Just Newsprint
Issue #10

Table of Contents
01 Introduction
02 March is Comics Month
03 Comics and Video Games
04 Top Ten List
05 Overlooked Gems
06 Classic Commercial
07 Question of the Month
08 Submitting your Work
09 Why No Dealers?
10 Bargain Bin Bonanza
10 Periphery
11 Conclusion

 

Introduction
The readership continues to grow at a slow, but steady pace. A first this issue is a submission from Andrea Wilson and a press release from Arch-Type Studios. So you can finally read something from someone other than myself. As you saw last issue, I added a table of contents. As the issues get bigger and bigger, this will become more useful. Well, this is the tenth issue and I for one am impressed to have made it this far. I hope that the next ten issues will be bigger and better! Enjoy!

March is Comics Month!
That's right, this March is going to be an all comic month for Tomorrow's Heroes. After looking over the web site, I realized that it is much more slanted towards video games than comics. Well, I want to change that and one of the ways is by increasing the amount of stuff on the site. So here is a quick rundown of some of my projects for this month:

1. Increase and improve the Marvel Team-Up section.
2. Finally put some stuff in the Marvel Two-In-One section.
3. Finish the list of addresses for all the major comic companies.
4. Add alot of comic ads
5. Some new stuff!

I want this site to become as popular with comics as it has for video games and I realize that I must put more effort into it. So this month will be the month I really put the effort in. Check back often and see all the additions!

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(Superman in his first video game adventure)
Comics and Video Games

While these two have always mixed, the results were usually less than expected. From the early days of that Atari when Superman and Spiderman made their first video game appearances to the new systems with the many comic formats, the games have yet to capture the essense of comic books. That certain special magic found in comics couldn't seem to be captured in video games. Why is that? I am going to try and explore some of the reasoning to why comic related video games keep falling short. This month we will take a short tour of the history of comic characters in video games. We will look at the changes that have gone on.

The first superhero to have a video game made after him was fittingly enough, Superman. Since Superman was owned by Warner, who also owned Atari, it was pretty easy to do. He was among the early games that appeared on the Atari, back in 1978. As far as I know, he was the first licensed character to appear in a video game (other than arcade translations). But for some unknown reason, he was the only DC superhero to have a video game made after him. It is unknown why Batman, Flash and other never followed in the footsteps of the Man of Steel, especially since the game was a success.

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(Check out Spiderman as he climbs up the building)

It wasn't until 1982, that a second comic book hero made his way onto a video game. This time it was Spiderman who also appeared on the Atari 2600. The company Parker Brothers made the cart and surprisingly, they only released it on the Atari 2600. What makes this so surprising is that they were famous for porting their games onto every system. Frogger and Q*Bert, two of their biggest home ports were found on virtually every system, including many computers. But Spiderman, another good selling game, only had one port. Too bad as it would have been nice to see this game updated on the Colecovision or Atari 5200.

Overseas, it was much better as a few games came out; Asterix and Obelix to name two of them, but not much else. This is surprising, especially considering how much more popular comics are in other countries.

While many other licenses enjoyed success in video games, comics were generally ignored. Many movies, including some obscure ones saw games made about them. From the popular Star Wars and Tron to the less popular Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and even Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But there were some games mentioned that were never made. The Incredible Hulk was supposed to get a game, but the market crash ended that possibility.
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(Punisher for the Nintendo, the games was as one dimensional as the book)

With the market crash, video game consoles pretty much died off in America. At least for a few years. Then the Nintendo came and with it a whole slew of video games based on superheroes. You had Spiderman, Superman, Silver Surfer, Punisher, Batman and more! Granted most of these games were the same thing, side scrollers that had you walk along and fight dozens of henchmen before the boss character, usually being a popular super villain, would pop up. Even a few games were made about characters who weren't from Marvel and DC. Two of these were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Bucky O'Hare. Granted, these both had popular cartoon shows that helped pave the path for them.

When the 16 bit era came about, it brought out more and more games featuring comic book characters. Once again, Batman and Spiderman led the way with numerous games on the Genesis and Super Nintendo. But there was also room for some not so known companies. From the Spawn game from the up and coming Image comics to Chakan The Forever Man from the completely unknown R.A.K. Graphics, you had comics everywhere. Once again, side scrollers were the popular choice. We did see a few changes as fighting games began to appear with superheroes. The Justice League and the Ninja Turtles both had these.

Into the 32 bit and beyond era, we have seen comic characters take even newer roles. Sure there are still side scrollers like the awful Fantastic Four for the Playstation, but you also get 1st person exploration games like the well done Turok for the Nintendo 64 and 3rd person games like the poorly done Spawn for the Playstation. But the game of choice is the fighting game with Capcom bringing out a plethora of Marvel fighting games.

Now that we have a basic history of the evolution of comic book characters in video games, we will take a look at why the gameplay has yet to really capture the feel of a comic book. We will also look at some possible ideas for characters and games that may do well. Tune in next month for the second part of this article.

Top 10 List
This month's top ten is going to deal with something a little bizarre. We are going to list the top ten most interesting speaking people in comics. By this I mean characters who have unique accents or talk in a peculiar way. So sit back and see if you agree with these picks and know full well that people like Superman and Batman will never make this list.

10. Beast-With his well educated language that is littered with long words, he made us all break out a dictionary to find out exactly what he was saying.

09. Any snake character-From the Serpent Society to Cobra and on, any character who was a snake or a lizard almost always spoke with a "sss" added to the back of a word.

08. Luke Cage and Black Lightning-They both possessed that street talk filled with 70's slang. Terms like "Jive Turkey" and "Sucker" gave them that hardened on the streets mystique.

07. Silver Surfer-His brooding almost ethereal way of talking made us feel his anguish and loneliness. He was soft spoken and his thoughts were very deep and very eloquent.

06. Solomon Grundy and the Incredible Hulk-Both spoke with that first person "Solomon Grundy/Hulk smash". It made us make no mistake that they were brute strength and brute strength only. Plus, the Hulk's unique names he made for all the heroes and villains were priceless.

05. Zatanna-When she threw a spell, it was time to break out the mirror. Must have been fun for the writers to have to write all of her spells backwards. A regular chore, but us readers enjoyed it!

04. Spider-Man-With his constant wisecracks and confidence, it made the character a fun read. You really never knew what he would say next and many times I found myself on the floor laughing.

03. Bizarro-He came from a strange world and his language reflected that. Much like that world, what he said and what he meant were not always the same thing.

02. Creeper and Underdog-Let me know if I am wrong, but I am almost positive these were the two characters who used to rhyme everything they said. Another major chore for the writers. I still remember the issue of Underdog where he spent it trying to find a rhyme for "orange" while the bad guys ransacked the city.

01. Thor-With his very eloquent way of speaking, he was both romantic and confusing. It took a few issues to truly understand Thor, but once you mastered it, it was quite enjoyable. Really added atmosphere to the book.

Overlooked Gems
by Andrea Wilson

STRANGE TALES (3rd Series): This incarnation of Strangle Tales ran in the late 80's, and featured Cloak and Dagger (another underrated team) and Doctor Strange. What makes this series particularly appealing is the Doctor Strange story that runs for the first third of the series. In it, the Sorcerer Supreme must battle an all-encompassing evil. Unfortunately, his normal methods are ineffective, and he must either use the "black" magic he usually avoids (and risk losing his soul), or keep his morals intact and watch the world as we know it end. When I was first introduced to this series, it still had some value (stemming from a Punisher and a Spiderman appearance), but now it lives in the bargain bins, waiting to be rediscovered by those who really appreciate a good story.

PUMA BLUES: This horribly underappreciated black-and-white series was published by Aadvark-Vaneheim (Cerebus) in the mid-80's. The story was set in some near future time, and showed in grim detail a vision of what the world would be like if we did not care for it. This vision was brought to life by the exquisite talents of Michael Zulli (Sandman: The Wake). Michael Zulli is one of the few contemporary artists in comics who remembers that a scene is more than the foreground. His attention to background detail draws you into his world and keeps you there until you grasp his vision. Plus, he has a great knowledge of anatomy, enabling him to draw animals (and people) that look ready to walk out of the page and into your room. I have never seen anything else like it. In this area, the book is painfully hard to find (I only have found about half of the 23+ issues run), but I understand that it can be found in bargain bins, especially in Canada. It is well worth the effort it takes to find it.

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(Click on the picture to see a larger sized ad)

Classic Commercial

This month we take a look at a commercial we all know and love, the darling Sea Monkeys. I don't know about you, but just seeing how much fun they appeared to be in the ad was enough to make me order them. I was all set to teach them tricks and raise them for profits. Well, when they came I was a bit disappointed. They are possibly the only things smaller than the toy soldiers you see in the comics. You need a magnifying glass to see these specks. As far as tricks, keeping them alive was enough of a trick. Forget the hoops and all the other stuff.

Well, mine lasted about a week before the disaster hit. While a meteorite may have ended the dinosaurs and a nuclear war may kill off mankind, my poor sea monkeys died from a less monumental disaster. While playing catch with a football (something my mother warned me about repeatedly), the ball hit their bowl and sent them to an early grave. I would tell you how they clutched on for dear life or how they valiantly battled to stay alive in the face of death, but since they were so tiny, I could barely see them. There were cleaned up and sent to the great sink to move on to a greater existence. Brings a tear back just thinking about it.

Question of the Month
Last month we had five people respond! While not monumental, it was some response. Here are the movies they would like to see:

JLA (Keith Giffen)
Watchmen
Iron Man
Cerebus (he said he would prefer animated, but live action would be cool) and the most interesting one of the month was the DC/Marvel Access story. The very thought of all the different characters and legal constraints is enough to make one cringe. But it would be cool!

This month's question is what character would you like to see an action figure for or which character who has an action figure would you like to see a new and better one made of? I personally would like to see an action figure made of the Flaming Carrot. His first dozen or so issues were legendary and it would be great to see an action figure of such an interesting character.

Submitting Your Work and Having a Chance
(reprinted from Tomorrow's News)
Have you ever wanted to work in comics? If you're anything like the average comic fan, the answer is a resounding YES! Whether you're an artist or a writer, getting into the business can be tough. Sure your friends and family think your art is great or feel you have a gift for writing, but do you know how to show your talents to the big boys? Well, I'm here to help you out. I have customers constantly telling me about their story ideas and showing me their artwork (even more often since we put the Colt story in the back of the newsletter). So I thought about doing a column on the proper way to submit your work to the major comic companies. While each company will have slightly different guidelines, most are the same. To get the official way to submit I asked Ruben Diaz, editor of the Justice League from none other than DC Comics. Ruben gave me many great tips to pass along to all of you comic creators in training. I will break it into three parts; artists submissions, writer submissions, and general information. I did this because both are done completely different. I hope this information will help you out.

ARTIST
Of the two, submitting work as an artist and getting feedback is easier. Unlike a story where it takes considerable time to read and evaluate, an artists talents are immediately apparant. "One of the most important things to remember when submitting artwork is to send xeroxes" states Ruben. "Plus if you include a self addressed stamp envelope, we can send a response" he adds. If your artwork isn't accepted, this response will usually be a rejection letter, but depending on how busy the editors are at the time, you may get some professional tips on how to improve your artwork.

The second most important thing to do is to send in sequential artwork between three to four pages long. Don't send in pinups, as these don't show a true representation of your abilities. When I asked Ruben why they want sequential art he answered "We need to see the artists ability to tell a story without words. You cannot see this with pinups. Plus we want get a good look at their style, ability to draw heroes like normal people, their grasp of perspective and knowledge of anatomy".

As far as what to submit, you can write to DC Comics or whatever company you want to work for and they have submission stories that are available. Again, send a self addressed stamped envelope to receive this. If you cannot wait for a submission story, Ruben has a suggestion "Get together with a friend and get a copy of a comic. Have your friend describe some pages to you and then draw your own interpretation of the story". Make sure that it is a story that you haven't read, as you want your approach to be just that, yours.

Another important fact to consider is that if you are looking to be a penciller, then only send in your pencils. Same goes if you are interested in being an inker. An editor cannot see how well your pencils are if you covered them up with inks. If you want to show both, then do the pencils and xerox them. Then ink over them and xerox it again. This way the editor can see the full scope of your talents. If you are trying for an inking job, it would be a good idea to first send for a submission story. This way the editor is already familiar with what the pencils look like.

When you have finished your work and are ready to submit it, where do you send it? There are a few approaches to this. First off, you can send to the submission editor. You could also send it to the editor of the book in which you are interested in. Before you get your heart set on doing Batman or Superman, you should expect to start lower and work your way up. Once you make a name for yourselve, you can be selective as to what projects you want to work on. Right now, the most important thing is to get your foot in the door.

Check back here next month when we will look into how to break in as a writer. Listed below is the address for the submissions editor for DC.

Dean Motter (I am not sure if he is still the submissions editor)
Submissions Editor
DC Comics
1700 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

(I would like to thank Ruben Diaz for his time and input into this article. His contributions were invaluable. I would also like to the Shira LeVine, who helped me get the interview. You're great!)

Why No Dealers?
One of the most asked questions I get is why don't I deal with other comic dealers? If you look in my purchasing guidelines, you will see that I specifically have a rule in there that I will not sell to dealers. Alot of people ask me why I am so harsh towards dealers. Here is the whole explanation.

While I don't have anything against dealers in general, considering I owned and ran a comic store for 13 years, but my experiences on the net have been less than pleasant. First let me state that all dealers are not this way and there are many good dealers and ones I have had successful dealings with. But the a fair amount of the ones I have come across on the internet are arrogant, obnoxious and downright rude. They come to my site and tell me what I am going to sell my comics to them for. They make demands and expect me to practically give my books away. When I tell them that the prices on the site are the price I sell them for, whether they are a dealer or a collector, they get upset and demand a lower price. There has been some dealers I have dealt with and had no problems. But they are unfortunately the exception. Here are a few examples of some of the stuff I had to deal with.

Example #1-One dealer wrote me (his actual words) and said "Your prices are fine for the common man, but I am a dealer and so I expect, no I demand a much lower price." If I wasn't a gentleman, I would have told him where to go.

Example #2-A dealer wrote me and said he wanted a stack of comics from me at half the price marked (he said he usually wouldn't pay that much, but he was feeling generous, oh lucky me). If this wasn't enough, he then told me he needed the books by Friday for a show he was doing this weekend and that I was to pick up the tab for shipping them to him. He emailed me on Thursday and lived halfway across the country (meaning they would have to go our next day air, which starts at $11.00 for a one pound package and quickly goes up). To add insult to injury, he said that he would pay for the books after he got back from the comic show. I was not so polite with this guy and promptly told him to get lost.

Example #3-A dealer emailed me and said he was willing to pay me a quarter each for comics I had listed under $5.00 and fifty cents each for comics I had listed over $5.00. Of course he had listed books like Astro City, Wolverine miniseries, X-Men and Kingdom Come. When I emailed back and told him the prices listed were the prices and his offer was unacceptable, he sent back an email calling me every name in the book. When I inquired about buying books from his site for the same amount he quoted me, he told me that I was insane.

I can list numerous other such incidents, but I think you get the point. As I stated above, I have dealt with some dealers and had no problems. But the fact of the matter is that I have a certain way of doing business and set prices and it seems fine for the hundreds of customers, including many repeat customers that I have done business with. So I would rather deal with someone who wants the books to read and appreciate them. They are more understanding and much easier to deal with.

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Bargain Bin Bonanza

This month I will look at one of my favorite comics. It is one of those overlooked books that is a very worthwhile and I for one cannot figure out why it never caught on. The book I am talking about is the Southern Knights.

The Southern Knights started out as the Crusaders. But a cease and desist forced them to change their name (turns out that another comic company had the rights to that name for a super hero group). The funny thing is they even worked this into the story. A very amusing touch!

The group consisted of four members;
Mark Dagon who was a dragon who could change into human form.
David Shenk who is Electrode and has electric powers.
Connie Ronnin who can create a mental sword
Kristin who is really, really strong and nearly invulnerable.

They came together as the dragon was trying to stop a kidnapping when the others try to stop him. Everything is figured out and they end up forming a team. As the name suggests, they are located in the south, Atlanta, Georgia to be exact. The stories are quite good and after the first few issues the art improves and is quite good. But the best part of the book is that there is some great character development and you really get to know them. After a few issues you really feel for them and want to know what happens next. This is the mark of a great book and the Southern Knights were this.

The only real letdown of the book was that it was short lived. There were 24 regular issues and a few specials. The dragon had a miniseries and there were a few annuals and such. Too bad as they deserved more.

PERIPHERY #3 -- "WE'RE NOT DEAD YET!"
Arch-Type Studios and Dreamriders Workshop once again unleash PERIPHERY

upon an unsuspecting public. Issue #3 is a stellar creation, jam-packed with swarms of aliens, a plethora of demons, a gun-toting duck, a healthy dose of pseudo-scientific psycho-babble, and some Roman gods who've watched one Robert De Niro movie too many.

PERIPHERY is a bi-monthly b/w comic anthology containing 48 pages of twisted fantasy for under three bucks ($2.95US). PERIPHERY #3 will be in the February issue of Diamond Previews on page 232, under the Dreamriders Workshop listing.

Help keep us from becoming an endangered species, and order your copy in advance. (Previews Order # : FEB991247).

Periphery #3 Teasers

Shadows On A Star
The siren song of lost souls tempts unwary astronauts into the deadly embrace of a Pulsar, where shadow demons offer torment giftwrapped in immortality. Shadows on a Star, by Doug [Para Troop] Miers & Matt Pasteris.

Mafia Gods [Part I] :
The Roman gods aren't dead - they've just discovered capitalism.
God meets Godfather in this multi-part tale by Derek M Koch and Shawn Moll.

Quack, Duck Of Doom : The Devil Wears Suspenders [3/3]
AS Seen at http://www.comicresources.com ! The harrowing climax to our pulse-pounding tale of anthromorphic adventure! Will Quack triumph over evil? Will Jimmy get a proper burial? Will the Devil's suspenders hold? And how do they keep from burning up anyhow? All these questions answered [except maybe the last one], courtesy of Andrew Dabb and The Brothers Grinn.

A Woman's Prerogative [Mordechai Luchins/Alex Tam]
Behind every great man, there's a woman. Well, most women aren't happy with the whole "behind men" concept, and one in particular means to change it, even if it means doing a little retroactive editing on the Book of Genesis. Change is, after all, A Woman's Prerogative.

The Half-Life Chronicles [3/3] [Triggs/Laframboise]
A pint-sized grim reaper with an attitude, a hellhound that's cute as a button (but dumb as a bag of hammers), and a heaven-sent scientist who just won't stop talking -- what do they have in common? They're all trying to locate a misplaced cadaver, and they only have EIGHT pages to do it in before the series ends!

For more information on Arch-Type Studios or Dreamriders Workshop, feel free to visit our webpages at http://members.xoom.com/ATStudios/   and http://www.dreamriders.com , respectively.

Conclusion
The tenth issue has come and gone, but it marks a milestone. With our first submission and more, we may finally be turning the corner. While this newsletter will never reached the readership of some of the other ones out there, especially ones that deal with news about new comics and such, I do feel there is a fair amount of people who want a different kind of newsletter. One that doesn't take itself or the comics it covers too serious. One that will take a look at books the others overlook. I hope this newsletter can continue to do this and hopefully as the issue numbers rise, so will the readership. So you can rest assured that it will keep coming out and I will continue to try and increase the size of it. Please keep sending that feedback, positive or negative and I will try and keep improving the newsletter.

Tom Zjaba