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Friday November 27, 2009 2:11 pm

Happy Thanksgiving: Superman, Retailers, Marvel, DC, and Jack Kirby

Walt Disney's ComicsIt’s Thanksgiving, at least here in the US. For those of you outside the 50 states, just know that we are currently gorging on the kinds of food we don’t normally eat at any other time of the year, getting together with family and friends (some of us might be watching football), and reflecting on things we are thankful for. And yeah, it’s usually about friends, family, and good health, but I’m also thankful for comic book stuff too.

Here are five things I’m thankful for, as relates to comic books. Of course, this is just my list. Your mileage may vary..

(1) Comic Book Stores. Seriously, what a great idea. You can argue over smart retailers vs. the other kind, but how great is it to actually have an LCS? I like going to every one I’ve been to; the ones where they know me by name or greet me as I come in, and the ones where the clerk acts like I’ve ruined his plans for the day just by opening the door. I’ve even waded through a pile of Wizards of the Coast players just to grab my comics. I don’t mind. The idea that there’s a place where I can go and get comics is amazing to me. Until you’ve lived in a place that has no convenient comic book store, I think it’s hard to realize what a luxury one truly is. And to any retailer who’s managed to survive this long, my imaginary hat’s off to you!

(2) Marvel and DC. Okay, sure we all have our share of Big Two Disappointments we can point to and their weird reliance on crossovers and events that no one believes in, but overall, it’s great to have them around. They are responsible for the Direct Market and for keeping it alive. It’ll be interesting to see what happens as everything goes digital (and more people read online comics instead of superhero comics) and the generations of print collectors die off, but for now, I’d hate to see the industry that had only Marvel without DC or vice-versa. Besides, I have friends at both companies and don’t want to see anybody unemployed.

(3) Superman: The Movie. Here’s the thing about this movie and you can forget about arguing whether or not it’s good or bad, or if the ending is even fair in a tricky Mort Weisinger way. I’m three decades beyond caring now. The things that Superman did: (1) proved to the people who make and finance movies that a superhero movie can have a guy run around in a costume and not get laughed off the screen (kudos to a lot of people, but mostly to the late Christopher Reeve); (2) even in the pre-digital era, you do believe a man can fly; (3) a movie with a flying guy in a costume will make a pile of cash, the kind in a canvas bag with lots of $ signs on it. Since now almost all of the blockbuster movies that don’t involve Roland Emmerich’s “Death Wish for Earth” or have vampires in them have flying people and people in capes, you gotta give props to the movie that proved it was a good financial risk.

(4) Comic Con International. Love it. Can’t wait to go each year. I keep looking for the Comic Con app I can put on my iPhone. I’m eternally amazed at the skill involved in getting this thing up and running and how smoothly they are able to keep this giant beast sated - and I’ve been going there for many, many years, both as an exhibitor and as an ordinary attendee. The last time I was there, in the span of about an hour (warning: names to be dropped at a rapid pace), I survived a frenzy of mangamaniacs eager to take pictures of someone I’m sorry to say I didn’t know, dodged a lady in a giant Pokemon costume, chatted with Alan Payne at IDW, bumped into webcomic creator Zach Weiner, stopped by Aaron Lopresti’s booth to say hi, waved to Danny Fingeroth in passing, made lunch plans with ComicMix’s Mike Raub and DC’s Jim Chadwick, bought comics at the Bongo booth and met Bill Morrison, bought some on-sale graphic novels at the Boom! booth and had a “long-time-no-see” conversation with Mark Waid, had a quick catch-up conversation with Gerard Jones in the aisle, was introduced to the gang at Arcana by my pal Dave Olbrich, got an invitation to a party from a friend of a friend, and had a funny conversation with Platinum’s Scott Rosenberg where we compared our con purchases. For me, it’s like a class reunion, only instead of just seeing old friends, I can make a few new ones. Not a bad way to spend four days.

(5) Jack Kirby. Nuff said. He gets my thanks each year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

[Artwork: cover to Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories, © Disney]

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