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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Linking around

Item: John Jackson Miller looks at the history of comic book sales charts, on the occasion of 20 years of his industry sales charts, beginning with consolidating Diamond and Marvel's self-distributing disaster Heroes World, and continuing to just Diamond's charts with Marvel's return.

Item: Mike Sterling looks back at WHAT IF #1, a sickbed comic for him from 1977.

Item: Stephen Murphy interviewed on THE PUMA BLUES, UMBRA and other things.

Item: Nick Caputo has a comprehensive look at Steve Ditko fanzine art,

A reminder, the Update-A-Tron still exists and works (which surprises me, I thought Google killing Google Reader and the Google blog search would have stopped it). And just checking, it actually lets me add new blogs right now, which isn't always the case. If you have a site you think should be included, let me know and I'll check it out.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

That Diamond attention to detail...

I know pointing out typos on the comics internet is like shooting fish in a barrel. Almost as easy as finding overused cliches on the comics internet (and yes, guilty as charged on both counts, one of them at least twice in this paragraph). But this one was kind of great:

Aren't you glad that these are the comic book experts entrusted to distribute the majority of comics to the direct market?

I'm thinking that the BLACK LIGHTING TV show would be a CSI spin-off, devoted to the guys who use UV lights to detect bloodstains, other bodily fluids, counterfeit currency, nightclub entrance stamps, etc. Not sure what that has to do with the crime fighting teacher.

Anyway, congrats to Toy Isabella and Trevor Vo Eede on the potential show ("Diamod" also doesn't feel the character creators are worth mentioning in a news story).

DAREDEVIL - LOVE & WAR by Sienkiewicz/Miller

I'd read most of Frank Miller's 1980s work on Daredevil over the years, but not the 1986 "Marvel Graphic Novel" he wrote for Bill Sienkiewicz, LOVE & WAR. I recently got the Sienkiewicz/Miller ELEKTRA ASSASSIN book (which I've only previously read the first issue of), and it's on my metaphorical to-read pile (meaning it's on a bookshelf, filed under "S" for "Sink, Billy the"), and I saw L&W on a recent Marvel digital sale, so I figured that's worth $2.50.

It's not terrible, but it's not terribly good either. There's a criticism that publishers jumped on the "graphic novel" bandwagon in the 1980s by pumping out souped up annuals and selling them for five times the price. This isn't exactly the best example of that (see DAZZLER: THE MOVIE or SUPER BOXERS for that) but it's on that spectrum. Bill Sienkiewicz was early in his transition from second rate Neal Adams clone to the guy who did STRAY TOASTERS and BIG NUMBERS (and from there to one of the most sought after inkers in the biz. Odd career trajectory...), and the format is vaguely justified by the fact that this art would not have been properly reproduced on the newsprint of the regular series at the time, though this price level was still high (this was published at $6.95 when a regular issue of DD was 75¢. With an issue of DD being $3.99 now, that means this would be $37 today). This is pretty much a triple-length issue of Miller's DD, but where in the regular run he had Klaus Janson or David Mazzucchelli to ground the visuals with a sense of reality and humanity when Miller's script lacked it, and the comics code to keep a leash on the tendency to extreme violence, here he has no restraints and a visual collaborator who's very much into pushing the boundary of reality and storytelling in his work. The whole thing reeks of excess, sometimes in a good way, but more often not.

The story is pretty basic. The Kingpin, whose wife Vanessa is still suffering from amnesia due to the events of Miller's first DD run (this appears to be set between the Miller/Janson run and the Miller/Mazzucchelli run, although it was published after the latter), has the blind wife of a world-renowned doctor kidnapped to force the doctor to find a cure for Vanessa. Daredevil must first rescue the wife from the psychotic that the Kingpin has inexplicably tasked with holding her, and then break into the Kingpin's highrise headquarters to rescue the doctor (most amusing, we're expected to believe that a villain who has spent years fighting Spider-Man and Daredevil has no cameras on one side of his building because there are no windows there).  Even with this fairly simple plot and 63 pages to tell it, the ending winds up being rushed and perfunctory.

So for a DAREDEVIL annual, and if priced as such, it's decent enough, a little undisciplined, but that leads to some interesting bits. And it's a nice look at the state of Sienkiewicz's art just on the verge of breaking out, and for the first time really being given the print quality that would allow for his later work.
Weblog by BobH [bobh1970 at gmail dot com]