November 9th, 2004

smokin'

Hot off the wire: More useless griping/Geek stuff/Who bought the comics?/Selling more stuff soon.

If the person who sent us a payment for what I believe is the Superman Adventures comics lot is reading this, please e-mail me. I've tried e-mailing you several times with no results. I am unable to clearly make out your return shipping address on the envelope, and there was no information/letter with the check. I'd like to send you your books. I feel like a sneakthief. Please claim your books.

Speaking of our HOF collection clearance/base attempt at making some extra dough as we await Baby X -- we're readying a batch of e-bay auctions to be listed soon. The next wave will include some minis and fanzines: the self-published Optic Nerve #1-7 (w/2 promo stickers), Jim Goad's infamous Answer Me #2-4, the Coober Skeeber Marvel Benefit comic from Highwater (we have two copies, keeping one), a lot of 47 or so mini-comics inc. stuff by Bagge, Woodring, Lasky, Abel, Madden and an early Craig Thompson bit (no room, nothing personal to the cartoonists involved), Pete Bagge's first two trades from 1989, and a small lot of Comic Book Marketplace issues (along with Alter Ego #1, vol 3). We have a Harley Quinn WB statue up on e-bay at the momnet, it's the same design as the WB store maquette but with a different base and no numbering, as it's part of the set given out to WB staffers and freelancers who worked on the various DC series. We have doubles of a few of the statues and more need of dough than statues in boxes in our basement, so, away they go, hopefully. I don't have a crummy link to the Harley statue, maybe Sarah will post it. Once again, I am ambitious but lazy. And inept.

Speaking of geekdom and freebies, we were surprised to come home this evening (from the doctor and a long shopping expedition in N.J. for head-spinningly spendy baby furniture) to find a Fed-Ex package from DC on the HOF doorstep. Since I haven't done anything for DC in a while (other than Bizarro World, due in Feb), I thought it would be some nutty holiday thingie they send DC freelancers (which I barely am these days). Anyway, it turned out to be this new DC Encyclopedia, a big, spendy hardcover book with the de rigeur overwrought Alex Ross pomp and circumstance cover art that apparently confers utter seriousness to what is more or less utter silliness -- men and women in wrestling costumes hitting one another for decades and hence the comp. Which I must say is very nice of the publisher, as some folks don't like to give out comps even if you've done new work for a book project of theirs (File under: Marvel, also see: Captain America, Red, White and Blue). Despite the ubiquitous cover art -- featuring smirky, self-satisfied semi-photo-realistic superheroes who seem eerily aware that they're showing off their every-wrinkle-and-fold awesomeness to the delight of sweaty 40-year old comic shop oweners -- I was pretty keen on getting this: a fat-ass encyclopedia of all their characters, or darn near most of them. Goofy, yeah, geeky, sure, but what the hey, it's free.

Unfortunately, even for free it's a bit of a letdown. It's a fun fan project -- to be sure, I would have love love loved this book back in the 70's/80's -- but the bummer for me is that by and large they chose to go with modern art and modern versions of the characters, which just leaves this older geekanerd icy cold. From what I saw flipping through it, even listings for golden and silver-age characters who haven't been revamped eighty times since 1990 or used in decades feature art from the past two decades or so. Meaning, you get a big rum picture of Mr. Mxyzptlk from Evan Dorkin, rather than a cooler old silver age shot (you do get a tiny egghead version of the 40's Mxy). Now, it's not the worst illo I've done -- the arms need to be shortened and I stiffened up the head in the inks -- but that's not the point. I would like to see the definitive characters by their definitive artists, more or less. The few "older" artists I saw in there (like Gil Kane) were repped by 80's-era work from the old DC Who's Who series (there's actually a lot of Who's Who stuff in there, which is kind of funny to see, printed without that miserable eye-blistering flexograph/mando paper hookey-dookey from the original books). Yeah, I know, I got it for free, so my inner geek says I should shut up. But the name of this stupid blog ain't Big Mouth Shuts Up Again, so shut up, inner shutter-upper geek.

I can understand why this book was set up the way it was. Obviously it was aimed at the modern DC fan with another $40, or maybe as a gift book for the parents or loved opns of a DC fan who never know what to get their weird relative. There is some nice art from folks like Art Adams and Brian Bolland, et al, a batch of nice drawings (along with some real mediocre/crappy drawings -- file under: Evan Dorkin), but it just comes off like an over-designed DC role-playing sourcebook without game stats, destined to become outdated within a few months and a few dozen retcons. Still, there are plenty of folks who will really dig this, and it was pretty cool that somebody picked my Mxy illo out of the pile. And it was free, free, glorious free, god I love free. Now I can read this and make some sense of all the DC books I've avoided for the past fourteen years. Supergirl was an alien globby shapeshifter? An angel? WTF?

Cripes. I really can rant a lot when going over goofy stuff. So I won't get into The Walking Dead trade right now. Maybe later. I did pick up the new David B. comic from D&Q, looks nifty but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Has anybody been reading any good comics? Any bad comics? Is anybody out there reading any comics?