and Dead Tree Comics

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Mongrel
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:24 pm

Sure. Why not.
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:13 pm

I was surprised it didn't happen when they did the whole Hasbro Shared Universe thing a few years back with Transformers, GI Joe, MASK, Captain Action, the Micronauts, and the Visionaries.

(I don't really read the GI Joe comic and I'm kind of curious how it deals with Transformers being rebooted and GI Joe not. I assume they just don't talk about all that stuff that happened, and is presumably still happening, with those giant alien robots? Most of whom permanently relocated to Earth at the end of their series?)

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby zaratustra » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:57 pm

Rip Dan Didio's career as a honcho in DC Comics, your comics made me feel like I was too old to be reading this shit in a way Marvel never could.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:50 am

Can't say as I was a fan either, but I *can* say that the last dozen times WB shook up the DC org chart, it got worse, not better.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:53 am

Well apparently the org chart now consists of a picture of Jim Lee taped to a wall in the DC HQ with a bunch of arrows pointing to it.

Not sure if that's an improvement or not.
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:39 am

There are multiple followup series to Marvels out, celebrating its 25th(!) anniversary a year late.

I haven't read Marvels X, because I never got into the Earth X stuff. But I've read the first issue each of Marvel and Marvels Snapshots.

Marvel #1 is an anthology; it's got a framing device with Nightmare by Alex Ross and Steve Darnall, a Spider-Man story by Sajan Saini and Frank Espinosa, and (IMO) the highlight, an Avengers vs. Hulk story set in the Silver Age by Kurt Busiek and Steve Rude.

Marvels Snapshot: Fantastic Four is a full-issue story by Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer. It's very Busiek-y, telling the story of Johnny Storm's ten-year high school reunion from the perspective of two reporters interviewing his old high school friends. I suspect I'd have gotten more references if I'd ever read the Jerry Siegel Human Torch comics from the '60s, but what it's got in common with the original Marvels series (and, for that matter, most of Busiek's oeuvre) is that the deep cuts add enjoyment but aren't necessary for it. (Busiek has said that his mother enjoyed Marvels #3, despite having no idea what a Galactus was, because she could appreciate it as a metaphor for the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

Also, Dorkin shows us when the story takes place by introducing the story with a news broadcast talking about the recent Red Zone attack and X-Statix introducing its newest member, El Guapo, and oh God I'm old enough that the comics I was reading in college are dated references used as background context in Marvels now.

This is my favorite kind of superhero story, the kind told from the perspective of ordinary people. IMO the highlight is where the reporters interview a retired and reformed Asbestos Man. "My God, I challenged a 16-year-old boy to fight me. What the hell was wrong with me?"

Both comics are fucking great, a pitch-perfect throwback to the work Busiek and Ross did in the '90s on Marvels (and beyond in Astro City). I'm looking forward to more of both series -- and also there's yet another series coming, called The Marvels.

I highly recommend buying them, when/if you get a chance. Support your local comic shop if you can; for those who haven't heard, new comics releases have been postponed indefinitely, and this is a really hard time for retailers. Arizona's under a stay-at-home order but my LCS is offering a delivery service; check and see if yours is offering any kind of similar accommodations. New comics aren't shipping but Diamond is still fulfilling orders for old stuff. Maybe order Marvels or some Astro City if you haven't read them before?

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:30 pm

Looking at stuff to have my LCS order while there's no new stuff coming out.

It occurred to me that Pogo and Corto Maltese are two classic comics that are currently being collected in hardcover editions. If I wanted to check out either one of those, should I start at the beginning or am I better off picking something from later on down the line? I know a lot of long-running series take awhile to really click.

Also apparently there are finally some English-language omnibus editions of Asterix coming, but they were originally scheduled for May and, with the entire US comic industry currently shut down, I'm guessing they won't make that original publication date.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:22 pm

I think there's actually been Asterix omnibus editions for ages, but they've been scattergun collections here and there.

Pogo is something which is probably worth reading from the beginning. A lot of running gags and internal references develop over time, as does characterization, so chronological order is as good as any way to read it.

Corto Maltese adventures are fairly standalone, and there's nothing of too terrible quality that I can recall, though that's one where I don't own the full series, as it was always difficult to get the old NBM reprints here and any others were of very uneven quality where apparently panels were shifted and cropped (I'm not sure NBM didn't do this either, but they seem to be more intact).

Anyway if the first one you want to read happens to be the oldest, go for it, otherwise pick up whatever catches your eye. The one where he's in Siberia during the Russian Civil War ("Corto Maltese in Siberia" is the traditionally bland title) is widely considered one of his best.
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:36 am

Mongrel wrote:I think there's actually been Asterix omnibus editions for ages, but they've been scattergun collections here and there.

Right you are. Apparently the new editions from Papercutz are a new US English translation, but there have been UK editions available in the US for some time.

Thanks for the recommendations. I've got way more comics than I can read as it is, but I know Drew (my CBG) could use the business and anyway I might as well branch out from the usual superhero stuff and read something new.

(I've already put one order in, for some Mark Waid Daredevil, the Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe OGN, and a TMNT Adventures collection.)

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:24 am

Actually that's a good reminder to me that the existing English translations have historically been British.

The translators (for the entire English run of Asterix comics, ever), Derek Hockridge and Anthea Bell*, are actually quite famous for the incredible work they do in converting the highly idiosyncratic and extremely capital-F French puns and wordplay in the originals into comparable English concoctions, much of it quite complex and convoluted both in input and output. This results in a lot of British references replacing French ones in the existing English translations, a great many of which are wholly alien to Americans.

With the new editions being the first in American English, I'm very curious as to how much of the Hockridge/Bell work has been retained and how much, if any, is changed to American or perhaps "universal" (among English-speaking countries) references.
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:50 am

Per Wikipedia these aren't actually the first US English versions of Asterix; there have been a few over the years from the '70s to the '90s. But AFAICT, all we've had available in the US for the past 25 years are the British versions.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:26 pm

I've been working my way through old Black Panther comics. I just finished Panther's Rage, by Don McGregor, Billy Graham, and Rich Buckler. It's probably the single most important arc in the character's history, and has influenced everything that came after. (Well...almost everything. When Jack Kirby returned to Black Panther a few years later, he pretty much ignored everything everybody else had done over the past decade and went his own way. But hey, that's a creator's prerogative, especially if that creator is Jack Kirby.)

This is a long one, even by 2020 standards, and it's dense, especially by 2020 standards. It wasn't a big seller but it was one of those 1970s superhero comics that really showed a roadmap for where the genre was going in the coming years. If the '40s and '50s at DC were superhero comics' childhood, the '60s at Marvel were adolescence, and Watchmen in 1986 represents maturity, then the '70s are the college years. A little rough, maybe, a little too pretentious and self-important (Green Lantern/Green Arrow, looking at you), but a promising sign of where things were going.

McGregor's prose is purple as fuck. It's a little much, looking back at it all these years later. But in 1972, there was nothing else like it. And it sure sets a mood.

And again, it's hugely influential on the later stuff, including the movie. The movie's not a close adaptation of the comic, but there are elements there -- W'Kabi and his open questioning of T'Challa's leadership, Killmonger returning to Wakanda, trying to take over, battling T'Challa on Warrior Falls and throwing him over the edge. Killmonger is certainly the most memorable character introduced in this run, but they really create an entire rogues gallery for the Black Panther here: Venomm, Malice, Sombre, King Cadaver, Baron Macabre, Lord Karnaj, Salamander K'ruel. All over the course of a single year-long arc.

There are some rough edges. Aside from the sometimes-ponderous narration, it's a black comic written by a white writer in the 1970s, so it's bound to have a few scenes that are a little cringe-inducing in hindsight. The two American characters in the story, Venomm and Monica Lynne, both speak in dialect; Venomm's southern-fried flavor isn't too bad but Nikki talks like someone in a blaxploitation movie. The subplot about a hut-dwelling villager who's superstitious and afraid of modern medicine is pretty unfortunate too.

There's also a scene where W'Kabi slaps his wife. So that's not great.

But, warts and all, it's a pretty great damn comic. Black Panther's first shot at his own series and it winds up being pretty special. It really is foundational, not just for the Black Panther as a character but for the format of superhero comics to come. 12-issue story arcs were just not a thing in those days. The word "epic" gets thrown around a lot, but this run earns it. This is a huge, sprawling story, and in 1972 there really was nothing else quite like it.

The next arc is Panther vs. the Klan. That sounds fun.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:43 am

Diamond confirms they plan to start shipping comics in mid-May

But DC has since announced it will no longer distribute exclusively through Diamond, and will begin shipping comics again on April 27.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, monopolies are bad, comic book distribution is in desperate need of competition, and Diamond's trouble paying its bills has really hammered that home -- plus, there are a whole lot of comic book shops that are hanging on by a thread right now, and ramping the periodical market back up is probably going to save a fair few of them.

On the other...April 27 seems awfully soon, and while I want to keep comic shops in business, I think encouraging people to go shopping for nonessential items in brick-and-mortar stores is a bad call. I'm hoping the stores (and the states) have good judgement here. The last time I went to my LCS, they weren't letting people in the front door; the clerk got my comics for me, bagged them, and we exchanged bag and credit card at arm's length (and she didn't ask me to sign). I haven't been back since, but the mayor issued a stay-at-home order a few days later and my understanding is the shop is shut entirely and only doing business by e-mail and PayPal now. I'm not quite clear on whether they're hand-delivering orders or having them shipped (I ordered some books last week but haven't gotten them yet), but I'm thinking that's probably the best way for them to continue, even if new product is going to start coming in again in a week and a half. I hope other stores do the same.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon May 11, 2020 4:51 pm

Evanier has more webcasts coming. Tomorrow night he's talking to Mad Magazine's Dick DeBartolo, Thursday he's talking to former DC publisher Paul Levitz, and Saturday is another Cartoon Voices panel.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon May 11, 2020 6:23 pm

Talking Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics with Visionary Comic Book Creator Tom Scioli



I've linked to some pages from this in the past, but didn't realize it was coming out in print. Don't know how I missed it until now (that video is dated December, and there was a preview announced for Free Comic Book Day, which if not for our current zombie apocalypse would have been the first Saturday in May).

This is damned exciting. It's kinda surprising that nobody's ever done a comic biography of Kirby, but Scioli is the guy to do it. I was lamenting the other day that Kirby's planned series of autobiographical comics only got as far as a single ten-page story, Street Code. This is the closest we're ever going to get to that series -- Scioli's even chosen to follow Street Code's lead and not ink his pencil art on this (though he has chosen to color it; Street Code was just pencils, no inks or colors).

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Tue May 12, 2020 11:23 pm

Man, I'm so glad Evanier's doing these interviews; it's just wonderful hearing the stories from guys like Aragones and DeBartolo.

As awful as the current epidemic is, a few good things have come out of it. This is like being able to see the cool parts of San Diego Comic-Con without having to deal with the crowds. It'd sure be great if Mark kept doing this stuff even after everything gets back to whatever the new normal is. He's a great interviewer and he knows everybody.

There's some fantastic history here. And I'm glad somebody's recording it. As captivated as I was at seeing who showed up in the chat when I watched the Aragones cast, I find myself just watching the feed and not paying attention to the chat -- so I know the video will still be enjoyable for years to come.

Looking forward to Levitz on Thursday and another Cartoon Voices panel on Saturday.

Also DeBartolo is selling some autographed merchandise over at his website, gizwiz.biz. For any Mad merch bought through June 15, he's donating the proceeds to Actors Fund.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Wed May 20, 2020 12:42 am

Tonight's guest was Scott Shaw.

I kind of love that Mark chose to highlight my "I'm guessing nobody else wants to talk about Sonic the Hedgehog?" rhetorical question just to confirm that we would not be talking about Sonic the Hedgehog.

Though if I'd expected my YouTube avatar to appear in the video, I would have updated it.

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That photo is from, like, 2009.

(People on the Internet still occasionally recognize me from the early days of Sonic fandom -- and I know for a fact some of the old crew follows Evanier; he's occasionally given a shoutout to Ron Bauerle on his blog, and Ron used to run a Sonic mailing list I was on. I also kind of love the idea that people will see that video and think "Jesus, that guy's still around? And he's still talking about Sonic the Hedgehog comics from the '90s?")

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:42 am

I was poking about Threadless and discovered that they are selling a Madman with an eyeball in his mouth facemask.

At first I assumed it was an inspired bootleg, but nope; official Allred merchandise.

Now, I don't know that I would ever wear that thing in public because it seems like it would scare the normals (and also I've still got an N95 mask I'm going to keep wearing until it wears out, and then at least one more of those after that), but I'm still tempted.

Or maybe I'll just buy a T-shirt.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:54 pm

If you can buy some stuff from TwoMorrows, do; the pandemic has put a real squeeze on the publisher and they're asking for help.

I ordered their books on Carmine Infantino and Will Eisner, which are both currently on clearance.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:17 pm


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