OK, beyond the title of this post (which I mostly chose because, all other things aside, that name is funny) I don't have much to add to the whole "Does Wizard put on worthwhile/relevant/comics-related/cost-effective events, and are they honest/forthcoming/fair about how they run them?" debate. I just don't care to sit around playing arm chair convention critic (not to detract from folks with legitimate criticisms focused on what they look for in a comics show) as I doubt I'd be good at it or that anything I'd say would be of any value to anyone really. But you can check out Shaun Manning and I's report on the show over at CBR if you like. We tried our best to give an honest picture of what most attendees experienced at the show in between the official and non-official responses of organizers and exhibitors...or to paraphrase an evil corporate cable channel and Marvel's silliest campaign of the past 15 years: "We report, U decide."
I will say that personally, the three days of Chicago show at Rosemont I attended were a tremendous amount of fun thanks to the dudes I hung out with. Wizard's Mike Cotton and James Walker were gracious beer-buying hosts. Shaun was an A-list work cohort as always. Meeting the excellent Matthew J. Brady for the first time was everything I imagined it would be and more. And Ethan Van Sciver was pretty hilarious during his late night piano concert. Props to all around!
And on top of the radical hang out time, I also had a TON of time to buy all sorts of dopey comics at the show this year...the first such show I've been able to do so at in I don't know how long. Rickey wanted to know what it was I got, so I'ma list it in honor of him. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or energy to snap photos of all my schwag like he usually does, so you fools are going to have to cope with covers off Comics.Org. But I will categorize them for easy browsability!
1. Comics I Put At The Top Of The List To Sound Pretentious And Hip
You heard me right!
Actually, I put this kind of "Art/Indie/Harder To Categorize With Shitty Back Issues" category out front to note the fact that I went into the Rosemont show mostly looking for crazy dollar bin deals and other bargain basement style comics. I know that if you read Matthew's report, you'll see that there were a lot of art comics and the like out on sale at the show, but a lot of them fell out of my "just finished paying for three summer vacations" price range.
Still, I was FINALLY able to nab a copy of Kevin Huizenga's Ganges #2 at the show after somehow missing the issue when it hit shops in NYC years back. I liked the issue quite a bit, and it made me think about video games in a way I haven't before, but after hearing a lot about that story from friends of mine, the issue failed to hit me in the gut and brain the way #3 did. Of course, how many comics can do what Ganges #3 did?
One totally random dollar bin find I did locate was a promotional Ashcan for Paul Pope's early effort The Ballad of Doctor Richardson. Holy shit, you guys...remember Ashcans?!!?!? I kind of miss them.
Finally, I bought the "digest" trade paperback of Mike Allred's excellent sci-fi love letter to Rock N Roll Red Rocket 7. I almost never buy books in more than one form, but I bought RR7 three times now: once in single issues, a second time as a bigger album-sized trade whose glue binding eventually cracked letting most of the middle pages fall out and now as the slimmer digest. I hope this one lasts me a long time.
2. Crazy Beans Old Comics Mostly Made Before I Was Born
I've been following the ongoing, round robin series of critical essays about the 1970's Don McGregor/Rich Buckler/Others serial "Panther's Rage" in Marvel's Jungle Action (what a GREAT name for a comic!) as well as Tom Spurgeon's subsequent writing on the book and list of how it and other comics are emblematic example of the form in the '70s for the past few weeks now, and it's been enlightening and fun reading for me. For one, I was completely unfamiliar with the storyline's existence before the critical run by Tucker Stone, David Brothers and (I'm assuming) others got underway, so it was really nice to have that "here's a comic I've never heard of" experience which has become more and more rare in the past five years or so once again. For two, despite my general wankery over older comics of all types, I've steered clear of most '70s titles since I was very small for reasons I'm not even sure of. Best I can figure, my avoidance probably stems from equal parts disinterest in a decade whose aesthetic sense never meshed with my own in the slightest sense (I was one of those kids who got into swing music and rockabilly and that greaser/Darwyn Cooke bullshit in Middle School and never really looked back) and the unavailability of affordable back issues from those years throughout the "mark up everything you can" comics market of my youth. In any event, I'm making the effort now to correct that gap in my reading, starting with issues #10, 11 and 14 of that very Black Panther serial.
Speaking of my general love of comics much, much older than I, I nabbed a copy of the second and final issue of Eclipse's (I'm assuming) largely forgotten Siegel & Shuster: Dateline 1930s comic. The reprint book presented early science fiction efforts by the eventual creators of Superman. The comics and stories within are surely crude even compared to those rough-yet-compelling early Superman strips, but the further I get into my own career in the comics game, the more the story of those two men resonates and affects me in weird ways. This is the point in the paragraph where I'll promise a more complete post unpacking that last thought down the road on the CKT, but we both know the chances of me getting to write that post are slim to none. I suck, right?
I also got to scratch my "buy everything Jack Kirby did at DC in the '70s" itch (hey! an exception to prove my earlier rule!) by picking up two issues of the DC First Issue Special series I needed (the "Dingbats of Danger Street" and "Manhunter" issues to be precise). Also on the Kirby beat, I picked up a few issues of the '90s Secret City Saga books from Topps, egged on by another event from this weekend that I'll keep under my hat for now (watch CBR soon!).
On that same front, I snatched up the first issue of DC's original Justice, Inc. comic with the Joe Kubert art because I've already got the Kirby #2 and 3, so why the hell not?
3. Random Marvel Shit
I'll admit it: I can't stop buying Force Works comics out of dollar bins these days. I don't know. It started as a goofy nostalgia itch the week "Iron Man 2" came out and I saw some episodes of the mostly awful in retrospect '90s Iron Man cartoon on cable, but since then I've had a post percolating for the blog about how Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning dropped a superhero team book that presaged a lot of what we're now calling "Comics Clichés of the 2000s." Anyway, amongst the random issues I picked up this time was the Century: Distant Sons one-shot by DnA and Jim Calafiore which I've been looking after for a while now. As their only original creation from that book and a weird alien to boot, I'm kind of surprised DnA haven't used Century in one of their cosmic events somewhere yet. Am I alone in that thought?
On the modern Marvel front, I picked up a copy of that silly Who Won't Wield The Shield? one-shot despite my general distaste for superhero industry in-joke projects as well as the handbook-like Marvelman Classic Primer because, again, I like weird old shit of all stripes and have been a junior Miracleman buff since doing that Wizard profile on the rights issues back in the day.
One of the few "Five Dollar Trades" (LOVE that that's catching on, by the by) I picked up at the show was the Immortal Iron Fist: Escape From The Eighth City trade by Duane Swierczynski and Travel Foreman. Seriously, those guys STEPPED UP after the departure of Fraction and Brubaker from that title, and it's a crying shame not enough people bought it after that point. Actually, it's a crying shame that not enough people bought it throughout the whole run. What in the hell is wrong with people, man?
Oh, and I also bought the first issue of Solo Avengers Featuring Hawkeye And... because despite Jim McCann's effusive promotion of the pair, I'd still never read a Hawkeye/Mockingbird story of any kind and this issue had some early Jim Lee art, which the 12-year-old in me will always be a sucker for.
4. Random DC Shit
For those of you still reading and keeping track of the random claims I make here: yes, the issue of Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman that I bought because both the cover and interior art made me giggle should probably go up in the "Crazy Beans Old" section, but I bought less modern DC stuff this show and wanted to show off this cover in addition to the Black Panther stuff. So here's where she be.
Beyond that, I bought a random handful of Tony Daniel Batman issues for a buck that I needed. I don't really feel like launching into an appraisal of Daniel's work right now, and me talking about my buying of Batman in general is a whole 'nother blog let alone another post, so let's just say I was glad to get them and move on.
Last but not least, I broke my "never buy it twice" rule a second time and snapped up the trade of Morrison and Millar's Aztek The Ultimate Man on the cheap cheap. Holy Lord, has it really been back to college since I last read this book?
5. Random Everything Else Shit
I have so many terrible Mighty Crusaders comics from Rich Buckler's 1980s relaunch of the franchise that I doubt I'll ever need to buy another without even considering the fact that I've probably bought a few of these issues multiple times. Still, when I saw the above cover to Steel Sterling #5, I almost choked I laughed so hard. What in the hell is the story solution to that fucking cover? "Steel Sterling, thank you for teaching us that a democratic society shouldn't endow its citizens with the right to operate automobiles!" It kills me. I think I got #6 too?
Hey, I also bought Starslayer #2 and 3 – the first two appearances of Dave Stevens' Rocketeer. I buy those comics every time I find them in a dollar bin and then give them to someone I know who hasn't read them yet. If that description fits you, post in the comment thread, and I'll mail you both books free of charge.
Got the sixth issue of SLG's Gargoyles comic, which I NEEDED.
Also for no good reason I can think of, I bought my second ever NOW Comics issue of Green Hornet. I think it was actually this one? I don't know. It just kind of shocks me how that series from a kind of forgettable publisher has come to define EVERYTHING that's being done with that franchise today in print and on screen. Why does the NOW legacy version of the character have so much influence?
Finally, I bought an issue of this awful-looking comic called Shuriken on a lark to round up an order at a $0.50 booth and regretted it almost immediately after.
Comics...you know I love you, but sometimes I fucking hate you.