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09 December 2022

Action Comics 577, 1986

I read just this Superman by Keith Giffen. Supes has to deal with a vamper. It’s not great. Did Superman pull his trunks up to his chest or are his ribs in the Phantom Zone.  I don't know why blogger or my phone scrunched that cover photo down.  I don't care enough to learn how to fix it.  The future is stupid.  Things used to work.  You got up, you did things, things worked, it was great.  The past, like before 2007, was a Golden Age. Anyway, Superman right?

29 November 2022

Back? Maybe?

Am I back? Are you back? Where were we? Does it matter?

29 April 2021

The lost con photos: HeroesCon 2014

(My kids running the Crooked Finger Press table.  Rich Tommaso on the right .)

So... I was recently (in the year 2021) trying to find some old photos and realized that I never posted this con report from 2014.  So here it is, I don't think it's even finished but after seven years I may as well let it fly.  Enjoy. 

In the long ago days of June 20th through June 22nd 2014, thousands of comics enthusiasts gathered together in Charlotte NC for America's most beloved comic book convention, HeroesCon.
I've been an exhibitor at HeroesCon many times in the past but this year would be different as I would be taking my family with me.  I had told my 12 year old daughter Kassidy that if she finished a full length minicomic that I would print it up and take it and her with me to Heroes Con.  She met the challenge so we decided to make a sort-of family vacation out of the trip to Charlotte.
We left for Charlotte on the Wednesday before the show.  Usually, I would just make the four hour drive down from southwest VA the morning of the first day of the show and spend the weekend in a sleep deprived fog.  I gotta say that driving down well in advance is great and a major stress reliever. 
(The hotel hallway was very long.  I walked to the end to make sure that it was real.  When I got there I found an old man in a bed.  He looked like my grandfather.  It was full of stars.)

As this was a family trip we decided to stay south of downtown in a more family friendly hotel.  And by family friendly, I mean a hotel with a swimming pool.  I like the hotels in downtown Charlotte fine.  The beds in the Westin are super nice.  But none of those hotels have swimming pools.  Last I checked the Westin did not even have free wifi.  Hell, the Westin does not even have free parking included with the price of your room.  Kids, they need swimming pools and wifi.
We stayed at a Residence Inn and it was super nice.  The room was huge with a full kitchen, couch, bar, desk etc.  The hotel had swimming pool, weight room, hot tub and a gas fire pit.  Loved it.  I would miss getting drunk with pals in the Westin lobby but I wouldn't miss it enough to give up the hot tub and the fire pit. 
(Planet Snoopy at Carrowinds is totally related to comics and therefore should of course this photo should be in a HeroesCon report.)

I've been to Charlotte many times but the only thing I've ever done there is go to the convention center and some surrounding eateries.  We didn't want this trip to be just about sitting at a comics show so we let the kids pick out something to do the day before.  We ended up choosing Carowinds.  I was super happy with that choice because I love roller coasters so very much.  My youngest daughter, Alana, is 7 so this was her first amusement park visit where she was tall enough to ride all the fun rides.  She had a fantastic time.  The first thing she said at the end of almost every ride was "can we ride it again?"  My wife and older daughter also had a nice time but I think they would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had not been 96 degrees that day.  It was hot.  Not gonna lie.  It was super hot.

(I grew a tail.  You know who else has a tail?  Rocket Raccoon and Rocket Raccoon is in comics therefore of course this photo belongs in a HeroesCon report.)

(My understanding is that this is a photo of a giant stuffed dinosaur dressed up as Spider-Man.  Relevant!)

(Obligatory we-are-in-the-Carolinas-so-here-is-a-picture-of-Dale-Earnhardt's-car picture.)

(The Crooked Finger Press booth.  Also known as Shannon Smith's table on Indie Island as ran by Alana Smith and Kassidy Smith.)
(Kassidy Smith shows off her first full length comic Hula-Hoop Girl.)
(Best bros forever.)
(Patrick Dean, Shannon Smith (a.k.a. me) and Brad McGinty.)
(These are happy people waiting in lines.)
(Brad McGinty talking to a dude in a luchador mask because comics.)
(Kids could bounce under Spider-Man's crotch.)
(Patrick Dean and Henry "our most beloved" Eudy.)
(Alana decided to get in on the act and sell some pony paintings.)
(My daughter is now a T.A.R.D.I.S.  Thanks a lot HeroesCon.)
(We out Scoob.)

16 March 2021

Other Comics News Parade-O-Links 03162021

(Wonder Woman #46 April, 1951. Cover by Irv Novick.  Stolen from Bully, The Little Sutffed Bull.  You guys know Bully was/is kinda the best a comics blogging and tweeting right?)

Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week ending 03142021 03152021 03162021.

"I mean, let’s face it. Hollywood swarms with just the sort of people who gave us shit for reading comics as kids.  These mountebanks now make bank off this stuff.  Who says irony is dead, right?" - Howard Chaykin

  • Hello sisters, brothers and others and welcome to another episode of your Other Comics News Parade-O-Links.  My name is Shano and I'll be your host.  This one is late.  I accidentally daylight-savings-time set my clock back two days.  Happy Sunday on Tuesday!  Treat yourself to some pie!

(*And by new I mean comics that came out maybe a couple of months ago?)  So, good news folks.  I finally went to the comic book store and got a big stack of comics.  I picked up DC's Generations Shattered and Generations Forged for a few reasons.  First of all I like Dan Jurgens and Robert Venditti's DC work.  Secondly I like these Crisis style time/dimension hoping stories and nobody does them better than DC. It's a real Injustice (pun intended) that Marvel beat DC to the big screen with the time and dimension hoping.  DC has been better than Marvel at this stuff all the way back to the Silver Age when Gardner Fox started it. Thirdly, these comics have Kamandi in them. I will buy anything with Kamandi in it. 

I guess Generations was originally going to be a longer and bigger event basically ending the New 52/Rebirth versions of the DC Universe before launching 5G or G5 or whatever it was going to be before Dan DiDio was fired.  Before DC was de-DiDio'd? G5 got hosed and Death Metal took off so instead of the big finale, Generations seems to be the transition between Death Metal and Future State until DC finally begins again again again with Infinite Frontier.  That's a lot.  Forget you read all of that and just pretend that this Generations thing is one self-contained time hoping team-up story because it kind of is.  And that's probably a good thing.  These two 80 page comics together and by themselves make a really nice read. They read more like a couple old school summer Annuals than a mega event crossover and that's very much a positive.  

Jurgens, Venditti and Andy Schmidt did a good job with the writing.  These things can be a mess when you have a huge cast of characters on multiple planets during multiple eras but it reads smooth and was easy to follow despite that fact that I haven't read a single panel of Death Metal and I'm a solid year or more behind on most of the DC line.  The art is stellar too.  There are too many artists for me to type without having to break our my wrists braces but it's most of DC's heavy hitters; Hitch, Chang, Doran, Romita Jr. Reis, Morales etc. etc.  I usually give DC a lot of crap for not being able to get one penciler to finish a comic but on a multi planet multi timeline deal like this I think the jam format is a lot of fun.  It's neat to read through these and play guess the artist from page to page then go back to the index to see if you were right.  Again, there is really no justification that a single penciler can't knock out a single issue of The Flash or whatever but in these 80 page giant style deals it's neat to see them mix it up.  And I would say everyone delivers.  These are good looking books.  They'll make a great collection eventually. 

What makes this different from Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, No This Time For Real Last Crisis etc. is that instead of treating each era of DC comics as its own planet this one looks at DC comics history as one linear universe, or "Linearverse", where some of the major characters age and deal with time differently.  So instead of 1939 Batman being a different character from 1986 Batman, they're the same dude again but just stretched out over decades....?  Maybe.  So, everything is canon again.  Kind of like the Hyperverse Grant Morrison and Mark Waid talked about but instead of the universe map looking like a map it looks like a electrocardiograph now?  Look, I'm not saying it makes sense.  What I'm saying is that it has Kamandi in it and Kamandi is awesome.  I recommend. 


Normally when I talk about old comics I'm talking about stuff from the 70s or 80s but I'm catching up on the Nick Spencer era Amazing-Spider-Man comics and it's hard for me to call these new when they are going on four years old.  The Dan Slot run was so long it took me a while before I was ready to get back into Amazing Spider-Man so the issues piled up on me.  I've been catching up over the past few weeks and, friends, these comic books are not good.  I kinda hate them.  And I'm sad I let the pile up this ling before reading them because I probably would have stopped buying them a couple of years ago. This stuff is for babies.  This is like those early 2000 Spider-Man comics where Marvel was trying desperately to be all-ages and get some Schoolastic book fair sales or something.  These are worse than the Howard Mackie and John Byrne Spider-Man comics.  The writing is on the level of a mid 80s DIC cartoon. The art is in that all-ages desperate style where every expression seems to be aping the the Disney Aladdin cartoon.  Not the first one. The 2nd one that was made for TV and Homer was the Genie.  Friends, these comics are not for me.  Anyone want a big stack of Spider-Man comics?

  • And finally, our man Francis is a.w.o.l. this week so let's fire up the way back machine to the summer of 2019 when our man Boogie 2998 visited his hometown.  It's also my hometown.  Should I break Kayfabe and explain my Boogie/Francis connection?  Nah, I'll just let you make up your own version. I'll tell ya what, if anyone actually asks me on the twudders, I'll explain it to them in DM. 

Remember pals, life is hard.  Never stop running unless it's to pick up a friend.  Read comics and chew Glorp gum every day and you'll keep on livin' until you're dead. 
Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

    p.s. I write comics.  Do you make comics?  Maybe you should hire me to write comics. 
    p.p.s Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
    p.p.p.s.  Yeah, I do Instagram too.  Maybe if 100,000 of you follow me there I'll be as famous as the average Cambodian teenager with a milk ring collection. 

07 March 2021

Other Comics News Parade-O-Links 03072021


(Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14. August 31, 1982. Cover by John Romita Jr. with John Romita Sr.)

Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week ending 03072021.

  • Hello sisters, brothers and others and welcome to another episode of your Other Comics News Parade-O-Links.  My name is Shano and I'll be your host.  How are you doing?  How was your week?  I'm okay.  I have a headache but it's not raining so I won't complain. I'm in a state of spring fever anticipation.  The sun is out.  The sky is blue.  The mud is starting to dry.  I'm anxious for it to be spring but it is still cold AF and we all know that it's not safe to do things when it is cold. Your limbs could snap off.  But it should get warm and maybe we'll get a vaccine and maybe we'll get that stimulus and then, who knows, comics con season is right around the corner right?  Everything will get back to normal right?
  • Wrong.  Better luck next year Comic-Con. 
  • WandaVision ended the way all MCU movies end, with digital cartoon versions of the characters flying around shooting energy beams at each other.  It was fine.  Eh, better than fine. It was emotional.  I think that's the strength of TV.  Your talented actors get several weeks to engage the audience and make the audience care about them so when you finally get to the digital cartoon battle at the end the stakes are higher.  This is certainly the most emotionally invested I've been invested in live action Marvel since Howard the Duck and Tim Robbins got on that ultralight aircraft. I thought the series was great with fantastic performances by Olsen, Bettany, Hahn and Pariss. Unlike movies, TV shows work, often in spite of their writing, on the strength of their cast and this show worked.  I'm sad it's over.  Also, I'm a little surprised it's over.  I was surprised to see it promoted as the series finale and not just the end of Season 1.  I guess these MCU Disney+ shows are all just miniseries? That's a bit disappointing.  I'd honestly prefer if they stayed with this format even if they never made another movie. Some folks were even more disappointed with the finale. While the series as a whole exceeded expectations the finale could not live up to promises real and imagined.  Marvel will get a pass on those imagined expectations.  Going in, I expected that maybe this series would be the backdoor to the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the multiverse or any number of possibilities.  Marvel didn't owe us any of that specifically. But there were promises the show made that it either didn't stick the landing on or just totally forgot to make the attempt.  You can't bring in an actor from a film franchise you purchased and not understand that your audience will expect a payoff.  You can't tease a Luke Skywalker level cameo and it just be one of your lead actors in different makeup.  Well, you can.  And they did.  But don't be coy when your audience is upset about it.  You've got 82 years of Marvel comics history to pull from so don't let lack of ideas be your downfall.  Teasing us has been a profitable business model for 13 years but the audience is eventually going to call your bluff. 
  • I think the one thing we can all agree on is that it was a catastrophic misstep not to end the series with the white "Vision Quest" Vision strutting down a city street to the sound of Queen's "One Vision". 

  • I also watched this week's episodes of the DC shows, Superman & Lois and The Flash.  I thought Supes and Lois was slow and boring.  The Flash was more interesting but tedious.  The simple truth of television is that the show works or doesn't work depending on if the audience connects with the cast.  That's really it.  The Flash's cast has proven it can return viewers despite comically bad writing.  Can Supes & Lois overcome it's writing?  Probably not for me.  I've got episodes of The Savage Dragon to watch on Peacock. 
  • A lot of this week's "comics discourse" was centered around NFT and CryptoArt.  I'll post a link explaining it clearly as soon as a find one.  As it relates to comics, the question is, how bad is this going to exploit and screw the comics artist and which comics artists can be the first in line to be exploited and screwed.  Same as always. Rinse repeat. I don't understand it but it reminds me of one Saturday afternoon at a comic book convention in the late 90s.  I was a dealer at the time. I remember standing up and looking at where all the business in the room was happening.  I looked at where cash was changing hands. At that moment it was trading cards.  There was a moment where comics trading cards were very hot.  And it in that moment it hit me right between then eyes.  Comics were over.  At least as they had existing.  We had people in a room full of comics, ignoring the comics and handing over cash for a piece of cardboard that delivered a tiny glimpse of the comic.  We had put the delivery mechanism over the art.  The 90s comics boom ended.  We've never gotten back what we lost.  Will NFT destroy.... the internet?  Capitalism?  We can only hope!  Will it help destroy the environment?  Yeah, probably. 
  • Some cartoonists dream of getting rich, others just want the literal torture to stop. 
  • Jason Horn has launched a new Patreon for his space comic "Settle" and it look super rad.  I'm in.
  • Jason has also been posting some neat DC comics house ads on the twudder so give him a follow if you know what's good. 
  • File under Wrestling:  This is not comics or zines but it stuff you can read with your eyeballs.  I probably read more wrestling than I watch. Remember in The Lost Boys when Grandpa Barnard Hughes explained that he didn't need to watch TV because he had the TV guide.  I'm kind of the same way with television wrestling.  I'll skip the shows then read about them the following day to see if anything interesting happened and then I'll check out those specific matches or segments on YouTube or the streamings.  Colette Arrand has been responsible for most of the best wrestling writing online in recent years and now Arrand is the editor over at fanbyte so "business is picking up".
  • I'm sure you guys are smart and follow Patrick Dean right?  He's getting better and better at drawing with his eyeballs. It's only a matter of time before he can shoot art directly from his mind into our minds. 
  • In other comics/zines/Fluke organizers dudes from Georgia news, Robert Newsome broke his arm. Look how happy it made him.  Maybe we should all break our arms.  I'm sure he'll be fine but that's no reason not to go buy some of his quality zines. 
  • Let's check in on our Carolina Man abroad and see how well Germany is adapting to Ashley Holt. 
  • More Dorkin is more good. 
  • I too am a sucker for a wacky cover and a Dave Letterman cameo. 


I still haven't made it to the comic shop but I'm working my way through a two foot high stack of books, comics and zines I've bought online during the plague. This week I read "The Burning Hotels" a memoir by Thomas Lampton from Birdcage Bottom Books. This auto-bio comic shows the cartoonist dealing with a lot of stuff.  On the surface it's about returning home and taking a closer look at your roots but it's also about divorce, autism, North Carolina, Appalachia, being a cartoonist, making the book itself and dealing with all of that during this very real and current pandemic.  It feels very of the moment and reads as if Lampton first considered each word as it was put on the page.  There is some neat drawing but I would say that Lampton's strength is in iconography.  This characters work as symbols more than drawings.  The art is working as a part of the writing though and that's the goal.  Or at least it should be the goal.  The result is more design heavy than drawing heavy.  There are art comics that are expression heavy and there are art comics that are design and function heavy.  This book is that latter.  My only complaint with the book is that Lampton changes font sizes from panel to panel. I'm sure it was a matter of presenting each panel at its best ratio to work with the rest of the page but I'm loosing my eyesight so I had to work at some of the panels.  


I think I'm through with my Vision and Scarlett Witch run for now.  I finished the original two miniseries and the related West Coast Avengers stuff.  Not great comics but weird enough to finish.  I might go back to the "Vision Quest" story next (John Byrne's white Vision) but I'm going to take a break from the Wandaverse and finish up some other things.  I'm still on my orange, brown and green hero books Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad.  I've also been re-visiting Jim "the most successful creative mind in Hollywood history" Starlin's Dreadstar. I was a big fan of the ongoing Epic comic when I was a kid but I've started at the beginning before the beginning and the beginning before that, "The Metamorphosis Odyssey" and Marvel Graphic Novel #3.  Those comics look very different than the ongoing Epic series.  For one thing, they are mostly painted.  Even when they are black and white.  It's simply the difference between late 70s early 80s adult comics magazines and 80s monthly direct market baxter paper comics.  Great stuff if you are into hardcore sci-fi fantasy. This stuff has been collected a few times.  If you want to star with the earliest stuff then the Dynamite collection "The Beginning" has that covered. 
  • And finally, Francis is sick of carrying your ass. 

Remember pals, life is hard.  Never stop running unless it's to pick up a friend.  Read comics and chew Glorp gum every day and you'll keep on livin' until you're dead. 
Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

    p.s. I write comics.  Do you make comics?  Maybe you should hire me to write comics. 
    p.p.s Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
    p.p.p.s.  Yeah, I do Instagram too.  Maybe if 100,000 of you follow me there I'll be as famous as the average Cambodian teenager with a milk ring collection.