A poster I did for an upcoming show featuring 75orless Records bands in Providence, RI. Be there . . .


The Issue Box

I was always a big fan of the little box at the top left of Marvel Comics that had the issue title and on team books little heads of the roster or some other little drawing. DC in the 80s did a similar thing with non-Direct Market books where they had a slogan (like "Who Watches the Watchmen?" or "DCUniverse is Must Reading") in the ISBN box. In recent years, both of those things have faded away into the realm of nostalgia.

While reading this weeks New Joe Fridays Q&A over at Newsarama I came across this:

Q: “ThomHunt”- Any chance we'll ever see the return of the cover corner boxes on Marvel Comics covers?

You remember, the ones that generally depicted a team book's roster or a solo star in some action pose? They are such a rich part of Marvel's history and a truly unique identifier of the "Marvel brand"; I always thought it such a shame when they went away a few years back. What was the reason for their demise? Maybe put it to a fan vote as to whether they should return?

JQ: Of course I remember them, ThomHunt, I dug them too and during my six years we’ve tried to bring them back in several ways. Many years ago, we used a neat little circle window that had the character in the box. Eventually, artistic aesthetics changed and we stopped using them. Most recently we’re using a version of the character box on our X-Men titles.

So, I guess the short answer is that I dig them and I’m sure they’ll keep coming back from time to time but I think the reason you don’t see people artistically going bananas over them is because it’s something that resonates mostly with people in our age group who grew up with it. There is an argument that covers are busy enough and now that comic shops don’t rack their books like the newsstands, it’s not that important. That was the only reason those icons were up there in the first place, so that as the book was racked, you could see the logo but also get an action shot of the hero hopefully enticing you to pull the book out and see what the art on the cover was. Any attempts at doing that now are just warm and cuddly retro moments for we older fans.

Never knew that little marketing reasoning behind the roster box. Even an old dog like me can learn a thing or two every now and again!


The Metamorphosis has begun . . .

Stay tuned for more changes to the look of the Thunderhouse as I get more in depth with the programming.


Venomous Japan

Here is an early and probably unsanctioned look at what Venom will look like in Spider-man 3! This is the action figure from Medicom Toys of Japan that will be coming out in conjunction with the movie. These 12", 1/6 scale figures - the series of them is known as R.A.H. (Real Action Heroes) is well known to collectors as being highly accurate renditions of movie, cartoon, comic and tv characters. I own a number of them, direct from Japan and can attest to their attention to detail and dead-on likenesses. So, this is what Venom will look like in this coming summer's sure-to-be biggest blockbuster!


All About Memories

Over at their new blog, the crew from comics retailer, All About Books, in Phoenix have put up an opportunity for people to talk about their first comic bought. You get some free comics in exchange for your story, and just reading them all is a really great reflection on the industry.

Anyway, I have had this story of my first contact with the collecting addiction that I now suffer for many many years, but have never really shared it. It's not embellished at all, and it really is how I remember it.

So, let me share, children of the night, and read on:

I don't actually remember the first comic that I read, since I read quite a few as a kid - mostly in passing, just looking at the pictures and whatnot at friends and in my uncle's old room when we stayed at my grandmother's house on holidays growing up.

But the first book that made me a collector was on the racks sometime in 1986. I was around 13 or so, at the mall on a Friday night with a bunch of friends. One of our parents had dropped us off and between hanging at the arcade, sneaking into and getting kicked out of movies, and cruising the foodcourt to meet girls (Yeah, like that was going to happen!), we passed an old Waldenbooks. From out on the concourse I could see this really distinct book on a spinner rack near the magazines. We walked by pretty fast, but I couldn't turn my eyes away. I told my friends I saw something and that I would catch up with them at Orange Julius'.

I broke off from the group and made a b-line for the book. It was The Dark Knight Returns, book 4 -- The Dark Knight Falls. It was that sick, mostly black and sunset reds/oranges cover. Batman in silhouette with the big gun and spike-knuckled knife just about to get into it with Superman! It was so striking. I clearly remember thinking "Man! This is what comics are like now! I have to get this!" It was just an incredible cover and had such an immediate effect on me.

I started to reach for it, when suddenly a hand fell on my shoulder. It was one of my friends. He was trying to figure out what I was doing and I made up some excuse about seeing someone I knew. I don't know why but for some reason, I thought comics were just for little kids, but looking at that cover I knew that they weren't (plus I still was a kid!)

Anyway, I never did get the book that night, but I couldn't stop looking at it. The very next week was Thanksgiving and we were off to NY again for a visit to the grandparents. The day after, I begged my dad to bring me and my younger brother to a local 7-11 wannabe store to search out comics. We found a great place and I bought a ton of Batman and Detective comics and even the old History of the DC Universe Portfolio (I still have all of them in my collection.) But I couldn't find that Dark Knight book anywhere. That trip made me an addict, and except for some time in college when I was buying sporadically whenever/wherever I could find them, I haven't missed a Wednesday since. I am now pushing 35 years old.

My dad died 13 years ago this past Sunday. He fed my habit quite a bit those first few years I was collecting, until I got my license. And when I was away in school, he sometimes sent me a book or two, and always put one in my stocking at Christmas. They were usually titles I wasn't collecting, or issues I had, but I always liked those books more. To this day, I can't go to a new comic shop without thinking about him and that first trip he took me and my brother on.

It was about a year later that I finally found a regular comic shop near my home and had educated myself enough from letter columns and ads from places like Mile High Comics that I was able to track down the whole Dark Knight mini. It was worth the wait.
And that cover -- man -- it is still my favorite cover of all time.


First Blost of the New Year

three things:

- first week for new comics this year and it is a mama-jama of a week! Tons of stuff, so no time to write, gots to read.

- the Warren Times has an article about my brother's and 2 friends' band Six Star General - they fail to mention the countless laborious hours I put into their show flyers or album covers - thankless suckers!! (just kidding. No really.) Slick's analysis of the article is, as usual, priceless.

- my prediction for 2007 music: Times New Viking will be the shit. I'm in.