More pictures next time, I promise.

§ November 15th, 2021 § Filed under variant covers § 3 Comments

So this week’s installment of variant cover-age is going to be just a little different. I know I said I was going to take a look at the various New 52 variant covers DC started using to shore up sales once the initial excitement for the new publishing strategy ebbed away.

But more on that later. What I want to touch upon here is the recent report that direct market comic sales in the U.S. are on their way up. A friend (who now has a suspended account there due to stupid reasons involving Twitter’s algorithms) responded on the Twitter thread there asking about the impact of variant covers on that increase, and the response was that the inflated prices on variant covers were not considered, only cover prices on all releases.

Which is fine, of course, those shouldn’t be considered. But there is something to be said about variant covers boosting the amount of money retailers spend on new comic product. I tried to argue the point in that thread, but Twitter’s not a platform for nuance, and things kept getting off track, so let me try again here.

As I’ve mentioned many a time in this ongoing series of variant cover posts (running three-quarters of the year now!), variants exist to improve sales. On the retail end, they offer varying images to appeal to a wider range of customers…if they don’t like one cover, maybe they’ll find the other appealling. Or, more cynically, it’s a way to get a customer to double/triple/quattuorvigintuple-dip and buy more than one cover of the same comic. Or, of course, if it’s a “rare”-ish variant, you can charge a premium price.

What the main focus here, though, is what retailers are buying, and how variant covers can affect those purchasing decisions.

As you may have noticed, or at least noticed me taking about, the collector/speculator demand increasing over the last couple of years. I won’t try to go into the reasons why here (aside from noting that it’s seemingly connected to everyone being stuck at home during peak pandemic times). Demand for anything that even smells of eBay flipability just shot through the roof (which I don’t need as frankly my shop’s had enough roof problems lately). Mostly it’s focused on ’60s Marvel, which is red hot, and the mercurial demand for comics that have even the slightest, and occasionally even spurious, tie-ins to events in the many Marvel TV shows and movies. And don’t even get me started about everyone looking for this comic featuring a character named “Corona.”

Anyway, increased demand from consumers will trigger increased ordering from retailers…and when a portion of that demand is coming from speculators, the temptation is there to go after the manufactured rarity of the ratio variants. You know, where for every 25, or 50, or 200 of something you order, you can order one copy of a special cover.

The argument I was making in the Twitter thread was solely this: an increased incidence of retailers bumping up orders to get ratio variants is a contributor to the overall increase in the direct market. How many times have I been near one of the ratio plateaus when ordering a book, and decided “ah, I’ll get the [x] number of extra copies to get that variant.” And I’m sure I’m not the only one. And with the increase in speculation, the temptation to bump those orders up only increases. Instead of only bumping up, say, three or four copies to get that variant, maybe you’re getting an extra ten since you’re sure whatever you charge on it and sell it for will more than make up for the additional copies.

The specific example I used in that thread was King Spawn #1. Now, I’m just a little ol’ rinky-dink shop. I don’t sell a lot of Spawn normally. I did order a larger-than-normal amount of King Spawn #1 (and the other new Spawn books) because interest seemed to be high in them. But there’s no way, under normal circumstances, I would sell anywhere close to 250 copies, which is what you had to order to get the 1/250 variant cover signed by Todd McFarlane his own self.

As it turned out, I had a customer who really wanted that signed King Spawn, so the amount he prepaid for it essentially covered the the extra expenditure I had to make ordering additional copies of that #1 to get that comic for him. The end result is that I have a boatload of regular King Spawn #1s that I can afford to sell at a special discounted price of a whole 99 cents, to the delight and occasional alarm of my customers.

But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that I ordered waaaay above and beyond what I normally would have ordered of King Spawn #1, for the sake of a variant. That is absolutely, 100% a case of a variant impacting the direct market’s increase in money spent on product. And certainly more retailers ordered 250, or multiples of 250, of that comic in order to get the autograph, even if expected rack sales where nowhere close to what they received.

And yes, that King Spawn stuff all happened this year, and thus not part of the market report, but it simply writ large the sort of impact variants can have on overall sales. It’s easier to see the effect with King Spawn, versus trying to determine how many retailers added a couple of copies here and there to reach much lower ratio variant order plateaus.

On top of that, there are of course the “free-to-order” variants, where you’re second guessing demand on specific covers. Which is hard to do, as Artist [A]’s variant may have been the Hot One on a book last month, but may no longer be the in thing when Artist [A]’s cover for the next book shows up. Plus when there are a lot of variants, you don’t want to miss out on the one people are looking for, so sometimes you perhaps order more than you would have if there was just the one cover. There were cases in the last year or two where Marvel put out comics with literally more variant covers than copies I expected to sell at the shop (cough Eternals #1 cough). For titles like that I certainly didn’t order every cover…but I probably ordered more than I ordinarily would have anyway.

Also there’s ordering extra copies of each variant to accommodate the customers who want more than one cover for the same comic. Another case of the variant boosting sales…especially in the current marketplace, where some customers want every version of each new hot book that comes along.

And really, that’s the only point I was trying to make. The increase in the comics market was contributed to by the presence of variant covers. As I admit in that Twitter thread, I don’t know how much of an impact variants had, but it definitely wasn’t “none.” Again, not talking premium pricing or what have you, just literally sheer numbers of units shipped from distributors to retailers. Seems self evident, but didn’t stop me from going on about it for over 1100 words, did it?

Okay, next time, back to just plain ol’ “lookit dese variant covers.” Thanks for reading, pals.

What? Throw something away? BITE YOUR TONGUE.

§ November 12th, 2021 § Filed under retailing § 5 Comments

So I’ll hopefully be back to business as usual on the site next week, when I will have a new variant cover-age post and get back to answering more of your questions. In the meantime, though, lookit this thing I found in my stack of old CD-ROMs:


This is a disc, provided by Diamond Comic Distributors in 1999, featuring thousands of images of products then in their Star System reorder catalog.

I don’t recall why I have it in my evil clutches specifically, other than perhaps to use some of the pics on the website for my previous place of employment. Which is, I think, one of the reasons why the disc was made in the first place. Also, I think it was to provide easy reference to the items available back in those pre-broadband days for anyone not wanting to dial up their internets and wait for the pixels to gradually load.

Some of the files are pretty good size…this is the actual size of the largest file on the disc (324kb):

And this is the smallest-sized file of an actual product, at 14kb (there is one smaller file at 13kb, but it’s for retailer cycle sheets):

While probably fine for whatever purposes they were put to at the time, most of the images on the disc are too small for modern purposes, beyond perhaps just providing tiny thumbnail pics for an online catalogue or some such.

It is kinda neat just to open some of the images at random to see what products they reveal. I remember most of what I’ve found, even some of the old gaming and anime stuff, but I’ll occasionally come across some item forgotten in the mists of time:

Or some book I wish was still in print:

Or some book I really wish was still in print:

Anyway, I’ll poke through it some more and see if I can find any surprises. Like this Sandman statue:


Boy, I bet I could still sell those.

You know what the Diamond Comics BBS needed? “Tradewars 2002.”

§ November 10th, 2021 § Filed under retailing § 1 Comment

As you probably heard, the computer system for Diamond Comic Distributors was taken down by a ransomware attack over the weekend. Diamond’s various online presences started popping back up in various levels of capacity Sunday and Monday, though I was having a problem accessing the retailer site.

Basically, after I heard it was supposed back up, I’d click my menu bar bookmark for the retailer site, only to have the browser think for a bit before sending back this message:

I’d confer with other retailers, in state and out, asking them if the website was coming up for them. “Oh sure,” they said. Confounding me further was that I could call up the site on my phone, which is how I ended up doing the weekly final order adjustments before the deadline. And believe me, filling out the online order forms on the phone was no fun…and with the monthly order due in a couple of weeks, there’s no way I wanted to have to repeat the process with that.

So I tried multiple browsers, clearing caches again and again. I tried multiple operating systems, Windows at work, Mac at home. No dice. I fiddled with DNS settings, and no go. I was beginning to wonder if my internet provided (the same in both locations) had noticed something fishy was going on at Diamond and just shut off access to them completely as a safety measure.

It wasn’t until Monday morning, when I called the Diamond service number to find out if there was any way to fix my lack of access, when I heard something the recorded message said. It told me their retailer website “retailerservices.diamondcomics.com” was back up.

Wait, hold on. “Retailerservices?”

For…well, I don’t know how long it’s been, a couple of decades at least. Sometime after we stopped calling into the Diamond Comics BBS to download order forms and stuff. (Remember the Diamond BBS? You do? Hello fellow olds.) The address I always accessed was “retailer.diamondcomics.com.” That was the address I’d been trying to log into for a couple of days now. Always getting that message in the pic I posted above.

Well, Diamond’s phone message said the “retailerservices” site…and lo and behold, I logged in there just fine. And when I double-checked my phone…yes, sure enough, that was the site I was accessing there.

In conclusion, I felt pretty stupid. Apparently Diamond set up “retailerservices.etc” somewhere along the line, but still supported the “retailer.etc” domain. At least, until this ransomware attack hit, and “retailerservices” was restored and the other wasn’t. Sigh.

Poking around the retailer site…some functionality has been restored. I was able to do my final order adjustments as I’d said, and the damge/shortage report form was working as well (y’know, good thing, considering). I placed a reorder, which seemed to have been confirmed (though may take a little longer to ship, more on that in a second). I saw that UPS tracking numbers for shipments hadn’t been updated, and that some data files were unavailable, like the list of the week’s new releases.

But, that’s better than nothing. Plus, Diamond’s “back up” website is up, specifically for news about their operations post-computer disaster. Noted there is that delays have struck shipping to a number of areas due to the hack…my area was not one of them, so all my boxes showed up on time.

I am expecting, though, that without computers and access to invoices and such, next week’s shipment may be an entirely different issue. Since I get my Marvels and DCs from other distributors now, I’ll at least have them on time, but I expect everything else to be late. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Diamond just skipped a week to get everything back in order. Says on that backup site we’ll find out “later in the week,” so I’ll keep my eyes peeled. I’m also sort of wondering if the invoices for next week will be automatically generated sometime thjs Wednesday morning…probably not is my guess.

It’s a good thing we have multiple distributors now, as this could have easily taken down the industry for a while if everyone’s eggs were in the same basket. We’ll just see how things go next week…may just have to settle for a new DC Tuesday, new Marvel Wednesday, and a new Everything Else…whenever they can get it to me.

My apologies…

§ November 8th, 2021 § Filed under stan the man § No Comments

…but due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn’t have time to produce a proper post for today. I do have more variant cover-age Monday posts to come, don’t worry about that. I’ll pick the series up again next Monday, and I should have normal posting here the rest of the week. In the meantime, please enjoy this video footage from the 1976 Marvel Con, featuring some prime Stan Lee, along with appearances by John Buscema, Roy Thomas and Archie Goodwin, plus other fun stuff:

Presumably this counts as “Man vs. Nature.”

§ November 5th, 2021 § Filed under golden age, sterling silver comics, superman § 7 Comments


Found this panel while reading some Golden Age Superman books on the DC Universe Infinite app, and the casualness of the caption box made me laugh. Written by Jerry Siegel, art credited to Joe Shuster but actually drawn by Paul Cassidy, the story featured Superman taking on a hypnotist who, at one point, puts the whammy on the Man of Steel. Hence, his awkward charging through a tree…not on purpose, I promise you. (From Action Comics #25, June 1940.)

• • •

Just an additional note letting you know that today is the 7th anniversary of the opening of my comic book store Sterling Silver Comics. Since I’ve been in the comics retail business for 33 years, that means I’ve done around 21% of it on my own. Here’s to seeing that percentage grow. And thanks to all of you for your years of support. It’s much appreciated.

Here’s the post where I first announced my plans. And here’s the post where I reported on my opening day! (Boy, my store is a lot more full now than it was then.)

Strong to the finich.

§ November 3rd, 2021 § Filed under question time § 14 Comments

You probably thought I forgot about your questions! Let’s jump back into a couple of them!

King of the Moon declares

“How often does Olive Oyl slip some spinach into a dish on date night?”

First, how very dare you. Second, given all documented evidence, Popeye’s strength and stamina are increased by the swallowing (if not the digestion, since there’s barely time) of spinach, As such, I suspect the temptation on Olive’s part is not insignificant. However, one should refer to Larry Niven’s famous essay about Superman’s theoretical existence as a sexual being, “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex,” for the potential danger to Ms. Oyl, despite the astounding amount of resilience she’s shown over the decades.

• • •

Walaka of Earth 2 crosses the dimensional barrier to ask

“Mike, what’s the best way for someone who is a wait-for-the-trade type to work with their retailer to get the books they want? Sometimes I see a first issue, and know I am not going to buy the monthlies, but really want to get the trade when it comes out. Is there a way to do a not-published-yet pull slist or something?”

Well, the way it’s always worked with me is…just ask! If it’s something that’s eventually coming in the not too distant future, or even the not-not too distant future, let me know and I’ll put it in my pull list file. And if I need to, I’ll make sure to make a note to order the thing in case it’s not already in whatever distributor’s system from which I need to obtain it.

Now that’s just me, and I’m very simplistic in my technological solutions…some stores have more elaborate systems in place that probably make the process even easier. But the upshot is…there should be literally no problem.

• • •

JohnJ jingleheimers the following schmidt

“Mike, Do you have a wish-list of a few titles from the 50s-60s that you’d like to see reprinted but don’t think either of the Big Two will ever actually publish?”

Since you specify the Big Two, Marbles and Duh-C, I’ll stick to titles from them, and friend, number one with a bullet on my list is this comic book series right here:


Okay, that’s a little later in the run, where things went…off the rails a bit, but still absolutely wonderful. The earlier issues were a little more what you’d expect from a comic starring Ol’ Ski Nose:


I want them all. In freshly-scanned and recolored oversized hardcover volumes. I know due to licensing reasons and, well, potential audience (are there enough weirdos like me out there to justify the cost of any reprinting, much less a refurbished one like I’m asking?) I don’t think we’re ever seeing it again. And to think…at the previous place of employment we actually had an Adventures of Bob Hope #1 just sittin’ in the case forever. I coulda started my collection there! Anyway, it’d be great to have these and the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis book in print somehow as well.

Another book I’d like see and is also hindered by having been a licensed property, were the Fox and the Crow comics:


…based on a pretty much forgotten series of animated shorts that stopped being produced in 1950. The characters went on a while longer in the funnybook biz, appearing in other anthology titles at DC as well as having their own self-titled series as shown above.

Running as a back-up in later issues of Fox and the Crow were “Stanley and His Monster,” which eventually took over Fox and the Crow as the title characters for the last four issues of the series:


There’s no licensing agreement keeping this from reprinting, as far as I know, but again, demand probably isn’t there. When they had that Phil Foglio mini a couple of decades back, or where they showed up in those Kevin Smith issues of Green Arrow, that would’ve been the time for reprinting. But alas, that window has likely passed.

In addition, I’d like to see reprints of all the Sheldon Mayer stuff…we got that one Sugar and Spike Archives and that was it. But I’d also like to see Three Mouseketeers, Scribbly, all the short funny animal features that popped up here and there.

Okay, that was all DC stuff. I couldn’t really think of an Marvel book I’d like to see collected. Maybe Casey Crime Photographer?


I mean, sure, why not. I mean, aside from also being licensed.

What’s black and white and variant all over?

§ November 1st, 2021 § Filed under dc comics, variant covers § 3 Comments


So it dawned on me that I might be opening up bit of a can of worms here, as DC’s New 52 publishing initiative was rife with variant covers. Initially, I was just going to talk about these black and white variants DC offered early on in the initial months of New 52. Like, for example that Swamp Thing one above, which I removed from the formerly vast Mikester Comic Archives to photograph. (Er, pardon the glare.)

As I recalled, several DC titles around this time had this particular style of variant, taking the regular cover, flipping it on its side and stripping it of its coloring. This Swamp Thing issue (#5, March 2012) was offered in a 1:25 ratio, meaning a retailer would have to buy 25 copies of the main cover to order one of these. …Look, I know most of you know how ratio variants work, but someone reading this might not.

In looking at other DC titles, it appears Batman #5 also had a similar variant, but it was a 1:200 ratio book…which makes sense, since Batman is nearly always a top seller for DC. Aquaman #5’s variant, another 1:25. Same with Superman #5. Even Detective Comics #5 was only 1 in 25.

I’m not going to look up every 5th issue of the initial New 52 series to check the ordering plateaus for these black and white wraparounds (and not all of them had ’em…sorry, Blackhawks #5), but I’m going to hazard a guess and say the main Batman title was the one series with the highest “ask” to get that variant. If I’m wrong, I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

These black and white variants are kinda neat. It’s like you’re getting your own reproduction of the original art, in varying stages of development: fully inked, like on the Swamp Thing cover, or just the pencils, like on that Aquaman cover. Which is nothing particularly new or innovative, as black and white “sketch” covers had been a thing already, but by turning it on its side, wrapping the image around the front and back covers, now it more closely approximates the size of what we generally think of original art pages. (Yes, not exactly, hence my use of the word “approximates.”)

I don’t have specific retail stories about these black and white variants, beyond me unsurprisingly glomming onto the Swamp Thing one as soon as I cracked open the Diamond delivery boxes. But what I do want to talk about is DC’s increasing reliance on variant covers over the history of the New 52’s lifespan, as alternate and gimmick covers were prodcuced to shore up the orders after the initial excitement over the relaunch started to fade away.

Variant covers were there from the very beginning of the New 52, with some titles (like Batman and Superman offering other covers based on your lowest DC order for the week. For example, if your lowest order for a DC title coinciding with Batman‘s release was only 20 copies, then you were limited to 20 copies of that one Batman variant. Thus from the get-go, they weren’t even waiting for numbers to drop. They were trying to get you to order more of a comic in which you didn’t have as much faith so you could get yer mitts on more of that Batman variant. Very sneaky.

And there were more variants than that from launch, especially for Batman, not even counting the variations on the several reprintings for this and other New 52 titles (which, as I said last time, is a little outside the range of this overview). I intend to cover more the DC New 52 variants, making this a bit of a series inside the variant cover-age series already in progress, as it’s clear I’m never going to squeeze all these into one post. I mean, I suppose I could, but I don’t really want to be up ’til 4 AM writing a blog post, like I used to do when I was a young and spritely 34 years of age when I started this site nearly two decades ago.

So hang onto your butts, as this variant ride is going to be taking on the New 52 variants over the next few weeks. I of course reserve the right to interrupt the run with breaking variant news, but we’ll see how it goes.

In no way could this possibly by approved by the Comics Code Authority.

§ October 30th, 2021 § Filed under legion of super-heroes, reader participation § 1 Comment

ProgRuin power reader Paul, inspired by something I said in a recent post, provides us all with a thing that is too beautiful for this world. Thanks, Paul!

In which I finally reach some measure of self-awareness at the end, there.

§ October 29th, 2021 § Filed under justice league, publishing § 8 Comments

So I’ve been using the DC Universe Infinite digital comics service mostly to try to catch up on many of the comics I picked up but couldn’t read during the earlier and particularly bad months of my eyeball issues, when I wasn’t really able to read anything. I’ve also been using to dip a little farther back into DC’s publishing history, reading some Golden Age books, a lot of the earlier Silver Age Green Lantern (boy, does Hal call Tom that name a lot), and finally reading the entirety of Ostrander’s Suicide Squad run (which I missed during its initial publication). And I keep hoping they’ll add more late ’70s/early ’80s Superman comics to the catalog.

Anther purpose to which I’ve put DC Universe is revisiting some old favorites from my youth, my own copies either buried deep in the remainder of the Vast Mikester Comic Archives, or long since tattered into unreadability and discarded. One of those stories was the “Secret Origin of Red Tornado” two-parter that ran in Justice League of America #192 and #193 in 1981, when I was 12 years old.

I pointed out one short sequence in my last post, where I discussed the occasional brief focus of a team book on developing characters that had no other home on that stands. Now granted pretty much the entire focus of this story was on Red Tornado, but you know what I mean. Getting a little character development in for Reddy’s supporting cast because, you know, where else is that going to happen. (At least not until his own mini-series a few years later.)

Another bit of character development for someone who didn’t have his own title (but was featured in a back-up series in another comic at the time) was this, where the Flash admonishes Firestorm for prematurely (and loudly) giving up on a teammate for dead:

That sequence has stuck with me for a long, long time. Particularly this panel just before it, with Superman giving ol’ Flamehead the super side-eye:


You could just feel that burn of shame on Firestorm’s behalf. And in retrospect, it isn’t necessarily some tossed-away sequence to fill pages and create conflict between members of the team…this was written by Firestorm’s creator, who was also writing those back-ups over in The Flash. As such, it feels like an important part of the character’s development and not just something you could ignore because it didn’t happen in one of his “real” (i.e. solo) stories. I don’t think I appreciated this at the time, but now that I’m older (definitely) and wiser (jury’s still out) I certainly appreciate it now.

Another thing I appreciated about this comic, then and now, is just how much backstory got crammed into this comic. Well, “crammed,” relatively speaking, since this stories did run 52 pages over two issues (at only 50 cents a pop, even) so there felt like there was plenty of space. But there was a good chunk of the narrative given over to expository info needed for the reader to realize the importance of just what’s going on around here.

I mean, we get a retelling of Red Tornado’s beginnings:

We learn about the villain T.O. Morrow, his origin, and what he’s been up to since his last appearances:

There’s some bonus Adam Strange stuff, tying into the current story:


…and that’s not even all of what’s being shown and explained in this book. And it all reads very smoothly. As I said, I was 12 when this came out. I’d been reading comics for a bit, but I didn’t know much about characters like Firestorm and Red Tornado at the time, I certainly didn’t know T.O. Morrow, and while I knew Adam Strange mostly from being featured on the early Nickelodeon program Video Comics, I didn’t really know from the Tornado Tyrant.

It would seem like this is a lot to hit a kid relatively new to comics and some of these characters/concepts, but I do recall finding it absolutely fascinating. Finding out there was a history to these characters, still being referenced, still mattering, that happened long before I entered these worlds, gave the proceedings a depth that they would not have had otherwise. It’s a style of presentation that would shortly have me doing deep dives into Roy Thomas’s DC work, and its reverence for Golden Age tales.

I wasn’t put off…I was attracted by the idea that there was more to learn about all these characters and the worlds they lived in. I know, and I knew even then, that the shared universe at DC (and Marvel too) was built by Many Hands and inconsistencies abounded, but part of the fun was seeing what fit and what didn’t. It’s a feature, not a bug.

I’ve spoken about Crisis on Infinite Eaths before, and how its attempt at codifying and streamlining the DC Universe was compelling reading at the time…perhaps one of the very few times a comic book series had you genuinely concerned for the fate of those involved. It wasn’t until after patch after patch after patch was applied to that firmware upgrade that it began to sink in that the trip Wolfman and Perez took us on was, maybe, not really necessary. Reboots and relaunches began to pile on, and that long history for these characters began to evaporate.

The repeated relaunches of Legion of Super-Heroes threw away all their history in exchange for brief high bursts of first issue sales and slow declines. X-Men, a comic once read by, you know, everyone, splintered into endless spinoffs and relaunches, with no one easily able to follow the thread of stories and characters.

I know there are attempts to redress the shallowness of their fictional worlds. Nearly every crossover event at DC is about trying to make Crisis never-was, with the latest iteration being “every story matters,” however that’s going to work.

This whole post reads like “why aren’t comics like they were when I was a kid,” which comes awfully close to lumping me in with those “comics were never political!” people, and nobody wants that. Comics are always evolving and changing and trying to find their place in a world where they’ve been largely supplanted by, ironically enough, their own enormously popular TV and movie adaptations. There is still lots of good work being done with them, and I still love reading (and selling!) them.

But I do miss the feeling I had of dipping into some comic I hadn’t read before and realizing there’s a whole world here that I’m only barely experiencing in this one issue. Maybe I’ve read comics for too long to have that happen now. Or maybe I’m assuming too much, and that kids do have that same wonder, just not with the same types of comics I read. There’s someone out there whose first volume of Naruto is number 81 and being intrigued by what they’ve discovered, the same way I was 40 years ago, when I decided to pick a comic off the rack that promised secrets to be revealed about Red Tornado.
 
 
 
 

images from Justice League of America #192-193 (July & Augst 1981) by Gerry Conway, George Perez, and John Beatty

The best shrug in comics.

§ October 27th, 2021 § Filed under justice league § 8 Comments

I actually have a lot more to say about the Justice League of America story this sequence comes from, which I will get to next time. But, for today let’s just enjoy this small bit of domestic humor featuring the android superhero the Red Tornado, his partner Kathy, and their adopted daughter Traya as they deal with the little girl’s recalcitrance at mealtime:


That’s one of the best parts of superhero team books, particularly when it’s done well as in the above excerpt. They allow some brief moments with characters that otherwise have no other outlet. There was no Red Tornado ongoing series…if you were Reddy’s biggest fan, this is what you got. A few panels every month, if you were lucky.

Imagine being a big Wolverine fan at a time when his primary print endeavors were in a book he shared with other characters who also only appeared in that book. You waited a month between issues to get a few pages with the character. And that’s with one of the more popular members of the X-Men. Imagine being a big Bouncing Boy fan and waiting month-to-month for him to be featured in Legion of Super-Heroes. Sometimes all you got was a panel, and not even a speaking part.

The way comics publishing has been of late, things haven’t been quite so dire…lots of third/fourth/fifth/more-string characters eventually do get their own titles, even if just briefly. So, if you’re a fan of a member of a team book who just gets a small amount of attention there, eventually you’ll receive at least a little more quality time with your fave. Red Tornado got his own series. Wolverine certainly did. No Bouncing Boy solo title yet, but I still hold out hope.
 
 
 
 

images from Justice League of America #192 (July 1981) by Gerry Conway, George Perez, and John Beatty

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