0:00-55:59: Greetings! Did you miss us? We missed us. And yet, rather than get too weepy about it, we quickly dive into a topic where we can get too weepy about it: the selling of comic books! Graeme let go of his collection before he left Scotland years ago, but Jeff only got rid of his entire collection of single issues in the last week, and the event looms large in his mind. Join us as we talk big numbers (and not the Moore/Billy The Sink kind): a man turning 50 has 3 weeks to sell 8,000 books! Mentioned along the way: Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions; Neil Fucking Strauss’ The Game; Birds of Prey; Donald Trump; collages; mortality; advertising; Luke Cage; pinkeye; and more.
55:59-1:40:59: On the opposite end of the spectrum: Graeme McMillan! Listen as he journeys between the in-laws to NYCC in a terrifying short time. Hear about a relatively unique con experience from Graeme in that it was constant work but somehow not as exhausting as, say, SDCC. Mentioned along the way: Luc Besson; Jill Pantozzi; Ryan North; Erica Henderson; Will Moss; Cameron Stewart; Dan Slott; cosplay; the news and non-news that came out of the show (Ms. America, Batwoman, Warren Ellis back at Stormwatch; DC’s Kamandi Challenge; Bleeding Cool crashing our browsers; the world’s laziest IT guy; The Blindtastic Four; depressing stuff about Paul Pope; #notmyspiderman, #whoareyourxmen, Kieron Gillen in discussion with Jonathan Hickman; The Star Slammers by Walt Simonson, and Swords of the Swashbucklers by Bill Mantlo and Jackson Guice; the disappearance of cheap back issues; and more.
1:40:59-1:47:14: Getting back to the now de-singled Jeff Lester, Graeme wants to know: will this change the way Jeff reads comics? As we all know, Jeff throws a lot of money at Comixology. Will he know throw them more? Less?
1:47:14-1:53:51: “Should we talk about actual comics that we’ve read?” Jeff asks, “or no?” And that’s pretty much our chance to more or less choose no, and then give callbacks to Graeme’s side of the conversation with discussion about what happened with Starslammers, Swords of the Swashbucklers, and Epic Comics, as opposed to Youngblood and Spawn, or Sex Criminals and WicDiv and Image Comics.
1:53:51-1:57:37: Oh, but Graeme has read the latest Scooby-Doo Team-Up with Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and has very good things to say about this book about which Jeff has been a long-term booster. Bonus: a joke from The Flintstones #4!
1:57:37-end: Closing comments! Next week will be a Q&A session so please feel free to tweet or email us your questions. Look for us on Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Matt! Tumblr, and on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.
Next week: Baxter Building Ep. 22! Read Giant-Size Super-Stars #1, Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4, and FF Annuals 11-13 and check them out with us!
Still cutting and pasting? Here you go!
Yes, I really might be replying to every post in this thread–I really do appreciate all the feedback for what was a pretty big life event.
Jesus Christ, guys. You think I listen to comics podcasts to get in touch with my feelings?
Jeff your monologue about comics and mortality was really beautiful and you may be responsible for my now-approaching midlife crisis, thanks a lot.
I thought the discussion and Jeff’s thoughts about the impact and thought that went into liquidating his collection was interesting. Not depressing but pragmatic.
I think when you get older and have gone through deaths of loved ones or seen how others suffered with getting rid of someone’s “treasures”, it is logical to look at your own collections. I found as I got older (I am 57) I was conscious of what my collection and assorted “treasures” would have on my wife. I started to pare down the unimportant stuff and started thinking seriously about what I was buying and whether I should buy something. Trades made it easier to stop accumulating single issues. Having a giving nature helped because it was easier to part with things I had no real connection to. Also never seeing the monetary value in the books has helped as well. I even have instructions of what to do with the collection I have left. It is those types of things we never think of (or don’t want to think of) that when we do, really show our concern for those that will be dealing with it. Also it shows our concern for how what we “valued” and spent time on impacts us.
On the other hand I was curious if it would have been tougher (and therefore something you would not have done as completely) if there was not Comixology, Marvel Unlimited and other outlets.
Recently my wife posted a readers lot that I put together on a couple of sites. These were books that were just taking up space in the basement and had no monetary value. I figured there are 1200 comics and about 10 trades. A lot of the stuff was gathered from bargain bins over the last few years and there were spotty runs, single issues, oneshots, lots of independents, vertigo, mature readers and comics that were continued but I never got the next issue. I asked for $75.00 firm. (there was an omnibus I wanted that the money would go towards. I had people asking all sorts of questions and even gave a few pictures. Then they wanted me to take less. I said no. At this point they are in the same spot in the basement. I freely admit there is no collectibles but doesn’t anyone like a readers bargain? If I came across something like this at a yard sale I would not have thought twice. At some point the books will end up at Goodwill. I figured they would go quick. Shows what I know.
I agree with you there, Tim: I would’ve more than likely snatched that offer up if it’d been at a garage sale, myself. The closest thing I have to a theory is that people don’t like buying this stuff blind unless it’s super-cheap.
And you’re right, thanks to Comixology and Marvel Unlimited, it was much, much easier for me to just take the plunge. I think I would’ve taken it anyway for all the reasons I talk about, but I don’t really know for sure. The fact I was able to do this within five years of the emergence of digital is probably not a coincidence.
Glad to be of service, Mike!
This isn’t actually a comment on this podcast, but you guys’ enthusiasm for Judge Dredd persuaded me to check out some…and some more…and to borrow some collections from friends. I’m enjoying various storylines from recent years way more than I would have guessed. Thanks!
Bittersweet stuff with Jeff’s collection sell-off, a right of passage of sorts. Thanks for sharing.
Also thanks for the Decompression podcast reco, Graeme. A very interesting Hickman reflective. So honest.
I wound up giving away my collection after my parents passed away as moving/shipping them cross-country wasn’t practical (I kept them at their house). They ended up with a 9 year old who I’m told loves them and they’re spurred his interest in art to the extent that he’s drawing his own comics, which is pretty cool. It was weird giving them up, even though I hadn’t really looked at them for about 10 years prior. Knowing they were there was comforting, I guess. Even now, 5 years later, I have random urges to read the most random issues that I had (like that Guardians of the Galaxy issue with future Ghost Rider. Fortunately Marvel Unlimited is there to remind me how terrible it is:-) But yeah, I find myself re-buying and re-reading a lot of things from the dollar bins. I don’t keep them though, I give them away. It’s comforting not to worry about all those boxes. Haven’t gone full digital yet, still buy trades, but I can see that happening. Right now I tell myself I’m keeping them around if my kid grows up and is interested in them, but at the same time I get what Jeff was saying about burdening someone with all this stuff. As I get older (almost 40) I’m pretty much over accumulating stuff and happy to have less of it.
I think it’s great you know they ended up with someone who appreciates them and loves them. It’s amazing how weirdly important that is.
I’m really hoping dollar bins and digital–with a few high-end trades here and there–will scratch the itch. I think it will. Like you said, I’m happy to have less of it.
As usual, really enjoyed the podcast, gentlemen. Rather than ramble too long, I’ll echo previous sentiments regarding the discussion of Jeff’s (and Graeme’s previous) collection-purge — fascinating and insightful, especially as it pertains to our thoughts of mortality. Thank you, as always, for being so open and honest. That, coupled with your enthusiasm, always comes through and bumps Wait,What? to the top of my podcast “pile” when a new one hits.
The discussion, toward the end, about the differences between Epic’s creator-owned series and the advent of Image was another interesting dialogue. I completely agree that the Image founders, wisely, not straying too far from what they had been doing at Marvel most likely had a lot to do with the success of the imprint’s–and eventually, the company’s–launch. Not only was the art what fans had come to expect, but it was in service to superhero titles. And, not just superhero titles, but, it could be argued, they all created and published characters that strongly resembled those books, at Marvel, on which they had made their reputations.
– McFarlane worked on a solo character, like Spider-Man
– Jim Lee created a new team, not unlike the X-Men
– Liefeld created a team, not unlike his work for New Mutants & X-Force
– Erik Larsen, a solo book, like Spider-Man
– Whilce Portacio, a team book, like X-Men
– Marc Silvestri, a team book, like X-Men (I see a pattern)
– Jim Valentino seemed to be the only one who moved away from his most recent work–team book, Guardians of the Galaxy–to create a solo character with Shadowhawk
– but then, soon after opening shop, we also had Dale Keown come over with Pitt, which wasn’t just a solo book like the Hulk, but a gigantic, hypertophied beast, like the Hulk.
Seems like Jim Starlin was the big exception in the Epic line of books, with Dreadstar making it to the mid-30s (or was it early-40s?) before heading to First Comics, which is where creators seemed to have more success with their “creator-owned” books (quotation marks because, as we’ve discovered, First managed to tie up the legal rights of those characters pretty dramatically, for years), such as American Flagg, Grimjack, Badger, Nexus, and Jon Sable. I wonder if the finances of the whole thing–increased costs at Marvel versus First Comics, maybe?–had anything to do with the relative success Chaykin, Grell, Ostrander, Baron, Rude, et al. had with these books?
Anyway, another great discussion. Thank you for the time and effort put into these podcasts. They’re always great.
It’s a good question, Chris. I think there’s a pretty good case to be made that by also releasing OGNs of their work-for-hire characters under the imprint (if I’m remembering correctly), Marvel really muddied the waters with Epic, so people who were drawn to it weren’t sure what they were going to get.
Whereas with First or Eclipse, there was the sense of a separate brand and therefore separate set of expectations, maybe?
As always, thanks for the observations. And glad to know you’re still listening and enjoying the podcast!
As it’s the night before the anniversary of the death of my wife from cancer (when I was 50) you seemed to be hitting that coincidence button hard!
Also, I sent an email to Marvel last week appreciating the good in the recent Howard the Duck series and was very surprised to get an email back from Will Moss. Unexpected consideration.
Ooof, David. So sorry for your loss. Apart from coincidence, I can only imagine what other buttons might have been pushed. Thanks for mentioning it.
And thanks for letting us know about the email back from Will Moss re: HTD. I doubt that’d surprise Graeme as I know they’ve talked before, but it was a very pleasant surprise for me!
More Stardew Valley Talk!
I would love that–although I’m pretty much the worst video game player of all time, so half the comments would be variations on “you’re halfway through year three and you still haven’t done _________ yet?!”
Just wanted to chime in and say that I, too, was quite moved by your thoughts on parting with your collection, Jeff. Thanks very much for sharing all of that so honestly and so hilariously. Also, the discussion of how much of the amazingly evocative nostalgia found in single issue comics comes from the ads (house ads, bubble gum ads, etc) really resonated; these ads, along with letters pages and text pages and editorials, are the reasons why I strongly prefer single issues over trades in virtually all cases (unless the trades come equipped with mad bonus features).
Thanks, Zar. That stuff packs a punch, but I don’t feel too bereft without it…especially with today’s comics where the ads are filled like airless placeholders for where actual ads should go.
Thanks for opening up, Jeff. I have thousands of comics and need to do some pruning. I’ve given away/ sold for cheap a ton of comics but I keep buying more.
I don’t know if I can cut the cord to the degree I should. The feelings & memories associated with specific issues or just “comics” in general are strong. I can get rid of the obvious junk (e.g. Early Image & new 52) but can’t quit the rest. At least for now…
Speaking of early Image, we really didn’t have rock star artists until that point, did we? John Byrne might be the closest, but his work wasn’t as “NOW!” as what Lee/ Liefeld/ McFarlane put out circa 1991. Epic was okay but it didn’t have artists as popular as the Image founders or writers as good as the British Invasion crew of the late-’80s. Other than Elektra:Assassin and Groo (and maybe Moonshadow or Alien Legion) the output of Epic has been basically forgotten. Vertigo (and pre-Vertigo DC) did it better while Image scratched the itch for the early adolescent crowd.
Thanks, Mike. I definitely know that “I can’t quit you” feeling with regard to your books. Whatever you decide, I hope it works out well for you.
As for rock star artists, early Image definitely took that concept to a level we haven’t seen before or since. And the Brit Invasion also really upped the game as well. Still, I find Epic’s lack of overall success to be kind of dismaying.
I wouldn’t mind hearing Graeme expand more on what he found so terrible about Agents of SHIELD when he dipped back in this year. Not that it’s The Wire or anything in my view, but it’s competent network television nowadays, for me, if rarely (not never) more than that. In contrast with “My God, this is Not Good,” which it was when it started out. Even if it has never recaptured the end of season one, when it was for a brief shining moment really quite good.
But I’m genuinely curious about what he reacted to so negatively – I always find your opinions interesting even when I don’t agree with them.