Back to Work LinkBlogging

Here’s a nice Boxing Day gift: Loren Collin’s list of free online comics. These aren’t webcomics, but sample issues and stories print publishers have put online as samples.

The Howling Curmudgeons look back at reprints we didn’t see this year. To which I respond, yeah, why haven’t we heard anything more about Miracleman? (But I can see why current star writer Bill Willingham maybe wouldn’t want the often-embarrassing Elementals reprinted. This is the series that put out a “Sex Special” and postulated that one of the female heroes wore super-high-heeled boots and a skintight costume because she got a power charge out of erotic energy.)

Comics Should Be Good can’t figure out why all the fuss over the Betty & Veronica redesign, saying “this change isn’t even in a regular comic title – it’s only in a digest!”

I hate to break it to him, but while the comic-format Archie titles sell roughly 15-25,000 copies an issue, the digests are over 100,000, with some up to 125-130,000. (Figures by rough memory from the last time they published a mailing permit statement of ownership.) With Archie, the forgettable stuff happens in the “regular” comics.

In other Archie news, KC’s been working on filling in our collection of older Archie titles. We now have all the issues of the Sabrina series from the 70s, always one of my favorites, and lots of other fun books. He’d tried googling for reference sites on the books, but he wasn’t able to find much.

He did keep running into mentions of my site as the only person online who reviews their publications, which made me wonder why people forgot about Tony Isabella. Then I saw that Tony’s moved much more firmly into superhero comics these days, and I didn’t see a mention of Archie comics for the last three months, so maybe he’s quit talking about them.

I just figure that if a ton of sites can keep talking about superhero books, regardless of quality or creative achievement, because that’s what they’ve always read and it’s what they’re nostalgic for, the least I can do is the same for books that aren’t so overexposed. (I’m trying really hard to avoid calling Archies the girl equivalent of superheroes, but I think there are some similarities there.)

10 Responses to “Back to Work LinkBlogging”

  1. Tommy Raiko Says:

    This is straight from the I-can’t-believe-I-know-this-file, but we were all young once…

    The superheroine who justified her outfit because of its arousing effect on her powers–was that really from Elementals? ‘Cuz I swear I remember the same rationale used for another character…perhaps someone in Hero Alliance…?

    I seem to think that I’ve seen this explanation before, but I’m fairly certain I’ve never read Elementals, but have read a few issues of other indy-publishers’ superhero team books of the era.

    Then again, clearly it’s such a good idea (sarcasm!), it may have shown up in several comics…

  2. Johanna Says:

    I could be misremembering, too. Hopefully, another reader will be able to clear it up for us, because I really don’t want to start googling that topic right now. :)

  3. Dan Coyle Says:

    Well, all I know is, after reading Pantheon, Willingham has some pretty freaking bent views of women in power. Or rather, what happens to the Superman-level superheroine and how she is rescued is monstrously sexist.

  4. Tommy Raiko Says:

    I could be misremembering, too. Hopefully, another reader will be able to clear it up for us, because I really don’t want to start googling that topic right now. :)

    OK, I did a little Googling so you wouldn’t have to, and turned up this usenet post from 1992 (Usenet! Text only! No graphics! No fear!):

    Basically, it seems to confirm that it was a character from Hero Alliance whose powers are increased when aroused and whose costume enhances that for her. Kinda like a riff on the Hulk’s “The madder he gets, the stronger he gets,” only replacing “madder” with “hornier”…

  5. Anon E. Mouse Says:

    re “forgettable stuff” in Archie Comics, it’s the other way around. The various Archie digests (some are 96 pages long, others are 192 and are priced accordingly) are about 90% re-print with usually one new story thrown in. Anything important happens in the monthly books first, then is later collected in a digest or (more rarely) in a trade paperback (1994’s “The Love Showdown,” for example).

  6. Lyle Says:

    Dan, wow, I’m glad now that I never kept up with Pantheon. Still, there were some good stories in the early issues elementals that pushed superheroes forward a bit (though the results of that, like with Watchmen, are regrettable). One of these days I’ll have to find those issues and re-read them with a better trained eye (though I’m missing the –sumthin– War issues where the series really goes downhill).

  7. Brian Cronin Says:

    Yeah, the digests may sell better, but they’re almost all reprints. When they do “events,” it’s in the regular titles.

    So this way, they don’t have to worry about messing with the semibalance of “continuity” that the titles have.

  8. Johanna Says:

    Thanks so much for correcting my bad memory, Tommy, and doing the research! I know I’m right about the “Sex Special”, though. :)

    Brian, I know about the reprint mix, since that’s what I enjoy about the digests. What I wanted to highlight was that the digests are the ones that reach the wide audience, with 5-10 times the readers of the comics. That makes the choice to launch this change in a digest particularly interesting, I think.

  9. Greg Morrow Says:

    The “Sex Special” may well have dated from the point after Willingham got booted from his own creation by Comico’s new owners.

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