Monthly Archives: September 2008

Baltimore, here we come!

Our ever-able Eric Nolen-Weathington is on his way to Baltimore as I type this, to man our booth for the Baltimore Comicon. If you’ve never been, it’s a great show, lots of guests, fun times galore. If you’re there, stop by and ask Eric to tell you about Diamond Comic Distributors, and why his Modern Masters volumes on Mike Ploog and Kyle Baker were both solicited in Previews the same month, instead of two months apart as we’d requested. (I just love Diamond sometimes…)

Oh yeah, buy some stuff at our booth, before our government spends that $700 billion out of our pockets to bail out Wall Street. That way, you’ll have something to read on your coffee breaks, while we’re all working twice as hard trying to earn the extra money we’ll all need to pay the estimated $10,000 per family it’s going to cost us, all because those morons in Washington wouldn’t regulate the financial industry over the last 8 years.

(Sorry if I sound grumpy; I’m just so ticked off at our lousy administration for allowing this to happen, especially when they were warned this subprime mortgage mess was coming years ago, by the CEO of Self-Help, a major non-profit credit union who’s an advertising client of ours. That, plus my 3-year-old daughter was up all night throwing up, so I didn’t get much sleep.)

Now please excuse me; I’ve decided, for the good of the country, to suspend my blog temporarily while I rush off to focus my attention on the Presidential Debate tonight.

So, where’s Kirby Collector #51?

Kirby fans: Really, I’m working on it. Have been since July. So many things have jumped in the way of getting it done, but I hope to have it to press (finally) be the end of next week, and shipping by the end of October. Be patient; it’ll be worth it, I promise!

FINAL WEEK of our “Back-To-School Blowout” sale!

It’s been nothing short of crazy here the last few weeks, as our “Back-To-School Blowout” sale has been going on, generating hundreds of orders in the space of a couple of weeks. I thought I’d stocked our local inventory with plenty of copies of our sale items, but after the first week of the sale, we ran out of several of the sale items, and had to wait while more copies were delivered from our printer in Canada, where we store some of our books. We also literally ran out of shipping boxes, and had to scramble while waiting for our usual supplier to get more to us. So while the sale’s been super-successful, we’ve had to rely on a few customers’ patience in getting their copies shipped to them.

As of about a week ago, everything was cleared up, and shipping’s back to normal (we usually get orders shipped within two days of when they’re placed, and often the next day). The sale ends September 30, so next few days are your final chance to take advantage of the largest sale in our 15-year history: $2 magazines and 50% off books. Already, several items have sold out (and more are about to), so if there’s a publication you’ve been meaning to buy, this could be your last chance (especially at these low sale prices)!

The complete list of sale items includes:

Rough Stuff #1-9 (edited by Bob McLeod)
Write Now #1-18 (edited by Danny Fingeroth)
Comic Book Artist (all in-stock issues) (edited by Jon B. Cooke)
Comic Book Nerd (by Pete Von Sholly)
Crazy Hip Groovy Go-Go Way Out Monsters #29 and #32 (by Pete Von Sholly)
Wallace Wood Checklist (edited by Bhob Stewart)

Alter Ego: The Best of the Legendary Comics Fanzine (by Roy Thomas and Bill Schelly)
Best of the Legion Outpost (by Glen Cadigan)
Best of Write Now (by Danny Fingeroth)
Blue Beetle Companion (by Christopher Irving)
Brush Strokes With Greatness: The Life & Art of Joe Sinnott (by Tim Lasiuta)
Comic Book Artist Collection – Volume 3 (by Jon B. Cooke)
Comic Books And Other Necessities of Life (by Mark Evanier) – ALMOST SOLD OUT!
Comics Above Ground (by Durwin Talon)
Comics Gone Ape! (by Michael Eury)
Comics Introspective: Peter Bagge (by Christopher Irving)
Dick Giordano: Changing Comics One Day At A Time (by Michael Eury)
G-Force: Animated (by George Khoury and Jason Hofius)
I Have To Live With This Guy! (by Blake Bell)
Image Comics: The Road To Independence (by George Khoury)
John Romita… And All That Jazz (by Roy Thomas and Jim Amash)
Modern Masters: In The Studio with George Perez DVD
Modern Masters: In The Studio with Michael Golden DVD
Mr. Monster – Volume 0 (by Michael T. Gilbert) – ALMOST SOLD OUT!
Streetwise (edited by Jon B. Cooke and John Morrow)
Superheroes In My Pants (by Mark Evanier)
The Art of George Tuska (by Dewey Cassell)
THUNDER Agents Companion (by Jon B. Cooke)

Alter Ego Collection Volume One (by Roy Thomas)
Wertham Was Right! (by Mark Evanier)
True Brit (by George Khoury)
Secrets in the Shadows: The Art & Life of Gene Colan (by Tom Field) – SOFTCOVER IS SOLD OUT (but we have some hardcover copies left)
Comic Book Artist #9

What’s a LEGO convention like, you ask?

Over Labor Day weekend, I went to BrickFair in Vienna, Virginia (just outside Washington, DC). This was my first true LEGO convention, and was quite an eye-opener. While there was a very vital LEGO presence at Comic-Con this year, BrickFair was an entirely different animal. It was more intimate (there was an estimated 3500-4000 people who attended the “public” days on Saturday and Sunday), and the vibe was more indicative of the early comic conventions I attended back in the 1970s and ’80s. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, and there was a sense of fun and comraderie that’s missing at a lot of today’s mega-conventions. (And no, that’s not a specific slam on MegaCon in Orlando; just a turn of phrase.)

The first full day is for “attendees” only, who are the hearty souls who’ve paid a nominal registration fee, to have the privilege of displaying their “MOCs” (stands for “My Own Creation”) out of LEGO bricks. They’re not selling them, mind you (or selling anything else, generally); they’re just there to show off what they can build. There’s probably 50-100 of these attendees, and for their fee, they get a table slot (assigned by the convention organizers, based on how much space their MOCs need, not based on how much they paid, since everyone pays the same price to be an attendee). The result is a room full of spectacular LEGO constructions, all there for the general public to view and enjoy on the “public days”.

The attendee-only day lets everyone get their MOCs set up, and allows a lot of good bonding time between old friends, and making of new ones. The result is a lot of people having a lot of fun, enjoying the hobby they love. No one’s really buying or selling anything, just displaying.

For the public days, there were probably only 4-5 actual “vendors” there selling anything (one table had a few assorted bags of LEGO parts for sale, another had mini-figures and other accessories, and one guy was selling a few LEGO sets, and doing custom engraving on the sides of LEGO bricks), and they paid a reasonable fee for their tables. The convention had a table selling BrickFair hats and t-shirts (and, nicely, copies of our mag BrickJournal for us). But that was about it; thousands of people there, with not much to spend money on; a far cry from today’s big comic-cons.

The crowd was really big (lined up all the way around the Sheraton hotel, with the parking lot overflowing into the adjoining streets). Admission was $10 per day, and was well worth it. Other than the main ballroom where all the MOCs were displayed, there was a “free play” room with tons of LEGO bricks dumped on the floor for anyone to play and build with, a silent auction room full of items donated by LEGO, and a room that housed the “Great Ball Contraption”, which was an M.C. Escher-style construction that filled the room, and took balls on a whirlwind journey through LEGO mazes, trucks, and along tracks, right back to where it started to do it over and over again, all day long. There was also a film room, where fans aired their home-made LEGO movies, done with stop-animation and mini-figs. And comic-con style panels were offered (including a BrickJournal one moderated by editor Joe Meno, where I got an even greater sense of just how much LEGO fans want to see the magazine succeed).

Head personnel from the LEGO Group in Denmark were there, walking the floor, giving keynote addresses to the attendees, and talks to the public. They were there to meet and greet people who love LEGO, and to evangelize the company and its products. There was also a big Bionicle display, to draw in kids that are more geared toward that product line. However, LEGO didn’t have any actual display; they just donated items for raffles and auctions, and sent personnel to interact with the fans (although the LEGO retail store at the nearby shopping mall was literally MOBBED with customers when I stopped by). In my dealings so far with the LEGO Group, I’ve got to say that comic book companies could learn a lot from following how they run their business, and deal with their fans.

The hotel was fabulous and affordable ($95 a night for a 4-star Sheraton), and the location was great, with plenty of great shopping and food nearby (but far enough from Washington DC that the traffic wasn’t too bad). The main problem is, the ballroom was so crowded, I was afraid the fire marshall might shut it down, so a larger venue will probably be needed in the next year or two.

I’ve been to a few recent comic conventions that, despite their much larger size, just weren’t that much fun. BrickFair, however, wasn’t about size at all; it was ALL about fun. All the profits from the registration and admission fees go to charity, and putting on next year’s convention. Everyone involved is there to make sure everyone else has a great time, and based on my experience as a NOOB (ie. newbie to the LEGO scene), they did a spectacular job! I hope some comic-cons can learn from their example.

My new name

According to my three-year-old daughter, who just spent close to 30 minutes vehemently fighting against my repeated demands that she go to bed, I am officially a “poo-poo baby”. Gotta say, while I’ve been called worse in my day, I’ve never had quite that combination of astonishment and hilarity from an insult before. It’s tough to discipline your child when you don’t know whether to laugh or get mad.

Back Issue #31 preview up

Although #30 is just on press now (and will be shipping in about two weeks), Westfield Comics has just posted a preview of Michael Aushenker’s “Gerber’s Gruesomes” article from BACK ISSUE #31 preview on their site. Here’s a link.

The issue’s got some great tributes to the late Steve Gerber, so check it out! BI #31 ships in early November.

TwoMorrows Tune-In #12: Michael Eury – Back Issue editor

On the show this month, host Chris Marshall talks with Back Issue editor Michael Eury, on all the wonderful Saturday Morning Heroes from the 1970’s, which are all showcased in issue #30! Chris also goes over all of the September releases.

Be sure to check out our great sale going on at all month long!

Direct Podcast Feed


Subscribe with iTunes

e-mail Chris with questions and/or comments.

He may even read it on the next Tune-In!

TwoMorrows Tune-In #12: Michael Eury – Back Issue editor