Abhay: A Stack of Comics I Mostly Haven't Read in About 15 Years

I went to my home town for the first time in some years.  And while I was home, I had cause to go through the old comics "collection". I wanted to find one book in particular that I thought might help me on a project not yet worth mentioning, a foreign comic whose name I didn't know that I'd bought on a trip outside the country around 1992-1993, impossible to find unless I went through box after box of disorganized, yellowing comics. I found this mystery comic the last day I was there, but as I was going through the boxes, occasionally I'd spot some other comic that made me pause.  One of the last times I was home, I'd mentioned the comics I'd looked at while home, so I thought I could do that again-- took photos of the ones that made me pause with my cell phone-- just thought I'd show them to y'all, in case they gave you any similar twinge of feelings or cause for thought.

The tricky bit being that for the most part,  I didn't re-read any of these comics.  So, I haven't read these comics in at least 15 years, if not more...

(Warning: image-heavy...?  Is that still a thing people feel like they need to be warned about?  "Warning: my geocities page is acting up again.").


Rune!  When this came out of the longbox, I immediately wanted to take a photo of it and to write this.  RUNE!

In the 20 years that have passed since this comic came out, I have thought about this comic exactly ZERO times.

This was about a vampire character and/or a purple-skinned Iggy Pop, I don't really remember, one of the many characters that disappeared from human memory upon the purchase and subsequent burial of the "Ultraverse" by Marvel Comics.  The Ultraverse was a line of superhero comics published by the long defunct Malibu Comics-- few memorable characters, besides an early 90's success story called Prime.  The rumor at the time was that Marvel would never use any of the characters, despite whatever sum spent purchasing them, because the contracts involved called for the creators of the Ultraverse characters to be paid some reasonable wage or another.  An unacceptable result, so goodbye Ultraverse.

But Rune was the most hyped comic of the Ultraverse era because it was created by a guy named Barry Windsor Smith, and that was a big deal because people at one point cared who he was...?  I don't know if that's true anymore.  Do you hear people mention Barry Windsor Smith anymore??  I have access to the internet (jealous?) and uh, except maybe some chitter-chatter about his early Conan comics, I just don't think I hear about the guy that much anymore.  Maybe someone will bring up his X-Men issues, but certainly not his later work-- not a lot of people still repping Archer & Armstrong, or mentioning Storyteller.  And definitely, definitely not Rune. RUNE!

I just remember the hype on Rune being out of control.  For Rune, Malibu was, like... didn't they do some kind of crazy thing where they serialized a Rune story a page or two at a time, in the back of all of their comics because they thought, "oh people will buy an issue of Sludge or Mantra"-- actual titles-- "just to get that one or two pages of Barry Windsor Smith art."  Which is nutty, but that was the level of hype involved around that guy.

But today-- whoosh, like he never happened.

In writing this, I googled up a Comics Alliance article I'd missed when it came out, to my regret, entitled "Whatever Happened To Barry Windsor-Smith In The Comics Conversation?" by the great Tom Scioli.  Here's the bit that jumps out the most:

"Who’s influenced by BWS? Nobody I can think of under 40."   

For me, being close to that age, it's a little startling, for lack of a better word, just considering the relatively high profile he had enjoyed when I was a younger guy-- his Weapon X series in particular was a pretty huge mainstream hit.  But it went beyond that.  People talked about him in very high-falooting terms-- like, as one of the greats.  And now years later, he's just one of those guys who when they slip loose this our mortal coil (and I of course hope that's not anything that's going to happen soon), but someone of whom comic creators will say "Man, why can't we appreciate these guys while they were still here?"  

I missed the Scioli piece so I didn't realize that had happened to Windsor-Smith until I pulled out a copy of Rune from a box surrounded by dust in a basement of a house I don't live in anymore.


V: the star-spanning first issue.  Eduardo Baretto cover, I think (is that his signature on the left of the cover?), on a Carmine Infantino comic book adaptation of a television miniseries event (relatively recently rebooted into an ABC show that nobody I know watched or would ever admit to watching in a public place).

Occasionally, people will pull out old Star Wars comics approvingly, or Sienkiewicz Dune; some things will probably last a while longer in people's memories.  But... a Carmine Infantino V comic...?

It will never be seen again.  Enjoy this moment-- it's the last time you will ever hear about or see this comic in your life.




Aaaah, Keith Giffen's Trencher.  I remember liking Trencher-- Giffen doing a crazy scrawl style he moved away from pretty quickly, but that he also used on some Lobo comics, I want to say, back when "some Lobo comics" were a thing that comic people wanted to purchase.  (That didn't last long, huh?  Is that character just waiting around to be revitalized with a company that doesn't know how to do that-- i.e. the "Dan Didio should lose his job and we should all say that more" factor-- or did people decide to reject that character? Or do people not remember that character or...?).

Trencher is also memorable in that it was part of some weird early Image "controversy" I barely remember where ... The Way I Half-Remember It:  the Image creators started out shouting about creator ownership and how they were going to take all the top creators from Marvel and DC.  Then, when they just stopped shipping their own comics in anything resembling a timely manner, these Other Comics started popping up like Trencher (and maybe, what, Jerry Ordway's Wildstar...?). Except: rhetoric be damned, all of those Other Comics got cancelled in the same week (except, like, I want to say The Maxx got a reprieve somehow), after the Image guys decided they wanted to steer the brand in a different direction; felt like Trencher was "diluting" the Image name...?  Am I remembering that right?  Am I close?  Half a memory.



Warriors of Plasm from Jim Shooter's Defiant Comics, the launch title for the comic imprint Shooter formed after he got booted out of Valiant in some kind of crazy take-over that somehow ended with Bob Layton in charge.

The way I remember this one was that it was about normal people who get sucked up into a green-slime Plasm planet that runs on green-slime Plasm and then they have green-slime Plasm adventures where they quickly liberate the Plasm-planet people using green-slime Plasm...?  I might not be getting that right, though-- that can't be right, can it?

This comic is more memorable in that it spawned some trademark litigation which I believe may have lead to a published opinion of some potential interest to trademark litigators.  The way I remember it is on the eve of Warriors of Plasm's relase, Marvel sued that its name (then, just Plasm) was confusingly similar to a Marvel UK title called Plasmer.  According to Wikipedia, that lawsuit depleted Defiant's capital, and cost them $300,000 in attorneys fees, making this the second comic company murdered by Marvel Comics in one post!  Wheeee!  But Jim Shooter was a jerk to Kirby, so fuck him, too...

Drawn by Dave Lapham, who would later create Stray Bullets, then stop creating Stray Bullets and kind of suck there for a little while, and then create more Stray Bullets.  I remember this being better drawn than his Harbinger comics, so ... congratulations, Dave Lapham...?



Damned was a crime comic published through the Image sub-imprint Homage Comics by Steve Grant and Mike Zeck.  Zeck on this one was sort of moving more in a Bruce Timm / Mike Parobeck direction (but still doing a crime riff)-- pretty different from what you'd expect, if you only know Zeck from his Secret Wars, say.  That's about all I remember about this.  Grant-Zeck had worked together on some Punisher before that, I think.  Zeck still appears at conventions, according to some google, but I'm not digging up much about his career trajectory.  Grant knocked around for years with different projects-- it's nice if he's found some success with that 2 Guns movie.  And Homage Comics was this cool sub-imprint that sort of died out after Jim Lee sold everything to DC.  They published Astro City and Leave it to Chance, and then woosh-- into the cornfield.

Have you ever tried to draw a comic?  It takes some days.  And you have to just sit there, and ... "Is there a door?  There's a door?  Well, then somebody's got to sit there and draw a stupid doorknob to make sure people understand it's a door and not just a confusing rectangle."  All that shit.  And all that shit's sometimes fun, there's plenty of fun parts, doorknobs can be fun too.  But it's some work too, sometimes.  And year after year, especially before trades or digital became a thing, people will do all that work just so that they can make some comic shiny and new for all of seven whole days before the next batch of new comics are out.  I don't know.  Funny business.



Divine Right: The Adventures of Max Faraday...  This was Jim Lee's big return to comics after WildCATS and I want to say just before the big sale to DC.  I want to say this was something about a pizza delivery boy who in his spare time is having a long-distance AOL chat-room-based relationship with some girl that he'd never met.  Except then the pizza boy ends up getting superpowers ... from the internet...?

Sometimes, comic critics, you hear us say, "Well, I'd rather see that guy do more of his own work."

We don't really ever say that about Jim Lee, though.



Marvel Comic's Silver Sable #1, made by independent contractors employed by Marvel Comics, with a shiny-metal cover that, like, reflected light if you held it a certain way.  If you can make it out at top, it says "In her Own Book At Last" -- yes, that was the day Our Long National Nightmare Ended.  At the time, I did not know who that character was so I remember finding that kinda funny (a "I shouldn't eat these eggs" sort of funny).  Sitting here today, not remembering anything about this comic, I once again do not know who that character is, so I guess I still find it kinda funny.

What's interesting to me about this one is that even with the internet and the whole "hey, there should be more comics about lady characters" and all that stuff (all of which is great and I 100% support)... I still don't hear anyone say "when is Silver Sable going to get her own series again???" out loud.  Ever.  Ever in my life.  Never.  Maybe I'm following the wrong tumblr blogs but... Or maybe we're all following the right tumblr blog-- the tumblr blog of Jesus Christ. I don't know.  Your guess is as good as mine.

"The Wild Pack."

Huh-- just found out that Silver Sable may have been brutally murdered in a Dan Slott comic, according to some google...?

She is apparently drowned by the Rhino in the final battle when he pins her to the ground in a flooding corridor in Doctor Octopus' base, the Rhino preferring to die after the loss of his wife and knowing that Spider-Man will blame himself for the death even if he stops Doctor Octopus' plan.

Yucchhk.  Don't take this the wrong way but everything and everyone in any way associated with comic books is all fucked in the head.  I mean, I say that in an affectionate way usually, but ucchh, you fucking people and your fucking dead women fetish.... so fucking creepy! Why doesn't anyone ever realize how FUCKING CREEPY y'all's dead women fetish is?

I want to be like Charlie Sheen in Major League, surrounded by a lovable team of malicious misfits, and instead, y'all want to be like Charlie Sheen in real life, where there's a woman in a closet screaming for help.  We're just not on the same Sheen, you and I!!!



Chris Claremont and Dwayne Turner's Sovereign Seven.  After his historic X-Men run got ended by Bob Harras and Jim Lee, this was Chris Claremont's "comeback", published through DC.  (Well, there was a Dark Horse Alien vs Predator miniseries with Jackson Guice, but I don't think we counted that).  It didn't work out so hot.  You only get so many hits in your life, I guess.  I remember literally nothing about this comic.

Man, more than 2 decades making comics, he still thought Sovereign Seven was a good title for a comic, though... Man... Nobody ever learns nothing, with comics.

Superior 7.  A small press comic about a Cincinnati-based superhero team, that still somehow had a better title than Chris Claremont's "comeback" title from DC!



Oh shit, Kevin Maguire's Strikeback! I loved this comic.  I don't remember it!  But I remember loving it!

Strikeback was published by Bravura, a sub-imprint of Malibu that had also published a Jim Starlin comic caled Breed or Brood, some shit, and a mostly decent Howard Chaykin series called Power & Glory, before it disappeared from this Earth.  Strikeback was an energetic superhero team comic and I really liked it and then it was never collected and now it's like it might as well have never existed. Kevin Maguire was most recently in the news for getting booted off DC comics so he could get replaced by somebody younger and kewler, or to put it another way, Dan Didio should not have his job and we should all say that more often.



Tug & Buster.  Awww man-- I hope people remember Marc Hempel comics.  He did some pretty goddamn good ones-- some of his Breathtaker pages are kind of ridiculous.  I hope there are people out there who remember that stuff.  Tug & Buster was his comedy about masculinity.  I remember it being like a funnier, dirtier Johnny Bravo.  (Which was a cartoon).  (That aired in the United States).  (Which used to be a country).  (Obama...).

One of the unspoken premises of reviews is that any of this shit matters.  "Image is exciting now!  Look at all these new Image books!  These new Image Comics are certainly pushing thing forward in terms of excitement-- the boner they give me, I'm using it the way Michael Douglas used a machete in Romancing the Stone to clear away jungle.  The jungle is, like, a metaphor."  And it's just silliness. Great things, terrible things-- everything just gets forgotten!  We're all just clinging to this thing while we're here.  It's all ridiculous and meaningless.  All that up-with-us "Comics have never been better" shit.  How would you know?  How would anyone know, if no one remembers anything?



ASH-- this was what Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti were doing with their time before Marvel Knights.  Ash was a fireman superhero because Quesada wanted comic fans to understand that firemen were real heroes...?  That's all I remember.  Published by their company "Event Comics."

It's interesting that more people don't do covers that way-- does anyone besides Sean Phillips do covers that way?   It's a neat move.  Why don't people do that more?

Sachs Violens


Peter David and George Perez's Sachs & Violens.

This was basically what Sex Criminals would have looked like if it had been created in the 1990's.  Or been awesome.



Bart Sears's Mael's Rage!  Bart Sears's Mael's Rage! BART SEARS'S MAEL'S RAGE!  BART SEARS'S MAEL'S RAGE!  The name of the comic was Mael's Rage, and that was what the cover looked like!  Mael's Rage, as the cover indicates, was part of the Brute-Babe universe...?!

Comic Books: 1991 - 1999.



This was an early Oni comic created by a guy named Andi Watson who, according to google, switched over to children's comics shortly after this.   I didn't know that-- he just seemed to disappear since I'm not hip to that scene.  He made a comic called Love Fight and then after that, I had no idea what had happened to him... ? Nice to find out about the kid's comics!

This isn't the book you want from him, though-- I remember that being Dumped.  It's nice that he's still making comics-- that's nice news.

Greg Hyland's Lethargic Comics...  This was a humor/parody-title in the mid-90's.  I don't remember much about it, but there's a comic in it that has always stuck with me..

Understanding Comics


A character sits and reads Jim Lee's WildCATS number 2 and says "I don't get it."  Then, he goes and reads Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics (which had only recently come out) and says "Ah, I see!"  A short time later, we find him again reading WildCATS #2 and the comic page concludes with the character saying "I still don't get it."

I feel like I've been chasing that page ever since!  I don't know.  I'm still kinda delighted by that fucking joke, man.

(Sometimes, comic critics, you hear us say, "Well, I'd rather see that guy do more of his own work."  We don't really ever say that about Jim Lee, though.)



Rob Walton's Ragmop-- I think they collected this one, but I never got the collected edition.  Amazon says a new copy will cost you $50.  It's sort of a comedy about politics and economics and exploitation, but told in a sort of Hanna Barbera vernacular...?  I never read it as an adult so I don't know how I'd feel about it now... I have no clue...



This one I actually sat and re-read because I was so mystified what I was looking at.  It was so far gone from my memory.  This was during the Fabian Nicieza chapter of the Valiant Comics / Acclaim Comics saga.  Nicieza was briefly the editor in chief of the company that Shooter had started, after Shooter had gotten booted and Bob Layton (and some Steve-guy that really was the one behind things, if I remember right) had run it into the ground or the speculator bubble that company relied on had burst or it'd gotten sold to Acclaim or... it had all become a mess.  And Nicieza really tried to do his best with it, he tried his damnedest in an impossible market-- tried to hire decent people, but just ... Terrible characters at a terrible time...

Anyways, instead of a big inter-company crossover, Nicieza tried to do an "Event Series."  But it's this Warren Ellis thing, with Darick Robertson I think pre-Transmet (was this their first collaboration, those two?).  It's about a woman coming to the same conclusion as a guy scientist in some other location that there's been some kind of quantum event at the time of the Big Bang that's going to manifest later in 7 month's time that... something something parallel universes.

It just all seemed pretty spectacularly misconceived-- like, imagine if a comic company tried to sell a big Event Comic and you bought it and it was a purely dialogue-driven comic about a woman you'd never seen before yelling for page after page at a priest about secret Vatican knowledge, and almost nothing else happening other than that, other than vague and cryptic hints that something dangerous was going to happen in 7 months...?

That would be a weird thing for anybody to try to sell.  But that actually happened.  They published that!   There was a whole essay by Nicieza as to what they were trying to achieve, and Robertson drew it very carefully for his style at that time, and Ellis does his whole research dump thing and it all just ends up being this ... this thing.

What were they trying to do with that cover?  What was this?  Why was this???

Valiant Reader


The Valiant Reader.  This was a 75 cent comic that would help aspiring Valiant readers to catch up on the history of the Valiant universe.  Marvel used to do these too-- they published a comic called Marvel Saga.  That was back when comics continuity was a thing that the market cared about more.  That time's gone, I guess. I'd rather the books be accessible for new readers or casual readers.  But... at the same time, I'd be lying if I didn't say this kind of thing didn't have some appeal to me back when.



But jeezle-peets, those characters.  The Hard Corps.  "They're a corp of men who are hard"--?  Okay, well, that one actually sounds pretty great / wet.



Action Girl.  This was an anthology of all-ages comics made by female cartoonists, run by Sarah Dyer, I think.  This issue featured Dyer, Chynna Clugston-Major, Marl Schaal, Eela Lavin and Elizabeth Watasin.



Another Fabian Nicieza-era Acclaim comic, written by Christopher Priest and drawn by James Fry.  Nicieza seemed to have gotten behind Christopher Priest in a way that other people didn't-- you ended up with his all-time Quantum & Woody issues, at least. This comic, I couldn't make heads or tails out of it when I came across it, so I re-read-- it's the start of a superhero crime novel about mayors, preachers, and other lowlifes intertwined in a mystery arising from their mutual corruption.  Very James Ellroy influenced, cynical, seemingly very personal-- the letter page in the first issue talks about murdered friends and Priest reflecting on having a gun pulled on him; a super-dense introduction but in a voice with a certain flavor to it...  This feels like it could have become something (though the book's late swerve into superhero territory seemed like it could have equally been a bit of a bummer and missed opportunity-- the corruption city-politics in the book is the more interesting material, at least.)

#2 never came out; cancelled before #1 even shipped. Priest:

Concrete Jungle was a labor of cynical joy.  It was a series about bad guys and worse guys, a warped and demented view of life in Brooklyn New York among politicians and cops.  I was dizzy with glee writing it, and artist James Fry who lived in Brooklyn and is the son of a NY cop) delivered the goods in spades.  We were convinced Concrete Jungle would be a milestone in our career: our ticket out of obscurity and onto the A-List of sought-after talent.  Then we were cancelled before we even got started.  Which, actually, is the story of my life.  This should be engraved on my tombstone.

It's kind of a bummer.



Looking at that comic lead me backwards to some other Priest obscurities-- this is the one that stood out.  I remembered Xero existed but man, I didn't remember this comic being as cool as I found this issue.  This was a pretty cool little comic-- Priest and ChrisCross doing horror-tinged action comics.   I want to say Priest was trying to get this off the ground at DC for some years-- maybe there's info about it on his webpage but I haven't checked yet.



They do these narration boxes throughout that are white text in black boxes-- neat effect; I'm into those, at least.

I don't know-- Priest was just a fun writer.  Even on thankless books like Steel, you'd find a real engagement with the world around him...



While at the same time, he'd have a sense of visual storytelling and making comics fun to look at...



Here's Steel going apeshit for five pages at the end of some issue, venting what I want to say are several issues worth of frustrations.

Xero came out during a weird time with DC where they were just throwing these weird books out one after another, a lot of them just to keep titles alive.  Mike Baron's Hawk & Dove, or the Steve Grant - John Paul Leon Challengers of the Unknown (with great Matt Hollingsworth colors).  I guess Xero got lost in that deluge for me, but that's the one I want to go back and re-explore out of all of these...



Adam Warren's Gen13.  This was when Adam Warren got on my radar-- I'd missed out on Dirty Pair or whatever.  This was a fun run, though-- Warren had been handed a book people had stopped caring about, and just went on a joyride.  A lot of nods to Hong Kong movies, anime, all the shit that was bubbling in 1990-whatever...



Heretic was a superhero comic that came out from a Dark Horse sub-imprint that never got off the ground called Blanc Noir, memorable now only for having launched Jason Pearson's Body Bags.  It was a sub-imprint built around that whole Gaijin Studios crew that got cancelled pretty early on...



I think The Heretic was the second and last book they published.  The back matter includes hype for Adam Hughes and Cully Hamner comics that, to my limited recollection, would never come out.

The character on the cover is called Mister Sister-- a character who is half-brother and half-sister, divided in half.



This was an issue of Comics Talk that featured an interview with Greg Capullo-- I think on the cusp of his very first run on Spawn with Grant Morrison, right after he'd left X-Force.  This just was fun for me, remembering how before the internet, how many different outlets there were that would sell interviews with mainstream comic creators to fans.  It wasn't just Wizard or the Comics Journal or Comics Interview-- there were all these interview things because CBR or whatever didn't exist yet.  Comics Scene, Heros Illustrated, who knows what else I'm forgetting...

You'd think the fact they were selling it would mean that the interviews would be fun or weird, but it's seriously and without exaggeration just Capullo talking about money:  "I've heard that Valiant pays $6,000 up front to a penciller before he puts a pencil to paper, and then royalties."  Like, they were selling interviews with Greg Capullo about Valiant's payment structure...!  And I was so into comics at whatever age that I was like, "Hell yeah-- tell me more!  Tell me more about that royalty structure, Greg Capullo! I want to know anything there is about comic books!  What are the tax implications, Greg Capullo?  WHAT ARE THE TAX IMPLICATIONS???"

Haha, oh man, I was a shitty kid. Life well spent...!  Yeah!

In conclusion and summation, sometimes, comic critics, you hear us say, "Well, I'd rather see that guy do more of his own work."

We don't really ever say that about Jim Lee, though.

"Why Did You Turn Us From Pets Into Slaves?" COMICS! Sometimes It Is Christmas On The Planet of The Apes (Part 4)

Believe you me when I say I share your relief as we thunder into the fourth and final part of what people as far away as the chair next to me are calling a Planet of The Apes Weekly gallery! Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho! photo ENDB_zps7b672cf9.jpg

Anyway, this...

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After all that it turns out the guy I borrowed these off was just shy of the complete run. Sigh.

So 'almost' only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and - COMICS!!!

My name's John Kane and I wish you all, every man Jack of you, a very Merry Christmas!

"Because I Loathe Bananas!" COMICS! Sometimes It Is Christmas On The Planet of The Apes (Part 3)

"Beware the beast Man, for he is the Content's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he scans for the attention of strangers during Internet lulls. Yea, he will politely ask his work-mate to borrow his work-mate's Planet of The Apes Weekly collection. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will spend most of his time washing, cleaning and generally running about to little result before finally sitting and staring dully into the far distance. Shun him; drive him back into his new-build lair, for he is the harbinger of death." Thus spaketh The Lawgiver. And so Part Three of the Planet of The Apes Weekly cover gallery begins:  photo PART2B_zps2c2498fd.jpg Anyway, this...

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Ape Shall not borrow and then forget to return ape's - COMICS!!!

OSU Marching Band gets right in 105 seconds what Zach Snyder, David Goyer, Chris Nolan and a 225 million budget couldn't figure out in 2 1/2 Hours.

I know I promised Prophet but take a few minutes to watch and I guarantee heart growth commensurate to The Grinch on Christmas. Anywho, The Best Damn Band in The Land made their Oscar case a little early this year by delivering a Hollywood extravaganza at halftime of the Penn State game.



The trauma of Man of Steel is that for a second I FULLY expected Superman to fly through that building of band members and shatter it into hundreds of falling / uniformed pieces / corpses.

I should have known that a flipping marching band would be able to better see the soul of a creation than those who've made careers out of exploiting someone else's better ideas.

Whither Watterson?

Oh, I've missed you comics internet. Sorry it's been so long since I've posted here (perhaps you've taken it as a welcome respite?) but with the donut business a-booming and my tour of Oktoberfest concluded I am returned to you.

Let's talk legends!

Dear Mr Watterson (link to the forthcoming documentary)

We’re coming up on 20 years since the end of Calvin & Hobbes and by extension 20 years since the end of Bill Watterson’s public cartooning life.  He was only 37 years old when he dropped the mic and walked off stage – never to return.  Some 6 years before that decision, in 1989, he made a short speech at the Festival of Cartoon Art at Ohio State University.  I can only assume the title of the documentary comes from an anecdote he relayed at the outset of that speech.

I received a letter from a 10-year-old this morning. He wrote, "Dear Mr Watterson, I have been reading Calvin and Hobbes for a long time, and I'd like to know a few things. First, do you like the drawing of Calvin and Hobbes I did at the bottom of the page? Are you married, and do you have any kids? Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"


Watterson then, characteristically, takes the child’s supposition that he may have been convicted of a felony off into some pretty interesting directions.  What really struck me about this speech is its extraordinarily prescient judgment about the state of cartooning in 1969 – 1989 – or 2013.  He’s able to distill 4 significant obstacles to improving the form itself and the treatment of its creators.


1)                  Recognizing cartoons as legitimate art

2)                  Ownership of the created work

3)                  The dominant role of merchandising and licensing

4)                  Failure of existing media to properly use the comics form.


The complete text of the speech is available here:




The whole thing is well worth a few minutes of your time.  I’ll just be quoting a few very relevant passages.


First, on the subject of recognizing comics as art Watterson is very direct.  The assumption has long been in place that cartoonists are simply employees.  That the job of a cartoonist / illustrator is to create a product that serves a largely commercial purpose.  What that assumption discounts is the presence of artistic concerns on the part of the creator.  For comics work to achieve the distinction of art cartoonists are more and more often asked to do more with less.  Smaller pages, less flexible deadlines, and in general an understanding that the comic itself is a secondary concern – all of these are rapier cuts on a form that had achieved so much, so early.


“In a way, it's surprising that comic strips have ever been that good. The comics were invented for commercial purposes. They were, and are, a graphic feature designed to help sell newspapers. Cartoonists work within severe space constraints on an inflexible deadline for a mass audience. That's not the most conducive atmosphere for the production of great art, and of course many comic strips have been eminently dispensable. But more than occasionally, wonderful work has been produced.


Amazingly, much of the best cartoon work was done early on in the medium's history. The early cartoonists, with no path before them, produced work of such sophistication, wit, and beauty that it increasingly seems to me that cartoon evolution is working backward. Comic strips are moving toward a primordial goo rather than away from it. As a cartoonist, it's a bit humiliating to read work that was done over 50 years ago and find it more imaginative than what any of us are doing now. We've lost many of the most precious qualities of comics. Most readers today have never seen the best comics of the past, so they don't even know what they're missing. Not only can comics be more than we're getting today. but the comics already have been more than we're getting today. The reader is being gypped and he doesn't even know it.”


That feeling on Watterson’s part that comics are moving toward ”primordial goo” is one that would play out not only in newspapers but in the funny books themselves.


Consider only the most successful strips in the papers today. Why are so many of them poorly drawn? Why do so many offer only the simplest interchangeable gags and puns? Why are some strips written by committees and drawn by assistants? Why are some strips still stumbling around decades after their original creators have retired or died? Why are some strips little more than advertisements for dolls and greeting cards? Why do so many of the comics look the same? If comics can be so much, why are we settling for so little? Can't we expect more from our comics pages? Well, these days, probably not. Let's look at why. The comics are a collaborative effort on the part of the cartoonists who draw them, the syndicates that distribute them, and the newspapers that buy and publish them. Each needs the other, and all haves common interest in providing comics features of a quality that attracts a devoted readership. But business and art almost always have a rocky marriage, and in comic strips today the interests of business are undermining the concerns of the art.

It's certainly not an original refrain and it's mostly well trod criticism at this point by the comics crit literati.  Still, there are encouraging signs that the creative community are waking up to this reality and taking steps - steps that move their art away from the interminable cycle of exploitation and abandonment.   And while it's all the rage to "be positive!"  it's worth noting and eviscerating examples that wear false clothes (e.g., Abhay's, John's, and to a lesser extent my own issues with Lazarus) so that we might better grapple with the business / art dichotomy.

The real possibility that creators (writers and artists alike) have conflated the difference themselves is the new hotness, btw.  AKA - "I'm not a buisnessman, I'm a business, man!"

Next time - Star Trek: The Next Generation and Brandon Graham's Prophet!

Comic Reviews... for the Internet. OR "I've Got a Ticket to Snide!" So, hey, guy, how long do you think these subject lines can be? Here's the first paragraph of Dickens's David Copperfield-- let's find out: Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.

I went to a shop yesterday and did my impulse buying.  Now, because I've had a long day, I will write sloppily about those impulse buys, from the back of my motorcycle, which I have ridden to a cliff, one of those cliffs that you see in Tom Cruise movies.  Look at this view!  Oh no, my motorcycle is on fire!  Damn, sometimes my lifestyle is almost TOO dangerous.  COMIC BOOKS!

SEX CRIMINALS #1:  I had thought this comic was going to be a comedy, and I guess it is one, but.  The first issue starts with the main character's dad dying in a shooting rampage and then her screaming impotently at her alcoholic, emotionally walled-off mother from a place the mother can't hear her wails.  So... you know: comedy.

I like comedies more than anything else because comedies can be anything and can go anywhere, as long as a thing is funny.  Comedies can be Hunderby or they can be Bad Education; This is the End or In a World(...), Celeste & Jesse Forever or Eagleheart. There's a zillion different ways for something to be funny, and they're all great if they make you laugh.  (And if they don't-- well, I always thought it was hard to get too upset about a person trying to make you laugh, but I guess the internet proved me wrong on that one, lately).    So, I wouldn't say digging a hole like "dad murdered in shooting rampage" on page 1 issue #1 is a "mistake", necessarily, or insurmountable.

But boy, that's a pretty, pretty deep hole.  The underlying math seems sounds: "sex as escape from family dysfunction" seems like an honest, relatable thing, and I think honest, relatable things are a good foundation to build comedies on... But the bummer seriousness of "child screams helplessly at mother" plus a needlessly fractured timeline plus a joke deficit plus a lengthy quotation of Nabokov plus... (I quite like the art and so don't interpret anything I say here to mean that I don't; one panel of a guy in the dark, taking the main character's virginity, from the main character's POV, in particular, is worth seeking out and being horrified by) but plus art where all of the panels seem to have been labored over in Photoshop (a lot of panels that were shrunk down?), everything seems to have this level of detail that (this is why I don't write about art, "why don't people write about art more??" people!  BECAUSE I'M BLOWING IT!  This is you watch me blow it in real time!)...

It just all adds up to a very anxious comic.  There's bits around it that aren't-- the back cover's got a loose gag to it; the dedication's got a gag that feels loose; but the comic itself just seems... anxious that you be impressed with it. I say that knowing that was always the rap people would lay on Casanova and I remember thinking it was unfair there, so maybe I'm being unfair here, maybe there's a Comics Alliance reviewer out there somewhere about to drop a "This comic is the greatest thing that will ever be made so I'm going to blow my brains out because everything is downhill from here, goodbye cruel world" essay that'll school me but good, but... but... But I'm just not entirely sure that the flop-sweat anxiety is the best soil for laughs, necessarily...?

Maybe it's not a comedy though and I misunderstood and I'm actually reading a serous comic about people who stop time when they orgasm...?  I don't think I'd be reading that long. That'd make for a pretty unpleasant one-two punch with Satellite Sam (a.k.a. "who knew a comic about a lady getting eaten out could be so boring?").

PARASITE #1 Or Some Ridiculous Decimal Point I Didn't Really Understand What Was Going On:  This is a DC Comic about a Superman villain.  I was curious what this whole Forever in Blue Jeans DC stunt-event was even supposed to be, once you got past the 3d Cover Incompetence Hooplah Spectacular.  Plus, I was in the mood to read a Superman comic after reading this story about a screenwriter guy, one of the guys who wrote that new movie where Superman is all killing people while System of the Down music plays (didn't see it; wild guess based on how people talk about that movie).  In the article, that screenwriter guy said, "Yeah, Superman would totally kill all sorts of people while listening to System of the Down.  That's the logical way people should perceive a character named Superman."  Put me in the mood to see what the comics were like...

Anyways,  I went with this one because it had a writer/artist on it (Aaron Kuder?), and I have a kneejerk belief in the inherent superiority of writer/artists that isn't really intellectually defensible, but what can you do. It was just an origin story, though.  In the Didioverse, Parasite is now an irritable bike messenger who got evil-Parasite-man powers from having electrocuted a monstrous squid-octopus-monster thing...?  I guess.  That's basically the whole comic.  I just told you the whole comic.

Some people say that superhero comics are made for older fans now, but when I look at these comics "as an old person", as a card carrying old ... With Marvel comics, I don't recognize half the characters in crowd shots anymore (that big yellow guy with the horns and a gaping asshole on his forehead?  who is that guy?), whereas with DC ... Why would I want to see a new origin for a character I already thought I knew...?  What would the "fun part" of that be, exactly?  So, I don't think superhero comics are made for old fans because I usually don't even know what the fuck I'm looking at.  I just think they're made for hyper-obsessive goon squads. (But I love you!  I love every one of you).

This comic though, being from a writer/artist-- you get that thing of seeing a guy trying to liven up stuff that's just structurally DOA.  It's an origin story of a character no one anywhere cares about!  The best case scenario for that comic is still a pretty shitty comic.  But poor guy tries!  He tries to "fun" it up with playful layouts, a lot of playing around with sound effects, interesting panel borders, all that shit.  He really, really tries.  (You can see a page of what I mean over here).  I admire the effort of it at least, even if it all seems dishonest, like he's dressing up this pointless boring thing to make it seem "fun," draping same-old same-old with the "signifiers" of a "fun comic" to try to falsely mislead the reader that they've seen something fun...?  Was any of that English?  I think he's created a facsimile of a fun comic instead of a fun comic, basically.  There's kind of something admirable about that, even if there's something sad about it...? That's basically the job.

It's almost interesting being an older person reading DC right now because when I was a younger fella, the dudes who were like... not over Crisis of Infinite Earths?  Not over the fact that series had happened?  Those people always seemed kinda sad / C-R-A-Z-Y to me, to be honest.  But I get it a little more now, I guess.  What's the point of any of these comics?  What's the point of finding out Parasite's new origin?  They're trying to tell some epic crossover story, I guess, but in a completely weightless space.  What could possibly have weight when every character in your "universe" is now two years old?  But ... But:  I sound like one of those Crisis cats!  I know that's what I sound like.  (Up to and including the "ignoring DC can't build a business on people like me who don't even care, don't even show up to a show up to a shop every week", etc.).

I mean, even now-- I see dudes sometimes online going, "Reverse the New 52 and get back to what it was."  But What it Was?  That was POST-CRISIS.  That's what you're trying to get back to.  So ultimately the thing that makes a DC Comic feel most like a real DC comic now (besides being dull) is that feeling of "everything would be better if my time machine could take us back in time" which is the most DC thing there is left, now, for me.  So, so DC, that.  I know it's been said before by other people, but:  they didn't just create a new universe; they created a new old-universe-that-it-was-a-mistake-to-throw-away.  You know?  I kinda find the poetry of it all interesting, if not the reading the DC comics part. (I tried to read the new Levitz-Giffen LEGION so... I bought that one issue...)

Also: Dan Didio and Bob Harras should be fired and driven out of comics.  That doesn't really have anything to do with this comic.  We should all just say that more often, generally.  Also, we should all live in teepees because in a lot of ways, that'd be better.

PROPHET # Man, I don't know what number it is because they re-started this bullshit with some arbitrary number which is still tripping me up on the regular and ... like, I'm convinced I missed some issues but which ones??  I have no idea because what am I, sitting around remembering double-digit numbers in my spare time? Is that really what's expected of me?  Go fuck yourself, numbers!  I don't have enough stress in my life??:  Oh, this one was really great.  The issue about Die Hard (the Rob Liefeld character, not the movie)?  You should track that one down, issue # whatever.  There's a whole bunch of artists, jamming out a millenia-spanning biography for this shitty old Rob Liefeld character.

I think I've missed some issues-- I'm not sure which or how many, for reasons set forth above, but it highlights how what I think I appreciate most with this comic is how much the pleasures of it are the pleasures of the moment.  A page, a panel, a drawing...?  Do you know what I mean?  Like, by comparison, I still enjoy that comic SAGA, I think that's going along pretty swell (I especially like how he's set-up The Will's shadow-family). Still, SAGA is a more traditional comic in that ... each issue is fun but there's a sense (maybe illusory or "wrong") that each issue is a small part of some greater story, and so ultimately the real "fun" of it is to come, when the thing is complete and we possess the whole of it.  Whereas PROPHET... I could give a shit about the whole of it, because ... it's about Rob Liefeld characters in outer space...?  It's a nice way to mark time waiting for MULTIPLE WARHEADS to start back up again...?  But it doesn't matter because the actual sitting down and reading of it is such a pleasant thing.

ASTRO CITY #4: I quite liked this one.  At least, on the "I'd read another story about that character" level, that one worked out pretty good, I thought.  But the ending was a little too NICE again...?  Same issue I had with #3.  In my hazy recollection of the Astro City issues that I've liked the most, in years past, as a younger fella, I remember the comic being a little more willing to have rougher edges to its characters, things they were unhappy about, endings that weren't perfect happy endings.

This flirted with that, with the main character's guilt about not having lived up to her potential.  There's a darkness to that idea-- my skin crawls when I hear the "living up to his potential" phrase anyways.  That's just Anxiety Juice to me, that phrase.  But the ending seems to veer away from that at the end; the end is again, like #3, "the main character reassured." Maybe it's a failing of me as a reader, but I'm not sure why that felt necessary.  Maybe that's the right choice for the book's audience, though-- maybe that's how other people who read Astro City want to see that story end...?  Maybe bolder, clearer emotions are a smart choice commercially, after years away, reentering this market.  It'd be a stingy thing not to be willing to give it that time.  Anyways, I liked it besides.

Gundam Origin Volume 2:  Oh, I read this a while back.  It was just a fun action manga thing, some nonsense with robots.  That's all.  I just remembered this while I was sitting here typing.  I wanted to read super-fast action shit, and this had a quote from Jog on it saying this was good, so.  What more do you need than that?  Seconded.  (Volume 1 sold out at the store I went to, though.  It didn't seem to matter any).  Oh, though why did they decide that manga about robots should have the shittiest, whiniest twerp main characters possible?  Why is that a staple for that genre?  I can't really figure the math on that.

That Marvel Crossover #2:  The one with Thanos?  I forgot the name.  Which-- I think there's two other crossovers going on right now so sorry about that; "the marvel one" doesn't really narrow it down!  Anyways, I picked it up, the Thanos one. I'd impulse bought #1 before, too, even though, at least for me, as a reader, just for me, maybe not for you, but for me, Jonathan Hickman has never met a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz he couldn't snoooooooooooreeeee.

I tried to give that Jonathan Hickman a chance this year; tried to read a run from the guy, and it... I didn't make it too far.  I've tried his independent stuff.  I've tried his mainstream stuff.  We're just not meant to be.  He seems like he's aggressively pursuing his vision, and I admire that; good for him; keep at it.  Uhm.  It's not a vision I'd want to ever share in or be aware of or know about.

I'm not sure if I can articulate it past that, though. I mean... are they my least favorite comics I've read this year, or anything like that?  I wouldn't say that because I feel so emotionally detached from the work I saw.  (Plus: I just get really, really irritated by that Greg Rucka / Michael Lark comic LAZARUS, for reasons I maybe don't even myself know and certainly can't even articulate, so that's the clear winner of 2013 so far).  Like... if we were to sit down, and I had to describe Hickman work, I'd say it's schematic and inauthenetic and emotionally autistic and all that stuff; I'd make hand gestures like a bird that's flying but then crashing into a helicopter blades and falling to the ground; then, I'd take off my pants and warm my hands between my buttocks (that last bit wouldn't have anything to do with Jonathan Hickman comics; that's just how I live my life, one quarter-mile at a time, one quarter-mile of buttock).

But if we were to sit here and try to anatomize the whole thing, what would make... What should he put in there that'd make it not feel schematic? What's the missing ingredient?  I don't really know. I saw some of those Fantastic Four comics and there were scenes that were like, "Here are the characters having human emotions."   I just didn't buy those scenes.  So I'm not sure what the "missing bit" is...

ANYWAYS, this comic-- uhhhhh, It's that thing where... like, for a while, if you were to randomly pick up X-Men comics, the X-Men cared a lot about a Marvel universe version of Hamsterdam-- you know, Hamsterdam from that show The Wire-- from the because the people who made X-Men comics obviously had just bought The Wire on DVD.  Or there were those Captain America comics where Captain America ran around yelling "Grawr, I watch the TV Show LOST!"  Do you remember those?  Or there was that crossover where they'd just bought the Battlestar Galactica DVDs, and suddenly Iron Man was like, "Cyclons have a plan!"

The news here is they got Game of Thrones on DVD so this is just all Game of Thrones-y, it's gamey, except without Dinklage.  Suddenly, the Marvel Universe cares a lot about KINGS and SONS and TRIBUTE and NAKED WHORES.  (Well, okay, not that last one)(Yet).  It's all pretty silly and inorganic; these crossovers always seem to work when they focus on the characters people care about interacting with one another-- that seems like it's been the obvious winning strategy since Secret Wars (though I didn't read Avengers v. X-Men); these Massive War / Invasion-based crossovers always seem like a misfire...

Every couple pages in this story they advertise spinoffs.  There's a chunk of this comic that's just a recap of spinoffs (I think), plus it ends with ads for more spinoffs.  The message is very clear, that you only get the whole story by purchasing the spin-offs.  Which is just what Marvel and its people do in these comics.  I find that disgusting incidentally, just no-joke disgusting behavior.  If you really delve into the fandoms of these characters, if you ever sit on the internet and do that.. Man, the fans of these comics love those characters so goddamn much.  It-- it can be moving.  And to imagine writers looking at those people, seeing them at conventions, talking to them on twitter, to imagine the writers turning around and selling those people advertising instead of stories...?  I just think it's all so gross.  I don't think crossovers have to be that way; it's gross that's how they are.

Blah blah blah-- what happened in this one?  Uhm, Thanos wants Inhuman babies or something? Oh, there's a scene where aliens destroy a planet but the only way to find out that happened is by reading the narration captions. (Have you ever skipped all the captions in a comic as an experiment, to see how it reads when you skip those?  It's fun; I recommend trying it sometime). Uhm.  There were spaceships; there was a part with spaceships...?  I read it last night-- it didn't stick.  The guy who draws these, Something Cheung?  Jim?  John?, he does a good job of making it all look like a Star War-- it's certainly very, very slick looking.  Maybe too much so-- it looks like one of the prequels, you know?  Past a certain amount of slick, it's hard to see a human heart beating anywhere.  (oooooh look at me with the human heart... the hell am I talking about??  THIS IS WHY I DON'T WRITE ABOUT ART!)

I don't know who the big yellow guy with the asshole-forehead is though.  What is going on with that?

Powers -- Volume Something? # I'm not sure -- I'm too surprised it's still coming out on time to know the number: I know that there's not a comic info-tainment fan-press that "takes requests," and I know no one gives real interviews... but boy, I'd really love to read an interview with Mike Oeming about the art in Powers lately.

It seems... I've seen some of the pages he's done for his day job for Valve (does he still have that Valve gig?), and they've been detailed and careful "proper comic pages".  While with Powers he's gotten-- everything feels really rough and straight from the drawing board.  I'm guessing a lot of these pages... no-pencil, no thumbnail, straight to ink?  Like, there are these silhouette panels-- characters standing in silhouette where... I can't even properly call them "silhouette panels" because the figures are just these blobs of blank ink.  There's a panel in this new one where it looks like a breakdown that never got fully drawn in.  A certain level of surface detail that you used to see in POWERS, he's not bothering with anymore and it's sort of like he's focusing more on composition and seeing how much he can do with blacks and...

It all seems deliberate.  I find it interesting, at least. And... I mean, as I think I've mentioned before, it's not a comic whose plotting has ever seemed very careful i.e. I can't follow the plot anymore, so if anything Oeming's art becoming more improvisational maybe feels truer to the spirit of how messy this comic has become.

I'd just really like to read that interview.

"...So Whose Matches Are THOSE?" ME! Sometimes I Make It So Hard On Myself!

Aha, it is I! According to the word cloud over there I’ve shimmied past my 100th post! Whooo, me!  Actually it seems to have been about 8 posts back. It would have been serendipitous indeed had my 100th post been the one about Peter Cushing's centenary. However, I am a pretty poor planner so it wasn't. To belatedly commemorate the fact I have actually done something constructive for a lengthy period of time, I offer this not brief enough by half entry about something the site isn't remotely about. How appropriate! Anyway, this… So, first up I'd just like to publicly thank Mr. Brian Hibbs Esq. and all The Savage Critics for their patience, benevolence, forbearance and other kind things. At times it has amused me to make out like we are all chumming about madly back here, but in reality I try and leave everyone in peace. I hope that doesn’t come off as stand-offishness or ungratefulness or anything bad. I don’t mean it to. If I do bother anyone I bother Gentle Jeff Lester. Because there’s just something eminently botherable about Gentle Jeff Lester. Actually, it’s more a process of elimination (although now I think about it that’s another way of saying pooing but that’s not the sense I mean) - Graeme McMillion$ is busy using up all the words in the world so I don’t like to disturb him, Abhay would probably bill you by the hour for his time (why, yes, my lawyer humour is limited), J Smitty is always covered in flour and foisting comics on kids and The Brian Hibbs is busy chiefing out feral street scum and running some kind of shop of some kind or something. So I just bother Gentle Jeff Lester. Sorry, Jeff Lester! Truly, getting this far has surprised no one more than I. After all, Gentle Reader, the offer to contribute to The Savage Critics wasn’t something I was angling for at all. It was exactly the kind of generous, flattering and benevolent offer that makes me act as though someone has just offered to stab my eyes out. I believe normal people call them opportunities. So I thank everyone for this opportunity and I hope that, on occasion, I have risen to it. If nothing else I think I can safely claim to have single-handedly resuscitated the career of Howard Victor Chaykin. That's not arrogance there, that's humour. Anyoldhow, I really do appreciate being allowed to squat here even though I never say so or, indeed, practically even talk to any of the other Savages at all. Believe me that that’s an act of kindness in itself. Think yourselves lucky.

Anyway, you’ve (the Gentle Reader) probably noticed I’ve been a bit scattershot lately. That’s because this year’s been a bit of a rascal. After a few months of its unruly shenanigans I just got worn down and I apologise for the lack of content. It’s okay I’m not pity-fishing, that’s as much detail as you get and it’s primarily there to lead into this next bit which is about the time I last got a bit content light. It’s a story about how things can happen on this side of the screen and how easy it is to keep them there, but mostly it’s a story about how I snatched defeat from victory. But then again, aren’t they all, Mother?

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So a while back now I gave up smo…oh, wait, I stopped smoking. I didn’t give up anything because that phrasing has negative psychological connotations which are not conducive to my continued abstinence from the toxic weed. I stopped for my son and my lady partner, so that we could enjoy the wonder of each other for as long as Fate allows. That would be just peachy if it were true, but it isn’t. Smoking is many things but mostly smoking is selfish and there are two things I’ve found I’m good at in life; smoking and being selfish. So already being selfish and then smoking as well? Yeah, real spur to change there. No, the reason I actually stopped smoking was a combination of pain and stupidity.

So we're back in late Feb or early March 2012 and, say, let’s start with the pain. I’m no spring chicken so I get pains. We all get pains. Life is pains, candyshapes. Since I am privileged to live in a part of the world where doctors and the science of medicine are more plentiful, available and advanced than a lot of other places what I sensibly do is ignore any pain until it goes away. Now, one day I’m having one of those pains and I’m busy ignoring it when, shortly after posting some bland asskissery about Brian Hibbs in that contretemps with some Marvel guy, I realised the pain that had been making it difficult to think for a bit was now making it difficult to stand. So I sat. Then It was difficult to sit. So I lay on the floor. When it became difficult to lay on the floor I was a bit stuck for options. I could have started digging but carpets are expensive so I just rolled about a bit. I’ve kind of truncated those events there because they started around 07:00 pm and ended about 07:00 am. It was pretty unpleasant all told but not really the stuff of hi-octane anecdotery. Luckily for your wandering attention things happen fast once my partner wakes up and finds out I have had a sleepless night on the living room floor clutching my side.

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Cannily, she is deaf to my self-diagnosis of “a bit of trapped wind”. BANG! My partner’s on the blower to the GP and then we are IN the car. We drop MiracleKid off at school (having maintained a Royal Shakespeare Company worthy pretence of normalcy at all time; kids innit). Then back IN the car and we speed to the GP where, astonishingly, the GP agrees that it is just wind and oh, those ladies do overreact, cue manly laughter and then we light cigars and drink port. NO! He hands me an envelope and sternly instructs me to hand it in at the Hospital where I should go pretty damn promptly. It is appendicitis and I should perhaps have approached the medical fraternity somewhat sooner. Ignorance may be bliss but it turns out to be pretty poor medicine. Now the heat is indeed on, Glen Frey. BANG! We’re out at the car again. But we are not IN the car because (this is where the Stupidity comes in) I decide to light a snout. This turns out to have repercussions. Bad ones. Now the snout is OUT and we are IN the car and the car is MOVING. We are talking, keeping the CALM going and BANG! My vision is now like staring into one of those kaleidoscopic telescopes children have, all beads and spangles. I appear to have lost all muscle strength and my words are spooling from my mouth like drool. “Mmmnnncahhhnnnseeesuuuhhhhguuuud”, I say debonairly. The inside of the car is now upholstered in Fear. The car reeks of that new Fear smell. My Fear and her Fear. My Fear is okay, that’s on me, but to have caused someone else to have felt that depth of Fear is not going to appear on a list of My Proudest Moments. Opinions differ here. To be fair I was distracted struggling to stay away from The Light. Piecing this bit together is like Rashomon but with two people in a car and a lot less sexual violence. I say my blood pressure plummeted and I would have been fine; the other person says I nearly died and if I ever smoke again she’ll kill me. Which is highly illogical, Captain, but I take her point.

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Then we are in Hospital and things are moving fast. Because I am as successful in life as I am with words I am poor, so we are in an NHS hospital. Some people smack talk the NHS but those people are the kind of toilet drinkers who think the NHS should turn a profit. I don’t smack talk the NHS, I love the NHS and anyone who wants to dismantle it will have to go through me, pal. Is it perfect? No, but it is under funded and beleaguered by bureaucratic foolishness so it's hardly likely to be perfect is it now? And "choice"? Fuck "choice". People who start yammering about "choice" are trying to take you for a ride, pal. A ride at the end of which they will be sat in a gold replica of their own head and you'll have to sell your mum's old arse to afford an ingrown toenail seeing to. Choice is for greengrocers and comic shops. Don’t get me started on the NHS. That’s the last time you bring that up, right? Anyway, I went in to the hospital, the NHS hospital, the beautiful fruit of Aneurin Bevan, the NHS Hospital, and the NHS hospital did me right. These people were overworked, underpaid and unappreciated but these people were efficient and these people were professional. I’ll tell you this for nothing, funface: time is different in hospitals. Time is strange in hospitals. And Hospitals act on your memory like a fist kneading mince. I think it’s probably a combination of stress, drugs, fear, pain, and people dropping those fucking tin bedpans during the night which are inimical to the correct operations of thought. So things get a bit blurry from hereonin. But I do remember two things with remarkable clarity.

The first was the bit where I just let go of worrying and gave myself up to the tender mercies of the staff. Because, I don’t know about you but when someone’s about to put you under I have a tiny concern about whether I’ll be coming out again. But then I realised I’d never know so, hey ho, let’s go. That’s probably the first time I’ve unclenched in three decades. It was pretty good. I can see the appeal in this relaxing lark, but it's a bit late for me to form the habit, I fear. The other thing I remember is that I was two beds down from the heir to a local ice-cream fortune. Oh, I shit you not. I remember that because it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like I’m in an Elvis movie. (Hip swinging singing sensation Elvis Presley plays Chad Baps the heir to an ice-cream fortune. But when Chad’s appendix flares up complications ensue. Romantic complications!) But then because I can’t stand being happy I got a bit creeped out because he made me think of the Emperor of Ice-Cream, you know, from that Wallace Steven's poetry in the front of Stephen King's ‘Salem’s Lot. So through no fault of his own this unknowing bloke went from a spur to light hearted reflection on enjoyable crap to being a personification of my own mortality. Put the right willies up me it did. In my defence, there was some morphine action going on. And because I live to read, I read a good book while I was in there, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. If you liked Blood Meridian you’ll probably like that one. You will need to provide your own morphine though.

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So then I get discharged and I’m housebound for a good three weeks. Follow in the footsteps of a rag doll dance! I'm housebound! Housebooooound! How else did you think I found time to look at all those John Carter comics? You think I sweat Time or something? So, I’m in the house for three weeks and…no smokes. C’mon, you can imagine how my partner responded when I asked her to get me some. Remember back in the car before I upset you with the NHS stuff? Remember The Fear? Yeah, that request went well. Picture the scene. Hooo! Yeah. So, after three weeks it seemed stupid to piss away all the ground I’d made up and I carried on not smoking. Everyday you’d see me and there I’d be busy not smoking. I never took a break either because not smoking is a full time job.

So, yeah, I stopped smoking. Yay me. But I didn’t stop wanting to smoke. Boo, me. Swings and ladders of outrageous fortune, I guess. And like I say, this year? Not exactly a banner year, my friends. So, I caved. I pissed away all the good work I’d done and stuck a legalised cyanide stick in my mouth and lit it. I’ve had better ideas. Oh, I have excuses. There are always excuses for smoking. I don’t have any reasons, however. There are never any reasons for smoking. So what was meant to be a quick thanks to The Savage Critics for letting me stain their upholstery morphed into an attempt to build a sympathetic rapport with you, gentle reader, before smarming into a self-congratulatory high five to my awesome fortitude and self-discipline. But in a twist no one saw coming it turned out it was just me kicking myself in the face in public. Because I’m going to be not smoking again soon. And I’m leaving this up here in public so that when I want to stop not smoking I can remind myself what a weak and selfish asshole I’ve been and maybe that’ll help me not smoke. And maybe I’ll not smoke soon. Soon, and maybe for the rest of my life.

And that’s why I usually stick to talking about – COMICS!!!


Arriving 9/4/13

This week is bursting at the gills with comics! A lot of those happen to be the DC villains books, which kicks off this week, but it is also another Hickman heavy week with the next chapter of Infinity and the launch of his NEW series from Avatar, God is Dead. If those aren't for you, I am sure you will find something you want after the cut!



As always, what do YOU think?

Favorite Page Turns in Comics! Pt. 1 of Infinity

So a friend of the Donut shop happened to bring me in a boot box full of late 70's Creepy and Eerie as well as about 30 very early issues of Heavy Metal he'd found while doing flooring work in a basement. "Yeah," He started, "she just said to take it all.  So I did.  You want any of these?"

They stunk and were in horrible condition.  I'd just spent the better part of six months giving away nearly all my comics.

"Hell yes."

So, anyway, look forward to some scans of that stuff in the near term.

But, just giving all that musty heartache a flip I was really impressed with how many beautiful...and I mean beautiful... page turns there were in all these extremely short stories.  Economy of storytelling...hmm...yes.  That got me thinking about maybe my favorite page turn of all time - at the very least - of recent memory.

Um ****SPOILERS**** ???

2000AD Prog 1761

Low Life - The Deal pt 12 of 12

written by Rob Williams

art by D'Israeli (Geeeezus)

Judge Dirty Frank is at his lowest...and that's pretty low.  Betrayed by a friend and out for revenge he's been beaten, shot, and delusional for issues now but that last little something won't break.  He's finally cornered his murderous quarry on top of a speeding  Hondo bullet train and he's in for the kill.

But, in the battle for Dirty Frank's dwindling soul, what will win out?  Vengeance or Justice?



12 part story - 9 panel grid - extreme closeups - a hallucination masquerading as a prick SJS judge - A TOTAL spectacle of pain and pathos!


Hit the jump for the page flip and blow that sucker up to max size!







At the brink of madness Dirty Frank makes a choice.  He's not a murderer.  He's a Judge.

The Law saves him.

The art, beautiful.  The storytelling, masterful.  Man, when it's right there is little that can touch it.  And what a RIPPER to have D'Israeli pounding away in black and white and then KA-FUCKING-BOOM!

Any favorite page turns from your reading life?  Share them in the comments!


If I (you) had a million (200) dollars I'd (You'd) buy...?

So, as my "give it all away" enterprise has continued I've started to run dangerously low on single issues of "all ages" material for the shop.  I've done my good deed, internet.  I think it's "me time." Still, continuing in the spirit of "paring down" I made another drastic decision.

In short, I "sold" the following GN's, Trades, and what have you's:

Essential Spider-Man 4

WildCATS Gang War

Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight

Planetary Collections 1,2,3 and Crossing Worlds

Hellboy: Right Hand of Doom

GI Joe: Cobra

Usagi Yojimbo Collections 2,3,4,6,7 and "Shades of Death"

Formerly Known as the Justice League

Criminal: Lawless

Two Fisted Tales

X-Men Vignettes 1,2

Captain America: Red Menace 1 and 2 - Rebirth - War and Remembrance - Winter Soldier 1 and 2

Sin City Big Fat Kill and A Dame to Kill For

Invisibles 1,2

Daredevil: Born Again

JLA: Justice for All and World War III

Solar: Man of the Atom (Alpha & Omega)

Eternals 1 and 2

LOEG Black Dossier and 1910

Uncanny X-Men: Ashes

X-Force: The Final Chapter and X-Statix: Good Guys and Bad Guys

The Sentry

Batman and the Monster Men

Arkham Asylum

Batman Chronicles 2

Ultimates 1 and 2 and Ultimates 2 1 and 2

Essential X-Men 1 and 3

Stormwatch: Change or Die

The Authority: Relentless and Under New Management

Sandman: Endless Nights

In the final analysis it was like 60 GN's and trades which, rather generously imo, turned into almost $200 store credit.

So, my question is - dear readers - what do I spend it on?

Nothing is off the table - Since I'm not actually exchanging cash I might even convince myself to utilize paragraph 10 subsection 37 of the Jazzy Jeff Lester Marvel boycott provisions and snag some NEW Marvel material.

Have at it, gang.  I'm really curious to see what you want ME to see.

Thanks again!

Kim Thompson Died a Month and Four Days Ago...


((As ever and always my own opinions and speculation follow))

(J_Smitty_ enters a small and darkened room.  The feeling is almost claustrophobic.  He twitches, nervously, almost reflexively as a panel slides back to reveal a small figure barely perceptible and perched on the sill of the opening – cloaked in darkness)


“What have you come to confess?”


“Sir, I only just picked up my first Fantagraphics book at the tender age of 33.”


(The little figure sighs deeply and shifts its weight - testing the heft of something)


“10 hail Kim’s and take this brick with you!”




First, you should probably all take the time to read Tom Spurgeon’s detailed and wonderfully complete obit over at the Comics Reporter:


Second, in that wonderfully complete obit there is only one mention in passing of George Herriman.

Herriman's Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse, are how I came to know Kim Thompson and more importantly how I choose to believe K.T. (as he often signed) viewed death and its power – or lack thereof.

In the final volume of Fantagraphics odyssey effort to reprint every available Krazy Kat work we find a one page tribute – written by Thompson – in memory of series editor Bill Blackbeard.  You can find a more comprehensive look at Blackbeard here:


He was an amazing man – his quest was beyond tilting at windmills and yet, he’s very nearly pulled it off and I am PROUD to live in Columbus, Ohio where the majority of his collection has come to rest at The Ohio State University.

But, back to Thompson.  I’ve scanned the page because you need to see it.

Bill Blackbeard

Thompson shines here as everything he’s been made out to be over the course of his monumental career:

A sharp editor (Three paragraphs to sum up a man’s life with love and affection)

A skilled translator (How to see the utter beauty in what many saw as obsession)

An unparalleled publisher (Who often and seemingly chose projects he believed in would succeed through the cumulative will of the people involved more than any “commercial appeal.”)

In a time when things come and go – when the news cycle is faster and more than anything a hungry beast waiting (impatiently) to be fed – it’s important to remember that a legend has passed and little more than a month ago.

It’s important to remember how he viewed death and what he may well have hoped would be his legacy.

I believe Thompson didn’t place these works in front of us because they were important or the best.  A publishing strategy so laborious and fraught with peril couldn't come from such a conceited place.  He published them, translated them, labored over them and dedicated his life’s work to them because he wanted us to enjoy them.  He wanted it to be perfectly fine for an avowed comics fan to pick up one of these things 25 years into his comics reading life and be changed by them.

And, in a good world, our continued enjoyment and love of his work will be his reward.

Love Wins

(I first saw this picture in Joe Hughes' obit over at Comics Alliance.  I have no idea where it first appeared.  No idea of its context or origin.  I include it here because it's true...and damn funny)

Them's Fightin' Words, Joe Casey.

In the absence of the dulcet tones of Mssrs. Jeff and Graeme... It should go without saying that all that follows is my opinion.

So, quietly and without much advance hullabaloo Dark Horse Comics made its entry…or rather its re-entry…into the world of Superheroics with Catalyst Comix #1




There’s a lot to recommend this book.  There’s a lot to recommend this series, really.   But, as with all things...a caveat.



First, if you’re a fan of offbeat capes and unique delivery systems this book may be for you.  The story starts by spinning out the various circumstances of the principal characters at the time of a major crisis.  It’s a cool set-up.

Second, if you’re in the mood for that trademark Casey dialogue (Snappy, knowing, and biting all the right brassy reference points) this book may be to your taste.

Third, all the art here makes some really bold style choices.  The list of influences is long enough to go up one arm and down the other.  Scioli / Kirby is all over Frank Wells.  Er, FRANK WELLS!  I see a fair amount Ross Campbell waiting in the wings of Amazing Grace.  The Change Agents benefit from an odd marriage of Sylvan Migdal’s Curvy and Geoff Darrow of all things.  Also, it should be noted there may be many - MANY - more influences here.  I am a stupid neophyte, not Frank Santoro.


amazing grace



A quick aside:  As all contributors are given credits as ART it’s hard to tell whether Brad Simpson colors the whole thing.  He is the sole credited colorist and could be the standout player for bringing such a diverse sensibility and individuality to all three chapters.  But, since it’s a little unclear, I hesitate to take credit for the color choices away from the individual artists.  It’s a really nice component of the book.  Especially worthy of note is the Change Agents chapter.  The colors there really set that section apart.

But then…there’s this.  And, from this point, for me, what was a nice exercise in genre bending becomes something else.




Whoa.  As the title says, Them’s Fightin’ Words.

So, by this, you’re led to believe that Casey’s taking some bold stance.  Some US VS. THEM classic bully wrestling storyline.  DAMN THE MAN and all that shit.

Except he’s using existing IP.



And, really, the US VS THEM manifesto should be retired.  If I could give this venture one bit of advice it would be to ditch the shrill “NO!  WE’RE DIFFERENT!  WE’RE RUSHING THE GATES!” mentality.  It’s passé in 2013.  We’ve played that game out.  Walking Dead, The Image re-emergence, SAGA, Vaughn and Martin’s Private Eye…

That game’s over.

There is no US VS THEM.

There’s only US.  Start pitching this series as what “WE” do at Dark Horse.  This is how “WE” chart the course.  As long as you’re hung up on showing “The Mainstream” they’re outdated you’re playing by their rules.

But, therein lies the problem.  You’re using THEIR methods.

This comic is riding generic names like Titan and Amazing Grace because it’s easier to do that than create your own thing.  DH Publisher Mike Richardson said yes to this because Dark Horse OWNS THE COPYRIGHTS.  He was one of the original creators!  So, you know, go ahead and show me how not mainstream you are by doing the ONE THING mainstream comics are reviled for more than any other ONE THING amongst the comics going Secret Society.   Don’t blame me when I ask if Barbara Kesel, Randy Stradley, Jerry Prosser, and Chris Warner are getting their royalty checks off of this “bold new line in the sand.”  When people ask Brandon Graham what he’s doing working on Prophet when he doesn’t own it he smiles because he’s in on the joke.  He’s taking money for work and not trying to pass it off as anything more than that.  It’s a check and he’s never pretended anything different.  NEVER.

Dark Horse and Joe Casey in particular are pretending to kick down the door of Superhero books but decades on from the ownership disasters of Miracleman and Zenith no lessons have been learned.  Kirby, who Casey so openly apes in the Frank Wells chapter, might SPIN knowing that this is being put forward as CHANGE and DIFFERENT.

A talented car crash of artists is pouring their work into a corporate funnel and this is the new version of “line drawing?”  This is the bold new stance?

It’s a good comic with lots to recommend it but please…don’t tell me it’s one thing – pretend to me it’s new ground – when it’s plainly more of the same.  Let it be what it actually is, the Dark Horse Corporate Super Hero Line.

Don’t tell me you’re re-inventing the wheel when it's the same old grist stone that's made a fine powder out of creators for the length, breadth, and depth of the industry.

"...Not As A Mystery--But As A MAN!" COMICS! Sometimes The King Knew The Score!

Celebrate your Dad, come on! (Let's Celebrate!). Smooth segues be damned on this, The Day of The Father; didjya know that Jack Kirby was also a Father? Like all Fathers Jack Kirby knew of "The Task" but only Jack Kirby dared speak of it. The final, greatest "task" of any Father; when he must remove the bomb from his child's head while waving him or her off into "The Future", remaining behind to be blown up in their stead. Wait, maybe it was a metaphor! Or maybe I just wanted to post some Jack Kirby covers because, hey, today I get celebrated (COME ON!!!) so bit busy, yeah?  Maybe more substantial content later? J_Smitty did some reviews one post down and they're good eating! Yammer, yammer; look, here's some 1970s Jack Kirby magic...  photo 2001_Dad_02001_B_zps2ecad685.jpg

Sure, every Dad'll tell you how he  dreams of the day his spawn will leave home so he can actually watch, oh, that three and a half hour David Lynch film with the rabbit sitcom in it all in one go, or just get so drunk he pukes so hard he turns inside out in his own home. But it's all a bluff facade; they all know deep inside that when it happens it'll be like being kicked in the heart by a Shire horse. Jack Kirby knew that and Jack Kirby drew that. Empty Nest Syndrome but with robots and shouting and stuff. Because Jack Kirby was complex. Jack Kirby was The King:

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Of course we all know he won't ring unless he needs money.

And now in a futile attempt to satiate your cavernous need for content here be the covers and splash pages to the short-lived, but EXCELLENT!, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY series published by Marvel Comics. A company for whom Jack Kirby famously did some "work for hire"!!! The series was written and drawn by the ceaselessly astounding Mr. Jack Kirby and inked by his finest facilitator Mr. Mike Royer. If you find these issues in a back-issue box pick 'em up because, due to some Rights business, it's unlikely to be reprinted anytime soon. Advice that is, you know, like your Dad gives you. But more fun. Anyway, this...

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 photo 2001_End_01001_B_zps06839b43.jpg Sup your micro-brews while you can, Fathers of The World.

Well, okay, there may not actually be a party goin' on right here but at least there's always - COMICS!!! Happy "Father's" Day!!!

Arriving 6/12/13



As always, what do YOU think?

Mainstream Comics, Ellen Burstyn & Jim Broadbent star in “The Momentum of Things”

This...is important.  This...means something!  

That's 30 issues, fella.  That's over $120 of cascading plot.  That's probably over 70,000 words of dialogue. (Eyes boggle)

To be, or not to be, that is the question:

Shakespeare – Hamlet 1:1

According to the work in the public domain there are about 32,000 words in Hamlet, FFS.


Given my druthers, I'd rather have a blast of something like this:

Your context free comic book highlight!

Follow me!  Into the maw of insanity!

So, gang, here's your problem.


Tragedy at the Walgreen's "Out of eye shadow?!?!"

Tragedy at the Walgreen's  "Out of eye shadow?!?!"

Of course, not JEM specifically but rather this meandering blech that is now mainstream comics.  Don't believe me?  Listen to Vince Gilligan!

It’s helpful to have an end date. Most shows are designed to go on into perpetuity – to go on indefinitely. You don’t want it to end, but, actually, desiring an end date from early on held us in good stead.

Vince Gilligan – Creator – Breaking Bad

 Our desire to apparently complicate the uncomplicated is a real thing.  A real big problem.  It's strangling something we love.  To be honest, it's ripping it to pieces.  You pick up something in the middle of that 30 issue diagram and your brain is going to turn into oatmeal.  PORRIDGE, I SAY!

What is needed, for both thee, me, and the royal WE is a little bit of a format redefinition.

And that realization left me gasping.  How, where, to what degree?  And then, a bolt from the blue.  Combing my rapidly dwindling longboxes this week I came across a massive stack of What If… from the volume II era (late 80’s).

WHAT IF… The Avengers Lost the Evolutionary War? WHAT IF… Steve Rogers had Refused to Give Up Being Captain America? WHAT IF… Iron Man Lost the Armor Wars? WHAT IF… The Fantastic Four all had the Same Power? WHAT IF… The Vision had Conquered the World? WHAT IF… Phoenix Rose Again? WHAT IF… The X-Men had Stayed in Asgard? WHAT IF… The Avengers Lost Operation Galactic Storm?

In the strictest sense, a lot of this was CRAP comics. Tryout art. HACKneyed dialogue.


And here I am!  With my cliche intact!


But on further inspection, and I say this with some level of seriousness, this is (or, rather, was) the last vestige of verve and piss in mainstream comics.

Look at 'em react to Reagan.  Like a father, he was!


I challenge any individual to the patented“What if…” F You set-up. Can anyone find a comic that goes from the equivalent of the panel above to the panels below in less than two pages?


Take two aspirin and call me in the morning, Cap.


What you can’t really debate or put down about it was the amount of single issue ambition here. Sure, they’re imaginary stories. But as we famously know, “Aren’t they all?” What I was absorbed by in these stories was the sheer amount of FINISH on display. Things get done here. Wrapped up and put down all the way through. Whether that be Cannonball marrying a dwarf princess or the Fantastic Four all getting Human Torch powers – burning down a slum irresponsibly – and killing an adorable street urchin through their reckless hubris.

Things get done.

Yes, throw their lives away!

What I really found myself asking – as retailers and publishers struggle to identify the best delivery method for comics - Is whether or not long form serialized storytelling is rewarding or merely masturbatory?  When something so deliriously underproduced, rushed, and throwaway could give me such a jolt I was left wondering  why the "brightest minds" in the comics biz spend years telling stories that go nowhere and do - largely - nothing of lasting consequence.

Many (in internet terms) weeks ago I stumbled into a volley of barbs between the unanimously loved DEAR LEADER Brian "SAVAGE" Hibbs and one Jennifer de Guzman. Jennifer is, according to twitter bio and I have no reason to doubt it, PR and Marketing Director at Image comics.

This person, dear reader, is the tip of the spear when it comes to how the most bleeding edge – for all intents and purposes mainstream – comics company chooses to represent itself to the world. She must be very good indeed. So, in one corner the world-weary retail mastermind. In the other, the probing, challenging new method seeking distribution executive. Should be smooth sailing, yeah?


The crux of the “AHEM” discussion seemed to be the legitimate viability of short term “mini-series” versus ongoing titles in the current marketplace.

Now, fair being fair, these two fine folks must work together to simultaneously sustain and reinvigorate comics. This was all one night’s worth of twitter spit balling. I was a few cups in reading it so I can only assume they were a few cups in writing it. Logical, right? So, anywho, get these two together in a room and legitimately good ideas will come of it because they are both dedicated and passionate individuals who believe comics are worth a great deal of their waking hours and unlike us have committed their professional lives to that (slightly more than) 4 color gambit.

The problem is – neither of them can wave a magic wand to get the books selling like early 90’s Aunt May wheat cakes again. The question that arises from that problem is – where do they BEGIN to get books selling like the aforementioned wheat cakes?


Sholly Fisch!  Ha!

Side Note - Yes, that is Uncle Ben as Silver Surfer.

 I think it’s fair to say that at this point anything is worth a shot.  I don't want to speak for Brian.  He knows via hard earned experience what sells in his location.  As a fellow small business owner I can say for myself that I tend to look at “tried and true” methods.  Publishing companies seem to feel a bit more comfortable working on different delivery vehicles. It’s the thing they can control – format of content – via their solicitation or publishing choices. Whether it’s a mini, maxi, annual, prestige, jumbo, or even the most elusive prey of all – THE DOUBLE SIZED ISSUE – publishers have long been tweaking the delivery system.

How – How – HOW?!?! How to get the people back?

Is it like this?

Look on my DIAGRAMS ye mighty and despair! - Jonathan Hickman (Allegedly)

A Traumatizing Apologia for New Avengers

Nuanced. Oo, yes. Swaive and De-Boner as the old man used to put it. But lemme ask you this:

Does it put butts in seats?

The simple answer is no. Now, this kind of thing does bring some proverbial milkshake to the yard. Established readers, with a deep investment, a subtle appreciation of nuanced characterization, a willingness to follow the Byzantine pathways of a critical and calculating mind dedicated to telling what is - for all intents and purposes – a multi-year story….Ah, ah, ah. Navel Gazing. YOU ARE NAVEL GAZING.

Now, listen, until Watchmen and its 80’s brethren made it passé to have clunky in-issue recaps of what had immediately come before (try reading a couple hundred issues of Amazing Spider-Man digitally and tell me it’s a seamless story) we had what were largely anthology comics.

In an anthology any comic basically makes use of the archetypal nature of the protagonist and tells a story that can fit with what any schmoe can understand from that single issue. It can be picked up by anybody and they can be sucked in by art, wit, word play and technical skill. “Hero, got it.” “Villain, check.” “Cool fight scene at Rockefeller ice rink.” “Oh, he called him a canucklehead!”  "What a neat twist - his glasses broke on the steps of the library!"

Somewhere along the line - and wiser comic heads than me will know the date - some bright bulb figured out if you made an issue only PART of the overall story then the hapless chump buying the thing (That's US, by the way) would need to buy the next one to get the story.  But then, why bother with two parts when you can have three?  Or Twelve?  Or THIRTY?

This...is important.  This...means something!


The problem is, Writers can totally play it safe with a meandering 12 issue story. You can break it into two six issue chunks, plod around for the first four issues of both chunks, deliver a lightweight resolution or, GASP, CONTINUATION


Yes - AGAIN!

…and then hurry home in the last two issues to the status quo. “Look, everybody, they didn’t kill the Human Torch after all!”

That’s what diagrams get you. That’s what laziness and a navel gazing market conspire to get you. That’s what serialized fiction in comics has mutated into.

Marc Maron recently sat down with Sam Simon, (He of Simpsons greatness and glory) talked about his terminal cancer, and the shitness of serialized fiction vis a vis the new Charlie Sheen piece of garbage he’s working on half a day a week as a favor to a friend.

Sam Simon's WTF episode

“It’s called a 10 / 90 show…ugh, it’s death. It’s just the end of anything being good. You do 10 and then they pick up 90. What? Like if it’s no good after 40 episodes what do they do with it?”

He burns people in this thing – why not, right? And it’s breathtaking.

The takeaway for comics and writers - REGARDLESS of delivery method – is that there is a real need to break out of the cycle wherein they commit to these long form pointless wank explorations of nothing that ouroboros-like wind up back at the start and return to the status quo.  That's why readers bleed from titles if you ask me.  If you're telling me facets of the same story for 30 friggin issues with a whole lot of...

Highway to Heaven...or HELL!?!

...then no wonder people are falling off left and right?  Who has the freaking endurance?  Not everybody was put on Earth to run marathons, comics!  Some of us just don't have the wind!

Look, it's simple.  If you want status quo then develop characters and story arcs that fit into anthology style universes. Bart Simpson is 10 years old forever for a freaking reason and it's a GOOD ONE.  Interesting, funny, weird shit happens to 10 year olds.  If you want serial fiction then you must NOT spend years of issues going nowhere! It’s fundamental! It’s elemental!  Sliding timeline be DAMNED!

I'm going to leave you with a big, important quote.  This quote explains why it's awesome when Cap gets shot in the head and the book ends.  Why it's great when The Vision conquers and becomes benign dictator of Earth.  Why it's possibly the greatest comic thing ever when Superman flies into the Sun to save us all.

Dread is an underutilized emotion on TV. This is most likely due to the shackles of serialized storytelling that, impossibly, demand both constant forward momentum and deeply settled consistency. Most shows, even the very best of them, traffic in the illusion of change, not the thing itself: The Sopranos was never really going to whack Tony, and Nicholas Brody isn't going to be martyring himself on Homeland as long as Damian Lewis is winning Emmys. It's hard to feel like something terrible is going to happen when the multiseason model of television remains too invested in nothing happening at all. Because Game of Thrones began its life, like Samwell Tarly's insider knowledge of castles, as a series of marks on paper, it's not bound to this risk-averse small-mindedness. I give the show a lot of grief for all the ways its fealty to pre-existing source material hampers the dramatic burst and bloom of a typical television season, but it's in episodes like last night's that the advantages are made abundantly clear. Only Game of Thrones can blow up the present like this, because only Game of Thrones already knows its future.

-Andy Greenwald Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 9: It's Like 'Rains' on Your Red Wedding Day

Over 5 million people watch this show.  And it's growing.


The Week That Was...

Well, between selling a boatload of donuts and running myself practically ragged I managed to give away a BUNCH of comics.  Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-70 but I didn't think to count them beforehand so we'll never know for sure.  Let's take a look at some highlights and lowlights, yes? Looking good for the weekend!



Fantastic Four 243 and 245

A running theme in these posts is most definitely going to be the very transgressive and transformative nature of the comics themselves.  The bulk of my collection (suitable for giving away to relatively all ages) is from a time before "This Business" had identified status quo as a desirable state and condition for merchandising purposes.  Costumes, names, characters, all seemed up for grabs.  Case in point - John Byrne's barn burning pace on Fantastic Four.  Invisible Girl No More - Galactus Falls.  Byrne did a really, really nice job showcasing the talents of Sue Storm.  Her invisble force projection power (vague and uninspiringly defined by recent art teams) was given a huge "level-up" under his able draftsmanship.  Similarly, watching a group of Marvel's finest and also-rans take Galactus down a peg over the course of 3 issues blazed with a kind of manic pace that's not very common today.  As our beloved mainstream titles get lost in wandering stories spanning actual years of the fleeting readership's lives it's important to remember what made this stuff "Can't miss" as opposed to "Days of our Lives" never-ending soap opera horseshit.

Star Trek 10 - 11 - 12

The Mirror Universe concept gets dusted off here and by the end of it everything is blown up and Kirk is literally strangling himself.  Awesome.  Sidenote, for the LONGEST time I only had issue 11 of this arc.  Can you imagine the fever dreams I had?

Don't Panic - Most of that is reprints!

THOR 247

Thor and Firelord find themselves in the bewitching thrall of a gypsy's magical diadem.  No worries, here comes JAne Foster to challenge her to (and win cleanly, I might add) a girl knife fight.  APPROVED BY THE COMICS CODE AUTHORITY!  Thor gets the patented "I say thee, NAY!" moment but not until AFTER Jane wins the fight on her own.  Take that, Bechdel Test!

Superboy starring the Legion of Super Heroes 200

Wow, great Cockrum costumes.  Duo Damsel's wedding dress is gorgeous.  Starfinger, on the other hand...jesus.  Just...no.

Amazing Spider-Man 258 and 270

In 1985 Ron Frenz and Tom DeFalco took over from my boy Roger Stern (He of ASM 251 ENDINGS fame) and went on quite the little tear themselves.  in 258 Spidey discovers his swanky black threads are an alien symbiote and he battles it with the FF.  That resulted in the classic Spidey wears a bag on his head bit.  "Kick Me" sign and all.  Then, in 270 he somehow gets pulled into a fistfight with a former herald of Galactus and after a really well done cat and mouse game finds himself lured into the open.  It's at this point Peter goes full "Ralphie beats up the bully" from A Christmas Story on Firelord and beating him into unconsciousness   He only snaps out of it when Captain America taps him on the shoulder and is like, "Whoa, son."  The man who killed more Nazis than anyone else in history just told you to take a chill pill, Spidey.  Time to switch to decaf.


Adventures of Superman 463

This comic broke my "Superman and the Flash are forced to race under a dubious premise" cherry and it was soooooo good.  Really dynamic stuff from Art Thibert of all people sees Superman breaking through to the developing core of the Wally West character.  Wally being all insecure but trying hard to earn it.  It's a comic about people who are learning, growing, and destroying a Mxyzptlk altered Mt. Rushmore...oops.

Unicorns do exist

Wonder Woman #0

Thanks Azzarello.  20+ issues of pushy gods, bad puns, and about 12 issues of wasted Cliff Chiang and I'm practically willing to forgive it all because of this #0.  It's a great "Young Diana" story about learning the virtue of Mercy and the importance of staying true to your heart.

But no, I don't see an audience for this kind of book, do you?  

Welp, that was the week that was.  Looking forward to next week when we discuss our favorite Hostess Pie interludes!

Cullen Bunn -- “The Power of ‘No’ and the Painful Lessons of ‘Yes.’”

Hello, Comics Internet! (So awkward, still.)

Keep an eye out for a new “giving away comics” post a little bit later. Currently, this 100% opinion piece!

Something you may not know about us working donut professionals is that we keep odd, lonely hours. Between one and five-thirty am every day not only am I awake and functioning at a high level it is exceedingly rare for me to utter a single word. Take a second to think about your day. Have you ever been silent for four and a half hours and not asleep?

What a nutty life.  Much, much more after the jump.


Anywho, in order to fill those hours when I can’t speak to anyone I listen. I listen actively and intently to all manner of media. Albums, comedy specials, NPR, Hood Internet mixtapes, TV Series. Hell, I HEARD more Friday Night Lights, House of Cards, and Cheers than I ever actually watched. I also found that I am not averse to the sound enthusiasm. Podcasts such as our own esteemed “Wait, What?!” Marc Maron’s WTF, Grantland, and Nerdist…sweet, sweet, Nerdist brought me a new arena of entertainment.

Let’s clear one thing up right now. I am a faithful Ben Blacker apostle. I listen to Thrilling Adventure Hour, every one of his Nerdist Writer’s Panels, and literally anything else he and his writing partner, Ben Acker, produce. These guys are legit trailblazers. Architects of a new endeavor. Check ‘em out!

Hey, Kids!  Shine up your astro-spurs and dust off your robot fists!



(Bonus: Latest behind the scenes episode #115 features a sneak peak at upcoming comics pod co-host Heath Corson.)

At any rate, I was toiling away one morning and listening to him chat up some guy named Ryan Condal.


Ryan was/is responsible for adapting Cullen Bunn’s Sixth Gun for television. To be fair, frank, and clueless I didn’t know this was going on and I haven’t read more than two issues of Sixth Gun. Here’s a quick recap of the surrounding hullabaloo featuring our own Savage Graeme!

January 22 – May 8

Graeme ‏@graemem22 Jan Congratulations to @cullenbunn @brihurtt @crabtree_bill @OniPress for the Sixth Gun getting a pilot order for the TV version.

Jay Faerber ‏@JayFaerber6 Apr Congrats @cullenbunn -- the Sixth Gun is apparently an early favorite of the NBC pilots! http://www.deadline.com/2013/04/primetime-pilot-panic-the-early-buzz/

Brian Hurtt ‏@brihurtt8 May At end of day @cullenbunn and I intend to stay focused on the one thing we do have control over. The comic. Thanks for all your support!

cullenbunn ‏@cullenbunn9 May Don't give up hope for THE SIXTH GUN tv show just yet. http://ht.ly/1W0trk

Whew, that’s a rocket ride. Throw your entire career related highs and lows into a basket and it would be tough to match that six-month run.

Aye, Verily.

This episode of “Writer’s Panel” had gone up prior to the bad news so Condal was still very hopeful and excited. Throughout the interview he was kind, considerate of others feelings, and seemed an all ‘round good egg. Additionally, his twitter icon is Shatner – as Kirk – mid ‘KHAAAAAN’ scream and his background is Frazetta’s “Conan the Destroyer” so say hello to my innermost gristmill, Mr. Condal. We are close on a level few humans have words for. I salute you.

However, missing in all his amiable chat with Blacker was any mention whatsoever of Bunn, himself. The man, along with artist Brian Hurt, who is more responsible than anyone for the vision of the Sixth Gun as a “thing” did not rate a single mention. It should be said, of course, that it may have been edited out and certainly Blacker knows Bunn as he’s mentioned him numerous times on other shows. I’m not saying – unequivocally – Bunn’s been given short shrift. However, they both mention Oni Press, the production company that holds development rights for all Oni Press offerings (“Closed on Mondays,” a division of Oni created back in ’03 if you’re curious.) and various other people associated with the project.

What I am saying about Cullen Bunn is simply this: He’s not up front – where a creator should be.

They just needed to move that pic of Cuse of the creator credit and it would have been  perfect.

Without getting into Hickman-esque diagrams it’s clear that Cullen Bunn is down the ladder. Is he going to write any of this? Is he going to get a producer credit? Is this creation going to secure his working life – financially and creatively – for the foreseeable future? Have we been sold a bill of goods in the “Creator Owned” arena?

At it’s average, The Sixth Gun was selling under five thousand copies and he’s ending it at issue 50. According to Publisher’s Weekly that’s just Beer Money under most models. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/comics/article/53365-the-kirkman-bendis-debates-four-years-later-creators-look-stronger.html

In the realm of “Creator Owned” not all contracts are written equally. For example, we have no idea how far Cullen’s creative rights extend to development in other media. Does he get to say what goes in and what stays out? Does he get to exercise final say over any decisions in regards to merchandise? In the link to his blog post above he mentions that the showrunners were “open to feedback.” Very reassuring.

What’s Oni’s mutated role in all this? They may be oh so happy to write a contract that gives creators control of a 3,000 issue-selling comic but does “Closed on Mondays” offer extended rights? Or is that a new raft of deals, reduced options and shares? As our own Abhay once opined:

THE SIXTH GUN is a comic book published by Oni Press. Oni Press is a comic publisher founded in 1997, and since 2003, it’s been the sister company to Closed on Mondays, a production company that Oni describes as “created specifically to help Oni Press creators and titles find life in mediums outside of comics” which “works closely with Oni creators and staff members to find [appropriate] creative partners.” Like other similarly situated comic companies, Oni refers to their comics as “creator-owned” — though when comic publishers have sister companies that work closely with creators, some people might find it a little fuzzier what creator-owned means exactly– or at least, it’s my limited understanding that reasonable minds might differ on that point. All the crowing and chest-puffing of this past year aside, the label “creator owned” on a comic seems sort of like the label “organic” on a box of cookiess– it’s not exactly clear to me what that means, and I don’t know if it’s a good idea for me to always assume what’s being sold is healthy just based on that label.


Hear, hear Mr. Khosla.

Contrast this position with that of one Robert Kirkman. A person, who since launching stage two of his career post-manifesto has, essentially, written the book on how to “get yours.” You can’t look at a thing that is Walking Dead without knowing Robert Kirkman made that choice. His was the power of “No.” Right from the outset he saw through a plan that got him dirty but left him free, clear and holding permanent rights to the kind of success Jack Kirby might only achieve in a fever dream.

Cullen Bunn, on the other hand, working with a loose definition of creator owned, a bright burning dream, a restrictive in house production company deal, and sub five thousand sales may well have felt his options were reduced to one simple, “Yes.”

Yes or No?

Giving it All Away

My Dad had a modest stack of old comics up in our attic. Conan. Some really old Superman, a Creeper comic, A few isolated issues of Spider-Man, and a weird one with typewriter lettering titled “The Last Days of Pompeii.” I don’t know what drew me to them initially. I just know I used to really like going through my parents’ old stuff in general. It was a heady experience when you discovered these people existed before you were born and did not live solely to see to your needs. I couldn’t get enough of it: Old yearbooks, newspaper clippings, stacks and stacks of National Geographic magazines dating back to at least the 30’s - passed down, I assume, because it seemed wrong to throw them out. That would have been disrespectful. But out of all this…stuff…I was drawn to the comics.

Like most of you, or at least a few of you, I eventually took what was a fascination and turned it into a habit. Thanks to Morgan’s Drug Store and its (sadly now not so) ubiquitous spinner rack I grew up with a lot of mainstream comics crudding up my general development. Some of my collection I took in with huge gulps. One summer my ten-year-old self was lucky enough to achieve a compound fracture of my left arm via spectacular back yard football blooper. That was quite a haul. So too were the later years where I was foolishly willing to drive for forty-five minutes to get to a “proper” comics shop. Oh for the days of 98 cent gasoline!

Now, I’m in my thirties and I’ve got a pull list. I also have a donut shop that I own and work in – a lot.

Mmmmm, Bacon.

That's a fraction of what I make, myself, every day

Double Glazed Apple Fritter anyone?


Sexy, right?

My local comics shop (Packrat Comics) has helped me out with giveaways in the past and continues to do so but I wanted to get more out there. More personally involved. So, anywho, I see kids come and go with their parents and I think they could benefit from some of my ACCUMULATION. They might really ENJOY it. Personally, I’m six long boxes deep and my goal is to get that down, way down. You might say, “Oh that’s not so big a collection,” and you’d be right. But, to me, it feels big and feels like it’s time. So, here’s the deal.

1. There are things in my collection that are just “not okay” to put out for some 12 year old to pick up. I get to decide what those are and how I’ll get rid of them. If any of you want them I’d consider sending them out. If not, they’ll probably just get donated to some worthy cause. After all, I’ve got a community rep to consider. The Image Comics ’95 swimsuit special finding its way into little Joey’s hands would probably be detrimental to that. Detrimental also to Joey’s understanding of functional anatomy but thankfully a problem my tax dollars are already hard at work addressing in the public schools!

2. This stuff tends to FLY out of here. Giving things away for free has a tendency to DRIVE SALES. Two days into this project and the rack has been emptied twice.


3. Once a weekish I will post what’s been on the rack – what has gone and what remains and any info I can glean from the people who take it.

4. The accompanying short pieces that go along with the give away info will just be about the things I notice throughout the collection. They won’t be reviews, per se, or follow any ongoing format. Largely, they’ll be wonkish about things I like and rueful about things I regret.

5. As I’ve been prepping for this I found I was really looking forward to it and mostly anticipating sharing the info and the results with you. This is not some fed-up goodbye to comics. This is merely a clearing of the decks - a passing of the torch and a letting go. I plan to continue buying comics but I no longer plan to collect them. A comic book, as I have often espoused, is supposed to be rolled up, stuck in your pocket, and shared around – breathlessly.

So, you can look forward to a lot of chat about 1980 – 2013 comics when you check in here – a few notable exceptions aside. Feel free to comment, share recollections, and talk trash about my atrocious 13-year-old taste. Oh god, the WildC.A.T.s. Still, always remember…

“That's the thing about (comics). Every time they do something pretty, even if they're not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you fall in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. (Comics). Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can.”

J.D. Salinger on comics…or girls…whatever.

See you soon,



"...Achieving Liberal Ends By Fascist Means." COMICS! Sometimes They Fight To Make Men Free!

...and it stank like it something had crawled up it and died! What? I'm on? That's a bit ahead of schedule. Caught me on the hop a bit there, let's see what we can do. Hold on...let me check my pockets...right! Harumph! This'll have to do. Here goes. Welcome, International Comrades! In this exciting post I will be treating the eyes of all to the sight of many comic covers. Yes! These coruscating covers adorned the 1982-4 run of BLACKHAWK; a run written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Dan Spiegle with back ups from a heavenly host of talents. Pleasure for all viewers ensured as I have mastered the scanner! Technology is yet servant to the flesh! Yes! So, unlike the measly Luis Dominguez scans so unworthy of your mighty gaze these scans provide plenty of artistic acreage for your eyes to graze upon! Also, get ready to meet your new favourite artist Mr. Dan Spiegle! Anyway, this...  photo Blackhawk_Top_zps29308ce7.jpg

"It (BLACKHAWK) was about achieving liberal ends by fascist means." Howard Victor Chaykin amusingly summing up the concept in Comic Book Artist #5 (2005)

You don't know this (because you aren't psychic) but even when you can't see me I'm working. Sometimes I'm even working at the job I'm paid to do or, on rarer occasions ,working to be a decent father and partner but mostly, let's face it, I'm working on something to do with comics for you and you only! At the minute I'm invisibly having a pop at something on BLACKHAWK. A bit like I did for John Carter, you know - how it's changed over the decades. Anyway, I've got loads of stuff and it's all a bit overwhelming but work continues a(snail's)pace. Don't, you know, hold your breath or anything is my advice.

So, a I'm ploughing my way through this particular run of comics; a run I was previously unfamiliar with. And what gets me right from the off is the quality of the covers so I thought I'd share 'em. Now, I don't want to spoil anything I may later write but this series is solidly written by Mark Evanier in a slightly updated romantic adventure strip style. I like that, that's pretty good but Dan Spiegle? Dan Spiegle is a revelation. I will come back to this run even if I don't do the glutton's portion of BLACKHAWK, and I will do so for Dan Spiegle. No offence to Mark Evanier whose work is sturdy and entertaining but Dan Spiegle is...well, words you know, failure of.

Basically, in case I never finish the writing part I didn't want these covers to go to waste as some are sizzlers!  and there was a gap in the content. What does nature abhor? A lack of free content! So,  while you probably came for the Chaykin, Kane or Cockrum, I think you may find you stay for the Spiegle.

Anyway, some BLACKHAWK covers for your pleasure.  I hope you enjoy them.

And now, our Feature Presentation:

BLACKHAWK was created by Chuck Cuidera, Bob Powell and Will Eisner.

 photo Blackhawk251_B_zpsdfac7243.jpg Art by Dave Cockrum

 photo Blackhawk252_B_zps719f25eb.jpg Art by Dave Cockrum

 photo Blackhawk253_B_zps08dd02ac.jpg Art by Dave Cockrum

 photo Blackhawk254_B_zps0be58621.jpg Art by Dave Cockrum

 photo Blackhawk255_B_zps873879d5.jpg Art by Ed Hannigan & Dave Cockrum

 photo Blackhawk256_B_zpsb791247b.jpg Art by Ernie  Colon

 photo Blackhawk257_B_zps607e577c.jpg Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

 photo Blackhawk258_B_zps2c7e006e.jpg Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

 photo Blackhawk259_B_zpsda4a2902.jpg Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

 photo Blackhawk260_B_zps066c260e.jpg Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

 photo Blackhawk261_B_zps8626a92a.jpg Art by Dave Cockrum

 photo Blackhawk262_B_zps69c429a5.jpg Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

 photo Blackhawk263_B_zps1a23964a.jpg Art by Gil Kane

 photo Blackhawk264_B_zps5b33e8b2.jpg Art by Gil Kane

 photo Blackhawk265_B_zps36f86ee0.jpg Art by Dan Spiegle

 photo Blackhawk266_B_zps77167e4f.jpg Art by Dan Spiegle

 photo Blackhawk267_B_zpsbc487fda.jpg Art by Dan Spiegle

 photo Blackhawk268_B_zps97fb0f4a.jpg Art by Dan Spiegle

 photo Blackhawk270_B_zps0da69b16.jpg Art by Dan Spiegle

 photo Blackhawk271_B_zpsf95536b3.jpg Art by Dan Spiegle

 photo Blackhawk272_B_zps5cb280bc.jpg Art by Dan Spiegle

 photo Blackhawk273_B_zpsaf6403f8.jpg Art by Gil Kane

Blimey O'Reilly! I think we can safely say those were - COMICS!!!

"That Soldier--He's A Woman?!" COMICS! Sometimes We Sing A Song For The Unsung!

So, I managed to wrestle a broken down wreck of a scanner out of the garage. To give it a proper work out I scanned in a bunch of covers by the artist Luis Dominguez; who I totally rate. I chucked in a bit of context but don't worry there aren't many words in this one. Mostly it's a bunch of '70s Western covers by a neglected Argentinian artist. I say mostly covers but also the famous scene where Scalphunter arm wrestled Abe Lincoln. Top that, Spielberg! Anyway, this... photo Luis_Lincoln001_B_TOP_zpsda4c4a74.jpg

Luis Dominguez is an Argentinian comic artist who, I believe, is still extant despite having been born in 1926. So it's pleasing that I can bring notice to his work while he's still with us. Dominguez worked for numerous US publishers such as Gold Key and Charlton in the '60s but it's his work for DC in the '70s which is most fondly remembered.  A lot of this work was for DC's "Mystery" (the big mystery with these wonderfully nonsensical books was what the writers had been sniffing) titles, but I first noticed Luis Dominguez' work in Weird Western Tales where he was then illustrating the violent antics of the surly sore arse Jonah Hex.

Now, the recently deceased Tony DeZuniga may well be the artist most associated with that scrunch faced character but Dominguez was no slouch. There was, however, one slight problem; he just really never seemed to get what was going on with Jonah's face. Everything else was great though, pages and panels filled with dusty and period specific locales populated by a variety of convincing characters; really very good stuff indeed, I tell you true. Then with issue #39 Jonah jumped ship into his own title and the previous backup strip became the  headliner.

This strip featured the character Scalphunter, created by Sergio Aragones and Joe Orlando. Scalphunter was one Brian Savage, a Caucasian who had been raised by Native Americans. Brian doesn't seem to have been a popular child as his new family bestowed upon him the name Ke-Woh-No-Tay ("He Who Is Less Than Human"). Storywise Brian's deal was that the native Americans didn't like him and nor did the Caucasians due to, well, basically racism. Lot of friction there. So, tension, violence and sullen stoicism were Brian's eternal lot.  Luckily, Brian was really violent and being really violent got you a long way in '70s DC Western comics. Anyway, this isn't about Brian it's about Luis Dominguez. While Dominguez did some interiors mostly this was limited to inking (saving) Dick Ayers' pencils; his full Luis Dominguez magic graced the covers of WWT until, in 1980, it fell down an abandoned mineshaft with issue #70.

So, what follows is an incomplete (I don't have 'em all) visual tribute to Luis Dominguez' work on Scalphunter. His covers mostly, but also that bit where Scalphunter "Indian wrestles" Abe Lincoln because that always brightens up the darkest day. It just seemed like a good idea, that's all. These are fine covers that deserve better than their neglected lot. As does Luis Dominguez. But really it's just me saying, "Thanks, Luis Dominguez!"

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Luis Dominguez...

 photo Luis049_B_zps8c2744a8.jpg

 photo Luis051_B_zpsd63abb7e.jpg

 photo Luis052_B_zpse8c6674c.jpg

 photo Luis053_B_zps2067b3ab.jpg

 photo Luis_Lincoln001_B_zpsca568458.jpg

 photo Luis_Lincoln002_B_zps3a0713ea.jpg Art by Luis Dominguez & Dick Ayers. Words by Gerry Conway. Sinew by Brian Savage. Decency by Lincoln.

 photo Luis054_B_zpscd85bafb.jpg

 photo Luis055_B_zps648d952d.jpg

 photo Luis056_B_zps37a665c4.jpg

 photo Luis058_B_zpsa85e1be3.jpg

 photo Luis059_B_zps66699239.jpg

 photo Luis060_B_zps9f03c25e.jpg

 photo Luis061_B_zpsbe27cc1f.jpg

 photo Luis062_B_zpsc2550781.jpg

 photo Luis063_B_zps4369a376.jpg

 photo Luis064_B_zps8f05ed36.jpg

 photo Luis065_B_zpsd389eab8.jpg

 photo Luis066_B_zps8f3e129a.jpg

 photo Luis067_B_zps30d0e8b6.jpg

 photo Luis069_B_zps96c340f4.jpg

 photo Luis070_B_zps4e6cae85.jpg

So, no, I don't actually know much about Luis Dominguez but I know that he is - COMICS!!!