Saturday, December 31, 2011


     As the year ends and we look ahead to new things, especially in the world of comics, we should look back a moment to think of those who have left us.
     Joe Simon, who co-created Captain America, Boy Commandoes and so many others, is finally re-united with his partner, Jack Kirby, who passed away in 1994.

     Jerry Robinson, one of the early "ghosts" of Bob Kane on Batman, is now one himself.

     Gene Colan, a dear friend of mine, who used a pencil to create worlds of shadow and light, now stands once more beside his wife Adrienne, in a land of light, able to use eternity as his sketchpad.

     Eduardo Barreto, who drew for DC and was the artist on the Judge Parker comic strip, now stands beside a higher Judge than any other.

     Just a creative way to honor those who have passed and to relay my thoughts that...creations live forever, it's too bad that creators can't also.

     But we all have creative thoughts, even if many of us never write or draw comics.  So adopt AND hug a comic today.  Then don't forget to hug those who like them, read them or produce them as well as yourself.  After all, we're all worthy of happiness and love.

PS: Please don't drink and read a comic at the same time.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

     Both Marvel and DC comics used to tell wonderful and endearing Christmas and holiday stories each year and they were among some of the best comic book stories ever.  But why not keep that level of storytelling year round?  Why not take the "holi-" part of holiday stories out of the phrase and tell good stories filled with great characters and art year round?

     And in real life you could do the same.  Take the "holi-" out of the word holiday and insert" good.  Then everyday would be a good day.  The spirit of the holidays would be year round on a day-to-day basis, and every one of the days would be great...for everyone.

     Everyone please take care, enjoy the good day that is starting in a few hours and have fun,,,and don't forget to adopt a comic.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just a Few Days Left

     Christmas is almost here as commented on in the title.  Last time out I talked about what to get for your loved ones who love comics.  Now I've got to remind you about storage and protection.  Make sure you have the right size acid free boxes and bags and boards for your four-color babies.  You can find these supplies and more at...

Sports and More- (the "more" part is of course, comics) ask for Matt

Comic Heaven- ask for Kurt, Sean or Jim

Comics and Friends- (in the mall) ask for Joe or John

     I'm not saying any of the three stores are better than the other, I'm just suggesting these three since they are all within easy driving distance of the News-Herald and I've had enjoyable experiences in all of them.  Plus all three staffs are knowledgeable and helpful.  I'm not in the employment of any of them so this is not a commercial, just passing some info along to help your Christmas shopping needs.

PS: I talked to my Dad tonight for over an hour.  Guess what we talked about?  That's right...comics, so remember, comics: don't get me started, because I'll carry on half the night.

Take care and don't forget to adopt a comic.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Almost That Time

     Hey, has anybody noticed the shopping days are dwindling before Christmas?  I have and I'm burning up my credit card at the 3 or 4 local comic shops for my friends.  Here's a few tips for you and your comic loving loved ones.

     1) Trades- Collected paperbacks are the way to go.  All of the storyline and none of the headaches (over missed parts).

     2) Single special issues- Most of the stores have at least a few old, rare under the glass golden or silver age comics.  Just one of these babies would certainly make a comic lover happy.

     3) Comic strips- These too are now being collected.  Peanuts and Dick Tracy are two of the longest running.  I'm buying those as well as Johnny Hazard, Rip Kirby, The Heart of Juliet Jones and Buz Sawyer.  A couple of years worth of dailies and Sundays all in one book.  Great!

     I'll be back in a day or so to expand this list.  Good shopping!

     Don't forget to adopt a comic today.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Buying Collections and More Birthdays

     As I write this, late Thursday, the 8th, I wish to tell everyone it's my late dog's (Ripley) birthday or would have been as she would have hit the big 19 years old.  I still miss her to this day.

     I recently bought a beat up collection of comics.  I've already given tips to all of you on the subject of sorting your own comics.  Now I want to say a few things about buying them.  First, make mental lists in your head (if you're familiar with the price of comics) of how much the collection is worth and divide by how much you're willing to spend or how much the seller is willing to take.  There's nothing wrong with a little bartering.  Then pick out the best conditioned ones for your maximum profit, dumping the "beaters' in a bulk re-sale.  But for Pete's sake, don't forget to pick out ones for your own collection if you need them!

     More on this subject as well as what I've been buying and what you can buy that comic fanatic in your family next time out.

PS: Jerry Robinson, one of the earliest ghost art assistants to Bob Kane died today.  Although there was some controversy on the subject that Kane (co-creator of Batman) disagreed with, Jerry has always stated that he was the creator or co-creator of Robin and the Joker.  Maybe I'll get back to this one after the holdays, after all...Comics: don't get me started!

     Don't forget to adopt a comic today.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

New Stuff & Family Birthday

     Hey, guess what!  The other day was my Dad's 83rd birthday.  The two of us talked on the phone for over an hour...about comics.  That's right and he's the one that brought it up.  He always wants comic reprint volumes and strip reprints fron when he was a kid and due to the trend lately, many companies are complying with his wishes.  Heck, I've got over a hundred reprint volumes myself.

     That was the birthday stuff now on to the new stuff.  I bought a small collection of old beat up comics the other day and although I've recently talked about sorting your personal collection, next time out, I'll give tips on sorting the books you buy for resale.  See you soon.

     Take care and adopt a comic today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


     Been tied up this week getting ready for a wedding (not mine) and a comic book auction via phone which was very exciting and I'll cue you all in soon about the behind the scene stuff (as well as more tips on self publishing) about these two fun things.

     But for now I am thankful for health, family, career and...COMICS!  What else did you expect, this is after all a blog about comics.  Well, gotta go, the bird is cooking and I've got more household things to do to get ready for the big day.

     Take care and adopt a comic today!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Publishing Comics

     Yes, besides this blog about comics and the website about comics (not to mention the dozen years or so I wrote a column about comics in the News Herald, I actually do write comics.  No, not for DC or Marvel, but for small press independant companies.  Which is probably how most fans do their writing and publishing now.  But here's a breakdown on things you'll need if you're going to do any publishing on your own.

     Money- Oh yea, it takes it to make it, but nobody wants to do anything for free.  No spec scripts, no spec art and no cut of the pie after sales, so save lots of dough to get this thing off the ground.

     Artists- Somebody to draw them, it is a visual medium after all.  And then there's money because as we just got done stating on the lines above...

     Writers- You do need some even though everyone thinks they are one.  Someone to create scenarios and conversation between characters.  And don't forget the money

     Computer Guy- Someone to scan, fit and make camera ready everything you've written and drawn and make it all go right at the...

     Printer- A compamy or technology to print off 50 or 100 or thousands, whatever the case may be.

     Distribution- I guess the internet is good enough for right now, many creators even produce their wares to go strictly straight to the web (which I've done in the past, check out E-comics gazette) and don't forget the money.

     That's all for now, since I'm getting ready for a comic art auction from Texas.  More in a few days on how a heart operation should NOT have disrupted progress on my newest comics for sale and how two artists DID send me to the hospital.  For right now though...comics: don't get me started!

     Take care and adopt a comic today. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Nice Show

     I attended the Geek fest out in Jefferson the other day and had loads of fun.  My friend and artist David Russell was with me as we debuted our two new comic magazines, Bystander Presents #1 as well as The Vampire Gazette #2.

     Our sales were decent but I mostly enjoyed talking to the fans and seeing a lot of the costume contestants.  There was a cool looking Catwoman taking tickets at the door and a female Aquaman that had to be seen to be believed.

     The show overall was nice, but there were not enough comic book dealers for my taste, but as I saw firsthand, there are plenty of geeks to go (many at the show, and I mean this in all sincerity since I suppose I'm one as well) around.  Who knows, maybe next year I'll go in costume myself as either one of my own characters, Batman, (although I'd have to shave my beard and suck in my gut) or as exactly what I am, a smiling, glued together by the medical profession writer.

     Take care and adopt a comic today.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Covention Appearance

     I've got a few new comic books that I created making their debut this weekend.  Come on out to the Jefferson Fairgrounds where I'll be a guest at the Northeast Geek Fest.  You can check out my new releases, pick up an autograph and chat awhile.  I'll be there signing and chatting from 2-5 pm, November 5th.  See you there and don't forget to adopt a comic today.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Sorting Part 2

     Now that Halloween is over I can get back to tips on sorting your comic collection.  We've already been over types of books and sorting by company as well as type of boxes, but let's not forget shelving.  I have both metal shelving (that works pretty well) and wooden.
     If you go with wood, remember to get wide enough planks so that the comic boxes don't tip over and onto the floor.  That's already happened to me on more than one occasion with damage to only one comic thank goodness.  With either wood or metal shelves, if they are stacked so many high, make sure there is enough clearance between the top of the box lid and the shelf directly above, after all, you may want to remove a lid and peek into the box without removing the entire box from the shelf.

     Bags are also very important.  The good news about the current type of bags used are that they don't need to be replaced very often if at all.  In the old days every two to four years bags needed to be replaced so as not to turn yellow and gummy, thereby actually damaging the comic it was suppossed to help.  If you collect silver or golden age comics, give every book its own bag.  But newer ones can be stored two or three to a bag.  Remember, Robert Bell, one of the first dealers to sell comic bags back in the late 60's said it best, "If it's worth collecting, it's worth protecting."

     That's it for sorting and storing tips for now.  Maybe later in the month we'll approach this subject again.  Next up I'd like to talk about buying, selling and producing comics.  Of course these subjects I'll save for my next blog in a few days.

     Take care and adopt a comic today.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Favorite Halloween Comic

     Now ther's lots of spooky comics that I collected like House of Mystery, The Witching Hour and Tower of Shadows to name a few.  But my alltime favorite Halloween comic was Secret Origins #5 from the mid 1980's.

     That issue featured the origin of an obscure DC character named...The Crimson Avenger who made his comic debut in October, 1938.  Writer Roy Thomas came up the the idea of having the Crimson Avenger attend a Halloween party of the rich and famous.

     But crooks heard a rumor about a radio program designed to scare the populace.  As the rich are listening to the "War of the World's" broadcast, the crooks barge in dressed like Martians.  Meanwhile the comic cuts away to Orson Welles directing the radio program in the sound booth.  Very clever indeed!  Coincidently in real life Welles had just passes away that month, but considering the cleverness of the script and the fact that it was drawn by my late friend, Gene Colan, to me this comic is the tops.

     Eat lots of candy, and adopt a comic today.

     PS: Boo!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Organizing the Collection of Sorts

     Well with the colder weather coming, I've been stuck in the house having fun going through my comic collection.  And if you're thinking of doing the same, here's some tips for you and your collection.

     1) Sorting is (I feel) the key to managing a large or getting to be large collection before it gets out of hand.  Several ways to start is to consider what you want to keep and/or favorite heroes, artists, companies ect.  These can all occupy their own boxes and fit nicely into whatever storage plan you might have in mind.

     2) Boxes of course will be the next step once you decide what to keep.  Here's a major tip.  Everyone gets old quicker than you think, so use the short boxes that many comic shops offer.  The long boxes eventually collapse on themselves and will give you a hernia trying to lift.  Plus if there are short runs of books in your collection a short box won't be giving up the extra space that a long one will.  Don't forget the proper shelving for the boxes since if you stack them, you have to unstack them to pull out a book.  They do sell new drawer type comic boxes that hold up to stacking but I still haven't personally talked to anyone that has tested them.

     More on this space and collection problem that we'll "sort" out shortly.

     Take care and adopt a comic today.  And then store it properly.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hanging with my Bro

     My brother Terry stopped by for a visit last week and the first thing he wanted to do was visit my Bat-Cave where I keep all of my old, beat-up comics.  These books aren't worth anything on the open market, but ahhh the memories.

     So well into the night we sat up like we were six again, looking at old covers, saying stuff like, "Do you remember this cover?"  If we weren't teasing one anothe with those phrases it was with, "Did you collect this book, I can't remember?"

     It was a great visit and certainly made me appreciate the fun part of my hobby if not the historical aspect of it.

     PS: Check out the new John Byrne book out this week entitled, "Cold War."  It's a quick read, but great stuff on the subject of the late 40's and early 50's.

     Take care and remember to adopt a comic today.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Comics Off the Rack

     I was at a major bookstore chain Saturday and I thought I'd spread the wealth.  You see, every so often I buy a comic or two from every local store that I can.  Darned if it wasn't time for the regular bookstore that happens to carry comics to get a visit from "that comic guy" as I used to be referred to when I wrote a comic column for the News Herald. 

     So I bought Aquaman #1, took it home and read it.  Did I like it?  Well let's just say that when I passed on the Sea King's magazine the first time around at my own store, somebody turned out to be all wet, and it wasn't the guy holding the trident in his own monthly comic.

     Take care and don't forget to adopt a comic today.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Birth, Death and Comics

     Did you know that just a few days ago was my sister Tamara's birthday.  Also a few days ago was the anniversary of my Mother's death, well over two decades ago.  Now my sister never cared much for comics and my Mom plain out hated (due to the fact that I had so many in my collection getting underfoot) them.  But they both tolerated my hobby.

     Now my Mother did live long enough to see my contribution to "Superman at Fifty" come out.  It was one of the first critical comparison books on superheroes since, "The Great Comic Book Heroes," by Jules Feiffer written during the 1960's and Jim Steranko's pair of comic history tomes in the 70's.  Too bad she did not live long enough to see my weekly column on comics (and later humor and movie reviews) that ran in the News Herald for almost a dozen years.  I think she would have gotten a kick out of seeing my picture in color on the front page of the "Life" section every Sunday and then later Friday.  I don't have a large family left so I have to say that I guess I'm now just writing for myself and for you readers out there.  And that's plenty enough for me.  Hope you're enjoying it.

     I can't remember if comics got me through the passing of my Mother, but my favorite hobby sure is getting me through this summer (and into fall) of near heart attacks and angioplasty operations.  The New DC is suprising me and I'm agitated (not good for the ol' ticker, mind you) as I wait from week to week for the next batch of new comics.

     Last week I thought Superman #1 was a tad rushed and jumbled, expected more from George Perez, but Blackhawk was better than I expected and Batman #1 was a good first issue.  Just so you don't think I'm a shill for DC, try "Cap and Bucky," a pretty good book from Marvel.  I've been so busy with the New DC that I've let my Marvel connections (about as fast as my health has been sliding) slide.

     Hope I bump into some of you readers out in the real world.  Of course we'll talk comics, but don't get me started!  That last bit was a humorous nod to the title of this column.  And don't forget, adopt a comic today.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Fall

     I was looking out the window yesterday and saw some falling leaves and was reminded that it was the fall season.  But connecting the term to my favorite hobby, I thought, "what about the fall of heroes?"

     Well, I've seen some of my favorite heroes hit rock bottom.  In Spiderman #3, way back in the 1960's, Peter Parker was about to quit until he realised that he could rebound.  One of my favorite Fantastic Four issues was entitled, "The Dismal Dreggs of Defeat."  But you know what?  Most heroes manage to win the day after they put on their capes and slip into their costumes and use their powers to win the day.

     Too bad we "real folk" don't have costumes to slip into (actually we do, they're called our "work clothes") or masks to hide behind since we don't have secret identities to hide behind, we have to face life the way we look all of the time.  And that's the trouble, when things bother us there's no rebounding in the next month's issue we call, "Our Life."

     No, we're left with but one thing to do.  Look into the mirror and face that reflection of ourselves and put up a steely gaze towards that familiar image and make a promise to the mirror to do what it takes to get through life: overtime, an extra job, sacrificing extras, whatever it takes to help our children, our spouses, our friends...ourselves.   That way we can sleep at night, we can hold our own heads up high with honor, knowing that we did all we could to get through life, to stay as far away from "the fall" as possible,

     And in the end, if we do all of these things, we can keep comic books as a great hobby and fun entertainment because we would keep those brightly colored characters on the printed page and become our own real heroes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Love Comic Strips Too

     Yes, according to the title of today's blog, I'm just about as crazy for comic strips as comic books.  And it's in that capacity that I want to share one of my favorite comic strips of all time.  It also just happens to be a strip from "Ziggy," created by Clevelander Tom Wilson, who recently passed away, jogging my thoughts about this strip.

     The strip (from at least a quarter century ago) showed Ziggy looking out the window stating, "The parade of life has passed me by...funny though, I never heard any music."

     That strip sums it up for me.  You go through life from point "A" to point "B" without ever realising that you've aged, you've changed and the world is entirely different from when you started the journey.  Fame, riches and love may have all slipped through your fingers...or not in your journey through life, but here's hoping that all of you reading this gets to hear at least a little music along your personal "Parade" we call "Life."

     Take care and adopt a comic (as well as comic strip) today.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finally, An Ad!

     Well what do ya know, I saw my first ad for a comic book on television.  It's bad enough that there's nary an ad for regular books and best sellers on the tube, but I've never seen one for my favorite hobby until now.

     I would sat "It's about time," but I think that the very thing that has kept comics among the "disposible income" category up to now has kept advertisors away.  That is that there's not enough profit margin.  But now that most regular comics are three to four dollars each, well every network outlet should get on board.  I mean if dish soap (and believe me, I hold no grudge against dish soap since I use the product myself all the time) can be advertised on the tube, even to the point of generating programs called "soaps" yet sell for less than a normal comic, then I want to see more ads for those brightly colored pamphlets in print and on my t.v. set. 

     Who knows, Bat ads might rule the airwaves (Airwave by the way was the name of an old crimefighter in Detective Comics in the 1940's) and Spiderman circulars might be distributed in parking lots.  If nothing else, advertise the better selling graphic novels which do have a much higher profit margin for all of those involved.  Something for everyone.

     By the way, the ad I saw was for the New DC 52 #1's.  And so far I'm liking what I see through two and a half weeks.

     Take care and adopt a comic today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Three Out of Four's Not Bad

     Well I read the first four books of the new DC 52 release this week.  Justice League (which was actually from last week) was hands down great, but I must admit that this first story is looking like a multi-part story just to get the team introduced.

     Action #1, no not the original one which just sold for over a million bucks but volume two, featured Superman early in his career wearing a t-shirt and jeans to go with the cape and I must say I liked it enough that I'll be following this on for awhile even though I'm not the biggest Superman fan.

     No, my cup of tea has always been Batman which is why I was a little dismayed at the gore-fest served up in Detective #1.  Of course I'll have to contine following this title since it is Batman.

     Omac was a pleasant surprise going back to the book's Jack Kirby created roots with plenty of weirdness and odd concepts that Jack put forth 35 years ago.  I hope they keep Giffen and his Kirby-like layouts on the title, it helps keep the "Kirby feel" on this very good book.

     Next week comes some more new re-starts although I'm not sure any more of my orders come in until week three during September.

     Take care, as I sit here very pleased so far with DC's efforts, and adopt a comic today.

     PS: DC's made it very easy to adopt a comic this month, they're all number 1's.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

End of an Era?

     Next week's comic books arrives on September 7th.  That also happens to be the 10th anniversary of me picking up all of the comics for five of my friends and dropping them off every week for 520 straight weeks, since my schedule has always allowed for the time.  Like a mailman, through heat and rain and sleet of snow I was always there.  I mean what the heck, I was getting my books anyway and they all lived close to me when I started this.

     But with a decade passing, not to mention my recent near heart attack, ensuing emergency heart operation, infection scare and pneumonia all in the span of 16 days, well suffice to say I'm letting my pals get their own stuff from now on.  We'll still talk about our favorite hobby on the phone and at lunches and such, but from now on, I'll mosey on over to get the comics when I feel like it and rest my aching heart more.  This should also give me more time to blog.  Yippee!
     Well, take care and adopt a comic today.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


     Lately I've been getting into reprints of comics, you know trade paperback collections of stuff I either already have or things that I'm missing a part to and can read all in one sitting.  But mostly I've been reading a lot of comic strip reprints.

     Some of my favorites lately have been Dick Tracy, Buz Sawyer and the upcoming Johnny Hazard, all adventure or detective strips.  Yesterday (comic book day) my order of another strip reprint book came in.  Modesty Blaze was a collection of English comic strips gathered together in book form by Titan Publishing from England.  They also collect the James Bond strip which I collect.

     Collecting old comics has enough built in problems for the true collector, finding dealers with decent stock, the right price and the book in decent shape.  But strip collectors need all of that plus a run of 42-70 dailys and Sundays just to get one whole story.  So these collected long runs of comic strips are the greatest thing for a collector like myself.

     This new trend of collecting complete runs of popular strips started a few years back with the Complete Peanuts, that started the whole 50 year run of that great strip.  And yep, that's something else I collect.  But I guess if you've never seen or read the comic or the strip, it's not a reprint.

     Take care and adopt a comic today.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sold to the Man Not on the Phone!

     Well, according to the title of the blog today, I lost out in my bid (no pun intended) to own some more original comic book artwork in last week's auction.  Truth be told, I didn't lose, I got creamed.  I normally would have seen the signs, but with this auction they weren't there.

     Normally if an item is going to go big, so to speak, it's already at a high starting point before the auction date.  But both my first and second choices were very low.  Then choice one must have spiked the morning of the auction while I wasn't watching, for bidding began at $1100. and closed thirty seconds later at $1200.  I was all set to be in a heated contest that would open around two or three hundred dollars and close between four and five, but I barely had time to introduce myself to my proxy bidder before it was over.

     My back-up choice did go the way I figured though but the bidding quickly jumped into the six, seven and eight hundred dollar range, way too steep for my blood.

     I guess I'm going to have to re-think my bidding strategy, learn to like cheaper artwork or make more money.  Still, it was fun.  I can't wait for the next one in November.

     Take care and adopt a comic today!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Going Once, Going Twice...

     Yes, that's right, according to the title of today's blog, I'm going to be involved in a high priced auction this week with the Heritage Auction House in Dallas, Texas.  Of course since this blog is about comics and not rare wine,coins or paintings, I'll be setting my sights on some comic related materials.

     Actually, since I have just about every comic book I ever wanted (and on my budget I guess I haven't wanted much) I'm going after original comic art.  You see, for every page of a comic book, there has been an original coinciding page of art that has been pencilled, inked and lettered.  So these items are literally one of a kind.

     Starting about twenty years ago I have been very lucky, predicting the trends and making purchases before the items of my choice got "hot" and the prices started soaring.  So I was winning one or two items per auction for about the first ten or twelve years.  But the last three or four I haven't been able to win "squat."  But I like trying and I've been lucky enough to be on Heritages' V.I.P. list for a while.

     The fun now is all about watching the auction live over the computer while being hooked up to my bidder via phone, as I see the auctioneer bellow out, "I have one seventy-five on the floor, do I have two hundred on the floor or on the phone?"

     That's when I give my bidder the verbal permission to stop or to continue, whereas I go back to looking at my monitor while conversing with my bidding agent on the floor.  So even though I haven't won anything in a while, it's still exciting and loads of fun.

     This Thursday I'm bidding on a painted cover to one of the old Space Family Robinson, Lost in Space comics from the 1960's.  The television show was based in part on this comic which featured art by a friend of mine, Dan Spiegle with painted covers by George Wilson.  I already have two of Wilson's "Twilight Zone" comics covers and reaaly love his stuff.  Stay tuned later this week to see how I did.  Gotta break this winless streak.

     Take care and don't forget to adopt a comic today.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Christmas Was Just The Other Day!

     I picked up my new comics (after all, it was Wednesday) a few days ago and boy did I hit the jackpot!  All of the magazines that deal with my wonderful hobby like, Alter-Ego, Back Issue, The Kirby Collector (all magazines that I've written for in the past) and more all arrived in one day at my comic shop.

     Also, three different hardcover collections of great 1960's stuff like Space Family Robinson, Daredevil and Boris Karloff Presents came in on comic day.  So boy did I get a wad of cool stuff.  And even though it was a fairly expensive week for me comic wise, it was so great to open the box my comic shop prepared for me.  And maybe that's what's still great about my hobby, the fact that every week I can still get filled with a sense of wonder...just like Christmas.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dog Days of August

     With all of the heat recently, the title of this blog ran through my head and of course super dogs ran through my mind.  Of course most people know Krypto, the super dog that hangs with Superboy and sometimes even (it's a time conundrum type of thing) Superman.  But how many of you are familiar with Ace-the Bat Hound?

     He was introduced in the late 1950's and has been around in one form or another ever since.  But my one question is this.  Why does Ace have to wear a cowl like Batman's, hiding his features?  Is it to protect his loved ones from reprisals from the criminal element?

     Take care and remember to adopt a comic today!    

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Wrote Some Comics Recently.

     The last few months I've had three comics published and more are on the way.  One is a superhero comic entitled, "Mr. Dusk."  Another deals wirh the undead that I call, "The Vampire Gazette."  The last one is about a young woman who goes after criminals as a form of therapy that I call, "Sleekness." 

     I only bring this up because the weekend of August 6-7th, I'll be out in Madison, along with my friend and artist David Russell, to sign autographs on this trilogy of new releases.  I'll be blogging with places and times later in the week. 

     Hope you enjoyed your July and don't forget to adopt a comic today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Stuff I Heard...

     Continuing some thoughts and speculations on the comic industry that I began on my last blog, I must tell you that I overheard some startling news (if it's true) from some comic shop owners talking among themselves last week.  It seems that Warner (the company that owns DC Comics) is giving DC two years time to bolster sales on their comic lines or they will retain film rights only to all of the hot characters (Batman, Superman ect) and dump the publishing arm.

     Is this possibly why DC is revamping all of its books and re-starting with all new #1's?  Is this why Warner may be paying for better visibilty on the book racks at Barnes and Nobles?  Can DC continue to thrive on its own if cut off from the cash machine that is currently its parent company?  This one may take a few years to unravel.

     PS: Some new Retro books came out from DC yesterday, books done in the style of the 1970's by pro writers and artists that were working on those books over three decades ago.  So far my favorites are Batman, JLA and Green Lantern.  All books include a 70's reprint that ties in with the new story.  Good stuff and interesting concept.  Next month comes the retro 80's and 90's books.

     Stay cool in this heat and adopt a comic today.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Don't Look Now, But Barnes and Nobles...

     Yes, has anyone checked out Barnes and Nobles next to Great Lakes Mall lately?  It seems they've altered their magazine racks radically.  Before, the entertainment mags, rock and roll periodicals and the history issues were on the rack facing the front door as you first walk in.  But now the comics have taken over that sweet spot and with a marked difference from their old spot.

     You see, the comics which used to have three or four slots worth of display space on the rack behind Rolling Stone and the likes, now fills a very wide space of three or four feet.  This makes for easier shopping, especially since they now carry more product than before.

     Could this have something to do with DC's relaunch in the fall or Marvel's recent purchase by Disney?  Could Warner (owner of DC) and Disney be throwing their weight around to remind the shopping public that all of these blockbuster movies of late are coming from somewhere?

     Or could it be something else?  Check my next blog for a news leak I overheard.  Don't forget to adopt a comic today!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This Heat is Killing Me!

     How do super heroes beat the heat?  Sometimes it comes down to beating the guy who brings the heat.  Of course I'm talking about heat based villains, such as Flash's main rouge-Heat Wave or Batman's bad guy, Dr. Phosphorus, who generates radioactivity as well as heat.
     I'm guessing whatever methods the good guys use to come out on top in the end, they "break a sweat" in doing so.  But in closing I'd just like to state for the record, with the heat index around 105, where's a good villain like Captain Cold or Mr. Freeze when you need them?

     Stay cool and adopt a comic today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wounded Super Heroes

     No sooner do I start recovering from heart surgery than I'm rushed back to the ER with possible heart infection.  So I start to think, was there ever any wounded heroes in the comics?
     Batman's broken back comes to mind very quickly.  And if memory serves me the editors of Batman back in the 90's talked about a new real life drug that would help spinal cord injuries if administered quickly enough.  That news item actually pushed "The Breaking of the Bat" storyline forward.
     Green Arrow once got shot with one of his own arrows and believe me, the writers kept bringing up the twinges in the bowmans' arm for months.  Now that's reality.

     But wounded is also the way I feel when I can't sit down to write this blog because I'm always getting hauled off to the hospital.  So I've got to go now to get ready for tons of comic writing and blogging.  And don't forget, adopt a comic today.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Waiting for September

     After looking over all of the new books that DC Comics are either re-starting or creating, I must admit I'm a little anxious.  Most people I've talked to are either going to stick with their favorite characters or with their favorite writers and artists.  Well I'm no different but I am looking forward to seeing how DC revamps one of my favorites...Blackhawk.

     I do worry though, as DC declares that this is a great "jumping on point," I've talked to four long time collectors around the various area comic shops, and they're saying this might also be a perfect "jumping off" point.

     I guess time will tell.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Comics On the Fourth.

     It's the holiday that celebrates our independence and there has been more than one war fought to keep us that way.  Many along my family tree have served, been promoted and have even died in the cause.  But this is a comic blog so I'll tell you about some of my favorite war comics.

     Sgt. Rock from DC Comics tops Terry's (my brother) and my lists, both as kids and adults.  We also like Tomahawk who helped fight the Revolutionary War.  It's still hard to believe a comic about a hero with flintlocks and buckskins could run over twenty years.  Maybe it was the coonskin cap that sealed the deal. After all -  it worked for Fess Parker and Davey Crockett.

     We also enjoyed Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandoes from Marvel.  These were some of the best freedom fighters from comics that my brother and I enjoyed.  But he was no longer collecting in the mid 1970's when DC actually produced a comic entitled, "Freedom Fighters."

     But after the last week (for anyone who's read my most recent blog) I'm just glad that any fireworks I see today are in my war comic collection or in the sky and not in my chest.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Brother, Iron Man.

     If you have read the title of this particular blog no, I did not change my last name to Stark.  But Iron Man's secret identity, Tony Stark and I, do have something in common now which is why I haven't been able to blog much since my birthday a week and a half ago.

     To make a long story short I was rushed to the hospital where I was suppossed to have had some tests that had already been scheduled but wound up getting an emergency angioplasty.  Needless to say I'm a big fan of balloons now.  I had one artery that was 90% blocked, but not now.

     Just got home yesterday and I'm not allowed to do any lifting or much bending or stairs and such so it looks like I'll be doing lots of blogging.  Hope to hear from all of you comic fans and take care of yourselves.  And remember to adopt a comic today.

     PS: First thing I did when I got home from the hospital was read four issues of Daredevil.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Passing of a Friend and Artist

     I learned that comic great Gene Colan passed away just the other day at the age of 84.  Aside from being "the" artist on Daredevil for many years, as well as an important artist on Iron Man, Captain America, Howard the Duck, Dr. Strange and Tomb of Dracula where he co-created Blade, I found him to be something else...a great guy who lived up to his nickname of "Gentleman Gene."

     You see, for about the last three years, up to about four months ago, Gene and I talked once a month on the phone.  It might have started whwn his late wife Adrienne called me to confirm an order I had placed on their website, but Adrienne put it very nicely but also bluntly when she told me, "you don't have to order something to keep in touch, you call us anytime or we'll call you."

     So I did and even when he had company or family over and he asked if he could call me later, he still wound up talking for ten minutes asking me about my dad or Ripley, my little Schnauser.  We shared a few health problems and he was always free and easy on tips and uplifting thoughts.  We hardly ever talked shop, but once we did he gave me the greatest compliment.  He said that although he was the artist and I was a writer, that I too painted.  "You paint pictures with words."

     Gene's health has always been fragile since I've known him and I already miss Adrienne since she passed away not to long ago.  But now the two of them are together again and although I'm sure I wasn't on the list of even top 50 friends of his, he certainly made my list and I'll miss his voice on the phone asking about my dog and my dad.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birthday Comics

     Yes, as I alluded to in the title above, today is my birthday!  Yippee!  Except for aging as I'm typing, life is good,especially since today is also comic book day.

     So accordingly, I treated myself to a few back issues of DC comics, looked through a few bins of Marvels and ordered an old 1950's comic through the mail.

     I also picked up The Comic Revue, a bi-monthly compilation book that puts together about six to eight weeks worth of old comic strips.  I collect the magazine for one of my old favorites from when I was a little tyke...Buz Sawyer.  He was a navy pilot that got into all sorts of scrapes and jams.  Too bad there are so few adventure strips in today's newspapers.

     So considering the situation I just described, could you say I got a birthday Buz?

Monday, June 20, 2011

No Diamond in the Rough, but Rough Diamond

     By the title I'm referring to Diamond Comics Distribution.  Sometimes they make me angry by shipping books to my favorite comic shop late.  This week they put a book on their "to ship" list for this Wednesday that already came out last week.  So make up your mind, Diamond, and try and get it right.

     I know shops and customers have no real recourse since the distribution wars of a few years back left you the last man standing, but please try and do better so that I can budget my spending money for the correct release dates.

     I mean is it just me or does anyone else out there get irked when their books don't get shipped on time?

     Take care and adopt a comic today.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Pretty Fair Fair

     Tonite I watched the Kirtland Strawberry Parade and went to the festival afterwards.  How does that relate to comics you might ask?  I thought of comic book festivals and of course conventions came to mind like the huge San Diego Con every July.  And since festivals are also sometimes thought of as fairs, I also thought of New York World's Fair Comics of which there were only two issues, 1939 and 1940. 

     These are two rare books which led to World's Best, a 15 cent cardboard cover comic that only lasted one single issue.  But that title then transformed into World's Finest Comics which featured Superman and Batman who both stayed in the book for over 300 issues and 40 some years.

     Now I have a complete run of that series since I love the book so much, but I'm wondering if I could eat 300 strawberry shortcakes from the Kirtland Festival.  Hmmm, check back with me next year and see how much weight I've gained.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Few Good Comics

     Today is new comic day and I really enjoyed Superman/Batman which is nothing more than a modern day World's Finest.  It seems Batman is in trouble for something (don't want to give the whole plot away) and hot on his trail is Clark Kent---Reporter.  Hmm, looking forward to this three-parter.

    Ruse, an update on Sherlock Holmes that used to be published by Crossgen but is now under the Marvel banner, just finished its four part mini-series.  Although its cohesiveness falls just a bit short of the original series, creator/writer, Mark Waid, still gives us a pretty good story.

    Kirby Genesis #1 came out today and although I liked issue #0, the book seems to be intent on presenting so many of Kirby's unused concepts in so short a time that the book is already looking and feeling cluttered.  Pacing, gentlemen, we dont want the book to start resembling a (more recent) Grant Morrison comic.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Lazy Day

     I was outside today for a tiny bit in the (rare) Lake County sunshine.  Actually I was just walking from my car to the diner where I had breakfast.  And on that short 30 second stroll believe it or not, I kicked a stone to and fro between my car and the building.

     What's that got to do with comics you might wonder?  Well, no sooner did I start kicking the stone than I flashed back to being nine or ten, walking to the drugstore by myself, kicking stones back then too, all the way there and back, allowance clutched tightly in my fist, on the way to purchase that weeks batch of comics.  Back then the weekly trek and the experience always brought a smile to my face.

     I smiled today also.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Heat Index for Comics

     Well it's finally hot in the Lake County area.  So now is a good time to head off any heat problems with your (I refer to mine as "my babies") comic collection.

     Wherever you might store your books, leave the front page of the News-Herald (after you've read it of course) flat on a nearby table.  When you check the next day and find the front page of the newspaper is starting to curl, then head to the hardware store INSTANTLY and purchase a de-humidifier to keep your comics high and dry. 

     I'll go into this a little bit more at a later date, after all the summer has just begun, but for now...don't get me started!

Take care and adopt a comic today.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Comics Are Hot...Literally

     Now that the weather has finally gotten pretty warm, it made me think that comics can get hot also.  No, I don't mean that they can go up in price overnite and put your kids through college, those days are over folks.  No, I mean that if left in the sun, the new comics with their slick paper can get actually warm to the touch.  Now the old newsprint comics just dried out and began chipping when left in the sun.  Many times that was the fate of what we afficianados call..."attic comics."

     So remember, while shopping at the mall, leave your window open a crack for your family dog...and your comics that might just have made the trip to the mall with you.

     Take care and remember to adopt a comic today.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Has DC Comics Lost Their Minds?

     It was just announced today from the DC Comics website as well as from the USA Today site, that DC is going to re-start it's entire comic line on Aug. 31st of this year.  Fifty-two titles all marked #1 will be hitting the stands.  Yikes!  Are they out of their minds?

     Does this mean everything goes back to the beginning?  If so, how will this affect storylines that have influenced the company for years such as death of Jason Todd, Superman's death and return, his marriage to Lois and the continual hacking off of Aquaman's hand.

     Oh this just irks me right now.  I love DC comics and their characters to death (Marvel having soured me on a lot of their product already) but why this?  I'd like to write more about this right now, but I'm so angry that all I can say is...DON'T GET ME STARTED!

     PS: This news item actually does deserve me invoking the title of the column, don't you agree?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hey, I Saw the Sun!

     Hey everyone, I just saw the sun in Lake County!  And lately that's something to get excited about with all of the rain coming down this month.  Of course I let all of my thoughts wander to my hobby of comics.
     Sunboy of the Legion of Superheroes from Adventure Comics instantly came to mind once I checked out the sky this morning.  He was able to generate both heat and light from his hands and had the symbol of the (what else) sun on his chest.
     Sunfire was a mutant that first appeared in X-Men #64 from the late 60's.  He was a Japanese teen whose origin also ties into this weekend since his parents recieved the mutant genes from the A-blast from Hiroshima.  Later Sunfire (whose power was to generate heat) joined the X-Men but only briefly.
     I also ran into Batman Annual #8, from 1982.  This had a story entitled, "Messiah of the Crimson Sun."  So yes, I have been trying to think about and enjoy that bright, yellow orb.

     PS: My last blog I talked about storms and comics, but didn't mention Storm of the X-Men.  Just thought it was too much of an easy one so I identified the more obscure Captain Storm.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Comic Storm

     With all the rain we've been having lately in the Lake County area, I started thinking about storms in the comics.  Well there was a real gully washer in the second part to the story, "The Laughing Fish."  This was a great Englehart/Rogers work of art that featured Batman and Joker going at it high above the city.  A lightening bolt hit the Joker sending him to his (supposed) doom until DC Comics needed the Clown Prince of Crime to rear his mirthful head again (no doubt for sales reasons) to go up against Batman.

     Batman had another duke out in a pouring storm, this time in the pages of Batman #255, from the early 1970's.  Here the Caped Crusader fought a werewolf atop another Gotham skyscraper while yet another lightning bolt sent a bad guy to his doom.  Believe me, trying to get home from the Great Lakes Mall Wednesday night, I thought I might join the Joker and the werewolf as I dodged bolts of lightning all the way.

     The last storm that comes to mind is not an act of Mother Nature, but a name...Captain Storm who was a WWII Pt boat skipper aboard the PT 73 that was published back in the early 60's.  (Obviously DC was taking advantage of the publicity for the film about then president John Kennedy.)  Captain Storm had a wooden leg, which no doubt came in handy keeping him afloat as many times as he was shown getting washed overboard.

     But with all the bad weather and rain we've been having lately, I wish I had a PT boat to tool around in. I mean it might have helped me get home last night, but don't get me started! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

convention thoughts

      I participated in the Lake Effect Comic Book Convention at the Great Lakes Mall  yesterday, the one I wrote about last week on this same blog.  My artist friends who produced the three comics, which debuted yesterday, attended as well and the producer of the show seated us all together.  We were a hit!  You can never be sure how sales will go but our books were very well received! 

     Tons of people stopped by to chat and I was amazed at all of the new people I met.  My friends Pete and Jeremy are old hands at this convention biz as am I, but my friend, oil painter David, was blown away as this was his first show.  I also got to chat some more with newer friends like Mark Sumerak, a writer from Marvel. 

     I'm already getting e-mails from customers who love the books that they purchased at the show.  Hmmm, speed readers I guess, but on the other hand how long does it take to read a 32 page comic.  Anyway, I had a good time and will tell you more about my good time throughout the week.  Take care and give a comic book a good home this week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Comic Day!

Hey comic book lovers, today's that day that only means something to us collectors...Wednesday, also known among us afficianados as new comic book day.  So guess where I was today...that's right my comic shop of choice (although I'll be talking about others in the near future) Sports n More.  That's not only where I get my weekly fix, but get to talk to long time friends Matt, Jess and Mrs. C.  Picked up some Archies for the kids next door and Batman for myself.  While I'm on the subject, Batman Beyond is a great book so give it a try.  I've recently celebrated a certain big number as far as times I've visited this particular store, can anybody guess what the big number is?  Next time any of you feel like writing in, take a guess, let's see who comes the closest.  Talk to you very soon about what's right and what's wrong about comics nowadays.  But don't get me started.

PS: I have three new comic magazines debuting this weekend, so if anybody's in the Lake County area of Ohio, stop by the Great Lakes Mall sometime between 10am and 6pm on May 22nd and check out the ccomic conventionask.  See ya.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

back at the news herald

Hey it's me Chris Lambert back at the Herald where I started 20 years ago and guess what?  I'm still talking about comics.  And I guess that's what I'll be doing three or four times a week from now on.  So get ready to hear me rant and rave about all the subjects concerning comics that I'm going to be covering.  So basically, Comics: Don't Get Me Started.  Because I'll talk awhile, I promise.