Haul / Ebay Unboxing and Why Variant Covers are destroying the Comic Book Market / Experience!

THE BEST OF DC WAR COMICS AMERICA AT WAR  Edited by Michael Uslan

One of the great discoveries of 2018, in addition to me getting back into old back issue comics, and purchasing my first Golden and Atomic age comics, is my jumping into conflict or combat or war comics, with both feet.

The first conflict title that really grabbed me was OUR FIGHTING FORCES STARRING THE LOSERS. I have been reading comics for decades and somehow I managed to remain largely clueless to these comics. I mean I had seen war and western comics as a kid, and had no interest in them as most kids of my age at the time.

I think those books are very much something you have to grow to appreciate, much like the art of Jack Kirby.

But here many decades removed from that kid, this year I stumbled across the amazing run of Joe Kubert covers for OUR FIGHTING FORCES, and they just blew me away.

In an age where a lot of morons are using gimmicks like variant comics to sell multiple copies to a dwindling reader base , and publishers are playing into the gambling aspect of the speculators, who don’t even read the comics, they just oooh and ahhh over what amounts to pinups on the cover, rather than in the book where they used to be.

To the point where you have covers that are completely devoid of typography. Typography is part and parcel, of what makes s great, iconic cover. Another part of being iconic, is there being only one image,  per issue, a popular shared point of reference that an entire public can reference.

If you say Amazing Fantasy 15, or X-men 94, or Hulk 181, what makes all those issues so iconic, is they  bring up one agreed upon, and shared image in the minds of the audience.

Now covers have a minimum of 2 variants and often 10 times that many. At that point you have stopped selling stories, and are in the business of selling pin-ups. And if all you want is a pin-up, just download the damn cover images. Do not get me wrong there are some wonderful images being created for these ‘variant’ covers. But they are pin-ups or posters, they are not covers. They act against the very idea of a cover, which is a single, memorable image you can identify with that story. You weaken your own product, by dilluting and muddying the waters, with multiple covers, or multiple endings, or multiple versions. Plurality being the enemy of the iconic.

It is the reason modern comics are a speculator’s bubble, poised to burst. The whole market, much like the 90s, is built on speculation, and chasing the very transitory and ephemeral nature of what is hot. A lot of it is forced or manufactured rarity. Ooh this issue had a curse word in it, ooh this issue had a possibly risqué or controversial image.

It is completely manufactured market, based on very superficial minutiae, than in any way on content or quality.

DEATHSTROKE is consistently one of the best books DC comics is producing. Christopher Priest month in and month out delivering fantastic writing, with fantastic interior art.

Unfortunately all the speculator’s comment on is the cover variant.

While no doubt the creators are glad to have the numbers, having the readers is the real goal of this medium, and the real satisfaction of being a creator.

It is one reason that older comics, particularly from the Bronze Age, are getting so popular. The storytelling, the typography, the beauty, the singularity of vision, all stands out, especially in comparison to the lack of all of those things in most modern comic books.

Joe Kubert I really have grown such a HUGE appreciation for his story-telling, particularly his covers. He is such a master artist, and no-where is that more obvious than on his long and fruitful run in Conflict Comics.

Here without further ado are just a few of the must own LOSERS Joe Kubert covers (the complete essential run goes from OUR FIGHTING FORCES 123 TO 141. 19 issue run of AMAZING covers. And even though Kubert keeps doing the cover art till 151, I would say 141 is a good jumping off point for individual issues collectors.  After 141 DC would go for a more conventional , less experimental style, and those later issues lend themselves to just picking up in a collected trade format.

The more boring covers seems to coincide with the switch of Editors from Joe Kubert to Archie Goodwin. And then it would quickly bounce to Jack Kirby and Finally Murray Boltinoff who would see the series to its demise at issue #181. The series at its strongest, and the individual issues worth collecting, are issues 123 to 141.

Buy your issues here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=180611&pgi=101&AffID=200301P01

Use the link above, and get great deals, and help this blog keep putting out content.

 

Thanks!

 

You heard it here first!!! Forget about paying a fortune for the first issue of new book BATMAN DAMNED, a flash in a pan overpriced at cover price, book. And get something with real staying power, Joe kubert’s 1970’s run on OUR FIGHTING FORCES issues #123 to141!!

 

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Today’s TOP search Terms and random Discussions!

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Deonte Wilder – Best pound for pound Boxer

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Whitaker vs Trinidad Great Youtube Fight

Whitaker vs McGirth Great Youtube Fight

Crawford Great Youtube Boxing Fights

 

 

PODCAST OF THE DAY : Grouchy Old Geeks Episode 29

Grouchy Old Geeks Episode 29

‘After the usual news and reviews evil is the order of the day as Steve and Scott sit down to talk about their favourite genre villains over the last few decades.’

 

The guys from across the pond, do a stellar job highlighting striking examples of screen villains, eschewing the usual suspects for a very unexpected and great list. Including one I was completely unfamiliar with. Based on their list, I will be revisiting some of these films and tv shows mentioned.

Very good podcast episode!

http://geeksyndicate.libsyn.com/gsn-podcast-grouchy-old-geeks-episode-29

THE FINAL WORD – UFC229 Khabib vs Conor McGregor Controversy

UFC229 : Khabib vs McGregor

Whether or not you are a MMA or UFC fan you were probably aware of this fight.

Due largely to the deplorable antics of Connor McGregor throughout.

All of which Khabib and his camp met with true stoicsm, in the face of truly beyond the pale acts by McGregor’s camp bordering on, if not crossing the line into, terrorism, in the textbook definition of the word.

McGregor’s camp for months has been engaged in acts of terrorizing Khabib’s camp reaching a crescendo in the much televized bus incident.

Through it all, Khabib held it, all the unchecked taunts, and insults, to his person, his family, his nation, and his religion; insults from McGregor and his camp. Khabib behaved like a gentleman and a professional, holding his response for the one place he knew it belonged, the ring. Saturday 6 October he gave his response, and made Connor tap out. He fought smart, and fought strong, and just broke Connor down with constant pressure. And the thing about working men up to such explosive peaks, they tend to explode.

Khabib high on the explosion of beating Connor, and now finally able to answer the months of insult swallowing against his person, his family, his nation, and his religion, let his rage continue past Connor’s defeat to his other tormentors outside the ring. It was definitely not a smart thing to do, but given everything Khabib’s camp and people were subjected to, it is understandable.

He waited till the fight to answer his critics, that it spilled out after the fight, shows only that you can push even the most stoic of young men only so far. And at least Khabib’s excess has the reasoning of adrenalin, and still being in the ring, in a ring frame of mind, in attack mode, rather than the premeditated hooglianism of attacking a bus full of fellow fighters.

Dana White gives a post fight wrap up, and I urge you to watch it.

While seemingly level handed, it skirts the real reason why tonight’s explosion happened.

Dana White, while wanting to write it off as just trash talking, the truth is he allowed his golden boy McGregor, criminally off the leash, going beyond trash talking, to really insulting Khabib’s family, nationality, ethnicity, and religion. And then going even beyond that to a vicious physical and criminal attack of terror on other fighters in his deranged attempt to intimidate Khabib.

This is not the bloody WWE, or whatever they call themselves. But Dana White rather than suspending and penalizing McGregor for one of the worst acts ever committed in UFC history, made apologies for him, and brought him back without either apology or reimbursement to Khabib’s camp, but let him take up where he left off terrorizing Khabib’s camp.

No one has to do that much posturing and talking if you know you can beat someone.

You only do that if you need to convince the other person to be afraid, and you only do that to cover up a fear or insecurity in you about that other person. It is the antics of a bully, a supremely talented bully, but a bully nonetheless. Who wants to win the fight with intimidation. The more centered and stoic Khabib was, the more outlandish, and unacceptable was every action and comment from McGregor and his camp. It was a reign of terror, and Dana White, if you look at him during all the pre-fight squabling, found it amusing. He found McGregor’s off the chain behaviour amusing, and his attitude and acceptance for chaos, rather than restoring  professionalism..set the tone for this fight.

Khabib may have jumped the cage, but it was the example of Dana White and Connor McGregor, that let him know this is what is considered acceptable behaviour from a fighter and a champion in the UFC and in America.

Khabib, only with much prodding finally stooped to the baiting of McGregor, Dana White and the UFC. He should not be punished for this, but given the same pass McGregor was (especially considering his explosion was a lot more understandable, less premeditated, and less damaging than McGregor’s bus attack).

Going forward Dana White and the UFC must know where the line is between trash talking, and hate speech and terrorism, and not let their fighters… cross that line.

Khabib made one of the best fighters tap out, and showed a pretty strong standup game as well, and a dominating ground game. That should be the take away of that fight.

For anyone to speak any other way, is to clearly show the inherent bias and prejudice in the UFC.

 

Congrats to Khabib, for an excellent victory.

Alan Moore – WATCHMEN Quote of the Day : GRAPHIC NOVEL vs MOVIE vs TV Show

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 

“I’m disappointed in you, Adrian. I’m very disappointed. Reassembling myself was the first trick I learned. It didn’t kill Osterman. Did you really think it would kill me? I have walked across the surface of the sun. I have witnessed events so tiny and so fast, they could hardly be said to have occurred at all. But you, Adrian, you’re just a man. The world’s smartest man poses no more threat to me than does its smartest termite.”
Alan Moore, Watchmen

That line, ‘I have witnessed events so tiny and so fast, they could hardly be said to have occurred at all.’ haunts me. It haunts me the way all great and true lines haunt me, with something like existential dread.

That the human condition, all we have bled for and fought for and died for, in the grand scheme of time, all of it, are events so tiny and so fast, they could hardly be said to have occurred at all.

That is the definition of existential dread.

With that perspective on the end importance of all our grand designs one would think it would bend us to savor the small kindnesses, the brief smiles, the rare joys we can engender. Horror is easy, humanity is hard. So perhaps that is what glimmers brightest in the carnal house that is the human condition, not those places where we have embraced the mob, and the simple math of cannibalizing each other, but those places where we stand against the tide of history, the tide of horror, and say no. And learn to raise each other up, rather than tear each other down.

I re-watched Zack Snyder’s WATCHMEN, the full Ultimate Edition with the Pirate scenes cut in, I am quite enamored with it. It is by no means a perfect film, but show me what is. Given the daunting task of turning one of the most celebrated Graphic Novels of all time into a movie, I think he did as well as anyone could have. And in places better than anyone could have. That opening credit sequence stands out as one of the greatest of all time, and crams so much of the story into Snyder’s trade-mark slo-mo images.

Brilliantly cast, and wonderfully  performed, it stays incredibly  faithful to the source material, getting so much of Moore’s essential story… even into a 3+ hour movie… being no easy feat.

Somewhere in the middle the film flags, the fire rescue scene seeming a bit tedious rather than rousing, and the ‘Is he Jesus/’ line groan inducing, rather than in any way needed. The beats that work over 12 issues and multiple reading sessions  in a comic book, not necessarily the beats that can all work, in a 3 hour movie. Even the prison break, that should have been riveting, and in places was, also seemed a bit… perfunctory, and needing to get out of the way to get to the end.

But the ending rights the tilting ship, and not only does justice to the source material, but departs from it just a little bit, a risky, risky thing. However, the choice was brilliant. Because the movie’s end conceit, improves on the Graphic Novel. It is a very small change, and everything around it is Alan Moore, to include the quote at the beginning of this post. It is a gutsy change, but I feel absolutely the right one. 

So the film opens brilliantly and closes brilliantly and in between we are treated to Zack Snyder and Company bringing a property decades in the attempting, finally to screen life.

You want the full faithful WATCHMEN experience? Reread the Graphic Novel. However, if you want the WATCHMEN adapted to film, then this is it. I don’t see getting a cast anymore spot on than this one, and  a filmmaker this visually stunning comes along only sporadically.

All in all, a flawed film, mostly due to pacing during the middle, but  a film that absolutely transcends its flaws to be worth re-watching often.

And with the WATCHMEN TV show in the works, we are going to get something very different from both the film and the graphic novel.

Will it be better? In the long run, Unlikely.

TV shows have a history of starting strong the first two or three seasons, than going off the tracks and outstaying their welcome by season 4.

Shows such as HELL ON WHEELS (should have ended after season 3), PERSON OF INTEREST( Should have ended halfway through Season 3), LOST, BEING HUMAN (original UK series) many more, would have been better by ending before their disastrous 4th season.

Now there are exceptions, shows such as THE GOOD WIFE, FRINGE, GRIMM, ELEMENTARY (working my  way through the last season) that managed to surprisingly have compelling multi-year runs. Something that was easier to do in the age of the done-in-one show (the biggest example of that today is DR. WHO, it is a done-in-one show, masquerading as a continuing storyline. But every few years you just keep resetting the character to first base. And starting the same conflicts, and villains, all over again. It is old fashion serialized television at its most sustainable). Today with continuing story-lines it is far harder to craft that payoff series finale.

Show Runners know how to start a series today, they just (more often than not )do not know how to end it.

Going into a universe as Complex and sophisticated as Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN, requires from the outset having a finite amount of episodes in mind and working toward that end. A firm three season structure at most. Ala BBC’s brilliant MUSKETEERS.

But if you go into WATCHMEN just looking to drag it out as long a possible, ala WALKING DEAD TV series,  I think like WALKING DEAD you will end up with a show that overstays its welcome, and is ultimately viewed as a disappointment.

But I’m hoping that is not the case, and the work is a nice evocation of the concepts of Alan Moore.