’t be trying to turn you off there. You clearly enjoy his work, and I enjoyed his work over the years, and in fact wish he would do more comics work.

The last regular gig he had was Photoshopping Star Trek fumetti comics for IDW, but it looks like that’s pretty much over. I often think, in the back of my mind when Marvel and/or DC are looking to relaunch something, “why not bring in Byrne?” I always thought he had a good track record of getting down to the core of a character or concept, and making it work in a fun and accessible way. That’s the whole “back to basics” thing he was known for throughout the ’80s. Could be his style is a little…less contemporary than publishers thing modern readers would like, but maybe a little old-fashioned comic booking wouldn’t be entirely unwelcome nowadays.

I didn’t read everything he did, but I did read a lot. I read his early Doomsday +1 series he did for Charlton (in the Fantagraphics reprints), I was the one guy that bought Lab Rats, I think Next Men still holds up, the New Gods/Jack Kirby’s Fourth World was fun…in fact, any time Byrne was working on Kirby creations, it felt like he was really in his element.

Speaking of which, my all-time favorite work of his is still Fantastic Four. It remains, for me, the definitive version of the book (outside of Lee ‘n’ Kirby, of course). The “back to basics” idea I mentioned above basically came from here. I loved his versions of Doctor Doom and Galactus, and I especially loved his renidtion of Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing. (It’s because of Byrne that every time I see another artist draw the Thing with a neck, I think “WRONG WRONG WRONG!”) It remains a nostalgic treat for me…scenese from those comics still solidly live on in my head.

The weirdness of Alpha Flight was a close second. Though I often praise the Bill Mantlo/Mike Mignola run following Byrne for its heavy body-horror tone, which is very unusual for a mainstream superhero comic, I think Byrne’s take on a “non-team” team book, where the characters rarely all unify for a single adventure, still made for some compelling reading. Given that the characters weren’t Marvel first-listers, or even second-or-third listers, Byrne seemed to have a bit more leeway with what he could do with them, including the sudden (and seemingly permanent) demise of what seemed to be the primary character. Er, SPOILER, I guess.

And of course one can’t forget the Superman reboot from the mid-1980s. He was one the books for about a year, but he managed to get a lot of material out onto the stands before he moved on. It was definitely a strange feeling to be reading Superman comics at the time with a consistent direction and creative team(s), shorn of all past history. “Back to basics,” once again. And it was this version of the character, this “post-Crisis” Superman that, despite New 52s and Rebirths and Zero Hours and whatnot, still basically exists today. I mean, more or less. You can still sorta follow a thread from Man of Steel #1 to the most recent issue of Superman. It’s a little knotted and tangled and the occasional piece was cut out and the ends spliced together, but the thread is there.

Now, “least favorite” is a little more difficult. I haven’t outright hated anything…there are works where bits and pieces I didn’t care for, but generally nearly all his work has some entertainment value. I suppose there’s that FX series he did back in 2008, but that was over someone else’s script and it mostly was “not memorable” more than “bad.” And I guess maybe that OMAC mini he did…despite his usual affinity for Kirby characters, I wasn’t particularly enthused with this one. Ah well, What Can You Do?

Also, for a time he was doing commission work, and a lot of that was downright beautiful. Seek those pages out to gawk at them, if you can.

So in conclusion…Byrne: so long as I don’t look at what he’s written online, I can still mostly enjoy his comics. There are some bits of his stories that…tend to get picked apart pretty thoroughly online, and deservedly so, but overall, it’s a long career filled with a lot of good work. And maybe someday, he’ll get to add to it.

But don’t skip Howard the Duck.

§ June 17th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 10 Comments

Okay, let’s start dipping into some of those questions you all left me…if you want to join in the fun, or “fun,” feel free to add your own ’til the comments section there shuts down automatically after how ever many weeks I set it for. Look, I can’t remember everything.

Roger Owen Green ties everything together with

“I were to watch all the MU movies in order which one(s) could I skip?”

Hoo boy. That’s a toughie. I mean, if you just want the core “state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe” flicks, you could just watch the Avengers films, since everything either leads into or ties into that. If you are just looking to skip the…well, none of them are particularly bad as such, but certainly some are less essential viewing than others, I guess. But if you’re committing to watching them all anyway, you might as well not skip the second Thor movie, right? What’s two more hours?

I mean, if you’re really pressed for time, skipping the second Thor momvie and the second Iron Man movie would probably not affect your MCU world-building too much. Also, I’d say “skip that second Avengers movie, too” but like I said, that’s kinda part of the backbone of the whole thing. Maybe fast-forward through it.

• • •

Paul Di Filippo falls out of bed with

“How can you account for the virtual extinction of Welsh Rarebit and the lack of dreams derived from the consumption thereof?”

Sir, I would blame the lack of sufficient newspaper space for the funnypages to properly contain the brilliance of Winsor McCay. Imagine this, sequeezed down to three tiny boxes right next to, I don’t know, Marvin. Do they even make Marvin any more? I mean, don’t tell me, I’m not that interested, but then again, strips do exist that can fit their weird genius into limited space. Who knows what McCay could have done?

• • •

ScienceGiant looms over me with

“Has Superman ever brought up Lori Lemaris to Aquaman, or is he all now-I’m-just-somebody-that-you-used-to-know?”

I don’t know that he’s ever specifically mentioned his mermaid friend to the King of the Seas, but I do recall that DC established fairly early on that there were two…Alantises? I don’t know that both their realms were called “Atlantis” specifically (though in the early Silver Age Lori and Aquaman each claimed to be part of the Atlantis home team. But when Marvel started breathing down DC’s neck with their own slightly more consistent shared universe, I think the official DC continuity explanation was that they were both of Atlantis origin, but there was a split of some kind into “mer-people” and “people-people what could breathe underwater.” Pretty sure Peter David’s Atlantis Chronicles covers this, if I recall correctly.

You know, I bet the Wikipedia entry covers this somewhere. Let me look.

[TEMPUS FISH-IT]

Okay, I did find this page which lists a couple of times that Lori met Aquman (and I also forgot about this Justice League of Atlantis thing) so they totally me. And there’s a reference in the Lori Lemaris Wiki entry to the character looking for other lost Atlantean cities in her first post-Crisis appearance, so there’s your textual support for that.

So unfortunately I haven’t read every Lori Lemaris appearacnce, so I don’t know if there is specifically a panel somewhere with Superman bringing her up to Aquaman and asking “so where’s YOUR fishy half?” but I suppose there’s something like that somewhere.

ª ª ª

Chris works the room blue with

“While they always shuffle around the reasons depending on the era, I always wonder why a super smart race like the Kryptonians really whiffed at the whole exploration/colonization of the stars. Has there ever been a satisfactory reason/story as to why DC’s cosmic realm is so fraught with danger, despite space mall cops in every sector?”

I think the main reason is so we don’t have a universe populated with super-Kryptonians. Keeping all down on the farm when the planet exploded establishes the main premise, that Superman is the Last Son of Krypton and we’ll never see any other Kryptonians, ever (except for Supergirl, and the Phantom Zone villains, and Krypto the Superdog…). The in-univesre excuse I seem to recall was that there was some genetic problem in them, that kept them from being able to leave the world’s orbit without dying (which somewho Kal-El was able to avoid)…that may have been in one of Elliot S! Maggin’s novels. I also assumed there was an implied xenophobia in John Byrne’s portral of Krypton in his 1966 Man of Steel mini-series. My guess is that the reasons given for the Kryptonias didn’t split their plenet tend toward “there’s something wrong with them” rather than “the universe is terrible so let’s stay home.”

Okay, had to once again look at a Wiki page (“Hello, and welcome to ‘Mike Rewrites Portions of Wikipedia for His Blog'”) and it brings up “xenophobia” and a genetic inability to leave the planet as well, so I was remembering some of that correctly.

Also, I’d bet after Brainiac showed up and stole Kandor, the Kryptonins were all “NOPE TO SPACE, THANK YOU,” and who could blame them?

• • •

ENOUGH QUESTIONS FOR NOW. More answers in…the future!

Yes, I’m taking questions again.

§ May 27th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 26 Comments


Don’t be like Archie and his pals! I want you to (m)ask me some questions (or suggest a topic for a post) that I will discuss right here on Progressive Ruin Dot RU Dot Gov Backslash Flashindexframe Dot HTML, Optimized for Netscape. Not at all a tactic to cover the fact that I ran out of time for my planned follow-up post regarding The Mystery of he Black and White Swamp Thing Scans on DC Universe.

Try to make it comic book related, because that’s all I know about, and please just one question per customer, as I have but one eye as yet to look at them all. So, keeping that in mind, just pop your question or suggestion into the comments and I shall do my best to give you some kind of response! (And before ou ask…I’ll get back to that Swamp Thing stuff next time.)

Thanks, pals!

THE EYEBALL MUST BE OBEYED.

§ April 3rd, 2019 § Filed under eyeball, question time, retailing § 3 Comments

Going to keep this super-brief (no, really, I mean it this time) to give my peepers a rest, so let me just answer a couple of questions.

Allan wrenches out the following

“*looks at Mike’s twitter feed* Is…is that the same shirt you wore for your previous eye surgery? Do you have a lucky eye surgery shirt?”

He is of course referring to this photo, which is probably about as stoned-looking as you’ll ever see me, since the anesthesia and other assorted chemical-goodies they doped up with really threw me for a loop this time.

…Anyway, yes, that is indeed the same shirt I wore for the previous two operations. I was instructed to wear a “loose-fitting, short-sleeved shirt” and that was the loosest-fitting, shortest-sleeved shirt I had available. Also, it’s kinda oldish and worn out, not unlike its wearer, so I wouldn’t mind if, say, blood or eye-juice got squirted on it.

In response to my “new shelf at the store” post, philfromgermany imports the following question:

“The wall display look amazing. Are these mostly for trades? Do you leave the new books on the wall for a week or longer before filing them away?”

The big, long wall rack is for the periodicals (though I do have a couple books up there)…I tend to leave stuff up there for a month before filing them away, though I have enough space to keep some items up for longer if I wish. (For example, I’ve been keeping all of Doomsday Clock up there, and until just recently I had every issue of the new Uncanny X-Men series on the new comics shelf as well.) In general, the week’s new releases are on the top two rows, and the previous month’s (or so) books are on the bottom four.

The trade paperback shelves (which I was adding to with that bookshelf I just built and took that picture of) are on the opposite wall, though I have a three-leveled table near the front center of the store where I try to put all the new weekly TP and graphic novel arrivals. After that they get moved to the big bookshelf (that looks sorta like the comic racks) where they’re displayed front facing, then eventually movied to the regular bookshelves, spine out. Though some books of particular interest are kept on front-facing display (like Saga or the Star Wars books).

Matthew wonders

“Do you have a quarter/dollar/clearance section for back issues and trade paperbacks? If so, how do you decide what goes in it?”

I do! I didn’t take a picture of it, but I have a small table up near the register that holds a few long boxes of bargain comics (usually stuff acquired for cheap…or just dumped on me…in collections, or excess leftover stock, or material I just don’t think I’ll be able to get a premium back isue price for at any point in the near future). On the three-leveled table I mentioned previously, I have a section of bargain trades and graphic novels, usually items I got on clearance from one of my distributor’s regular discount sales.

OKAY ENOUGH QUESTIONS, Mike’s Eyeball needs to rest. I’ll be back Frieday…IF THE EYEBALL WILLS IT.

And the expletive of choice was “Shazbot.”

§ February 22nd, 2019 § Filed under question time § 6 Comments

Well, you know what, I’m so close to the end of the questions here that I’m just gonna go ahead and wrap things up. I’ve kept you nice folks who asked them waiting long enough!

Tom Cherry pits the following against me

“If NANCY ever crossed over with PEANUTS, do you think Sluggo and Pig Pen would be friends?”

I feel like Pig Pen would be one the regular walk-on weirdos that Nancy and Sluggo would be all “whoa, check this oddball out!” for a one-strip gag and that would be it. There wouldn’t be any animosity as such, but probably not someone Sluggo could connect with.

In fact, I’m having a hard time picturing any Peanuts character comfortably fitting into the Nancyverse. They’d all be annoying creatures to N&S. I mean, maybe Peppermint Patty…I could see Sluggo having something of a crush on her, while Nancy is totally put off by how pushy she is. …HOLD ON, LET ME GET MY FANFIC WRITIN’ PEN

• • •

@misterjayem spells out the following

“Will either of the Big Two ever again have continuity that stretches all the way back to 10 years ago?”

Well, here and there DC and Marvel make references to things that happened in the Long Ago Times of, like, 2002, or whatever, but I think the cohesive shared world continuity thing with a long history is a relic of the past. I feel like this is something they’re trying to do with Doomsday Clock, and restoring that sense of a lengthy continuity, but who knows if this will work any better than anything else?

Probably the best strategy, and probably the one that’s primarily being followed, is “we’ll access continuity and history when we need it,” and just otherwise do their own things without worrying about it. I mean, if anything, I wish they’d worry less about maintaining a consistent “universe” — that’s how you get all this rebootery.

• • •

BRR chills me with

“As a purveyor of back issues, would you like to see more editor’s notes*? They seem to disappear as a more ‘cinematic’ story style took hold, and I remember those notes occasionally driving a search through the local stores’ long boxes to get the rest of the story.

“* e.g. ‘Way back in Avengers#28!!’-ed”

Sure I would! Even more than just for storytelling clarity and sending people to my extensive back issue stock availble now at Sterling Silver Comics, located in the heart of beautiful Camarillo in Southern California, but for the connection between the creators/editors and the audience. Those editor notes made it seem like pals were sharing a cool story with you, that you were in a fun club where you got to enjoy these adventures with other like-minded people. The letters pages added to that feeling as well…when you bought a comic, you weren’t just buying that month’s tale of Spider-Man, but you were getting a piece of the real world community that built around reading that comic.

I might be romanticizing this a tad, but those little touches went a long way to making someone feel welcome in the worlds you were presented in these weird little booklets.

• • •

Robcat steals my heart, and my cat, with

“Ok, question. As a shop owner and collector and a guy who spends A LOT of time around comics, have you ever lost a substantial amount of money by accidentally damaging an issue of something yourself? Spilled coffee on Amazing Fantasy 15, opened a package containing Journey Into Mystery 83 and ripped the cover, that sort of thing? Not to wish you ill will or anything…”

Can’t say I’ve really done anything like that with comics, as such. I’ve had some close calls…just last week, when I was breaking down the new comics, I had pulled a water bottle out of the fridge that I hadn’t realized had been in there maybe a little too long, and when I opened it, the partially frozen state of it causes water to kinda explode out of it, just barely missing the stacks of new comics and the boxes of customer pulls I had out. That could have been a disaster of epic proportions.

Oh, and there was that time, early in my comics retail career nearly 30 years ago, when we were moving from the old store to a larger location across the street, that I accidentally dropped a short box filled with Golden Age books, spilling them all over the pavement. Thankfully, they way they slid out of the box kept them from experiencing harm, but still, nobody tell Ralph I did that.

The worst thing I did, also at the previous place of employment, that resulted in actual damage, was when I was moving some boxes or something around, and somehow forgot there was a big, fancy ceramic Spider-Man statue (one that also included, like, three or four villains of his) just out of my sight. Yup, ended up knocking it to the floor and smashing it to pieces. I felt the bump, heard the crash, froze, and softly uttered your favorite expletive of choice. As it turned out, the statue was basically given to us for free by someone just clearing their house of stuff, back before Marie Kondo made it cool, so no actual expense was lost. We lost the money would could have gained from selling the thing, but, well, at least nobody was mad. Your pal Mike got off scot-free that time.

Anyway, that’s all the stuff I’ll own up to. I have no idea how those boxes of Marvel Comics Presents caught on fire, and besides, you can’t prove anything, there were no witnesses.

• • •

And that’s it! Finally, all the questions are answered! Thanks for contributing, everyone, and I’ll probably open the floor to more questions soon. Or you can just ask me whenever you’d like…we’re pretty casual around here.

If you register that domain name, please use it for good, not evil.

§ February 20th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 6 Comments

I bet you thought I forgot! You folks still have some questions I need to answer, so let me knock a couple out before this new medicine I’m taking knocks me out:

William Burns fires me up with

“Are all these monster mega digital comics sales making it harder for you to sell trade paperbacks?”

I’ve got to be real honest here…I haven’t the foggiest. I’m sure there must be some diverting of monies from physical copies in my shop (well, everyone’s shops) to digital alternatives. I mean, it’s not like folks stick their heads in the door, announce “I’m not buying the Unicycle Tragedy: The First Decade trade paperback from you because I’m getting all the issues for eight cents each on UpYoursSmallBusinessOwners.com,” then rush off into the darkness, laughing. Well, okay, there’s that one guy back at the old shop who came in on New Comics Day, looked around, and loudly asked the room “where I can download all these for free?” but maybe that’s not quite the same.

So…yeah, I can’t really say. I know a lot of my customers use the digital codes in their comics to supplement their reading, but they’re still coming in and buying comics. I’m sure I’ve lost customers over the years who decided that they preferred to just get everything digitally for shopping and storage convenience, I’m also sure there are plenty of folks who just get all their goodies online, period, and never thought about going to a store…do they count as lost sales, or are those sales that would never have happened in the first place, from people who never would have considered buying a comic save for being able to click a button and suddenly have it available on their devices?

That’s a lot of words for “I don’t know,” I realize. I hope I haven’t suffered too much attrition of this sort, and can only hope I continue keeping the customers I do have happy and freshly replenished with actual printed-on-paper comics on a regular basis.

• • •

David has this goliath of a question

“Realizing that Progressive Ruin is pretty much a one-stop shop for all the comics info I need, I do still like poking around the web reading other sites. Do you have any favorite websites for comics news/reviews/reporting? It seems so bleak out there.”

I’m glad I’m keeping you up on all the early 1990s crash-era news that you can use, David! But as far as other comic news sites…I don’t really have a particular one that I regularly look at. Comics Reporter is probably the best for the most wide-ranging of comics news from all parts of the industry, and…well, I’m sure you’re aware of all the more mainstream-y sites for comic news about The Big Guys, though at some places you have to sort of pick it out from amongst the movie/TV news and listicles.

Your best bet may be a curated social media feed…like, following the Twitter accounts of companies and creators that you want to keep tabs on, or Instagrams, or the nightmare realm of Facebook, and so on. Generating your own news site may be the way to go.

• • •

Chris Gumprich spends his question on

“If you could bring back one cancelled title that did NOT start a muck-encrusted mockery of a man, what would it be and why?”

Hoo boy, not even sure where I would start. I was thinking ‘Mazing Man but feel like that’s so much of Its Time that bringing it back would just feel weird. Maybe leaving it as the short-run 1980s book that it was, keeping it a special thing that was here and gone and didn’t wear out its welcome, would be the best.

So I’m going with Atari Force, which had a terrible name but was an amazing comic. Imaginative and beautifully illustrated, and I was really bummed when it got canned. I think some of the characters (like Martin Champion) are straight up owned by Atari (or whoever owns the Atari IP now) so I don’t think DC could bring it back as, I don’t know, Syzygy Force or something and continue their adventures. But it would be nice!

“(That counts as one question because I only used one question mark.)”

YOU NE’ER-DO-WELL

* * *

AN ADDENDUM TO THE RECENT END OF CIVILIZATION POST: I’ve been informed by Matt from Moment of Cerebus that there is in fact a House of Cerebus comic coming in early 2020! You can see the schedule here. …You know, I did see that list at some point recently…guess I missed that title or (more likely) I just forgot! Well, I look forward to seeing House of Cerebus, and totally hope it’s the parody of #92 I’ve been waiting for!

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