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Batman created by Bill Finger with Bob Kane.

§ May 3rd, 2024 § Filed under batman, free comic book day, pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot § 8 Comments

Okay, I don’t want to overload you with Byrne Superman Reboot talk, so I’ll probably stick to posting about that once or twice a week ’til I feel like I’ve said enough. But keep your comments and questions coming, since, as is my wont, I’ll probably spend some time responding to them in the near future.

I did want to cover a couple of other topics here, such as the fact I didn’t talk much — well, at all — about this year’s Free Comic Book Day. It’s not like I haven’t talked about before, and you can clickity-click that link to have my vast wisdom imparted upon you.

Like the last two or three years or however long it’s been, I can’t keep track, I’ll be posting the freebie tables in front of the store, instead of going through the trouble of rearranging the interior layout to make room for them. As you may recall, I started doing this post-COVID to reduce the number of bodies crammed into my little shop and hopefully lessen the risk of cooties exposure. Seems to have worked out great so far, since my creaky bones no longer have to strain at moving a ton of back issue boxes and heavy wooden tables in the shop, and having a huge crowd in front of the store around tables of free comics certainly grabs attention. And I certainly didn’t see any reduction of folks coming into the shop to take advantage of the sales.

So, yes, it still got a little crowded in the shop, but not nearly as much as if I was trying to have a big sale AND a freebie giveaway in the same space at the same time. It all works out.

I’m mostly ready to go…the bulk of the work occurs the night before and the morning of, so I just gotta get cracking soon as my doors close Friday evening. Plus I’m prepping other material to be given away, so that’ll probably take up my Friday afternoon. Oh, and I’m also taking in a large comics collection on Friday as well, from an out-of-town pal whose only opportunity to bring ’em by is that day, so I’ll probably be doing a little comics juggling over the next 24 hours. If the GUMBY OF SUCCESS was planning on making another visit to my store, now is the time!

Anyway, is this like the…23rd Free Comic Book Day? I mean, I guess it depends if you count that one year where it was called off due to COVID and the freebies were just sent out a few at a time to be given away each week. However you count it, I’ve worked ’em all, and look forward to doing it again this year!

• • •

They said it couldn’t be done, and yet Adam Farrar has done dood it: an oral history of the 1990s Marvel UK comic book series Blackwulf! (Here’s Part Two and Part Three.) It’s a whole lotta comics people in here talking, not just about Blackwulf, but the ’90s comics business in general. And who better to speak about ’90s comics than the man who saw ’em in and escorted ’em out…yours truly, Michael Ricardo Anatoly Sterling. I’m mostly in the first part, with a brief cameo in the second, but you should overcome your disappointment at the lack of me in the third part and read it anyway, but it’s all great.

• • •

Mark Evanier is trying to set the visual record straight on comics legends Robert Kanigher and Bill Finger, in that a photo of the former keeps getting identified as the latter. So he’s asked if comics folks would post this pic (leaving the file name unchanged, in case you decide to download it from here and post it yourself) to get those search engines to propagate the correct information:

Also the title of this very post is my attempt at getting some other Batman-related info scraped up and spread around.

Cameo appearance by my fingers.

§ April 12th, 2024 § Filed under cerebus, nancy, sir-links-a-lot § 8 Comments

So I’ve had a mostly-working eye out for one of these for a while. One had been on the eBays with torn and missing pages, so I kept waiting for a copy that didn’t suck to show up on there for a halfway-reasonable price. And lo, my patience did pay off, as a complete copy of the Nancy Better Little Book from 1946 finally made an appearance:

This volume measures around 4 by 4 inches (maybe a little taller than it is wide). Whitman, the publisher, put out several books in this format, mostly under the name “Big Little Books” which may be more familiar to most of you.

Here’s a look at the spine:

And here’s the back cover:

The first page:

This is the beginning of the actual content, with a small text piece setting up the situation:

But aside the very occasional text piece like that, the book is all comics, one panel per page:

…which differs from most Big Little Books I’ve seen, which would have a piece of art on one page, facing a page full of prose. This has me curious whether the other Better Little Books listed on that back cover are similar in format. Especially the Popeye volume…I’m a sucker for that ol’ sailor man.

Anyway, that’s the latest addition to the Once Vast Mikester Comic Archives. Well, aside from everything else I’ve picked up recently.

• • •


  • There was a new Dreadstar graphic novel just released, Dreadstar Vs. The Inevitable, available via Kickstarter. I gots mine (with a little squiggled signature from Steve Apollo himself, Jim Starlin, on the cover) and I kept meaning to write a litle something about it. But Chad Nevett wrote a lot of something about it, and there ain’t nothin’ there I can disagree with. Go read it, it’s quite the review.

    My personal, and much less in-depth, review: art’s great, the story is wafer-thin despite the obvious allegories, and it comes to a conclusion that I didn’t expect but oddly works anyway. Also, no Skeevo, so points off for that.

  • So Tom Ewing’s been writing a multi-part overview of Cerebus, which are all on one page here, or you can find them at the top of the sidebar in order on the individual posts. It goes deep into its qualities and its impact, good and bad, and this entire series of essays is worth consuming whether you were a Cerebus reader at any time, or just interested in the artform in general.

    I keep saying “I’m going to reread Cerebus one of these days.” Yes, I read it all, in mostly periodical form, mostly one issue at a time, one month at a time. (I started picking it up around issue 70-something, bought back issues back to 26, and have the first 25 in the multiple Swords of Cerebus paperbacks. Though I’m making progress in buying actual copies of the first 25 now!) Tom’s writings make me wonder if I want to make that a half-reread, stopping around 150 or so. …However, I feel like if I make that commitment, I’m going to have to see it through to the end.

Words not deeds.

§ March 25th, 2024 § Filed under dc comics, movie reviews, pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot § 19 Comments

So last time I was talking about Carmine Infantino’s alleged list of “things what you put onna cover to make a funnybook sell.” It’s just one of those things that’s generally common shared knowledge in the comics world.

But like many things that are common shared knowledge, there’s more to the story, and to the rescue is Comics Worth Reading‘s Johanna, who drops a link to a Bluesky interaction between Mark Waid (editor of that Secret Origins comic I presented last time) and Kurt Busiek, a couple of comics fellas who obviously know more about what’s going on here than I do.

In short, publisher Irwin Donenfeld came up with the list in the 1950s, which Infantino related to Waid in the ’80s. But I think we can all agree comics would be improved if we returned to list.

• • •

Hey, Old Timey Comics Blog Readers? You remember Dave Campbell, don’t you? The man who brought us “Dave’s Long Box,” which ended in 2008 and that seems like so long ago. Good gravy.

Anyway, Dave’s been busy lately, working on a documentary about Hal Needham’s 1982 film Megaforce, starring Barry Bostwick, and remembered by all of you for the “DEEDS NOT WORDS” ads that were all over the back covers of comics at the time. The doc, Making Megaforce, is currently funding on Indiegogo.

Plenty of contributor levels, which can get you Blu-rays and/or digital downloads of the doc, autographs, patches, screen credits, and at the top of the heap…an actual film-used (non-operable) dune buggy from the original movie! Only one of those buggies are being offered, so don’t worry, I didn’t take that option so it’s still available for you to get!

I like Dave, and hope this project reaches its goal. Looks like a lot of fun.

• • •

The latest comics drama to break out is a noted cartoonist allegedly being a creep to a young lady. I’m using the word “allegedly” for my own protection here, but…said alleged creep has shut down his social media, and I’d seen reports of the associated popular YouTube show being closed down as well. A quick look at YouTube shows ’em all still up and running, so who knows.

Now this just happened over the weekend, so we’ll probably get some actual reporting on these events in the next day or two (or likely a reposting of the chat screenshots and some additional commentary, like what everyone’s doing on Xwitter and Bluesky). It’s an ugly situation, and the person who was the object of the reported harassment (she is also a cartoonist) has been driven off social media by people attacking her because of course they are. Waiting to see how all this shakes out…it sure doesn’t seem good.

• • •

And on a much lighter topic…I watched Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom the other night, and I think I may have liked it more than the first one. Not that the initial installment was bad, it was enjoyable, but it just felt very “by the numbers” superhero filmmaking. It could be I’d just seen enough “superhero origin” movies by that point that getting yet another one was trying my patience.

The second one just felt more fun, with an enjoyable dynamic between Aquaman and his half-brother Orm AKA “Ocean Master.” I think the fact that the main antagonist of the film was Black Manta, who appeared briefly in the previous movie. He’s here full-time however, and there’s no logical reason in the world as to why that costume should work in live action, but boy it looks cool.

It’s goofy and outlandish and Randall Park’s character “Dr. Shin” should have died no less than like a half-dozen times during the course of this story, and if I never see a diaper-changing scene ever again where the dad gets a stream of pee directly to the face it’ll be too soon…but it’s a breezy ride and I enjoyed it. Two movies is probably enough, though, so it’s probably just as well it’s ending here 1) because I think the sequel only barely broke even at the box office, and 2) they’re clearing the way for the new DC Media Adaptation regime by James Gunn and that other guy whose name I never remember.

I think there’s been some talk about Aquaman star Jason Momoa turning up as Lobo, maybe possibly, and I can see that.

And by “couple” I mean “three, more or less.”

§ December 27th, 2023 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot § 2 Comments

Okay, just a couple of things today:

1. Don’t forgot to contribute your 2024 comic industry predictions here, so long as you follow those important rules listed there!

One additional rule I’m going to have to add is to please keep extra non-prediction posts out of that comments section. I appreciate the enthusiasm, but let’s keep it uncluttered! Thanks, pals.

2. Look, if you haven’t gone to in a while, it’ll do you some good to pop back in. This is the fanzine text search index, including Amazing Heroes, Comics Journal, and many more! I hope this site is allowed to remain online by the various copyright holders, as it’s such a valuable resource.

I have many of these fanzines myself, but when I need to refer to an article from one of them I’ve had to depend on my slowly fading memory as well as just plain ol’ digging through them page by page. This site certain makes research easier.

3. I don’t think I even knew a Zatanna movie was even planned in the first place. Sounds like another casualty of the James Gunn DC Media regime, as the focus is on the projects under his purview, which the Zatanna flick was not. Ah well.

Still not convinced the Gunn films are going to fare any better in a movie marketplace that seems increasingly less impressed with superhero product. Particularly DC films, though Marvel seems to be having its own uphill battle with its properties (with a couple of notable exceptions, yes).

Related: I didn’t realize the Aquaman sequel opened last weekend. Not the strongest start, but the first didn’t come charging out of the gate, either. Seems unlikely it’s gonna hit the billion dollar mark too, though.

You don’t need to reference the Flash Gordon movie in the comments, I understand that you’ve seen it.

§ November 1st, 2023 § Filed under newspaper strips, pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot § 24 Comments

When you weren’t looking, someone took the moribund Flash Gordon newspaper strip, in reruns for decades, and revived it into something awesome. Dan Schkade started on the strip a couple of weeks ago, and has really been kicking butt and taking names. Fast-paced, beautifully illustrated, wittily dialogued, it’s a solid demonstration that just because something’s been around forever and left to basically rot, it doesn’t mean someone can’t come along and apply a little elbow grease and get things working again. It’s a great strip, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier as the first couple of installments are behind a paywall now, but you can catch on to what’s going on easily enough.

Amusingly in the comments now and again are a tiny handful of people upset that Flash Gordon is suddenly new and interesting, wishing for the return of artists who have done them the disfavor of no longer being alive. Anyway, you have to kind of admire the commitment of the same four or five people who turn up at that site every day to click the “ANGRY” response button for each strip. But frankly, all things considered, they should be grateful anyone’s even bothering to maintain the comic at all.

• • •

Andrew Farago has written an excellent obituary for the late and, needless to say, great Keith Giffen for The Comics Journal. He rightly lists the accolades, while not ignoring one of the more…unfortunate periods of his career (to which I just barely alluded in my own barely-adequate remembrance).

So check out Andrew’s coverage of everything Giffen did for the comics industry over the last few decades. His influence is probably greater than you realize. Or even I realized…even though I read most of the stuff he worked on for the last thirty years as it was coming out, seeing it all assembled and quantified as to its importance to this medium (and its expansion into film) was a real eye-opener. Giffen was a giant, even if we didn’t always understand just how tall he was.

“Stop her! She’s got Mike’s keyboard!”

§ October 20th, 2023 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot § 14 Comments

I apologize for the interruption in service here, as my computer keyboard at home decided to stop working and it took a try or three to get a sufficient replacement with the features I required. (Those features being “button that posts stills from Frank Miller’s The Spirit” and, well, that’s pretty much it.)

Anyway, I’ve got a new keyboard that I kinda have to get used to, as it’s a slim, flatter style and my clumsy fingers are currently fumbling all over it. Thus, please excuse any typos. I mean, more so than usual.

So anyway, let’s just cover a couple of things of interest here:

First, I got this in the mail the other day:

It’s a piece of junk mail from a cable company sent to my store and addressed to “John Buscema or Current Business Owner.”

That’s…a little strange. I’ve received (and still receive) mail at this location for previous tenants, including one named “John,” but his last name is nowhere close to “Buscema.” And given that “John Buscema” is a legendary comics artist, the name being on this piece of mail is surely not random happenstance, but it eludes me how this could have happened. I’m sure someone out there might know some possibilities.

In other, Kickstarer-related, news, the campaign for the Thorn collection, Jeff Smith’s college newspaper strip that preceded Bone, is up and running and already blew well past its goal.

I was a big fan of the Bone comics as they were coming out, and after finding out there was a college strip, well, that caught my attention. I do love me some college strips, and collections thereof, so I kinda kept half an eye out for the original 1983 Thorn: Tales from the Lantern in case an affordable copy ever happened my way.

Well, “affordable” is the real trick, I guess, since it, you know, never was. One of the tiers in the Kickstarter would get you an original copy of that 1983 book along with the new collection, but at $10,000 a throw I’m afraid I’d have to decline. I’ll be satisfied with this nice softcover, thank you.

Of note are the already unlocked “stretch goals,” achieved when the campaign hits certain financial levels. In this case, we’ll be getting facsimiles of the original Fone Bone comic booklets Smith drew as a kid. Those sound amazing.

There’s also a Nexus Kickstarter, with Steve Rude re-releasing a trade paperback from a couple of years ago in a larger format with a signed bookplate. I like the idea of a larger book, easier on your pal Mike’s old eyes to enjoy Rude’s always beautiful artwork.

Okay, thanks for your patience, everyone, and hopefully I’ll be back to my regular schedule next week.

Some days I wish I could just go back to posting funny panels in my synopsis of some out-there 1960s Jimmy Olsen comic.

§ April 20th, 2020 § Filed under pal plugging, retailing, sir-links-a-lot, sterling silver comics § 4 Comments

Hot off last week’s presses, some news came down regarding funnybook distribution in our near future. First, Diamond Comics announced that it was looking at a mid-to-late May date to start shipping product out to whatever stores still remain. Nothing nailed down just yet, and I still think it’s really going to depend on the large comic markets like California and New York will be doing in regards to allowing regular retail to resume.

And if that’s not enough, DC Comics has decided not to wait on Diamond, and is instead going to send out at least three weeks of their new comics through a couple of alternative distribution points. It’s not a heavy load of books coming over these three weeks, which is good and bad, I guess. Good in that I’m not being asked to put out a lot of money when not a lot of money is currently coming in, and bad in that there’s not really enough here to goose immediately mail order shipping from customers wanting their new books. But then, you never know..maybe after all three weeks have come and gone there will be enough to get some folks to call in, I think.

Anyway, the books being shipped had their orders cancelled through Diamond, so I had to place new orders for everything. I had to think hard about those orders, given that I’m not going to have the off-the-rack sales as my store will still be closed to the public at least through all three of those weeks. BUT will they sell off the rack once I’m able to open again and people try to catch up? I don’t know…best to order conservatively for now and reorder if I need to.

It’s…a weird time to be a comics retailer. Or any kind of niche retail business, for that matter. The one advantage I have is that comics are escapism, and boy do people want escapism right now.

I’ve been doing…okay, as far as business goes. I’ve had several phone and email orders, and I’m at the post office pretty much every day gettting stuff sent out. I’m not making the money I was, but with Diamond’s invoices paid off, and my rent paid for the next month, I don’t have the same expenses either. (And my planned purchases of that new DC product won’t be very dear either.)

In an odd sort of way, aside from the weird existential dread of awareness that a plague roams the land, working along in my closed shop has been, well, relaxing. Processing mail order, typing old comics into this online spreadsheet for folks to pick from and buy, listening to podcasts as I work…it’s all a bit therapeutic. Which isn’t to say I’m not looking forward to being able to swing my doors wide open again.

So it looks like an interesting month up ahead for my shop, and every shop. Going to try to not let it stress me out too much. And if it does…I’ll just play around with piles of old comics, and all will be well again.

In the meantime:

Don’t forget, I’m still taking orders and want lists and whathaveyou, as well as still doing these packs of 30 random comics for $20 postpaid domestic! Help me clean out my backroom!

Also, over the weekend, one of my regular customers brought me a comics-themed facemask made by her mother! The downside is that you can’t see my quarantine beard that I’ve been growing for the last few weeks. But that’s the price I pay for high fashion!

And so long as I’m being Sir Links-A-Lot again, let me point you at my shop’s website, its Facebook, its Twitter, and its Instagram. News regarding my store’s status during our current situation can be found there…and here on this site, for that matter.

Thanks for reading pals, and stay safe out there. KEEP WEARING THOSE MASKS, even if they’re not as cool as mine!

Wobbling but not falling down since 1969.

§ June 16th, 2017 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot § 1 Comment

  • So longtime reader Roel has a Kickstarter going for his new graphic novel Deathface Rocker Crew that I encourage you to check out. You may recall me liking his Lightning Girl Loves Rocket Boy comic from a while ago, and I expect this new project will entertaining as well!
  • I don’t like the idea of a world without Mad Magazine. Okay, as Mr. Evanier says it’s probably not going away, as such, but that there’s even the rumor is a little worrying, given the state of most print magazines.
  • Not comics, but pal Andrew has a funny story about a children’s toy from our shared youth.

Comments are off because, y’know, there’s always somebody.

§ January 30th, 2017 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot Comments Off on Comments are off because, y’know, there’s always somebody.

I was going to post about some silly things today, but right now doesn’t seem like the time. Instead, let me post some links to the ACLU, the Council on American-Islamic Relations,the Trevor Project, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Planned Parenthood, the Ali Forney Center, NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, ProPublica, RAINN, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, all of whom can use some support right now.

And just so there’s some comic book content, let me direct you to my pal Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Feistiness, who is presenting 365 Days of Defiance!

I’ll have some actual comic content in a day or two, I promise. But I really couldn’t bring myself to write anything light and fun without addressing the elephant in the room, and doing at least this very small thing will hopefully help somebody out.

…Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone.

§ December 30th, 2016 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot Comments Off on …Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone.

Your pal Mike is a little under the weather, so I just have a few links for you today:

  • Longtime Mad stalwart Don Edwing has passed away. I remember taking more notice of his material (or, at least, his material becoming more prominent) near the end of my initial run of Mad reading, sometime in the early 1980s. I even bought an original Mad paperback or two of his, though as is noted in the linked article I probably read a lot of his work without realizing it was by him.
  • Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with the Force, says goodbye to Carrie Fisher with a couple of choice scans.
  • Pal Andrew speaks sagely about mortality.
  • And life, presumably, goes on into 2017…so I’m still asking for your comic industry predictions for the coming year. Hey, it gives us something to look forward to!

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