Tuesday, April 22, 2014


My life has been particularly challenging in recent weeks/months. I don’t need/want to go into the details - rest assured that I am in good health - but I’ve had to rethink a lot of my plans for the rest of this year.

My original plan was to use some “found money” to pay the bills as I worked on projects from my long bucket list of projects I want to write before I kick the bucket. Naturally, as often happens, there were a number of unexpected expenses that ate up a goodly chunk of that found money.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m disappointed and frustrated that my plans had to change, but I’m very glad I had the money to deal with the unexpected expenses.  I’ll figure out how to get my dreams back on track. They haven’t been derailed, just slowed.

One of my more modest current goals is to catch up on the e-mails and requests I have not been able to answer or fulfill during the roller coaster rides of 2014. My target date for achieving that is the end of the month.  Wish me luck.

My mind is spinning too much and too fast for me to write reviews for today’s bloggy thing. Instead, I’m going to drive into various notes I jotted down over the past few days. Don’t worry if some of these topics don’t interest you. There will be another along in a paragraph or two.


The great news is that Not Brand Echh is finally being reprinted. Marvel Masterworks Not Brand Echh Volume 1 will be released in June of 2015. It will collect Not Brand Echh #1-13 and humorous shorts from several Marvel annuals of the 1960s. Contributors include Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich, Arnold Drake, Stu Schwartzberg, Jack Kirby, Gene Colan, Don Heck and the woman who was born to draw stories for this comic book...MARIE SEVERIN!  While it’s true this 456-page volume is priced at a gulp-inducing $69.99, it’s been my experience that you can find really good discounts if you look for them.  I am a happy Marvel maniac.

The bad news is that Marvel will no longer publish those big, fat, wonderful Essentials editions.  Even in black-and-white, I thought those books delivered amazing bang for your bucks and their passing leaves me sad.

Instead of the Essentials, Marvel will be publishing more of their Epic Collection books. On sale in July of 2014, Fantastic Four Epic Collection: Into the Timestream will collect FF #334-346, FF Annual #23, and material from New Mutants Annual #6, X-Factor Annual #5 and X-Men Annual #14. The 504-page, full-color softcover is due on July of 2014 and has a cover price of $39.99.


I love seeing photos of old newsstands filled with comic books and pulp magazines. People post such photos on line from time to time, but that’s not enough for me. So here’s a free idea to anyone with the means and time to utilize it...

Put together a book of such photos. Print the photos as big as you can. Annotate the contents of the newsstands as best you can. Take us back in times to those glorious days when comic books were found in every store and from many sidewalk vendors.

If you make this book, I will buy a copy. Heck, I’ll probably buy several copies and give them out as gifts.


In looking through the April Previews catalog from Diamond Comics  Distribution, I noticed that Archie Comics has raised the prices of their double and double double digests by a buck. They used to be $3.99 and $5.99. Now they will be $4.99 and $6.99. They are still a good buy at those prices. Just not as good a buy as they used to be. Inflation marches on!


This is the sort of thing I don’t usually notice. My subscription copy of MAD #527 arrived last week. From ComicList, I noticed the issue is scheduled to arrive at comics shops this week. So I got my copy almost a week before the comics shops.

Back when I owned and operated a comics shop, I used to supplement my direct market comics with comic books and other magazines from the local newspaper distributor.  My direct market copies arrived a good two or three weeks before the newsstand copies.

Do the comics shops still have that advantage over local newsstands and bookstores? Has that release date gap been eliminated, expanded or eliminated since the 1980s? I don’t have any real need for this information. I’m just curious.


In recent years, I have backed a number of Kickstarter and similar crowd-funding projects. I was happy to do so, but I’m cutting way back to the point of near-extinction on donating to such projects. In most cases, I’m spending more to get these books than I would be spending if I simply waited for them to be published and available in the marketplace. Yes, I know some of these projects might never be published without crowd-funding, but it can get expensive to be a patron of the arts.

These days, I’m much more likely to donate to charitable efforts. The Hero Initiative does a great job helping creators in need, but they can’t solve all the financial woes for all the creators they would like. I always buy the most expensive Hero membership that I can afford because I believe in the organization’s mission.  I wish I could do more.

I pay for my more expensive Hero membership by only buying the most basic Comic Book Legal Defense Fund membership. The CBLDF seems to get much more attention than Hero, probably because Hero does not publicize every creator it helps. CBLDF lets you know whenever they do something, even that something doesn’t actually involve comics. Truth be told, I wince a bit every time I read of the CBLDF joining some non-comics effort. I would prefer they focus on comics...and I’d also like to know if the backers of the non-comics efforts ever reciprocate when it’s comics that are under attack.

My funds are limited, as I’m sure are yours. I try to put them to the best use I can. That usually involves helping comics people as opposed to backing projects above the cost of buying those projects directly.

That’s all for today. Come back tomorrow for another installment of our “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” series.

© 2014 Tony Isabella


  1. Are DC Showcases still being published? I haven't seen too many new ones coming out, except for one Super Friends. Thanks!

  2. They are, but not as frequently as previously.

  3. Not Brand Ecch being reprinted is great news. But yeah, I'll be looking for a discount. And I'll miss the Essentials, but I can see how reprinting everything, good and bad, in order, could lose appeal. Reprinting specific storylines or creators' runs makes sense.

  4. I finished Super Friends Volume 1 today and am looking forward to Volume 2. Captain Carrot was supposed to come out in March (it was supposed to be released in 2007 at first) and then it got moved to September 2.

    I once saw a newsstand picture with 3 issues of Action Comics #1 on it. I like seeing those old pictures too.