The Weekly from Cape’s Kafe
Thanks for coming down to Free Comic Book Day at the new location. If you didn’t make it, check out the facebook page for some pictures: https://www.facebook.com/capeskafe
The Des Moines Social Club big giant Grand Opening is this weekend, Saturday May 10th. There are a lot things planned for the night, including a keynote address by David Byrne (he formerly of the Talking Heads.) He’ll talk about his experiences in Des Moines and the importance of the Arts in a city. For more info: http://firehouse.desmoinessocialclub.org/grand-opening-party/
What to do about DC’s September shipping 3D books
If you are filling out a pre-order for April’s Previews and order DC books you noticed pages listing books that will not ship until September. These are this year’s DC September event books and to make matters even worse when orders are submitted at the end of May, those are the set orders that will ship in September.
The system that is in place for comics is one that goes like this – Comics are initially ordered about two months in advance, three to four weeks before shipping we can add to or cut down in a Final Order Commitment system and then books ship to us based on those orders.
The event is called Futures End. It will include 41 different issues shipping over four weeks. Each issue will have a 3D cover and a standard cover. There is some content information in the previews, but no information on who is writing or drawing each issue and we won’t even get this info until two days before the initial order is set – four months before they ship!!
This is the worst kind of guessing game I’ve ever seen in comics. We are ordering books based on a weekly comic that will have – by the time we need to commit to ordering these – been published four times (less than a full month’s numbers) about an alternate future timeline story arc with very, very little information on what we are even ordering.
A note in the previews – form “Your Futuristic co-publishers” Jim Lee and Dan Diddio – sounds like they think this is all real interesting, but obviously not interesting to really let us know what it is about or interesting enough to get fully behind it and back it with any of their own money (like offering returns) or at the very least going through the proper channels (like the FOC system.) This is a heck of a gamble for retailers with no support from the publisher. Though they thank us for our support (hey, Dan and Jim, I’m sorry to inform you…)
Last year’s Villians 3D event (read that as gimmick) was successful if you look at it as generating buzz and talk, but it probably didn’t really generate too many more sales for them. This year could be both “better” and worse in ways. There could be a massive shortage of these 3D books. I can’t see shops taking as big a gamble with an unproven alternate future storyline as they may have with actual household DC villain names. Good for speculators, questionable for retailers and I don’t see how it makes the publisher any more money. I ask just how much actual “value” those super awesome 3D covers still have today, a little more than six months later.
I just have to wonder about a publisher and its insistence on gimmicks over storytelling.
…and what is this Future’s End anyway?
I was wondering around on a comic “news” site today and found this article about the crazy new DC weekly title (because I really didn’t know what it was about) and found out – obviously – that it is set in the new DC new 52 future. Now, the article is about the FCBD give away and is more than a little snarky (which is fine, as it is DC and they deserve far worse than a little snark for continuously making bad decisions over the last couple years.) Worth a read: http://comicsalliance.com/dcs-futures-end-0-free-comic-book-day-2014-review/ but if Death and Mutilation in your comics aren’t your thing…
How about a preview of Hellboy #6, coming next week
Oh, yeah! This is the good stuff, crazy ass Mike Mignola writing and drawing!! http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=21474
Gerard Way’s comic about Twitter
Oh, yes, you need to read it – especially if you use the twitter or even if you don’t or can’t understand why people use the twitter. It is pretty great. http://thetalkhouse.com/talks/gerard-way-my-chemical-romance-talks-twitter/ …and yes, there is more Umbrella Academy coming.
Kyle’s Warlord Retro Review
DC was a little late to the Sword and Sorcery party. While Marvel had been successfully publishing Conan the Barbarian comics, which consisted of a mix of adapted Robert E. Howard stories as well as all new stories conceived by Roy Thomas, and showing tremendous sales numbers since 1970, DC didn’t try their hand at this relatively new genre in comics until 3 years later. (Sure DC had been publishing comics chronicling the exploits of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan since 1972, but these were mostly adventure stories and didn’t quite venture into tales of magic, swords and ancient evil monsters.)
1973 saw DC’s first journey into the barbaric comic genre, with a short lived 5 issue anthology series titled “Sword of Sorcery.” This series featured some gorgeous art from the early career of legendary artists Howard Chaykin, Jim Starlin and Walt Simonson. Some of these stories were original tales penned by Denny O’Neil and others were adaptions of Fritz Lieber stories from the 1940’s that starred his characters Fafhrd the Barbarian and the Gray Mouser. A prequel to this series appeared in the 1972 issues #201 & 202 of Wonder Woman (who was in the midst of her Denny O’Neil, depowered, Kung Fu Modern Day Working Woman phase at the time).
DC’s next foray into the Sword and Sorcery genre was with the short lived Rima the Jungle Girl series which debuted in 1974 and ran for 7 issues and featured some gorgeous Nestor Redondo art. DC continued to publish Tarzan as well, and introduced a new series titled Tor the Caveman, written and drawn by Joe Kubert. Tor only ran for 6 issues, but got a little closer to that Sword and Sorcery blend of Barbarism and Magic. Marvel had meanwhile added Kull the Conqueror (another Robert E. Howard creation), Kazar and Red Sonja (a pseudo-Howard creation, brought to life by Roy Thomas and inspired by Howard’s Red Sonya character).
And then came the game changer for DC’s Sword and Sorcery comics, 1st Issue Special #8 and the introduction of Warlord in 1975. Warlord was a new and unique twist on the Sword and Sorcery genre. Other comics and S & S stories dating back to the Pulps in the 20’s and 30’s focused on characters roaming mythical lands in ancient times. However, Warlord was set in modern day, starring Travis Morgan, a lieutenant of the United States Air Force, who discovers a magical land hidden inside the earth’s crust, with the only access points being the North and South poles. This mysterious land was known as Skartaris, the land of the endless sun.
It was a land of magic and barbarism, co-existing in the same time as our modern world with skyscrapers and space shuttles headed to the moon. Travis Morgan embraced this new land and quickly became known throughout the land as the Warlord, the fearless sword wielding and .44 Magnum sporting warrior, who had no equal in combat. This character and world was the brainchild of relatively new, yet soon to be legendary comic writer and artist Mike Grell.
Grell would write and pencil, as well as sometimes ink, the title until issue #52. At that point his involvement would be dialed back, usually only providing covers and even though issue #53-71 were credited to him, most of these issues were actually ghost written by his then wife Sharon Grell (Wright). The transition was almost seamless. During this stretch, a couple of young artists tackled Travis Morgan, including Jan Duresma, co-creator of Arion Lord of Atlantis (another Sword & Sorcery character that actually made its debut in a back-up feature in Warlord and go on to have its own series) as well as up and coming, and soon to be a DC Legend, Dan Jurgens. The Creator of Booster Gold and Superman, artist and writer extraordinaire, cut his teeth on Warlord and was his art fantastic. Another notable, Michael Fleischer, would eventually come to be a mainstay writer on the title, and really bring out the savageness of Skartaris.
Warlord Volume One would run until 1988 and end with issue #133 making it, far and away the top DC Sword and Sorcery comic in the company’s history. (Roy Thomas’s Arak came in 2nd with just over 50 issues of publication between the series and annuals) and second only to Conan the Barbarian for longest running Sword and Sorcery comic by any company.
The Warlord has made a couple of attempts at a comeback, including the 1992 6 issue mini-series with Mike Grell at the helm, a 2006 series that ran for 10 issues under the guidance of Bruce Jones and Bart Sears and a 2009 series of 16 issues with Grell again in control. All of these have had their merits, some more than others, but haven’t quite been able to capture that magic or the audience that the first volume had.
First Issue Special and Warlord Volume 1-28 are reprinted in Showcase Presents Warlord volume 1. It is another example of a great title being reprinted in the fantastic (and cheap!) Showcase Presents format, but it’s a shame that the rest of the series has not yet been reprinted, so, again I’m enlisting your help to contact DC and express interest in this great series in the hopes that it may finally see the reprinted light of day. (The first 6 issues of the 2009 series have been collected in the Warlord Saga TPB.)