Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Wedthursday Comicro - boldly going where so many have gone before...

When I was a kid, Gold Key comics were a road trip staple. Easily found in gas stations and variety stores all over Ontario, the Gold Key line was an odd mix of horror, sword'n'sorcery, funny animal and licensed books. Korak and Turok, Boris Karloff, Mighty Samson and Doctor Solar were usually found strewn across the backseat as Dad drove down the 401 (if you've taken the route, and if you're from eastern Canada, you have, then you'll recall the magnificent scenery and epic vistas. Or you won't because I'm totally lying. Think of driving through central Ohio and subtract your will to live). The funny thing about Gold Key, especially for me as kid, was there never an urgency to get the next issue, and absolutely no desire to "collect" them at all. They had no value to me other than a quick disposable read. My Marvels were held in reverence, and NEVER traveled outside the home unless purchased on the road. The Gold Keys were readable ballast; time eaters and cures for the common Highway 401.

The only Gold Key comic title that DID matter was the Star Trek run from 1967 to 1979 (though I stopped reading them by '75). As I was ruminating on this topic driving to work recently, I thought to myself "I wonder if anyone has a guide to Star Trek comics". Well, big thanks to Kevin Church over at Comics Alliance. Back in the summer of '13, he penned A Navigational Guide to Star Trek Comics, and that's all you'll really ever need on the topic.

Oh, you want more, do you? OK, how about this:
A Star Trek Comics Checklist

Perhaps you like words without pictures? (weirdo)
Star Trek Literary Reading Order

Oh, the heck with it; just get this:

Now available in that fancy new CD-ROM format, it contains every Star Trek comic from 1967 to 2002. Over 500 issues for less than $50. That's a pretty good deal, regardless of format.


If you've been reading the Zombie Cat Bacon family of blogs this past year, you may have noticed my admiration for a certain TV comedy from the early '80's. I squealed with glee when I found out Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series (with nearly 100% of the music!). And now this:

WKRP in Cincinnati is a Good Thing, in any format.


Two significant and progressive small press comic publishers announced their 2015 lineups this past week, and I think this is an encouraging trend among the ever-expanding universe of micro publishers. More! I want to see more! Show me your plans! Show off your best assets! Prove to the huddled masses of comic buyers there are creative and exciting options to the Big Two!

Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter presents the lowdown on Youth In Decline in an interview with Ryan Sands.

The Beat's Heidi MacDonald got the scoop on SelfMadeHero and the new Scott McCloud book, the Sculptor.

All of this is good, too. Man, it's great to be a comic book fan these days.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Wednesday Comicro - Happy Fun Times!

[First, a note: I have been absent from the Interwebs lately, not because I don't love you anymore, but rather I was tied up with annual budget season at my paying gig. After a few weeks of staring at a computer screen full of multiple spreadsheets, my bespectacled noggin needed a break.]

Hey kids! It's Happy Fun Link Time! A smattering of interesting (to me at least) stuff from the world of comics.

First up, Black Mask Studios is a comics/media group founded by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), Brett Gurewitz (of Bad Religion) and Matt Pizzolo (founder of Occupy Comics). As recently seen on Bleeding Cool, they've announced a very ambitious 2015 release schedule of some Image-quality titles (and I AM judging by covers). The BMOC here is Sinatoro from Grant Morrison and Vanessa Del Rey. Morrison doing work for someone other than the Big Two or Image is an interesting development, and reminds me of Bobby Hull jumping to the WHA (ask your grandparents, I guess).

Get well soon, Gordie

There has been a fair bit of on-line chatter about the future of comics from many perspectives: the eventual death of the single issue format, the domination of the cinema, comics being marginalized at comic conventions, etc. etc. I focus on the actual content and it's never been better, at least in terms of genre options and available formats. Image's transformation from the best/worst example of speculative 90's drivel to the leading creative house in the business has been very fun to watch. Others are following that path (somewhat slowly in some cases - looking at you, Dark Horse), and in the past three years, there has been an explosion of new talented creators finding outlets for their craft. Black Mask has some very intriguing stuff in the pipeline, and I see some really cool new voices now available in places like Radiator and Paper Rocket.

This is most positive I've felt about comics in loooooong time. I just wish I had the time to consume all the good stuff.

Speaking of the good stuff, I've been (very) slowly gravitating to a wide variety of webcomics. Too many to mention right now but here's two lists that'll getcha started:

  • Last month, io9 threw out a Top Tenner with webcomics that would make good TV shows. Not sure if I agree with all of these, but I'd watch Trekker and Dicebox, at least.
  • To get you in the mood for Friday's Halloween shenanigans, here's a bunch of horror webcomics. Horror comics were an early fave of mine (loved the old ECs!), and there's quite a few very readable choices on this list.

I was an early adopter of Heavy Metal magazine WAAAY back in the late 70's. Due to my love of National Lampoon magazine, I was introduced to HM and teenage me was rather captivated by the striking difference between Euro comics and the North American (mainly Marvel) titles I was habitually reading. Plus, frankly, boobs. Sorry but it's true. Anyway, so now that the title seems to be in the midst of a rebirth, this tidbit jumped out at me from the massive wave of NYCC news. I hope the line is quality-driven, and not the recent Heavy Metal style of brainless hack/slash fantasy nekkid chick stuff. (I fear I may have contradicted myself).

Glaring omission department: Ever wondered what the #1 comics blog is? Well, The Beat has a handy chart right here. That's nice. One question - WHERE IS THE COMICRO? An investigation is pending, I assure you...

Lastly, I hear movies featuring comic book characters are catching on. oh my god, there's HOW MANY COMING UP? 56?! The Beat has another handy chart with all of the info right here. At this rate, The Comicro will be featured on the silver screen before we hit 1000 readers...

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A history of women in comics, the Tiny Report arrives, and much much more

Quite a few items to bring to your attention today (it is Wednesday, right? It's not? Damn...). First, Collectors Weekly's Lisa Hix offers up a thorough history of women in comics since 1896 (!) featuring Trina Robbins, an indy comics legend.

It is a fascinating look at the history of the form, and I highly recommend you go read it when you have the time - great interview and anecdotes, plus a wonderful array of images from the past 100+  years.

You can purchase Trina's Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 by clicking the link. It's definitely worthy of your time and cash.

Speaking of women in comics, the indy micro-press world is well-represented by Robyn Chapman and the Tiny Report as well her own publishing efforts at Paper Rocket. I received the 2013 Tiny Report in the mail yesterday (thanks, Robyn, for the quick shipping!), and very much look forward to exploring the world of small press comics even deeper then ever before. It's nice to have everything in one handy resource - get yourself a copy here. You do have $3, don't you?

Heidi at The Beat featured a bunch of SPX news recently, including the Micro-Press and Beyond panel, moderated by Robyn. The post highlighted some of the data found in the Tiny Report, so go there now to get a sneak peek.

Here's a interview with Rachel Richey, who's been doing great work bringing Golden Age Canadian comics back into print. Great to have you back, Johnny Canuck!

Other stuff:

  • Why are mint condition comics so expensive? I say supply and demand forces fed by boomer nostalgia but there's more to the story here at Salon.
  • Another Canadian comic, this one from my teen years, is coming back too. Puma Blues was a unique book, and would stand out on the racks even now. Check out the story here at Bleeding Cool
  • And lastly, Last Gasp needs your help for their fall publishing line. Two weeks to go on Kickstarter and they're about less than a third of the way there. Beautiful books for every taste, and LG has been a survivor throughout many turbulent years in the comics publishing biz. Go help 'em out here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shifting demos, micro publishing and warrior squirrels - The Comicro has it all!

First up, the most recent big news of the micro press  - Legendary comics publishing house Fantagraphics has introduced FU Press:
FU, Buddy!
Fantagraphics Books Starts A Micro Publishing Imprint -
Fantagraphics Underground (FU) Press
SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 - SEATTLE, WA — Fantagraphics Books is launching Fantagraphics Underground Press (FU Press), a new micro imprint that will publish books and print projects appealing to a smaller, more rarefied readership. The Fantagraphics mission has always been to publish comics and cartoons that take risks and reflect the uncompromising vision of the artist. It's also crucial for us to put out books that will survive in an unforgiving mass market, but, what about work that doesn't quite fit into our standard business model? Work by relatively unknown cartoonists that's innovative, quirky, idiosyncratic, oddball, experimental, or downright crazy, work by established cartoonists that's simply off-kilter or too obscure to sustain a mass market release, or archival work by significant cartoonists who have been overlooked and that might otherwise be short-shrifted due to the commercial demands of the traditional marketplace.
The FU Press imprint will inhabit a space between self-publishing and mass-market publishing. We'll print limited editions (between 100 and 500 copies), market them on our website, help arrange signings and convention appearances, and sell them at comic festivals and to a select few comics shops across North America and overseas. With such an ever-changing landscape, we have the opportunity to produce exciting and hand-crafted editions in short runs here in the United States utilizing a wide gamut of printing methods and formats: everything from a traditional digital-offset paperback to a hand sewn jacketed softcover to an epic accordion book; as projects demand, we can utilize silkscreen or letterpress, or any combination, and create truly artisanal books.
While you might argue Fantagraphics is a micro itself in the larger scope of the publishing world, this is very cool news. An industry influencer giving more promotional weight to handmade craft comics, giving a louder megaphone to voices that slug it out week by week at small comic and book shows all over the country (and the world) is a Good Thing. We need more Good Things, and FU Press is a Good Thing.

"Good Thing" copyright ZCB Industries

Who are these micro comics peddlers anyway? Well, here's an interview at with a couple dudes you might've heard of, if you've been paying attention. Box Brown produced this, which The Comicro heartily recommends:

The following work is on my Want List. I've always been a sucker for anthropomorphic tales, ever since I read Peter Cottontail, then Watership Down, then Cerebus, etc.

Squarriors, despite the rather awkward title looks like fun. A lot of gory, your-kids-will-hate-you-for-it fun. The creators, Ash and Ashley, are interviewed here at

One last thing for today. One of the best and most readable bloggers, Heidi McDonald, has a very interesting article over at The Beat regarding the changing demographics at some of the bigger comic/pop culture conventions. I've never "cosplayed", and have no interest in it. I don't care if you're into it, and it doesn't diminish my experience when I go to a con. In fact, it can add a really cool vibe, as long as the creepers don't get involved (you know who they are). I also don't have an issue with movies, TV, sci-fi peanut butter co-mingling with my comic chocolate. And I don't know why people do. Times change, genres adapt and morph, and conventions are not the private domain of "comic people". I know certain subcultures can be rather insular and forbidding (looking at you, sexist gamers/RPGers/comicbookguys), but, seriously, what is the problem here? As for certain artists not able to make a living as they used to, I wish things weren't more difficult for you. But they are, and being the creative types that you are, I'm sure you'll find a way to make it work. Jim Zub's Twitter feed has a good overview too (found on Heidi's link above).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Wednesday Comicro featuring the return of Indiestarter!

Earlier this spring, over at Zombie Cat Bacon, I featured a few Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns I thought had merit, were local or just needed a little more publicity. I'm going to go back to that today with two projects, one on each platform. They really are at both ends of the spectrum of creator experience and awareness.

First on Kickstarter, there's Chuck Dixon's Sword of Wood

If you don't know Chuck Dixon, here's a few of the titles he's written over the past 30 years (he's been involved in over 400 titles):
 The 'Nam 
 Action Comics 
 Alien Legion 
 Birds of Prey 
 Captain America 
 Detective Comics 
 El Cazador 
 The Flash 
 G.I. Joe 
 Green Arrow 
 Green Lantern 
 Iron Man 
 The Punisher 
 The Savage Sword Of Conan 
 Simpsons Comics 
 Star Wars 
 Team 7 

Scooby-Doo? Anyway, so here's what I find surprising. With only 10 days to go, the campaign is less than 25% of the way towards it's goal of $20,000. I know Chuck can be a little divisive in his political views, but that's not something we bother with here at The Comicro or anywhere in the ZCB Universe. Is Sword of Wood worth supporting? That depends on your opinion of his past work, the previews you see on KS and possibly your alignment with his politics. I say at least give it a look.

On the other end of the funny book career arc, we have James Hargrave. While new to the comics game, he's, well, I'll let his bio explain:
James Bevard Hargrave is an iconoclast, a punk, a provocateur, a writer, an illustrator, and, ultimately, an avowed multi-hyphenate and Jack of All Trades. His work as a writer and lyricist has appeared in feature films, national television shows, plays, and acclaimed independent records. He was recently the prose editor for LIT Magazine at The New School University, and plans to release his first graphic novel, ELEGANT BATTLE FACE TEENAGERS, independently in 2015.
Elegant Battle Face Teenagers. It was the title that got my attention. EBFT is nearly at 60% of it's goal on IndieGogo - check it out here.

Finally today, we have this story of the World's Largest Comic Book Collection. I think back to this time three years ago, and I was 1/6th of the way towards this guy's total. 1/6th! Of the World's Largest! And I have a few friends who are approaching that number (hey, Matman!). Bob Bretall has a great attitude about the whole thing, not worrying about the "value" so much. The dude just loves comics. Me too.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Not the Wednesday edition

Yes, I'm aware it's Friday. Not quite in the rhythm yet of this new crazy-ass blogging schedule...

Anyway, I see in my Pocket I have saved a few tidbits that are worth sharing, so I'll get those out of the way, before I move onto new topics.

  • From nearly a year ago (I really need to stay on top of these), Chris Sims over at Comics Alliance explained the DC Problem. I didn't read much DC mainly since I was an early adopter of Marvel (1970ish), and the DC Universe never seemed "real" to me as a kid (Metropolis/Gotham vs. New York). I couldn't stand the Legion or Green Lantern, and Superman just couldn't hold my attention (I didn't even see the first movie til years later). I did enjoy Wrightson's Swamp Thing and some of Kirby's DC output (Kamandi and the Demon), and it wasn't until the 80's when New Teen Titans hit the racks that I found something interesting enough to bother. Soon after I drifted to Vertigo and left DC superheroics behind completely. Anyway, Chris Sims is always worth reading so check it out if you haven't already.
  • Just before Christmas 2013, Rich Howells at the mused about collecting. Some basic love-what-you-read-don't-worry-about-the-value stuff, with a nice shout out to Maggie Thompson of CBG fame.
  • In April, the Outhousers' Christian Hoffer talks about the small press, and the joys of discovery. I'm with ya, Christian.
  • I've never been one to dive too deeply into webcomics, but here's a nice list on io9. I will definitely be exploring that corner of the comics universe more in the months to come...
  • In May, around the five year anniversary of, they presented a number of opinions from some of the biggest names in the game right now - Eric Stephenson, Jeff Parker, Jim Zub, Alex Kot and many more. I would be very interested to hear from some of you on this subject as well.
  • Oh, and local (to me) writer Josh Hadley gets grouchy regarding conventions. Way to look at the dark side, Josh.


See you next Wednesday. Yes, Wednesday, I swear.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hello and welcome!

Hi, you might remember this blog from a mention over at the mothership, Zombie Cat Bacon. This is where the majority of my comic book musings will reside from now 'til evermore. We'll talk collecting, the Big 2, indie and small press, the funny book biz, and perhaps I'll share some of my shelf porn.

Wednesday is the day for new comics and, thusly, will be the day for new Comicro jottings.

See you on Wednesday!