Anybody got $13-18K to buy the 1st TMNT comics?

29 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Gobbledygook #1 cover

Can I has?

There aren’t too many comics series that I actually collect anymore. For most series, simply having the story in book form is enough. One of my few exceptions is the original 1980s-1990s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, which have that handmade, “Look, anybody can do this” feel along with stories that remain both alive with fun and vibrantly different than anything else of the era. I’m a sucker for great packaging, and these comics had the exact right dose of quality and enthusiasm that told me that TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird both love comics and appreciate their readers.

I’ve managed to get my hands on just about every single published TMNT appearance, but a handful of rarities have eluded me: TMNT #1 (1st and 2nd printings), #2 (1st printing), and the very first TMNT appearance in the insanely rare photocopied/hand-stapled minicomics Gobbledygook #1 & 2 (of which only 50 of each exist).

Gobbledygook #2 cover

Please?

I’ve just discovered that not one, but two sets of Gobbledygook are on eBay. One set is ungraded (as CGC doesn’t grade photocopied minicomics); the other is graded by PGX and claims to be the highest-graded copies available (if not the only ones ever professionally graded). This is a Big Deal because these are among the rarest and most historically significant comic books of all time. Forget those early superhero comics of the 1930s-1960s (most of which have been reprinted and thus have widely available contents); Gobbledygook #1-2 are the real Holy Grail of comics, and the prices offered for these have finally started to reflect this. And as much as I hate seeing comics sealed up and graded, anything that helps preserve something this rare and important is probably a good thing.

Considering the extreme rarity of these minicomics (these belong in a museum!), I could actually live without them: IF all of the material in them has been reprinted elsewhere. My guess is that the contents were all reprinted in the 1985 Fugitoid and 1986 Gobbledygook one-shots (two of the most common 1980s TMNT-related comics, still easily available cheap). Anybody know for sure?

And if not, can anybody with $13,000-18,000 buy them for me?

Gobbledygook #1-2 back cover

Coming soon!

Quote of the Day: Ed Brubaker on superheroes

17 Dec

by Mike Hansen

From Point Blank #1 (the prelude to Sleeper) – click to make bigger:

Ed Brubaker quote

I love it when comics mix genres. Ed Brubaker’s blend of crime and superheroes in Sleeper and Incognito is a blast. His murder/revenge story in Captain America was easily the best thing about Marvel’s Civil War event a few years back. (I’m still woefully behind on new comics, but what I’ve read of his horror/crime series Fatale has been amazing so far…)

I read The Big Lie

16 Dec

by Mike Hansen

The Big Lie coverOkay, things are going to get political for a minute here.

I thought today’s report that a major paper owned by the King of Right-Wing America (Rupert Murdoch) advocates one of the major arguments of the Joker of Left-Wing America (Michael Moore) in his film Fahrenheit 9/11 – that there is compelling evidence that the Bush administration ensured that a number of Saudis and bin Laden relatives were safely escorted out of the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 attacks – made today a good time to talk about a comic book that makes me really uncomfortable.

There are few comics that I’ve been truly embarrassed to have bought (Holy Terror being chief among them), but Rick Veitch’s The Big Lie comes closer than most. It came out in September 2011, “commemorating” the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by advocating an already-debunked conspiracy theory that explosives helped bring down three World Trade Center buildings.

The Big Lie p13

The best conspiracies mix in plenty of truth to sound more convincing…

Julian Darius at Sequart has already written what I consider the definitive review of this work, so click over there and check it out. Then check out these cool pages of outtakes from The Big Lie on Rick Veitch’s website.

What makes me so squirmy about The Big Lie is Continue reading

Batman: The Killing Joke ad

6 Dec

by Mike Hansen

With all the recent noise about a newly discovered page from The Killing Joke that was redrawn to be less graphic (and no, in no way does this imply that the Joker is a rapist, you sick bastards: she was shot in the belly), I thought I’d post this cool ad I came across recently from 1988:

Batman: The Killing Joke ad

I dig the logo – it wasn’t used in the actual comic. I wonder who designed it.

(Count me as one of the readers who prefers the original fantastical colors to the 2008 edition’s recoloring. The original colors added another dimension to the storytelling, while to me the newer colors give the book a more flat, illustrative quality. I like them both, but I’d rather read a comic than just look at the pretty pictures.)

Upgrade or Downgrade? Black Orchid Deluxe hardcover

4 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Black Orchid Deluxe HCI hadn’t intended to do another Up-or-Down so soon, but I’ve gotten several requests for more, and since they’re easier to do as I’m organizing my comics and cleaning up my place, why not?

As I’ve mentioned, in the late 1980s-early 1990s DC Comics was on to something truly special. Few publishers at the time were turning out classic after classic (Dark Horse is the only one that comes to mind) and, though I was too young to appreciate it at the time, DC proved beyond a doubt that comics post-Watchmen/Maus/Dark Knight Returns were validated as true literature.

One of DC’s earliest projects to demonstrate this was 1988’s Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, one of their first U.S.-published comics works (along with The Sandman). A strange, short tale about unintended consequences and beauty in a violent world, Black Orchid was the first story to reveal the sophistication of Gaiman’s later self-contained works (his early Sandman stories were strange, cliffhanger- and superhero-populated affairs) and McKean’s sense of story-as-design he later applied to Arkham Asylum and Cages.

Black Orchid TPB 1st printing

The 1993 trade paperback (1st printing). Note the DC logo blotching an otherwise beautiful cover.

THE GOOD: The 2012 oversized Deluxe hardcover edition of Black Orchid is Continue reading

Cool Art: World’s Finest ad by Steve Rude & Karl Kesel

3 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Here’s a preliminary version of Steve Rude’s cover to World’s Finest (1990) #1. Unlike the final, painted version by Rude, this ad version is inked by Karl Kesel and traditionally colored.

To the best of my knowledge, this version has never been collected in any DC book: I know for sure it wasn’t in the original 3-issue miniseries or the recent Deluxe Edition hardcover (I’ve never owned the older trade-paperback collected edition, but I’d be surprised if this was in there).

Anyway, cool art, huh? This is pretty much exactly how Superman and Batman should look, especially in comics aimed at kids under 18. (Remember when superhero comics were aimed at kids?)

World's Finest ad

Upgrade or Downgrade? Animal Man Omnibus

2 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Animal Man OmnibusOkay, this is gonna be a quick one, since I’ve been away… I’ve been recovering from a rather inconvenient surgery (minor skin cancer, fortunately quite curable), so apologies for my infrequent posting over the last few months. One of the few things I’ve been able to do easily over the past several weeks has been to FINALLY organize my comics collection, so expect a lot more stuff in the near future. Onward!

The Animal Man Omnibus is 99% perfect. The story contents remain an essential touchstone for mainstream comics’ transition to more mature and deconstructionist material, and made Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, All-Star Superman, New X-Men, Doom Patrol, Batman, JLA, etc.) one of comics’ biggest names. (John Byrne did a fun, goofy take on a main character that knows it’s a fictional comic-book character in Sensational She-Hulk, which was published at about the same time as this Animal Man material – but Byrne’s mastery of old-school, 1960s/70s-inspired comics storytelling hasn’t received the same accolades as Morrison’s innovations.)

Secret Origins #39 cover

A missing Animal Man piece that’s finally been reprinted.

THE GOOD: This book features Grant Morrison’s entire run on Animal Man, including Animal Man #1-26 and a story from Secret Origins #39. Morrison took a ridiculous character (a guy in orange tights who gains the powers of animals) and built the perfect story around him, one that breaks down the entire idea of the role of superhero stories. The story is a must-read for anyone who appreciates a mature take on the frankly immature superhero concept, and has a permanent place in comics history.

Extras include all Continue reading

A Very Special Thor Poster

6 Nov

by Mike Hansen

Seen in China:

Thor The Dark World chinese poster

They look adorable together, don’t they?

Source

Quote of the Day

6 Nov

“I didn’t even know that my health insurance has a $75,000 limit. If I got my legs cut off by a train or if my wife had her head chopped off by a helicopter and needed a head transplant, we would be screwed. Those operations are expensive. So my insurance is getting canceled and we’re getting a cheaper policy with no limit. I can now be eaten by a giant army of ants and I will be covered. So there.”

– Tony Millionaire (Maakies, Sock Monkey, Billy Hazelnuts, etc.)

Upgrade or Downgrade? Hellblazer: Original Sins

19 Sep

by Mike Hansen

Hellblazer: Original Sins (1st printing)

Hellblazer: Original Sins (1st & 2nd DC Comics printing)

Occasionally, I’ll buy more than one edition of a graphic novel. Sometimes it’s by accident (which is surprisingly easy when one has thousands of books!); sometimes it’s because the newer one looks like a better version…

After a big move five months ago, I’ve finally gotten around to organizing my comics again, and I’ve discovered a LOT of duplicate material in some of my books. So as a Public Service, I thought I’d share what I know, so you can make a more informed decision on which books to buy. I’m a giver.

I’m starting with DC/Vertigo’s Hellblazer books, as I’ve managed to amass most of them over the last 21 years. It’s one of the best horror comics series of all time, so if all you care about is whether it’s good the answer is YES. Hugely imaginative, massively influential, the stories of John Constantine remain as potent today as they did when they were first published over the last 26 years. Even the character’s creator, Alan Moore, has praised the work of writers Jamie Delano and Brian Azzarello on the series, despite his general hatred of DC Comics.

the 1993 Warner Books edition

1993 Warner Books edition

(It’s a shame that DC decided to incorporate its “mature” characters back into its New 52 superhero line. If only DC knew how to properly manage its intellectual property and branding, instead of taking an “all or nothing” approach to its company-owned material, draining the life and power out of ideas that now fall far short of their potential. I’m grateful that a large enough audience exists for the “real” John Constantine so the Hellblazer stories can continue to be reprinted.)

I’ve given DC Comics a hard time a lot lately (because, let’s face it, that company has done a shit-ton of stupid things in public in the last few years – hell, in the last few weeks), but the company hasn’t survived for over 75 years by being stupid all the time. The DC of today doesn’t Continue reading

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