What color was the first color comics in American newspapers printed in?
— Mickie (gunshop@swbell.net)

I presume you mean “The Yellow Kid” whose shirt was yellow. Otherwise, the first four-color comics were printed with the same four colors used today: Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

*****
Is there a good site to go to so that base-level neophyte folks like me can learn about comics? Perhaps a primer of sorts? Thank you!
— Allyson Brooks (abrooks@plaidonline.com)

I’d suggest a local library or bookstore. Pick up a copy of Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics.”

*****
Why doesn’t the Human Torch burn out buildings when he’s passing through them in fire form?
— Mike (spartack@hotmail.com)

For the same reason your hand doesn’t catch fire if you pass it over a lit candle – there is not enough heat in the brief instant to cause anything to burn.

*****
Why is it most writers of today are too bleepin’ lazy to work with continuity in comics? It seems lately every writer wants to do “their own rendition” of Spider-Man or Superman or whatever other book and/or hero out there. Is there any way you can ask one of these people why? This really bugs me.
— Lanier (Lanier2369@rocketmail.com)

It is not the writers so much as it is the editors who allow this to happen. If a new writer on a series says, “I’d like Cheezeman to start being depressed all the time because his great Aunt Hilda died and so he punches every guy named Joe that he meets,” it is up to the editor to say, “No – we’re not doing that.” Unfortunately, too often for your taste, the editors just nod and smile.

*****
This question has bothered me for the past 16 years and is difficult for me to formulate, and the best I can put it is: Why is DC anti-child? I could go on and on explaining what I mean, but I am sure that you will ask me if you don’t understand. I used to read DC and in 1986 DC drove me away. I was told, in no uncertain terms that those things that I liked were dead and gone. I sent a letter to Jenette Kahn expressing my dismay that I cannot share one of my childhood joys with my kids. The response was deafening silence. So, I ask you: why?
— Joe Palmer (jpalmer@Princeton.edu)

DC has focused most of their attention on an aging “fanboy market” that is slowly but surely dwindling away. I suggest that you avoid the regular comics (with the exception of the ones that tie in with the TV cartoons) and instead pick up a few of the trade paperbacks that feature the stories you enjoyed as a kid, titles like SUPERMAN IN THE 50s and BATMAN IN THE 60s.

*****
What is the best site for pictures from all X-MEN comics and Milestone issues?
— Jerry Swanson (ge0rge1988@hotmail.com)

The Grand Comics Database at www.comics.org.

*****
I recently fished a copy of BATMAN FAMILY #4 (March-April 1976) out of a quarter box, so I don’t need to ask you how much it’s worth. However, while reading the Robin story, penned by you-know-who, I noticed Aunt Harriet Cooper in the last panel of the Christmas-themed story, and wondered if there was ever a “final” Aunt Harriet appearance, or if in fact this BATFAM story might be it.
— Dave Blanchard (blanchardd@aol.com)

I can’t think of another appearance of Aunt Harriet, so this could indeed have been her unheralded last bow.

*****
1. What exactly does “dominoed” mean, as in “Dominoed Daredoll”?
2. Back in the early 80’s, did, for example, a January-February issue of a bi-monthly book come out at the same time as the January monthlies or the February monthlies? And if they came out with the Januarys, why did the cover say “Feb”?
— Glenn Simpson (glennsim2003@yahoo.com)

1. A “domino” is a long cloak with a half mask attached, such as Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon wore. Julie Schwartz, he who enjoyed having heroes with numerous sobriquets (like “the Scarlet Speedster,” “the Emerald Warrior” and “the Tiny Titan”) is probably the one who came up with that one too.
2. Ideally, the publishers hoped that Jan/Feb bi-monthly book that came out with the books dated January would go off-sale with those dated February, so they used the latter date on the cover.

*****
Do you know if there is a collected book of the clone saga of Spider-Man?
— chefguy2001@hotmail.com

SPIDER-MAN CLONE GENESIS is, I believe, out of print, but you might be able to find a copy. It covers the early part of the saga.

*****
I remember that DC’s LEGENDS mini-series was originally solicited as “Crisis on Captive Earth.” Why was the title changed?
— Dave Hearn (gallery@netset.com)

It wasn’t as much of a Crisis as initially believed?

*****
What are Batman’s pointy ears made out of? Are they plastic, hollow….what?
— Unsigned

Some kind of solid rubber or plastic material would be my guess.

*****
Who came up with the idea of Poseidonis and Tritonis as Atlantean cities? E. Nelson Bridwell?
— R. Duncan (rduncan1@falcon1.net)

I think so. It seems like the kind of continuity link Nelson loved to make.

*****
In most stories that involve a flashback to the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, special attention is made to the pearls on the necklace Bruce’s mother wears. Generally there is a close-up of the pearls coming loose and flying everywhere as the crook rips the necklace off her neck. The earliest I can remember seeing that image is in Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Are there any earlier instances?
— Wesley Smith (mrwesley247@yahoo.com)

I believe Frank’s use of the pearls was the first.

*****
What was Thomas Wayne’s profession?
— Jay (minmai99@aol.com)

He was most often referred to as a general practitioner, but he did do some emergency surgery, so he was clearly a highly-skilled doctor.

*****
Where can I find pictures of Superman’s death and funeral?
— Unsigned

In the trade paperback books THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN: FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND.

*****
Please answer a question that’s always haunted me Answer Man. If Harvey Dent’s face was burned by the thrown bottle of acid, how did his hand get burned?
— Blue Burke (SCStingRays2002@yahoo.com)

He put his hand up to protect himself.

*****
Looking at the Previews Order form under Paradox Press/DC Comics, I don’t see the BIG BOOK OF CONSPIRACIES listed, but all of the others seem available. Is that fact that it’s missing a conspiracy?
— Scott Schaffer (scottpschaffer@hotmail.com)

Undoubtedly.

*****
Regarding your real world job at Preload Inc.: Do you work in the world of concrete construction? Is Preload in Ohio? I work in concrete construction (in the formwork biz) and never mention my passion for comic books due to the stigma attached. It would be nice to talk about both topics.
— Dave Monnot (dmonnot@columbus.rr.com)

Preload builds prestressed concrete reservoirs and water storage tanks and we are currently building one in Clermont County, Ohio (as well as a number in other places around the country). I’m not a cement mason, however; I am in the accounting department. But feel free to talk about comics and concrete.


MAGIC 8-BALL DEPARTMENT:
Here is an assortment of questions that can have no definitive answer, so let’s consult the Magic 8-Ball for answers. Choose from the possible answers and attach the one you like best to each question below.
Your choices: “Definitely” “Signs Point to No” “The Outlook is Good” “The Possibility is Strong” “Not in Your Lifetime” “Ask Again Later”

Will Marvel ever bring back the Deadpool comic series?
— QT (qmt54@hotmail.com)

How long will Grant Morrison’s run on the X-Men last?
— Jerry Swanson (ge0rge1988@hotmail.com)

Does DC have any plans on bringing back the New Gods or Mr. Miracle anytime soon?
— Unsigned

Is THE ULTIMATES going to stay as a regular title or is it just like a one off thing?
— Ben (ben_1500@hotmail.com)

Will we ever see superheroes getting involved in fictionalized battles in real wars, like was done during World War II?
— Paul Ewert (pcewert@yahoo.com)

Now that IDW’s CSI mini-series has apparently fallen prey to the USA only licensing restrictions, do you (or anyone reading your column) know whether any UK publishers have plans to pick up the UK reprint license?
— Brian Stabler (bjstabler@hotmail.com)

I’m wondering about whether DOMINION has been cancelled or not. I have not seen another issue since issue #1 and have not heard anything about the comic since the initial issue came out.
— Matthew (taz4360@cfl.rr.com)

Will it ever be possible for any movie studio to do feature film remakes of either FLASH GORDON or DOC SAVAGE? Of the Golden Age heroes, those two have the biggest depth to me.
— Sanford S. Williams (TBearFord@MSN.com)

Do you know when “Spirit Of The Amazon” will reach the UK?
— Sonny (phatman484@aol.com)


HUNH?!? DEPARTMENT:
And then there are the questions that just make me scratch my head…

Now that there’s a Vertigo Superman, will there be a Vertigo Wonder Woman or Vertigo Batman in the works?
— Rey (rey@one-manila.com)

There’s a Vertigo Superman?

*****
What does the S on Superman’s chest stand for?
— Unsigned

Sockamagee?

*****
From which country do we get Peruvian Balsam?
— Unsigned

El Salvador, the same place from which we get Panama hats.

*****
Are there any comics that are new and coming soon?
— Max (a.burns73@ntlworld)

Nah. Find a new hobby… like collecting old subway tokens.

*****
Are there any pics or photos of Batgirl removing her own mask other than in comics? Like at the studio. If so, where can I view them?
— Anthony (atlk13@netzero.net)

Watch episodes of the old Batman TV show in which Batgirl appeared. There must be some show where she takes off the mask.

*****
Name a song that celebrates a Thunderbird in its lyrics?
— Tavarra (tavarra-198@msn.com)

The Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” (till her daddy takes her T-bird away).

*****
What is the reason of hotmail cookies??
— Imran (imrankhan_2oo4@hotmail.com)

Hotmail ice cream sandwiches kept melting.

*****
Why do men have nipples?
— BO (cdjennings101@yahoo.com)

Jealousy?

*****
Why is DC sitting on its tail while Marvel is producing blockbusters?
— Ron (King7739@bellsouth.net)

They enjoy being Number 2… it gives them something to strive for.

*****
Really obscure question – Is the character Svetlana from TOM STRONG comics the same Svetlana that is a tattoo on Billy Idol’s arm? Do you happen to have a picture of Svetlana so I can see if it is the same character? Thanks – and yes I have a little too much time on my hands.
— M. Henderson (ldbossman@hotmail.com)

Ummm…

*****
Can I receive some books at the end of every month?
— Wisdom Sarblah (wisdombmw@yahoo.com)

If you send money to a comics dealer at the beginning of every month, I’m sure he’ll be happy to send you books at the end of every month.

*****
I knew Justin Gray, of 21 Down, when he lived in Seattle. How can I email him?
— Ene-Liis Arrowsmith (ene_liis@yahoo.com)

The same way you email anyone else. Type in his email address, write the letter, and hit “Send.”

*****
How can one tell the difference between Michael Jackson and Michael Morbius? If I met them on the street, I could not tell them apart.
— Arthur (Headman@augusta.com)

If Morbius bites you, you turn into a vampire. If Jackson bites you, you can make millions selling the story to the tabloids.


FEEDBACK DEPARTMENT
I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of controversy regarding this comment, but why was Marvel better in the ’80’s? Jim Shooter. Yes, we had ROM, POWER PACK and SECRET WARS II. We also had Stern’s AVENGERS, Byrne’s FANTASTIC FOUR, Miller’s DAREDEVIL, Simonson’s THOR, Gruenwald’s CAPTAIN AMERICA, and David’s HULK … to name a few creative highpoints.
— Rick Berry (rsberry@aol.com)

Let the debates begin…


QUICK PLUG DEPARTMENT:
Fans of the old Daily Planet pages that I used to do in the DC books will enjoy reading The Weekly Planet at www.dcindexes.com. That’s only the tip of the iceberg at the site; Mike Voiles has an extensive DC cover gallery, index of DC titles and characters, and even a gallery of Henry Boltinoff gag filler pages. Definitely worth a look!


Has there ever been an attempt to “realistically” explain Superman’s weakness to kryptonite with some rationale other than “just because”?
— Giancarlo Malchiodi (EngTeacher@att.net)

Do you have x-ray vision, Giancarlo? Have you been peeking into my computer files? Later this week I’ll be off to lovely Chestertown, MD for my annual six-week stint teaching in the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth summer program. Filling in for me here, with answers to questions that required some in-depth research, will be my official unofficial researcher John Wells. First up on John’s agenda is a detailed history of the many forms of kryptonite!

And though I’ll be away, there will still be my daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.worldfamouscomics.com/trivia. Stop by there for a chance to win prizes from my Cabinet of Goofy Stuff.

 

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