BACK TO THE EMAILBOX…
This week, it’s back into the many emails I’ve received …
I noticed that the paper DC used in 1979 was a cheaper grade of newsprint, but, in my opinion, the results were a better look overall. Is the reason this newsprint is not used today only that it degrades so quickly and is not welcome with the collectors?
Also, you must have stories about my two favorite artists, Dick Dillin and Don Newton. They were inspirations for me and I wish they had the fan following that other artists have.
Jeff Glover [email@example.com]
One of the major reasons for the upgrade in the newsprint used was the offset printing presses that replaced the letterpresses in the 1980s. The newsprint tended to “flake” a great deal, which created havoc with the printing plates. The better grades of paper, particularly the coated ones like “ReBax” and “Miraweb,” do not have that problem and result in a cleaner-looking job.
By the way, when DC started using the “Baxter” paper on its first offset-printed books, the manufacturer guaranteed the paper would remain stable for 400 years. Should any of you find this not to be true in 350 years or so, please be sure to notify DC publisher Paul levitz so he can arrange for you to get a replacement copy.
Your opinion on the art back in 1979 looking better overall could simply be based on your preferring artists like Dillin and Newton. I had the opportunity to work with both of these gentlemen as a writer, assistant editor, and/or production manager. Both were thoroughly professional, met their deadlines, and turned in consistently excellent art. I agree with you that neither ever got the kind of recognition they should have.
What happened circa 1993, printing-wise, when all the regular comics lost their beautiful-looking, sweetly-rounded spines to become a somehow twisted evolution of those Baxter limited series of the 1980s? I know that the paper quality improved, but the covers aren’t such a nice sight any more.
Well, see, when you improve the paper by using heavier-weight or better-coated stock, it cracks when you fold it. (Ever try folding a piece of cardboard? Same concept.) The old, thinner, cheaper paper folded more easily, so the spines of the books looked cleaner and neater.
Gee, maybe I should follow my history of color separations with one on the changes in paper!
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ:
The conclusion of the three-part theme…
21. Aunt Luiza trained Maria de Guzman to become what were-creature?
22. Nabbing a “pic-a-nic” basket before Ranger Smith arrives is the plan of whom?
23. Detroit became the home base of the JLA at whose behest?
24. The Separated Man and a robot named Honey-Bun were battled by what team?
25. He’s captain of a baseball team that includes a beagle and a boy named Pigpen; who is he?
26. Ed Dawson gazed upon the meteor-god Mithra and was transformed into what?
27. This Vietnamese villain battled Daredevil and the New Warriors as he saought vengenace for the deaths of his parents; who is he?
28. What swashbuckler sailed through the pages of MORE FUN COMICS in the pre-Spectre days?
29. Azareth was the birthplace of Arella’s daughter; what was she named?
30. In one version of his origin, whose twin sister Alisa was killed by Krogg the Red?
31. Name the Marvel one-shot about super-powered elephants.
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again: 80%. Percentage of American women who say they’d marry the same man: 50%.
2. Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair. [I don’t know; this one sounds like “dumb blonde” bashing to me!]
3. Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
BACK FOR MORE IN THE EMAILBOX:
What happened to Marvel’s 2099 books? One day they are publishing some of the coolest tales and the next it’s “2099? What’s that?”
Publishers don’t stop publishing books that make money. [Well, they usually don’t!] Readers obviously got tired of the 2099 concept and stopped buying the books, so Marvel chose to direct its talent and money to new and more lucrative projects.
If you have time, please check out the following URL: http://home.att.net/~blackfox7/blackfox.html.
Corwin Glenn [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I checked out your site, Corwin, and while the artwork is a bit crude (and more than a bit gory), it shows some promise. But I found the chapter of the story confusing. Is the guy in the costume actually Blackfox or just someone who is wearing the costume?
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT for 9/25/00 has an article about the state of the comic book industry with some interesting insight – into the problem itself and how various industry folks perceive it too.. You can check it out online at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/000925/marvel.htm
A bit macabre, perhaps, but what happened to Jason Todd’s body? Comic people are forever hanging around cemeteries, but I don’t recall ever seeing Jason’s resting place.
Saul Ptock [email@example.com]
Well, if you look in the BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY trade paperback, you’ll clearly see that a funeral is being held in what we presume to be a cemetery in Gotham City. Granted, we did not get a look inside the coffin, but I think we can trust Bruce Wayne when he says that Jason was being buried.
I hope you can help me find a VHS copy of “Defiance,” a 1978 movie starring Jan-Michael Vincent, Art Carney and Danny Aiello. It was a classic movie but no one I ask knows what I’m talking about.
Todd Tucker [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide calls this a “gritty little film (that is)…a synthesis of 30s Warner Bros. melodramas, B westerns, ‘On the Waterfront,’ and ‘Boardwalk,’ with atmospheric direction and colorful supporting performances.” It is supposed to be available on videocassette. Oh, and it was released in 1980, not 1978.
A couple of follow-ups on last week’s column:
My SBC colleague Rich Johnston pointed out that Peter Milligan’s new Human Target graphic novel (“Director’s Cut”) was mentioned in his “All the Rage” column right next door to this page. You should be checking his column out every week too.
Also, regarding the alternate-Earth versions of the Legion. I interpreted the question to mean versions of the Legion on Earths that had been established as the homes of other characters (Earth-2 = the JSA, Earth-X = Freedom Fighters, etc.). Walt Sterdan [email@example.com] and Mark Katzoff [firstname.lastname@example.org] quickly reminded me of SUPERBOY #117, which featured “Superboy and the Five Legion Traitors.” Tom Galloway [email@example.com] went a step further and sent the following:
<< To the best of my knowledge, there were two cases of pre-Crisis parallel world Legion of Super-Heroes. Although it’s possible that they may have the same one. And neither fits into the Earth-2, -3, etc. numbering (since in Crisis, it was specified that there wasn’t an Earth-2 Legion).
Both stories are reprinted in volume 3 of the LEGION ARCHIVES. The first originally appeared in ADVENTURE #325, “Lex Luthor Meets The Legion of Super-Heroes.” There, Lex uses a “time-and-space super-console” to view various Legionnaires. “Chameleon Boy and his pet, Proty II, are visiting their parallel-world doubles, in another dimension.” The panel shows two apparently identical Chams shaking hands, with identical looking Protys (which, given that Proty was a white blob, ain’t that significant) on their shoulders. As far as I know, this was the only reference to said parallel world.
The next case was in SUPERBOY #117, “Superboy and the 5 Legion Traitors.” At the beginning of the story, Superboy, thrill seeker that he was, deliberately gets close to a star going nova. He then returns to Earth, where a time bubble containing Invisible Kid, Ultra Boy, Element Lad, Chameleon Boy, and Brainiac 5 arrives in his home town. At first they just seem to be doing what amounts to a time-traveling road trip, but the next day, in school, Ultra Boy proclaims that Clark Kent is Superboy in front of an entire class.
Trying to figure out how to get out of this, Clark starts looking around with his X-ray and telescopic visions and realizes that the town he’s in has its name spelled “Smallvile”, and the city he’ll eventually move to has its name spelled “Metropolus.” (He sees both names on a banner promoting an upcoming football game between Smallvile and Metropolus Highs as the “season’s greatest game.” Either the two municipalities are a lot closer in size in this world, Smallvile has a *really* good football team, or Metropolus has a *really* wimpy one.) He quickly realizes he’s on a parallel world, and, since the visitors from the future hadn’t saluted the Legion flag (which Smallvile citizens just happened to have around to put up to greet them; ah, the Silver Age), they must have been kicked out of the Legion. Why? Because the Legion Constitution requires Legionnaires to salute the Legion flag when they encounter it. Of course, Clark didn’t consider that this clause might not exist on this world, but, what the hey, he was right anyway.
Finding that world’s Superboy heading home from a mission, he sends him a message alerting him to what’s happening. We then get the standard “Superboy and Clark Kent are in the same place, so Clark CAN’T be Superboy” scene. The traitors are captured and returned to the 30th century, and our Clark returns home.
Oddly enough, at the end of the story there’s a panel where Clark is
visualizing both the parallel Earth traitors and their Earth-1 counterparts, and it becomes clear, although never mentioned in the story, that he should’ve been suspicious about why all but Ultra Boy were wearing the now outdated rocket belts as opposed to flight rings. The traitors are all shown with belts (and wore them throughout the story), while the Earth-1 Legionnaires are not wearing the rocket belts.
This can’t be an Earth-3 story since there’s a good Superboy on the planet, as opposed to a villainous Ultraboy. However, it’s just possible that the parallel world Chameleon Boy seen in the Adventure story two months previous had gone bad in that period so it could’ve been the same parallel world as in that story. No way of proving or disproving it either way though. >>
All the folks whose letters appear in this column (including the guys who wrote me about the alternate-Legion story) get 10% off anything they order from Comics Unlimited through SBC, though Todd Tucker might have preferred a discount at a site that could sell him a copy of “Defiance.” Want to save yourself a few bucks on comics, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, etc.? Send your comments and questions via that handy little box in the left-hand column.
That’ll do it till next week, when we’ll take one more dive into the emailbox.
21. The Jaguar
22. Yogi Bear
24. The Teen Titans
25. Charlie Brown
28. The Buccaneer
30. Viking Prince
31. Power Pachyderms
The theme is the 31 teams of the National Football League, divided by East, West, and Central Divisions.
Can’t get enough of BobRo’s Trivia? Check out the daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia.
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.