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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THE LAST WORD: Joe Kubert’s BEST Comic Book Covers!!(Some of them)

I have an appreciation for the late, great Joe Kubert here in 2018 as an adult, that I really didn’t have for him as a kid. And much of that is down to exposure, as well as a broader scope of reading material.

As a kid, comics that interested me were what interested most kids of the latter 20th century. We were children of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Chis Claremont and John Bryne, Marv Wolfman and George Perez, David Kraft and Keith Giffen, Bob Haney and Jim Aparo. The very exciting and colorful, but delineated world of Superhero comics.

The Brave & The Bold #84 - Neal Adams

But then the late 80s happened, and creators like Alan Moore and Frank Miller and William Mesner Loebs created works that seemed to challenge and expand the horizons and genres and tropes of the medium. They were following in the footsteps of late 70s pioneers such as Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy, and the aforementioned creators, who all had their moments of scripting comics with an Indy sensibility before the term existed.

And now as an adult, having explored much of the growth of the mainstream comic industry from their golden age roots, to their big screen interpretations, here in 2018 I am revisiting some work that was largely before my time.

Namely the westerns and horror books and combat books, of the late 60s and early 70s.

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And this deep dive into this world (I mean I have gone deep in 2018), has solidified and cemented and revealed somethings. Most notably is 1/ The western comic books of Marvel Comics, the 12cent and 15 cent, etc comics, RAWHIDE KID, TWO-GUN KID, GUNHAWKS, MARVEL WESTERN, by mostly Larry Lieber, and Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby, and Gil Kane, and Herb Trimpe and John Severin are masterpieces. And these books are MUST OWNS. And many have not been reprinted. And while MARVEL COMICS were hands down producing some of the best Western Comics, some other notable comics in this genre are the painted cover LONE RANGER comics by Dell and Gold Key Publishing, and DC’s TOMAHAWK–

(Brief interuption to gush on Kubert’s TOMAHAWK. The last 25 issues or so of TOMAHAWK go from Neal Adams covers to the final ten which are Joe Kubert covers, from issues 131 to 140. There are not many people who can follow Neal Adams on covers, and be able to equal him.

When Neal Adams does a run of covers, those become the definitive sought after covers, especially during this period of the 60s and 70s in DC. Whether BATMAN or DETECTIVE or SUPERMAN or SUPERBOY, to this day the definitive covers for all those titles, are the ones drawn by Neal Adams, and with good reason. Neal Adams is a master artist.

So it is no small compliment to say not only does Joe Kubert’s ten issue cover run on TOMAHAWK equal the work of his good friend Neal Adams, they surpass them. As someone who just acquired those ten books this year, listen to me when I say they are INCREDIBLY undervalued, sporting both stunning covers and interiors, and no true fan of comics should be without them. If you can get them in high grade for $10 a book, that is a steal.

Get those issues at the link below. You get great comics AND you earn a few pennies to keep this blog’s lights on.

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=181351&pgi=101&AffID=200301P01

)

–and ALL STAR WESTERN & WEIRD WESTERN. All fantastic and I will be doing a bit on Western Comics in an upcoming post.

 

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And 2/ where the Marvel Comics  of yesterday ruled the WESTERN genre, the WAR or COMBAT genre was ruled by DC Comics. Largely because of two names the great Robert Kanigher and the great Joe Kubert. Both men master story tellers, one with words and one with images, and both men incredibly prolific and productive. My favorite TEEN TITANS story of the silver age is by Robert Kanigher, my favorite FLASH stories by Robert Kanigher. So I always meant to pursue Kanigher’s work into his combat/conflict/war books of the period, and I am finally getting a chance to do that in 2018. And what immediately sells these books is the iconic covers and visual storytelling by the late, great Joe Kubert.

Joe Kubert’s cover art on Our Fighting Forces #135

His work, especially pre the mid 70s, where his covers got to play with the typography and marrying that to the cover image… gold. Absolutely gold. To the point where covers for OUR FIGHTING FORCES and OUR ARMY AT WAR for a brief period in the late 60s, early 70s are cover art truly raised to the level of Art with a capital A. Why anyone would pay $4, $5, $6, and $7 for a brand new comic book (that can be found in the $1 bins or reprinted in a much better quality trade in a few months), when you can take that same money and get a classic issue from this period of comics… is beyond me.

It is work you are typically not going to see unless you go looking. Not many people are showing off 50 year old war comic book covers. In 2018 I have gone looking.

Let me show you some of what I’ve found. We will start with a taste of his unconventional and relatively rare Superhero work and move onto his more prolific genre work.

 

 

 

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SYFYWIRE’s Matthew Funk says it best when they say…

“G.I. Combat #88

Kubert’s contributions to the visual language of war stories can’t be overstated, and this cover proves as much. This is very Stanley Kubrick-style imagery, but the comic predates Full Metal Jacket by 26 years. Kubert was creating iconic, haunting, and cinematic images of war that would influence generations of storytellers.”

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When you think of great, iconic cover artists, the names Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Nick Cardy, and more recently Alex Ross come to mind. And all deservedly so. But one that arguably has gotten overlooked by the masses is Joe Kubert, and this is largely because he worked mostly in genres that did not get the attention back in the day. But now as an adult and getting into genres of Western and War and Horror, I am getting exposed to the work of great artists such as Joe Kubert, I am seeing much of it for the first time, and it is…. ASTONISHING. What really amazes me about Kubert is when he gets to play with Typography in his covers, and make that part of his story-telling, those are absolute game changers. Such as the above, and many of his Combat books.

 

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SGT ROCK

G.I. Combat (Volume) - Comic Vine

Our Army At War 254 - Sgt. Rock - Joe Kubert

Cover

Ready to own some of these great comic books?

Then use the link below and start ordering:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=our+army+at+war&pubid=&PubRng&AffID=200301P01

 

Favorite Directorial Debuts of the 21st Century!

I recently did a post highlighting some of the best directorial debuts of the last century. A lot of classic greats such as Orson Welles  CITIZEN KANE, Branagh’s HENRY V, Ossie Davis’ COTTON COMES TO HARLEM (which for the time when it was made, 1970, was really revolutionary as far as staging chase scenes. It’s often over looked in great car chase films, however it is one of the first and best. And the movie as a whole is disarming, tinges of heart felt humor in it, but also a surprising bit of wrath, brutality and action).

This time around I wanted to cover some of the best directorial debuts of the still relatively new 21st century.

In our fragmented increasingly monotheistic film landscape, the importance of film that comes outside of the ever repressive Disney structure has never been more important (shame on you Disney for firing James Gunn. And shame on you Twitter for not deleting ten year old quotes when asked, and instead holding on to quotes and allowing them to be militarized and sold to neo-conservative/neo-nazi hatchet men with a desire to use social media, the stupidity of the masses, and the immorality and venality of corporations,  to destroy any and all opposition to their madness.)

So until Disney is broken up by Anti-Trust laws like it needs to be, we need alternatives to standard mass media. We need streaming and VOD, and that’s where the interesting films and filmmaker get a chance to have a life, and earn an income. We need a new generation of great and gusty filmmakers, and I am happy to say they are out there.

So without further ado, here are the best Feature film directorial debut of the 21st century:

Serenity

Serenity (2005)

15 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Director: Joss Whedon

Following (1998)

15 | 69 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller Director: Christopher Nolan

Intruders PosterINTRUDERS (2015) –

Director:

Adam Schindler

 

The Evil Within PosterTHE EVIL WITHIN (2017) – It is NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET but instead of a slasher film, is a perverted episode of TWILIGHT ZONE. A little known movie but worth seeking out.  Like most of these films it can be seen if you are an Amazon Prime member.

Director:

Andrew Getty

The Monster Project (2017)

THE MONSTER PROJECT (2017)

Director:

Victor Mathieu

last_will_and_testament_of_rosalind_leigh_xlg
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH (2012)

Director:

Rodrigo Gudiño  – To date the only feature film by Rodrigo Gudino, I love this film. However, It is one of the few director’s commentary I do not like, as his take on the movie runs contrary to the wonderfully unique atmosphere the film creates, and really talks you out of liking the movie, and his interpretation takes the magic, and wonderful horrific atmosphere. So a rare case of watch the movie, but avoid the special features and commentary. And I typically LOVE Commentaries.

Most Beautiful Island (2017)MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND-  Wow. I didn’t know at all where this movie was going. And that is how I suggest you go into it. Do not watch trailers or read anything else beyond this on it. I will say the opening pre-credit sequence…very masterfully done. Robert Bresson is arguably one of the greatest directors ever, and he mastered what is considered the empty frame, or the pregnant frame.  He created the camera opening on a vacant scene, and building expectation as you waited for that space to be filled. The opening of this movie has some of that Bressonian genius. But pushes it somewhere odd, depending who you are, and what you bring to the film, that opening scene may highlight how almost on an instinctual level their is a vouyeristic and somewhat predatory nature to how we look at people in groups, and what people we focus on. It is hard to explain, but you will arguably feel it in the motion and lack of motion of the camera in that opening sequence. And ends just as brilliantly and conflictedly.  A great film by star and first time director Ana Asensio.

JOHN WICK

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT

CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER

THE WITCH
SOUTHBOUND
STOMPING GROUND
CRAWL OR DIE
DEVOURED
CALL ME KING
A MESSAGE FROM THE KING
ABSENTIA
THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
EUROPA REPORT
FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY
AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR
THE TALL MAN
BONE TOMAHAWK
PONTY POOL
UNDER THE SKIN
THE ARROYO
BOY WONDER
Honorable mentions: IT FOLLOWS unfortunately is the 2nd film of its Director, or it would be at the top of this list. I consider it (along with A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT) one of the greatest Horror films made since Carpenter’s 1980s output.

Best Western COMIC BOOK Covers! LONE RANGER! Gold Key Series!

 

 

Buy your copies here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=192141&AffID=200301P01

 

The first 20 issues of the 1964 GOLD KEY Lone Ranger series reprints select issues of the early, largely unavailable, long running Dell series (1948-1962). Including the magnificent covers. The last eight issues of the GOLD KEY series sports new stories and art, but unfortunately lack the great Dell covers. Still well worth the hunting down.

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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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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