The other day I received an email from comics historian and artist Jim Amash on behalf of inker Terry Austin to alert people that a mailer sent out by retailer Joseph Koch wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The mailer, part of which you can see above, claimed that this Saturday at their warehouse you could meet the creators of the X-Men Days of Future Past: Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin. Talk about firing up the old rolling cart and showing up with some longboxes! While the idea of a classic X-Men reunion is exciting, it wasn’t remotely true. None of the three are actually appearing, so the mailing was completely bogus.
Which was a little surprising because Koch is a long-time retailer who’s been in the business for decades, and this didn’t match any behavior we’d heard about from him. We reached out to him to ask what gives and turns out it was a rather amusing misunderstanding on the part of an employee:
The information you have is correct; We did indeed advertise an event with Byrne, Claremont and Austin, and they are not actually going. This was a colossal error on our part. One of our employees was commissioned to write/design an email flier advertising an ersatz book-club reading (held by the group Speak on It) of ‘The Days of Future Past’ storyline. The aforementioned employee misinterpreted the information given to him, “Speak on It will be holding a discussion of the X-Men storyline ‘Days of Future Past’ by Chris Claremont…etc.” as “The creators of ‘Days of Future Past’ will be holding a discussion…” Of course, management did not double-check the mailing (the employee in question has a sterling record of NOT massively bungling), the email was sent to our mailing this, and here we are. It should go without saying that despite this employee’s vocation, he is not a comic book reader.
We very humbly apologize for misleading our customers and comic fandom. Additionally, we apologize to Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin for any inconvenience this may have caused them. This was a huge accident, but was not ill-intended. We have a disturbing amount of egg on our face.
Joseph Koch, Inc.
Well there you go, a cock-up and an apology. An email explaining the mistake was sent to the mailing list and there the matter ends. But you can still go over there and talk about those old comics if you wish! Koch’s warehouse supposedly makes the one in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK look organized, so it might be worth the trip for that alone.
It does call to mind what it would be like it you ever got Claremont, Byrne, and Austin in the same room. Claremont and Byrne did not get along by the end of their run, but that was a looong time ago. However, Byrne doesn’t do many (any?) conventions any more either. Maybe some (very) rich collector can arrange this Beatles reunion some day.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.