I don’t know how he does it, but somehow editor J.C. Vaughn is able to assemble his team each year and whip together a new edition of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. This year it’s #42 (!) and it’s just as big and wonderful as ever. This year’s version is available with three different covers: Joe Jusko, Adam Hughes, and (my favorite) Matt Wagner. Just beautiful-looking stuff.
As always, in addition to the latest go-to prices for comics new and old (and really old, like the 16th Century), the Guide has a ton of great articles on comics history, plus market reports from their advisers, the Overstreet Hall of Fame, and even a new look at one of the best graphic novels ever, Batman: Son Of The Demon.
For me, I love the articles, but I also like flipping through the pages and looking at covers of old comics to see how they've changed over the years. I get a real kick out of all the funny (and strange) titles and the trivia (artist appearances and character first appearances and stuff like that). It's like an annual history book of comics and in each volume I always find good stuff that makes it a worthwhile purchase.
Back in the day, one of the comic books that I was peripherally involved with was Scarlet In Gaslight, a Sherlock Holmes & Dracula mini-series. And I'll clarify that right away by saying that I had nothing to do with its creation.
It was created and written by Martin Powell, and illustrated by Seppo Makinen and after it was acquired by Malibu Comics for its Eternity imprint, it was edited by Chris Ulm. My role was limited to reading the issues as the original art came in. Ulm would drop it off on my desk and say, "You gotta read this." I was later the art director for the first collected edition.
Malibu was a creator-owned publisher back in those days, and the rights to Scarlet In Gaslight were held by the creators. In the years since its original publication, Martin has done an excellent job of keeping the collected edition in print. Its last edition is sold out, but the good news is that it's coming back, along with other Martin-based projects.
Thank you internets, you’ve been great this week. So let’s share that bounty with others:
Mighty Samson: Writer J.C. Vaughn has a preview of Mighty Samson #1 at his blog. Shooter’s involved, Patrick Olliffe is the artist. Dark Horse is the publisher. I’m in!
Here’s a little more about the series at Comic Attack.
Shadow: Novelist James Reasoner has a Forgotten Book that’s a must have for fans of Maxwell Grant’s The Shadow: Gangland's Doom: The Shadow of the Pulps, by Frank Eisgruber Jr.
British Comics: Matthew Murray at Comics Beat goes all out for the new Dandy and breaks down its contents.
Peanuts: Zach Weiner finally lets Charlie Brown kick that football.
Peppers: Mark Evanier lives the sitcom life.
3-D: Ricky Sprague at Project Child Murdering Robot tells how Marvel Comics (in 3-D!) turned him into an atheist. Bonus: 3-D artwork on the internets!
“I finally had the guts to ask Dee-Dee out, but only after she saw me drive a stake through the heart of a vampire.”
That’s Dean Marklin, vampire hunter in suburban Pittsburgh, the star of Vampire, PA, the new 3-issue mini-series from Moonstone. The series is created and written by J. C. Vaughn and illustrated by Brendon and Brian Fraim. Dean’s found himself in the middle of two warring factions of vampires, and one of the vampires, Jocelyn, may be trying to play him for a sucker. Dean’s already killed her once and he may have to do it again.
This “Fistful of Dollars with vampires” set-up delivers the goods, in large part because of the characters. Dean treats his nighttime vampire hunting as a job – a thing that has to be done to clean up his hometown. He goes about it with precision and good-natured humor, and drags along his friend Scuba Dave and girlfriend Dee-Dee. And, except for the wooden stakes and Super-Soakers filled with holy water, he’s got a normal life – he’d like to get married and re-open the town’s aging movie theater. He’s not some super-human guy either – he’s simply doing the best he can to rid his town of these creatures and is still learning as he goes.
When you think of Pennsylvania, do you think of (1) The Pittsburgh Steelers or the Pittsburgh Pirates? (2) Coal-Mining? (3) Vampires?
If you answered “Vampires,” then you know the realities of suburban western Pennsylvania, a target-rich environment for vampire hunters like Dean Marklin. Dean didn’t used to believe in vampires, but then he met a hot one, and a bunch of not-so-hot ones who keep trying to kill him. Life is hard enough in Vampire, PA without having to carry a wooden stake in your pocket all the time.
From The Twilight Saga to Dracula and every point in between, vampires are the new Vin Diesel and my pal J.C. Vaughn has come up with an excellent twist on the genre that’s worth a look. He’s written Zombie-Proof, the adventures of Jack Bauer in 24, some nice Shi comics with Billy Tucci, and a host of other stuff, and now he’s reunited with his Antiques co-horts, Brian Fraim and Brendon Fraim for a 3-part full-color series.
What a crazy week with all this talk of Watchmen prequels, re-shoots on Jonah Hex, and DC’s big impending announcements of film projects and possibly a new Publisher. Marvel will have to sell itself again just to keep up! Let’s see what’s out and about.
Amazon Vs. Books: If you’ve been following the slap-fight between Amazon and Macmillan, you already know that they’re fighting over ebook pricing and Amazon pulled Macmillan’s books from their site. Amazon lost the PR battle and has agreed to put the links back. John Scalzi has what I think is the correct take on the matter. His books are published by Tor, which is a division of Macmillan, and the fight cost him, and many other authors, their sales. Read what John says.
The Beat: Heidi MacDonald is an old pal from the pre-blog era and runs one of the must-click sites on the web, The Beat. She’s recently moved to a new location and if you haven’t updated yet, do so now. And try to get in on all the Watchmen sequel and prequel stuff!
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