By Beau Smith

The Manly Question Of The Week

Not a week goes by that I’m not talkin’ to a fellow comic book creator or publisher about comics, the business or how much they owe me. Last week I was talkin’ to a buddy and he was tellin’ me that his book didn’t do as well as he thought it was gonna do. His publisher felt the same. So my buddy called up a few retailer friends that he trusted. Ones that he knew would give him the truth.

He asked them what their thoughts on his sales numbers were and why they didn’t reach expectations. He was surprised by their answers.

They all said that if his book would have had the Marvel or DC brand on it that sales would have been upwards to what he thought they should be. They told him that right now it was a Marvel and DC mainstream buyers market. They added that most everyone that comes into their stores buys mostly Marvel and DC comics with a sprinkling of books from other publishers? Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Devil’s Due.

They told him that they do get buyers that only buy indy books and that they rarely cross over to anything mainstream. Just as the mainstream readers rarely buy Blankets, Strangers In Paradise, Scooter Girl, and so on. They told him and so did I, that this is not always the case with all consumers and all retailers. It just happened that it was with the ones that he talked to.

I called up a few retailers as well. Ones that I know and trust to give it to me straight up. Of the 15 that I talked to 11 of em’ said that having the Marvel or DC brand on a book would help. A couple mentioned books like The Invincibles, G.I. Joe, Transformers, The Goon, a few Top Cow books would all do much better if they had the Marvel or DC brand on them.

It was a little surprising to hear them say that the regular Marvel and DC readers/consumers don’t cross over even to Dark Horse, Image and other mid-sized publisher’s books. Please keep in mind that between my buddy and I we only spoke to a few retailers. You can’t judge all retail sales to just a handful of retailers.

What I’d like to know can only be answered by you? the Busted Knuckles readers:

Are there other books you might be more inclined to buy if they were done by Marvel or DC Comics?

Do you buy with variety? Meaning are most of the comics your buy and read Marvel and DC? Or do you spread your desires around and buy just books you like no matter who publishes them?

Do you follow your favorite creators from one company to another? Say, if you buy Mark Waid doin’ the Fantastic Four are you also gonna buy his Hunter-Killer at Top Cow? Would you buy Robert Kirkman’s Marvel work as well as his Walking Dead at Image?

These are very important questions that not enough people are askin’. There has to be some statistical truth to this. Look at the top selling books in January. In the top 100 the first 13 books are all Marvel. DC comes in at #14. From there to #28 it’s all Marvel and DC. Hell, for that matter most of the top 100 is Marvel and DC.

So this week I’m turnin’ the floor over to y’all. I’d love to hear what your comic book buyin’ habits are like. I wouldn’t ask ya if I didn’t know you’d tell me the truth. Ya always have since I’ve been doin’ Busted Knuckles. I can’t tell ya how really important this information is to everyone. You might even be surprised at what you’re buyin’ and why.

Is Your Ass Branded?

I look forward to hearin’ your always manly answers, amigos.

Beau’s Manly Comic Of The Week

Ya know, we live in a time of very few truly manly characters in comics. It’s just like the movies. Where have all the truly manly stars gone? Let’s speak the truth. Ya can’t put actors like Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Tom Cruise in the same manly class as John Wayne, Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin. Those were men. These new guys are boys.

Same in comics I’m afraid to say.

Well, I’m here once again to give y’all an education. A manly education. I’ve pulled these comics from my personal stash here at The Flying Fist Ranch.

Once long time ago, even before I was born there was a real man in comics. His name was John Hawk? Sky Pilot The Fighting Missionary Of The Far North.

Sky Pilot #10 and Sky Pilot #11 – cover painting by Norm Saunders.

In 1950 Ziff-Davis comics gave us two issues of head bustin’, teeth spillin’, lumberjack whuppin’ action. There were two wonderful issues of Sky Pilot. Issue #10 in 1950 and issue #11 in 1951. That was it. There were no more. These comics had beautiful painted covers by the Alex Ross of his day-Norm Saunders. Norm was noted for not only his comic book covers, but those of paperbacks and magazines as well. Please take the time to check out some of Norm’s great work at You will love it and feel more manly for doin’ it.

The interior art was done by the much under rated Frank Borth. There is a great bio on Frank at

The Intro Of Sky Pilot – art by Frank Borth

Getting’ back to Sky Pilot. As you can see by the covers he was a real man. Decked out in so much flannel he would make Larry Young green with flannel envy. John Hawks did most of his talkin’ with his fists. When things got a little tough he always had his bull whip to cut the odds down. There is one great scene in the comic where some hopped up lumberjack is beatin’ on a helpless Eskimo. Sky Pilot sees this and steps in. As he is removing the lumberjack’s teeth with his knuckles Sky Pilot says this “The meek shall inherit the Earth, as it is written, but sometimes they need a little help.”

Almost every time he gets into a fight, which is most of the issue, he spouts off a few lines of scripture to those that sorely need it. I’ve gotta say, this book has some of the best fight scenes in comics. Frank Borth knew his stuff when it came to fightin’. From teachin’ boxin’ I can testify that Sky Pilot was truly a boxer and a real fightin’ man.

In issue #10 he goes up against murderin’ claim jumpers, the deadly Lumber Pirates and then goes toe to toe with what looks to be an Elmer Fudd on steroids. There is also a great story of Snow Fang. A half wolf, half malemute that makes Lassie look like a poop eatin’ puppy.

Issue #11 has Sky Pilot up against a crazed claim jumper that will stop at nothin’ to kill anyone that gets in his way. He also whups ass on some really nasty mountain men that have been attackin’ Eskimo supply trains. Again I cannot stress how much action there is in these books. Manly action. Not a bunch of sissy speed lines and manga face slaps.

If there was a character I’d love to haul back into comics it’s be Sky Pilot-The Fighting Missionary Of The Far North.

Beau’s Manly Fans Of The Week

What’s one of my Busted Knuckles columns without a super hottie in it?

Ugly that’s what.

So here is a photo that was sent to me this past week to add to my Temple Of Testosterone website The Flying Fist Ranch Manly Fan Section. This one was sent in from Christie and her group of friends that all swear they are Wynonna Earp fans. I’m sure not gonna argue with pretty ladies like these. I thought I’d share this lovely photo with y’all.

Like I said?what’s Busted Knuckles without a super hottie?


Christie And Her Fellow Wynonna Earp Fans

A Manly Adios

Well, that wraps up this entanglement of testosterone for this week. I hope that y’all feel more manly than when ya walked in. Just to keep ya posted. I’ve already started getting’ tons of submissions in from last weeks Bussted Knuckles where I asked artists to send me their stuff for me to critique. I’m workin’ on em’ already. So keep em’ comin’ in. I’m man enough for the job.

My Five Manly Questions will be comin’ back real soon. I’ve been travelin’ the country collectin’ new ones for your readin’ pleasure. So look for em’ real soon.

As always there are things for ya to do.

  1. Email and write me with your questions and requests. I read everything that comes in.
  2. Send in your photos/jpegs for my manly website. I’ll make ya famous or manly.
  3. Remember to visit my website Things change there all the time and ya never know when ya might need my manly advice.
  4. Be the man.

Until next week.

Your amigo,

The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!

About The Author


Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin