Not exactly a thrift store find this week, I’ll admit. Where I live in Southwest Ohio is within a twenty mile radius of three Half-Price Books. Four times a year, HPB sends out these great coupons where, during a week of sales, you can get 20%, 30%, 40%, and on Sunday a whopping 50% off one purchase. It’s perhaps a bit gluttonous of me, but on those 50% Off Sundays, I hit all three stores and these are my finds.
Archive for dc comics
This week, we’ll be looking at The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #10, a digest-sized collection of comics published by (you guessed it!) DC Comics in 1981.
Cover price is .95 cents… I paid $4 dollars.
I know what you’re thinking: $4 bucks is kind of a big purchase for me book-wise, you’re right! When I’m at thrift stores, I mainly stick to lower priced paperbacks. I found I couldn’t resist this one, mark-up be damned.
DC Comics got out of the digest business in the mid 1980′s but for years, digest sized presentations of their comics were a regular feature at newsstands and grocery stores across the country. These days, Archie Comics is the last company standing in regards to the digest… and there’s a very definite reason for that. Most Archie comics are meticulously drawn in a house style pioneered by cartoonist Dan DeCarlo. Comics drawn by the company today match DeCarlo’s style from the 1960′s. This gives Archie Comics a wealth of back catalog from which to draw for their current digests.
The art and writing for superhero comics has always been a bit more faddish – trends and artistic styles come and go with the times. A Superman comic from the 1960′s looks almost nothing like a modern day Superman comic, save for some cross-generational touches (the “S” shield, the cape, and so on). While Archie can seemingly reprint stories forever with consumers being none the wiser, most of DC’s back catalog has been rendered quaint by time.
This Best of DC Digest is subtitled Secret Origins of Super-Villains and contains six stories focusing on the baddies of the DC Universe. The majority of these stories look to be drawn from DC’s Silver Age of comics but although creator credits are given, the digest doesn’t give any notation of where and when the stories come from. I found this to be somewhat annoying but it makes sense given the time this book was published that this information would not have likely been at the forefront of reader’s minds. Some Googling does reveal the sources of these books and I’ll include them in my appraisals, but as far as I can tell, the first comic story in the collection is original to this digest.
I draw a picture of myself on my classroom’s chalkboard everyday. I collect those pictures as camera phone photos and post them on Sundays. See the rest here.
Two things about this week’s chalk offerings:
1. Some kind-hearted philanthropist donated some supplies and books to my classroom last week. Included in this package was a set of Chalk Ink Wet Wipe Markers. They provide a bolder line and I seriously love them. I wanted to use them as much as possible this week, even while quickly becoming aware they weren’t great for coloring in large spaces.
2. The theme this week was “the ocean” because… I don’t know why. I guess it being a four day week (thanks to Labor Day here in America) had something to do with it but I couldn’t tell you why. Read more »
On the first Monday of every month, our thrift store marks everything in the store down to half off. During summer vacation, Ellen and I make a point to go to the store first thing on these Monday mornings, so as to have full range of choice in whatever secondhand wares that strike our fancy. Although we’re about out of August now, I thought I’d rundown our last half-off sale of summer 2013.
BOOKS - Lover Boy by Stan and Jan Berenstain was one I grabbed because I had already talked about the sequel to this book, Office Lover Boy, in a previous post. Seeing the husband/wife duo behind the wholesome Berenstain Bears work blue was something of a shock back when I wrote that post… and it’s still a little strange to see now! This book’s falling apart but for a quarter, I figured it was worth it. I also found The A-Team 5: Ten Percent of Trouble, the fifth in a series of novelizations adapting episodes of NBC’s 1980′s action series. I collect novelizations when the mood seizes me and… c’mon! Mr. T! George Peppard! The guy who originally played Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica!
VIDEO GAMES – I picked up four GameBoy cartridges for $2 bucks apiece: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (LJN), Top Gun: Guts & Glory (Konami), Bugs Bunny – Crazy Castle 3 (Kemco), and Pokemon Pinball (Nintendo). This was a mixed bag of carts. I don’t know why I picked up Top Gun; the Nintendo game was awful and this just seems to follow suit. Crazy Castle 3 is fine; it’s just an incredibly boring game. Terminator 2 is (quite surprisingly considering it was published by LJN, purveyors of the worst licensed games ever) the most fun out of all these, however it’s wicked hard. They only give you one life and I can barely make it to the second board without dying. Pokemon Pinball… I haven’t tried yet. I want to wait until I can scrounge a AAA battery for the Rumble Pak.
COMICS – Paul Dini’s run on Detective Comics yielded some fun Batman stories but his work was overshadowed at the time by Grant Morrison’s Batman work. I’ve been going back and checking Dini’s Detective Comics’ work and it’s about as solid as you’d expect from one of the main architects of Batman: The Animated Series. The best of these are a two-parter featuring Scarface as the main baddie and a team-up with Zatanna (one of Dini’s favorite DC characters). The next few issues dovetail with Grant Morrison’s Batman R.I.P. storyline. Dini’s stories are aided by Dustin Nguyen’s capable artwork. I got these for fifty cents apiece.
VIDEO CASSETTE – I have the first ten seasons of The Simpsons on DVD and watch them on an endless loop. I probably don’t need a VHS cassette collecting the first two episodes of the first season of the series, which is lucky because despite what the colorful box says, that’s not what I got here. The Best of The Simpsons Volume 1 includes “There’s No Disgrase Like Home” and “Life on the Fast Lane” but the cassette here includes “Bart the General” and “Moaning Lisa.” It’s a weird mistake and a little Googling reveals that the cassette I have is The Best of the Simpsons, Volume 2.
This week’s Thrift Store Find is Superman: Miracle Monday, written by Elliot S. Maggin and published by Warner Books in 1981.
Cover price was $2.50, I got it for a quarter.
This is the second in a series of paperback novels Warner Books published, presumably in conjunction with their Superman franchise of movies starring Christopher Reeve. Superman II was released in theaters in 1980; presumably this book was in bookstores to capitalize on that film.
In our ramp up to The Odyssey, I do a lesson based around Grant Morrison’s run on JLA. Morrison famously drew on Greek archetypes to craft his ultimate version of the Justice League of America. After a quick discussion about the Greek pantheon, I pair students up, give each pairing a copy of JLA and ask them to flip through the comics and find as many parallels between superheroes and Greek gods as they can. After 15 minutes, they present their findings to the class on the document camera.
Some of the pairings are quite obvious - Superman as a stand-in for Zeus orWonder Woman as Hera, for example. Some are a bit more sophisticated. As you can see above, Morrison used second-string superheroes like Plastic Man
to great effect as proxys for and Dionysus and Hephaestus.
The best part about this lesson is when students go off book and bring up other examples of superheroes who display Greek ideals… or talk about how American superheroes embody American ideals. More on that tomorrow.
In our final Christmas Comic Cavalcade of 2012, let’s look at DC Comics Presents #67, published in 1983. This yuletide comic was plotted by Len Wein and E. Nelson Bridwell, illustrated by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.
That gorgeous cover is by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, by the way…
If you follow me on the various social networks I take part in you know this already but… I had my final two wisdom teeth removed this pat Tuesday. I’ve been putting this off for (no kidding I’m ashamed to say) YEARS now so when I was up all night Saturday racked with pain, I had no one but myself to blame. Ideally, having a procedure like this done would be something a teacher would try and schedule for a spring break or a summer vacation. I was betting I’d be able to make it to our school’s winter break and I lost.
It seems small potatoes when compared to what my many teacher friends in New York and New Jersey are contending with right now but I hate missing a big chunk of school like this. One day here or there is fine, but anything more than that and it’s bad news all around. Bad for students… bad for the school… and bad for me. I’ve been feeling nothing but down in the dumps about this since Monday afternoon when I realized I’d be out for at least a day, probably two.
The procedure went without a hitch but I spent much of Wednesday in a gross amount of pain. Seriously, you wouldn’t BELIEVE what my pillow looked like when I woke up from my post-operation nap; it was like something out of one of those torture porn movies. Since then, I’ve been getting by on a steady diet of painkillers and soft foods. Tonight I successfully chowed down on boxed macaroni and cheese and considered it a success.
The funny thing is, this same thing happened to me around this time last year and I did a week-long series of comics about that experience, which you can read if you click here. The only difference between last year and this year is I smartened up enough to take time off from work. Last year, I went into school and tried to “be a hero” as it were. My reward was a surprise walk-though inspection from the assistant principal; he was disappointed I was sitting at my desk, less active than a teacher should be during a sustained silent reading period. I had forgotten all about that incident until this morning but it made me GLAD I took today off. The last thing I needed is to be judged on my teaching today by someone who wouldn’t take the “whole picture” into consideration.
I go back tomorrow. Half of my mouth will be wadded up with cotton. I have a low impact agenda for tomorrow, including administering a “common assessment” for the 9th grade students and a lesson I hope to pull together for my 12th grade class by waking up early tomorrow and hitting the 24 hour Meijer for supplies.
Although I was in pain, I would have disappointed my boys greatly if I hadn’t sucked it up and squeezed into my Halloween costume this year.
…besides, it wouldn’t have been very “Batman” of me to wuss out, right? Rest assured, the costume was peeled off and I was back on the couch recuperating about two minutes after this snapshot was taken.
In general, I haven’t been a great fan of DC Comics’ recent “New 52″ relaunch of their superhero titles. I don’t think this was a very well thought-out relaunch, I don’t believe the talent attached to a great many of these books has been up to the task… and I’ve been reading DC Comics my whole life, so I’m somewhat attached to the old version of these characters.
That being said, I did try to give a lot of these books a fair shake, only to find many lacking. Currently, I’m only buying two of DC’s superhero books regularly.
Well, I may just have to up that to three, because I picked up Detective Comics #13 last week and it’s a nice start.
I already have an affection for the character but there have been PLENTY of Batman titles in the New 52 lineup I have passed up entirely because I didn’t feel the creative team was up to snuff. I’m happy to report this issue addresses those concerns by employing writer John Layman; I’ve enjoyed his work on Image Comics’ Chew and he didn’t disappoint. Further, the art is a step above a lot of what I’ve seen from DC lately. The main story, pencilled by Jason Fabok is, while not exactly to my personal tastes, detailed and exciting in the way I believe most young comics readers are looking for in this genre. The backup tale with art from Andy Clarke is similarly satisfying, although I liked Clarke’s work more than Fabok’s.
Up to this point, the only DCU books I’ve been buying have been written by Scott Snyder, but I may just be adding Detective Comics to my pull list, if this creative team can keep up the pace.
Haven’t been reading a lot of novels lately. Things have been busy and I haven’t had the time to lose myself in a book. That being said, please know I am anxiously counting the days until October 16th, when The Twelve by Justin Cronin is in stores.
The second book in Cronin’s planned post-apocalyptic vampire trilogy, the first book in the series was a great favorite of mine. The Passage has its’ problem, but a more engrossing read I did not have in 2010. I liked The Passage so much, I listened to the audiobook in the spring as a sort of refresher in preparation for The Twelve. Cronin’s prose is occasionally overwrought and some of his conclusions about a world moved on are a little silly (as with most writer’s tales of the apocalypse, gas is still plentiful and unspoiled, despite how quickly we know it would corrode) but I enjoyed the book and look forward to jumping back into this world with Peter, Amy, Lish and the rest.
I debated long and hard as to whether I wanted to continue posting my chalkboard doodles for the upcoming school year. After three years solid of Sunday postings, I’ve done just about every character or situation I can think of. Further, I often draw the EXACT same drawings, year in and year out. It’s the nature of the job. Just as I teach Romeo & Juliet to every new group of Freshman, I’ll continue drawing myself as various superhero characters on the blackboard.
I’ve decided to keep posting these however, because… quite simply, they’re popular. I understand very little about “site views” and all that jazz, but when I do look at that widget, these are always amongst the most viewed of my posts… and that includes the comic. Over the past six months, a number of these have become popular on the website Pinterest. I know less about Pinterest than I do about site views, but if people are liking something I do well enough to share it somewhere, I should probably keep doing it.
Anyway, here’s the first drawing of the year. I decided I wanted to go big for the first week so I designed an elaborate Welcome piece for the Class of 2016 which took up the entire space of the classroom’s chalkboard.
I have to be honest- this was a larger undertaking than I anticipated! I thought I’d only need a half an hour to draw this beast, but it took double that when you figure in the sketch planning I needed to do to fit in as many characters as possible. I tried to run the gamut of cartoon characters that I found interesting and were relevant to someone who’d be in 9th grade this year. The only one I might have missed the mark on is Yakko Warner, but as established this summer, the characters are making a huge comeback, if only with my sons in our house.