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C’mon, surely somebody loves the Hulk.

§ January 9th, 2020 § Filed under hulk, pal plugging, swamp thing, this week's comics, watchmen § 2 Comments

So the other day I noticed on pal Brook’s Instagram that he posted a picture of his latest rare vinyl acquisition. I of course immediately asked him if I could feature it on this here comic book weblog, and he said that was fine…and also since he was going to be dropping by the store Wednesday for new comics anyway, he’d bring it in for me to see in person.

And here it is, with some new photos I took at the store once I had that record in my umngainly mitts, an original 45 RPM single of “Nobody Loves the Hulk” by the Traits, released in 1969:


This is a pristine copy, only removed from its original mailer by the seller to check its condition prior to selling. And speaking of the mailer, here it is:

And why not, here’s a pic of this classic piece of vinyl itself:


And did I play it on the in-store turntable? I wasn’t going to, as a’feared as I was to do damage to this artifact, but Brook insisted that I did, so I dood it. If you weren’t lucky enough to be there when I did, you’ll just have to replicate the experience best you can by listening to this:

Brook also forwarded this link to an interview with one of the people behind this recording. Apparently it was originally sold only through mail order ads in comic books, with only some of the 2,000 copy print run selling that way, the rest being dumped off in various places. Given the condition of Brook’s copy, this seems likely to be some kind of warehouse find, probably sitting in a box somewhere for decades after being discarded by the original owner. Who knows? But Brook got one and, um, perhaps I may have my own copy on its way now too.

Big thanks to pal Brook for bringing that in.

In other news:


This thing came out this week, which made for a nice addition to my personal collection given that the majority of the reprint material inside is taken from the Watchmen supplements for the DC Heroes Role Playing Game, the originals of which I’d sold off long ago. Thus, it’s nice to have them again.

Also reprinted therein are the entries for the Watchmen and related from Who’s Who in the DC Universe (and given the publication of Doomsday Clock, they really are in the DC Universe!), plus the covers for said Who’s Who issues, as well as material from Amazing Heroes and a Dave Gibbons cover for The Comics Journal.

Most hilariously, it includes that bonkers Rorschach appearance in The Question #17. I mean, sure, why not.

Turns out, when asking longtime customer and fellow Swamp Thing afficionado, and Watchmen and Planet of the Apes expert Rich Handley if he needed a copy…turns out, he was actually consulted regarding content for this book! He was asked what extra Watchmen stuff should be included that hadn’t already been offered in reprint form elsewhere…and I’m presuming whoever it was at DC asking this already knew about Question #17 so I won’t blame Rich for that. Anyway, due to changes in editors and whatnot, Rich didn’t seem to get a credit or even a “thank you” inside (at least, I couldn’t find one in the tiny print, given my ailing eyeballs) so just mentally add his name in there when you’re reading it. Okay? Okay!

Also, in other other news:

Also out this week is Swamp Thing The Bronze Age Vol. 2:


I didn’t really pay much attention to the original solicitation for this book. I just figured “ah, it’s just reprinting that big ol’ Swamp Thing omnibus I already bought, I don’t need this,” but reader, How Wrong I Was. It includes a lot of material not in the big ol’ hardcover…enough material that I probably should have passed on it and just waited for the paperbacks. It has the Challengers of the Unknown issues with Swampy and Deadman, it has the DC Comics Presents and Brave and the Bold team-ups.

Most importantly, it has all extant material related to the unpublished #25 from the original series! Now, I already had copies of the pencil and inked interior pages included here, but this volume also contains pencil roughs for other pages, the script, a paste-up of the letters page for that issue(!), and even the inked-and-logoed cover! Pretty amazing. I’d kinda hoped they had enough of this issue done that they could have released it as one of DC’s currently “facsimile” reprint line, a “reprint” of a #25 that never was, but looks like it wasn’t as finished as I’d thought. Ah, well. But this is great to have, finally.

Now, if we can get DC to reprint the finished pages ‘n’ script from that pulled “Swamp Thing Meets Jesus” story should they ever get around to collecting the stories from that immediate era…that’d be somethin’.

Second time’s the super charm

§ December 16th, 2019 § Filed under superman, this week's comics § 5 Comments

When we last met, I was about to go under the knife for another eye surgery. Well, I’m happy to report things went swimmingly, I was in and out of the operating room in a flash (not so much the waiting room, which we sat in for quite a while) and my eye seems to be healing up nicely. The end result is that I now need glasses for pretty much any close-up lookin’, as the replacement lens in my left eye is meant for distance vision, but that’s okay…at least it leaves me able to drive.

Anyway, I’m fine, and once my other current eye issues settle down to the point of being able to get real glasses, versus the array of dollar-store cheaters I’ve been depending on, everything will be just dandy. Or at least as dandy as my eyeballs will allow.

And it turns out I can still read comical books, which I tested by getting caught up on the last several months’ worth of Superman, culminating in this issue:

[SPOILERS for said issue ahead]

…Okay. I’m fine with this turn of events, just as I was the last time this was done with Superman, near the end of the New 52 run just a few years back. I thought then that the public revelation of Superman’s dual life as Clark Kent made for an interesting twist in the ongoing comics, one we hadn’t really seen before in the mainline continuity as an extended storyline. That was kinda the last hurrah for that particular version of Superman before he was replaced by the return of the post-Crisis/John Byrne reboot/married to Lois/has a son version that had been the main Superman for the 30 years prior to the New 52. (Look, I know that’s a lot to absorb if you’re not familiar with Superman’s publishing travails over the past decades, so take a moment if you need one.)

My feeling about the New 52 version of the public revealing of the secret ID is pretty much summed up by my post about a story just prior to that, when Superman revealed his ID to just Jimmy Olsen. In short, it was fun to read, scratches bit of an itch, but these twists to the Super-formula don’t have the impact they should have had because it’s still this weird not-quite-Superman version of Superman DC was foisting off on us as part of their rushed-into-existence New 52 line-wide relaunch.

But now, we have…well, as close to the “real” Superman back in comics as we’re going to get, without Siegel/Shuster/Swan/Schaffengberger/Boring/Plastino etc. coming back from the dead to do more stories. I think Bendis has been doing a relatively decent job writing a recognizable Superman that falls in line with the Superman comics of the past, while still feeling like a “modern” comic. I mean, there’s the occasional rough edge, or some Bendis-istic quirk, but by and large they’ve been fine.

Thus, the repeat of the plot of “Superman Reveals Himself!” (ahem) so soon after the last time they did it still feels somewhat…new and fresh and interesting, because now it’s “really” happening to the “real” Superman, and not some What If — er, excuse me, “Elsewords” — version. It reminds me a little of [hold on…SPOILER ALERT for Batman: Hush, of all things] that time when it looked like Jason Todd had come back from the dead, but it turned out to be Clayface, which kind of honked everyone off, so Jason Todd really came back later on and though the shock of the return was just slightly muted by the previous fake-out, it was still a surprising twist that grabbed attention. Okay, that’s not a 1:1 analogy, but I think you get the idea.

Back to the current comic, here…yes, I think this will make for some interesting stories. And yes, I’m sure this will eventually result in some reset-button putting of the worms back in the can of restoring the secret ID (and hopefully not yet another reboot). But I’m willing to see where this goes, especially with the idea stated in this issue that Superman will continue living and working as Clark Kent. If that doesn’t result in someone shouting at him “WHY ARE YOU SITTING AT A KEYBOARD…PEOPLE ARE DYING IN ACCIDENTS ALL OVER THE CITY” in every issue…well, I don’t know what to tell you.

I also have a vague memory of one of the Elliot S! Maggin prose novels from decades ago — Miracle Monday, maybe? — where Superman’s ID is revealed, and someone discusses how weird it would be if he continued as Clark Kent, that it would be kind of perverse for him to continue acting like a normal human when everyone knew that he was an alien superbeing. I’m getting details wrong, I know, it’s been many years since I’ve read the book, but it’s something like that. But that message still colors my perceptions of what Superman still hangin’ out as Clark post-revelation in the comics would be like. It’d just be…uncomfortable, if realistically depicted.

On the other hand, the more modern interpretation of the Clark/Superman dynamic, as Byrne tried to firmly establish in his reboot, was that Clark was the “real” persona, whereas Superman was the “disguise.” That’s a difficult thing to do, given that the star of the comics, the guy that puts butts in seats, is Superman, so by default he’s the “main” identity. However, if one does keep in mind that Clark is the real person, then him continuing his life as Clark should feel less peculiar than how that long-ago Maggin book would have it. The end goal is probably something along the lines of “Hey, it’s Tony Stark! That’s the guy who occasionally does stuff as Iron Man!” instead of “Hey, it’s Superman pretending to be one of us, just a slob like one of us!”

This is all based on one single issue of the storyline, by the way. Bendis could very well be planning to address some or all of this in his comics, so I’ll just read it and see. …I did want to point out a couple things about this issue that…didn’t ring true for me. A couple of those quirks I may have mentioned earlier in the post.

First, Clark tells Perry White he’s Superman, and Perry gives him a hug. Okay, I can buy that, because they’ve been friends for years, but it’s not followed by Perry immediately firing him from the Daily Planet for years of journalistic fraud. Okay, it’s comics, suspension of disbelief and all that, but it’s a bit tough to swallow. Again, future storylines may address this, but just in this issue as a standalone story, it still felt wrong.

Next, Superman gives his press conference (a well done sequence for the most part, I thought), and after telling everyone “hey I’m Clark Kent, I’m married to Lois Lane, okay see ya” he flies off, basically leaving Lois to fend for herself. Maybe it’s not as bad as all that, but it felt odd to me that Superman would just bail on his wife and pals in the wake of this revelation. Or maybe off-panel he told ’em “meet you at Big Belly Burgers after the speech” and they all had some fast food after the issue was over. Hey, why not.

Before I shut off the computer for the night, I’ll add that I really did love the scene of Jimmy Olsen messing with Superman as he tries to convince his longtime pal that he’s really Clark Kent. Genuinely funny.

Okay, that’s that. Thanks for sticking around after my brief hiatus, pals, and I’ll be back soon.

Should I be reading anything into “Dark Multiverse” and “Direct Market” both being “DMs?”

§ December 2nd, 2019 § Filed under this week's comics § 3 Comments


So my efforts to catch up on my comic book reading continue apace, having managed to read a whole two this past week, both from DC’s Tales from the Dark Multiverse project.

I talked about this series before, like a week or so ago, commenting on its purpose seemingly being to make new “Batman Who Laughs”-type “dark” versions of our heroes to eventually menace the Justice League or whatever. And the patterns seems to continuue here in these two new one-shots (um, SPOILERS I guess) though the Blackest Night Sinestro isn’t really so much a villain at the end of his story as he is a huge screw-up. You know, kind of how Jar Jar is technically the villain of the Star Wars prequels, but he just kinda blundered into putting Palpatine into power out of his own clumsy nature rather than actual malice? Like that.

Anyway, I am enjoying these comics, despite their dark tone and the overall general belief that what we need less of on the stands are more “dark” comics. Well, these tell you up front “hey, these are from the Dark Multiverse,” so if you read ’em, it’s on you. But I think they’re effectively tragic “What If” type stories and I’m enjoying them on that level.

What’s interesting is that the “host” of these comics, the (hoo boy, hold on) Tempus Fuginaut, is basically telling us that what we’re seeing in these comics are deviations from the events in the regular DC Universe…i.e. the one that’s we’re reading about in the comics right now. Which is a bit confusing, as we’ve had our share of New 52s and Rebirths and such fiddling about with what is and what isn’t continuity. But ol’ Tempie, after he relates what happened in the Blackest Night series, says “that’s what happened in your universe,” so I guess we’re supposed to assume that Blackest Night, and Infinite Crisis, and the Death of Superman, complete with Red-Haired-Clone-of-Luthor-Pretending-to-Be-His-Own-Australian-Son, all happened in whatever version of the DC Universe we’ve got now. (Pending whatever happens at the end of Doomsday Clock, natch.)

And speaking of Infinite Crisis…so the deal with that is that the Earth-2 Superman and Lois, along with Earth-Prime Superboy, were in some “hypertime”* bubble outside the main DCU looking in. What the Dark Multiverse version of Infinite Crisis postulates is that there was a separate Hypertime bubble in the Dark Multiverse, featuring the survivors of the DM’s “Crisis on Infinite (Dark) Earths,” I guess. IT’S MULTIVERSES ALL THE WAY DOWN, FOLKS

Anyway, I’m overthinking it, I’m sure. That’s one heck of a spoiler on the cover of that Infinite Crisis cover, by the way. Should also note that there’s one particularly gruesome full-page shot in there, but hey, remember, says “Dark” on the cover, not “Light Happy Fun Times.” You were warned!

Like I said, I have been enjoying the stories in this series, even the “Knightfall” one, despite Azrael being like an immediate turn-off for me in nearly every other comic book appearance he’s ever had. Sorry, just don’t care for him. …I believe the next one in the series will be taking on “The Judas Contract” from New Teen Titans. Who will be the surviving future-villain-to-menace-the-regular-DCU from that, I wonder? A jaded and bitter Changeling? Dark Wonder Girl? Even Darker Raven? An armless Speedy? …Nah, forget that last one, who’d actually do anything like that?
 
 
 

* Don’t write in to tell me I’m using “Hypertime” incorrectly. As far as I can tell it can only be used incorrectly.

A couple o’brief notes.

§ October 25th, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing, this week's comics Comments Off on A couple o’brief notes.

  • So updating my “Swamp Thing comics this week” post…turns out that Swamp Thing #1 reprint is the fastest selling DC Dollar Book yet…and that Swamp Thing Giant is the fastest selling of the direct-market availble Giants I’ve had so far. Everything’s coming up Swamp Thing! You know, like a plant. Because Swamp Thing is a plant. And plants “come up” by…growing….look, I’m tired, this is the best I’ve got. Anyway, hooray for good-sellin’ swamp monster books.
  • So I hwas doing the entire monthly funnybook order for the store yesterday, as I forgot the deadline was this week…and as usual, I double-check the solicitation for Back Issue magazine to see if there’s anything in there of specific interest to me. Because then, you know, I’d order an extra copy for myself on top of the copies i order for the shelf and the pull lists.

    This time ’round they’re doing a thing on comic book vaporware, looking at comics that were announced but never came to be. Specifically cited was the X-Men/Cerebus crossover, which I remember seeing a small piece of art for it at the time, accompanying a news blurb in The Comic Reader back in the early ’80s.

    Well, Twitter pal Bustronaut came through with a NICE, BIG pic of that image I remember seeing so long ago. And then BobH shows up with a look at X-Men/Cerebus was all about, plus some archived notes from Cerebus creator Dave Sim on the whole thing.

    You know, IT’S NOT TOO LATE

Swamp Thing comical books this week.

§ October 23rd, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing, this week's comics § 6 Comments

So I’m slowly catching up on my comic book reading. I thought I’d only been off for three or four months, due to my various eye issues, but judging by where I stopped reading on several titles, it appears I actually sopped sometime in April. Boy, that’s a long time to just be pulling a handful of new comics for myself every week, only to have it build into an imposing stack of material that hopefully someday I’ll be able to make it through.

But catching up, I have been. Current on Immortal HulkJustice League, where I read, like, the 14 most recent issues in relatively short order and boy howdy does that take you a ride. And, of course, as mentioned before, I’m up to date on Doomsday Clock, which is vitally important.

And I’m still keeping up on my Swamp Thingery, though my need to get every single minor one-panel appearance or dialogue mention or whathaveyou may have finally been broken by the whole Convergence thing with its similar-ish Swamp Thing cameo panel in every title. But I’m still getting those major appearances, and even the occasional reprint, like…


…this buck reprint from DC’s new dollar book line. Coloring’s nice, printing on bright white paper (which makes it look a little weird, as Swamp Thing in my mind is always on lightly-decayed newsprint), and the the cover remains particularly striking. It’s of course a come-on for DC’s new “Bronze Age” reprint books of ol’ Swampy, but still, it’s a nice buy for only a single Washington.


And here’s the first of the Swamp Thing Giants available directly through comic shops, versus the two or three or whatever (I’m not even quite sure) that were only distributed at Wal-Marts. Two new Swamp Thing stories, plus a few reprints, and the new stuff is probably standalone so I’ll probably be able to read this without missing out on much.


Now this series I’m not caught up on, but I’m making sure to snag each installment because Swamp Thing is generally in it. I mean, look, there’s his hand right there on the cover, waiting for a…manicure, I guess? I don’t know what’s going on in the book.

Anyway, there’s your Swamp Thing update for the week. I don’t know if he’s, say, hiding behind a tree in this week’s Action or anything (or actually being a tree, I guess), but hey, at least it’s a start.

Still waiting for my Nancy and Sluggo Funko Pops.

§ October 2nd, 2019 § Filed under nancy, this week's comics § 3 Comments

Your reminder that, while you’re out buying the new Nancy strip collection by Olivia Jaimes, out this week at better comic shops, and even mine:


…you should also be on the lookout for this other Nancy item by Jaimes, released to ye olde funnybooke stores this week as well:


Nancy’s Genius Plan is a children’s “board” book, with thick pages designed to take extra rough handling by young kids or, say, by whoever it was that went through my back issue bins a couple of days ago.

Anyway, it’s a short one, as you might imagine, but features several great full color illos by Jaimes. Also, the book is “interactive,” in that the reader is encouraged to physically interact with the book, like knocking on a window in one page to distract a character in-story, or turning the book upside-down to help Nancy get by an obstacle. Not a lot of Sluggo involvement…mostly he’s just one of the supporting cast in this particuliar adventure.

One thing I’d like to note is how, at first glance, the portraits of Nancy on both covers look identical. It’s basically the same features present on both faces, but with just the slightest adjustments, the open, genial face of Nancy on the strip collection:


…becomes that conniving Nancy on Genius Plan.

So it’s a good week to be a Nancy fan, like I know I am. Maybe I can finally make an effort to read some comics this week so that Doomsday Clock isn’t the only thing on which I’m caught up. Okay, granted, I did read Genius Plan already. Pretty much can read the book just by barely glancing at it, but then I suspect I’m slightly older than its target audience.

Still turned the book upside-down to help Nancy, though.

You do have a Swamp Thing collection, right? RIGHT?

§ August 27th, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing, this week's comics § 9 Comments


The only comic of note to be released this week is, of course, the House of Secrets #92 Facsimile Edition, reprinting the first appearance of the story “It’s Better to Give” illustrated by Alan Weiss and Tony DeZuniga, and written by Mary Skrenes under the pen name of “Virgil North.” Oh, the first Swamp Thing story is in it, too.

Anyway, someday I need to update this list I made in 2006 (eep) of all the reprints of House of Secrets #92 that I own, as I’ve picked up a few since then (including the very one pictured above). I laugh, laugh I tell you, at the concluding thought in that long-ago blog post that a mere eight copies of this issue were enough. Such is the folly of youth.

Also please note this reprint does contain the updated coloring for Swamp Thing’s eyes, making them the dark red we’re accustomed to, versus the whitish eyes of the original printing. A dealbreaker for some, I know.

Aside from that hideously untenable change, this is a nice looking reissue of this classic comic. Like Marvel’s line of facsimiles, it contains all the stories and ads and letter columns and other editorial content of the original, but on slightly better paper and with a UPC code and new improved pricing on the front cover. If you can’t get your hands on the original, or one of the dozen of more other reprints like someone you may know who’s been writing a blog for over fifteen years has, this will make a nice addition to your Swamp Thing collection.

DC borrows from Marvel, so does Marvel borrow from DC, and so has it always been and always shall be. And as what usually happens, one company sees another have a success with something, whoever’s in charge has their eyeballs pop out of their heads with little dollar signs forming at the end, and suddenly Company B is doing exactly what Company A did. And in this case, it’s the “#1000” issues DC recently published to great success for Action Comics and Detective Comics, both of which made it to that lofty peak one issue at a time, once a month (or eight times a year, or biweekly, or, hell, even weekly for a while) since their beginnings in the late 1930s.

Now Marvel doesn’t have anything really close to that at the moment…well, some things are approaching that number, but not for a while yet, and anyway Marvel’s still sticking to hiding the actual overall issue number to a series beneath their favored low issue number stemming from whatever was the most recent relaunch. Like, this week’s Amazing Spider-Man has a big ol’ “29” as its primary issue number, but beneath in smaller print it has “829,” indicating that this is in fact the 829thh issue in the series that began with that #1 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko so long ago.

Now frankly I wish they’d just pick a number and stick to it…when Marvel briefly went back to “original” (or approximate, anyway) numbering on a bunch of their titles for their “Marvel Legacy” effort, that actually seemed to goose sales a little, particularly on some of the second-string titles that could have used the sales help. Don’t know if was just a coincidence, or if customers had a little more confidence that maybe there’d be some consistency to what they’re following, and it wouldn’t be relaunched soon with a new #1 just because it’s a Brand New Creative Team or something.

Marvel Comics #1000, I believe the conceit is, is based on the idea that if the original Marvel Comics #1 from 1939 (the one with the first appearance of the Human Torch) had continued publishing, it’d be at about #1000 right now. Or maybe that’s just my interpretation of things, and besides we all know Marvel would have relaunched it with a new #1 a dozen times by now, lest they unleash the curse or whatever.

The cover I have pictured here (shameless stolen from one of the many, many eBay listings since 1) I didn’t scan the copy I got at the shop, and 2) Diamond has no image of it on their retailer site) is the “Rare” One Per Store variant, showing what I think might be the first official comic book (well, comic book cover) crossover between Marvel characters and the hometeam characters of their Disney masters. I don’t know for sure, since Marvel ain’t shy about cranking out variants and I’m sure I haven’t seen them all.

And boy oh boy I was sorely tempted. I actually like that image, quite a bit, and it’s not like I haven’t used the ol’ executive privilege to keep a variant for myself, but…well, I mentioned the eBays earlier, and this was a pretty might total on my invoice this week, so I think I’ll give it up for the sake of the bottom line rather than my collection. OH THE SACRIFICES I MAKE.

Oh, hey, big ol’ article on Dreadstar. I do loves me the Dreadstar. Let me just add this to the previous issues of Back Issue with content I want to read but still haven’t yet because of my ongoing eye issues. I’m sure it’ll make me wish Dreadstar was still a thing again, but that’s the risk I’ll just have to take.

This is the first actual physical comic book I’ve read in nearly six weeks.

§ May 31st, 2019 § Filed under this week's comics, watchmen § 4 Comments

[SPOILERS for Doomsday Clock #10]

So in the new issue of Doomsday Clock is how it introduces the idea that the various continuity shifts in the DC Universe are not only Superman-centric, but said shifts also affect the multiverse at large. Explicitly stated at last is the idea that Dr. Manhattan, as we’d figured, is responsible for the recent “Rebirth” continuity changes, as he tests out the nature of the DC Universe.

This idea of “the metaverse” (as it’s called) is a weird and interesting one, which reminds me to some extent of “Hypertime.” As you may recall, Hypertime was DC’s previous attempt at created an in-universe explanation for the various continuity boondoggles that crop up in comics, particularly since Crisis on Infinite Earths (itself created to streamline the DC Universe and reduce continuity issues, ironically enough). Hypertime was a thing where changes/glitches/inconsistencies occurred due to the intermingling of the various timelines of the DCU, basically a way of saying “don’t worry so much about stuff, just enjoy the story.” It was maybe too subtle a distinction, as eventually, as I recall, it eventually just became “here are parallel Earths again!” and I don’t know that the idea of Hypertime was cropped up much in recent years.

Anyway, we don’t have the full story yet as to why the DC Universe, or “Metaverse,” does this, outside of Manhattan’s own interference. Maybe Geoff Johns is going to bring Hypertime back in this. Wouldn’t put it past him. I do like how it’s centering on Superman, and I think it is, as I said, an interesting idea. It’s just a shame it’s being used in a series that’s (if you’ll pardon the expression) doomed to be a footnote in the history of the original Watchmen graphic novel, a curiosity that will be discussed mostly in terms of “…yeah, they actually did that comic.”

Don’t get me wrong…I’m enjoying it, sometimes on its own terms, sometimes as the off-model exploitation of a seminal, and ultimately standalone, work. But, like the “Before Watchmen” comics from some years back, like the HBO series that’s coming, like that big-budget movie, it’ll be regarded as some strange offshoots that surround the original, but never touch it.

Gonna party like it’s 1989.

§ May 22nd, 2019 § Filed under batman, collecting, retailing, this week's comics § 2 Comments

So I haven’t said a whole lot about new comics and mags lately, mostly because, due to current eyeball issues, I can’t really read comics and mags at the moment. As such, I’m building up bit of a backlog of recent goodies at home, on top of the backlog I already had, for me to attempt to plow though once my peepers are in order. Therefore I’ve been trying to be a little pickier about what I set aside for myself, though sometimes I can’t resist a certain special something.

What I definitely don’t need to be taking home for eventual reading are those magazines with articles and interviews about comics past, like Back Issue…a fine publication, but it just takes me forever to get 1) to them, and 2) through them, so I try to make sure it’s got something I really want to read about…especially right now, as who knows when I’ll finally have good enough vision to properly absorb them.

That said, they just got me for two issues in a row. The previous issue, #112, had a special focus on “nuclear heroes,” with a cover and feature on DC’s Firestorm, a character whose comics I very much enjoyed throughout the 1980s. I always like learning more about the comics I read as a somewhat-younger Mikester, so that’s how they got me there.

Issue #113, the one pictured above, came out this week, with its focus on the 30th anniversary release of the first Tim Burton Batman film, and all the Bat-hoohah and goings-on in the comics industry at the time. As some of you may recall, because I keep bringing it up, there were two major events I had to deal with shortly after I first entered the world of comics retail way back in September of 1988. One was “The Death of Robin,” and the phone calls and large number of walk-ins we had involving that. The other was, of course, that very Bat-film, and the huge explosion of interest in comics that ensued.

I talked a lot — and I mean a lot — about this film and its impact on the business about a year and a half back (here are links to that particular series of posts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 — and that is a whole lot to take in, but at least check out Wayne’s anecdote at the end of post #9. Trust me on this). But anyway, this issue of Back Issue is hitting the double-nostalgia chord with me…not just learning more about the Bat-comics I read at that time, of which, like most comic fans around then, I read a bunch. It’s also reminding me of a simpler time of comics retail, when I was just a teen, or barely out of my teens, manning a register and shuffling around comics and, okay, it’s not that different from what I do now, but I’m also paying the bills and placing the orders and just plain keeping the doors open. Not like back then, when I just had to focus on ringing up custmers and talking about comics and reading comics without also worrying about owning an actual business. I miss those days sometimes…but overall, I prefer what I’m doing now.

And if your favorite run is the John Harkness one…hey, let your freak flag fly, man.

§ March 27th, 2019 § Filed under this week's comics § 6 Comments

(SPOILERS ahead for the very few comics I’ve managed to read this week)


So while overall I’m liking the Bendis run on the Superman comics, there are always some little details, some minor quirks, in most issues that have me wondering. We haven’t had an explanation for the whole “cousinsister” reference to Supergirl yet (aside from “editing error,” though I’m still leaning toward “representation of a translation quirk from an alien language, even though it’s the only example in this character’s dialogue.”

But overall it’s nice to have a mostly consistent look, feel, and voice to the Superman books again…it may not be a voice you like, or are still getting used to, but I think there’s enough of interest here to keep me reading. Let’s get into this issue’s quirk, though, where Lois Lane just full-on says to Superman “hi, honey” right in front of Jimmy Olsen. I thought for a second “wait, does Jimmy know Superman is Clark? Did that carry over from the New 52 version?” but no, not long after it seems to be made very explicitly that Jimmy does not know the secret.

Sure, there are explanations…Jimmy wasn’t paying attention, or (as was suggested to me on the Twitters) he ain’t the brightest bulb and didn’t put two-and-two together, or maybe Lois just calls everyone “honey,” even though we’ve never seen her do that, but maybe she does it a lot off-panel. Who knows…or maybe Bendis is putting down the groundwork for some future plot twist. YOU NEVER KNOW


A surprising callback to the John Byrne-era FF in this issue…I think more ties to the Byrne issues would probably be to the benefit of the book, which, don’t get me wrong, is already pretty good. I mean, okay, the Byrne run was itself callbacks to the Kirby era, but having these ties to some of the pieces of FF lore introduced by Byrne (such as the return of his version of Ben’s Aunt Petunia) adds a little sense of history to the proceedings for those of us who have been reading comics for too long.

Also, so far, the new run of the FF avoids the usually Fantastic Four plots (as most recently discussed on this War Rocket Ajax episode), like “Johnny has to grow up,” that sort of thing. It seems sort of inherent in the FF comic that there’ll be recycling of elements (it’s not an FF comic ’til Doctor Doom and Galactus show up, as they have) but there feels like enough forward progression that we’re not just going over the same old ground again. Or, at least, there are new and different things being done with the characters, which is not easy after 1) what, six decades, and 2) following Lee & Kirby (and Byrne, and Simonson, and whoever your favorite FF team is).

In conclusion: it’s nice to have the Fantastic Four back on the stands. And even nicer…it’s still maintaining its sales levels for me at the shop!


Not 100% certain what’s going on here…I get the general gist of it, but I’m not sure we needed nine issues (expanded from eight) to get through it all, especially with some parts of the series “running in place” much like chunks of Doomsday Clock. Speaking of which, it feels like having this series and the Watchmen event is about one event too many, covering tonally similar ground. That said, I do like having a a Booster Gold-centric event series, here in the Year of Our Lord 2019, and this issue does have a good character bit for him (shared with Harley Quinn), And some time travel shenanigans begin to creep in, which is only natural, because, hey, Booster Gold. Just kinda wish getting to this point covered a fewer number of pages.


Haven’t read it yet, but amongst the cornucopia of variant covers for this special 800th issue, I finally, after much deliberation and the hemming and the hawing, decided upon the above. Oh Frank Miller, you’ve done it again!

Of course, with all this hoohar about issue #1000, what will they do for Detective #1027, the one thousandth appearance of Batman in this series (more or less, aside from issues #0 and #1,000,000, of course). I vote “embedded sound chip in the cover” which says “I’M BATMAN” or “na na na na na na Batman!” or “hey kid, this ain’t a library.”

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