This year is nearly a wrap. Which means more “best of the year”
and “worst of the year” and “end of the year” blogs than any comics
fan needs. Here’s mine:
There were some really great comics this year. There were really
lousy comics this year. Industry stuff happened. I had a pretty
good year in 2011 and I’m hoping 2012 will end up better than it’s
looking right now. Feel free to quote me.
There’ll also be many “New Year’s Resolutions” blogs. My only New
Year’s resolution is to not write one. I think I may have a decent
shot at keeping that one.
As mentioned in previous blogs, I’m slowly making my way through
the 41st edition of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. I hope
to finish before the 42nd edition is published. The book’s market
reports are of special interest to me because I work in the comics
industry and because I hope to supplement my 2012 writing income by
selling items from my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. I don’t comment
on these reports, but I like to take note of those entries I find
Today’s Overstreet shout-out goes to Doug Sulipa of Doug Sulipa’s
Comic World. Running maybe ten pages of two-column small type, his
report covers a lot of ground and reminds readers that this book is
a price guide. Many comics sell for far over guide prices and even
more sell for far less.
Not to make this (too much) about me, but Black Lightning, neither
my 1970s run nor my 1990s run, doesn’t seem to get mentioned at all
in these reports. I receive a good number of e-mails from comics
fans looking for those issues, but the market reports never seem to
indicate the demand I see.
I recognize that I might be getting so many inquires because I am
the creator of Black Lightning. Whether that’s the case or not, if
any comics retailers out there have copies of my Black Lightning
issues for sale, I’ll be happy to give their contact information in
a future blog.
On a related note, I have some cool Black Lightning items to share
with you very soon. Watch for them.
I enjoyed another batch of Archie Comics goodness recently. Archie
#625 [$2.99] is a special 70th anniversary issue with all proceeds
going to the Ronald McDonald House in New York City. My pal Alex
Simmons wrote a wonderful heart-warming story for the issue and it
was drawn by Dan Parent (pencils) and Rich Koslowski (inks). All
three of these guys should be considered for the comics industry’s
various “best” awards. They have been doing stellar work for many
years and especially in 2011.
Betty #194 [$2.99] is all reprint, but we’re talking really great
reprints. Cover by Dan DeCarlo. A Betty story by Frank Doyle, my
all-time favorite Archie writer, with art by Dan DeCarlo, my all-
time favorite Archie Comics artist. A second earlier Betty story
by DeCarlo and an unknown writer. A terrific Katy Keene story by
Bill Woggon. Li’l Jinx by Joe Edwards. To close out the issue: a
Sabrina story by Doyle and DeCarlo.
Lots of good stuff in the Archie digests as well. Archie & Friends
Double Digest #9 [$3.99] reprints a pair of Superteen adventures by
Doyle and DeCarlo, and a Jughead story by writer George Gladir and
artist Samm Schwartz that could’ve been the prototype for Gladir’s
later creation, with DeCarlo, of Sabrina.
Jughead Double Digest #174 leads with an all-new Twilight take-off
by Gladir, Pat Kennedy (pencils), and Mark McKenna (inks). Backing
up the lead are hilarious Jughead reprints by writer Craig Boldman,
Rex Lindsey, Doyle, Schwartz, and others.
More Archie reviews to come.
Comics strips. Online and in the three newspapers I get. I easily
read over a hundred strips and editorial cartoons every day of my
life. I’ve ghosted some strips for clients in recent years and had
a great time doing it. Leave it to me find out that I like and am
good at something this late in the game. Anyway, here’s some notes
on recent comic strips...
Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott stars parents Wanda and
Darryl MacPherson and their three young children. In the strip for
December 18, Wanda takes their youngest child to see Santa Claus.
The child proceeds to climb up Santa’s beard, over his head, and
down his back before getting back to his lap. When Santa comments
that the kid is a very active child, Wanda responds: “Yeah, to her,
I’m just a set of monkey bars with boobs.”
I think it’s a funny line, but I wonder how many editors censored
“boobs” from the strip and how many readers complained. Back when
I worked for a newspaper, we used to get angry calls for material
far more innocuous than this.
Dennis the Menace turned 60 this year. He hasn’t aged, though he’s
not drawn as well as when the late Hank Ketcham created the comic.
I’m wondering if bib overalls work make me look younger. I think
I already know the answer to that.
Robb Armstrong’s Jump Start seems to be taking inspiration from the
classic Sugar and Spike comic books by Sheldon Mayer. In Mayer’s
legendary stories, the two infant leads could communicate via their
own baby language that adults couldn’t understand and would try to
figure out an adult world that often seemed crazy to them. In some
recent Jump Start strips, twins Tommi and Teddy have done much the
same thing. I’m enjoying these episodes.
Lee Falk’s The Phantom is as good as it’s ever been in the capable
hands of writer Tony DePaul and artist Paul Ryan. DePaul’s stories
are longer than most modern continuity strips, but well worth the
length. From time to time, to refresh the memory of his readers,
DePaul presents brief recaps narrated to the reader by...Lee Falk.
It’s a nice tribute to a great comic-strip creator.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2011 Tony Isabella