The Simple Comic Newsletter!
What's New on the Web Site?
05 Top Ten List
How to Submit and Have a
Superteams on a budget
and Video Games
The first you will notice if you check out the main page of the site is
that I finally put a date for this newsletter to come out. Instead of
the beginning of the month, I put a concrete date down. I hope this
helps to me to keep a schedule. So from here on in, the newsletter will
come out on the 10th of every month. I will do my best to keep this
While there was some positive comments on the
theme from last issue, this one will not feature any specific theme. I
may try another one next month. Any suggestions for a theme? Feedback is
always appreciated and needed.
Like many things of my youth, it was
the simple ones that were the most memorable. I remember one summer when
I bought a set of Marvel Rubber Stamps at Zayres. There was Spiderman,
Human Torch, Iron Man and others. The only problem was the set was only
Marvel Super Heroes and was void of villains. For awhile, we would stamp
the heroes and draw in captions. But since none of us were very good
artists, we couldn't make any believable villains.
Then one day, my friend Johnny, brought a set of
new rubber stamps. While they weren't your traditional villains, we used
them anyways. So we started what was possibly one of the earliest and
weirdest multi-company crossovers ever. We had the Marvel Super Heroes
versus Bullwinkle, Rocky and the gang! That's right, there was the
battle of Spiderman versus Rocky, Bullwinkle versus the Hulk and Boris
and Natasha battling Iron Man and Captain America!
We used to take sheets of paper and break them
into panels and then we would stamp the characters and add in
backgrounds, sound effects and dialogue. I can still remember one where
the Human Torch had to melt Peabody and Sherman's Way Out Machine before
they sent Captain America and Spiderman to the Ice Age. Now that was a
My greatest regret is that I didn't keep any of
these stories. I really wish I did as I think they would be quite
humorous. I remember bits and pieces of some of the strange stories the
gang made up. While we weren't the best artists, we did have vivid
Bargain Bin Bonanza
This month's bargain bin bonanza is
another overlooked series. When we mention horror stories, two images
come to mind. The classic horror of the EC comics with their suspense
and unexpected endings and the more sophisticated horror of the Vertigo
line. But for four decades there was another group of horror title. In
fact it was part of a line of horror titles that are for the most part,
overlooked. These were the DC horror titles, which included Ghosts,
House of Mystery, Unexpected, Weird War and more! While House of Mystery
does get some recognition and the issues are pretty lofty in price, the
others are quite affordable and sometimes can be found in the bargain
bins. The book we are going to look at is Ghosts.
For two decades, Ghosts consistently put out some
pretty scary stories. Much in the tradition of the ECs, you had a series
of short stories in each issue and there were plenty of unexpected
endings. While the lineups aren't exactly a who's who of comics, there
were some big names that graced the pages. Golden, Kubert, Infantino and
even Wood made appearances in the long running series. But it was the
stories that were the central part of the book. Some were based on real
life and others were fabrications of someone's imagination. It was this
mix of fantasy and reality that kept us coming back.
While they may seem pretty tame to the stuff done
by Vertigo today, it is the simplistic charm of them. They didn't need
extreme gore and swearing to create horror. These weren't books that you
had to hide from the kids like Preacher. These were meant for all ages.
Anyone who wanted a good fright and a good time were welcome. They were
the kind of books you could share without fear. While that may not seem
like much to you, how many of you would want your mother or grandmother
reading some of the horror titles of today?
While it is a little early for Halloween, you may
want to grab a stack of these at the next show. I have found many for a
buck or less and nothing is better on Halloween night than some scary
movies and scary comics. Add some cider and popcorn and you have a time
that is hard to beat. Just make sure not to read them too late or you
may get nightmares.
What's New on the
Some overhauls were done to make this
a more complete web site. Here are a few of the changes!
Related Comics is Huge-It went from a small section to now a very
large section! I also added a few more categories, including
Independents, War/Western and Fantasy & Sword/Sorcery. So if you are
looking for similar titles to ones you collect, you just may find them
in the greatly expanded section.
Top Ten List
Once again we put together a list, a list of ten. What will the list of
ten be this month? Keep reading and all will be revealed. This month we
will look at the top ten books to avoid in the bargain bins.
10. Anything done
by Continuity-Two strikes for this company and noone
wants to see a third. These are books that even at a quarter don't move.
this awful independent comic? The first issue was so laden with spelling
mistakes that I sent a dictionary to the publisher.
08. Colt #3-Yes,
my own title. While the other issues are decent, this one stunk. Alot of
things happened like both my artist left to work for the Ninja Turtles,
I hired my former girlfriend (a huge mistake) and other things. But I
still blame myself as I should have delayed the book until it was done
right, instead of trying to make deadline.
Comics-Here is a company that I avoided like the
plague and was happy about it. This company was based solely on making
limited edition versions of all their books. They tried to capitalize on
a fad and put more emphasis on this than the art or stories. Like the
fad, they too went away.
06. Mr T & T
Force-I remember a few dealers ordering the 50 or
100 copies to get the limited edition versions. I asked them why, when
the book would have to be worth a fortune for them to even break even. I
was right and there are now stacks of them in the quarter bins.
05. Marvel Heavy
Hitters-Add an "s" to hitters and you will know how
I feel about this series. Some promise, but the books were terrible.
Just another attempt on Marvel to flood the market and drive up their
once again tried to capitalize on the success of Clive Barker. While
some people were calling him the next Stephen King, we all knew he
wasn't. Well, they launched a whole lineup of books inspired by him and
ended up with a bunch of junk.
Rockers/US1-Both these books can fall in the same
category, Marvel tries to do regular life stories and ends up with a
disaster. Both of these were bad, real bad. Guess we should at least
give Marvel credit for trying something different. Not!
only did this book blow chunks and badly, but it also help ruin a good
company. It wasn't enough that Marvel had to subject us to this waste
of natural resources, but they had to sue Jim Shooter and Defiant comics
because of his Warriors of Plasm. How any court in the nation could
look at the two books and find a case is beyond me. The Defiant title
was well done and original, while the Marvel was unreadable and
horrible. Such a shame because I really liked Defiant and thought they
had a bright future.
01. DC Impact-I
remember putting a box of these out at my store for people to take for
free and they still didn't want them. So I gave them away to kids one
year for Halloween and my store got egged. Coincidence? I think not!
to Submit and Have a Chance
Welcome to the final chapter in "How to Submit Your Work". We are going
to wrap up this series and give you a checklist to go over before you
submit your work. While most of this may seem like common sense, you
would be surprised how easily these things can be
Before we go any further, I must tell you that
this is probably the worst time to try and break into the industry.
Unless you are a major talent, your chances are very slim and getting
worse by the day. The reason is that the two big companies, DC and
Marvel are trimming back the number of titles. Every title that is
cancelled and not replaced is one less chance you have. Fear not,
because this is a temporary situation. Like every other business, comics
is going through some downsizing and is in a recession. But like any
industry that has been around for more than sixty years, the comic
industry runs in cycles with peaks and valleys. We are in a valley right
now. So be realistic when submitting work. Even if you don't get any
offers, the experience will help and maybe you can get some tips on how
to improve. Your best bet right now is with a small independent company.
IF you get the "Comic Buyer's Guide" and look in the classified section,
you can usually find a few companies looking for writers or artists.
While a number of these companies will never see the light of day, you
can get practice working on a title. This way you can see how you do
under a deadline and with a little stress on you. Plus, you can build up
your portfolio. Just remember to request to get the originals back and
make sure to make copies of your work before sending it out (if you are
Here are a checklist for you to go over before you
send out work. Clip this and keep it near your work area.
BEFORE YOU SEND OUT YOUR WORK
1. Make sure to type all work.
on a Budget
2. If you are sending artwork, send xerox copies.
3. Make sure to have your name, address and phone number at multiple,
easy to find places.
4. Include a self addressed stamped envelope.
5. Make sure to number your pages and keep things in order.
6. Make it look as professional as possible.
7. When sending artwork, use sturdy packaging material.
8. Make sure to use exact postage.
9. Include a resume.
10. Whenever possible, find out the name of the person you are sending
to and use it!
If you are like me, you really love super team
comics. There is just something about a bunch of heroes coming together
that makes a great book. When done right, it is something to behold. But
one problem with most superhero teams is they have been around forever
and collecting their books is quite costly. Titles like the Fantastic
Four, Avengers, JLA and X-Men are not cheap. Sure you can find some
issues for low prices, but for the most part you are going to spend a
bundle. If you are one who wants to get all the issues, then you may
need to take out a serious bank loan to do that.
But fear not, as there are many superhero teams
that are still good, yet will not put you in hock to collect them. So I
will look at some of the other teams, the ones that are alot more
affordable, yet still give plenty of bang for the buck!
1. New Teen
Titans-While the original series will cost you some
serious scratch, the new series is a whole lot more affordable, and a
much better read. While these were the second hottest series to the
X-Men during the 1980's, they have since slowed down considerably and
almost all the issues can be found in bargain bins.
The team-up of George
Perez and Marv Wolfman was a magical one and during their run, you saw
some of the best art and stories in comics. The characters were not just
there to fight evil doers, but they also were given personalities and
fleshed out. Dick Grayson's transformation from Robin to Nightwing and
his relationship with Starfire were memorable. Jericho's development of
a character and comic's first character that healed instead of injuring,
Raven, made for some interesting stories. Then there was the comedy
relief of Changeling and Cyborg to keep things light. Add in Wonder Girl
who grew up and even got married (and not to a superhero, a novel twist
in its own right). These books were and still are great! Don't let the
low price fool you, you are getting some serious bargains here.
2. Batman & the
Outsiders-This often overlooked book (except on my
site, where I cannot keep them in stock) was a very good series. It
started as Batman's team and then as he left, it grew on its own and
showed that it had alot of potential. While it floundered some at the
end, the first 20 issues are great!
One of the best parts of the book was watching
some rookie heroes develop under the tutelage of Batman and Metamorpho.
These two were there to draw the reader in with their familiarity and to
serve as mentors for the young crew. But it was the rookies that made
the book. Katana, Geoforce and Halo were spectacular! Each had a past
that we were eager to discover. Each had problems they had to overcome.
We didn't just read about them, we grew with them. It was really quite
enjoyable to be there at the start of this series.
3. Alpha Flight-While
John Byrne started the series, it really had its best run in the later
series. This was another under appreciated series (except once again at
my web site where we sell alot of them). They started as a spin-off of
the X-Men, where they made their debut in issues #120 & #121. But they
soon found their own identity with Sasquatch, Puck, Northstar, Aurora,
Snowbird, Marrina, Shaman and Guardian who later died only to have a
woman take over his name.
The sad thing is that most people only remember a
few issues of the series, the Snowbird all white issue, the Death of
Guardian in issue #12 and #106 where Northstar comes out of the closet
and admits he is gay. That is too bad as there are many great issues in-between
and unless you take the time to read them, you are really missing out.
4. New Warriors-Much
like the New Titans, this book was also hot, for awhile. Also like the
Titans, this book can easily be found in bargain bins. But once again
you have a great team-up of characters who just couldn't keep up the
From their start in Thor #411 & #412, where they
helped Thor fight Juggernaut (a very good storyline) to their own
series, they were exciting! Them blend of something old and something
new once again made a successful formula. You had the rarely used
Namorita and Firestar along with the practically discarded Speedball and
added to Night Thrasher, Kid Nova and Marvel Boy to make the New
As with many other hero books, it was fun to see
them make mistakes and learn to work together as a unit. Half the fun
was seeing the development as both individuals and as a team. Much like
a wrestler moving up the ranks, so did the New Warriors and soon they
were taking on some pretty tough customers. But like the other books
here, the focus was lost and the books soon fell to mediocrity. Too bad
as they could have had a bright future.
5. Next Men-John
Byrne's team book was once a popular series, but since its cancellation
it has found its way into the bargain bins. While the series isn't hot
anymore, it is still just a good as when it was the rage. Don't let the
price fool you, it is very good.
It is pretty much John Byrne doing the X-Men the
way he always wanted to do them. But since Marvel has the rights, he
designed his own team and while you can see similarities, it is unique
enough to stand on its own. One nice thing is since it was published by
Dark Horse, he didn't have all the constraints that he would have under
Marvel. So he could really have fun with the book and it shows.
Some honorable mentions would be Elementals,
Southern Knights, the DNAgents, select issues of West Coast Avengers
(mainly the early issues before they got ruined), the New Mutants
(though they are much harder to find in the bargain bins), DP7, the
Infinity Inc and Suicide Squad.
This month we look at one of the
all-time popular items offered in the classic commercials. Most of us
dreamed of owning it, but if we did, we were sorely disappointed. The
item I am talking about is the x-ray glasses that appear in most comics.
You know the image of the guy looking at his hand and seeing the bones.
Every adolescent boy dreamed of these. But like many things, they were
too good to be true.
One thing that always made me wonder is if you
looked at flesh and saw the bones, and if you look at a person's clothes
and saw the flesh underneath, wouldn't looking at someone say wearing a
bathing suit, look like a big skeleton with a few human features? Maybe
it is me, but that would be a bit of a turnoff. Sure you could see the
covered up parts, but the girl would have bony legs (literally), arms
and a big grinning skull. I don't know about you, but that would scare
me to priesthood. And considering that you bought them for a buck or two
from a comic book, I am sure there would be no control knob to adjust
I knew someone who ordered them and they said they
didn't work. Something with mirrors or something, but it was all a gag.
Too bad as I am sure many a youth were tricked into spending their
allowances on this, only to find out that they had been tricked.
Comics and Video Games
As I said last month, I am going to tell you a proposal I sent to
Marvel. I cannot find what I did with the original proposal (on a disk
somewhere), so I will give it to you from memory.
I had proposed an Ultima Online type of game. Each
city would be unique (and there would be quite a few so as not to have
the cities overcrowded). If I remember correctly, there would be
somewhere like 50-100 heroes and the same amount of villains in each
city. I think it was around 100, because the different time zones and
such, there would be only so much overlap. Anyways, in the game, you
would assume the role of either a hero or a villain. You would give
yourself a name and get a random power. These powers could grow in time
and other powers could possibly be added. Then you would decide what to
do. There would be missions that would come up in the form of broadcasts
in newspapers or over radios. Things like precious gems on display at
museum or stuff like that. You could choose to partake in these as a
solo character or as a group. If not you could try to stop crime or
commit crimes, depending on what side of the law you are on.
The Marvel heroes and villains would be NPCs (non
player characters). They would come along to add to the game. This way
there would always be heroes and villains to fight. They of course
couldn't be killed, but could be defeated. There would also be innocent
bystanders and police, fire and other workers. To keep the game PG
rated, you could injure but not kill them.
Part of the object of the game would be as a
villain to obtain money to get better weapons, henchmen and to bail you
out of jail. As a hero it would be to earn rewards to also get better
weapons, vehicles and a headquarters. Also, your character would evolve
and depending on your actions their public perception would change. Get
public approval like the Fantastic Four or Captain America and you get
all kinds of privledges. Have the mistrust of the city, like Spiderman
and have problems wherever you go. Depending on how many crimes you
stop, how many people are injured while doing it, amount of property
damage and so forth, would determine if your approval would go up or
To keep things interesting, you could have things
happen like the Atlantis Attacks or a prison full of super villains gets
smashed and they get out or an attack by Galactus. The possibilities
would be endless with the likes of Juggernaut, the Moleman, Loki and
others bringing in different kinds of problems.
While it sounds tough to do, Ultima Online and now
Everquest shows that it could happen. I really think there would be alot
of people who would flock to a game like this. By limiting it to one
city, you wouldn't tax the system too much and by limiting the amount of
people involved in each city, you can keep it from being a major
slugfest. I really think with some creative work, it could be a major
hit and with a monthly fee charged, Marvel could rake in a ton of money
and have incentive to expand the cities and add new threats. So feel
free to send a proposal like this to Marvel and with some luck, we may
see something. Here's hoping!
Another month, another issue of Just Newsprint. Hope you enjoyed it and
look for another issue next month. While I don't have any planned
articles yet, I am sure there will be some that come to me during the
month. As always, we will talk about comics of yesteryear and enjoy the
hobby. With so many great books that have come out and so many
newsletter and sites dedicated to only the new ones, it is easy for
these great books to get forgotten. But I will do my best to let people
know about a few of them each month. Why limit yourself to just new
comics when you can get so many good ones cheap?