This issue will feature something new for Just Newsprint. Instead of
just text, it will now feature some pictures to accompany the articles.
So you can now get a better idea of what I am ranting about. It took
awhile, but I have learned how to run my scanner. Alot of trial and
error, but I am confident in my scanning abilities. I am sure many of
you are saying "Big deal", but for me it is. One more step towards
complete control of my web page. Enough rambling, here is another
installment, out a bit late, but hopefully you will find it worth the
Top Ten List!
Once again by popular demand (OK, I only received a dozen emails last
month asking for more, but it is a start), I am doing another top ten
list. This month I look at the often overshadowed sidekick. You know the
boy or other guy who helps the lead character but doesn't get all the
glory. So here is a list of my top ten favorite sidekicks. See if you
10. Easy Company-As good as Sgt Rock was, it was
Easy Co. that stole the show. Would the book have the same appeal
without Ice Cream Soldier, Wee Willie, Bulldozer, Jackie Johnson and
others. They really added the character to the book.
9. Hawkwoman-She is probably more of an equal
than a sidekick, but I will put her here anyway. The wife of Hawkman,
she stood by his side through countless battles and proved herself on
many occasions. Yet it was always Hawkman that was invited to join the
JLA and such and not her. A blatant example of sexism in comics! If
Hawkman was more of a man, he would have made sure she was always with
8. Mary Marvel-The first female to make the
list. While she was second to Captain Marvel in the Marvel family, she
was first in our hearts. This was one of the examples of a female hero
done right. I was happy to see her return in the new "Power of Shazam"
7. Jughead-One of the most known sidekicks and
not one that comes to mind. Sure they were normal youths, but for awhile
there, they were superheroes (remember Archie as Pureheart the Powerful
and Jughead as Captain Hero). I know this may be a bit of a stretch, but
it is my list.
6. Bucky-Captain America's first sidekick and
probably my least favorite. He had Robin written all over him, even down
to his mask. While he was a good fighter and proved himself, I think it
wasn't the brightest move to bring a child into a war.
5. Donald Duck-He was probably the most
unwilling of sidekicks, but he is one of the best. Forced by the need of
money, he followed his rich Uncle Scrooge all over the world in search
of treasure. They faced some challenges that would seem more appropriate
for the super powered heroes, but they always found a way to overcome
4. Green Arrow-Another guy who would kick your
teeth in for calling him a sidekick, but a good run from Green Lantern
#76-#122, they were partners. While many would debate if Green Arrow was
actually a sidekick, I think he was due to the fact that it was Green
Lantern's book and GL was by far the more powerful guy.
3. Falcon-He may have been Cap's sidekick, but I
dare you to tell him that. This was one guy who could carry himself, but
was man enough to let Captain America be the lead guy. Truly a team
2. Rick Jones-Sidekick to the Marvel Universe
would be an accurate moniker for this guy. He not only ran with Captain
America, but also the Hulk, the Avengers and shared a body with Captain
Marvel. Now that is one guy that gets around!
1. Robin-The famous Boy Wonder has to be the
most famous and one of the coolest of all sidekicks. Sure he runs around
in green underwear, but you have to be cool to pull that off. Don't
believe me? Try wearing that as you go to work and see how much respect
your co-workers give you. While there have been many incarnations of
Robin, Dick Grayson will always be the one and only Robin to me.
Look it's Superman...no
Batman...no Tigerman! Tigerman?????????
In my searches, I came across a unique title. One of the old Atlas
comics, Tigerman, captured my curiosity. After reading the first issue,
I wasn't very impressed with the book. It was below average at best. But
I was waiting in the car and had nowhere to go, so I read the next two
issues. I must say that it did improve. The main improvement was the
introduction of a nemesis, the Leopard. Oh yeah and the additions of
Gerry Conway and Steve Ditko.
While the character is probably one of the goofiest looking (he wears a
costume fashioned from a tiger skin, complete with the claws), he does
have some redeeming features. There is some pretty decent
characterization that is built and they begin to build some supporting
characters. But unfortunately the rug is pulled out before he really has
a chance. Only three issues were made of this reluctant hero who was
finally showing some potential when his series ended.
It may not be the best series you ever read (far from it), but if you
ever see them cheap at a comic show or shop, pick them up and give them
a look. Maybe you will also find that the best was yet to come.
A Little Story Thrown in all
One of the things I always liked about the Master of Kung Fu series is
they didn't try to make it something more than it was. They knew the
readers wanted action in heaping doses and they delivered. If there was
ever a series that didn't bog itself down with too much plot or
characterization, it was this one.
I just read an issue of Master of Kung Fu, #22, and it was the perfect
example of the action packed story you came to expect. Shang Chi stops
into a Chinese restaurant for a meal. After eating it, he reads his
fortune from the cookie. It say "A man very close to you will seek your
death, Shang Chi". A personalized fortune cookie! Once he reads this, he
is quickly attacked by streams of angry men out to kill him. Over the
next six pages, he beats the daylights out of them at the restaurant. He
then takes a few pages off to switch locations before the action ensues.
Just like the Jackie Chan films of today, the plot is limited to keep
the story moving, but not getting in the way of what we all bought the
book for, ACTION!
Some may frown on a book like this, but I find it a refreshing break
from some of the overly complicated books. Get done reading some Sandman
or Hellblazer and it is nice to throw in a pure action book like this to
keep you from getting too serious. Comics were meant to be fun and they
don't come much funnier than this one!
Classic Commercial of the
This was one ad that has always disturbed me. Not because it featured
some scary monster or anything, but the outcome of it. It is an ad for
people that want to buy imported birds for hunting. It boasts selling
falcons, hawks, eagles and owls. You may not think this is so bad, but
think about a company selling potentially dangerous animals in a comic
Sure Falconry has been around for centuries and was considered a sport
of the wealthy, but thinking that little Johnny could buy an eagle
through the mail just doesn't sit well with me. Not only is it cruel to
the animal, but little Johnny could be seriously injured or even killed.
We aren't talking about lovebirds here, but animals that are on this
Earth to kill other animals. It is what they do best and is in their
nature. Think they are going to take well to some moronic kid trying to
get them to fetch for him? It could get real ugly.
While Sea Monkeys and Hermit crabs are pretty harmless stuff, I shudder
to think there was a time when monkeys and birds of prey were being sold
to unsuspecting kids. It is enough to make you question the judgment of
the comic book for allowing such ads.
Do Comics Need a New Format?
One thing that I think is holding back comics is the format that they
are in. While the paper format that has been the norm for so long may
actually be the weight that is holding down the comic industry. I know I
will get alot of angry letters for suggesting this, but I feel that
comics need to change and pretty soon. Otherwise we may see comics go
the way of pulp novels.
The biggest problem with printing comics on paper is that the cost has
gone up dramatically and there is no indication that things will ever
get better. This has forced comics to raise prices and change it from an
affordable means of entertainment to a not so attractive form of
entertainment. When comics were under a buck, they could make a claim
that they were affordable, but now with the average price being $2.50,
that is a claim that is no longer valid. Throw in the fact that the size
has shrunk and you have a package that doesn't make much sense
financially. The main problem with comics as opposed to most mediums is
they don't sell enough copies to attract the advertising that most other
print mediums use to pay the bills. Comics are in a Catch 22, if they
raise prices to make more money for their books, they lose readership
and it hurts their chances of getting more advertisers and charging more
for advertising. But if they lower price to try and increase readership
in an attempt to get more advertisers, they will become unprofitable and
if the advertisers don't appear, they are doomed. So comics are stuck.
The worst thing is that comics will only get more and more expensive. As
readership continues to dwindle, the cover price will have to be raised
to make up for the lost sales, which will result in more lost sales. It
really is a downward spiral. So I think that comics need to abandon the
paper format and look for a new alternative. One option may be the
internet. Instead of actual paper comics, they could have them available
for download from a pay site. You would pay a buck or something to
download a version of a comic. Or for a little more, you could get a CD
version sent to you. Instead of just a comic, you could also get a
trivia game or some other game, biographies on the creators of the book,
history of the characters and more. There could be sound, animation and
other options. This could make comics more of a interactive experience
and could open it up to whole new audiences. By eliminating the need to
print comics, you cut out the most expensive part of a comic.
While this may sound pretty far fetched, it really isn't. What it does
is returns comics to readers and eliminates the investor. Since there
isn't really a paper version of the book, they will have no real value
other than their entertainment value. I guess if people really wanted to
keep investors in, they could always make limited edition CDs with
different covers or something.
You may say that this would turn off the traditional comic reader and
you would chance losing them. Well, let us look at the numbers. Would
you rather chance losing less than 1% of the population in the USA or do
something to try and sell to the other 99% of the population? People
have shown that they don't want comics in their regular format. Comics
are obsolete and in danger of either disappearing as an industry or
becoming a very expensive niche market. The industry needs to do
something to get an infusion of new blood into the industry. This just
may be the answer or it may not.
To wrap this up, I feel that comics are being ignored by the general
populace who have shown they are interested in the movies and cartoons,
but have no interest in the comics. This shows me that it isn't the
characters, but the format. Today's youth want something more
interactive and flashy to spend their disposable income on and comics
are not it. Comics are losing the battle to video games, internet,
movies and all the other entertainment options that are available to
youths. If you cannot beat these mediums, maybe you ought to find a way
to work with them.
Two for Three
How many companies can boast that they produced three comics and two of
them were well received? I can only think of one company that can make
such a boast. That would be the short lived Capital Comics. For the
readers who are not familiar with them, let me tell you their three
books. I think you may have heard of at least two of these; Nexus,
Badger and Whisper.
Capital Comics started back in 1981, the collaboration of artist Steve
Rude and writer Mike Baron. They began by publishing a black and white,
magazine sized comic of Nexus. It later came out in comic format. In
1983 they added Badger and Whisper. Soon afterwards, they decided to
join up with First Publishing. This move freed them from the
administrative responsibilities and allowed them to instead focus their
energies on creating great comics. And what great comics they did
Nexus ran for 80 issues before ending. It has since returned in
mini-series format at Dark Horse, who also publishes Badger in a similar
format. In a surprise move, Dark Horse returned the rights of the books
back to their creators, something the big two would never do.
Whisper, while a good book, never was as well received. She did have
over 37 (the highest I remember) issues at First, but she has yet to
resurface as the other two have. The female ninja could fit in well
during the bad girl craze, but has been overlooked.
While Capital was only around for a a few short years, their creations
still live on. Quite a feat from a small company that most people don't
even know about.
(I would like to thank Tom Grozan for pointing out that there were more
issues of Whisper than I originally spoke of in the article).
Bargain Basement Comic
This month's bargain basement comic is one we just spoke of, Nexus. This
was a book that combined incredible art and great storytelling. For
anyone who isn't familiar with the story of Horatio Hellpop, it is about
a man who is given almost infinite wisdom in exchange for his services.
These services are for him to assassinate some of the cruelest villains
in the galaxy. He does use his incredible powers to build and maintain a
space station that houses the refugees of space. So he is in constant
battle with his conscious.
Nexus sported some of the most beautiful painted covers by Steve Rude
and the interior art is also quite gorgeous. This book is worth the low
price of admission on the strength of the artwork alone. Lucky for us
that the story is as engaging as the artwork and keeps your interest.
Mike Baron is at his best here and he has yet to top this. While his
Flash run was good and he did some interesting work on Punisher (he
should be complimented on trying to bring a story to the Punisher), his
Nexus work is still heads and shoulder above the other work.
Now that the series is forgotten by many, it can be easily found in the
bargain bins at your local comic store or show. If you have not tried
this incredible series, you are missing out on a real treat. I highly
advise picking it up, while the industry is down. If this industry ever
comes back, books like this will be rediscovered and those cheap prices
will not continue.
New Site Coming
One of the changes that will be coming to Tomorrow's Heroes is a whole
new look for the site. I have been hard at work, building a new site
that is my vision of how this site should be. This is one of the reasons
this newsletter is late. I decided to take a few classes on web design
in an attempt to create my own web site. While Chris has done a good
job, I had my own design in mind and it was hard to get this across to
Chris. So I decided to take the necessary steps to be able to do it
The new site will have many similarities of the old site and many new
features. Some areas like the "Comics For Sale" section will remain
pretty much the same, with only minor modifications. Other areas will be
overhauled, like the Marvel Team-Up section. It will be expanded and
will also feature a tribute to Marvel Two-in-One. The Colt story will
finally be finished and I will be adding all the old newsletters from
the comic store.
This newsletter will also keep getting a facelift as you can see by this
issue. There will be graphics added and more new features. I hope to
make it as popular as its sister newsletter, Retrogaming Times.
The new site should hopefully be up by Thanksgiving, possibly earlier. I
am in the works to get it as finished as possible. You don't realize how
much work it takes to set up all the links. It has been a learning
experience for me, but one I have enjoyed. Now I will only have myself
to credit or blame for the state of the website.
TOMORROW'S HEROES CLASSIC
(This article was originally done during the Heroes World days. But it
still applies to Diamond Comics Distributors, you just have to cut the
times in half. Editor Note:I have not dealt with Diamond in six months,
but last time I did, they weren't very good and I doubt much has
One of the major complaints about dealing with Heroes
World is the extended time spent on hold trying to get through to a
service representative. Being a store, we can attest to it. But most
customers have no comprehension of how long a wait it is. So we
simplified it by testing the speediness of Heroes World against some of
the all-time longest rock songs. Keith and myself did extensive testing
to get the best results. You will note that the time it takes to get
through varies. Keith also wants it stated that he doesn't own any of
this music and most of it was borrowed. Here are the results.
August 2nd, 10:30 A.M.
1. LYNRD SKYNRD "Freebird"-This is the most famous of the bathroom songs
(songs DJ's play when they need to use the facilities). This song was
not only beaten, but we were able to play the song three times before we
finally got through.
August 3rd, 2:05 P.M.
2. LED ZEPPELIN "Stairway to Heaven"-Heroes World was really slow today,
because we played this song five times before getting through. This led
to extended therapy for both of us.
August 9th, 12:15 P.M.
3. IRON BUTTERFLY "Inagodavida"-We found the extended version and
started the battle. Either this song is too long, or Heroes World was
doing better because we didn't even make through the second play before
we were served.
August 10th, 4:45 P.M.
4. JETHRO TULL "Thick as a Brick"-This one song album finally broke
Heroes World streak. It was close, as there were only a few minutes
remaining when we finally talked to a real person.
Another way to look at this is that in the average time it take to
get through, you can listen to about twenty five Ramones songs.
Well another issue wraps up. I would like to thank all the people who
have taken time to write and give their comments on the past issues. I
read everyone and greatly appreciate them. If there is something you
would like to see added or removed, please let me know. I do listen and
am open to suggestions. Until next month, keep reading those comics and
let them out of their bags once in awhile. It gets mighty stuffy in