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A correction.

§ March 28th, 2022 § Filed under turok § 17 Comments

So a long time ago on this site, during one of my several discussions of Valiant’s Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and how it tied into the 1990s comics crash, I opined that one of the reasons for its relative sales failure (relative to its massively excessive orders, I mean) was that the promised fancy cover wasn’t exactly what people were expecting. To be fair to myself, I did admit that I wasn’t sure that a full chromium cover was promised, but at the time of my writing that particular blog entry, I had no access to the original solicitation information.

I did try to track it down, here and there…some random Googling, that sort of thing. And I did try checking Diamond Comic Distributor’s own database, but “early to mid-ish 1990s” was an ask too great for any digital information on the title to be retained there.

Anyway, I took some grief over my assertion that Turok #1 may have been originally solicited with a full chromium cover, and not the cover we eventually did get, as shown here with a brand new scan of my actual personal copy obtained back in 1993:

…which has a chromium “card” glued to the front of an embossed cover.

Now, I’d brought this up again in 2016, where I was a little more willing to admit that I wasn’t sure. And that’s where things had remained, until the other day when I had my box of Turoks out (both the Dell/Gold Key series and the Valiant series), which got me to thinking about it again. But this time, I knew folks who might have access to the solicitations from the period.

For a while now, I’ve been listening to the Longbox Heroes podcast, by Twitter pals Todd and Joe. In their spinoff podcast “Previewing the Past,” available on via their very-affordable Patreon — I joined, won’t you? — they examine Diamond Previews catalogues of yesteryear. They’re up to early 1992, but after a quick inquiry to these fine gentlemen, they were good enough to jump ahead and find that very Turok #1 solicit I’d been seeking all these years.

So here it is, page 164 of the February 1993 Diamond Previews, with the item of interest:

No, no, not The Pearl: Lady Pokingham:

…but Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1:

Well, okay, fine I was wrong. The ad does explicitly mention that the Turok cover would the same as the Bloodshot #1:

…which also had the chromium card pasted on. But for anyone reading the solicit cold, not knowing what the then-new Bloodshot #1 looked like (possible, given thatBloodshot was out the same month orders for Turok #1 were due), it’s very possible some customers were at least somewhat anticipating a full-size chromium image, as I mentioned in that long-ago post.

Yes, I’m trying to soften the blow a bit for myself. “I didn’t screw up that badly!”

What I do find interesting in the text of the solicit is the warning that “this issue will be printed to order — it will not be allocated….” As we all know, there didn’t seem to be any problem with stores gettin’ enough.. If there was allocation, given the numbers in which this comic was ordered it would have been probably something like “ordered 3,000; allocated only 2,750.” That allocation warning probably also contributed to the vast overordering of this comic…retailers bumping up their initial numbers just in case they did get allocated…shades of the recent JLA/Avengers TPB hoohar.

So there we go, a longtime itch finally scratched, thanks to the good folks over at Longbox Heroes.

So it was probably about time to add a “Turok” category to my site.

§ September 19th, 2016 § Filed under retailing, turok § 5 Comments

Because you demanded it…TUROK DINOSAUR HUNTER FOLLOW-UP:

So after my post on Friday, I was going through a bunch of boxes at home and found my stash of planned eBay fodder that predated opening my store. In that box was my personal collection of the Valiant Comics Turok run, up through about issue 30. I think that was about the time I’d stopped reading Valiant Comics anyway, after losing interest in what had been an entertaining/exciting line of shared universe books, but that’s probably a subject for another post. But I still have my very own copy of the embossed foil chromium-carded cover, which I’m oddly pleased by.

Speaking of which, Aaron said in response to Friday’s post:

“Pretty sure it was solicited as a chromium cover similar to Bloodshot #1 which also was basically just a glued on card. The solicits made a huge deal about X-O Manowar #0 being a full chromium wraparound cover which was way better (and cooler) than either the Bloodshot or Turok…”

That sounds likely. I mean, it’s possible it was originally solicited one way but released as we know it if it turned out the full chromium cover wasn’t feasible. But, if that happened, that would have been a pretty big deal, I’d imagine, and a sizeable egg in Valiant’s face that would have been noted somewhere in something more Google-able than anything I’m finding now.

Jer said:

“So Turok #1 goes for $2.25 these days, huh? It used to be one of the comics that I would regularly see in large blocks in dollar bins – just sitting there sadly hoping some child would pay a dollar for the shiny cover.”

Well, that particular copy in the shape that it’s in, I have priced at $2.25. I think it guides for…$4, maybe? Now at the previous place of employment, we had…more than plenty, shall we say, so we thought nothing of dumping ’em in the old bargain bin. Okay, maybe not “nothing” — I’m sure we sighed a little as we tossed in there alongside Wolfpacks and Semper Fis — but their familiarity in the storage room bred some contempt out in the front of the shop, so away they went, hoping someone would take pity on us and haul them away a copy at a time.

At my shop, I think I have just that one copy currently in stock. And I’ve sold a few since opening, none of which were out of the bargain bin. Twenty-something years on, it may not necessarily be as widely available as it once was. Stores that were around then that are still around now are few and far between, and stocks from old now-closed shops may be languishing in garages or storage units or landfills somewhere, effectively off the market. I mean, this is just me throwing a wild guess out there — you know where to debate me — but barring warehouse finds (or an E.T. Atari game-style archeological dig) newer stores, like mine, probably won’t have Turok #1s in depth. And like I said in that post on my store site, fancy covers are getting rediscovered by newer generations who weren’t made sick of them back in the ’90s, so there is a market slowly building for them again!

Wayne answers my question about what was under that chromium card on Turok‘s cover:

“…It was just blank white space beneath the glued on chromium. I’d forgotten about how many issues of this comic our store had left over. Our real death knell came when the four different covers for DEATHMATE came out.”

Thanks for that info, Wayne! And as for the overstock on Turok, a look back at my review of the animated Turok movie reminded me that in the extra feature, it was revealed that 1.7 million copies were shipped to stores. So, yeah, like i said in answer to the previous question, they’re likely out there, somewhere, waiting for their moment to strike, but as for now they’re probably not as widespread as they used to be. There are some larger shops still around now that were around back then, who may have Turok wings in their storage buildings, but like I said, newer shops may not have built up a stock on these yet. (As opposed to the 1992 X-Men #1, where I haven’t been actively buying them and yet I seem to have, out of nowhere, built up a pretty good supply of them, somehow.)

There’s also the “SHAZAM! Effect,” as described here in yet another post where I talk about Turok #1, where copies are dumped in bargain bins and generally mistreated for decades when suddenly, whoops, near mint copies are suddenly hard to find now. Okay, 1.7 million copies are quite a few to work through, but there may be a point, someday, where nice copies of this comic are the exception, not the norm. We may all be giant-headed cyborgs with spindly bodies in floating chairs by then, but, you know, it’s theoretically possible.

One other thing that can contribute to the attrition of nice copies of this comic (or any popular, way overprinted comic of the ’90s) came up in a Twitter chat I was having with pal Brandon. He was asking about the black-bagged Superman #75, and I noted that while there were a lot of copies sold of this, it seems like a lot of the copies I’ve seen come through the shop over the years were not kept in any kind of decent condition. This happens a lot: I direct you to this (gasp) 10-year-old post about an attempted investment collection where said investor did nothing to protect this investment. A lot of the people who bought comics in the ’90s are not buying comics now, and their collections have largely been discarded, shoved away in the garage, or otherwise no longer being stored properly since their owners have lost interest. A good portion of collections I see from this era are just straight-up unsellable. You’d think with all the bags and boards and top-loaders and high-end fancy-pants protectors we sold throughout the decade, more comics would have survived the trip.

Just to be clear: I don’t think near mint copies of Turok Dinosaur Hunter #1 are rare in the slightest. But they may not be as easy to find as they once were.

As for Deathmate…man, I may have to gather my thoughts on that turkey for future discussion, but I think it’s cute how hard folks tried to make Deathmate: Black a hot comic because Gen13 made an early appearance in it. Frankly, I think even typing the word “Deathmate” made all comics in my immediate area lose 20% of their value.

If my cunning scheme works, I’ll pull in a whole $2.25 on this comic.

§ September 16th, 2016 § Filed under self-promotion, sterling silver comics, turok § 3 Comments

So I decided to put more of my hard-earned blogging skills to use and start a new feature on my store’s website: Back Issue of the Week. Now, I don’t expect to be quite so verbose in future installments, but I certainly picked a comic with a lot of historical industry significance behind it that needed some ‘splaining. I tried really hard to not go too heavy on the “remember when the comics business was really dire?” aspects of it since, you know, it is a store webpage and I want people to be happy and want to buy comics. But on the other hand, a little history lesson about a bit of the comics industry that a significant percentage of my customer base isn’t even old enough to remember might not be unwelcome.

Plus, that particular comic is pretty neat-looking, and, believe it or not, still sells. They keep showing up in collections, I keep buying them, and they keep selling. Whether it’s the persistent Valiant back issue market that’s been kind of lurking in the background ever since Valiant Version One went away*, or it’s the fact that (as noted in my store post) people are snapping up gimmick-covered comics again as interesting novelties…whatever the reason, they’re still moving.

One question I still have about that issue of Turok, and one I brought up before on this site, years ago, is whether or not it was originally solicited as having a full chromium cover, instead of just the glued-on chromium card. I have a vague memory that this was the case, though when I last mentioned it someone dropped into the comments and basically said I was a dummy for even thinking it, of course it wasn’t originally solicited with a full chromium cover. I remain unconvinced, though the fact that if such a change was made at the last second, this issue would have been made returnable…unless the change was announced way ahead of time and we were given opportunity to alter our orders, and we didn’t. Anyway, I don’t have access to the 23+ year-old appropriate distributor materials from which I may glean this information, so What Can You Do?

Another question I had, and one I was very tempted to determine for myself: is there anything under that chromium sheet? Is it just a blank rectangle, like I suspect, or is the border image continued beneath, just unembossed? Will it be the same poisonous and/or explosive material we were told we’d find at the center of a golf ball? One of these days I’ll get a crummy, unsellable copy of this comic in and I’ll find out for myself.

Anyway, enough about me, here’s more about me: I once again contributed to the Trouble with Comics Question Time, this time addressing “Comic Numbering: Is It Good? Should It Be Replaced?? Let’s Find Out!” You won’t be surprised to discover that I just go on and on and on.

* I’m considering the Nintendo comics-era Valiant to be Version Zero.

There’s gold in them thar funnybooks.

§ July 9th, 2012 § Filed under collecting, market crash, retailing, turok, valiant § 9 Comments

While the Valiant Comics collectability heyday of the 1990s is now a distant memory, along with most collectability of ’90s comics for that matter, there still remains some market desirability for certain Valiant releases: the early “pre-Unity” issues (Unity being Valiant’s line-wide crossover event series), the last issues of some of their series (with their smaller print runs, you see), the early video game comics (Captain N, Super Mario Bros.), some of the #0s and mail-away/promo books, and the gold logo/gold foil variants of some of their regular issues.

Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about how these gold variants were distributed to retailers…I don’t think it was like how variants are doled out by the big publishers today, where you get one special variant for every 10, 25, 100, whatever regular covers you ordered. I suspect, at least in some cases, that the gold editions were just mailed out to retailers for us to do with as we wish. In any case, in recent years these gold variants have been selling for a pretty penny on the eBay, and the few we’ve acquired in collections over the last few years turned over some sizable profit via the online auctions.

However, I suspect we may experience where the line is drawn vis-à-vis Valiant gold-logo collectability with this recently-acquired golden edition:

It’s probably a bit hard to tell, but that’s a gold corner box and a gold foil logo on that Turok #1. Now, as I’ve written before, Turok #1 was, if not a cause, at least one of the primary symptoms of the ’90s market crash. Hot collectable company produces what should be a hot collectable #1, every retailer on the planet orders a royal assload of said #1, #1 comes out, nobody cares. So all those retailers end up with a huge ol’ turkey that they try to blow out in their bargain bins in the subsequent decade or two since.

Now, it’s possible that someday we’ll experience the Shazam! effect, where the greatly-anticipated release of Shazam! #1 in 1973 resulted in a huge abundance of that comic in the marketplace, with many copies going straight to quarter boxes. There they sat, thumbed over and exposed to the elements, until suddenly…oh, hey, it’s awfully hard to find mint copies of that comic nowadays, and now price guides have mint copies of Shazam #1 at, I don’t know, $40, $60 maybe? I don’t have my guide in front of me, but you get the idea. But if that happens to Turok #1, ever, it may not be until after I’m long dead, so, you know, in ten years or so. But basically what I’m saying is that Turok #1 is not seen as a desirable collectable by pretty much anyone, and I suspect even having a gold logo may not make that much of a difference. This site, which has been monitoring online Valiant sales, notes the market value at about $12, but ain’t too bad, I guess, but not really a patch on some of the money we’ve made on other gold Valiant variants.

But still, that gold edition Turok is nice-looking. And I do like Turok comics. Maybe I’ll just keep it.

Speaking of gold editions…this strictly isn’t just a variant, as such:

…but a second printing, which DC indicated by changing the frame of the cover from the first printing’s dark blue to this printing’s gold adding a gold border (thanks, Old Bull Lee!). Mostly I was just going to bring up the fact that Deathstroke, at one point in history, was popular enough in his own title (due in part to a brief renaissance of the Teen Titans franchise at the time) to warrant a second printing for his first issue, but then, oh yeah, it happened twice.

Turok creates the prototype for Green Arrow’s boxing glove arrows.

§ May 11th, 2009 § Filed under turok Comments Off on Turok creates the prototype for Green Arrow’s boxing glove arrows.

from Turok Son of Stone #99 (September 1975)

And now…

§ November 8th, 2008 § Filed under turok Comments Off on And now…

…a few words from Turok #115 (May 1978):

Thank you.

The Turok Son of Stone DVD.

§ February 25th, 2008 § Filed under turok Comments Off on The Turok Son of Stone DVD.

So I watched the Turok Son of Stone direct-to-DVD cartoon over the weekend, and…well, overall I enjoyed it, though it’s a bit different in tone from the comics I grew up with.

For one, Turok is a lot more angry and violent and moody in the cartoon than he ever was in the original Dell/Gold Key comics. There’s a whole lot of him in the cartoon lookin’ like this:

In the comics, Turok was more of a rational father figure to his young companion Andar, attempting to teach by example, and often presented as a civilized counter to the savage Lost Land and its primitive inhabitants. However, in the movie, Turok is…well, I already said. “Angry and violent and moody” – cast out from his tribe, nearly everyone he loves dies, etc., so I guess he’s got good reason to be a bit on the miffed side.

And did I say violent? There is a surprising amount of blood and violence in this cartoon, with lots of graphically depicted knifes in chests, spears through bodies, gunshots to stomachs, the occasional head and limb flying here and there. To wit:

Which, for some odd reason, reminded me of an Eternal Warrior cover (issue #35) from later Turok-publisher Valiant Comics:

Yeah, that’s the comic that came with the “protective” white wraparound cover warning of the “graphic image” hidden therein. Yeah, we all thought it was dumb then, too.

Er, anyway, back to the Turok movie. On the good side, once the gang is in the Lost Valley, there is plenty of Turok-fightin’-dinosaurs action. For example, AXE TO THE HEAD:

And there’s a nice sequence with Turok fighting a bunch of these critters, though realistically that arm would have been yanked right out of that socket, there:

Yeah, I’m demanding realism from my “Indians fighting dinosaurs” movie.

One minor complaint — at no point does anyone refer to a dinosaur as a “honker.”

On second thought, maybe that was a good thing.

Also included on the disc is a 20-minute documentary giving an overview of the character’s history, focusing mostly on the comics and cast/crew interviews for the film, with only passing mention of the video games. At one point it is mentioned, with a straight face, that the first Valiant Comics issue of Turok sold 1.7 million copies, leaving unmentioned that many of those copies ended up unsold and dumped in bargain bins, as the comic was over-ordered for an investor market that had mostly abandoned Valiant by that point. Or maybe is was mentioned…there were plenty of obvious edits in the interviews. But there’s a lot of talk about the origins of the character, with several contributions by comics writer/historian Mark Evanier, and there are even a few words from the Native American advisor on the film, who made sure the costumes and weapons were reasonably correct.

Overall, I did like the cartoon…it packs a lot of action into a fairly short runtime (about an hour and a quarter), and while the plot holds no real surprises, it all moves along entertainingly enough. And while this is not quite the original Turok character, there are several undeniably cool moments of Turok-vs.-dinosaur badassery. Older Turok fans may be taken aback a bit at the amount of blood splashing around, and you may want to screen it first before unleashing it on any kids. But, if you’re an older kid, and if you’re an old Turok fan who can handle some minor adjustments to the premise, give it a shot. At least a rental, or, ahem:

Turok: Son of Stone trailer.

§ December 27th, 2007 § Filed under turok Comments Off on Turok: Son of Stone trailer.

(thanks to my Canadian twin for pointing it out)

This just kinda snuck up on me…I wasn’t aware this was even happening, but apparently it’s a real project. Huh.

Some YouTube commenters only appear familiar with the video game/Valiant-era versions of the character:

“Many people assume Turok started out as a videogame, but in actuality it was comic book series that was very bloody and gory.”

“Everything looks great, except Turok’s voice sounds nothing like what it sounded like in the game.”

I like this comment the best:

I can’t wait!!!!
I don’t mind iff there’s no Futuristic weapons or that, but The only thing I’d comment on is that when the guy says ‘I am Turok’ It doesn’t sound the best.
Other than that, It looks ausome!!!”

Well said!

Three reasons Turok, Son of Stone, is cool.

§ May 3rd, 2007 § Filed under turok Comments Off on Three reasons Turok, Son of Stone, is cool.




More crash talk.

§ September 13th, 2005 § Filed under market crash, turok Comments Off on More crash talk.

So my insanely rambling post yesterday regarding the comic market crash, a couple commenters noted that Superman #75, the infamous “Death of Superman” issue, and Turok #1, the infamous “didn’t sell like we were all expecting it to” issue, may have come out on the same day. That is very possible…I don’t have my invoices handy to confirm, but it wouldn’t be the only time one enormously red-hot comic’s sales affected the sales of yet another allegedly-hot funnybook released at the same time. The first Aliens Vs. Predator comic, which seemed to have a lot of customers anticipating its release, came out at the same time as another “hot” comic (I believe it was Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1) and it just sat there, warming the shelf, looking at me with its sad, puppy-dog eyes, asking “why doesn’t anybody wwwove me?” Of course, I seem to remember that green logo on an orange background cover not standing out at all on the comics rack.

Honestly, I don’t know why that would be…why buying one “hot” comic would preclude buying another. I think in the two cases above it may be just due to the huge amount of real-world press one book got, over the limited fan-press coverage the other received…but who knows.

Commenters suggested some other books that may have contributed to the comics market crash…one in particular is Deathmate, which I’m surprised I forgot about. Well, maybe I was just trying to forget about it, since, yeah, it was another one of those books that seemed like it was going to sell like gangbusters, and ended up becoming bargain box fodder. It was a limited series, with the issues indicated by cover color rather than issue number, teaming up the Valiant Comics universe with the Image Comics universe. The two hottest comic companies, teaming up for a mini-series? How could this not sell well?

Well, first, people were disappointed that McFarlane’s Spawn wasn’t involved, Second, as noted in the link, the Image-produced half of the series was enormously late (I believe that Rob Liefeld’s Deathmate Red was the most infamously delayed), killing any momentum the series may have had. Third, it wasn’t any damned good, though I realize that’s hardly a detriment to many a popular comic book series. For a very brief period of time, back when people still cared about Image’s Gen 13, people were looking for their appearance in Deathmate Black, but that demand dried up right quick.

Another popular choice was X-Men #1, which had five different covers, the first four forming one large image, and the fifth cover combining all four of the previous covers. The variants were released one a week for five weeks…it did sell enormously well, but many retailers ordered far too many, and it remains one of the most common comics of recent memory. If I remember correctly, we actually ordered pretty well on these and didn’t get stuck with too many left over.

Commenter Jim notes that Pitt #1 was a contender. I know that some stores had far too many of this particular issue, but we actually did okay with it…we ordered a case of the things, and they blew out the door. Lots of multiple copy sales as well, though (and I think some of you are beginning to recognize that this is a common story from this period) investors started to see that a lot of the new comics they were buying were in no small supply, and thus had no “collectible” value.

Commenter Michael brings up the Spider-Man Clone Saga, which I always saw as mostly a Spider-Man killer rather than a comics market killer, though driving people away from the Spider-Man books surely wasn’t good for the health of the industry as a whole (or, at least, for Marvel). As generally reviled as the Clone Saga was, what people tend to forget is that at first, the clone storyline sold enormously well. It was just when Marvel took a storyline that should have lasted six months, tops, and stretched it out for a couple years that the damage was done. And that damage stuck, crippling the Spider-books until Marvel finally shored up sales with the “stunt-casting” of J. Michael Straczynski as the Amazing Spider-Man writer. There’s some small bit of irony in the fact that today’s kids are fascinated with the Clone Saga issues, and snap ’em up like crazy. They also like the 300 different series starring Venom. Go figure.

Commenter Thorpe mentions Triumphant Comics, which I was actually talking to Kid Chris about on Sunday (though I think I kept referring to them as Chromium Comics, for some reason…they might as well have been). Each comic individually serial-numbered…as Mad Magazine used to say on their serial-numbered mags, “collect them all, kids!” I haven’t actually cracked open a cover on one of these things in years, but I seem to recall that they were uniformly terrible, and that they didn’t sell at all on the racks.

RobB brings up Wizard, which certainly encouraged the speculator mentality that drove the comics boom ‘n’ bust. I think my favorite part of the mag was when they’d list all the new #1 issues coming out for a certain month, with a notation that “first issues can sometimes go up in price” (or words to that effect). I think it was Gary Groth in an issue of The Comics Journal that described Wizard as a magazine that “tells you the price of everything, and the value of nothing,” which I thought was a nice turn of phrase, there. (EDIT: I’ve since been informed that Groth was apparently paraphrasing Oscar Wilde. I probably should have known that. Ah, well.)

In other news:

You know, the earlier Valiant superhero comics were actually pretty good…the first ten issues of Solar still hold up, and Barry Windsor-Smith’s run on Archer & Armstong is quirky fun. And, as far as company-wide crossovers go, Unity was fairly entertaining. You can read more about this company at the mindbogglingly-comprehensive Valiant Comics site.

Oh for pete’s sake, if you’re gonna cut ‘n’ paste a whole section of one of my posts, at least link back to my site! I mean, link back to my site in a way other than directly hotlinking my images. (At least the guy said he found it, rather than claiming he wrote it himself like some people have done.)