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?