(The Simple Comic Newsletter)
Table of Contents
Give Them More and More
03 Top 10 List
04 Comics and Rock n Roll
05 Bargain Bin Bonanza
Site of the Month
Classic Ad of the Month
The Cat Came Back!
They say cats have nine lives.
Well, in the comic industry this is true as the classic Felix the Cat
has returned again! This time the classic cat is under the self titled
company, Felix Comics. The book carries a $2.25 cover price, which isn't
too bad for a comic these days. It is in black and white and all the
stories are wrestling related. There is even an interview with Sgt.
Slaughter of WWF fame. All in all, a nice package for Felix the Cat fans
and comic fans in general.
The first story deals with Felix
wrestling some intergalactic wrestlers and is quite imaginative and
downright silly, but that is what we expect from Felix. The second story
is a two pager with the professor teaching us some wrestling tips. This
is by far the weakest of the three stories. The last story deals with
Felix dreaming of being a wrestler and is my favorite of the three
If you are a fan of Felix, you will enjoy
the book. You get alot of reading for your money and will have a good
time. If you never experienced the kooky cat with the magic bag, this
may be as good a time as any to experience Felix for the first time. He
is one of the classic cartoon icons! More information on the comic book
and lots of cool Felix memorabilia can be found at the following
Give Them More and More!
During the 1980's-1990's the
trend was to take a successful franchise and expand it. Keep adding
books until the market couldn't take anymore, then try to stuff one more
down their throats. While some characters were strong enough to handle a
second or possibly a third title, many were not. But the comic market
was expanding and they wanted to exploit it to the fullest. Soon Batman
went from the traditional two titles that had been the staple for 50
years to now having 4 monthly titles, not counting Robin and Nightwing
getting their own titles. They figured if you liked two Batman titles,
you would love four! Ditto for Superman, who gets the award for not only
adding titles, but doing it in a most confusing manner. Why keep
Superman going when you can change the long running title to Adventures
of Superman only to come out with a new title called Superman. Oh yeah,
we also had Superman: Man of Steel and Superman: Man of Tomorrow. Add in
the classic Action to the mix and you have overkill. Oh yeah, we forgot
Superboy, Supergirl and the crowd pleaser, Steel. I guess it isn't too
much different from when you had Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson having
comics. Guess there is no shortage of demand for the Big S.
But DC didn't stop at just the two
franchise titles for exploiting. Good old Green Lantern, a second tier
title went from the modest one title to a whopping three! Who needs just
Green Lantern when you can add Green Lantern Mosaic and Guy Gardner.
This was a classic case of overkill. Please, one title is enough,
possibly two with Guy having his own, but was there any need for Mosaic?
I don't think so.
But one of the biggest areas of confusion
in the DC Universe was the Justice League books. Back in the 1980's we
started with the revival of Justice League of America. After the dismal
end to the JLA with the likes of Vibe and the non-Superman Steel, we
needed a big change. What we got was sheer insanity! JLA soon became
Justice League International, so worldly, so welcomed. Oh wait, that's
the jingle to Mastercard. Anyways, I digress, but back to the JLA. So
you have the old title change, a DC favorite. They hate to leave well
enough alone. But that wasn't enough, we had to add Justice League
Europe to the mix. I guess being international wasn't enough. But two
titles is never enough, even for a book that was always one title and
one title only. No, they had to add Justice League Task Force and
Justice League Quarterly. Why? So Gypsy who was left behind with the old
JLA would have a job?
Don't think Marvel wasn't guilty of this
excess, no they were kings of it. And nowhere is it more prevalent than
in the X-Titles. Can you say absurd? I know I can. In the grand
tradition of giving the people what they want and what they don't, we
have a mind-numbing family of titles. Look at this storyline:
*Uncanny X-Men was popular and it
*New Mutants who made a glorious run, but were not meant to be (until
later, because no title remains dormant at Marvel).
*X-Factor who were really the original X-Men who were replaced by the
New *X-Men which then begot....
*Excalibur who were Nightcrawler and mutants not deemed worthy of
inclusion in the above mentioned books.
*During this time, Wolverine of sound mind and body decreed he needed
more adventure, more excitement, his own title. So came into existence
*All was good in the land, until the King said, let us more more!
*On the eighth month, a new title joined the family. It was made from
the ashes of the New Mutants who had given up the ghost earlier. It was
to be named X-Force and the people cheered.
*A mere two months later, a new sibling joined the swelling ranks. Not
to be some offshoot of the grand X name, but to be the X-Men. So now we
had Uncanny X-Men and proud baby X-men with its many covers (this is
Marvel's take on George Foreman who names all his sons George). This
confused the masses, but they bought anyway.
*Soon the demand, real or imagined, grew to demand more. What could we
do to make things more confusing? How about X-Man, a mere vowel
different. That should help to satisfy the cravings. How about some
X-Men Unlimited, Classic X-Men which we will rename the much wiser X-Men
Classic and a few thousand mini-series to keep the subjects poor.
At least Marvel never exploited the Hulk,
unless you count that awful Hulk 2099. But their other big franchise,
Spiderman is a different story. His legacy is more tangled than his
webs. From what I hear, they started all his titles over again, to make
it more confusing. Guess Spectacular Spiderman, Peter Parker,
Spectacular Spiderman and Peter Parker, Spiderman wasn't enough. This
doesn't even include the Amazing Spiderman, Web of Spiderman and just
Spiderman. If you bring in the even more confusing Scarlet Spider
nonsense, you really have a migraine in the works. It is enough to make
you wish for the simpler days when you could choose from Amazing
Spiderman and Spidey Super Stories.
So as you can see, comics can be
confusing. I have been selling them for 20+ years and even I get
confused. And they wonder why people don't want to start reading comics,
you need a college course to know what is happening and what title is
what. And this doesn't even get into how all the characters are related
and their origins, which is a whole different conversation.
With spring in the air and the
green grass returning, we honor this wonderful color this month. So with
that in mind, we give you the top ten green characters in the comic
10. Changeling-The Teen
Titan member who could turn into any animal made things interesting in
the group. From his early days with the awful name, Beast Boy to his
glory days as a Titan, he was a fan favorite!
09. The Lizard-Another of
Spiderman's popular villains, the lizard was as evil as he was cold
blooded. He wanted Spiderman dead and would stop at nothing to
08. Guy Gardner-The other
Green Lantern he brought attitude to the comic industry. With his big
mouth and funky haircut, he was the person we loved to hate!
07. She Hulk-She gained her
powers in a blood transfusion and was a bit character for years. Then
John Byrne decided to revive her and gave her respect and success!
Couldn't have happened to a nicer lady.
06. Martian Manhunter-The
man from Mars has been aiding the Justice League for decades. With his
calm demeanor and super strength, he has been a welcome asset to the
05. Green Hornet-From his
successful run in the 1950s to his revival in the 1980's, the Green
Hornet has remained a popular figure. With Kato at his side, he has
stopped crime cold!
04. Green Arrow-While he
was half of the very popular Green Lantern/Green Arrow, he has also
managed a very successful solo career!
03. Green Goblin-Possibly
Spiderman's greatest foe, the ever dangerous Green Goblin haunted the
webslinger for awhile. Some of the best Spiderman issues involve the
ever dangerous Green Goblin.
02. Green Lantern-You
cannot say Green without mentioning Green Lantern, the lantern wielding
superstar! For 60 years, he has been saving the universe with his power
ring and latern.
01. The Incredible Hulk-He
is big and green (well most of the time) and he is a franchise unto
himself. From successful comic to TV show to a series of mediocre
television movies, the Hulk has done it all!
Comics and Rock n Roll
One area where comic references are quite a few is in Rock n Roll music.
There has been numerous mentions of our favorite heroes over the years.
Here is a few of them and what comic character they mention.
Superman from the Kinks (guess who they
mention in this song)
Sunshine Superman from Donovan (mentions both Superman and Green
Don't Mess Around with Jim by Jim Croce (Superman and Lone Ranger)
Lullaby by The Cure (Spiderman)
Iron Man by Black Sabbath (OK, it really isn't about Iron Man, but who
He is the Law by Anthrax (I think) (Judge Dredd)
Besides comic characters being mentioned
in songs, many comic artists have also drawn album covers including
Robert Crumb's art on the Big Brother and the Holding Company album to
the glorious paintings by Frank Frazetta on the Molly Hatchet album
covers. There has been many artists who lent their talents to these
The characters themselves occasionally
appear on an album cover (or a CD cover as is more the norm these days).
A few of the most famous is the Silver Surfer on the Joe Satriani album,
"Surfing with the Alien" and Judge Dredd on the Anthrax album cover.
So as you can see, there has been alot of
mention of comic characters in the popular culture of Rock n Roll. While
there are alot not mentioned here, it is enough to give you an idea of
just how popular comics are.
Bargain Bin Bonanza
One of the popular series in the 1980's was Dreadstar from Epic Comics,
a Marvel imprint. It was the series that really catapulted Jim Starlin
into superstardom. While he was popular before the series, especially
for his artwork on the Avengers, this series showed his talents as both
an artist and a writer. Instead of dealing with an established character
in an established universe, he created a whole new world and populated
with all-new characters. Not only did he do this, but he succeeded
Dreadstar deals with a warrior who puts
down his weapon and tries to live a life of peace. But an attack on his
newly adopted home brings him back to space and to war. It deals with a
crew of heroes fighting the insurmountable odds to bring peace to a war
torn galaxy. It is filled with action, character interaction and
The series was long running, first at
Epic and later it moved to First Comics. It ran for 64 issues in the
first run and while it lost some steam towards the end, it was a great
series! It was later revived in the 1990's but it didn't meet with quite
the same success. By then, people either weren't aware or didn't really
care about the adventures of Vanth and the crew. But for a few years in
the 1980's, he was a popular book and something that myself and many
other readers looked forward to each month.
Site of the Month
Since we are talking
about comics and rock n roll, here is a site that features almost all
the record albums that were drawn by comic artists. There are a ton
listed and it is an invaluable site for information. He lists each
artist alphabetically with a list of all their artwork in the music
field. He also has pictures of some of the albums! A great site and
one worth checking out! Here is the URL:
Classic Ad of the Month
How many of you remember the ad to
help children that featured Meatloaf? You don't? Well then check out
the "Humongous Rock Star of the Universe" here as he tries to help the
Here to see ad!
Another month closes and
I put another issue to rest. This one was hard to do as my internet
connections have been less than stellar. But with a DSL line coming, I
will finally be able to do the issue faster than before and may try to
add more pictures and stuff in coming months! So stop back next month
and enjoy another fun filled issue of the simple comic newsletter.