The Simple Comic Newsletter!
Issue #15

Table of Contents
01 Introduction
How Many Tries Does a Comic Get?
Price Guides, Are they Worthwhile?
Star Comics, A Good Idea...but
Jademan - Action and more action!
Top Ten List
Classic Comic Ad

There has been some delay between issues, but it has been hard to get motivated to write this newsletter. While I really enjoy comic books and writing about them, the audience has been so small. While my classic game newsletter has continued to grow with each issue, this one has been flat. But I will try to keep doing issues, when the motivation and time allows it. So enjoy this issue and let me know what you want to see in future issues.

The newsletter will continue, but the frequency will be sporadic. I apologize, but I cannot promise a monthly newsletter. So I will get one done as often as possible and hopefully the readership will increase and warrant a monthly schedule again. But fear not, I will keep talking about the fun elements of comics. I will keep pointing out overlooked gems and other fun stuff that is the true heart and soul of comics. So stop by and take a look.

(Moon Knight, king of the another chance comics)

How Many Tries Does a Comic Get?

One thing that continues to amaze me is how many time a company will keep trying a comic book. Even after a series prove that it isn't very popular, they will wait a few years and try again. Books like Moonknight just keep coming back again and again. Instead of just letting him die, they decide a new creative team and a new direction will revive this cold, lifeless corpse. But, no matter how hard they try and no matter how many people take a stab at it, the results end up the same.

But Moon knight isn't the only one who gets more lives than most cats. Kazar is another guy who can brag that he has been cancelled in three different decades! Nova also had a few series as well as quite a few others. Even Hawkman, who is a great team character, has struggled to keep a series.

Why is it that some series can keep coming back and coming back strong? The Justice League is on their third popular series in a row. Aquaman had three popular series and this most recent one is going very strong. There are others that have also done well over and over again.

So my question is why does a comic company keep trying to make a hit out of an obvious dud? Is ego that they can revive and make a hit out of anything? Is it because some series in the past have been revived? Maybe it is me, but some characters are just meant to be bit players and they need to realize this. Not all characters are strong enough to carry a book, no matter who is doing it and how many times they try.

Price Guides, Are They Worthwhile or a Waste?
Anyone who is big into comics, knows there is a yearly guide from Overstreet that is considered the bible and a monthly price guide called Wizard that is the other bible. But are both of these really necessary or is it overkill?

First, lets look at the Overstreet. The price guide is a wealth of information and pictures of almost all the comics that were made. They really do a good job of covering comics from the start of the industry to the most recent ones. But, being a yearly guide, the prices on some books are outdated before the book hits the stands. So if you are into newer comics or really hot ones, then it is not very reliable. But if you are looking for prices on books that are very rare or not very popular, then this is the only guide that you will find these.

The Wizard on the other hand, is a monthly guide that pretty much deals with the hot and popular comics. If it is an older comic and not from Marvel or DC, good luck getting prices. But if you are into the hot comic of the moment, then this guide is invaluable. Prices change each month and you can watch as they go up. But with a smaller, not as popular market, is a monthly guide really necessary? Are the changes that much to warrant a new issue each month?

I personally think that the market doesn't need a monthly guide anymore, but does need one that is updated more than once a year. Maybe a quarterly guide with monthly updates of just the books that went up, would save all the trees that die. Bi-monthly at best would be necessary. With the advent of the internet and the fast movement of information, people are able to find out what is hot and what is not. They really don't need Wizard to tell them what is hot. It is more for comic shops and people who don't have internet access.

My biggest problem with Wizard is the fact that they will not put a book below cover price, regardless how unpopular it is. How can a price guide raise prices with no limit, but put a limit on how low they can go? Maybe it is me, but I cannot put any faith in a price guide like this. It is a fact that some stuff will become practically worthless. it is the just the nature of the beast and to ignore that is a great injustice to its readers. Enough about Wizard, they get enough press and don't need any from me.

Back to the subject, the current state of the industry is enough that maybe the frequency of price guides should be examined. At least they should look at different options, but considering that they would lose revenue, don't expect it to happen anytime soon.

Star Comics, A Good Idea, But...

Back in the 1980's, Marvel produced a line of comic books for kids called the Star Line. It was mixed group of properties like the Smurfs and Heathcliff along with original books like Royal Roy and Top Dog. While they were enjoyable books and a very good idea, they were a flop. But it wasn't because Marvel didn't support them.

When the Star line originally came out, Marvel did some great marketing that allowed you to order copies via cereal boxes for a mixture of box tops and some money to cover shipping and handling. What a great way to get them out there, but even clever advertising could save the series. While it was a good idea and one that needs to be done, the market would not support them and Marvel was forced to cancel them. Too bad as the industry really needs more entry level comic books. You need comics for little kids, who are getting their first taste of comics. They need an easy to read and understand series and Star comics provided this.

One problem is the shortsightedness of both Marvel and the industry. Marvel needed to support the series, even at a loss, to promote future readers and comic fans needed to pick up issues for their younger brothers, cousins or neighbors. What better way to promote your hobby, than to plant the seeds for future growth?

The overall quality of the Star Comics is actually pretty good. They are comparable to the Harvey comics. The artwork is simplistic and very colorful. The stories are short and pretty fun. I remember getting my pack of them from the cereal box and actually enjoying them. I wasn't ready to dump my superhero books, but I found them an enjoyable diversion. I actually picked some others up here and there, mostly bargain bins. I also let my younger brothers and sister read them.

I would like to see Marvel revive the line and modernize it some. Maybe a Pokeman comic (if there isn't already one) and even a Beanie Baby comic could do well. There are other ones that could be done as well as the original series. I would just hope that Marvel give them time and maybe make a promotion where kids can send in a Xerox of their report card and they could give them free comics for good grades or something. Work with some of the schools as using them as another tool to get kids to read. Marvel needs to realize that this line of books wouldn't be about making money, as much as an investment into the future. They have not invested any money into building future generations of comic fans and it has come back to haunt them.

Jademan - Action and more action!

No company provided more action in their books than Jademan. These books were the equivalent of kung fu theatre coming to life. You had larger than life heroes battling impossible odds, only to triumph! The action was fast and furious and there was always plenty of it. There was a plot too, but not too much to interfere with their forte, which was action!

One of the first things a new reader will notice about Jademan comics is that they featured some of the best coloring ever in comics and until the last five or so years, none topped it. A person will also notice very clean and detailed artwork. While you could find better art in comics, it was hard to find a company that consistently good art like Jademan. And with the flashes of color, they really shine!

While the stories are not the central point of the comics, they are not bad. Sure, the books are one battle after another, but if you really invest the time into reading the book, you will see some plots going on and some decent character development. While the writing won't sell the books, it won't hurt sales either.

Some of the books done by Jademan include Blood Sword, Blood Sword Dynasty, Drunken Fist, Force of Buddha's Palm and Oriental Heroes. These were probably the most known of the group, but there were quite a few others. Iron Marshal is another that comes to mind.

So if you are looking for some serious action, at a low price, then check out Jademan! They can be found quite affordably (I sell them on the website for a $1.00 each), but they do sell fast.

Top Ten List
With so much talk about books, I am going to list the top ten good independent comics you may never had read. These are good books that get overlooked. Most of these are either obscure or ones you wouldn't think of, but all good reads and affordable.

10. Eagle-Not the comic company, but the hero with a sword. The stories are pretty good and the art isn't too bad. Very affordable, if you can find them.

09. Journey-William Meissner Loeb's overlooked frontier book. Slow at times, but a good read.

08. Puma Blues-The environmental story with incredible artwork! The story is good, but the art is what sells this book!

07. Ms Tree-The female detective featured some very good stories. A must read!

06. Deadworld-If you weren't into Indies in the 1980's, you may have missed this one. While the artwork is different, it really fits the book. The first handful are very good, but they lose steam fast.

05 Vietnam Journal-A very good series about a photographer in Viet Nam. Very realistic and very powerful stuff.

04. Mars-This quirky little book was done by First and was another to feature unique art. Bizarre, but a good bizarre.

03. Southern Knights-A great superhero team and had a long run (over 25 issues)!

02. Crossfire-A bails bondsman by day and a superhero by night. Good stuff!

01. Domino Chance-The roach who is a space traveler (not the Marvel character). Cool book, if you can find it.

Classic Comic Ad
When I was a kid, I was horrified by the Moon Monster. This almost demonic beast was enough to make me hide under the covers. I always wanted to join the club and get the poster, but I never had the nerve or the buck. Maybe it is me, but you seem to get allot for your dollar. A 6 foot poster, membership card, three rubber masks and more! For a dollar now, you can get a package of Twinkies. Not quite the same.

Did anyone join the club? I am curious if the poster was as scary looking in real life as it was in the ad. Hopefully, someone will answer me, but I doubt it. Guess it will be filed under childhood lore like dreaming that X-Ray glasses really worked and Sea Monkeys really looked like the ads. Maybe it is better to be a memory anyways.  
Click here to see the ad!

It has been a long time coming, but another issue is in the books. I will try to speed up the time between issues, but I cannot guarantee it. If you want to see more issues, let me know as I need some encouragement. Also, some submissions wouldn't be bad either!

Tom Zjaba