I will be speaking on all these channels in more detail, regarding why they made my 2018 best of List.
I am going to start with the last on this list MERCENAUT and work my way up.
Mercenaut is on this list, not for being a White Supremacist or Black Activist ( inside joke, watch his channel) but for a single show he did in 2018, where he showed off a copy of CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8. With that episode, this guy along with the Epic Marvel Podcast and Afta Comics, started my hunt and love for Herb Trimpe covers in 2018. The CAPTAIN BRITAIN mag sported a STUNNING Herb Trimpe cover which is shown below.
Prior to that while i remember Herb Trimpe, I never really paid attention to how great of a cover artist he was. Between MERCENAUT’s showing, and the brilliant Trimpe Western cover’s that AFTA Comics showed, this year has very much been the year of collecting Herb Trimpe and Larry Leiber comics. Some of Trimpe ones I picked up this year are:
Darn you Variant Covers!!! You are diluting the medium. You can not have an ICONIC issue and multiple covers. Now again everything in moderation. A variant cover here or there is fine, but it has become the rule rather than the exception.
As a consumer, buy what you like. But as the publisher/producer of this content too much choice in a market can be as harming as too little, if it generates confusion, and stymies adoption by potential readers, in favor of courting speculators.
And that is just what is happening in the market place. In an effort to milk a diminishing audience, the mainstream publishers resort to the skankery of pimping multiple covers (yes I did just coin the word skankery 🙂 ) to the speculator segment, which harms the iconic nature of a work as much as alternative endings, to those of us who actually think books should be read.
To be iconic a thing must live memorable, in the shared consciousness and memory of the audience.
A memorable cover, or a memorable line, or a memorable poster, or a memorable ending. You think of Exorcist you think of a singular poster, You think of Casablanca you think of that ending, you think of Citizen Kane you think of that beginning, if you think of the original UNCANNY X-MEN 138, you think of the classic cover of Cyclops walking way from the X-MEN and toward the reader. And the background framed by all these beautiful UNCANNY X-MEN covers tinged in purple. For my money the single most beautiful and poignant X-men cover of all time, by John Bryne, another great artist,
That… for an image, or line, or scene, to stay memorable not just in your memory, but in the memory of a generation,… is to be iconic. People my age have a shorthand, a shared pop-culture language, that makes us part of a shared conversation.
Unfortunately people growing up on comics today, have no such singular, iconic cover or image to define a moment or a book. Because that one clear vision is muddied and diminished by multiple covers so the publisher can try and milk the speculator market, rather than serve the longer and more far reaching nature of creating something singular and memorable.
I think I mentioned in an earlier blog that I went to TERRIFICON in Connecticut this year, 2018, and absolutely loved it.
But I am not sure I adequately conveyed why, or why I see this convention becoming the only state-side comic book themed convention I see myself paying to attend, going forward.
Most cons are a ludicrous hard-sell to anyone who is not a fan of that con. You stand around in long, moronic, snaking lines, to get into an overstuffed hall with too many people jostling or bumping or waiting in more lines that impede traffic. The panels are moronic, the hot guests uninteresting, and the deals… not there.
What helps sell TERRIFICON is the location. Now unless you are a guest or wealthy, staying at the casino is probably not what you want to do. But there are quite a few affordable and nice places to stay within a short drive.
We made a little vacation out of it. Close to Mystic Connecticut and New London Connecticut, areas I had not been before, we made a couple of days of touring the area before ever getting to the con. And you know what… the area is great. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get in the swing of it the area is beautiful and made for boat rides, and strolling through the picturesque neighborhoods and shops, and trying the wonderful food.
And then by the actual day of the convention we had already had a great and full fledged vacation.
The convention was a surprising and welcome capper to it. For a variety of reasons. The actual location itself, the Mohegan Sun Casino is simply massive, so you never feel (even with thousands of people) crushed, or swamped, or impeded, or over-whelmed. The distance between booths and space between aisles allows tons of space to maneuver and enjoy. Add to that it is exceptionally well laid out, with great panels, great guests, informative hosts, great shopping options… and did I mention it is in a world class casino.
That means instead of the overpriced awful food and drink options you have to endure at other conventions, here you can walk over to Bobby Flay’s restaurants and sample just stupendous food. And there were tons of other great restaurant and shopping options.
It is the holy grail of comiccon locations.
And getting back on the panels. With guests that interested me, Roy Thomas, Larry Hama, Christopher Priest, and the list goes on, the panels that felt enlightening rather than trivial; trivial being generally what panels are at most other shows. I really have no interest in getting anything signed or photo ops, but great deals, great panels, great stories, great vibe, and access to great food make it a no-brainer of a draw for comic and non-comic fans.
Having been to comic book conventions from New York to Philly to Awesomecon in Dc, those are venues that don’t really do much for me, but Mitch Hallock’s TERRIFICON, I guess because he is a fan like me, and came up on the same Bronze age goodness, he is putting on a convention for himself, and thereby all the other adults of his age, so it can still offer the kids and families their anime goodness and gaming goodness, but has the sort of experience we Bronze, Silver, and Golden Age fans appreciate.
Having been to Terrificon this year, I do not see myself going back to New York Comiccon, or Awesomecon, or any of those. Those cons are oft geared to selling the new hot thing, and these days I’m more geared to want to see the proven talent.
I see myself making a yearly pilgrimage to the gracious New England area and making a fantastic weekend of it, most of which has nothing to do with comics, but having that convention at the center of it, It’s a win-win for me and the Mrs.
As long as Mitch Hallock puts on TERRIFICON I see myself being a returning attendee.
One suggestion Mitch, if you see this, try an get Larry Lieber for next year’s TERRIFICON.
I have been singing his praises since hearing his interviews on the MARVEL EPIC Podcast. While everyone remembers Kirby’s run on RAWHIDE KID, for my money the Larry Lieber written and drawn work on that series, is western comics at its best. Tutored by both his brother Stan Lee and original Artist Jack kirby, Larry became a perfect amalgram of these two men, becoming both a compelling writer and a great artist, and that shows best in his (unfortunately unreprinted) multi-year run on RAWHIDE KID. I recommend back issue diving and picking up RAWHIDE KID from issue 42 to issue 120. It is as great a run of consecutive comics done by ONE person as you will see. Nearly eighty consecutive books both written and drawn by Larry Lieber between 1964 and 1974. Ten years and a stunning body of work, by a true unheralded workhorse of the medium.
Go to the above link and listen to the Lieber episodes and you’ll be singing his praises too.
p.s. And if looking for a great panel moderator, I don’t think Kurtis of EPIC MARVEL PODCAST would mind if I suggest him. His show speaks volumes for his love of the medium.
Well if you found my recommendation of either TERRIFICCON or EPIC MARVEL PODCAST or the criminally overlooked work of Larry Lieber helpful, show your support by using the link below to check out today’s book of the day. Purchasing using the below link gets you a great book and earns this blog a few pennies to keep the lights on.
Here is a nice selection of Stan, Jack, and Larry monster comics:
If you can only afford to get five Larry Liber RAWHIDE KID comics, then get these five:
Thanks for viewing!
Buy your copies here:
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.
The era of the Spaghetti Western was a prolific and profitable one, running from the mid 60s to the late 70s.To be expected the dreck outweighed the winners. 1000 ON THE BLACK aka BLOOD AT SUNDOWN is one of the winners. Recommended. Catch it courtesy of Amazon Prime.
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