Marvel’s plan for an Eternals film is music to the ears of comics dealers

Marvel’s Kevin Feige has announced on the films they’re working on for the future is The Eternals, another Jack Kirby creation as is most of Marvel’s cinematic output, but this time from the autumn years of his career and his last big creative burst.

Heavily influenced by the work of chancers like Erich von Däniken, The Eternals was essentially Chariots of the Gods with superheroes which frankly does it an injustice as it really is a work of demented genius as Kirby threw all the ideas he’d had rattling in his his head into one big pot since his New Gods series ended too soon at DC.

Problem is it isn’t one of Kirby’s best works. Sure, it has some amazing ideas (Marvel have already used the Celestials in their films) but it really is disjointed at best, and every attempt to resurrect the title since the 1970’s has seen comic dealers stock up on what would quickly be unsold comics destined for the 50p boxes. I’ve worked for shops where vast mountains of unsold Eternals would be summits to conquer and now with one passing comment, Kevin Feige has made those comics valuable. Right now old wizened dealers are reaching for their price guns to stick a 50% plus premium on Eternals back issues.

So thank you. At this rate we might all get rid of stuff we’d thought would die with us.

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What I thought of Action Comics #1000

80 years ago Action Comics #1 was published and the world of comics, indeed, the world at large, changed as Superman quickly became a massive success. The fact that Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster’s creation is still with us speaks volumes about the strength of the character in how he relates to people.

1000 issues for an America comic is a landmark, though it does have to be said the only reason Action is hitting that landmark now ahead of Detective Comics (which started publishing first) is due to a period in the 1980’s when it was published weekly. On the whole DC Comics have managed to produce a fitting anniversary issue with the only real duffer being Brian Bendis’s first Superman story which is just a pretty standard fight scene with a cliffhanger ending which is to make you buy his new run.

The issue starts with a very 90’s feeling story by Dan Jurgens which isn’t substantial but reads nicely and reminds me how simple it is to write Superman if you don’t make him an arrogant prick.

Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Never-Ending Battle is a lovely look through Superman’s history that consists of splash pages, and Marv Wolfman and Curt Swan team up in an unpublished story which reads like something from the 80’sand is again, a nice read. It’s also nice to see Curt Swan’s pencils (Jackson Guice inks him) again.

One of the highlights here is Geoff Johns and Richard Donner’s (the one who directed the 1978 film) The Car, drawn by Oliver Coipel. It deals with the story of that car Superman is smashing up on the cover of #1 and is quite literally the spirit of Superman in just a few pages.

Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerue’s The Fifth Season is a Superman/:Lex Luthor story which doesn’t quite hit the heights it aims for but Tom King and Clay Mann’s Of Tomorrow is wonderful. It reads like a coda to Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman which is no passing praise.

Five Minutes by Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway again reads like something from the 1990’s which isn’t to insult it. IN fact compared to DC’s current often awful storytelling in its comics, it’s a joy to read this as well as seeing the great Jerry Ordway doing what he’s best at.

The stand out gem and reason you should buy this is Actionland! by Paul Dini and the great Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. It is everything great about a period of Superman’s history done in a way that looks glorious.

Brad Meltzer and John Cassaday’s Faster Than A Speeding Bullet lives up to the title and this leads into the first Bendis Superman story which is the least substantial thing here.

Action Comics #1000 is a fitting tribute to the character and title that kicked off an entire industry that changed the lives of millions. For a title that’s often had less than stellar work in its pages over the decades (Superman quickly became the main focus for the character) this reminds us of the title’s anthology origins and how good Superman can be if done right. Here’s to seeing what happens over the next 1000 issues…

A few words about the Comics Scene article about Toxic!

Comics Scene is a new magazine about the medium and history of comics.

Launched at last week’s Edinburgh Comic Con, the magazine is an oddity. An analogue product in the digital age, but for old and new fans of comics Comics Scene provides some fantastic articles on the history of comics. One of those articles is written by John McShane about Toxic!, the sadly aborted attempted to launch a serious competitor to 2000AD.

John is restricted by space, and in his second part John’ll be going into a wee bit more detail, but it’s a sort of parallel story to my blogs on the history of Neptune Distribution. In John’s article he speaks of of Geoff, Neptune’s MD, formed the crew that became Trident Comics, which at that time printed work from Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Michael Moorcock, Paul Grist and a number of established creators not to mention creators who would soon become established like Mark Millar.

One of the things Comics Scene provides a platform for it to put these seemingly small, but actually huge bits of comics history not just in context but giving it the spotlight they deserve. And this deserves it because to put it bluntly this period of time didn’t just change the UK comics scene to the extent where fresh talent poured into the industry like at no other time in my lifetime, but it changed how the direct market itself changed in the UK.

I won’t embellish what John writes about in this first issue too much (I’ll save that for when John’s articles are over as chatting with John has dug up some more stories of the time, as has a chat with Titan’s Mike Lake), because as said, there’s more to come but this different perspective is good because it shows the scale of what was going on at a time when comics were seemingly never going to stop growing. Sadly the speculator boom of the 90’s did that in as did too many publishers that promised much but produced work which was poor or was fantastic, but the publisher died before their time and this ultimately is the story of Toxic!. 

I’d recommend Comics Scene. Yes, it is a magazine but there’s something nice and tactile about picking something up in your hands and reading it that doesn’t come from a blog or vlog. So go search it out now and give it your support.

 

Everybody in the Place-Edinburgh Comic Con 2018

Last year I visited Edinburgh Comic Con as a mere punter, and being suitably impressed, took a table for this year’s event as I continue to build up my wee comics business since relocating back to Scotland after several decades. This would be by far the largest show I’ve done in Scotland since 1994 and a chance to kick-start things up a gear, so after some planning and some serious searching to throw in a few dozen or so comics that I’m certain would never have been offered on sale in a show in Scotland, I was ready.

The Friday before the show involved driving. That thankfully was being done by my friend Doug, but as we whisked between Edinburgh and Glasgow to pick up my stock and head back to a damp, foggy Edinburgh it hit us that as a capital city, Edinburgh was doing all it could to make it impossible for anyone unfamiliar with the city to find anywhere as there were no street signs, which added to the fact there was roadworks everywhere and on top of that there was a thick fog, what should have been an easy task was made a chore. Eventually we found the B&B I was staying at which was in 1975.

But it was a nice place that was decently priced in a city that knows how to extract cash out of people. Even more eventually we found the exhibition centre where the show was to be held. Once there some incredibly helpful staff unloaded the van and I proceeded to set up. That was pretty painless amazingly.

Here’s me looking cheery with the stock looking pretty bloody good if I don’t say so myself.

I really do look knackered, but then again I’d just spent a night sleeping in a bed from the 1970’s.

So that’s ten boxes of back issues, a box of variants, two boxes of Silver and Bronze age, a wall full of creamy goodness and loads of stuff under the table waiting to fill a hole.

The doors opened for advance ticket holders at 9.30am. Normally at a show I’d not expect any sort of surge til a good half hour, and as this was only a handful I was happy that I wouldn’t have to run around like a lunatic for a while and I could catch up more with Andy, a former AKA Books and Comics person who was helping me over the weekend.

Wrong. The table soon became busy, then hectic, then rammed as wave after wave of people descended to buy comics. Lots and lots of comics.Obvious titles like Deadpool, Walking Dead and the Avengers were selling but across the board and as for the Silver ad Bronze age, they were selling well. Now I wasn’t overpricing, or religiously adhering to the guide price. I wanted to make money but I also wanted to shift books so everything was priced to sell and sell they did.

That evening in the pub chatting to former AKA people, Steve Montgomery and John McShane I didn’t really manage to grasp just how well I’d done til the next morning when my table looked different.

At least a box of back issues had been sold, the wall flash was different having sold so much off it, and I could bring the packs off the floor. All in all the table looked good and things were going well.

The above is the table on the Sunday morning before the doors opened, and being where I was meant that people could see I sold comics quite easily. It was also open so I could chat, talk and pitch so easily it was an actual pleasure to work the show. Ok, there wasn’t a huge Avengers: Infinity War event, but frankly the film (which as of writing isn’t even out yet) has had such an obvious effect in getting people, especially kids, interested in comics (not bubble tea, or whatever tenuous link some shows and traders have with comics) as a source of entertainment and as a medium. The latter is important because while this book is happening the more kids who see comics for a medium to be explored the better so a huge thanks to organiser James Lundy and his crew who ensured that as a show, the medium of comics was dominant.

Edinburgh Comic Con proves a point that you can not just run a very, very good show in Scotland of this size (in 35 or so years of attending shows this is one of the best I’ve attended) but if you’ve got the stuff (and you know your comics) then you can draw people into the medium. And by the end of the show I was three boxes lighter, knackered and ready for a lot of time in bed sleeping.

I’d like to say more about the con but I can’t. I barely saw the show but what I did was full of people enjoying themselves, and best of all, reading comics. Even better than that, comics they’d bought from me…

Now, the next step in this wee journey. More on that another time but next year I’ll be back at Edinburgh in a much larger operation so more folk can get some comics that may well spark them to become a dealer, or even a creator so we have a next generation of fans who love the medium.

 

Intermission…

I haven’t fell off the end of the world. I’m just taking my time recovering from the Edinburgh Comic Con and should have myself together to complete my report on it tomorrow, work permitting. I think I’ve learned the limits of my post-stroke/cancer body and need to perhaps listen to it rather than tell it to fuck off and go whistle.

So, a full report to come but til then here’s a look of what a comic convention is like if you’re desperately knackered…

Coming Down

This weekend was the Edinburgh Comic Convention. In the 35-ish years It is one of the best organised shows for dealers I’ve attended. I am right now though, a tad knackered and I’m waiting for pizza so a full report will come soon but right now it’s a case of food, sleep and coming down from what was an excellent show.

So, laters.

Five Years

Five years ago today I wrote this and started this here blog. At the start there was a massive ejaculation of stuff about comics but that since has turned into a solid stream of stuff ranging from comics, to politics (the 2014 Scottish independence referendum being a particular highlight), to rants, to general musings. In 2016 I had a stroke and was diagnosed with cancer, and although the cancer is gone I’m living with the aftermath of 2016 most of the time. Because of this I’ve relocated from Bristol back to Glasgow and my life in April 2018 is vastly different to that of April 2013.

At this moment in time I’m trading at the Edinburgh Comic Con right next to Saltire comics, so come say hello and next week I’ll drop a few special blogs, as well as an argumentative one, to celebrate five years.