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---------------------------------------------- rec.arts.comics.misc Frequently Asked Questions ---------------------------------------------- PART ONE -- this document * What is rac.misc for? * What other comic FAQs are available? * Where are comics on the Web? * What's up with Marvel? Are they bankrupt? * What's up with Diamond? Are they a monopoly? * What's up with Image and Rob Liefeld? * What's up with Valiant? Tekno? etc? * Where are comics museums? * When were the Golden and Silver Ages? * What is a Retcon? PART TWO -- http://members.tripod.com/~comics_faq/rac-part2.html * How do I avoid flames/garbage posts on racm? * Oh no! Was Astro City cancelled? * What was the first #0 issue? * What was the first enhanced/variant cover? * What comic collecting database programs are there? * Why can't I order DC TPBs at bookstores? * Who were the original Charlton equivalents to the Watchmen? * Where did "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog" appear? * What ever happened to Trampier, and Wormy? * Who is Suicide Squid? * Why is Wild Cards off-topic in RACM ? * Why is RACM so strict? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ WHAT IS REC.ARTS.COMICS.MISC FOR? rac.misc is the catch-all group at the end of the RAC* hierarchy. Miscellaneous does NOT mean "everything", it means "everything else". Anything that doesn't fit in any of the other groups goes here. What does that leave? * Industry -- publishing, distribution, retail, "getting started", etc. * Creators -- general discussion of a writer/artist/etc's work * Comics with no subgroup -- most titles from Image, Dark Horse, Acclaim/Valiant, Antarctic, Paradox, Helix, Archie, Disney, etc. * Anything Else -- art styles, comics & computers, awards, essays, etc. WHAT OTHER COMIC FAQs ARE AVAILABLE? The official RAC* FAQs, which provide links and info about specific characters, creators, etc, are available from http://members.tripod.com/~comics_faq and rec.arts.comics.info. See the RAC* FAQ Index for a topic list. Some miscellaneous comic FAQs (please email francis_uy@yahoo with additions) are: * Guide for Pros New to Usenet -- firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Lieber) * Grading Comics Guide -- email@example.com (Paul Adams) * Protecting Comics Guide -- firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Adams) * Jack Kirby FAQ -- email@example.com (Bob Heer) * List of African-American Characters (and FAQ) -- firstname.lastname@example.org (M Terry Jackson) * List of Gay Characters -- email@example.com (Omar Dvadvct). * Lists of Hispanic, Native American, "foreign" (non-USA), etc Supers -- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jorge Delacruz) * List of Jewish Characters -- email@example.com * List of Transvestite/Transsexual Characters -- firstname.lastname@example.org WHERE ARE COMICS ON THE WEB? Web Comics fall into two major categories. There are real-world comics with web promos or reprints, such as http://www.unitedmedia.com, and also many comics that exist solely or entirely on the Web. Some good sites are: * http://aaa.wraithspace.com/Web-Comix * http://www.phlab.missouri.edu/~c617145/ * http://www.spyglass.com/~aburnett/ * http://www.artcomic.com WHAT'S UP WITH MARVEL? ARE THEY BANKRUPT? Not anymore. In July 1995 Marvel tried to sell its comics exclusively through Heroes World Distribution and proceeded to screw up royally. In 1996 Marvel fired hundreds of staffers and outsourced several titles (including Captain America and the Avengers). In December 1996 Marvel Entertainment Group defaulted on $650 million in loan payments and filed for bankruptcy. But received more loans from Chase Bank and publishing new comics. See http://members.tripod.com/~comics_faq/marvel.html for details. In February 1997, Marvel shut down Heroes World and returned to Diamond. In April 1998 the New York Stock Exchange de-listed Marvel's public stock. It had fallen to $1 from a high of $30 in 1994. The reorganization is nearly over, and Marvel plans to have yet another retcon restart for its comic history. WHAT'S UP WITH DIAMOND? ARE THEY A MONOPOLY? In August 1995, DC Comics chose to sell its comics exclusively through Diamond Distributor. Several other major publishers followed suit (Diamond continues to distribute most other comics as well). In July 1996, Capital City sold its assets to Diamond, and in February 1997, Marvel shut down Heroes World and returned to Diamond. For most comic stores and publishers, Diamond *is* the direct market. If Steve Geppi doesn't want to distribute a comic, most American retailers won't receive it. So is it a monopoly? The Department of Justice is considering the matter. Diamond's defense is that comics are merely a subset of the periodical magazine market, in which Diamond is a small fish. WHAT'S UP WITH IMAGE AND ROB LIEFELD? For starters, they all have web sites (see imagecomics.com) that can ONLY be navigated if you have image loading turned on (bleah). Rob Liefeld was fired unanimously by the other Image founders in 1996. Where they are now: * Jim Lee - Image CEO, Homage (Astro City, etc). * Erik Larsen - doing Aquaman to spite PAD. * Todd McFarlane - owns Eclipse comics rights (Miracleman, Airboy, etc) * Marc Silvestri - hated Rob, returned Top Cow (Cyberforce, etc) to Image. * Jim Valentino - formed Shadowline Ink studio. * Rob Liefeld (Youngblood, etc) - Awesome Comics in trouble with IRS & investors. WHAT'S UP WITH VALIANT? TEKNO? ETC? Valiant is a subdivision of Acclaim (the video game maker). Their comics line had slumping sales and is now mostly dead, except for video game tie-ins. Jim Shooter, founder of Valiant and other defunct publishers, will launch Daring Comics in 1999. Dark Horse has brought back some of First's titles (Nexus, Badger, et al), but the rest are being held hostage by lawyers. Todd McFarlane is sitting on Eclipse's old comics. Comico hasn't been heard from in a while, but technically still exists. Tekno Comics (Big Entertainment) died in 1996, with no plans to return. WHERE ARE COMICS MUSEUMS? Words and Pictures Museum of Fine Sequential Art -- Northampton, MA -- http://www.wordsandpictures.org -- Founded by Kevin Eastman. Over 12000 originals in permanent or rotating galleries, artist signings, etc. Open Tue-Sun, admission $3. National Gallery of Caricature and Cartoon Art -- 1317 F St NW, Washington, DC -- Founded by four cartoonists (Thomas F. Gibson, William Rechin, Pat Oliphant and J. Arthur Wood), the gallery is built around Wood's cartoon collection. Open 11-4 Tue-Sat, free admission. International Museum of Cartoon Art -- Boca Raton, FL -- Founded by Mort Walker, Board Members include Will Eisner, Jim Davis and Marty Nodell. Windsor McKay originals, hundreds of cartoonists have drawn on the bathroom walls. Open ???, admission ??? Comic Art Museum -- San Francisco CA -- Rotating exhibits of original comic strip and comic book art. Open ???, admission ??? Michigan State University Library. -- East Lansing, MI -- Not quite a museum, but an extensive comic reading room. You fill out a request and the librarian brings back the comic. No stack browsing, no lending. Brown University -- Providence, RI -- received a donation of 60,000 comics in early 1997 which they are sorting and cataloging. It's unknown how accessible these books will be. WHEN WERE THE GOLDEN AND SILVER AGES? The Ages of superhero comics are semi-defined time periods used by collectors and historians. The Golden Age started in the late 30s (Action Comics #1 was in 1938) and ended in the early 50s. The Silver Age begins around 1955, possibly with Detective Comics #255 (1st Martian Manhunter) or Showcase #4 (1st Barry Allen Flash). Marvel's Silver Age is said to start with Fantastic Four #1 in 1961. The Silver Age ended around 1970, about when Jack Kirby left Marvel and Mort Weisinger retired as Superman editor. There is no clearly defined Age after Silver, although suggestions include Bronze, Iron, Platinum, Dark, Independent, Mylar and Silicon. Many starting points have also been suggested, such as Giant-Size X-Men #1, Cerebus or Elfquest #1 (1st major self-publishing), Pacific Comics startup (1st major indie company), DC's Crisis, or even Image Comics startup (1st creator owned books to top the sales charts). It's fun to chat about, but don't expect a conclusive answer. WHAT IS A RETCON? To retroactively change the continuity of a character or title. Coined by Damian Cugley, retcon is a shortening or verbification of "retroactive continuity". Its first known use was in the letter column of All-Star Squardron #18, where Roy Thomas wrote that he heard it at a convention. Originally, "retcon" meant that the interpretation of "facts" from earlier stories is changed, but the facts themselves are preserved. For example, Alan Moore took Swamp Thing, previously thought to be a man transformed into a plant creature, and with minimal changes to previous stories, made Swamp Thing a "plant elemental" with a dead man's memories. These days, retcon has come to mean changes to history itself, so that something that had existed in the fictional universe, not only doesn't exist now, but NEVER HAS existed. For example, Batman caught his parents' killer, Joe Chill, years ago. But the Zero Hour story retconned it, so he has never found the killer. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ written by Paul Estin, Tom Galloway, et al. and maintained by Francis Uy (francis_uy@yahoo), member of the RAC* FAQ Committee (rac-faq@mlists).