Monthly Archives: August 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy – mini movie review

by Hal Hickey

Three weeks into its 1st run, I checked this one out in 3D IMAX. Spoiler alert, I may give away some of the character relationships in this short review, but not the plot.

First of all, the sound track is a hit. From the trailer, I’m sure everyone viewed, with Blue Suede’s 1974 Hooked on a Feeling, to other random 70’s-80s music, this was a case where the old rock songs fit the mood. The 3D, well no gimmicks here, just made it seem more real, perfect! The trailers and teasers gave away nothing!

The film began so abruptly, I thought I was actually watching a preview for another upcoming movie. That was a fun surprise. Character development was initially weak with some of what makes them tick explored along the way. The biggest gap with the most unfulfilled potential was Gamora played by Zoe Saldana, this time green skinned instead of blue. Her motivations and background were MIA and hopefully a future director’s cut will include some of that. Also, her character had great potential to remain a mystery, as far as her alliances were concerned. All that potential was given up for, what felt like a confusingly simple attachment to a rag tag bunch. It would have been best if we were held in suspense with her alliances for at least 75% of the film.

Rocket Raccoon easily stole his scenes in the first half of the film, but The Groot took over the scene stealing role in the last half. While Rocket was a masterful bit of direction and special effects, Groot was full of surprises on many levels. This duo constantly seemed to take you out of the movie and into their own space. Well done!

There was an unexpected entertaining performance by Michael Rooker as Yondu. You just didn’t know what would amuse him or piss him off. He also dropped one major hint, which was easy to miss.

Easter eggs? Well the film was just to entertaining and fast paced to look for them the first time through, That will be something for second and third viewings.

This is a Marvel Studios superhero movie with characters that didn’t necessarily have super powers, and wasn’t tied down by “Earth norms”. Guardians of the Galaxy was a fun 2 hour escape from reality.

Variant Comics from then ’till now – Part 6!

by Hal Hickey

In this multi-part series on the history of variant comics, we are exploring series of variants that collectors are likely to find, albeit some being much more difficult than others, depending on the rarity of those series. I have stayed away from the “one-off” variants of which there are many but most are rare. Part 1 and part 2 explored the first series, the “price variant comics”. In part 3, part 4 and part 5, we dug into the second series, the “printing variant comics”, covering second printings, third printings and so on.

In this, part 6, we will explore the third series, the “alternate publisher variant comics”. There are only two of these, the “Whitman” variants and the “Modern Comics” variants. These variants exist primarily as a result of two publishers experimenting with the earliest stages of the “direct market”, where publishers distributed their comic books directly to stores, rather than via the most common method of distribution of the time, the newsstand market. There is still much discussion around what makes these variants and the potential inclusion of other comics in the same category. Both of these “alternate publishers” were not actually different from the parent publisher, they were merely different divisions of their main publisher with a focus on publishing and distribution of printed material other than comic books. Thus they had their own distribution system that did not rely on the newsstand market. We will begin with Modern Comics as the least complex of the two.

Modern Comics published within Charlton’s massive structure for the briefest of periods 1977 & 1978. There was a random selection of Charlton Comics that were essentially reprinted by the Modern Comics publishing imprint and distributed directly to large stores. The stores would purchase the comics outright (eliminating unsold returns) and the stores could sell them individually, or package them with other products as a marketing tool. Print runs are unknown and they are relatively common. From a collectable point of view, the Modern Comics publisher variants, have not caught on. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the Modern Comics variants are essentially random second printing variants, or could even be considered reprints, often reprinted 8-12 years after the original Charlton comic. Here are 2 examples. Continue reading

New comics added Aug 20, 2014

Here is what’s new at the online comic store today:

Added the the following vintage comic books which are now up for grabs!

Check’em out

New comics added Aug 19, 2014

Here is what’s new at the online comic store today:

We’ve uncovered some rare comic books which have been added to the comics for sale today:

Check’em out

New comics added Aug 17, 2014

Here is what’s new at the online comic store today:

Added the the following vintage comic books which are now up for grabs!

Check’em out

Lois Lane tried to kill Superman with…what???

Back in 1966 we were shifting into the twilight of the Silver Age of Comics. Maybe the creative ideas are running a bit thin with the Comics Code Authority ready to censor just about anything that might be interesting to read. But, this one title “Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane” can provide a history lesson in silly  story lines of the silver age of comic books! Here is a fine example published by DC Comics in May of 1966. I mean, what were they thinking? Continue reading

New comics added Aug 16, 2014

Here is what’s new at the online comic store today:

Added the the following vintage comic books which are now up for grabs!

Check’em out

New comics added Aug 15, 2014

Here is what’s new at the online comic store today:

Added the the following vintage comic books which are now up for grabs!

Check’em out

Variant Comics from then ’till now – Part 5!

by Hal Hickey

In part 1 and part 2 of this series covering the history variant comic books, we covered the series of “price variant” comics. In part 3 we discovered a few rare second printings from the mid 1960s, where 1-2 years separated the first and second printings. In part 4 we explored two key events that began to set the framework of where we find ourselves today. In today’s part 5 we will look at the last key event that turned the tide and was the final piece that changed second and subsequent printings from a rarity to commonplace.

The first two events (covered in part 4) were:

1. The rise of the independent publishers
2. The change from newsstand distribution to the direct market.

The third and most influential event to affect second and subsequent printings, was a decision first taken by Marvel Comics in late 2001. It was this decision that has changed the landscape in not only the numbers of second, third and subsequent printings but also the collectability of those “non-first” prints.

Marvel Comics as a publisher began to notice that retailers were ordering smaller quantities of each issue as initial orders, then re-ordering more copies as sales and demand warranted. Marvel saw this as the direct market comic retailers attempting to transfer more of the risk of unsold comics back to the publisher. So in late 2001, Marvel Comics decided to limit their print runs to actual initial order numbers from retailers, plus a small percentage to cover damages. This was a move to ensure the risk of unsold copies remained, where the publisher wanted it, with the direct market comic retailer. Continue reading