Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ringing-Out 2020!

Or, would a more appropriate phrasing be... "WRINGING-OUT 2020"?  Considering just how much this terrible year of 2020 has "wrung" out of us!  

Anyway, here's the perfect image to sum up (and Ring-Out) 2020 - from BATMAN #247 (DC Comics, Cover Date: February, 1973)!  

Make of it what you will...

The "Ball" can be a metaphor for COVID-19, subversion of the Rule of Law, erosion of our Principles of Democracy, unfounded chaos deliberately thrown into our fair and traditional electoral processes... or even the people making misguided decisions in publishing current comics!  BRING BACK SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP... and readable monthly American Disney comics!  

The Villain and Batman can be analogues for the "individuals of your choice", depending on which side of these polarizing matters you happen to be on!  

Why, the possibilities are ENDLESS!  

Let's just hope the "possibilities" for 2021 are an improvement over 2020!  

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL - AND GOOD RIDDANCE TO 2020... and every person, place, or thing that made it such a terrible year!  

Monday, December 28, 2020

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: You'll Love This Comic a Bushel and a Peck!

I wish I had written this ad copy!  

From the final page of WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES # 232 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: June, 1956). 

And, just because we like it so much, here's a BONUS AD from WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES # 230 (Dell Comics, Cover Date: April, 1956). 

...Aw, heck!  I would like to have written this one, too!  

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020!

 What more is there to say!  

Monday, December 21, 2020

Spaceman Discovers Christmas... Film at Eleven!

Spaceman Discovers Christmas... Film at Eleven!

Sorry, but there's no "film" and, unless you are reading this at precisely 1100 or 2300 hours (in the time zone of your choice), there's no "eleven" either!

But there IS this wonderful comic...

...Yes, we know that, in film, "Santa Claus Conquer[ed] the Martians" but, by and large, we don't necessarily associate Christmas with Martians.  Red SUIT, yes!  Red PLANET, no!  

But, since last year and my first reading of this utterly delightful comic, perhaps it's time I do. 

Just not THESE Martians!  

Nor this Martian, even though he brought Dino along for the ride!

And, definitely not these Martians!  

But a very special Martian, so modest is he that his own cover refers to him as "Spaceman"!

Despite being titled in such an awkwardly bland manner, and drawn almost equally so, "Spaceman Discovers Christmas" might just be the quintessential example of why you should never "judge a book by its cover"!  

...But, since it's also a book you're not likely to easily find, I'll just have to show you why!

First, however, we must thank our great friend Elaine for sending me a copy of this wonderful book - and then immediately apologize to her for taking a full year to write a review post on it!  

So, better late than never... And, as we used to say in the old "Paper Hard-Copy TIAH Days"...

Produced by Will Eisner's commercial studio, Promotional Publications, with art supervised by Will Eisner. 

Though you might momentarily wonder just how much "supervision" a great artist and graphic-storytelling visionary like Will Eisner, creator of such amazingly-ahead-of their-time images like this...

...might have put into such a generically-looking cover.  

But, those concerns quickly vanish, upon cracking said cover and seeing THIS!  

Now, THAT'S the Will Eisner *I* know!  

"One day in December, Tommy… and Susie were walking through the park near their house… when suddenly they heard a WHOOSH and a WHUMP! And down came a flying saucer right in front of them!"  


And what to their wondering eyes should appear, but a "little green man" they would soon hold dear! 

J.B. Grook was his name, and from Mars he did hail. He was here on a mission, and he could not fail! 

"Mars Needs Women!", so a movie would say.  But what Mars REALLY needed was a NEW HOLIDAY! 

Which holiday to choose, and show Mars the way. The unanimous choice would be - Christmas Day!

Tommy and Susie show their Martian friend why.  O'er the next TEN PAGES, they convince the green guy!  

J.B. Grook returns home with a sure recommendation, that Christmas become Mars' next celebration! 

"Merry Christmas!" he said, as he vanished from sight.  The kids were quite certain, he'd have a good flight! 

Did it all really happen?  We never will know.  But Mars shined a bit brighter, on the calm Earthly snow!   

I hope you enjoyed my narration in verse, knowing it always could have been worse.  

But the comic itself is a joy to behold!  I'll read it each year, it'll never get old! 

On these Blog images, 'Tis certain you'll hover.  Here's one image more... It's the festive back cover!  

This post is over.  There is no more!  But, for this, we thank... our Ben Franklin Store! 

NON-RHYMING BONUS GCD LINK:  HERE is the index I created at GCD for Spaceman Discovers Christmas - sharing Elaine's gift with comic book fans and researchers everywhere!  

Friday, December 18, 2020

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: DC's Got it "In the (Holiday) Bag"!

Below is an ad that ran in some DC Comics around December, 1962...

Yes, it's the long-forgotten DC COMICPAC!

And we all thought it was WHITMAN who invented the pre-bagged package of different comics in the 1970s, didn't we?

But, no... DC got there first...

And, apparently, just in time for the Christmas/Holiday Season, 1962...

...When GOLD KEY (which would eventually become Whitman) was merely SIX MONTHS OLD!

Oddly, while the WHITMAN comic bags tended to be ubiquitous... finding their way into every toy store, variety store, "Five-and-Ten", and department store from the mid-1970s thru the mid-1980s, I NEVER saw a DC COMICPAC anywhere... and I spent a LOT of time in various toy departments circa 1962! 

...I wonder if they even continued beyond that initial tryout? 

Nope!  I got mine the old-fashioned way... at candy stores and newsstands! 


ONE: This example of a DC COMICPAC contains issues of SUPERMAN, LOIS LANE, JUSTICE LEAGUE... and JERRY LEWIS?  (Click to enlarge!)

Now, nothing against good ol' Jer, but if you were playing a game of "WHICH ONE OF THESE FOUR DOESN'T BELONG?", which title would YOU pick? 

Wouldn't ACTION, JIMMY OLSEN, SUPERBOY, or WORLD'S FINEST be a better 4th selection for this Superman-based package? 

When WHITMAN did it, you would not have found BROTHERS OF THE SPEAR or THE OCCULT FILES OF DOCTOR SPEKTOR in the same bag as MICKEY MOUSE! 

Most likely it contained ONLY other Disney titles, as Warner Bros. Whitman bags would have likely contained only Warner Bros. titles - BUGS BUNNY, PORKY PIG, etc. 

Packaged THREE TO A BAG, the comics inside Whitman bags were positioned to allow you to see TWO of the covers - and give you an idea of what you were getting.  The "middle comic" remained a mystery, unless (like me in those bygone days) you RIPPED OPEN THE BAG, took a peek, and - if you didn't like the "middle comic" (...or ANY one of the three, for that matter), RIPPED OPEN ANOTHER BAG and created a 3-pack of three titles you actually wanted! 

DC's "four-to-a-pack" at least told you which titles were inside!  ...And seeing that, I would have KNOWN which packs to RIP OPEN to... er, "customize" my selection of four! 


Assuming that, in 1962, 4 x 12 equaled 48 (as it does today), that is a SAVING OF ONLY ONE PENNY! 

Then again, IN THIS POST, we discussed how disastrous a THREE-CENT increase was for DELL COMICS, so perhaps that was a better deal back then...

...Until you consider that - since the comics were not sold as SEPARATE PERIODICALS, but as a packaged toy or novelty item - different states or localities would have CHARGED SALES TAX on a DC COMICPAC... actually making it MORE EXPENSIVE than buying the four comic books at your local newsstand! 

Sales tax was charged on each and every Whitman bag I purchased, but Whitman bags offered a bit more than a penny in the discounting of their packaged product. 

The Whitman comics in this bag were cover-priced at FIFTY CENTS EACH!  In 1981, as today,  3 x 50 equals 1.50 - and the Whitman bag cost 1.09!  A saving of 41 cents. 

Even adjusted for inflation, Whitman's package was a better deal in terms of overall savings.
In terms of CONTENT... Well, make up your own mind!

Nevertheless, it was DC - and not Whitman, as I previously believed - who pioneered the "peg-board racked bag o' comics" for mass market outlets... and we dutifully note this here!   

Just gotta ask one more question... The ad says: "Ask for them -- They're Great!" 

Shouldn't it say... "Ask for them -- They're SUPER!" 

Well, at least the "market" they want you to ask is "Super"!