§ Marv Wolfman writes of frequent collaborator Gene Colan who as reported this weekend, is quite ill:

Gene’s art has always been singular in comics. You see hundreds of Kirby imitators, lots of Buscema clones, those who try to mimic Jim Lee or name an artist, but nobody has ever tried to copy Gene’s work, because it’s truly unique in so many, many ways. You can always tell when Gene draws a page. His characters have personality, emotion, and somehow when you look at them, you feel they have a past as well. They are people who have lived. Who have weight and gravitas. His work on Tomb of Dracula among others is filled with human emotion. His characters appear to be photographic, but what makes Gene special is they aren’t. They are so real but at the same time they are a pure artist’s vision.

§ Tom Spurgeon ponders what we like to call “the satisfying chunk” theory:

Let’s talk comic books. On Thursday, I bought the above comics and paid almost $19 for the pleasure. The total was slightly shocking to me, because five comics still feels in the hand — my hand — like a $10 purchase. Truth is, five comic books hasn’t been a $10 purchase for a long time. I knew that, and I didn’t know that, if you know what I mean. In my defense, I rarely buy comics and when I do, it’s usually one or two as a courtesy to the store I just spent a half-hour casing or a couple hundred dollars’ worth around the holidays from Chuck Rozanski or Buddy Saunders. I like all of the comics I purchased Thursday, but for maybe the first time in my entire life of buying comics, I experienced a twinge of regret as the $20 left my hand. “I probably could have spent that twenty bucks more effectively,” I thought.

Much more in that link.


  1. in regards to Tom’s snippet:

    I believe the “buyer’s remorse” for any retail purchase nowadays is common. I mean why do people pay $4-$5 a cup of coffee, hundreds of dollars on a pair of designer jeans or $60 on a video game? None of these things change our lives for the better. But these are the types of luxuries that we feel get us through life.

    I say Thank God I am only addicted to the funny books and none of the other stuff. ;)

    the Tiki

  2. Man, has Tom ever heard of a discount retailer? I buy of trades for 35-40% off. He seriously needs to get on dbservice or one of the many many other discount retailers.

  3. I quit buying comics for years (mostly) for two reasons. 1) I was living in Madison and getting to the comics shop was a huge pain. 2) They just cost too much.

    In 2006, I got a job in downtown Philadelphia 3 blocks from a shop and 52 and CIVIL WAR started and I got roped back in. I started buying comics big again, for a while, much to my credit card companies pleasure.

    It’s not been as fun as 52 again, though, and this month marks the first month that I didn’t order any comics from DCBS since I started more than a year ago. It’s just too much money. I’ll buy a trade every now and then from a shop and call it even.

    Comics are much too expensive. They need to go back to crappy paper and crappy ink and save the high quality run for the trades of the best work.

  4. P.S. If everyone turns to DCBS, we’re doomed. Comics just aren’t going to pick up new readers if you only run across them online. At least, not where the Internet is now. It’s like when Stand Up Comedy got big on TV and no one went to clubs anymore so stand-up really died down and now it’s hard to find a grassrootsy stand-up show anymore.

    P.P.S. The comic shop near my office closed.

  5. I like how I always get turned into a writer that opines out of these emotional, personal reactions to things that happen to me. Honestly, having a twinge of regret that I could have spent $20 on two Cromartie HS trades or whatever was my window into the topic, not some sort of hounding motivation. I’m fully aware of discount services, and if I wasn’t getting everything I want and more for free, I’d think about joining one, I’m sure.

  6. Over the years the comics boards of many pencilers crossed my drawing table when I was lettering 30,000 pages for Marvel. I was always struck by the power of Colan’s artwork. It was in a class by itself. I would have to stop work, put my pen down, pick up the page and Marvel at it. In the same way that a great storyteller is able to conjure up a unique world to fire the imagination of even the most jaded among us, Gene manages to somehow imbue all his work with a mystery and a sense of indefinable wonder. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how he does it. And that’s only part of his magic. “It’s a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, shrouded by a riddle.”

  7. Re Gene Colan:
    The only artist who I remember copying Gene Colan was Tom Mandrake, especially while he was working on the Martian Manhunter series with John Ostrander.

    Re The satisfying chunk:
    I’ll never forget when my local F.Y.E. decided not to carry comics anymore and they cleared out their stock for a buck a book. I picked up a lot of stuff I don’t normally read and it was pretty satisfying getting 25 books for 25 bucks. I had a real nostalgic twinge that made me think that a buck a book is just right. I remember shaking my head later when I picked up some books for their regular price. 25 bucks just isn’t the same. It made me think about my dad and how he used to go to places like Job Lot to find shoes at the prices he thought shoes should be; it was one of those times when I could suddenly understand my dad better.

  8. Huh. That’s a really interesting idea, that one about reverting to cheaper newsprint and whatnot to keep costs down. I kind of like that idea, especially since, as was said, the trades will be printed on stock that holds up better with age.

    Really, if regular comics were made of more ephemeral stuff and dropped a buck or (gasp!) even TWO then I would absolutely start buying them regularly again. That’s the fun of them for me — coming home with a stack and ripping through them and then giving them to my friend. Well now the latter would be replaced with giving them to some kid on the subway but still.

  9. Still on this one. The cheaper paper stock can still be kind of nice — think that “bright” newsprint that DC’s “Chronicles” reprint books are printed on. Those yellowed within weeks of purchase but they were really priced to move. Regular comics would hold up better in plastic, if anyone even cared.

  10. If kids love buying manga, with its black and white copy paper quality, then why not print regular comics on newsprint?

    When DC raised its price to 75 cents, they used a white paper that was NOT glossy, but a cut above newsprint. First Comics did the same when they published JON SABLE, FREELANCE, and Eclipse did the same with SABRE.

    then … it seemed like, right after MARVEL FANFARE debuted, everyone wanted to print on glossy paper and charge the higher price. It was great in the early 1980s, when MARVEL FANFARE only cost $1.25 … rising paper price soon displayed the short-sightedness of the publishers.