Your 2022 Predictions, Part One: Imperial Edition.

§ January 9th, 2023 § Filed under predictions § 13 Comments

Okay, you’ve been dreading it all year…it’s time for me to look back at your 2022 comic book industry predictions and see how you all did! (And don’t forget to enter your predictions for 2023 before too much 2023 has gone by! Remember to put your predictions JUST in that last link…don’t leave ’em in the comments for this post!)

As always, I do not have the all-seeing eyes of Uatu the Watcher, so I may not have the knowledge or Google-fu necessary to validate or invalidate some of your prognostications. If you have info I do not, please feel free to jump in and I can issue a correction.

So let’s get this prediction party started!

Kurt, whom I have known since he was just a young, yet still bearded, lad, predicts thusly

“I only have the one prediction, and I truly hope it comes true.

“With the news about George Perez, a special release of JLA/Avengers hardcover will be published this year, with the proceeds going to the cancer charity of George’s choice.”

Well, it wasn’t a hardcover, but a limited edition paperback was released, benefiting the Hero Initiative which Pérez very much supported. One would hope the great demand for that reprint, which far outstripped its supply, would goose Marvel and DC a little into thinking maybe they should get that back into regular circulation, and as long as I’m wishing for that, I’ll also wish for a magical flying dog that speaks because that’d be cool to have, too.

Anyway, it’s still hard to believe George Pérez is no longer with us.

• • •

Pal Nat naturally is all about comics with

“1. People will proclaim that the comic book is dying. There will, nonetheless, be comic books through the end of the year.”

Gotta be honest, I haven’t been hanging out in the online places where that sort of talk gets bandied about, but given that it’s a perennial worry, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if folks were yakking about that as usual. A quick Googling shows that, yeah, sure, there was some shouting from both sides about “comics are thriving!” and “hoo boy goodbye comics” so, business as usual.

“2. Jim Lee will start drawing a miniseries. It will be very well drawn.”

No mini-series, but I bet if you took all the covers he drew over the past year, put ’em all together in one comic, and convince some poor bastard to somehow dialogue ‘n’ caption it into a story, you’d have a top seller.

“3. The split distribution market will bring back black-and-white issues as a force.”

I have seen a few more black and white titles pop up here and there, but now quite a patch on the wave of ’em we had in the ’80s. Interestingly, I am seeing some comics from, say, Lunar, that I’m not seeing distributed by Diamond. And yes, some of them are in black and white. Not many, but they’re there!

• • •

Turan skates on thin ice with

“1. Here, and at many other websites devoted to comics, there will be much discussion about what can be done to get people outside of the usual fanbase to read comics. At no point in any of these discussions will the name Raina Telgemeier be mentioned.

“2. Nor will the name Charlie Mackesy be mentioned. Or Rachel Smythe. Or Dav Pilkey. Or Alison Bechdel.”

I’m going to try to ignore the slight here and take this prediction, which really is just the one, at face value. First, I don’t talk a whole lot about expanding the market and getting new readers, beyond Free Comic Book Day blah blah that I usually do. But yes, you’re right, actual mass market comics successes like Raina et al. can get dismissed, oe or outright overlooked, by funnybook pundits as “not really comics” — by which they mean “not stapled magazines with flying people punching each other.”

I’m the last person to deny these comics giants and try to carry plenty of this material in my shop, in addition to the more traditional Marvel/DC and so on. Dog Boy, Plants Vs. Zombies, any Raina book…always consistent sellers for me. Though the trick with selling Raina’s books is that many kids who come into the store 1) already own ’em or 2) already checked ’em out from the library. But they still sell just fine.

“3. Prior to the release of each new Marvel movie in the coming year, there will be several people confidently predicting that this will finally be the one that flops. (At sites devoted to films, or to pop culture generally, these people will be wishing for an end to comics-based movies. At sites devoted to comics, these people will be wishing only for the Marvel movies to go away, so that the public will finally recognize the great genius of Zack Snyder.)”

I think I got the general sense that…yeah, this happened. Like Nat’s predication about people saying the comic industry is dying, the “superhero movie is over” people are always around now too. I think the movies are evolving, at least a little, to move away at least slightly from the usual formulas…but not too quickly. Marvel as a movie brand will likely not go away anytime soon…following the comics’ lead of making every movie more-or-less a chapter in the ongoing Marvel story is an insidious way to guarantee at least some measure of success for each release.

I can see this strategy getting tested as Marvel starts prepping the seeds and stems for cinematic shenanigans (“WUNDARR: THE MOVIE”) but by God they got people to see an Ant-Man movie, so I’m not giving them the 10-count yet.

And I haven’t seen the Snyder contingent braying too often lately, as I’m pretty sure I blocked most of them on Twitter, where they live. But I’m sure they’ll make their displeasure known as soon as James Gunn puts out a new DC movie that contains, say, a single joke.

• • •

Thom H hails us with

“1. DC will announce Tom King’s next 12-issue Black Label series: Scarecrow with Jae Lee.”

Almost there! As awesome as that would have been, instead we got Danger Street, a 12-issue Tom King Black Label series featuring…well, I wrote about it here.

“2. Marvel Studios will announce John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Woman in their new Fantastic Four movie.”

News stories as of December have John Krasinski saying that Marvel hasn’t talked to him about being in their 2025 Fantastic Four movie, despite having played the character in last year’s Doctor Strange movie. I haven’t seen many details about the film beyond the director apparently stating he wants the movie to reflect the comics accurately. Look, I’ll believe that as soon as I see Galactus and the Watcher looming over New York on-screen.

“3. Bendis’ Legion of Super-Heroes will return for one last brief run before disappearing once again.”

Well, we have that Justice League Vs. Legion of Super-Heroes mini with Bendis’ LSH, announced in 2021 and running six issues from mid-January to late September. I guess that sorta counts.

• • •

DK comes back from his holiday in Cambodia, starts stealing people’s mail, declares soup is good food, and prepares to lynch his landlord after saying to me

“It’s prediction time AGAIN? That went fast.”

Yeah, tell me about it.

“1. DC and Marvel will not re-issue JLA/Avengers in 2022.”

Well, at only 7000 copoies, that’s almost like not reissuing it….

“2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will contain at least one big obvious DC Comics character as a parody/homage a la Squadron Supreme.”

I didn’t notice any, so there wasn’t any obvious one, I guess. A cursory scan of Google results doesn’t show any Easter-egg-esque hidden DC details either. I suspect lawyers on both sides are discouraging that sort of thing, beyond I suppose some dialogue references to Superman and Batman in Eternals. (Which apparently some people are taking as meaing those characters exist in the Marvel Universe, and c’mon son.)

“3. The X-Men will drop in sales and the characters will become less popular in 2022. There will be serious talk of a complete reboot.”

I haven’t found good information on their sales in my usual haunts, and Comichron doesn’t have their full end of the year reports up just yet. And Googling just brings up YouTube videos and gossip sites that wallow in any negative news they can find, so I can’t say for sure. From my retail end, sales have remained mostly consistent on the “main” X-Men titles in current continuity, like Red and Immortal and the main series. Spin-off or side stories (like Legends and Wolverine) have equally consistent, but lower, sales. Other X-titles barely register (like New Mutants and X-Force and such), and X-Treme X-Men was D.O.A.

So…I don’t know? Main titles are fine, the too-many-spinoffs-because-Marvel-forgets-history-and-is-doomed-etc. Haven’t heard serious talk of a restart/reboot yet. But give ’em time.

• • •

Daniel T putts in the following

“Mike Sterling will continue to blog. His series on variant comics will ALMOST be finished by the end of the year.”

I did continue to blog, much to everyone’s chagrin. And my variant cover-age continued, albeit at a much slower pace. Not sure if I’m circling a conclusion yet!

• • •

Patrick the Saint has the patience to tell me

“1) Tom Kings next 12 issue books will be My Greatest Adventure & Carrie Kelly”

People want more Tom King 12-issue series! He’s busy with Danger Street right now, but maybe afterwards he can do your idea. I’d totally read it.

“2) Since IDW has lost the all-ages line of Marvel- Marvel will begin licensing them out to Archie, which will put them in digest form and Marvel will be on a news-stand for the first time in over a decade.”

They did it once! …But it’s been a few years and I don’t see any more being offered up at the moment.

“3) Next big craze in variant covers: Taking a panel George Perez did and blowing it up to make a variant cover.”

There have been a few Pérez variants, but of the pin-up variety, no so much of the blown-up interior panel kind. If they ever do, I recommend taking them from this comic, regardless of title or company.

• • •

Okay, that’s enough of a start. ‘ll continue this Wednesday with even more of your predictions! Thanks for reading, pals, and we’ll see you then!

So this was going to be a real post…

§ January 6th, 2023 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, predictions § 4 Comments

…about one of two different subjects, but the first one was going to be the first of a series, which was a problem as I’m starting the look back at your 2022 comic industry predictions next week. And the second one…turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought it would be at first glance, and I can’t really stay up ’til 3 AM getting it all puzzled out. So, those are for another day then!

But speaking of predictions, you do remember that I’m looking for YOUR 2023 comic industry predictions! Put ’em in this little chromium comments section here, so long as you mind the very important rules.

Thanks everyone…I know this wasn’t much of a post today, but you’ll be looking back on it fondly once I get crackin’ on the walls of text looking back at those older predictions. Gird whatever needs girding before then, and I’ll see you on Monday!

Also, the cover of the book feels strange.

§ January 4th, 2023 § Filed under swamp thing § 7 Comments

So the other oversized omnibus-type book I picked up this year is one containing stories that I already have in multiple formats, but had to have ’em in this one! It’s Absolute Swamp Thing, reprinting the first thirteen issues of the original 1970s series, which comprises all of cocreator Len Wein’s scripts. Other cocreator Bernie Wrightson draws the first ten, with Nestor Redondo on the other three.

I had a hard time finding good pics of what the actual item looks like from the distributor sites, so here I am with my nigh-expert photography skills.

The slipcase edition reuses the wraparound cover from the Roots of the Swamp Thing reprint mini-series:

Here’s the back, with a close-up of the hype sticker there:

The cover of the book itself is quite impressive…just look at this front cover:

And here’s the back, with a close-up:

The inner covers/endpapers are quite nice as well…here they are, with guest-appearances of my fingers:

And to the stories themselves, there was color restoration (by Jose Villabrubia), which I haven’t compared to the other reprints of this work yet, but boy it looks great:

I’ve said about similar reprints of older books that it always looks weird when comics I’ve seen for years on yellowing paper are reproduced on shiny white slick pages. But the colors are produced appropriately, not bright and garish. It still looks a little weird to my eyes, but it’s all still great.

I forgot to mention that the book does include the first Swamp Thing story from House of Secrets #92 is included, so this is, like, the 20th reprint of that story I have? Something like that.

There’s a lot more in this volume, like photos of Wein/Wrightson, their widows providing new introductions, lots of reproductions of original art, that sort of thing. Also featured is some original art from that aborted Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing reunion comic.

Like I said, I have all these comics, in multiple formats, but it is nice to have it all in a larger format that’s easier on my ol’ eyes.

The rare almost-appropriate usage of the phrase “here’s the thing.”

§ January 2nd, 2023 § Filed under collecting, the thing, watchmen § 13 Comments

So I’m not good at “end-of-year” lists where I run down the best comics, simply because 1) I haven’t read everything, so I’ll feel like a dummy for leaving some stuff out, and 2) I haven’t even read everything from the past year that I’ve taken home to read. As I’ve noted time and again, I have stuff from four years ago, about the time I started having my eyeball shenanigans, that I haven’t read yet. I still have that big ol’ collection of pre-Popeye Thimble Theatre to read, for example.

Thus the plan was to at least point out a handful of oversized collections I picked up this year, as I obviously did’t have enough already to read. I had my reasons for acquiring each, which I can detail (though in at least one case you can probably guess).

But here’s the thing…one of these I’ve already discussed, another I need to take some decent pictures of for use here since I can’t find any decent ones at distributors or on eBay that I can steal borrow, and the third is still at the shop stilling on a shelf behind my counter.

The first one, the one I already talked about, is the Absolute Edition of Doomsday Clock. Yes, it’s garbage, but it’s well-presented garbage, with beautiful artwork reproduced at good size, and plenty of behind-the-scenes material to be had. There’s also that extra thingie in the back of the book that literally shocked me. It remains a “was this trip really necessary” kind of thing, with its ultimate purpose (attempting to once again give in-universe explanations for DC’s rejiggering/rebooting of its fictional milieu) already pretty much ignored or supplanted or piled-upon by other DC event books, as everyone assumed would happen.

But, as a collector of weird Watchmen-related ephemera, this felt like an interesting item to have. Plus, it matches up nicely with my Absolute Watchmen slipcased edition, a thought that probably is giving someone somewhere a bit of a twinge right behind their eyes.

The second oversized collection I’ll talk about later in the week, once I get some pictures taken.

The third collection, still sitting shrinkwrapped at the store, is the Thing Omnibus:

This collects the 36 issues of the Thing series from the 1980s, along with a couple of issues of Fantastic Four that tie into storylines in that book. There are also other miscellaneous Thing stories from the period mixed in (like the Barry Windsor-Smith story from Marvel Fanfare, a Marvel Tales back-up, and that Jim Starlin/Bernie Wrightson Thing/Hulk graphic novel). Issue #3 of the computer-game tie-in Questprobe is even included. I kinda wish they’d made room for the Hulk/Thing team-up in Marvel Fanfare #20 and #21, also by Starlin, which has never been reprinted in the U.S. as far as I know. Ah, well, there’s always the next omnibus.

Now why did I need this volume? Well…I didn’t, really. I own nearly all of its contents still…that Thing series, the graphic novel, the FFs, the BWS story. But it is nice to have it all in once place, and that cover…! There were two covers for this book, because of course there were. One cover, by John Byrne (who wrote the early part of the series), was taken from this issue, and it’s…fine, though not a patch on the Ron Wilson cover they did use. That’s one of the great and iconic images of Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew.

Ron Wilson drew a whole lotta this book, and he is one of the unsung heroes of superhero funnybooks…clearly inspired by Jack Kirby, but not, like, outright copying the guy. One of the surprises this omnibus has for me is its inclusion of a story from the 1990s version of Marvel Super-Heroes which I hadn’t read, featuring 22 new-to-me pages of Wilson art. Can’t wait to see that.

One thing (heh) I am curious about is that in this issue there was a scripting/editing error which resulted in two conflicting names for the same character. It would be nice if that was straightened out. Also, the “How to Draw The Thing” page from this ish better be in there. I need nice, quality printing of the Thing telling me to not give him no lips. (Which of course literally works out to “give him lips,” but I’m not gonna tell ol’ Benji that.) Also, stop giving the Thing a neck, you guys, so long as we’re on the topic.

I know that’s Too Many Words for a book I haven’t even cracked the covers on yet, but it’s an exciting book to have. That Thing series was quite good, with some nice emotional/background work on the character, particuarly in the early issues. And the whole post-Secret Wars “Rocky Grimm, Space Ranger” was a weird ride, with Ben Grimm, adventuring on an alien world, finally with the ability to switch back and forth between human and Thing forms. All fun, all well-drawn, and all solid support for why the Thing is one of the greatest Marvel characters ever created. If not in fact the greatest. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. He’s even better than Hellcow, don’t make me fight you.

“Get me the Instagram account of Spider-Man!”

§ December 29th, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin § 6 Comments

Okay, this is the last time I’m plugging it this year, and I probably won’t mention it again ’til I start doing follow-ups in just a couple weeks to the last time we did this, buuuuuuuut…

…get me your 2023 comic predictions, soon! Like now! Do it quick like the bunny! Just follow those rules I have posted there, please!

This is also the second year, I think, where I posted my own predictions. I did it last year, so I’ll know how I did soon enough.

Anyway, I know blogging here hasn’t been as thick and meaty as it normally is, and I could go back and retype that into something less unpleasant but I refuse to. It’s just…Christmas and end-of-the-year stuff and Surprise! Migraine! and other things just getting in the way of doing the important work…blogging about that menace Spider-Man! (Actual image of me blogging about Spider-Man above.)

But I’m not going anywhere, hopefully you aren’t going anywhere, and we’ll all meet back here at the start of the new year with me providing The Content, and you providing The Eyeballs. I’ll also see if I can’t scrape together some kind of “Best of the Year” entry about comics I did manage to read, despite being desperately behind. And of course, as noted, I’ll be covering your predictions for 2022 in the next few weeks, which will have you begging for more lean times on this here site.

So thanks for reading, pals, and I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year’s Eve/Day!

It’s a Christmas miracle, man!

§ December 28th, 2022 § Filed under miraclemarvelman § 9 Comments

Out today at your better comic book stores, or even my own, it’s the long awaited continuation of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckinham’s Miracleman, with part 3 of “The Silver Age!” Picking up from where #24 of the original Miracleman series left off way back in 1993, we see where Dickie Dauntless (AKA Young Marvelman) takes off to after his rather explosive departure at the end of the previous installment. I’ve been waiting nearly 30 years for this, and I can tell you, it doesn’t disappoint.

No, it’s not a Huge Event Story, but we learn about some new folks who live in this seeming utopia, learn a little more about the world of this comic, and…well, something possibly threatening on the horizon? We’ll see how stuff plays out in ALL THE FOLLOWING NEW ISSUES THAT WILL COME OUT ON A REGULAR AND TIMELY BASIS, THEY’D BETTER.

Nice that at least the regular cover has the “Legacy Numbering” of “25” on there, in case you just wanted to jump back on now and start throwing the new installments into your Official Miracleman Comic Storage Box with your original Eclipse Comics run. Personally I picked up one of the variant covers, the rather striking Young Miracleman one pictured above by David Aja.

It was also an interesting choice that Buckingham redrew the first two parts of the Silver Age story so that when the new stuff picked up in #3, his current art style wouldn’t clash with his original 1990s art style in the earlier installments. I mean, that’s way erring on the side of caution as the art in the older issues holds up quite well in my opinion, but good on everyone involved for allowing Buckingham to “update” the books to his current standards. The back pages of this issue show his original 30-year-old drawings for this “new” story in tiny thumbnails, which makes me wish I could see them full-sized.

But there you go…Miracleman is finally coming out again, and here’s hoping Gaiman and Buckingham get to complete their story before Marvel starts doing whatever they’re planning on doing with the property (under the name “Marvelman,” presumably) in their own regular superhero universe and diluting things. Unless it’s the Neil ‘n’ Mark MM that’s going to turn up there…boy, that’d be weird. What if the planned progression of stories doesn’t just go from “The Silver Age” to “The Dark Age,” but concludes in “The Marvel Age?” Egads.

You know, Archie Comics sure made a killing on comics that were basically just teenagers runnin’ around in bikinis.

§ December 27th, 2022 § Filed under archie § 4 Comments

So I’ve been a little under the weather (for non-COVID things) the last couple of days, hence no Monday update as per usual. I may be keeping things slight here through the end of the year, if you’ll bear with me.

I did see this somewhat amusing aside here in the lead story in this issue of Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #203 (November 1972) by Frank Doyle and Dan DeCarlo. It’s just a few pages long, involving some beach shenanigans with Archie and our titular characters. Here’s the splash page for that story:

But if you look closely, you see, reflected in the sunglasses of the unnamed young lady in the foreground, is Riverdale’s most notorious rake, Reggie Mantle:

…who otherwise does not appear in the story. Now, sure, perhaps Reggie is marketing specialty sunglasses with lenses emblazoned with his sneering image. But I prefer to think there’s some story off to the side of the main plot, told entirely in that reflection, of Reggie’a attempts to pitch woo to this gal and of his inevitable rejection.

Hey pals!

§ December 23rd, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, self-promotion § 4 Comments

Yeah, I know my posting has been along the light side over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve been busy with Christmas and family and both stuff. But I appreciate your engagement on the posts I have been making. Speaking of which, don’t forget to paste your prognostications into this post asking for your 2023 comic book industry predictions! Remember, three per person please, and also if you were going to prediction “Aftershock declares bankruptcy,” you’re too late!

Onto some other matters…while my short-form, spur of the moment micro-blogging is primarily done on the Twitters, the inept management by the new owner has all of us wondering about the continuing vitality of that particular platform. Especially in the wake of the decision (which may or not be rescinded, who the hell knows) to ban links, or even in some cases mentions, of certain other similar social media outlets. Especially those that have benefited most from departing Twitter users looking for places to land.

Well, let me remind you again of other places where you can find me, right here on a site not owned by Elon Musk. I can make my own dumb decisions, thank you.

I am “mikester” on Mastodon, Cohost, Tumblr. I am also “mikester” on

And of top of all that I am “mikesterling” on Post (yeah, I know, got to my name a little late. Ah well, What Can You Do?

Okay, that’s that, I hope everyone has a good holiday, where applicable! Will hopefully be back to normal posting next week.

And yes, Mighty Samson #32 was released in a three-pack, I didn’t mention that in the body of the post.

§ December 19th, 2022 § Filed under publishing § 20 Comments

So one of the funnybooks I acquired in that recently-purchased collection was this:

I didn’t pay it much mind at the time, because “oh hey it’s another Mighty Samson comic, no biggie.” But taking a closer look it has this blurb at the top of the front cover:

…my initial thought was “is this a comment on the fact that Mighty Samson was, against all odds, still running?” But no, this is in fact a series called Gold Key Champion, one that I really can’t recall seeing before (or I did see before, at some point at the previous place of employment, and just don’t remember).

Well, sort of a series, anyway, as it ran two whole issues, of which the Might Samson installment was the second. And as I was pricing it up, I saw the note in the Overstreet Price Guide that it was “half-reprint,” which intrigued me. A look at the Grand Comic Database entry shows that the cover story “The Night Glowers,” illustrated by Don Heck, is new to this publication. Said cover appears to be new to this comic as well.

This comic was released in 1978, between issue #31 in 1976 (which has new material) and #32 in 1982 (reprinting issue #3 from 1965, but with a new cover by Dan Spiegle). I am presuming this new Don Heck-illustrated story was maybe…unused inventory that was put in this Gold Key Champion comic, published to see if there was still a market for these Samson comics? He wasn’t the artist when the series left off, so I don’t know if he’d drawn the story for publication in 1976, or was hired to draw either a new or inventory script for the ’78 release. I’ve no idea, but I can imagine those Mighty Samson completists suddenly alarmed that there’s this other comic outside the main series with new work.

Issue #1 of Gold Key Champion, by the way, features Lost in Space (the Space Family Robinson original-to-comics version, not the “Danger Will Robinson!” TV one – here’s an explanation). Again, it’s half-reprint, with a new story by Gaylord Du Bois and Dan Spiegle, and I also don’t know if this was produced specifically for this book or if it was leftover inventory. Du Bois and Spiegle were the creative team when Space Family Robinson Lost in Space ended with #37 in 1973, so was Du Bois’s story in GKC1 sitting in a file cabinet somewhere for Spiegle to come back and draw five years later? Did they both come back to do a new story? Or was the whole thing ready to go in ’73 and not published ’til 1978? I’m guessing the last.

Anyway, wasn’t that all interesting? …Okay, I know, but I thought it was neat and wanted to ponder a bit about this comic here.

• • •

Don’t forget, I’m still taking your 2023 comic industry predictions! Where are we headed? What’s going to happen? OH MY GOD WHY IS EVERYTHING ON FIRE? Feel free to leave them in the comments to this entry and I’ll cover ’em in January 2024! (And I’ll start going over your 2022 predictions in just a few short weeks!) Thanks, pals!

3! 3! 3!

§ December 17th, 2022 § Filed under predictions § 3 Comments

Sorry for no Friday update, as I’ve been busy with Christmas stuff, but I at least wanted to pop in and remind you that I’m still taking your comic industry predictions for 2023!

HOWEVER: I ask that you please follow the rules, to make life easier on me and on everyone else participating! I specifically asked that you not criticize other people’s predictions, but let’s not comment on them either…I went through and deleted a couple of responses that did so. Also, I don’t mind jokey submissions, as I can usually do something with those, but the rule of “3 per person” still applies!

Again, thanks for participating, and I look forward to covering them all in 2024!

« Older Entries Newer Entries »