R.I.P. “Fabulous” Flo Steinberg

Charming selection of images with this obit. Always under-credited. I think she was right to quit over the $5 raise issue and that it was a sad testament to the difficulty women face(d?) is the comic book world that she fail to score on her own.

(To be fair, the 1975 timing on Big Apple Comics — I own a copy and “fabulous” is the only word for it — was unfortunate. Underground Comix were going into a death spiral.)

Friday Funnies: Outta-Control Comics Covers from the ’60s

Mainstream comics, that is.

Kona

Suicide Squad

(Exceptionally well designed plot and illustrations for this forgotten comic. Starting at $77.00 on Amazon, so I ain’t crazy.)

Suicide Squad 2

All downhill after this cover, though.

Kona 2

Kickass cover — extremely freaky comic (in Pt. Two esp.)

Suicide Squad 3

I tried to hide everything offbeat I had from my Mother. Left this comic out by accident and she burned it. Not just tossed in the trash: ritually burned in the back yard. (It was more to do with the name — which did seem to have a lot of lasting power — and less with the image.)

Dawn Breaks Over Marblehead: Doom Patrol and Teen Titans

I mentioned the Doom Patrol years ago, but ignorantly didn’t understand how Beast Boy ended up in the Teen Titans. Then this week I saw a Teen Titans episode where they were battling an updated version of The Brain, the leader of the Doom Patrol’s archenemies, the Brotherhood of Evil. Waaaait a minute! How could I have dipped into Teen Titans for years (and enjoyed what I saw for the most part) and not realized they were an obvious reboot of the Doom Patrol! D’OH!! I mean, the Robotman/Cyborg parallels should have hit hard as a smack from an iron fist. The only character that’s halfway a stretch (so to speak) is Elasti-Girl = Starfire … and I now see there’s even been comic-book crossovers that I missed entirely (along with virtually all mainstream comic books since the ’90s). So everything makes sense now and there is a “later” Doom Patrol that I like. Whuddaya no.

Why Comic Books Have Trouble With Innovation and Inclusion

It’s this crazy retail-distribution system.  I remember how shocked and befuddled I was when I first discovered the setup. So that’s why there were heaps of comics in the garbage pile behind the store alla time — can’t send back unsold copies! The late, great Jeep Holland, who worked for Diamond Distributors (when it actually had some competition), told me that, rightly or wrongly, comic-book publishers decided that dealing with unsold copies would be a crucial difference between making money and going broke. Jeep thought this was increasingly misguided since it was based on the assumption that nobody but nobody would be interested in a comic book a month after it came out, let alone years later. (Been great for the collectors’ market of course — it’s why really old comics are really rare.) This also explains why Marvel’s huge outburst of innovation came as they were going down the tubes and had nothing to lose. But also a strong component of why I dropped out of mainstream-comic reading. The rehash mode was impossible to stomach.

R.I.P.: Adam West

Never really escaped the Bat Prison. I sure went through a bunch of cycles about the TV show and the Batman character. I was amused by it until it became a hit. I didn’t like the “campy” comics at all — they took off as I was transitioning to Marvel for good. And though Batman and Robin were everywhere, I felt too much of the time it was merely a new way to say “comic books are junk.” West had a good sense of humor about it all because on some level he was aware he simply couldn’t come up with a second act.

And after time, I agreed there was something damned weird about Batman in general. The science and gadgets were window dressing — Frank Miller was on to something. Batman was, at bottom, a vigilante who had always had a vengeful and cruel streak. I suspected the police department he could work with also included Dick Tracey. So, valuable as they might be, I don’t have a lot of Batman in the back-room boxes. I’m more of a Plastic Man man.

Cosmik Loop Closed By GET OUT

Hmmmmm. Writer/director/producer Jordan Peele got his breakout on MADtv. MAD magazine took off when the line of EC horror comics was effectively censored. Get Out is perfect as a no-holds-barred current combo of EC and MAD on screen. Something has come full circle. Whoo-hooo-haa-HAAAH!

The ghost of William Gains has opened one of the most expensive bottles in his otherworldly wine cellar.