Cyberspace Comics market report, reviews and more

March 16, 2012

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #53

Filed under: Guide to Marvel Comics Presents — Doorman @ 6:13 am

Marvel Comics Presents launched in 1988 as an ad-free anthology showcasing four eight-page features, stuffed inside a wrap-around cover. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!


Marvel Comics Presents #53
Cover Date: 1990 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Fred Butler


Wolverine in “the Wilding” conclusion
written by Rob Liefeld with Fabian Nicieza
art by Rob Liefeld

It takes eleven days of tracking but Wolverine finallys hunts down Wildchild. During the battle, the two accidentally plunge into a fast-moving river. Wildchild is able to use this as a diversion and makes his escape before Wolverine can learn why he was on a murderous rampage.

Comet Man in “A Family Affair” conclusion
written by Bill Mumy with Miguel Ferrer
art by Kelley Jones

Comet Man savagely attacks the Superior but stops short of killing him, lest he lower himself to his brother’s level. But, his son Benny, who sees the world in black and white uses his powers to force his villainous uncle to kill himself.

Stingray in “Family Matters” part 1
written by Len Wein
art by Jim Fern

 
When Stingray and his wife, Diane, return to the Newell Oceanographic Institute after a dangerous swim through the ocean, they’re met by one of the Guardsmen. He reveals that Diane’s brother, Tiger Shark, appears to be dying. With Stingray’s approval, the unconscious Tiger Shark is brought to the N.O.I., so a cure can be sought. After a work-break, Stingray returns to the lab to discover Tiger Shark has awakened, defeated the Guardsman and taken Diane hostage!

Black Widow & Silver Sable in
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
written by Fabian Nicieza
art by Rob Liefeld

The Black Widow has been hired by seven agencies to bring in Yves Chevrier for counts of gun-running, drug dealing, fraud and grand larceny. Chevrier played an important part in the death of three Symkarian agents, spurring Silver Sable to hunt him down for her personal vendetta. In France, both women manage to track Chevrier down at the same time – which lethal lady will get to take the prize home?

While there was plenty of action to be had, I wish Liefeld would have revealed why the usually-heroic Wildchild was on a murderous rampage. The Comet Man story ended on an interesting note with his son displaying a solid control over his powers. It’s also thought-provoking to consider a child armed with such powers who’s still young enough to see the world in black and white (read: “bad guys should die”). I’ve always liked Stingray from his appearances in the Avengers. Probably because he’s an oceanographer first (not really a super-hero) who occasionally gets swept up in their adventures. It’s nice to see him get the spotlight, here. Finally, the Black Widow/Silver Sable feature was excellently illustrated by Liefeld and a fun, quick read. Overall, this issue was really enjoyable!

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Comet Man | Stingray | Black Widow | Silver Sable
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Comet Man | Black Widow | Silver Sable

March 15, 2012

Famous Fanmail #102 Kurt Busiek

Filed under: Famous Fanmail — Doorman @ 11:14 am

You may not be surprised to learn that most people in the comic business grew up reading comic books. However, you might be interested in knowing what they were reading. Here’s a look at “Famous Fanmail”!

Kurt Busiek has written many great comics including Astro City, Avengers Forever and the Untold Tales of Spider-Man. He got a letter printed in Fantastic Four #186 (cover date: September 1977), singing the praises of the Invisible Girl.

Fantastic Four letters page with Kurt Busiek

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Kurt Busiek
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

March 14, 2012

Comic Book Easter Eggs #4 Honeymooners

Filed under: Comic Book Easter Eggs — Doorman @ 12:23 pm

With any medium, the more you know about it, the more you can appreciate it. Naturally, the same is true of comic books and now that fans who grew up reading comics are working in the industry, we’re treated to more in-jokes and nods more than ever. Here’s a look at another, cool Comic Book ‘Easter Egg’!

In Marvel Comics Presents #50’s Captain Ultra feature, we’re treated to a cameo by Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton of the classic Honeymooners television show.

Marvel Comics Presents #50 with Honyemooners

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Honeymooners
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Honeymooners

March 13, 2012

Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed #102 the Atom

Filed under: Swiped: Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed! — Doorman @ 5:45 am

After looking at hundreds of comic book covers, it becomes quickly apparent that not every cover is 100% original. Whether done intentionally or even underhandedly, there’s something about uncovering these “swipes” that adds a new element of fun to reading and collecting comics.

Ray Palmer isn’t quite as small as an actual atom but he is really tiny! His size makes for some great cover shots that just wouldn’t fit a regular-sized super-hero. Here, Brian Bolland pays tribute to a classic Gil Kane cover from 40 years prior!

the Atom #10
the Atom #10
January 1964
Gil Kane
DC Comics Presents: the Atom #1
DC Comics Presents: the Atom #1
October 2004
Brian Bolland

On Ebay: the Atom
On AtomicAvenue: Atom

March 12, 2012

Guide to Marvel Two-In-One Prequel 2 the Thing & Iron Man

Filed under: Guide to Marvel Two-In-One — Doorman @ 2:30 pm

Marvel Two-In-One launched in 1974, teaming the Thing with a different hero each month. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!

Marvel Feature #12Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 1973
Cover Price: 20¢
Writer: Mike Friedrich
Artist: Jim Starlin

WHO stars in this issue?

the Thing – Benjamin J. Grimm was bombarded by cosmic rays in a space exploration flight, alongside three friends. The cosmic rays gave each of them different powers, and they formed the Fantastic Four. Ben underwent the most physical change of the foursome: his skin mutated into orange rock and, as a result, he gained super-strength.

Iron Man – Tony Stark devised a powered suit of armor to stop a life-threatening injury and to escape captivity from terrorists.

WHAT happens?

On the lookout for his new enemy, Thanos, Iron Man flies across the Southwestern desert that the Thing is stranded in. He zooms past the Thing, paying him no mind, and enters the former base of Thanos – his only lead on the villain.

Inside the base, he’s ambushed by the Blood Brothers, Thanos’ enforcers. Meanwhile, the Thing is furious that Iron Man left him stranded and ventures into the base – just in time to help him fight the vampiric space monsters! Forseeing the heroes’ victory, Thanos teleports his henchmen away to some unknown fate. Meanwhile, Iron Man leaves the Thing in the desert because his armor doesn’t have the strength left to carry him home.



WHERE does the story take place?

The battle takes place in Thanos’ former base of operations which is located in the very same Southwestern desert that the Thing was teleported to in the last issue (by Kurrgo).

WHEN do the Blood Brothers next appear?

The Blood Brothers return for a rematch in Iron Man #88 (cover date: July 1976). So, it’s safe to assume that Thanos didn’t kill them for their failure in this issue.

WHY is Iron Man the guest-lead?

I think it could easily be argued that Iron Man is a guest-star in this book to lend it some credibility, since the Thing’s “team-up” book concept was still in its infancy. At this point, Iron Man was a well-established Marvel mainstay that had held his own book for years.

The inclusion of the Blood Brothers (and Thanos, for that matter) was probably due to Jim Starlin’s involvement – since he created those characters in the pages of Iron Man just nine months prior.

HOW was it?

It’s neat to see the Iron Man/Blood Brothers/Thanos conflict heightened in this issue. Moving these cosmic villains into a book with the Thing is a more fitting concept than Iron Man’s tech-inspired world. And, he was also one of the few heroes to even know who Thanos was, at this point (see Captain Marvel #26). I really enjoyed the scenes of the Thing walking through the desert complaining and being ornery. The Starlin-illustrated battle was huge and spanned the vast majority of the book. We’re even treated to some very early appearances of Thanos (which increases the importance of this issue in regards to the rest of the Marvel Universe).



Note: This issue featured a notice that the new direction of Marvel Feature would spotlight the Thing and his adventures with other heroes. It mentions that demand for the Thing to get his own series has been brewing for over ten years. The interesting thing was that, this was actually the last issue of Marvel Feature and the tema-up concept debuted two months later with a new number one and a new title: Marvel Two-In-One!



On Ebay: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Iron Man
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Iron Man

March 9, 2012

Guide to Marvel Comics Presents #52

Filed under: Guide to Marvel Comics Presents — Doorman @ 10:14 am

Marvel Comics Presents launched in 1988 as an ad-free anthology showcasing four eight-page features, stuffed inside a wrap-around cover. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!


Marvel Comics Presents #52
Cover Date: 1990 | Cover Price: $1.25 | Cover Artist: Rich Howell


Wolverine in “the Wilding” part 2
written by Rob Liefeld with Fabian Nicieza
art by Rob Liefeld

Wolverine stakes out Wildchild’s apartment and discovers that Heather Hudson has stopped by. She’s looking for Wildchild, too – after reading reports of a killer on the loose. Once inside the building, Wildchild sneak attacks her and knocks out her costume’s circuitry – leaving her powerless. Luckily for her, Wolverine leaps to her rescue. After a brief tussle, Wildchild makes a hasty retreat, betting that Wolverine will stay behind to see to Heather’s wounds. He gets her to the hospital where her injuries are treated in time to save her – now, the hunt is on!

Comet Man in “A Family Affair” part 3
written by Bill Mumy with Miguel Ferrer
art by Kelley Jones

Comet Man uses his recently-honed “thought pitching” ability to bring his son out of his catatonic state. Back in Los Angeles, Max uses his powers to gain fame and fortune on television, in concerts and in Major League Baseball! Now that everything seems to be going well, Comet Man has one last mission: to take down his brother, the Superior. And, when Max comes to visit, he reveals that Jonathan is actually the Superior!

Rick Jones in “Last Resort
written by Rich Howell
art by Rich Howell

Rock Star, Rick Jones, heads to San Juan, Puerto Rico to enjoy a quiet vacation. But, when he discovers Mr. Cansino (he owner of the inn he’s staying at) is getting the shakedown from four goons in animal masks, he can’t help but get involved. Rick proves to Cansino that crime can be fought without flashy costumes and super-powers.

Hulk in “Kids Will Be Kids
written by Ron Wilson
art by Ron Wilson

Alien kids playing games in space cause an asteroid that is twice the size of our planet, to be put on a head-on course for Earth! Utilizing experimental anti-magnetic jet-propelled fortified rocket springs (no…. seriously), the Hulk leaps into space to smash the asteroid into tiny bits. Upset that he diverted the collision, they beam him onto their ship and send one of their giant robots to fight him for more entertainment. After smashing the robot, he yells at them for endangering an inhabited planet. The aliens, ashamed that they neglected to check for lifeforms, bring the Hulk back home before racing back into space for their next round of games.

OK – This is kind of weird. So Comet Man’s sister ran off to be with her new boyfriend, Jonathan. This issue, it’s revealed that Jon is actually her brother! Talk about a Luke & Leia thing going on! Wolverine’s tale had some action but it looks like next issue’s will have much more. The Rick Jones story was a fun story – and the Hulk’s tale reminded us that kids will be kids … no matter what alien species they are. It also reminded me that writers will come up with the lamest ideas to get their protagonist somewhere they normally wouldn’t be able to go. Super-Springs sending the Hulk into space? Really? Yeesh!

On Ebay: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Comet Man | Hulk | Rick Jones
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Comics Presents | Wolverine | Comet Man | Hulk

March 8, 2012

Famous Fanmail #101 Bill Mantlo

Filed under: Famous Fanmail — Doorman @ 9:58 am

You may not be surprised to learn that most people in the comic business grew up reading comic books. However, you might be interested in knowing what they were reading. Here’s a look at “Famous Fanmail”!

Bill Mantlo is a comics writer that’s best known for his long-running complete series, Rom (75 issues!) and Micronauts (59 issues!). Ge got a letter printed in Fantastic Four #170 (cover date – May 1976), applauding his fellow writer, Roy Thomas.

Fantastic Four letters page with Bill Mantlo

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Bill Mantlo
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

March 7, 2012

Cyberspace Comics Market Report #19 March 2012

Filed under: Cyberspace Comics Market Report — Doorman @ 7:14 am

Here’s a look back at the previous month in online comic sales.

Number of listings in eBay’s “comics” section: 1,548,546 (-11.52% from last month; -13.93% from last year)
Number of those that are Cyberspace Comics listings: 9,157 (+16.55%; +34.33%)
My “market share” of comic listings on eBay: 0.59133% (+31.72%; +56.06%)

Number of eBay comic listings that are auctions: 98,808
Percentage of eBay comic listings up for auction: 6.38%

My current eBay feedback (unique): 14,840
My current eBay feedback (total): 29,693
My postive eBay feedback score: 99.9%

Position Dollar Sales # of Current Listings
First Marvel Comics Marvel Comics (1,513 listings)
Second Marvel (Bronze Age) (↑) Bad Girls (954 listings)
Third Underground (↑) TPBs (763 listings)
Fourth TPBs (↓) Image Comics (723 listings)
Fifth Spider-Man (↑) Underground (678 listings)

 

Now that eBay has stopped offering free auction listings days on a weekly basis, the market isn’t flooded anymore and prices have stabilized. Of course, they still offer 50 free auctions which keeps a healthy amount of comic auctions in their market. Their comic auction percentage is still up about 2 percentage points from the previous norm.

 
Number of listings on Atomic Avenue: 1,543,779 (+3.52%; +18.07%)
Number of those that are in the Cyberspace Comics Store on Atomic Avenue: 45,914 (-0.15%; +80.90%)
My “market share” of comic listings on AtomicAvenue: 2.9741% (-3.55%; +53.21%)
My estimated “market share” of AtomicAvenue orders: 5.20% (+0.58%; +6.77%)

As you can see from these huge annual gains, my inventory on AtomicAvenue has increased greatly!

 
Number of members on ComicCollectorLive: 84,431 (+0.77%)
Number of listings in the Cyberspace Comics Store on CCL: 2,550 (-2.11%)
Number of unique listings in the Cyberspace Comics Store on CCL: 1,260 (-1.64%)

March 6, 2012

Comic Book Covers Swipes Exposed #101 Supergirl

Filed under: Swiped: Comic Book Cover Swipes Exposed! — Doorman @ 7:27 am

After looking at hundreds of comic book covers, it becomes quickly apparent that not every cover is 100% original. Whether done intentionally or even underhandedly, there’s something about uncovering these “swipes” that adds a new element of fun to reading and collecting comics.

Over twenty years after the first appearance of Superman, DC Comics decided to create a female version: Supergirl! The 75th issue of Peter David’s well-regarded Supergirl series pays homage to her first appearance.

Action Comics #252
Action Comics #252
May 1959
Henry Boltinoff?
Supergirl vol. IV #75
Supergirl vol. IV #75
December 2002
Rob Haynes

On Ebay: Supergirl
On AtomicAvenue: Supergirl | Action Comics

March 5, 2012

Guide to Marvel Two-In-One Prequel part 1 the Thing & the Hulk

Filed under: Guide to Marvel Two-In-One — Doorman @ 1:45 pm

Marvel Two-In-One launched in 1974, teaming the Thing with a different hero each month. This guide will tell you everything you wanted to know about the series – and more!

Marvel Feature #11Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: September 1973
Cover Price: 20¢
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Jim Starlin

WHO stars in this issue?

the Thing – Benjamin J. Grimm was bombarded by cosmic rays in a space exploration flight, alongside three friends. The cosmic rays gave each of them different powers, and they formed the Fantastic Four. Ben underwent the most physical change of the foursome: his skin mutated into orange rock and, as a result, he gained super-strength.

Hulk – Doctor David Bruce Banner was turned into the green-skinned Hulk by accidental exposure to gamma radiation. His already formidable strength increases with his anger.

WHAT happens?

Kurrgo, the Master of Planet X (remember him from Fantastic Four #7?), makes a wager with the Leader. Each of them selects a champion to pit against the other’s choice. The winner gets the forced service of both champions and the scientific knowledge of the loser.

The selected champions? Why, none other than the Thing (Kurrgo’s selection) and the Hulk! Both “monsters” are teleported to a deserted ghosttown in a South-Western state, where the Thing is told that an Ultrex Bomb is primed to go off in 30 minutes, destroying the entire Earth. Unfortunately for him, the Hulk stands in his way! Fortunately for us, the Hulk stands in his way! So, we’re treated to eight Starlin-illustrated pages of Hulk vs Thing battle!

When all is said and done, the Thing finally finds the bomb only to discover that it’s a fake. After the sham is discovered, both champions are transported into a spaceship where they come face to face with Kurrgo and the Leader. However, neither the Thing nor the Hulk are interested in serving these villains so they end up destroying the vehicle’s circuitry and jumping ship – leaving the spaceship to come crashing down in the desert. Hulk bounds off into the distance and the Thing, assuming the villains died in the crash, starts walking towards the nearest town.

WHERE does the story take place?

The story starts out in the Baxter Building (in New York City), where Mr. Fantastic has just finished the latest in his long line of devices intended to cure the Thing of his rocky form. Later in the book, the Thing and the Hulk are transported to a deserted ghosttown in what looks to be a Southwestern state.

WHEN do Kurrgo and the Leader next appear?

So far, it appears that Kurrgo did, indeed, die in this crash since he hasn’t made a reappearance since!

As for the Leader, he next appeared in the Incredible Hulk #223 (May 1978), where he devised a way to cure his paralysis.

WHY is the Hulk the guest-lead?

Ever since Fantastic Four #12, Hulk vs Thing battles have been one of the top highlights in Marvel stories. So, what better way to start off the Thing’s own team-up book than by featuring a fan-favorite match?



HOW was it?

I thought it was neat that Len Wein decided to bring back Kurrgo from the depths of obscurity. This freaky alien only appeared one other time – and that was a decade prior! However, it does re-introduce a silly flaw found in many sci-fi stories: how does this alien creature speak English?!

Let’s not get hung up on that too much, though. Now, Kurrgo reveals that he wants to acquire the aid of Earth’s strongest champion to take revenge on his former people (who have since made it clear that he’s no longer welcome amongst them). OK that makes some sense, I suppose. But, the Leader‘s motivation is that he believes the champion’s strength will somehow help him escape his current paralysis. That’s a bit of a stretch – but, we’ll go with it, just for fun.



All of it is really just a way to get the Thing and the Hulk to duke it out. And, what a battle it is! These guys destroy half the ghosttown in the process! Although, it should be mentioned that it’s not quite a fair fight since Kurrgo enhanced the Thing’s strength. But, creating unfair fights is the easiest way for a writer to get around upsetting the fans. Y’see, if it was a fair fight and the Thing lost – Thing fans wouldn’t be happy. And, the same would be true for Hulk fans if he lost. But, in this case, it seems like fans of both can easily enjoy this story. And, it makes for a great first issue of the Thing’s first solo series.

Note: After the success of Marvel Team-Up (which launched in 1972), Marvel decided that they would create a second team-up style series, hoping it was a trend they could capitalize on. But, rather than take a chance right from the beginning, they opted to try out the concept. So, with the 11th issue of Marvel Feature (Ant-Man was the previous lead in this series), they allowed the Thing to begin his own series, matching him up with other Marvel Heroes. Trying out new concepts in already-established books wasn’t a new thing for Marvel. After all, Spider-Man debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15. Thor in Journey Into Mystery #83. Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39. The list can continue with Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange and even more heroes who got their own titles after debuting as a “try-out”! And, just like those other successful series, the Thing’s trial in Marvel Feature eventually led to his own title called Marvel Two-In-One!



On Ebay: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Hulk
On AtomicAvenue: Marvel Two-In-One | the Thing | Hulk

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