Goodbye to another piece of my childhood!!

Archie Comics to end in June

Archie and the gang are hanging up their speech bubbles and calling it a day.

One of the longest running series since the dawn of the modern comic book in 1867, Dan Parent and the rest of the team at Archie Comics have decided to give the red-headed miscreant and his lovable gang a dramatic sendoff.

Ending on a slightly ominous issue number, No. 666, Comic Book Resources has learned the final release will reference longtime running gags and nods to the original Archie comics of the 1940s and 50s.

This, of course, is all in preparation for the upcoming redesign of the series. Simply titled, “ARCHIE #1,” the announcement of the revamped comic drew a ubiquitous chorus of groans and sighs from fans as details of the modern take on Riverdale’s finest were revealed. Archie Comics has a history of drastically changing aesthetic on the fly, but this is the first time the company has decided to end one series and start over from scratch.

The past few years have been a bit of a renaissance for the comics industry with DC launching its New 52 series in 2013 and Marvel preparing to launch its NOW! series this summer.

Details are scarce on what exactly the last Archie issue will entail, but there will be six variant covers – all illustrated by Dan Parent – released June 3.


Too bad, it was still funny!!

Matt Groening ends “Life in Hell”

Matt Groening has put an end to his Life in Hell comic strip, the weekly comic that he’s been drawing for 35 years.

In an email to the website, Groening explained: “I’ve had great fun, in a Sisyphean kind of way, but the time has come to let Binky and Sheba and Bongo and Akbar and Jeff take some time off.”

The strip, which initially described the young cartoonist’s life after his move from Portland, Ore., to Los Angeles in 1977, was self-published for a few years until it was picked up by the alt-weekly Los Angeles Reader in 1980.

According to Poynter, the strip reached its largest audience in the ’90s, when it was carried in 380 papers and “The Simpsons” was one of the most popular shows on TV. More recently, the strip has been in less than 40 publications.

The final original Life in Hell strip, the 1,669th, was released June 15. Old strips will be reprinted until July 13, at which point Groening’s print creation will go away completely.

Despite becoming enormously wealthy from “The Simpsons,” which ended its 23rd season last month, and “Futurama,” which begins its seventh season on Wednesday, Groening has continued to write and draw the strip.

By ending the weekly strip, he says he’ll be able to pursue a number of projects he hasn’t been able to because of the commitment.


Timing is everything!!

Garfield creator apologizes for ill-timed strip
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) ó Cartoonist Jim Davis apologized Thursday for a Garfield strip that some veterans may have found offensive.
The strip ran on Veterans Day in newspapers across the country. It shows a spider daring the pudgy orange cat to squash it. The spider tells Garfield that if he is killed, “they will hold an annual day of remembrance in my honor.”
The final panel shows a spider-teacher asking its students if they know why spiders celebrate “National Stupid Day.”
Davis, of Muncie, Ind., said in a statement posted on his website that he didn’t know the strip would appear on Veterans Day. He said it was written nearly a year ago and called the publication Thursday “the worst timing ever.”
“It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with this important day of remembrance,” Davis said.
John Raughter, a spokesman for the Indianapolis-based American Legion, looked at the strip and Davis’ statement after the cartoon was brought to his attention by a reporter. He said an apology wasn’t necessary.
“We have no reason to doubt his explanation of what happened,” Raughter said.
Davis said his brother served in Vietnam, and his son is a Marine who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he is grateful for the service of veterans, and called any offense “unintentional and regrettable.”


Love that Beetle Bailey!!

Beetle Bailey nears retirement age but stays put
STAMFORD, Conn. ñ Beetle Bailey is slouching toward retirement age, but the lazy Army private won’t be getting rest anytime soon from his tour of duty on newspaper comics pages.
The indolent wise guy, whose popularity soared when he enlisted during the Korean War, turns 60 on Saturday.
Mort Walker has been imaging Beetle every day for all those decades and says he’ll continue with his creation until he’s no longer able.
“I don’t know how I’d be retired,” said Walker, 86. “I wake up every day with another idea.”
The genial gags by Beetle and the cast of characters ó Sarge and his dog, Otto, Gen. Amos Halftrack, Miss Buxley and others ó are followed seven days a week by readers in 1,800 newspapers, which is “astronomically huge,” said Brendan Burford, comics editor at King Features, the strip’s syndicating service.
Charles Schulz, who created and worked on the enormously popular Peanuts strip for nearly 50 years before his death in 2000, came close to Walker’s longevity. But “no one has worked on the same strip for 60 years with that kind of consistency,” Burford said.
“He’s definitely in a pretty seriously elite class,” he said.
King Features has been celebrating Beetle’s anniversary by running Sunday cartoons by Walker of Beetle re-enacting military events in history, such as celebrating the end of World War II or crossing the Delaware with George Washington.
The commemorative strips put Beetle in different venues, but Walker said he has otherwise kept Beetle as is over the decades.
“He’s still pretty much lazy,” he said. “I haven’t changed him a tremendous amount because I think that’s his character that I want to keep. He represents the little man in all of us.”
“Beetle is the embodiment of everybody’s resistance to authority, all the rules and regulations which you’ve got to follow,” Walker said. “He deals with it in his own way. And in a way, it’s sort of what I did when I was in the Army. I just often times did what I wanted to do.”
Beetle Bailey, originally called Spider, made his comic-strip debut as a smart aleck college student on Sept. 4, 1950, in 12 newspapers, according to King Features. It considered dropping the strip at the end of Walker’s one-year contract, but when Beetle stumbled into an Army recruiting post in 1951 during the Korean War, the number of newspapers that picked up Beetle climbed.
Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, which is marking Beetle’s anniversary with an exhibit, said Beetle, his pals and their uncomplicated gags have become familiar friends to readers over the years.
“I think people find that really comforting,” he said.
Not everyone. Some women have been angry about the caricature of a dumb blond secretary, the curvaceous Miss Buxley, Walker said.
“The women’s right groups got so riled up against me they had a national agenda of attacking me,” Walker said.
Burford said as an editor he wants artists “to work creatively and make people laugh and smile,” but had to restrain Walker at times.
“Sometimes you have to pull back on this leash,” he said. “As the rights of women increased, he became more sensitive to it.”
Still, as the newspaper industry retrenches, editors have not axed Beetle, Burford said.
“Newspapers don’t want to cut features that readers love,” he said.
Joe Schiesl, 72, a retired National Weather Service meteorologist in Manassas, Va., said he has been reading Beetle Bailey since he was in the ROTC and Air Force in the 1950s.
“The characters, you have those in any organization,” he said. “You have deadbeats like Beetle, and then you have people on their case like the sergeant.”
“I like it because it’s funny. It perks you up every day,” Schiesl said.
Walker, born in El Dorado, Kan., earned $1 for his first cartoon at age 11 during the Depression. It was a big raise from the 10 cents an hour he was paid delivering to a local drug store, leading him to see cartooning as “where the real money is.”
He now works out of his spacious Connecticut home in a study stuffed with golf trophies, cartoon awards, figurines of Beetle and his Army pals, numerous photos of celebrities on the wall, Beetle refrigerator magnets and a clock with Beetle and other characters from the strip.
Walker, his two sons and Jerry Dumas, a colleague of 55 years, meet for an hour once a month to brainstorm gags for the comic strip. “Then we go to lunch and play golf,” he said.
Each of the four men proposes 30 gags, which are winnowed down until there are just enough strips to be used in a month. Walker rewrites them to try to improve the gags, he said.
Dumas, a veteran cartoonist who draws the strip Sam and Silo and drew for The New Yorker, said the “gag conference” has always been enjoyable.
“You sit down with a sheet of paper and pen. You just doodle,” he said. “You come up with a picture you haven’t come up with before. That’s the hard part.”
Producing a cartoon every day for 60 years isn’t easy, but Walker knows how to entertain Beetle’s millions of fans.
“I found that what they want is a laugh every day,” he said. “They want funny pictures.”


I want it!!!

Comic book buff selling rare copy of Batman No. 1
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) ó A longtime Alaska comic book buff is selling one of the gems in his vast collection, a rare copy of Batman No. 1 published 70 years ago.
Mike Wheat of Fairbanks has put the 1940 comic book on the auction block through Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, where it’s expected to fetch more than $40,000. Online bids already have climbed to $35,000 for the book, believed to be one of fewer than 300 still in existence.
Online bids will compete with a live auction set for Thursday.
The second and fourth Batman issues also will be part of Thursday’s auction. They are expected to bring more than $5,000 combined.
Wheat, a retired city wastewater treatment plant operator, said he considers the Batman comics an investment. He said it feels like the right time to sell.
“I just decided it’s time for someone else to have it,” he said.
The Batman No. 1 comic book was discovered after local businessman Ron Jaeger bought an old dresser at a garage sale in the early 1970s, then kept it in storage for a few years. When Jaeger finally brought it out, he noticed one of the drawers didn’t slide easily.
Three comic books and a few old issues of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner were tucked beneath the drawer and a quarter-inch piece of plywood. The haul included a copy of Batman No. 1, Superman No. 17 and an old issue of a Red Ryder Western comic.
Wheat already had a reputation as an avid comic collector in 1974, and Jaeger sold him the comic books for $300.
The auction house has handled many copies of Batman No. 1, but Wheat’s copy is notable because the low humidity and cool temperatures in Fairbanks have kept the paper in excellent condition, said Barry Sandoval, director of comic auctions and operations at Heritage. Old comics were printed on cheap newsprint, but the pages in Wheat’s copy remain white and crisp.
“If we got a Batman No. 1 from Texas or Louisiana, if you opened it up after 70 years the pages would start to crumble,” Sandoval said.
The condition of comics is graded on a scale of one to 10. Wheat’s copy has been graded a 5.5. That’s a middling score for a newer comic, but impressive for a vintage copy.
“I see how most comics from that era look,” Sandoval said. “Most 70-year-old comics are in pretty rough shape.”
Batman No. 1 was the first solo spinoff for the character, who made his first appearance in 1939 as a character in Detective Comics No. 27. The debut includes the original appearances by two of Batman’s key foes, the Joker and Catwoman.


She is still hott!!!

Wonder Woman gets a makeover
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Comic book superheroine Wonder Woman has traded in her spangled hot pants for urban leggings and upped her street smarts in a 21st century make-over for the 69 year-old character.
J.Michael Straczynski, the new writer for the DC Comics series, told the New York Times he wanted to “toughen her up and give her a modern sensibility” and change the outfit Wonder Woman has been wearing for almost seven decades.
The new costume features dark leggings, a studded denim jacket, spurs on her heeled boots and gloves in a new look designed by Korean-American artist Jim Lee of “X-Men” fame. Gone are the star-studded hip-huggers, undersized bustier and knee length, red go-go boots.
“She was stuck in 1941. And as female friends of mine kept asking, ‘how does she fight in that (bustier) thing without all her parts flying out? How does she carry her stuff?,” Straczynski told video game and entertainment website in an interview.
“So my requests were pretty specific: toughen her look, make it more dynamic, more serious,” he added.
Wonder Woman, one of the few female superheroes in a world dominated by Batman and Superhero, has also seen her character given greater depth and more intellect as she debuts the new look in Issue 600, which hits comic book stands Wednesday.
“Growing up, I always felt that she was a better character than her books…the stories tended toward being a bit precious, and definitely edged into being more about getting her into provocative poses…than really getting into her character,” Straczynski said.
“We will be making her stronger, favoring her smarts and her resolve and her resourcefulness, and making the remains of the world she once knew special by incorporating them into a more vital, unpredictable world. We take her very seriously,’ he added.


Dammit!!! My bid was $1.4!!

Superman comic book nets $1.5M
NEW YORK – The record price for a comic book, already broken twice this year, has been shattered again.
A copy of the 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1 sold Monday for $1.5 million on the auction website The issue, which features Superman’s debut and originally sold for 10 cents, is widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books.
The same issue sold in February for $1 million, though that copy wasn’t in as good condition as the issue that sold Monday. That number was bested just days later when a 1939 comic book featuring Batman’s debut sold for $75,000 more at an auction in Dallas.
There are about 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 believed to be in existence but only a handful in good condition. The issue that sold Monday was rated slightly higher than the one that sold in February; it had been tucked inside an old movie magazine for years before being discovered.
The issue was bought from a private collector and then sold by Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo, the co-owners of It was bought minutes after being posted Monday at the asking price of $1.5 million by “a hardcore comic book fan,” Fishler said.
“There’s been a lot of attempts to acquire this book over the last 15 years,” he said. “The recent activity, I guess, did the trick.”
Fishler speculated that the sudden burst of record-priced sales are due to “pent-up demand.” Issues of such prized comic books rarely become available for purchase. Rarer still are issues in such good condition.
“I can’t imagine another book coming on the market that exists that would top this,” Fishler said. “This may be the final say – at least for the next 10 or 20 years – for a record price of a comic book.”


I got the books for my birthday!!!

‘Walking Dead’ comic book headed to AMC network
NEW YORK ñ AMC network says it’s bringing the popular “Walking Dead” comic book to TV as a live-action series set to debut in October.
Created by Robert Kirkman, “The Walking Dead” explores the aftermath of a world overrun by zombies. It follows a group of human survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who journey in search of a safe home.
AMC announced Monday that the series will begin filming in Atlanta in June. It was initially scheduled for six episodes.
Only Jon Bernthal has been announced for the cast. Among those behind the camera is executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, whose feature credits include “The Terminator,” “Aliens” and “Armageddon.”


I hope to attend this one day!!

Is Comic-Con On The Move?
The San Diego Comic-Con International ñ the worldís biggest and best comic book/movies/sci-fi/fanboy-snagging/we could go on convention ñ might not be the San Diego Comic-Con International for much longer.
Thatís if tourism officials from Anaheim have their way. The Californian city has confirmed that it has lodged a bid to move Comic-Con from its San Diego home, where itís been since its inception in 1970, to the home of Disneyland.
And itís not the only city trying to break apart an association that has, for Empire at least, become utterly indelible. Las Vegas and Los Angeles are also in the running to lure Comic-Con over when its contract with the San Diego Convention Centre runs out in 2012.
All three cities are citing larger convention centre space and more (not to mention cheaper) hotel rooms as key components of their packages. After all, Comic-Con has been bursting at the seams for a few years now. The Convention Centre in the city, situated by the harbour, can only hold 125,000 people over the Conís four (five, if you include Preview Night) days, and thereís no room for expansion. Yet.
For, with Comic-Con representing a huge economic bump for San Diego, the city isnít ready to let go of its jewel in the crown. According to The Hollywood Reporter, hotels around the convention centre have offered 300,000 feet of convention space to the event free of charge, while the number of hotel rooms on offer could double to 14,000. Given the troubles Empire has already had securing a room this year ñ an experience shared, no doubt, by thousands ñ this would be a good thing.
The hope would be that this improvised expansion of the Convention Centreís facilities and scope ñ which has already begun, with a Twilight: New Moon press conference taking place last year at the Hilton Bayfront hotel ñ would allow the event to remain in San Diego until the Convention Centre is expanded, which should happen by 2015.
While the thought of Comic-Con detaching itself from San Diego would be tremendously sad ñ thereís a character about the city that would be lost in Vegas or LA, although Anaheim might be a different story ñ itís certainly not unthinkable. Itís a fact of life that franchises can move in the States ñ the New York Yankees began life as the Baltimore Orioles, for example ñ and it would seem that Comic-Con is considering the move.
“We love San Diego. The majority of the people who put the show on live here,” Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer told The Hollywood Reporter. “But we have to make a decision that’s based on what really is best for the event.”
Letís hope thatís not as ominous as it sounds. Thereís no word yet on when a decision will be taken.


Oh, to have an extra million to spare!

‘Superman’ comic sells for $1M
NEW YORK – A rare copy of the first comic book featuring Superman sold Monday for US$1 million, smashing the previous record price for a comic book.
A 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1, widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books, was sold from a private seller to a private buyer, neither of whom released their names. The issue features Superman lifting a car on its cover and originally cost 10 cents.
The transaction was conducted by the auction site Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the site and its sister dealership, Metropolis Collectibles, orchestrated the sale.
Fishler said it transpired minutes after the issue was put on sale at around 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. He said that the seller was a “well known individual” in New York with a pedigree collection, and that the buyer was a known customer who previously bought an Action Comics No. 1 of lesser grade.
“It’s considered by most people as the most important book,” said John Dolmayan, a comic book enthusiast and dealer best known as the drummer for System of a Down. “It kind of ushered in the age of the superheroes.”
Dolmayan, who owns Torpedo Comics, last year paid $317,000 for an Action Comics No. 1 issue for a client. Others have sold for more than $400,000, he said, but this copy fetched a much higher price because it’s in better condition. It’s rated an “8.0 grade,” or “very fine.”
Dolmayan said he didn’t buy this copy but he wishes he could have.
“The fact that this book is completely un-restored and still has an 8.0 grade, it’s kind of like a diamond or a precious stone. It’s very rare,” he said.
There are only about 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 believed to be in existence, and only a handful have been rated so highly. It’s rarer still for those copies to be made available for sale.
“The opportunity to buy an un-restored, high-grade Action One comes along once every two decades,” Fishler said. “It’s certainly a milestone.”
The sticker shock was astounding to Fishler, nevertheless.
“It is still a little stunning to see ‘a comic book’ and ‘$1 million’ in the same sentence,” Fishler said. “There’s only one time a collectible hits the $1 million threshold.”