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Thread: 10 CENT LAMENT

  1. ThaneBenson Guest


    In April of 1938, Action Comics No. 1 hit the newsstands. This hastily assembled 64-page anthology comic featured 11 different stories. The issue opened with a 13-page lead story that consisted of a previously rejected newspaper comic strip by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster. It told the story of an alien orphan from a doomed planet who arrived on earth in a spaceship. This sworn champion of the oppressed possessed amazing powers beyond the ability of mortal men. He wore blue tights with red underwear on the outside. He had a cape and a big “S” on his chest. His name was Superman and he would change the world forever.

    Action Comics was an enormous success by any measure imaginable. It launched the Golden Age of comic books. Not only did invent the genre of superheroes but it also produced the most iconic fictional hero of the modern age. And it did all that for 10 cents.

    10 cents! The average comic book sells today for upwards of 3 dollars. Granted, 1938 was a long time ago. But even when you adjust for inflation, 10 cents in 1938 would be about a $1.50 in 2010. And let’s not forget that Action Comics No. 1 was 64-pages long with no ads. Whereas a modern comic book is only 32 pages with at least 8 of those pages devoted to advertisements. So in essence, we are paying twice the amount for less than half the content.

    But do not give in to despair, dear reader. The truth is, you can still find comic books for as little as 10 cents a pop (although often you will have to buy at least 10 for a dollar to get the full financial discount). I am of course speaking of the glorious bargain bins, a staple among comic book shops across the globe. While “serious” comic book collectors may turn their nose up at any discounted comic that goes for a dime, a quarter, or even a dollar, those of us who have taken the time to dredge the depths of the bargain bins know that with a little seeking you can often find gold for considerably less than the cover price.

    Sure, you may end up with pure shit, but that’s a risk you take when you buy any comic off the stands. And this way, at least you can take consolation in that fact that it was cheap shit.

    In the course of this column, I will review some of the comic book gold I’ve discovered while mining the bargain boxes. We will begin with a figurative cousin of the star of Action Comics No. 1.

    Like Superman, he is an alien orphan from a doomed planet. But that planet is not Krypton. It’s Czarnia. And he’s an orphan because he fragged everybody else on the planet.

    I am speaking of the Assassin to Royalty and Scourge of the Cosmos, the Ultimate Bastich, the Main Man himself: Lobo. Originally a reoccurring character on The Omega Men, Lobo was created by Keith Giffen who claims that Lobo was meant to be a satirical criticism of the violent anti-heroes in modern comics. But according to Giffen, Lobo somehow usurped his creator’s intent and instead has become the poster boy for excessively violent comic books.

    Alan Grant and Simon Bisley joined Keith Giffen on a number of extremely popular Lobo miniseries. I was introduced to Lobo through one of the less popular miniseries Lobo: Infanticide, all four issues of which I found residing in the bargain bin.

    One reason for Infanticide’s lack of success, may have been the fact that Simon Bisley apparently got kicked to the curb this go around, making room for Keith Giffen to move up from breakdowns to full art for this miniseries. And while Simon Bisley is a formidable and singular talent in comic books and is, without a doubt, the definitive Lobo artist, don’t let that dissuade you. Lobo: Infanticide is brilliant.

    The plot involves the hundreds of bastard children of Lobo who are outcasts throughout the galaxy banding together to exact their revenge on daddy dearest. Hilarity ensues.

    The black humor and over-the-top violence may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the art is simply astounding. Keith Giffen’s highly stylized, playful cartooning pushed detail to a new level in this series. The word ornate doesn’t do it justice. There’s enough detail in these drawings to give a colorist a brain hemorrhage. Even the panel borders are stylized and inventive. The playfulness of the comic extends to the numbering of each page. Instead of the drab uniform numbers that grace the bottom of the average comic book, we are treated to a schizophrenic onslaught of various styles ranging from roman numerals, to spelled out numbers, to little hands holding up fingers.

    One nice touch is the handful of comic strip extras crammed into issue No. 1 featuring “Li’l Lobo.” These mini comics feature a child Lobo reenacting well-known “Peanuts” comic strip gags. But, of course, with a nasty twist. You know the old gag where Charlie Brown tries to kick the football but Lucy pulls it out of the way at the last minute and Old Charlie ends up on his ass? Well, let’s just say Li’l Lobo doesn’t take the indignity lying down.

    But the best extra in the series can be found in the back pages of issue No. 3 where we get to see the results of the Lobo look-a-like photo contest. It is equally disturbing and hilarious.

    In short, this comic is a lot of fun. And while I’ll admit that the conclusion of the story in issue No. 4 is somewhat anticlimactic-- for 10 cents apiece, I can’t complain I’m not getting my money’s worth.
    Attached Thumbnails LOBO3.jpg  

  2. Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Cameron, NC
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    I think I'm going to be a fan of this column! Since you decided to begin your column with Lobo, I assume you're a fan of the main man. Have you ever heard of ALDS?

  3. ThaneBenson Guest

    Hey Scott. Glad you like column. I am a fan of Lobo but I must admit I haven't read any of his recent treatments. Never heard of ALDS. What is it? :confused:

  4. Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Cameron, NC
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    It started on the DC message boards. It's a group of Lobo fans and it stands for Anti Lobo Death Squad. I know that name sounds a bit misleading, they aren't anti Lobo but anti Lobo's Death... at least that's how it was explained to me. I'm not sure if they're still hanging around the DCMB or not but I know some of them hang out at the "Comics Rock" message board. I don't know the URL off hand though.

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