The End of American Comic Books?

With the major two American Publishers (Marvel Comics and DC Comics) Marvel Comics (Real) | Spiderman animated Wikia | FANDOM powered ...Dc Logo Png Transparent - Dc Comics Logo 1976 - Free Transparent ...largely pricing themselves out of the periodic comic book market, ($4 for a 22 story page comic? Are you on crack?! 🙂 ) and failing to engage any sizeable readership in the sub-thirty market, and losing readers in their dwindling above 30 market, they are kept around largely to just be an idea space/loss leader for the actually profitable divisions of the multinational oligarchies that own them.

That is not to say there are not brilliant writers and artists that work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, but unfortunately they are crippled by a few things.

First a pricing structure (over $3 for a couple dozen pages of comics. 10 minutes of reading entertainment is moronic. It is a poor value for dollar when compared to just about anything else) , second a quality structure ( abhorent paper and cover quality. Poor and obtrusive placement of ads, especially when compared to better Indy publishers. Marvel Comics is especially culpable in this) and third a flawed editorial structure/mindset ( lets inundate the MARKET, dilute the brand and confuse and frustrate the readership, with too much overlapping, and conflicting, and redundant books, and events, and storylines. Let us not give prospective readers one clear on-ramp to our comics, a single Batman book to follow, or Spiderman book to follow, when we can publish 20 poorly selling, and market-fractioning books instead. And let us not place the books or advertise the books, places where our demographic could actually find them).

All three of these ingrained ‘sales’ structures of major American comics, seemingly just designed by moronic frat boys, rather than capable professionals who really love and want to grow/expand the medium.

Marvel and DC comics for the last few decades since the 90s, proving themselves inept at selling American Comics to Americans or anyone else. Think about it, Marvel and DC comics, these publishers, their inability to sell 100 thousand comics in a nation of 300 Million people, is an unprecedented level of failure. Especially with the hard work of selling these characters to the mainstream already done by the movies and TV shows.

If I were the parent companies, AT&T and Disney, I would wholesale fire the Marketing and Editorial departments of both companies, and bring in fresh blood with fresh ideas. Because, clearly the people currently running these divisions have not the slightest clue how to sustain and grow their print model/readership.

Now on the Independent comic book publishing Front, there are still promising companies, IMAGE COMICS, and some of the smaller companies such as Alterna and Albatross etc. these companies are really challenging the ingrained pricing and content and quality deficits of marvel and dc. these companies resembling more the mad creativity and broad appeal of marvel comics in its bronze age glory days, before it lost its way. before the peter principle took hold of marvel and dc, and they grew past their best and most useful state.

WHERE I BUY JUST ABOUT NOTHING MONTHLY FROM THE BIG TWO (Exception being Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE) I buy just about everything from ALTERNA, and ALBATROSS and a bunch from IMAGE. Dark Horse, IDW, Ahoy, Aftershock, Titan, all companies putting out great books.

However a recent rash of buyouts of Indy comic companies, by deep pocket Chinese companies may bode ill for true Indy American Comics. and may signal an end to this current golden age of american comics.

AND YES, I WOULD ARGUE THAT LOW SALES AND OTHER ISSUES TO THE CONTRARY, WE ARE IN A GOLDEN AGE OF COMIC BOOKS, graphic literature, slims. cause when you get away from the reprehensible shenanigans and mismanagement and flooding the market tactics of the big two, the comics themselves, have truly never been better, or richer, with nearly every genre of book being published, and across the board, a higher level of story and art then ever before.

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Ahoy Comics | Expect More

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i grew up in the bronze age of comics, i love the bronze age comics, and there were some great comics. but across the board the quality and creativity is better today. you just have to push a lot of that noise of the big two out of the way so you can see eric powell’s hillbilly and goon, so you can see brubaker’s criminal, so you can see rucka’s lazarus so you can see walker’s bitter root, so you can see dingess’ manifest destiny, and the list goes on. and even in marvel, great comics are being made,  ta-nehisi coates black panther and captain america, jason aAron’s thor, montclare’s moon girl and devil dinosaur, g. willolw wilson’s ms. marvel and the list goes on, it is just marvel has made these books (for reasons mentioned) unpalatable to pick up monthly. it is better to wait for the collected edition and read the story that way.

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for monthly comics I really like the Alterna model in terms of pricing, and seeking old fashioned newstand distribution. And hopefully other companies can follow their homegrown lead so we continue to have American comic book companies not potentially censored by allegiance to foreign interests.

Hope you found the above slight tirade useful. It comes from a place of love for the medium, and love that a home grown, domestic comic book company… can endure.

If you want to buy the back issues of any of the books I mention, or subscribe to books (preorder new books, I highly recommend it) use the below link. You will get great books, and it will earn a few pennies for this blog. Enjoy!

https://www.mycomicshop.com/?AffID=200301P01

 

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!!

 

TERRIFICON 2018 Review! In a word…. TERRIFIC!

TERRIFICON 2018!


Books I picked up at this year’s terrific Terrificon at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conneticut!

 

Man, we had such a great time at this year’s Terrificon two weekends ago. We just made a weekend of it in Connecticut, and only spent one day at the con, but what a fun day. My better half, who is not the comic head I am at all, was surprised by how much she enjoyed it.

Part of it is the convention is very well laid out in the simply massive Mohegan Sun Casino Complex. The Con which was huge in terms of space, only took up a fraction of this massive Casino Complex. And there was huge room between booths and areas, so while well attended, you didn’t feel crushed in a crowd, like Awesome Con or New York Comic Con. Also the emphasis here was very much on Comics, so you just had a very laid back, yet fun crowd. The writers and artists were very much the superstars here.

Another part of the success is the panels. While the shopping was great, and I found great deals; walking around and shopping to me, is not enough reason for me to go to a con. And I am not really interested in getting anyone’s signature, and shopping alone I can do online and save the hotel fees and travel expenses.

I am someone who likes great panels, informative conversations with those creators who created what is best in this hobby, and their interesting behind the scenes stories . So I did my homework and new the panels to attend, and the time to get there for them.

The Black Panther panel was a definite hit, being able to see three generations of Black Panther writers on the stage. Don McGregor and Christopoher Priest were the name draws, and were excellent but I think everyone was wowed by newest Black panther artist and writer Afua Richardson. She was just a joy, and her talk of how she laces symbolic and linguistic meaning into the covers she did for Black Panther has I think everyone who left that talk.. on the hunt for her work.

 

The girl power vibe in the room was strong. 🙂 But so was the Christopher Priest vibe, this guy is one of my favorite writers, the only monthly DC book I buy anymore is his Deathstroke, and he has written some of my favorite runs. Quite frankly he was a huge reason I attended this con. Him and Roy Thomas. Getting to hear both of these legendary crreators speak, a win, win.

In addition there was the mellifluous John Suintres (from the WORD BALLOON podcast) as MC, Jim Starlin the always stoic Larry Hama, the slightly bemused Michael Golden, and Paul Kupperberg.

So a fantastic set of panels oh and some great food and shopping. The Mohegan Sun Casino offering world class food and shopping options. We stopped at Bobby Flay’s Burger and it was awesome.

And without futher ado, onto the comic book shopping. Here are some of the books I got at Terrificon 2018. All of my shopping for the con was between 50 cents and $2.50 per book. The following books averaged $2 a book, and as you can see are in great mid-grade condition. Fine  to VF condition. Why on earth would anyone pay over $3 for new books, when you can get great bronze and silver age comics , with great stories and art for that same price or less???!!!!. Shame on you Marvel and DC . Instead for new comics replace Marvel and DC with Canadian company Chapterhouse and American company Alterna. And preorder from Image, Dark Horse,  IDW to also get their new books for less than $3.

All in all just a great experience. Along with Heroescon and Baltimore it is considered one of the best, most enjoyable true Comiccons.

I definitely look forward to going next year.

Go ahead and like and subscribe to this post. I have pics of the panels, with Christopher Priest, Roy Thomas, Jim Starlin, etc…so if this post gets enough likes, and new subscribers I’ll add additional pics and content.

And definitely support this post by buying items from the blog sponsor below:

 

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Thanks and be well out there!

20 Best Youtube COMIC BOOK Channels! Week ending 2 June 2018!

While relatively new to the Youtube Comic Book watching scene, I’ve been a collector for a very long time.

I’m listening and watching these Youtube videos/channels on Comic Books, and these channels are fantastic!

I watch them courtesy of Roku on my Big Screen TV, and I spend more time watching these YouTube channels, than regular TV most days. Much to the chagrin of my better half, who has seen more of these videos than she would like. 🙂

It is just great to see collectors of various ages and backgrounds sharing their passion and finds and tips, on a hobby I also get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Without further ado, this is this week’s 15 Favorite Channels!(You can find any of the channels just by searching for their name on Youtube. Tell them HT sent ya!)

  • SILVER AGED DAVE (best comic book room tours, and essential info on insurance, budgeting, preserving your books, and generally enjoying your collection, along with great hauls)
  • SADDLE CITY COMICS – nice coverage of mostly new comics presented by company
  • TheKMN1971- Simply has some of the best hauls of bronze age books. Always costs me money when I see his videos. As i’m inspired to go looking for many of the books he shows off.  🙂
  • EARL GREY (best coverage of European comics, as well as deep dives into select creators and genres)
  • MERCENAUT (very informative, and great selection of books to be on the lookout for)
  • GEM MINT (great coverage on Omibus and collected editions)
  • REGIE IFBBPRO (great hauls and stories, and passion for this hobby)
  • LEEKIRBYDITKO (hands down the best golden age coverage on Youtube, and recently become very interested in Golden Age)

  • THULE (Another great Golden Age channel)
  • JERNO’S COMICS & POP CULTURE – Recent find. Very informative. I like his recent project, cashing out his Starbuck’s stock (Long before this most recent news issue, I had no interest in Starbuck’s. Like KFC amd Shell Gas they are on my list of companies to not do business with) and putting it into comic books, and making a greater rate of return on comics than with his Starbuck’s stock.
  • BOOK ROAST – This one has more to do with Gift Boxes and Harry Potter but it is a nice peacekeeper when you need to break up your comic book watching for your better half 🙂 Also while not a Harry Potter fan, I like this channel as well. Her coverage of different Gift Boxes is interesting, and informative; and her Scottish accent doesn’t hurt. 🙂
  • AFTA COMICS –  Love listening to this guy. He sounds like the late, great Adam West. May he rest in peace. So yeah, I listen to him tell his stories in his Adam West voice, and I’m entertained, and reminded of the late great Adam West. Really like this channel. Covers great Westerns.
  • CHYCHO – I like his laid back, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response, a belief that sound can soothe, and in addition create states in the listener where information is more readily absorbed) delivery. Nice coverage of everything from Golden Age to moderns. And his overview and understanding of economic systems, reinforced some things I knew, and really opened my eyes on some other things. His post PERSONAL FINANCE:CURRENCY,MONEY,ECONOMY,P2:GOLD should really be required viewing, by pretty much everyone.

  • LUTHER MANNING – Like his CGC hauls
  • ALEX THE COMIC HOARDER- like his upbeat coverage of hauls
  • WINDY CITY COMIC BOOKS (great coverage of classic comic book magazines)
  • GORE VIDAL- Great coverage of Independents, magazines, and hardcovers, with a love for the Spanish and Italian artists. His multi-episode coverage on Dark Horse’s CREPAX is essential viewing. He stopped broadcasting a bit mysteriously a month ago, anyone with his contact info just let us know he is alright.

 

  • GABE INFINITY WATCH – I like his coverage of IDW Artist’s Edition.
  • ISLORD372 – New discovery , I really like his collection coverage video.
  • SUPERJOE – Nice selection of various comics from various eras. And some books I had not seen before.

Honorable mentions:

 

  • COMIC BOOK FANATICS – Shout out to Ray Jr, who left to do a tour in Afghanistan. Stay safe over there,.
  • FOOLKILLER5150 – Appears to be an abandoned channel, but lots of good content still out there.

 

And this installment’s Public Service Announcement – To everyone out there who has an issue with Social Justice Warriors, first learn to use the whole word and not the acronym, second you may want to choose a different medium if you don’t like Social justice Warriors. Because if you are reading Superhero Comics, the first social justice warrior is Superman. Followed quickly by Batman, Shazam, and all the others. The whole of Superhero Comics built on this bedrock of vigilantes, sticking up for the little guy, and taking it to the fat cats, and the corrupt, system. Social Justice Warrior defined.

 

Give love to the channels I mention and be wary of cleaning and pressing a comic. If your comic book is a 4.5, It is a 4.5. The attempt to make it a 5.5 in the short term, can be speeding up the process of making it a 1 in the long term.

Ending this on a positive note you 17 channels are always showing me your hauls and recommends, which I greatly thank you for. You’ve put some great books on my radar. Wanted to return the favor. Below is my list of must own comic books, that I think are WAY undervalued and you can still buy incredibly cheaply and will only go up.

Enjoy!!!

 

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https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/8/84/Adventure_Comics_Vol_1_431.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20170401041618https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/a/a7/Adventure_Comics_Vol_1_434.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20090202013949https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/0/04/Adventure_Comics_Vol_1_438.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20090202014031https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/0/07/Adventure_Comics_Vol_1_440.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20170430053009https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/786713.jpghttps://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marveldatabase/images/5/51/Daredevil_Vol_1_126.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20080808204134https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marveldatabase/images/8/80/Daredevil_Vol_1_127.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20080808204311https://i2.wp.com/www.strangercomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/asunda-untamed-graphic.jpg

 

DAREDEVIL 126 & 127 – One of the best two parters of all time. I read this back in the day and it still stands up as one of my favorite non-Frank Miller DAREDEVIL comics. TORPEDO is a great bronze age character, and this is him at his best. Sporting great Gil kane covers, and a story by Marv Wolfman (who was also Executive Editor at the time, and art by Bob Brown and Klaus Janson. Wonderful visuals.

THE UNTAMED – Is a beautiful sword and sorcery graphic novel by Sebastian A. Jones and Peter Bergting and Darrell May. From STRANGER COMICS. A quality and very little known collected edition.

DEFENDERS 52- Best Gil Kane Cover. Best done in one story. Best Hulk vs Sub-Mariner fight. One of the Best Keith Giffen and David Kraft co-scripts. From about issue 42 to 52, these guys were on FIRE! Best depiction of the Hulk. Best depiction of Sub-Mariner. Done, done, and done.

ADVENTURE COMICS 431-440 -Michael Fleisher’s stories starring the Spectre, with Jim Aparo art have quite frankly never been surpassed. They are for me, the definitive take on the Spectre as a vengeful Wrath of God, with a more than demented sense of perverse punishments. A lurid and legendary series.

THE SINISTER HOUSE OF SECRET LOVE #1- Dark Shadows meets the House of Mystery? How do you not love that title and that cover. A must own.

I SPY 1-6 – The 60s pushed the envelope in terms of entertainment, writing and scope. Bringing globe trotting adventures into our living room. I SPY along with DANGER MAN/SECRET AGENT MAN and MAN WITH A SUITCASE were some of the best TV shows of the period. to have that great Cosby and Culp series, also as a comic book is a must own. Great photo-covers.

You can get any of the books listed, using the link below. And using the link earns this blog a few pennies to keep the lights on.

Buy comic books here!
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Best Bronze Age COMIC BOOK COVERS! Spider-Man! Morbius!

Best Bronze Age COMIC BOOK COVERS! Spider-Man! Morbius!

With the new Spider-Man movie on the horizon (which I have no interest in. The cast and the story-line looks uninteresting, no matter how many trailers they try, and yet another Imax 3D post conversion, that looks awful in the trailers) I thought it was a good time to examine one of the better Spider-Man spin-offs, the character known as Morbius, The Living Vampire!

The following are GREAT bronze age covers from the 1970s, with some nifty interiors as well.


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To purchase any of these books (which have not been collected in color, and they need to be) go to the following link:

Buy ADVENTURE INTO FEAR:THE LIVING VAMPIRE comic books here!