Saturday, July 20, 2019

Back Issue Wins the Eisner!

TwoMorrows celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and the San Diego Comic Con celebrates its 50th! TwoMorrows' BACK ISSUE magazine celebrated its 100th issue not that long ago, too.

I haven't been to San Diego in 29 years but last year I had a piece I had written in their official program book and this year, I'm represented in the tribute book to the late Batton Lash by a reprint of a long interview I transcribed for TwoMorrows' COMIC BOOK COLLECTOR. Assuming it remains unedited, Batton even tells a story about me in the interview.

But there or not, last night...I won an Eisner Award! Or rather, I shared the Eisner Award for Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism with super editor Michael Eury and my fellow BACK ISSUE contributors such as John Trumbull, Andy Mangels, Jerry Smith, Rob Kelly, Mark Arnold, and all the rest! A learned bunch of geeks all around!

Oh, and we also shared the award itself with the digital mag PANELXPANEL. It was a tie!

Up top are the three issues that contained my writing last year. I wrote about Archie meeting the Punisher, about the many non-Archie Archie types of comics' Bronze Age, and a long, well-received  piece on Shang-Chi, Marvel's Master of Kung-Fu. I also contributed transcriptions, research, and moral support assistance to various other writers in other issues last year.

This year I only have one BACK ISSUE article, on Holo-Man. Came out a couple months back. I've already turned in one for 2020, though, on Mike Sekowsky's MANHUNTER 2070. And I have until November to finish another long piece for next year that covers...Well...Shhh! You'll have to wait and see.

Can't say enough about Michael Eury, by the way. A thoroughly professional editor and yet he never loses track of the fact that most of us aren't in a position to spend 24/7 on our assignments. And most importantly, he never loses sight of his audience. He fearlessly flies his own lingering fanboy tendencies and realizes that that's what his readership wants.

It's that kind of thinking that deservedly won him--and thanks to him, the rest of us!--the Eisner Award this year!

If you haven't looked at a copy of BACK ISSUE lately, check your local comic shop shelves or the TwoMorrows website. If you like what we do around here, I think you'll like what you see in BACK ISSUE.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Batman Theme

In 1966, the Batman Theme was perhaps the most recorded song of the year. Certainly ONE of the most recorded songs of the year. Here are just three trade ads for three different versions, all from the same issue of CASH BOX magazine.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Stranger Things 3--The Return of Waldenbooks!

In case you haven't heard, STRANGER THINGS 3 premieres overnight tonight on Netflix. It's 1985 and mall life was still a major thing so a new mall figures prominently in the series' plotline. The producers have gone to apparently great pains to reproduce the look of so many long gone stores that used to be mall mainstays. One of these is Waldenbooks, my alma mater! Looks like they've done a reasonably good job...except they got the color scheme wrong!

Having spent most of the 1980s as a Waldenbooks Assistant Manager, I can assure you that the company insisted that every store look alike and that the corporate-provided signage was, as seen here in this 1987 shot I took myself, dark blue and a deep yellow. ST3 has the color scheme as red and white. 

Now, here's the thing! Below is the front of my store when it reopened after a week and a half of remodeling in 1993. This was the first store in the country designed with a different look using the red and white color scheme...eight years after ST3. 

Someone told me I need to stop being so negative. I'm actually very pleased that they've re-created what was my second home for the better part of three decades. Just wished they had asked me first. ;P

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

My First VCR Movies-1980

Today, I ran across a forgotten 1980 journal I kept. So far, I'm resisting the temptation to do it as a blog (see 1974 and 1976) but I am finding some interesting forgotten memories, too.

For example, on Tuesday, May 27th, a Primary Election Day here in Kentucky, I purchased my very first VCR (or VTR as they were briefly known). The ad from Cooper's Furniture said "$999.00! Prices will never be lower!" There went my life savings up to that point.

Took me the rest of the day to get it hooked up. A friend called and I told him what i was doing and he brought over a bootleg copy of STAR WARS on Beta that we watched right there in my living room! Amazing!

Just two days later, he was back, this time with a tape I could only watch when my parents weren't around--DEBBIE DOES DALLAS!

So my first pre-recorded movie ever was STAR WARS and my first porn was DEBBIE!

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Snuffy Smith and Barney Google at 100

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the BARNEY GOOGLE comic strip. Now, granted for more than half that time the star has been one Snuffy Smith and all his relatives and friends, with Barney himself making only irregular appearances. But this month finds Barney returning to the hills. After all, it isn't often that a comic strip lasts this long! This may, in fact, be only the fourth one other than GASOLINE ALLEY, THIMBLE THEATRE, and THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS.

One of my favorite books I ever worked on was this great collection from Yoe Books a few years back, highlighting long consecutive runs of the strip by its original creator, Billy DeBeck, recognized as arguably THE greatest storyteller in the history of comics! My wife and I both did some important research for this one.

You can order a copy here.

You can also order a collection of the 1930s BARNEY GOOGLE cartoons from my DVD site here:

These aren't restored or anything but they're ultra-rare. In fact, a number of sites on the Internet tell you that color versions no longer exist, that sound versions no longer exist. Let's just say you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.

HaPpY AnNiVeRsArY, BaRnEy aNd SnUfFy!

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Jim Shooter in 1966

 In 1966 I was 7 and 14 year old Jm Shooter was my idol because he was writing comic books! His Legion of Superheroes comics became early favorites as did his other Superman Family stories. Then, as he always said, he left comics to finish school and get a "real job." But then someone lured him back for just one more Legion story...or two. From there, Shooter controversially took over Marvel Comics and, depending on your perspective, either saved the company or drove it into bankruptcy. I met him once--extremely tall!--and he was very nice. But then I get along splendidly with my ex-boss when I'm not working for her. Shooter continued to create and innovate with Valiant and Defiant and beyond and his blogging has highlighted some fascinating bits of comics history from his perspective but he remains a divisive figure to this day. I prefer to remember him like this--a cocky kid who said he could do it...and did!

Monday, June 03, 2019

Denny Miller as Superman and Captain Marvel (!!??)

Actor Denny Miller was often typecast as dumb, musclebound jocks, but he played a number of iconic characters in his long career including Tarzan (and Tongo, his GILLIGAN'S ISLAND doppelgänger) and, in a sries of short US Air Force commercials, Superman! 

Perhaps most intriguing though is the mention below, in a plug for a sadly long-lost TV special on comic books, that Denny was set to play Captain Marvel! Presumably that deal was quashed because of the DC/Fawcett arrangement and possibly even because of the Marvel/Myron Fass dispute over the "Captain Marvel" name two years later.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A Trilogy of Terror from Yoe Books

A haunting trilogy: "Mummies," Swamp Monsters," and "Ghosts"! 
Curated by Steve Banes & Craig Yoe
Intros by Stephen Bissette & Steven Thompson 
Swamp Monsters:

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Frank Godwin in Hollywood

Frank Godwin's work as a cartoonist and a children's book illustrator has aged extremely well and continues to be appreciated by collectors and connoisseurs. He drew a few Wonder Woman stories and was known for his Robin Hood illustrations. Here. though, we have some lovely 1930s celebrity art by the great illustrator. Wish I could give you some more info but I found these on my hard drive and don't recall where I found them online.