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rec.arts.comics.misc FAQ

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Archive-name: comics/misc-faq
Last-modified: 1998/08/30

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

               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?

   * 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?



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.


The official RAC* FAQs, which provide links and info about specific
characters, creators, etc, are available from and 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 -- slieber@compuserve.c (Steve Lieber)
   * Grading Comics Guide -- paul@erc.msstate.e (Paul Adams)
   * Protecting Comics Guide -- paul@erc.msstate.e (Paul Adams)
   * Jack Kirby FAQ -- bg549@torfree.n (Bob Heer)
   * List of African-American Characters (and FAQ) -- megomaster@geocities.c
     (M Terry Jackson)
   * List of Gay Characters -- dvadvct@aol.c (Omar Dvadvct).
   * Lists of Hispanic, Native American, "foreign" (non-USA), etc Supers --
     jdelacr@ess-consultants.c (Jorge Delacruz)
   * List of Jewish Characters -- safran-can@geocities.c
   * List of Transvestite/Transsexual Characters -- mikel@asarian.o


Web Comics fall into two major categories. There are real-world comics with
web promos or reprints, such as, and also many
comics that exist solely or entirely on the Web. Some good sites are:



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 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


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.


For starters, they all have web sites (see 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
   * Jim Valentino - formed Shadowline Ink studio.
   * Rob Liefeld (Youngblood, etc) - Awesome Comics in trouble with IRS &


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.


Words and Pictures Museum of Fine Sequential Art -- Northampton, MA -- -- 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.


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.


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).

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