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CSBG Archive

Comics Should Be Good Mailbag for 11/26

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 toto toto wrote in to ask:

I checked the Marvel Comics Solicitations, February 2009 at the CBR site & the Hulk #10 cover featuring the Defenders had a new (??) different Dr. Strange & I don’t remember reading any news about a Dr. Strange change so do you have any intel.?

The thing that is odd, if it’s a change, is how come Marvel resisted the desire to change it by a female Dr Stange? :)

Here’s the cover in question:

No, toto toto, that’s likely just Jeph Loeb returning Doctor Strange to a previous look he once used in the late 60s.

Towards the end of Doctor Strange’s first series (which took over the numbering of Strange Tales), Roy Thomas and Gene Colan did a storyline where Doctor Strange took on a new masked identity.

This presumably was to make Strange look more like a superhero, as the sales on the title weren’t exactly awe-inspiring. The book was canceled not too long afterward.

Loeb is likely just bringing back that look.

But I suppose we’ll know for sure in February!
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Nick Marino wrote in to ask about an old comic book color question…

I don’t know if you’ve already covered this or not, but here’s the question: What’s the deal with all the super villains who wear either purple, green, or a combination of both? A huge chunk of classic comic book super villains (Lex, Joker, Doom, Magneto, etc.) are clad in these colors. Was it just accepted that purple and green would largely be reserved for baddies, or is there something else to it?

I dunno if anyone has ever officially declared that this is the reason, but I’m pretty sure that yes, people decided that the primary colors would be used for superheroes while purple and green would be villain colors.
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Reader Cord asked:

Like many Germans and Europeans in general, I am a huge fan of Don Rosa and the nostalgic, gentle, occassionally anarchic humour with which he has reinvigorated the Donald Duck Clan.

To my surprise, a friend of mine recently told me, that there are nearly no Duck-Comics published in the US at the present moment. He added that Rosa is more or less ignored by fandom at conventions. Is that true? Has the US and A lost interest in these characters that, after all, embody fundamentally American values?

Sadly, Cord, that is, in fact, the case.

While beloved by readers of his work (as well they should, as he is excellent), Don Rosa toils in mostly obscurity in America.

Disney Comics are a tough sell in the United States, and Gemstone Publishing has been doing their damndest to keep the comics in print, but it’s a tough row to hoe.

Currently, they’re down to two titles, Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories and Uncle Scrooge, which are both over-sized (with great reprints each issue) and $8. They’re trying to find a format that works.
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Reader Tim (Blackjak) asked a couple of questions…

Firstly, as a UK comics fan, and subscriber to 2000AD, I was wondering how well-read it was in the States, particularly as it is now available online via clickwheel.net (http://www.clickwheel.net/features/219)…

Or has it been missed due to a lack of marketing in the States? (I have to say I’ve only seen it mentioned in 2000AD itself, and a really brief press-release on CBR)

I was just thinking that there is so much out there that you guys are missing both art and story-wise and was reminded by the news that Andy Clarke is doing the new R.E.B.E.L.S. comics with Tony Bedard…

Yeah, for all the quality it holds, 2000 AD is definitely not all that big in the States.

But thanks to your comment, maybe more people will check out clickwheel.net!

Secondly, and here’s complicated question… How many animated Spider-man TV shows have there been, and how successful (both critically and by number of episodes produced) have they been… I would have guessed that the old Hanna-Barbera-style 70s show had the most episodes, but the “Spider-man-The Animated Series” show from the late nineties may have been the better received… (apart from some of the 3D backgrounds which now look quite dated…)

I’m just not a fan of the character-design in the new “Spectacular Spider-Man” series, particularly as Gwen and Aunt May look so similar…

Well, going by amount of episodes made, the original 60s series and the 90s series both had over 60 episodes (the original series has the most, with 77 episodes).

By quality – the original series is beloved, especially the theme song (“Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can!”), but that’s likely just nostalgia.

I dunno, I don’t think any of them were all that good. I guess my favorite was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
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Rich Handley has been writing me a few times to let me know about the Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology, so, well, here‘s a link to the new book coming out that is, you know, the Timeline of the Planet of the Apes:
The Definitive Chronology!
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Reader Eric wrote in to ask:

I borrowed the hardcover of X-Men: Messiah Complex from the local library. I get the X-Factor series and I was collecting Cable & Deadpool (mostly for Deadpool) but I haven’t kept up with the main X-Men titles in quite some time. Can you recommend any sort of primer to try to figure out who a lot of these characters are, without having to read a very large number of comics as background?

I’d imagine that uncannyxmen.net would help you a lot.

Plus, we have a thread at the X-Men forum at Comic Book Resources (a forum I moderate) that is just for readers to ask questions, so feel free to stop by there!

The other thing I wanted to ask doesn’t have anything to do with comics, but I figured comics is part pop culture and nostalgia. I’ve been trying to figure out the name of an old TV show I remember. Maybe the question could go in the column if you don’t know the name? In the show, a family was somehow transported to an alternate Earth (so it already sounds sort of like a comic!). I want to say they might have gone through some sort of pyramid? In this other reality they were somehow in trouble with the law, and constantly hunted. In the one episode whose plot I sort of remember, the teenagers of the family became pop music stars by performing mainstream hits that they remembered from their own reality. The authorities were able to figure out it was the family they were hunting, though, because of the likeness of the toy figures produced in their likeness. Sound familiar at all? Probably from sometime in the 80s.

Wow, I don’t have the slightest idea.

Anyone?
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Margot the Publicist wrote in about some bonus material on the new Wanted DVD.

Check out the bonus material here and !
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John Zito wanted folks to know about the following:

Book signing with graphic novel author Kevin Colden (Fishtown) this December 5th for First Friday at Brave New World in Old City.

My writing partner and I will be joining him (BlackCherryBombshells.com) along with Miss Lasko-Gross (Escape from Special).

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Reader Nate P. wanted to take the time to share his point of view regarding $3.99 comics…

As a comic fan, I have a hard time sometimes reconciling my feelings about comics when prices are as high as they are. I feel like publisher’s don’t care about people like me. But comics are an escapism I do enjoy.

I used to by comics all the time when I was a kid and a teenager. As a young man, I must rely on SSDI. I don’t have much disposable income, and can’t afford new comic books. The way the comics are priced now, even buying comics at Half Price Books is a bit expensive. Aside from borrowing from the library, I get old comics from a street vendor for 25 cents each, or bargain bins (dollar, 50 cents, etc) at comic shops.

When I’m in a shop, I feel really weird having to go straight to bargain boxes, when most guys my age are buying hardcover trades, or piles of $3-4 comics. I’m outside the cultural experience discussing new plots bring.

Comic publishers, creators, and their stories ignore issues of poverty in America. Publishers should make lower cost comics, by using cheaper paper, and forgoing color, while keeping quality of story telling. It would also help to do shorter arcs. And in their comics themselves, it would be cool if social issues relating to economic class, and also disability, were examined more often and in honest ways.

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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!

Have a good Thanksgiving tomorrow!

28 Comments

I believe the show was called Otherworld (if you are a child of the 80s like me)

“Otherworld” is the ’80s TV series in question. I thought it was pretty good at the time.

I *have* read (somewhere, can’t recall where) a fairly comprehensive explanation of the hero/villain color schemes. The real concern was not having heroes and villains in the same or similar color schemes. They wanted contrast on the covers (and remember too, this is back in the day when covers were a REALLY big deal.) A very large number of heroes mainly use red and blue, for which green and purple are the best “opposites.” One would likewise expect a purple/green hero to have lots of red/blue baddies, though none come to mind (the Hulk, perhaps?)

I don’t think I’ve ever even *seen* 2000 AD for sale in comic shops… and I’ve always been a patron of *good* comic shops. Just not much call for it, for whatever reason….

Geoff’s got it right; the TV show was Otherworld.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

November 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I don’t think Nate P should worry too much about going straight to bargain bin boxes – I used to have to do it all the time, and it never struck me as doing anything odd, I still spend plenty of time at conventions doing it – I’ve seen plenty of people do it – and to be quite frank, you can often find better reads in there than you can on the shelves!

Hell, I’ve got a good memory of the time a store I went to, who had pretty good (cheap) back issue prices already put on a mega sale of back issues, five for a dollar or something, and the shop was full of people sitting on the floor working their way through the boxes – people were even yelling out what they were looking for in case you saw it… was much more fun than just browsing the shelves to see what was new.

Toto Toto,

Doctor Strange wore that costume first in the last few issues of his 1969 era first self-titled series.
It was (ostensibly) to allow himself:
a) access to Earth, after his face and form were stolen by a foe.
b) more privacy
c) a secret identity (of Dr. Stephen SANDERS) in his normal life.

It lasted until he “retired” from magic, after his series ended, and a crossover with Sub-Mariner # 22 and Hulk # 126.

When he returned to his life of magic, it was because MORDO had taken that costume in an attempt to steal Strange’s position. (Marvel Feature # 1).

Strange then took up the mantle of magician once again, but kept his original look.

Besides the 1969 era issues of DOCTOR STRANGE, that blue-facemask costume was worn by Doc in the Busiek Larson penned ‘THE ORDER” series (which was the offshoot of their DEFENDERS 12-issue maxi-run).

That costume was ALSO shown to have been the STANDARD costume for the “counter-Earth” version of Doctor Strange, who was shown in a few issues of Doc’s 1990′s era series.

That Dr. Strange was less than heroic, was mistaken for the “dopple-ganger” version of Strange that was running around during the “Infinity War” cross-over, and was subsequently killed.

I hope that fills in the blanks for you a bit.

~P~
Sanctum Sanctorum Comix

Someone needs to be a real editor and tell the artist for the cover of Hulk #10 to seriously take a look at the anatomy of Michael Phelps and other world class swimmers to see that swimmers are not musclebound oafs.
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The 2 titles from Gemstone, Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories and Uncle Scrooge, are $7.99 per issue, with usually 60 or 61 pages of stories, which is 13.3 cents per page, about the same as a regular sized comic with 22 pages of story.

Both are excellent titles most of the time, but they suffer with low sales as many of today’s younger readers no longer know the characters presented. Gemstone’s license with Disney does not allow for stories featuring the characters from Disney’s best movies over the last several years. We get plenty of Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Uncle Scrooge stories, but nary a thing from Pixar.

Don Rosa is much appreciated by his fans, yet I’d bet not 10% of younger comics fans would know who he is. People under 35 or so just haven’t been exposed to his work.
=====
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Nate P.
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For Nate P, I’d suggest he keep an eye out for the Marvel Essential collections and the DC Showcase Presents collections. Most are 500 or more pages of comic book stories for under $20. They can sometimes be found for half price, making them a bargain that can only be beat by free comics.

I’ve got a four-year-old niece who absolutely loves Mickey and Donald and Goofy. She’s learning to read, but there’s no way I’m spending eight bucks on a comic for her, I don’t care what the price per page is. But I’d gladly pay less for something the size of an Archie Digest, especially if I can grab it in a supermarket checkout aisle. Aside from being part of the same corporate entity that owns Diamond, is there any good reason why Gemstone’s not going after that market?

To continue ~P~’s comments there was a brief revival of the blue face costume toward the end of the that third volume (just a few months after the Counter Earth Doc, as a matter of fact).

Personally I always hated that design. It drops a lot of the interesting contrasts of the original Ditko version and I like seeing Doc’s face.

hey, guys!!

I’m toto, hehe.

Thanks for the clarifications. 1rst i saw that cover i guessed that maybe it had to do with post Secret Invasion continuity who knows.

For the purple & green, wasn’t the choice of colours made due to printing issues like was the grey Hulk turned green after the 1rst isues back in the days ?

Alan Coil: “Someone needs to be a real editor and tell the artist for the cover of Hulk #10 to seriously take a look at the anatomy of Michael Phelps and other world class swimmers to see that swimmers are not musclebound oafs.”

What is the official Height and Weight of Namor, according to Marvel.com, Alan?

6’2″, 320 lbs.

Looks right to me, bukco. Sorry if you want the 6’4′-6’8″, 200 pound scarecrow toothpick swimmer look. That’s not who Namor is.

Besides, who the hell would ever believe a drawing of Michael Phelps throwing around a tank? Sheesh.

Thanks for posting my questions Brian!

I guess once the price of 2000AD is converted into dollars and freight is included it becomes way too pricey to buy every week…

Shame…

I guess the same would apply to the Judge Dredd Megazine? That’s the Monthly sister-publication – about 80-90 pages…

On the purple/green villain thing… I just thought it was a classic use of the opposing spectrum. The sort of colours you would get from a negative of the heroes…

On the Dr. Strange thing, I take it this means he’s somehow healed since his self-removal from Earth? (Handily just pre-Secret Invasion) and Surfer has made his way to Earth from Planet Hulk? Wow… what a coinkydink!

Hey Toto,

Another possibility is that instead of the costume being a throwback to the Stephen Saunders persona, it could be an entirely different Sorcerer Supreme under the hood. Don’t forget that since turning to the dark side of the For…ahem , I mean of mysticism in both World War Hulk and the New Avengers battle with the Hood and his minions, Strange has retreated to meditate on whether he his still worthy to be Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. Meanwhile, back in the real world, Tom Brevoort amongst others has stated that there is a new holder of that mantle. So it is possible that the accouterments of the position have passed to this hooded successor.

Hi, Brian,

Thanks so much for plugging the Planet of the Apes book! Your column is a definite highlight on the Web–I actively look forward to reading it each week.

Sincerely,
Rich Handley

Hey, Chris McAree !

Clearly that what I though & was the 1rst motive to my mail to Brian, who knows what post Si will bring ??!

Bat2supe: Um………..huh?

*Why* would Loeb bring back that look? Aside from it being pretty lame (especially next to his classic “Vincent Price with a cloak” look; when will people stop trying to improve on Steve Ditko?), Dr. Strange isn’t a damn superhero. He just has a lot of them in his Rolodex.

I think it’s more likely that that is Dr Strange under the mask, as although ther’es a new Sorcerer Supreme, thbe outfit isn’t a uniform. If he’s not the Sorcerer Supreme, he’ll have to give up the Eye of Aggommotto and the Cloak of Levitation, but they’re the only parts of his costume that are attributed to his role as the Sorcere Supreme.

Except he’s still wearing the cloak.

Regarding the Purple /Green Colours. I had read an interview with Jack Kirby where he stated that those colours were cheaper to use.

I highly doubt Loeb read any other comics than his own (he obviously didn’t read the two previous volumes of Ultimates), so he probably has no idea what’s going on with Dr. Strange

On the Comic Book Club podcast from during the Marvel retreat, Bendis is making some noise about Dr. Strange and his interest in what happens to him post SI:

http://www.popcultureshock.com/cbclub/?p=308

My most sincere thanks to Brian for posting it and for the people who replied with the answer of Otherworld. I have been wondering about that for so long!! But I wasn’t sure where or whom to ask.

Otherworld! Ha! Yep, that’s it. And I was even right about the pyramid thing.

“Dr. Strange isn’t a damn superhero. He just has a lot of them in his Rolodex.”

Agreed.

“I think it’s more likely that that is Dr Strange under the mask, as although ther’es a new Sorcerer Supreme, thbe outfit isn’t a uniform. If he’s not the Sorcerer Supreme, he’ll have to give up the Eye of Aggommotto and the Cloak of Levitation, but they’re the only parts of his costume that are attributed to his role as the Sorcere Supreme.”

That’s incorrect. Strange was awarded the second cloak and eye after his first confrontation with Dormammu in Strange Tales #127 long before he became the Sorcerer Supreme which came with Steve Gerber’s run.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

November 27, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Looks right to me, bukco. Sorry if you want the 6′4′-6′8″, 200 pound scarecrow toothpick swimmer look. That’s not who Namor is.

Well, buster, then Namor isn’t quite the swimmer they make him out to be, as the wrong muscles are over developed, and that bulky frame wouldn’t cut through the water as well.

Also, I’m shocked to learn people actually refer to guidebooks for character info and hold everything to that.

Thanks guys for all the response, I guess that Dr Strange look let alot of people guessing & not only me.

“Dorf:
Bat2supe: Um………..huh?”

WHAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaT ???

Why would Namor look like a human swimmer? Not only is he partially non-human, but he’s built to live at the bottom of the ocean; they’re built to swim on the top of it.

Thanks Brian!

And thanks AnthonyX! I’m going to have to do some digging around to find that Kirby interview.

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