Maybe if the Champions showed up in the Life of Pope John Paul comic.

§ September 6th, 2019 § Filed under all star batman, marvel, retailing § 7 Comments

So Marvel’s been teasing an upcoming series/event/thingie that involves a murder, prompting folks to draw comparisons to DC’s recently concluded murder mystery even comic Heroes in Crisis. Which, you know, fair enough…there’s no shortage of times Marvel’s copied something successful of DC’s, and DC’s copied something successful of Marvel’s. I’d just mentioned Marvel Comics #1000 a few days ago as a very recent example.

This time around, the general assumption seems to be that Marvel is biting DC’s recently concluded mini-series Heroes in Crisis, which also centered around a superhero-related murder mystery. I saw the reaction online from here and there wondering why Marvel “didn’t learn from DC’s mistake,” why they would model one of their own projects on something their competitors did that was “bad” and a “disgrace” or whatnot.

The answer, of course, was that Heroes in Crisis, despite what anyone may have thought of it online, despite what perhaps you thought of it…it still did very well. Sold well enough for individual issues to go into multiple printings to meet demand. And just from personal experience, many of my customers were really into it and greatly anticipated each succeeding issue. It had a base of readers who did like it quite a bit.

Despite online grousing, was well received by the comic buying public. Of course other companies would take inspiration from it. It has nothing to do with how good or bad you might think the actual story is — and personally, I thought it was 5 pounds of story in a 30-pound bag, with good intentions but questionable results — it made money, which is the most important metric for publishers.

Reminds me a bit of that classic Batman comic book series y’all liked so much, All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, nearly every issue receiving an enormous amount of derision online. And yes, and I even said this at the time, as I recall, at least at our store it was one of the highest-selling, if not the highest selling comic for that period. Outsold X-Men, the other Batman titles, Amazing Spider-Man, several others…lots of people hating on it online, but someone was buying it. And it wasn’t all bloggers picking up copies to scan and mock on their sites.

Anyway, if you find yourself wondering why a publisher puts out this comic or that comic, or why they’d emulate someething their competitor did that you didn’t care for…it’s all about the…Washingtons? Lincolns? I don’t know your youth slang of today. But you get what I mean.

It did get me thinking a bit about different publishers mimicking the sales strategies of others. Especially after reading this week’s new issue of Doomsday Clock — only one issue to go, where hopefully the previous 11 issues of set-ups and mysteries will get resolved in a normal-sized comic and not an 80-giant giant like it seems it will require.

But despite that, what I was thinking was what Marvel-published work that had previous been standalone, but also highly regarded, would be the equivalent of DC’s ,cite>Watchmen? And, would also be highly inappropriate to mix Marvel’s modern superhero universe with it. Most of the things I was thinking of were either under the Epic imprint and not technically owned by Marvel…like an Avengers/Moonshadow crossover or something…or like The ‘Nam, but that had a Punisher appearance of all things, so I guess that was kinda done.

Marvels doesn’t really count, because that’s just the regular Marvel Universe, told with a then-fresh viewpoint and art style. Unless Marvel took a month to have all their titles transform their contents into Marvels-a-likes. We did have Marvel’s anniversary celebration of that series with tribute variant covers, so we got kind of a taste of that, with mixed results.

So anyway, if you think of a good one, let me know.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned the giant stack of Amazing Spider-Man #129s we used to have, too.

§ September 4th, 2019 § Filed under batman, retailing § 3 Comments


Used to be I’d see these on a pretty regular basis at the former place of employment…copies of Batman #181 from 1966, featuring the first appearance of Poison Ivy, used to stack up on us. They were plentiful, they were not terribly expensive (particularly in the conditions they were usually found), and generally had copies available for anyone who happened by and asked for one.

Which is why I was a tad surprised when, after I received the copy pictured above in a collection, sold it within literally a minute after posting it to the store Instagram account. But then, the time of Batman #181s aplenty that I was reminiscing about above was sometime in the early to mid 1990s. The comic was only about 30 years old then. It’s closer to a fifty year old comic now.

Age, of course, isn’t the sole attribute determining a comic book’s demand and/or value, as anyone who’s had to respond to the assertion “it’s old, it has to be worth something” knows. But age can impact availability…the more time passes, the more older comics like these get absorbed into collections, or outright destroyed. Particularly nowadays, with the new influx of collectors seeking “key” issues, items with significant importance to the hobby (like, say, the first appearance of o villain for a major superhero character) are snapped up in short order, particularly if they’re “raw” (i.e. not already slabbed in those plastic cases with an “official” condition grade) and reasonably priced (as my copy here was, in my humble opinion).

Not to say they’re hard to find, which I realize I have been saying. You probably can’t swing a dead Catwoman around on the eBays without hitting a half-dozen or more of Batman #181s, sealed up in those cases and premium-priced. But the days of finding stacks of them, unslabbed, like at my old job back in ye olden tymes, are, if not gone entirely, at least far less common than they used to be.

That’s a lot of typing just to say “tempus fugit,” but fugit tempus does, and with me entering my 31st year of comics retail this month, I just got to thinking about how things have changed in this business. I mean, not big things, like “there’s only one distributor now” and “remember when comics used to sell” but minor shifts in collecting habits and back issue supply, like I was saying in all that stuff up there.

As opposed to the 50-something smart-ass I am now.

§ September 2nd, 2019 § Filed under comic strips, death of superman § 2 Comments

Okay, look, we gotta talk about the biggest comic news of the week — nay, the century — and that news is the B.C. comic strip is finally going to have proper names for their female characters. You know, the ones named “Cute Chick” and “Fat Broad.” I mean, even the ants had names in this strip, but not the two human ladies? Good gravy.

It is so about time. The strip’s only been running since, what, sometime in the 1800s, attitudes about women have changed slightly since then. And don’t get me wrong…I’m glad it’s happening, as I’ve always had a soft spot for B.C. thanks to all the paperback reprints I read in the 1970s. I think a lot of it still holds up, despite…you know, the whole “changing attitudes” thing, with some jokes not aging as well as others. But overall, I think it’s a fun strip. Okay, maybe things got a little dicey during the “Born Again” phase of the strip, but when I last checked in and read a bunch of recent strips in a row, it held up as pleasantly humorous enough. Not quite as bonkers as it was in the early days, but still a respectable strip.

The small catch here is that the names still come across as gendered appearance-driven jokes, with “Cute Chick” now “Grace” (as in “graceful”) and “Fat Broad” is now “Jane” (as in “Plain Jane”). Intentional? Maybe, maybe not, but regardless it’s still some improvement, in that they actually have goldurned names now. I will admit to a good laugh at Jane’s “quote” in the news item linked above.

Said news item also mentions a B.C. movie is being worked on, which I’d bet your yearly salary is the main reason for this renaming happening now.

• • •

Say, remember that one time I wrote about the “Death of Superman?” A couple of you had comments that I wanted to address:

  • JohnJ has this to say:

    “How many people did you have to correct when they asked for ‘the last Superman comic?'”

    I’m sure I wrote about this before on the site, but since coworker Rob and I were unapologetic 20-something smart-asses, we created a window display for the day of its release featuring all the previous “Superman Dies!” stories we could find.

    Not sure it had much effect, as we still fielded plenty of “he’s really dead!?” comments from the mile-long parade of customers passing through the shop. I tried to reassure some folks that they’ll likely bring him back sooner rather than later, they’re not going to get rid of one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world, but I’m sure eventually I got worn down to “yeah, he’s totally dead now.”

    But we did try to let everyone know that there were still more Superman comics to come, and as it turned out, lots of folks got hooked on the story, which even carried through to the beginnings of the “Return of Superman” story. That was surprising because there was a two month hiatus in publishing the regular Superman comics after the “Death/Funeral” story was completed, which nowadays would be a huge brick wall in front of any sales momentum.

    And as you all recall, for decades afterward I’d have people pop into the shop, see a Superman comic on the shelf, and ask in a half-confused fashion “…I thought he was dead?” So kudos on that all-too successful publishing event that convinced a large portion of the public that your flagship character was no longer around. In a way, people asking for “The Last Superman Comic” were, from a certain point of view, right.

  • Follow-ups? Adam had ’em:

    “I am here to tell you that the sound effects are indeed props for the dolls.”

    UM, EXCUSE ME ADAM, BUT THEY ARE COLLECTIBLE ACTION FIGURES, NOT “DOLLS,” SIR. …Aside from that most egregious of errors, Adam does helpfully link to this video review of the set where, as God intended, the sound effects are part of the accessories. Oh that I’ve lived to see such sights.

  • Turan, he ran so far away, with this:

    “I am not going to bother counting, but I would not be surprised if there have been more worrying at the death of Gwen Stacy than the death of Superman. The death of Bucky Barnes, also, but that was not actually a “big comic book event” (it occurred in a flashback).”

    You ain’t wrong, my friend…the Death of Gwen Stacy cast a long shadow over Spider-Man, and has been revisited again and again. I’ve been trying to think of other examples…not just redos of old adventures, like when they did the whole Superman Red/Superman Blue story in the ’90s, inspired by the ’60s original. I mean, as Turan put so well, just constant “worrying” as a long-ago event that keeps bring brought up or impacting new stories or being retold or expaned upon over and over. Like, no one’s bringing up Millennium or Secret Invasion any more (I think…I’m way behind on current comics still) but boy we sure do dip into that “Death of Superman” well again and again.

    So…any ideas? Any other Big Events or Plot Occurrences from many years in the past that just keep coming back to haunt us? I mean, aside from Crisis on Infinite Earths…like I said last time, pretty much the Current State of the Superhero Comics Industy is a callback to that one.

  • James dared to say

    “The moment they announce The Death of Swamp Thing, I am leaving the internet for a five month vacation in Very Northern Canada where they have no internet nor (allegedly) swamps.”

    Pretty sure I mentioned this not long ago, but when Alan Moore’s first issue of Swamp Thing came out, where our Swampy hero was shot through the head and felled at the end of the issue (um, SPOILER), teenaged me was all “they…they just blew out Alec Holland’s brain? HOW’RE THEY GETTIN’ OUT OF THIS ONE?” So I had my “Death of Swamp Thing” moment, despite only having to wait a month for my “Return of Swamp Thing” storyline. And not nearly as many replacement Swamp Things. Those would come later.

Death of who now?

§ August 30th, 2019 § Filed under death of superman § 4 Comments

So J. Caleb sez on the Twitters, he sez


And yeah, ain’t that the truth, and if you don’t believe it, make with the clicky on that “death of superman” category link at the top of this post here. Longtime readers, and even shorttime readers, know I’ve been yapping about this stupid thing almost since Day One on this site, and just like clockwork, if said clock runs a little slow and the alarm is kinda sad and distorted, I’m back on my blogging nonsense about it every few months or so. I won’t say it’s me working out the trauma of having been behind the counter of a comic shop at the time of the original release of that DoS funnybook, purt’near 30 years ago, but it did something to my brain.

Anyway, there it is. And the reason I’m bringing it up yet again for you to read is, no, not because you lost a bet, but because there’s more Death of Superman stuff a’comin’. Yes, I said new stuff. How many big, specific comic book events can you name that have just kept on keepin’ on, with comic creators going back to that same well again and again for story inspiration, references, remakes, what have you? The Dark Phoenix Saga, maybe? For a while it felt like they were picking at that scab in every issue of X-Men, back when there was only one X-Men title. Infinity Gauntlet, to some extent? I suppose Crisis on Infinite Earths, in a way, as pretty much everything going on at DC now stems from dealing with how Crisis and creators responding to Crisis made things even more complicated, with more and more Big Events piled on that original one as “fixes.”

I mean, whatever, people build on what’s come before in these shared superhero universes. But the “Death of Superman” goose has continued to supply golden eggs of varying value in the nearly three decades since someone at the Superman plotting retreat finally got that “yes!” to their regular suggestion to off Big Blue.

One thing I discovered quite by accident was The Death of Superman: The Wake, a trade paperbck solicited in the August orders:


I was just browsing the digital comics on the DC Universe streaming service when I spotted Chapter One of this story, which it turns out was a 12-page digital-only mini-series. Well, digital-only until they were all collected in this paperback. It relates “what happened before, during and after the battle with Doomsday that cost Superman his life!” the solicit info says. From what I read of that first chapter, it looks like events may be tweaked slightly to match current (or semi-current) continuity. Those of you holding out hope that the Lex-Luthor-disguised-as-his-own-Australian-son storyline will hold true may find themselves disappointed.

Now here’s the title J. Caleb singled out in his post:


Speaking of comic stories that go back to a specific well, that DC Metal series is the gift that just keeps on giving, what with featuring the Dark Multiverse and all. Specifically, this story goes into how the Death went down on Evil Earth or whatever they’re calling it. I’m guessing “a lot more shadows,” but we’ll see.

And then of course what kid doesn’t want to play with the more cheery superhero action figure playset of all time:


Unclear if those sound effects are extra little props that come with the figures. In a good and just world, they would.

This of course isn’t the first action figure set commemorating the Superman/Doomsday battle, but, with doing no research into the matter whatsoever, it may very well be the first set with an alternate Dead Superman head:


…or maybe he’s just sleeping, they’re your figures, play with them how you’d like. That’s kind of what he was doing in the first place. …Oh, SPOILERS, by the way.

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.

So anyway, as I was saying….

§ August 26th, 2019 § Filed under miraclemarvelman, publishing § 5 Comments

Sorry for the extended hiatus, pals…my eye isn’t *quite* back to where it was before the last incident, but it’s getting there. Now all I have to do is try to remember where I left off.

jmurphy mentioned in the comments from my last post about reprinting the unreprinted comic book series:

“Nearly one-fifth of the way through the 21st century, and Print-On-Demand can’t handle this? One of Warner’s other subsidiaries uses On-Demand technology for out-of-print audio CDs and movie DVDs. Books can be printed on demand, maybe someday the technology will be applied to comic trades as well.”

I’m pretty sure it has been, to some extent. I believe at least a couple of Rick Veitch’s original graphic novels available through Amazon (Boy Maximortal and Rare Bit Fiends), and surely there must be other examples. Turan thinks that ownership shenanigans may give some folks cold feet about doing something similiar, but I suspect wouldn’t be doing it if he thought his intellectual property was at risk.

Hooper triples down on this reprint idea:

“Finally thought of something I wish was/is collected in print – Impact’s Fly by Parobeck and Strazewski.”

Hey, did I ever mention I once met Len Strazewski? Years ago he came into my former place of employment. Nice guy. Anyway, since this is a licensed title from Archie Comics and published by DC, I support it falls within the “non-Marvel/DC” parameters of the original inquiry as to what we’d like to see reprinted And Impact Comics as a whole, I thought, was pretty good. I had the complete set, including the looseleaf Who’s Who binder pages.

Anyway, The Fly is a nice suggestion, and it’s a shame that any Mike Parobeck work is out of print. I was quite partial to The Jaguar as well. In fact, I think there was a lot of solid work in these comics, and if there’s any consolation, at least they should be cheap if you happen to find them in any shops. I’m not even 100& sure I have any in my shop right now.

The King of the Moon proclaims

“I’ve got a cool idea, they could finish MiracleMan”

Oof…again, it’s a Marvel property now, but it started out as someone else’s so we’ll let it slide in there. Yeah, it’s too bad that it all started out as such a big deal and then just kinda…went away. I suppose we’ll see the new, hopefully concluding issues of Miracleman eventually, then reprinted in collected editions forever and ever until Marvel inevitably lets volume 2 fall out of print, requiring anyone waqnting to complete their set of the books to go pay stupid prices for it on eBay. I mean, I’ve waited this long for the story to continue, I suppose I could wait a little longer. Not too much longer, though, I’ve probably only got about 25 to 30 years of life left in me, so let’s get cracking, people. Though every time I hear about Neil Gaiman getting a new TV or movie deal, I think “well, that’s Miracleman pushed back another year or three.” Good for him, honestly, but the comic fan in me is like “ACK, COME BACK TO US NEIL.”

Okay, my eye is twitching at me, so I’ll wrap up this post here. Oh, wait, I thought of another thing I’d like to see in print: Popeye from Charlton Comics. I know IDW did a lot of the Dell/Gold Key stuff, but I have a real soft spot for those ’70s Popeyes. Probably zero market for them right now, but we’re talkin’ ideally, not realistically.

THE EYE SAYS STOP TYPING. Back Wednesday. Thanks for reading, pals.

Just when I thought I was out….

§ August 19th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball § 5 Comments

Had another setback with one of my eyes over the weekend, which was annoying as my vision was very nearly back to (relative) normal. As such, I will continue our discussion of comic books and reprints thereof hopefully later in the week, after I get a little doctorin’. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll be back typing at you soon enough.

William Burns, what have you wrought?

§ August 16th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 11 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am kind of curious regarding the legalities re: reprinting Groo/Conan, since, y’know, Marvel.

§ August 14th, 2019 § Filed under publishing, question time § 3 Comments

So there were lots of good, interesting responses to the question that was posed to me and I reposed to you, regarding the reprint volumes you’d like to see of non-Marvel/non-DC comics material. Both in the comments to that post and on Twitter folks had some solid suggestions. I’m not going to note every single one here in today’s weblogging entry on the World Wide Web, but please feel free to peruse those links and see what you, the people had to say.

BobH brings up what should’ve been the most obvious example, and I’m surprised I didn’t mention it (though I believe I’ve lamented before on the site about the lack of accessible reprintings): Groo the Wanderer. Okay, granted, the majority of them were published by Marvel, but originated elsewhere and remained creator-owned to this day, so we’ll let this one slide.

There is a lot of Groo, and as BobH says, a whole bunch of it never got reprinted. Even those trades collection the Marvel run didn’t get that far into the run, and as I recall the earlier volumes were falling out of print even as newer volumes were being released. And the availability of trades for the Dark Horse run is spotty at best. I just now did a search on Diamond’s retailer site for Groo trade paperbacks, and the only two currently available are Play of the Gods (which is a follow-up to Fray of the Gods, currently out of stock) and Friends and Foes Vol. 2, the second half of that year-long mini-series.

Just two. That’s it. I’m sure nobody is happy about it, especially Sergio Aragones and longtime writer/collaborator/whatever-he-does-er Mark Evanier. I’m pretty sure Evanier mentioned on his blog that plans were in the works for some kind of reprinting, but no news yet that I’ve seen.

It’s a real shame. That so much work, purt’near four decades’ worth, by one of the world’s top cartoonists is not readily available is such a waste.

In fact, that so much work by anyone is out of print is a waste. Even digital availability is better than nothing, though clearly my own bias is toward physical editions.

I mean, there’s hope…that company what did Puma Blues and Border Worlds (even getting Don Simpson to create a new chapter for the latter), so maybe someday we will get that reprint of Bernie Mireault’s The Jam (a great suggestion by Rob)…I mean, it’s not impossible. Also, speaking of Don Simpson, I wouldn’t mind having all of Megaton Man in one place…the series, the one-shots, the webcomics, etc.

Mike’s suggestion of Sam Glanzman’s Hercules had some amusing timing, as I was just talking to pal Dorian during last weekend’s visit to the shop about this very thing. (You can see some examples of this amazing comic right here on this very site from…urgh, 9 years ago.) It was Dor’s impression that a trade or something of this series was coming, and I could’ve sworn that was true, but can find no trace of it in Diamond’s datebase, either current or forthcoming. Maybe I’m not searching the right terms. Maybe the words “Glanzman” or “Hercules” appear nowhere in the solicitation. I wouldn’t put it past some publishers. A lot of his war stuff and the repint of his weird caveman strip Attu turn up, but no Herc.

EDIT: Okay, so I was wrong…Jim points out that Dark Horse did publish one only last year…my mistake was searching only “currently available” and “not arrived yet” entries in Diamond’s database, not the “what has already come and went” section. Sure enough, it came out in 2018, but is currently unvavailable from that distributor. As Jim notes, copies can still be snagged on Amazon.

Cassandra Miller brings up Cutie Bunny, and I adore Joshua Quagmire‘s work on Cutey Bunny. That five issue series plus various other appearances here and there would be great to have under one cover. (And for bonus content, throw in all those bonkers entries for the title from the Amazing Heroes Previews Specials, with details on forthcoming issues that, far as I can tell, were entirely invented for those specials.) Those comics were just crammed full of swell cartooning and funny jokes and all kinds of craziness, and wouldn’t it be nice to have those on nice, clean, white paper with crisp printing.

Augh, I have more I want to say about more of your suggestions, but surely you’re read enough of my typing for the day. Let’s get back to it on Friday, shall we?

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

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

At long last, back to your questions!

William Burns has a hot take about

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

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

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

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

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

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

• • •

Brad Walker flies this in

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

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

• • •

Chuck V. telepathically sent me


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

• • •

philfromgermany has a word for

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

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

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