Currently Watching / Quote of the Day : PULP FICTION The Golden Age

I am currently watching PULP FICTION: THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCI FI, FANTASY AND ADVENTURE, courtesy of Youtube and Roku (the only way I watch a Youtube video), and it is just a riveting watch. If you are a fan of books and writers or simply history, and 20th century Americana, this deep dive into the early years of a uniquely American art form, pulp fiction, you will be riveted by this feature. It is less than an hour in length, and get past the incredibly hokey opening, it gets serious and informative and impressive, very quickly.

 

There is a line in the feature that, while being a patron of pulps and pulp writers and knowing this to be true, still actually gave me chills to hear it so succinctly laid out.

 

‘The fascinating thing about the writers who were working in Pulps, was they were writing what was considered disposable fiction, trash. I mean, most of these stories you’d read them and throw them out, and yet… the top writers in these fields, whether Westerns or Science Fiction or Horror or Mystery, they are now considered the literary giants of the 20th century.’

—Marc Zircee, Historian

That line gave me chills. And it is still the case. The writers who are moving the needle here in the still early days of the 21st century, are writers who wrote in under appreciated genre fields.

Similar to successful pulp writers Ray Bardbury, Issac Assimov, Harlan Ellison, Walter Gibson, HP Lovecraft, Sax Rohmer, Dasheil Hammett, L Ron Hubbard, Raymond Chandler, Norvell Page, Cornell Woolrich and Stan Lee (who as a kid started writing pulp stories in the comics, 20 years before he and a cadre of artists would give birth to the revamped Marvel Comics) and others who survived the brutal starvation years of the pulps, and did not join the mass of such writers… who died young and broke, but continued at it, to write, and write, and write, and transition their forward looking pulp sensibilities to the new mediums of radio, and television; that is what is happening today.

 

And not to be remiss the pulp artists, both cover artist and interior were equally important. They gave the astounding, jaw dropping artwork that got you to stop and pick up the story, and the spot illustrations that powered you through it. And like the pulp writers of the day, the artists were woefully underpaid and horribly overworked to barely eke out a living. Most died broke and unknown, with their work not even credited by the publisher, but a few rose above the carnage of those years to create work that is remembered, geniuses like Norman Saunders, J. Allen St. John, Elliott Dold, George Rozen, Jerome Rozen, Rudolph Belarski, Frederick Blakeslee, John Newton Howitt, HJ Ward, Virgil Finley, and the criminally neglected Barye W. Phillips who did one of the best pulp covers ever with FANTASTIC #1 from 1952. I will be doing an article on the artists in an upcoming installment.

The pulp work… wins out.

The perseverance and love… wins out, and those trash/pulp writers of the 20th century are the ones who are celebrated and rediscovered today, where the ‘serious’ writers are largely forgotten and unread by the masses.

The pulp writers who were pushing the needle in the 20th century, with fast, hard,ugly, brutal, and imaginative tales that did not fit the sensibilities of the ‘serious fiction’ of the day.

That unruly challenging and imaginative fiction they were writing then… about our basest desires and wildest hopes remains…. today, still relevant. The way Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN will always be relevant, the way Shakespeare will always be relevant, the way Chester Himes’ Digger and Coffin Joe, will always be relevant. Because people then, as people now, understand the extremes of hope and despair, and that is the place pulp writers evoked for us best.

Now the modern equivalent are writers such as Stan Lee and Alan Moore and Frank Miller and Pat Mills and Neil Gaiman and Mark Olden and Warren Murphy to name a few.  People who slaved away in the late 20th century in the looked down upon realm of Comics or Pulp novels, but wrote about our hope and our fears writ large, modern myths to reflect our modern fears. And like always men who define the conversation of the extreme (the dreamers), in their own time, end up defining the conversation of the masses for their children’s time.

And today we have a new generation of talented pulp writers. From Dennis Lehane to Walter Moseley to John Ridley to Derrick Ferguson to Thomas Ligotti to John Jennings to Joe Hill to Charles Saunders to Percival Everett to John Sanford to Collin Whitehead to Victor LaValle to Richard Gavin to Ed Brubaker to Christopher Priest to Warren Ellis to Brian Michael Bendis to Robert Kirkman to Al Ewing to Eric Powell to David Walker to name a few.

Serious Fiction talks about what is, Pulp Fiction uses the past, present and future as allegories to talk about who we can be, when we screw our courage to the sticking place. And as such it will always be a place waiting for us… to discover.

I hope you like this post. if you did subscribe, give a like or comment. 

A word about subscribing, there are a lot of demands on our time, too much for all of us to be aware of all the cool people and cool things, we might like to be aware of. Wednesday Words was a well received feature I did years ago, and it was just a quick touch on people whose name and work you may want to have on your radar. Subscribing will get you, every two weeks a very short, but very informative edition of WEDNESDAY WORDS.

So if you haven’t subscribed, please do, and bring a friend with you. Collaborating, especially in these oft marginalizing times… seems like the right answer.

And for now, go to Amazon or your local bookstore or library and check out the writers mentioned in this piece. Till next time… be well!

 

 

3 days left to PREORDER your comics in October! Here is how! The FINAL Part!

Here is the promised final part.

Just in time to order, pull the trigger by this Wednesday 24 July 2019!

 

Books worth pre-ordering by 24 July 2019, and save money off cover price, of books being released early October! Halloween!

Here then are the recommended books!

 

Books worth buying from Marvel:

While Marvel under the auspices of the great film division helmed brilliantly by Kevin Feige, are doing gangbusters on the big screen and television screens; the comic books are a train-wreck. I’m not talking talent wise, I think Marvel, The Comic Book Division has talented and creative people actually writing and drawing and creating the books.

Where Marvel falls down is in marketing and pricing their books, and over saturating a small market, with a lot of noise. I think Editorial and Marketing between the two of them are steering the company, periodical wise, at high speed right into a wall.

You do not have to be a genius to realize, Johnathan Hickman or any writer, is not going to revamp crap, if you are diluting and smothering a good idea, (in this case the ‘revamping’ of the X-men) right out the box, by comprising your jump on story 6 to 12 new titles, by that many creative teams. It is the moronic, diminishing returns crap, Marvel publishing has been doing for the last few years. Drowning whatever signal they may produce, under a crap load of noise.

 

One X-men title. One exciting creative team, writer, artist, colorist, letter. One steady price-point, $2.99. Not 10 mutant titles to dilute and confuse your audience. One title. One jumping on point. One easy brand to market to retailer and customers. If you are a Marvel Comic book company, with Marvel Studios having done the hard work of giving you a potential GLOBAL audience of BILLIONS. And you can not sell ROUTINELY hundreds of thousands, if not millions of EVERY issue of X-MEN, the issue is gross mismanagement.

It is not the customer, it is not people do not read, it is not competition from video games or movies, it is gross incompetence by your marketing/management and arguably editorial divisions.

Disney needs to farm out the marketing and management of Marvel Comics, to anyone but the people who are currently failing at it.

Books to buy from Marvel:

None

 

Books to buy from DC:

My above rant about Marvel periodical, also applies to DC periodicals. (With the exception of their $1 reprint line, one of which you will see below).They raised their periodical prices to $3.99 to coincide with hiring Marvel Poster Boy Brian Michael Bendis. And they were on an upswing before doing that. Following their price hike I dropped all of the books that went up in price, except Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE. And to this date, that is the only periodical book I am buying from DC Comics.

 

TWOMORROWS PUBLISHING

 

Alter Ego 161 - Click Image to Close

November 2019 – 100 pages (FULL COLOR)

ALTER EGO #161 (100 pages, $9.95) is a full-issue tribute to Stan (The Man) Lee and his contributions to comics! Roy Thomas writes on his more than 50-year relationship with Stan—and shares 21st-century e-mails from Stan (with his permission, of course)! Art by Kirby, Ditko, Maneely, Everett, Severin, Romita—plus tributes from pros and fans alike—and special sections on Stan by Michael T. Gilbert, Bill Schelly, and even the FCA! Vintage Galactus cover by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta! Edited by ROY THOMAS.

Diamond Comic Distributors Order Code: JUL192270

 

Order Books here:

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

 

3 days left to PREORDER your comics in October! Here is how!

‘Preorder? Preorder?

We don’t need no stinking preorder!’

Little bit of a bastardization of the famous line from the great john Huston directed, Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston led movie, TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.

Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and Walter Huston in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

One of the best films ever made, and a must watch if you have, in an age of Disney Blockbusters, never seen this quintessential bit of Americana. From 1948, the film is as riveting as SICARIO or any other thriller you will see today, and amazingly still as timely and as timeless.

Pre-ordering is something unique to that weird world of comic books.

Not every comic store can carry every comic. There are a lot of publishers, coming out every month with new titles. Staying on top of it can be an initial learning curve.

But pre-ordering helps you save money, depending what online or brick and mortar retailer you use, the amount is typically between 10% and 50% savings.

The particular online retailer I use, and that I recommend, saves you 35% off the cover price of your comics.

Why do I use the retailer that saves you 35% as opposed to the retailer who saves you 40 to 50%? Well I’ve used that 50% off retailer in the past, and had issues with their customer service, as well as problems getting the issues I ordered, and problems with how i was being charged.

With the 35% off retailer, the customer service has been excellent, and I get the books I ordered in quality condition.

Therefore they are the ones I use, and the ones I recommend.

Okay this is part one of my comic book pre-order tutorial, the little trailer/preamble if you will.  I am hard at work on part two, with suggestions of what to order and the link you can use to order from my retailer of choice.

Give this post a like, and come back in about 4 hours to see the 2nd and final part of this pre-order for books shipping in over 2 months, in October.

Thanks!

Youtube Channels On Rob Liefeld, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur and the Demise of DC Comics?

I listen to some of these Youtube channels, with hosts expressing all types of varying views and opinions.

People get up in arms about a lot of things, than rush to share their opinion.

Here is the thing, everyone has an opinion, but what you should share is an INFORMED opinion. I’m always amazed by the number of people who don’t take the time to make their opinion, an INFORMED opinion.

” Oh No! Rob Liefeld is saying DC is heading for a collapse!”

And that is news why?

I don’t personally care what the opinion of Rob Liefeld is. Not saying I dislike him, but in a long day of numerous issues, the opinions of Rob Liefeld generally do not make my radar. Or most people for that matter, we live busy lives.

However a podcast put this particular Liefeld stance on my radar.

DC comic company heading for a demise.

Just a cursory glance at the comic market will make that stance seem like an outcome with a hefty potential, to be the likely stance.

As far as most of America is concerned there is  no such thing as comic books. The best selling comic books of the biggest companies in the US, Marvel and DC, have been struggling for years to sell a 100000 copies in a nation of over 300million people.

That is an unprecedented level of failure.

That is a market hanging on by its fingertips, and is staying alive by resorting to desperate 1990s moves of multiple and variant covers, and price gouging their remaining dwindling audience.

Comics are going up exponentially in price because the big two American Comic book companies rather than attempting to grow an audience, is simply concentrating on milking to death their existing dwindling audience of extremists.

And you have to be an extremist of some sort to pay $4 and $5 and up for books of lessening quality and miniscule content.

And recent talk of AT&T’s acquisition of Warner brothers and by extrapolation DC, points to the print division of DC Comics as one not viewed favorably by At&T; one can argue with good reason.

So to speculate and even err on the side of the demise of the periodical print form of comics, DC comics specifically, that is only looking at the situation clearly and making some informed conclusions. Especially in the wake of the biggest book retailers, far larger than DC. suffering calamitous years of their own.

If you had to bet on DC print division, returning to the glory days of selling millions of copies OR going strictly to a digital and collected/trade model (with some print on demand tossed in); you have to look at the latter as the most likely option.

So yeah talk of the demise of DC Comics, or Comics in general, is just acknowledging the same falling dominoes we see in other physical media markets, from newspapers, to book retailers, to CD and DVD providers. The only difference being all of those things, still sell better than Comic Books.

To not see demise in the wind in the desperate price gouging antics of Marvel and DC, is to not be paying attention. Now I being a fan of print would like a return to a thriving sequential market, but it will take following the path of innovative sequential companies like Alterna, who eschew relying on just the flawed Diamond Direct Market model.

I urge you to check out the Alterna channel for great discussions on these very topics.

And what is funny is the same people who will argue for the health of the direct market, will then call for the cancellation of titles like MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR and MS MARVEL. “Oh those minority books, diverse books are low selling. they should be cancelled. Why aren’t they being cancelled? ” Again it is a case of people not taking two seconds, in a digital age, to get informed.

While the titles do not sell gangbusters in periodic form, in the flawed Diamond direct market model, they sell gangbusters to libraries. MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR and MS MARVEL sell great to libraries, and are critical darlings. And are quickly becoming bigger IP money makers than the traditional “Give us only white guy” titles, that surprise, surprise, after a few issues, stop selling, and need to be rebooted to bolster sales.

It has been my experience that most people on social media, are here to spread gossip or an agenda or be outraged about something, the truth be damned. They just want to have something to move their lips about. That becomes the babbling of idiots, rather than any type of cultivated discourse.

So to combat this type of co-opting of the conversation by those who probably really have no love for comics, those of us in a position to have even a minor audience, we owe our legitimate audience better than regurgitating the suspect ramblings of the agenda prone, we owe them better than our uninformed opinions, or theirs, we have to hold all of us to a higher level of discourse.

There can be no civilization without holding ourselves to civil discourse.

The truth is out there. You just have to take the time to shut your mouth long enough… to hear it, and read it, and internalize it. 🙂

Hear Endeth the Lesson!

 

On JESSICA JONES Trailer, Tom King’s BATMAN, and DCs SWAMP THING show!

Let us start in the middle Tom King’s BATMAN.

I listened to a recent podcast where they were bemoaning the news of Tom King stepping off the BATMAN comic. All kinds of speculation on him being removed, etc. That he was doing a brilliant run on Batman, etc, etc. And they couldn’t understand how DC could not see what a great, innovative job he was doing, and that DC execs must not like great stories, yada, yada.

This very minor and relatively harmless rant from this podcast I watched, illustrates perhaps a less wholesome issue with our culture in whole. This inability to see or look for, or acknowledge, viewpoints other than our own.

The truth is out there, to paraphrase a show I was never a fan of, beyond the odd ‘monster-of the week’ episode.

The truth is out there, but we have to look, and we have to do our homework.

It doesn’t have to be controversy when we get news we do not expect or agree with.

It doesn’t have to be DC executives are stupid.

It could be as simple, if Tom King was removed, as simple as the books were not moving in the numbers they liked, or meeting with across the board praise.

A simple look at reviews of Tom King’s BATMAN run, whether podcasts, or Youtube videos, or blogs or websites, when you extend the search beyond your circle, your chorus, you see a run, a body of work, that from the first trade on, was conflicted. And grew more uneven and conflicted, in terms of the writing, and the response to the writing with every trade/issue.

I think a lot of people make excuses for Tom King”s work when they do not love it. Like they refuse to admit they didn’t love it because of Tom King, so they blame the publisher, or the editor, etc.

A writer is a lot like a director, you get the praise when a product is great. You should also carry the blame when a product isn’t. A lot of people like to give King the former, and make excuses to keep him from the latter.

Stop making excuses or trying to blame Editorial if you do not like a Tom King story. You do not try to give them the praise if you love a Tom King story. So let’s not be hypocrites.

And I am not anti-Tom King, I am not one of these knuckle dragging anti social justice warrior, anti-woman, anti-diversity, psuedo neo nazi nuts. I judge the work, on the work, and wait to read it, before having an opinion on it.

Tom King can be a great writer.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2MAm9GC

His VISION series is one of the greatest things I have read in years. (And if you have not read it, I urge you to pick up the collected hardcover… it is that good.)

His OMEGA MEN very good.

https://amzn.to/2EZQGHG

His Batman, in pieces, standalone, I’m thinking specifically of ANNUAL 2, can be great. Annual 2 was great.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2MzJsk0

However, specifically to Batman, other than that standalone story,  his actual run on Batman, the first 4 or 5 trades, I found awful. I mean… awful. “I am suicide!”As his take-away on the character of Batman. Really???!!

Batman: I Am Suicide (The Complete Story) - YouTube

The great flaw of Tom King’ s BATMAN (for me), was always Tom King’s take of the character. He keeps writing the same broken, suicidal, and ineffective character, over and over again. And while it worked for the Vision and Mr. Miracle, shoehorning that Hamlet type protagonist and calling him Batman or Kid Flash, does not work at all.

He keeps trying to tailor these heroes and archetypes to his ptsd framework, and it increasingly does not work. He needs to start writing to the character, than simply shoehorning them into his rigid story.

We get it,

Tom King brings a military background, and a CIA background, and an espionage background, and a background of those places where we all break under stress and pressure. And again telling that story with certain characters can work, however retelling that story with every character does not work.

There are more stories than that. And another reason we look to these heroes is because they are our aspirations writ large, they should not all be stand-ins for the places where we fall down, they should be the standards of how to standup. They should be our hopes writ large, not our insecurities. The VISION type stories should be the exception, not the rule.

I do not want to read a comic with a Superman dealing with PTSD. It starts to become one note writing, rather than great writing, to make all the heroes analogs for the common man, or the Hamlet in us.

So yeah, while I will not be picking up the individual issues regardless of who writes BATMAN, because paying more than $2.99 for a single Marvel or DC comic is insanity (Marvel and DC should both be ashamed of themselves for charging more than $2.99 for scant pages of comics. Now, smaller Independent publishers I cut them slack on pricing, because their page count and quality is usually higher. However Marvel and DC has the economies of scale to keep prices low. To not do so comes down to mismarketing, mismanagement, and short term greed, over long term sustainability and growth) , I will, if the word of mouth is good, check out the books when they hit the $1 bins of the secondary market or in collected edition at the libraries.

I look forward to a new take on Batman, and a new writer.

Okay… next topic…

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JESSICA JONES Season III trailer. Here is the thing, I was not interested enough to watch the 2nd season of JESSICA JONES. And by all reviews I did not miss much. But I went into the the trailer for season III hoping it would be good. I have to tell you, I found it incredibly uninteresting.

I can only take so much of brooding, not quite likeable, characters so, just with the way the protagonist is played, with a listless, can’t be bothered attitude, the performance of Jessica Jones is typically the weakest part of the show JESSICA JONES.

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So that said, you need charismatic, interesting people surrounding her to make the show worth while. You need a Luke Cage, you need a Purple Man. You need dynamism to counteract the plodding, disaffected, and starting to get annoying, performance of the protagonist.  And unfortunately the trailer for Season III offered none of that. Offered an Antagonist, absolutely as uninteresting as the protagonist. A battle of who could bore me more.

 

So yeah the trailer to Season III of JESSICA JONES, a hard fail. That is not going to make my watch list, based on that trailer.

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Finally, the news that the DC Swamp Thing show has been cancelled before the 1st season really starts.

It has come out the reason DC/Warner Brothers pulled the plug is largely because North Carolina, an increasingly politically suspect state (excuses to my North Carolina Friends, but you are starting to be run by the pointy hat crowd. And I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. You know you need to start cleaning your house, much the same way the Nation needs to clean its house) basically bailed on their promise to help finance the production of SWAMP THING in their state.

It is a great shame, because I have to tell you, I absolutely loved the full trailer to SWAMP THING.

They looked like they had all the elements for a wonderful , long form story, worthy of the kind of eerie, brilliant, haunting storytelling that creators Alan Moore, Bissette, Totleben, Wein, and Wrightson laid the ground work for.

Such a shame.

Maybe someone else will add the additional funds so we get to see this vision of Swamp Thing, eventually played out.

Well that’s it guys.

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in on those 3 topics. Take two seconds and support today’s recommended comics.

You know when I was saying I cut Independent comics a slack, because of their quality of content and packaging. ALTERNA COMICS and AHOY COMICS are two cases in point. There are a lot of great writers/artists in comics, arguably one of the best of them is Eric Powell. I absolutely am enamored with his GOON and his HILLBILLY and his SPOOK SHOW. And ALTERNA comics addreses all the issues with price gouging that we are getting from the big two, Marvel and DC, while giving us quality products. So you can preorder comics from both publishers and get them direct mailed to you.

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice

 

Use the links above get great books, support these publishers, and earn a few pennies for this blog. A win-win!

 

“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

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.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

Ahoy Comics | Expect More

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

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

 

SATURDAY SLABS : Key/Investment Grade Comics – SGT ROCK/OUR ARMY AT WAR Issues 1 to 100!

SLABS –slabbing is slang for getting a comic professionally graded and encased in an un-openable hard plastic shell from CGC, PGX, or CBCS. A slab therefore is that graded comic, encased.

I’m not a big one for getting books encapsulated (the more technical term for slabbing), especially for modern books. But I do understand the benefit of third party grading, especially when it comes to older books. Ensuring the book is complete, annotaing any issues, and providing a grade from an outside third party, eliminates much of the haggling regarding condition that would otherwise occur when buying or selling a comic book.

So for reasons of liquidation, I see the benefit of comic book certification (including encapsulation), but again, I see the benefit as it relates to older or scarce books (real scarcity, and not this manufactured scarcity of variant covers on modern books). Now that said while I can see the use of grading and slabbing for select investment grade books, I DO NOT agree with the fad of pressing comics.

What is pressing comics?

It is a relatively new bit of snakery, people attempting to make the cover of their book look better, by actually applying moisture and heat to their comic, to ‘press’ out wrinkles, creases, folds, rounded spines etc.

And while it will make your cover lay better and arguably get you a slightly higher grade, based on a nicer cover, ‘pressing’ does this as the expense of the interior which in older books is newsprint. You can not apply heat and moisture to newsprint without shortening the life and speeding up the degradation of that pulp paper.

Period.

No ifs, no ands, no buts. Heat+moisture+newsprint = nothing good. That comes from the Library of Congress.

Now no specific long term studies have been done to show the damage of ‘pressing’. In 10 years when you open up that sealed book, will you find it is more degraded and corrupted then a say non-pressed book? Have those previously white pages started to brown rapidly due to the excess moisture pressed into those pages? have you induced mold growth into your valuable collectible.

There is no science to pressing comics, no agreed upon heat settings, or moisture exposure times, or drying times, it is a bunch of disparate people making it up as they go along, giving you short term results, at the expense of the longevity of your book. Why on earth would you let your collectibles be the guinea pig for such untested experiments.

Just say no to pressing your comic book.

That public service announcement out of the way, onto this installment’s investment grade books.  Out of the first 100 issues of the ground breaking DC War Series OUR ARMY AT WAR, here are the issues worth adding to your collection… and why.

 

 

15 MUST OWN ISSUES OF OUR ARMY AT WAR!

 

Our Army at War 1 - Dc - Superman - National Comics - Sword - Battle - Carmine Infantino

You do not expect sophisticated storytelling from a nearly 70 year old comic book, but this debut issue of OUR ARMY AT WAR offers up just such a compelling and surprising reading experience. Particularly in the story ‘DIG YOUR FOXHOLE DEEP’. OUR ARMY AT WAR #1 is a pricy acquisition, but one worth acquiring if you have the disposable income.

Next of the must have issues would be #15:

Our Army at War 15 - Explosive Battle Action - Fire - Thunder In The Skies - Sunday Walk - Fifteen Minute War

Just based on that striking cover with its beautiful use of yellows and purples.

For similar reasons, the following issue, #46, makes the must own list:

Our Army at War 46 - Soldier - Army - War - Action - Explosive

 

Next up, #50:

Our Army at War 50

This issue is notable in that, from here forward, the cover art gets far more sophisticated. It is also the first taste of the letterbox covers that would come much later,

The next 50 issues, from 50 to 100, with one or two exceptions, are all worth owning.Standouts being:

53,54,56,57(1st Grey Wash Cover), 61(Wonderfully desperate and emotive faces by Frank Robbins I believe), 71(Great, you-are-there pov camera angle), 74,75,80,81,82,83,87,89,90,92,94,95,96!

 

Our Army at War 53 - Dc - Tank - Soldier - Machine Gun - WarOur Army at War 54 - Gun - Sword - Jan No 54 - Grenade - Battle Line - Joe KubertOur Army at War 56 - Joe KubertOur Army at War 57 - Bullets - Machine Gun - Helmets - Men - ExplosiveOur Army at War 61Our Army at War 71 Our Army at War 74 - Bullet - Face - Head - Fear - AirplaneOur Army at War 75 - Blind Night Fighter - Airplane - Gunfire - Double Length Story - GooglesOur Army at War 80 - Tank - Ruins - No 80 - Tank Bait - SoilderOur Army at War 81 - Dc Comics - The Rock Of Easy Co - Gun - Nazi - HelmetOur Army at War 82Our Army at War 83 - Gone With The Gun - Flying Machines - The Trooper - Big Guns - The WarfareOur Army at War 87 - Battle Action Comic Book - Vintage Army Comic - Easy Company Army Stories - Wwii Tank Warfare Comic - Chute Dragging Soldier Into TankOur Army at War 89Our Army at War 90 - Easy Company - Dollar Comics - Superman - National Comics - Approved By The Comics Code Authority - Joe KubertOur Army at War 92

Our Army at War 94 - Target Easy Co - Combat Happy Joes - Battle - New Two Part - Fight - Joe KubertOur Army at War 95 - Battle Of The Stripes - Barb Wire - Gunfire - Crawling - Battle - Joe KubertOur Army at War 96 - Tank - Building - Panzer - Gun - Dc Comics

Well those are my collectible/investment picks for this installment.

Now you can actually pick up some of the aforementioned issues via one of my current favorite comic book stores, LONE STAR COMICS. Better known by there website presence, MY COMIC SHOP. Please use the link below to order from them, and when you do you will earn this blog a few pennies, that will be greatly appreciated and go back into the blog, and more content you can use.

So Thanks to anyone who supports this blog, and this specific post, via the following link:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=180591&AffID=200301P01

Thank You for looking and come back next Installment for more great selections!

Excelsior!

RIP To Stan Lee 1922 to 2018.