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CSBG Archive

Comics Should Be Good Mailbag for 11/19

Here’s the latest installment of a weekly reader interactive segment on the blog, where I answer reader-submitted e-mails to bcronin@comicbookresources.com (and other e-mails that don’t require responses).

Enjoy!

Reader Dan K. wished to pass on the article about President Elect Obama that I’m sure a few of you have seen where it states as one of the facts you might not know about the man…

• He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics

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Reader Keith S. wrote in to ask:

Who were the writer/artists responsible for those Hostess ads that appeared in the Marvel/DC books in the 80′s? I’m sure it varied, but was there any big name talent working on these one page wonders?

Great question, Keith!

I know Bob Rozakis wrote a bunch of the DC ones, and some of the artists who worked on them include such luminaries as Curt Swan, Ross Andru and John Romita.

Beyond that, I’m afraid I do not know.

Anyone out there able to help us here?
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Reader Stephane S. came up with another stumper:

Where did the trope of “intense telepathy brings on nosebleeds” come from? It’s been appearing in coming regularly for years now, and strikes me as the sort of thing which might have originated there… or maybe some kind of 80s Sci-Fi movie. Any thoughts?

I admittedly do not have the slightest idea.

Anyone have any clue?

One thing I CAN do, though, to make your question not totally in vain, is link you to Polite Scott’s awesome website, Polite Dissent, where he does a weekly feature about nosebleeds in comics.

First, here is Scott’s primer on nosebleeds.

Next, here is a link to his nosebleed category, where every week he gives us good readers “Your Weekend Moment of Psychic Nosebleed Zen.”
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Nice publicist David sent along a note about Jonathan Baylis’ new comic collection, So Buttons.

Here is a sample (click here to check out Baylis’ website, and click on the image to enlarge).


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Reader Jonathan S. wrote in with some interesting links to Canadian comic book history.

The first one can be found here.

The second one can be found here.

Good stuff!

Thanks, JC!
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Reader Jerry wrote in to ask:

In the mid 1970s, DC went an entire year without publishing any new JLA stories. Justice League of America #109 came out with a Jan-Feb 1974 cover date. The next seven issues, #110-116, reprints two or three stories per issue, with each issue billed as 100 pages for 60 cents. The next new issue of Justice League of America is #117, with a cover date of April 1975.

I don’t ever recall reading a reason why this occurred. I know X-Men went to reprint status for issues #67-93, but that was mainly done so as to not lose the title spot with the distribution company, which I believe at the time was owned by DC. I can’t imagine DC would need to follow the same steps as Marvel did. And a very quick search has not turned up anything online explaining why this occurred.

Any insight you could share or track down? Thanks!

Well, Jerry, I’m afraid my answer is going to be a bit of a let down.

You see, those issues were not all-reprint issues.

Each of those issues you mentioned had one new story along with the reprints.

#116 was one of the first Justice League comics I ever bought as a kid, so I definitely knew THAT one had a new story in it, at least! :)
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Nice publicist Margot wrote in to drop a line about a really neat interactive chat with Hellboy II director Guillermo Del Toro next Thursday, November 23rd!

To participate, all users need to do is log into www.UniversalHiDef.com and then enter the “Director’s Chat” under my account to enter up to 3 questions for the Director to answer. Then connect your Blu-rayâ„¢ player to the Internet and chat with Guillermo Del Toro on November 23rd!

Hmmm…so wait, you need a Blu-ray player? I guess that’s less cool.
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I believe that’s it for this week!

Be sure to send me an e-mail to bcronin@comicbookresources.com with the subject heading “Mailbag” if you want to be included in next week’s mailbag!

Another week of good e-mails – keep it up!

20 Comments

I’m guessing here but I reckon the oldest psychic nosebleed might be The Fury, a film with Kirk Douglas I think from around 1977?

Everyone quotes that damn Telegraph article as if it’s some kind of definitive word on the subject, but they don’t source any of that information and I haven’t seen the Spider-Man or Conan stuff independently verified by anyone else; it’s only ever quoting from that one article. It might be true; or the reporter could have just pulled those two titles out of his ass for all we know. If you want genuine, sourced, credible first-hand information about Obama’s comic book reading history, look here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/oct/26/barackobama-uselections2008

Rully Dasaad, a childhood friend from Indonesia, recalls:

“At the time, my father and President Sukarno were the only people in the country with Cadillacs, and both were presents from my grandpa, who was the richest man in Indonesia. Grandpa bought me all the DC Comic books, and I was the only one who had them, so Barry and Yanto would borrow the books and copy pictures of Batman and Spider-Man out and ask me to judge which was better. Barry was always better than Yanto. Even Yanto always agreed with that. Barry had a great eye.”

Now that’s the real thing. I love that paragraph because it conveys the significance of having American comic books in Indonesia circa 1969, and maybe it even suggests what they might have meant to an American boy living overseas and otherwise cut off from them.

I was going to guess Stephen King’s ‘Firestarter’ or ‘Carrie’, but he might have been cribbing from ‘The Fury’.

awesome!!! Thanks for answering my question. I always get a laugh over the old hostess ads. If only every crime could be solved with a creme filled treat!!!

I’ve always assumed that the first comic to use the psychic powers nosebleed was Akira, but I trust Scott to eventually find the definitive answer.

I think there’s a more complete answer to be given as why there were all those 100-page giants. Here’s my understanding: in 1974 the price of paper and the price of gas (for shipping) both suddenly doubled, which meant that Marvel and DC were both suddenly losing money on every 15 cent comic they published, so they needed to suddenly jump to much higher prices to make any money at all, but they couldn’t just alienate all their readers. As a result, Marvel started “Giant-Size” comics and DC started “100 Page Giants”, both stuffed with reprints to pad them out, so that they could make a profit on at least SOME of their comics at least until inflation was brought under control.

I think that may be the sort of explanation Jerry was looking for. I can’t actually site a source on any of this. I’ve just sort of gleaned it over the years. I don’t know if it’s right, and I’d love to hear the full story.

According to Comic Book Artist vol. 1 No.9:

The principal writer of the ads was E. Nelson Bridwell, with Rozakis doing a few. Curt Swan drew most of the DC strips. Neal Adams and Dick Giordano each penciled one strip. Giordano and Ted Blaisdell did some inks, but Vince Colletta inked most of them. Sol Harrison was the editor.

Andru, Romita, Dave Cockrum, George Tuska, Don Heck, Gene Colan, Sal Buscema, Alan Kupperberg, Herb Trimpe, and Frank Goddamn Miller (wo drew an ad featuring the Human Torch) were among Marvel’s pencilers. Inkers included Mike Esposito, Frank Giacoia, Bob McLeod, and Klaus Janson. One ad was drawn by either Keith Pollard or Arvell Jones, and inked by Pablo Marcos. Marvel’s writing credits are more obscure. Marv Wolfman said he “might have” written a few, but “couldn’t be certain.” Sol Brodsky, head of licensing, commissioned them.

From the very cool website that you sent us to:

The History of the Psychic Nosebleed
Filed under: Comics, Medicine | 10 Comments »

There’s been some debate over the earliest appearance of the “psychic nosebleed.” The first reference I’m aware is not from a comic book, but instead from David Cronenberg’s movie Scanners.

Here’s two quick quotes from the film:

I, I must remind you that the, uh, scanning experience is usually a painful one, sometimes resulting in nosebleeds, earaches, stomach cramps, nausea.

and

Cameron: [sees that Kim has had a nosebleed] What happened?
Kim: I was scanned. The woman in the waiting room…
Cameron: She scanned you?
Kim: No, not her. Her child. Her unborn child scanned me.

Scanners is from 1981. Somebody once suggested Stephen King’s Firestarter, published in 1980, but I couldn’t find any occurrences of any sort of psychic bleeding when I read the book. Maybe they meant the movie, which was released in 1984, but I haven’t seen it and Scanners predates it.

For now, I’m going to consider Scanners the earliest psychic nosebleed unless anyone can show me an earlier example.

For comic books, the first example I’m aware of is from the X-Men graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson, published in 1982, just one year behind Scanners.

For monthly comics, the earliest psychic nosebleed I’ve run across is Adventures of Superman #427 (April 1987) by Wolfman and Ordway, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are earlier examples.

Initially, I thought SCANNERS was the first mention of the psychic nosebleed (1982), but since then — as mentioned above by Rhod and first brought to my attention by Bill Willingham — I’ve determined that THE FURY (1978) was the first.

I still think GOD LOVES, MAN KILLS (1982) was the first comic book evidence of the psychic nosebleed.

Re: Psychic Nosebleed
Wow, guys. Good info there. Thanks a lot! I remember that nosebleed in God Loves Man Kills as being unusually graphic and disturbing too (but then again, it was 1982).

I haven’t read Firestarter in forever, but I thought that the nosebleed starts there. He definitely gets headaches and the like, I assumed that the nosebleed came from there as well.

The psychic nosebleed…
I’ve always taken it as what happens when you increase the blood pressure to your head. Such as (and forgive me for this graphic example), when you’re taking a #2 and you have to push really hard…or giving birth. It is very possible to break the blood vessels in the nostrils. It could also be that a blood vessel in the brain has burst and is leaking out the nose (eyes, ears, and mouth have also been shown…anyone with examples of that?)

Nosebleeds…not just for nugget miners anymore…

I had a friend who’d get sudden nasty nose-bleeds during every take-off when he flew, until he got the inside of his nose cauterized. I always thought it was a substance abuse-related issue, but maybe he was psychic…

Can’t believe T. hasn’t shown up on this thread yet with his new avatar.

That JLA issue with the murdered Santa Claus – #110 – if memory serves that was the one issue of the original JLA title where John Stewart filled in for Hal Jordan.

Because Hal slipped in the shower and knocked himself unconscious.

If President-elect Obama hated Brand New Day, would Marvel relent?

Neal Adams, as mentioned above, drew one of the Hostess ads, but it was also noteworthy because it was the very first superhero Hostess ad, “Batman and the Mummy.” Those ads were a special kind of crazy that comics can’t really get away with anymore.

“If President-elect Obama hated Brand New Day, would Marvel relent?”

Do you think he could issue an executive order to have it ret-conned?

Re: the hostess ads, Sean Baby has an interview with Bob Rozakis that gives a little insight (but not too much) on how they were made. http://seanbaby.com/hostess/bobrozakis.htm

And i assume everyone’s already seen Sean Baby’s hilarious commentary on the ads, but just in case… http://seanbaby.com/hostess.htm

I must say that my favorite Hostess ads were the ones starring the Joker, who a) hated Hostess pies, unlike every other character…because he’s CRA-ZEE, Kids! ; and b) always tried using them to distract the police, who somehow managed to get the pies and capture the Joker.

Apparently police training includes the all-important “Self Control Near Fried Pies” course, which I imagine involves Ding-Dongs wired to induce electrical shocks.

Regarding the hostess ads, I think Batman and the Mummy was drawn by Dick Giordano, and Neal Adams drew the Green Lantern “Half the people here”. And looks like Frank Miller drew the Spider-Man and the Demolition Derby ( http://seanbaby.com/hostess/v2spiderman21.htm ).

Actually, it was Vinnie Colletta who drew the majority of those Hostess advertisements, or inked them at any rate.

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