When I attend a comics show, I have three goals: chat with friends and exhibitors, see what’s new, and buy comics. I don’t buy many new comics… I can wait for the trade. I don’t buy many trades… review copies arrive at my day job, keeping my eyes busy.  Plus, I don’t want to lug around forty pounds of dead trees at a convention.

So generally, I thumb through the $1 bins ($3 for older comics) looking for interesting comics.  Occasionally I’ll find an old trade paperback, and since these are not as common as today’s bestsellers, I’ll spend less than $10 if it catches my eye.  (But more if I think it’s rare.)

So here’s what I found yesterday at at the Asbury Park Comic Con!


According to Wikipedia, this collection contains two Stephen King stories not collected elsewhere:

  • “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” (based on the short story “Weeds“, first published in 1976)
  • “The Crate” (based on the short story “The Crate“”, first published in 1979)

The cover is by Jack Kamen, and the stories inside are illustrated by Bernie Wrightson (who also illustrated three other King novels).

This appears to be one of the rare Stephen King books not currently in print.  Given what Titan recently did with another popular movie adaptation, this would be an excellent candidate for a restoration/reprint.

The Big Book of Losers

Just as the Creepy and Eerie archives from Dark Horse can be used as textbooks for comics art classes, these “Big Books” from DC/Paradox Press could be a yearbook for comic-cons!

Usually written by one person (this one has three authors), these volumes contain stories of one to four pages, illustrated by some of comics best illustrators.  Some were already established when this book was published in 1997 (Bryan Talbot, Marie Severin), others were awaiting discovery (Charles Adlard).

Fun.  Educational.  Full of amazing talent.  It’s a longbox of comics in an easy-to-carry package!

Action Comics #386

Ah… the Bronze Age!  When all you needed was an outlandish cover to hook a reader!  [Hey, DC!  Put these up on Comixology for a dollar!  People will pay that just to find out what happens!  And then tell their friends!]

This is actually the second chapter of a three-part story.  The recap tells me what I needed to know (and I didn’t notice this was the second part), but I was disappointed finding out it wasn’t done-in-one.

The plot: Superman time travels, but is prevented from travelling backwards by the Time Trapper.  So he flies forward, and discovers lots of future Earths.  This one has outlawed superhero powers, as three aliens (two males, one female) arrived and saved the planet, then destroyed much of it when the two males fought over the female (see: Scott McCloud, Destroy).  So, Super Geezer is sent off to the old heroes home (a prison planet), but eventually the heroes save the day, and the law is rescinded.

The arc is somewhat dark and moody… Superman finds himself alone thousands and millions of years in the future, eager for death.  Cary Bates ends it on a cheat… time paradoxes are not easy to finagle.

Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #92

[Cue Beethoven’s Sixth.]

Lessee if I remember this correctly… Lois Lane is covering a rocket launch in the dessert.  Superman is helping NASA test a cometary probe by flying an artificial comet nearby.

Her jeep overheats, she hoofs it through the desert, and almost dies of exposure.  Enter Comet, the Super Horse, who saves Lois and brings her back to her hotel.  BUT! He is cursed!  As a centaur of ancient Greece, he pissed off an evil sorcerer, and after some help from Circe (the good one, not Wonder Woman’s nemesis), he is either a super horse, or a blue-eyed hunk of man.  The curse is triggered whenever a comet flies by, and so, for most of the story, Biron the centaur is Biron the stage magician (after finding a trunk in a nearby barn), who works his charms on Lois.  The evil sorcerer then curses Lois as a centaur, but then immediately turns her into a super horse as well!  (Now she can marry Superman!  Ride off into the sunset!  Or go on double-dates with Kara and Biron!)

Then, Superman, still flying the artifical comet, meets some Kryptonite, and Biron and Lois must save him.  Eventually, Superman and Circe help cure Lois, who, while she remembers Biron’s secret, remembers nothing of her experience as a super-quadruped.

Bonus:  That’s Neal Adams inking Curt Swan on the cover!

National Lampoon, October 1976

As a pre-teen, I would sneak a peek at my brothers’ National Lampoons from the early 1980s (I love the punk Thanksgiving cover!).  Aside from the occasional nude Photo Funnies, the only other joy were the comics.  I didn’t always understand them, but I still read them!

So when I found a comics-themed issue, I sanatched it up.  (Yes, I own the DVD-ROM of the complete NatLamp, but this is easier to read.)

Roughly half of the magazine is comics, and while I only skimmed the names, it was quite amazing to see the talent involved!  Gross, Wilson, O’Neill, Brown…

Captain Savage and His Battlefield Raiders! #18

Amazingly, it was the logo which first caught my eye.  Then it was crazy layout of John Severin!

However, the story inside isn’t that interesting, as Savage and company rescue a general from a Japanese prison camp.  Since this is the Marvel Age, while the operation is going on, Savage tells how his wife has filed for divorce.

This World War II comic was published at the height of the Vietnam War, and was cancelled with the next issue.  Savage is currently a colonel, and last appeared in “Fall of the Hulks: Gamma”.

Yahoo Comics #1 and #2

Early work from Joe Sacco, 1998.  I was unfamiliar with this series, so I bought it.

It has been collected by Fantagraphics.

I haven’t read it yet, but how bad can it be?

The New Teen Titans Annual #2 (1986)

Done-in-one (actually, two stories!)

Lots of great talent.

And Donna Troy tells her step-daughter a bedtime story.  With aliens and dinosaurs!

New Mutants annual #1 1984

I wasn’t a big fan of the New Mutants as a teen, but this has a great cover, it’s done in one, and I vaguely remember Lila Cheney.

Who Wants To Be A Superhero? FCBD 2007

Superman: The 10¢ Adventure

I like to collect freebies.  I don’t recall ever reading this Free Comic Book Day issue, and I’ve never read the Superman story.

Oh, and there was a Carvel Ice Cream comic!  What are those crazy characters?  (And where’s Fudgie the Whale?)

I also found a great “Treasure Chest” cover!  It features the pagan Easter Bunny, which is a bit strange, as Treasure Chest of Fact and Fun comics were distributed to parochial schools much like the Weekly Reader.  (Public domain copies can be read here!)  It looks like it was published after 1972, as it does not appear online yet. Which is even stranger, as the cover art has a 1940/1950s feel to it.  Treasure Chest had some mainstream talent working for them (Reed Crandell, Joe Sinnott, Jim Mooney, Dick Giordano) so maybe there’s a hidden gem within!

I also bought a few mini-comics, added a sketch to my collection of artist self-portraits, and even helped a guy flesh out (so to speak) his fetish fantasy about an overweight, blue-hued woman in the bar.

As I read these comics, I’ll post mini-reviews below.



  1. That New Teen Titans Annual is actually three stories in one book, because you can read the Byrne-drawn story as is (with Wolfman scripting) or you can ignore the words and just look at the storytelling implied in the art to see what Byrne was going for. The two are actually significantly different as the Wolfman story doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  2. And a nice bit of trivia for those who might not know or have forgotten – the kid depicted on the cover of Creepshow is portrayed in the movie by Joe King. Better known in comic circles as Joe Hill. Author of Locke & Key, Horns, and Heart Shaped Box.

    I bought that book when it first came out. I had Bernie Wrightson autograph it at the local con a few years ago. He said he hadn’t seen a copy come through in a while.

  3. gotta love going to the smaller shows, digging through dollar bins, and finding all kinds of oddball and forgotten gems that time (and comic book fans) have forgot. i remember the lois lane and jimmy olsen comics having some of the nuttiest stories ever, but man, were they fun. great article!

  4. I thought it was pretty much common knowledge that Joe Hill was Stephen King’s son, so didn’t really think to include that. Makes sense to have him in a movie both written by and starring his father :)

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