Saturday, 25 May 2019

From Beyond the Unknown #3 (DC/1970)



From Beyond the Unknown #3 (DC)

Various (w) & (a)

Whilst there were many horror or mystery titles on the market actual science fiction comics were sadly few and far between back in the day, there were a few. Mystery in Space was published by DC was the longest running and Charlton did have Space Adventures one comic albeit a reprint title is always worth picking when a copy comes along. This, the third issue in the short lived series is no exception.

Starting with a tale, When the Earth Turned Into  A Comet penned by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Carmine Infantanio is a charming little story about an alien threat and some hallucinogenic moon rocks hence the cover is then followed by Prisoner Of The Electric Eye with art by Gil Kane & Frank Giaoca make the price of entry worthwhile on their own.

Two other stories appear in this issue linked by a plague that afflicted an alien race then the human race round of the issue. I rather enjoyed The Space Hermit and Escape From Earth with a warning for future generations

From Beyond The Unknown lasted 25 issues from 1969 to 1973.

 

Friday, 17 May 2019

Riverdale

It's been a week since I last posted on this site and apologies from me for taking longer breaks between posts. Truth is I have had a lot and not been reading comics as much as I should do. I have been listening to quite a few new Doctor Who adventures from Big Finish (I may do a post on these shortly) late at night and erm..falling asleep having to at least twice listen to the ending again!

Then there's the elections (did a bit of canvassing) and I finally got around to watching Riverdale having purchased the first two seasons on DVD. Ive watched 8 episodes of season one so far this week and a couple more after I've posted this.

It's different and a very engaging drama involving the guys and gals from Riverdale. I like all of the changes bar one. I would have preferred the Pussycats to be the three in the comics. I understand the need for diversity but I miss Melody. OK.

Still that criticism aside and I'll probably adjust to the change despite being a fan of the move made a while back this is a great series that everyone should be watching.

The TV programme finally made me make up my mind to that age old question, Betty or Veronica.

Veronica it has to be!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Red Sonja/Tarzan TPB (Dynamite) Out Now!



Red Sonja/Tarzan TPB (Dynamite)

Gail Simone (w) Walter Geovani (a)

This is another of those improbable and seemingly impossible crossovers but thanks to the concept of time travel we treated to two classic characters meeting up to fight a rather nasty villain who himself is out of time.

I just love these "mashups" especially when they work and this one certainly does as Lord Greystoke and our favourite flame haired barbarian are a perfect match for this adventure. 

The two face Eson Dull, a man who has no respect for life whatsoever. He threatens Trazan's family and sets out after his pack to exterminate his opponent to extinction. Red wants her sword back after losing it in a drunken fight to one of his minions. It is this that is the key.

This well worth picking up!

Rating: 5 Stars
















Friday, 10 May 2019

New Releases: Batman and the Outsiders, RedSonja & Vampirella meet Betty & Veronica

Image result for Comics vine Batman and the Outsiders 2019


Batman and the Outsiders #1 (DC)

Bryan Hill (w) Dexter Soy (a)

Somewhat delayed from it's original solicitation the latest incarnation of Batman and the Outsiders hit the shelves this week. A somewhat messy comic it has turned out to be. I'm a fan of Batman but his supporting cast, except maybe Cassandra who made a great Batgirl are are somewhat disappointing. The arts a bit off-putting and the story average.  Can't see me staying with this one for long.

Rating: No Stars



Red Sonja & Vampirella meet Betty & Veronica #1 (Dynamite)

Amy Chu (w) Maria Sanapo (w)

Being a big fan of inter-company crossovers this comic was a must buy for me and I was not disappointed. I am a big fan of both Red Sonja and Vampirella (who's 50th anniversary takes place this year) and the revamping of the Archie line of characters has made their comics well worth picking up.

Vampirella and Red Sonja arrive in Riverdale looking for answers to what seems to have something to do with vampires and seek out the mortuary. It just happens that Betty and Veronica are also breaking in and the two pairs of ladies meet for the first time.

Going undercover in Riverdale High using Veronica's outfits and daddy's influence is going to be a  treat and in the classroom Red meets a certain red-headed bot but as Betty says cheekily to the readers:

"That's our friend Archie, but this is our story not his."

Nice touch.

Rating: 5 Stars 










Sunday, 5 May 2019

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch #66 (Archie/1981)



Sabrina The Teen-Age Witch #66 (Archie)

No credits (w) & (a)

Created in 1962 Sabrina The Teenage Witch has been one of Archie's successes over the years if not in comics but on TV.  Cartoons and Two TV series, one of which is current and critically acclaimed as Riverdale the modern adaptation of Archie that I have yet to see.

This comic was one of Sabrina's original series and published 7 times a year. It's obviously aimed at the younger teenage audience but read by a wider one myself included. This is so different from the modern Sabrina comics and the current mini-series is pure Archie horror!

Melissa Joan Hart 2011.jpg
Photo: By MingleMediaTVNetwork

These comics provide for mild amusement but it's the TV version with Mellissa Joan Hart (1996 - 2003) that is probably best known in the UK. Archie comics were never that big here but do have a certain following and I have a soft spot for the franchise.

The first adaptation on the box was the cartoon series which had one season with 31 episodes broadcast between 1970 and 1974. I don't think these were ever shown in the UK so here's an adventure for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

New Releases: Year Of The Villain, DCEASED

[DC's Year Of The Villain #1 (Product Image)]

Year Of The Villain #1 (DC)

Various (w) & (a)

Published for Free Comics Book today this 25 cent special will be found on sale across the country for around 50p in participating comic shops and showcases DC's annual event which from the look of it is yet another crisis without the actual use of the word crisis as something or should I say someone arrives from behind the shattered Source Wall and the universe starts breaking down.

Not entirely sure why the JLA is at the forefront of activity at the edge of universe there are higher powers in the DC universe like the Guardians (though I'm a bit out of touch so they might not be around any more) or the New Gods who looked far too powerful when the confronted the Green Lantern Corps but I digress and anyway this their story.

Another expensive crossover that I will have to miss and maybe just pick up a couple of the inevitable trades when they come out.

Here's a couple of pages to wet yer appetite so to speak!

Rating 3 Stars
Image result for dcs year of the villain #1

Related image



DCEASED #1 (DC)

Tom Taylor (w) Trevor Hairsine Stefano Gaudiano & James Harren (a)

This is more like it. A six-issue mini series in which DC history takes an alternative course. After the JLA beat Darkseid and meet for last time afterwards they notice one of their number is missing and Bats in his usual Machiavellian manner has placed a tracker on Cyborg which shows that he's not on Earth or even in the solar system...

Darkseid has found what he was looking for inside Cyborg and in his attempt to take it uses the Black Racer to create a disaster.

The anti-life equation has evolved and millions are infected on Earth.

A cracking start to an "Elseworlds" or "What If" adventure though not advertised as such.

Rating 5 Stars 

Friday, 3 May 2019

New Feature: Comic Book Sales



One of the things I used to look forward to as a teenager was the announcement of the top 30 with Alan Freeman on a Sunday every week. With comics getting hold of similar information is actually more difficult because although there is a sales chart produced by Diamond  with "estimates by both Comichron and ICv2 these are just estimates and don't actually tell us what was actually sold.

These charts represent the orders that comic shops make. These do not include sales elsewhere and only relate to North America. As we all know some comics are over-ordered because sometimes shops don't guess fans "wants" correctly and in all the large shops there's usually a comic that just isn't selling. At the same time others are woefully under-ordered and never seen by some punters.

It was the "speculators" that drove me out the hobby in the nineties. The last straw for me was going to pick up a title of a comic of which there were two copies left but the guy in front to me took both. One the read one to sell on if it took off. I can't even remember what it was but fortunately that has more or less gone out of the window.

These days very few newly published comics attract premium prices, though there are a few chancers on E-Bay. The advent of the Trade Paperback has ensured access to stories that we might want to catch up on if we've missed the originals. I was in hospital during the release of The Doomsday Clock and am now happy to wait for a collected edition when they eventually finish the damned thing!

Meanwhile I do like to see what's selling and although there is a Top 500 chart, it's the top 30 that interests me most. Just like my teenage years I thought I'd publish a monthly look at the charts, what's in it, what's bubbling under and where the stuff I buy has gone!

These charts are several weeks old so to speak and the latest info is for March so here's the top 30

1.  DETECTIVE COMICS #1000  (DC)
2.  BATMAN WHO LAUGHS THE GRIM KNIGHT #1  (DC)
3.  DOOMSDAY CLOCK #9  (DC)
4.  BATMAN #67 (DC)
5.  BATMAN #66 (DC)
6.  HEROES IN CRISIS #7 (DC)
7.  AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #17 (MARVEL)
8.  AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18  (MARVEL)
9.  SPIDER-MAN CITY AT WAR #1 (MARVEL)
10. JUSTICE LEAGUE #20 (DC)
11. VENOM #12  (MARVEL)
12. JUSTICE LEAGUE #19 (DC )
13. INCREDIBLE HULK #181 FACSIMILE EDITION (MARVEL)
14. COSMIC GHOST RIDER DESTROYS MARVEL HISTORY #1  (MARVEL)
15. SPIDER-MAN LIFE STORY #1 (MARVEL)
16. FANTASTIC FOUR #8  (MARVEL)
17. IMMORTAL HULK #15  (MARVEL)
18. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #16. (MARVEL)
19. DAREDEVIL #3  (MARVEL)
20. UNCANNY X-MEN #13 (MARVEL)
21. AVENGERS #16  (MARVEL)
22. SUPERMAN #9 (DC )
23. UNCANNY X-MEN #14  (MARVEL)
24. AVENGERS #17 (MARVEL)
25. GREEN LANTERN #5  (DC)
26. STAR WARS VADER DARK VISIONS #1 (MARVEL)
27. IMMORTAL HULK #14 (MARVEL)
28. HARLEY QUINN #59  (DC)
29. CATWOMAN #9 (DC)
30. WALKING DEAD #189 (MR) (IMAGE)


DC take the top six positions and Detective Comics is overwhelmingly the top seller as expected with over a half a million copies sold! Marvel have more entries and only one title from another company takes a place, Images top selling Walking Dead. I stopped reading that a long time ago and is the only part of my collection I sold. (Needs must at the time).

 

The number of copies is quite low if you look closely. Detective Comics had large sales because of it's collectability and multiple covers. Only the next two The Batman Who Laughs The Grim Knight and Doomsday Clock sell over 100,000 copies. The main Batman title at four sells 84,000 copies and even the popular Spider-Man drops to just 78,000.  The Walking Dead at 30 sells just 43,000 copies.

There was a time when comics were million sellers, Superman for example but comics are no longer cheap, self contained or as easily available due to the arrival of the Direct Market. Even in the UK it's no longer possible to pick up comics in the local newsagents. Comic shops are almost the sole place to go.

Firefly: Bad Company takes the number 100 slot with just 19,000 odd copies. The chart lists 500, the sales of some are quite derisory and that's excluding re-orders which also appear at the bottom end of the charts.

2000 AD Prog 2129 Judge Dredd Megazine 407

These sales figures do not cover the UK which is what I would be interested in. But then the circulations of our own surviving comics are not known. Neither 2000AD nor Judge Dredd Megazine publish figures. I believe the humour title The Beano sells 34,000 copies but the circulation of Commando from the same publisher is not publicly available. Of course these comics are mostly sold in newsagents though I subscribe to 2000AD & the Megazine because the nearest stockist is quite a journey away!

  

There are of course Marvel UK reprints, several titles in fact. Not cheap but contain the equivalent of at least three US comics sometimes more making them pretty good value. Titan has stopped publishing DC Comics leaving them with just The Simpsons (now in US format) and Doctor Who.

Avengers Universe 16 Mighty World of Marvel 12


However the monthly coverage of comic sales will concentrate on US editions. There is no way of telling what sells in the 100 plus comic shops in the UK (plus mail-order outlets) all I know is that Britain sells the equivalent of 10% or so of US publishers output.

 

So this post will cover only the US charts, mostly the individual comics but also sometimes the trades as the smaller companies particularly Image do better here. The top selling TPB was The Walking Dead Volume 31 though DC's more expensive Detective Comics: 80 years of the Batman Hardback was top for price. Still haven't read that, I must get around to doing that soon!




A lot of comics I buy feature well down the charts such as Blossoms 666 which lingers at 190 with just 7,900 sales! Starting next month I will concentrate on commenting on the US charts.

For the full March 500 go to: www.comichron.com/

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Previews Picks May 2019

PREVIEWS #370 JULY 2019

I've been a bit erratic with posts over the last month, in part because I have developed a backlog of reading material and have had a lot of other things to to do. However with a couple of new posts at the end of April looking at some new release I thought I'd kick off May with the usual look and recommendations from the latest issue of Previews, the comic shop's catalogue.

JIMMY OLSEN #1 (OF 12) LOIS LANE #1 (OF 12)

Only two new titles grabbed my attention in DC Previews, the two 12 issue Maxi series featuring Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane. I used to read Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Best Pal back in the sixties always a wacky comic this one will probably be on my pull list.

Lois Lane however always struck me as a girls comic though in this modern era such things should not concern me. I have more than few sixties and seventies Lois Lane comics in my collection but budget constraints may prevent me from collecting this one. The Jury is still out.

HISTORY OF MARVEL UNIVERSE #1 (OF 6) DEATHS HEAD #1 (OF 4)

Marvel is beginning to produce more comics of interest for me these days despite my refusal to buy their huge costly crossovers (another of which starts this month) but History Of The Marvel Universe by Mark Waid and A Death's Head mini caught my attention and will be ordered. The latter being a creation of the now defunct Marvel UK line from the nineties which I never got around to reading as I dropped out the hobby during that period,

INVISIBLE WOMAN #1 (OF 5)

Also on the borderline for ordering is an Invisible Woman mini. It promises we'll never see Sue Storm the same again. Don't they all?

 BLACK HAMMER JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 (OF 5) CVR A WALSH

It's been a while since I've picked up anything from Dark Horse, but I like wacky or weird crossovers so this Black Hammer/Justice League team up looks fascinating. I have no idea who Black Hammer are never paid any attention to their comics but this certainly will be one to get.

 VAMPIRELLA #1 CVR A CHO
A new Vampirella series launches on the 50th Anniversary of the first Vampi comic from Warren back in July 1969. I'm a big fan and also grabbing the Vampi/RedSonja/Betty & Veronica mini also out from Dynamite. Lets hope this one is a big hit, there's a ton of covers to choose from. One will do for me but there are those out there....

LINSNER VAMPIRELLA 50TH ANN PREMIUM ENAMEL PIN   GONZALEZ VAMPIRELLA 50TH ANN PREMIUM ENAMEL PIN


Oh did I mention there's a choice of badges, I'll have one of those please!

RED SONJA LORD OF FOOLS ONE SHOT

Talking of Red Sonja, Dynamite have added this one shot to add to what seem to be two on-going series. Careful guys, you have a habit of over-using the characters you publish! Still it's it's on this fools fan's pull list...

Oh and guess who's back in Archie.....

ARCHIE VS PREDATOR 2 #1 (OF 5) CVR A HACK

I read the first one so a sequel is more than welcome..unless you happen to live in Riverdale these days. I love the way Archie are giving new life to these iconic American teenagers! Check out there other titles and Trades.

Alter Ego 160 - Click Image to Close

Tomorrows Publishing are bringing out a special issue of Alter Ego fanzine dedicated to the late Steve Ditko. I've been a fan of his since I was old enough to read.  On my list.

[Creeps #20 (Product Image)]

Annoyingly Previews had no image of the Halloween issue of Creeps so I erm borrowed this one from The Forbidden Planet. A bit early I thought but the cover date is October, but in the Warren tradition of comics it's a comic well worth reading.

That's it for this month's Previews. I'm sure you'll have different wants or a bigger budget. Just go for it!