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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Random Realities 2019.07.21

So, just a few more things, an old Eisner fanzine cover, recommendation for a comedy news podcast, more on Vertigo and discussion of the type of retrospective I'd like to do for it, but never will, and links to examples of what I'd like to do on other sites, and one of my favourite current Canadian sitcoms starring two SCTV alumni.

Hey, if anyone is reading this, I'm kind of out of touch on how people use the web these days, is it more useful to have a longer post like this with multiple topics, posted less frequently, or to post each as a separate article, posted every day or two?

From the Fanzine Cover Files, AMAZING HEROES #157 [1989] has a great Will Eisner piece of his creation the Spirit meeting the Bat-Man (created by Bill Finger with Bob Kane).  I guess this can be considered a companion piece to his other piece with the two, printed around the same time over in DETECTIVE COMICS #600 [1989]. In fact, I kind of wonder if this was intended for the DC book but not used for some reason so Eisner found another home for it. This is definitely the better of the two. Eisner also did a similar piece earlier in SUPERMAN #400 [1984].

This was the tenth of thirteen AMAZING HEROES PREVIEW SPECIALS published from 1984 to 1990, numbered rather confusingly 39, 62, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 133, 145, 157, 170, 10, 11. It was also the first I picked up new off the stands, having just made trips to the comic book store a regular part of my routine shortly before this. Man, did I learn about a hear about a lot of comics first in these pages. I eventually did pick up all the older ones, and I have an old post about them over here, which I really need to add more to.

This one has a long interview with Dennis O'Neil, mostly about what's coming up in the Batman books he was editing, just before the big explosion in sales from the movie in a few months. Dave Sim also does a two page piece on what comics he's reading.

On the podcast recommendation front, the news/humour podcast The Bugle is a long time favourite. I was an old school listener, going back to the launch in 2007 when it was hosted by Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver under the unlikely auspices of The Times newspaper. I kind of drifted away when episodes became more intermittent as John Oliver became busier with his TV work, but came back after it was relaunched with Zaltzman and a rotating group of co-hosts in 2016. I admit I didn't love the new format as much for the first little while, but after a few months they seemed to settle in nicely, and over the last year it's been consistently hilarious, especially the most frequent co-hosts, Alice Fraser and Nish Kumar, and the live shows released on the podcast feed. Definitely a highlight of the weekend for me, and always a disappointment if they take a week off. I even subscribed to Zaltzman's cricket podcast The Urnbelieveable Ashes even though I know nothing about the game just to get a taste of the Bugle as Zaltzman was busy with his Cricket World Cup reporting duties recently.

Still thinking a lot about Vertigo, but I don't think I'll ever get around to doing some ambitious series of posts on the history, rise and fall of the imprint. I did find one site which made a decent start at what I was thinking of, over at Comic Vine with some decent pre-history on the line and then a year-by-year look at what they published, running up to sometime in 2014. The notes on individual books start off really detailed, but get cursory a few years in.  Still, a useful resource, and I did learn a few things.

Something else I found, my model for the Vertigo retrospective was the Eclipse rereading blog  and Fantagraphics series that Lars Ingebrigtsen did. While looking at those again I saw that he also is working on one for Pacific Comics. That's a slightly less ambitious one only about 100 books, compared to about a thousand for each of Eclipse and Fantagraphics. I'd like to see something like that for Vertigo, but it looks like you'd be looking at something like 4000 original publications for Vertigo, a few hundred more if you count the pre-Vertigo stuff, maybe up to 5000 if you count all the the reprints. More daunting a task than I'd be willing to start. Maybe.

On the TV front, I've been catching up on the most recent season of SCHITT'S CREEK this week, the comedy series created by Daniel and Eugene Levy that's run for five seasons, coming back for a sixth and final next year. I watched the first four seasons last year, and it took a few episodes to get into it, but once it clicked I really enjoyed it as a sort of classic quirky character sitcom with some unexpected character bits thrown in. Sorry that I only have a few more to go before the long wait for the last season.

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