Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ugly American # 16: Let’s Talk Todd!

I wanted to talk about Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth this week, because it’s really quite special and I don’t think enough people are aware of that. If you want to hear the author talk about the concept, I highly recommend you download Where Monsters Dwell # 228. Ken Kristensen will tell you all about Todd & his origins, and at the back end of the interview shares one of the greatest anecdotes in WMD history. It’s about Giant Size X-Men # 1 and his virginity, and I won’t spoil the rest. Plus, Remy refers to Ken as “Todd” twice in the span of sixty seconds. Priceless.

For those who don’t have the time or inclination to spin that episode right now, I’ll give you the textual gist of the tale here. Todd Belluomo is a hideously ugly young lad with parents so dysfunctional, he’s forced to wear a bag on his head. In fact, everyone in Todd’s life is dysfunctional. In the midst of cruel teachers and classmates, inept parents, and homicidal neighbors Todd never loses his inexhaustible hope and enthusiasm for life. That’s the bit.

It’s a really daring and funny comic, loaded with biting satire, and it operates in a manner I’ve never seen before – I’m going to call it an Inverted Picaresque.

The Spaniards fell in love with the Picaresque genre around the 17th century. It worked thusly – you introduce a cad and a scoundrel into corrupt high society, and let the hijinks ensue. The Pico is not strictly evil, but he definitely doesn’t abide by the social mores. It’s all social commentary, and as the Pico stumbles across different facets of society, the reader is intended to learn the lessons that the rascal never does. Deadpool is kind of a modern equivalent to the tradition, now that I think about it.

What’s most poignant about Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth is that Kristensen is making the case that in the 21st Century, depraved thinking is no longer aberrant thinking. In this comic, the Pico is a truly good person treating people with kindness and holding hope. The world is so far gone that the only way to really be an outlaw is to avoid being a narcissistic asshole. And you know what? He’s got a point.

One of the things I’m enjoying most about Todd is that it takes all comers. Most comics these days operate as liberal propaganda manuals. There are shots at The Right in Todd, to be sure. Todd’s father is the vehicle for most of that, an empty bag of boasting who got some Marine ink done after 9/11, even though he never served a day.

Kristensen takes a stab or two in the other direction as well. I noticed a bit in issue # 2 when the prison mail arrives, and the inmate opines that these letters are from “enablers”, calling out progressive coddling of degenerates better served by a boot in the ass.

Mostly, though, TTUKOE is interested in how self-centered we’ve become. Todd’s new neighbor Kim is Korean, but nobody absorbs that but Todd. The neighborhood bully and Todd’s mother just assume she’s Japanese, because they aren’t listening and don’t care. Todd’s mother forgets to bail her son out of jail while she barhops and picks up men. Chief Hargrave refuses to listen to evidence that Todd isn’t the killer, because it’s interfering with his fantasies of TV shows. When reporters ask starlet Belinda Fairchild about Scientology’s role in her Hollywood success, she thanks them for asking about her childhood dyslexia. Nobody listens, nobody spends a jot of energy considering another, it’s just me, me, me. Todd knows everybody’s name, though. Todd wants to reach out and be friends with everybody, and he never judges…even when he should.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Todd after the first issue, but after the second I pretty much fell in love with Todd for a couple of reasons. The schtick of the book is that an endless stream of horrible and unfair things happen to the only innocent person in the story. It feels awful, really, but I find that because he’s so adorable, I find that I’m more emotionally invested in Todd Belluomo than I am in characters I’ve been reading for twenty years. He’s just an incredibly vulnerable person, and kind of unique in the current comics landscape dominated by hyper-skilled, take-no-shit types.

The other thing that struck me after finishing the second issue is the fact that Todd is not defined as a victim. I’m so, so tired of victims. Over in Green Lantern, Simon Baz steals a truck loaded with explosives and accidentally bombs a building, and then I’m supposed to cry tears because the authorities want to investigate? Listen, when the Muslim guy with the stolen vehicle makes the building explode, it’s not racist to wonder if terrorism might be in play. It’s called inductive reasoning, and more people ought to check into it. I suppose if you find a lump in your breast, going to the doctor would be lumpist, so you better not. That’s bigotry. That could be a cyst or scar tissue, you don’t know. Only an asshole would assume malignant tumor, and hey, it’s only life and death. So let’s make the government look like pricks for having the audacity to presume that the Muslim with the stolen truck filled with explosives that erased a building might be a problem. [Sigh. Space brothers? Are you out there to come get me? PLEASE?] But I’m digressing.

My point is that if anybody in comics has earned the right to play the victim, it’s Todd, and he refuses. No matter how poorly the world treats him, he approaches it with undaunted hope and kindness. No moping or crying from Todd, and the outlook that makes him “weak” also saves him.

In issue # 2, Todd gets involved in a prison soap-dropping incident. This can’t end well. But since Todd is focused on other people, he notices that the guy who’s about to assault him has a Marine tattoo, just like his deadbeat old man. That sparks a conversation and friendship. Todd wins. Sort of. That friendship appears likely to cause more horrible things to happen next issue. But that’s the book.

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth has a lot of Mad Magazine in it – it’s fun, and it’s smart. If all my talk of stuffy social commentary seems off putting to you, don’t worry; the book is peppered with plenty of “sticky crotch” jokes, talking frogs, and singing flies. The whole thing is absurd, and completely Chronic approved.

I’m not qualified to talk about M.K. Perker’s art other than to say that I enjoy it, and recognize that it’s an entirely different approach from what he put down in Air. I also think it’s an interesting twist that Perker’s name appears first in the credits, both on the cover and the title page. It doesn’t really matter, I guess, but I can’t think of another comic that presents the artist first. If you listen to the WMD interview with Kristensen, you can hear the worship in his voice about Perker’s talents. That might have something to do with it.

Bottom line on TTUKOE is that it’s a unique beast in the comic book kingdom and worthy of your attention. It kinda functions as the Mark Twain of comics right now, and I’m really impressed with its ingenuity and balls. First two issues out of four are already on the stands – go get them, already, or face the wrath of Danny Trejo!

As always, your comments are welcome, so please leave them below.

UPDATE: This just came in via Twitter:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ugly American # 15: Playing the Orson Scott Card!

Before I get rolling with my USRDA of vitriol, a couple items about helping people. Quick update on Peter David – he is back home, and walking after a fashion. If you have any experience with strokes, you’ll know that the recovery process takes a lot of work and a lot of time.

Plus, there are medical bills. Those are not fun. What is fun? How about a pile of original comic book art work supplied by friends of PAD in a benefit auction? The selection runs the gamut…Hulk, Fallen Angel, Spider-Man 2099, X-Factor, you name it. I’ve got my eye on an original Layla piece. If that’s something that interests you, here’s the central site that Fallen Angel artist JK Woodward set up. If original art is out of your price range, hey, you can always donate at PAD’s blog in any amount, and by all means spread the word! The proceeds from these items are going directly to David’s medical costs. It’s something you can feel good about contributing to.

CBLDF Reward Zone
I’d also like to direct your attention to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. I know it doesn’t sound sexy, but you must see to believe the items they have available there! I recently purchased a copy of Saga Volume 1, personalized by Bryan K Vaughan. They also sent me a really high quality Valentine card complete with gorgeous Fiona Staples artwork. You can get one of these as well…for $25. That’s a ridiculous steal.

So how did I get my book personalized? Glad you asked:

Needless to say, this is not quite what I asked for. I would never claim to be the “Loudest Swain” of anything. I don’t want to tell tales out of school or anything, but that Dominique Swain is a bit of a screamer. You heard it here first.

Now, some Louden Swains of Podcasting might be disappointed that the inscription didn’t quite get there, but not this one. Obscure references that fail to land are kind of my thing. So the only scenario better than getting it right is getting it wrong. I will always cherish that book. By the way, it was about a week between ordering and delivery. That’s pretty good for any shipped item. For a personalized one? Off the charts efficiency.

There’s a ton of Paul Pope stuff at the CBLDF reward zone right now, and how about that Fear Agent print signed by EC legend Jack Davis! They want $30 for that. Are you kidding me?

These items are just cool to own, they are priced attractively, and the fact that the money is going to defend free expression and comic books makes it even sweeter.

Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking the First Amendment is going to defend itself. The right to speak freely is constantly under attack - now more than ever, in fact. There will always exist a vile segment of humanity that would love to wipe everything that isn’t their position out of existence. These days, that group masks their evil in a quasi-genius tapestry of impossibly soft fur, long ears, and long whiskers. They are Soft…Fuzzy…Bunnies. And they are not your friend. Speak of the devil….

Orson Scott Card Shenanigans
DC Comics hired Orson Scott Card to write the first couple of chapters of Superman Adventures, and the Fuzzy Bunnies had a conniption over this, because Card has publicly declared his opposition to homosexuality generally and gay marriage specifically.

Couple things before we move on. I’ll briefly share my thoughts on the subject as “truth in advertising”, so that you’ll know where I’m coming from. I think homosexuality is fantastic. I want more gay people of every stripe. I like the Lipstick Lesbian, the Diesel Dyke, the Closet Queer, the Flamboyant Flamer, and everything in-between. I might have a different opinion if the species were in danger of extinction or something. Turns out we have a few too many billion people on this rock, so I’m quite comfortable with the idea of lots of gay folks.

And as far as marriage goes? Have at it, I guess. If you’re that into suffering that you want to lock in for an eternity, sure. Go ahead. As long as the people involved are adults willfully entering into said lifetime contract of misery, I won’t be the one to stop you. This issue actually came up for a vote here in Minnesota in November, and I quite happily cast my vote in the direction of allowing gay marriage. I’m telling you this so that you’ll understand that I’m about to defend free speech, not sublimate some kind of homophobia.

The Fuzzy Bunnies want Card fired, because his views make them uncomfortable, and that’s their answer to everything. If something makes you feel emotionally oogey inside, then it must be eradicated. There’s no retort, no conversation, and for damn sure no freedom. Do what we do, think what we think, or cease to exist. Here’s who thinks like that; dictators, sociopaths, and children. Very nice company, your mother must be proud.
What makes it extra egregious in this case is that the Bunnies aren’t even objecting to the material. Nobody on the outside has seen a script yet! They’re objecting to the idea that a person holding views other than their own can find gainful employment. The Nazis think that’s a little over-the-top.

In America circa 2013, though that’s business as usual. We don’t have conversations any more, about anything. God forbid we actually struggle with ideas. The Soft and Fuzzy Bunnies kill you with hypocrisy. They preach tolerance and love, but don’t be fooled by the downy pelt. That rabbit has teeth! Walk in lock step or feel the pain. Boycott, censor, silence, eliminate, demonize.

I like the free market of ideas. I like the idea of talking back to alternatives and building better ideas. Do you know who fears alternative viewpoints? Bullies and morons. Bullies need to have control. Doesn’t impress me. Morons know they’ll lose. Again, not impressed.

So no, I do not agree with Orson Scott Card on the subject of gay marriage. So what? That’s a question we need to start asking more often. I don’t think Card has any intention of painting much of his politics into Superman, but even if he did, why should I worry about that? I’ll just talk back to it, like I have to talk back to the LEGION of comics feeding me a steady diet of Lefty Donkey Kool-Aid.

The most important skill you can have in the 21st century is critical thinking. Neuro-linguistic programming and the science of bullshit is so advanced, you stand no chance if you don’t start flexing your “talk-back” muscles early and continuously develop them. Naturally, America has completely abandoned the philosophy of philosophy in favor of “My way or……yup, that’s it. My way.” Thomas Paine would throw up if he could see us now.

Bunnies, I almost get it. Some of you out there are legitimately interested in a better world, and not just fascism. That’s admirable. But you don’t need to worry about Superman stories. If your ideas are better, you’ll win the conversation. The point is to protect the conversation. Don’t be afraid of bad ideas. Be afraid for your freedom. So few people on this ball of mud have ever enjoyed the right to say stupid shit. It’s a very precious jewel. Stop being fascists. Thus endeth the lesson.

As always, you are welcome to 'talk back' to this blog. Please leave your comments, be they similar to mine or not, below.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Ugly American Report 14: An Ugly American Valentine

If you were expecting a lot of love from me on Valentine’s Day… you really don’t understand how the Ugly American operates yet. I have plenty of over bloated rage to spew, but just to mix it up a bit I’ve decided to pick on DC a little bit, since Marvel tends to be the usual target.

So, I recently bought my copy of DC animated Dark Knight Returns part 2. Nothing wrong with that, by the way. I haven’t read the source material in a few years, so I can’t comment on how well it actually jives with Miller’s original. Nothing stuck out as a major departure as compared to my recollection, though, and what I saw was quite good.

The Dark Knight is a fine piece of both meta and social commentary. It’s meta in that DK demonstrates how dreary and unfun the superhero concept gets when you insert it into a more realistic backdrop. Superman becomes a tool of The Man, and I think the absurdity of the superhero concept is most poignantly demonstrated when Bruce chuckles to Clark; “We’ve always been criminals.” Because they always have been. There’s really only two ways for that whole thing to go in the real world: 1) They take over. (See- Authority: Ellis, Warren) or 2) They become fugitives of the state or watch dogs for it. (see: everything else that attempts realism)

It’s also exceptional in that it represents an actual piece of social commentary, and not just Lefty Propaganda. Pretty much every last comic book you’re reading right now is a manifesto of Donkey Kool-Aid, and frankly, the taste is getting bitter to me. It’s probably worth a column in the near future, actually. But I digest.

The point is that in 1986, Frank Miller was carrying around an observational shot gun, there were live rounds in the chamber, and he was letting everyone have it. Reagan looks like an asshole in this. The fuzzy bunnies defending psychopaths with New Age bullshit look like assholes in this. None of it reads like it was coming from a politician’s teleprompter talking points. When Frank hits you in 1986, it feels fresh and it hurts. I recommend the DKR animated movies.

But that’s not what I wanted to bitch about. I wanted to bitch about the free stuff they offered me in this video. Exhibit A: how about the free digital comic included! That sounds pretty exciting, right? It has to be, look at that snazzy coupon!

But now take a look at the fine print:
“while supplies last”??? Wha huh??? Correct me if I’m wrong, but a great portion of the digital comic’s advantage is that there are no goddamn supplies. The supply is…infinite. This is more absurd than the ocean offering you saltwater while supplies last. Technically, eventually the ocean will eventually exhaust its water inventory.

I’m not at all sure what that asterisk is doing there, either. It would make some kind of textual sense if there were an asterisk by the “To access your Digital Comic”, and then at the bottom of the coupon there was a corresponding asterisk that said “while supplies last”. Again, it wouldn’t make any actual sense, because they’d still be talking about running out their infinite supply of digital comics.

But that’s not what’s happening. They’ve got an asterisk there, and nothing else on the page with an asterisk to further explain the ridiculous premise inside those parentheses. You know, if on the bottom of the coupon it said something like “*offer expires 4/15/2015”, that would be something. It wouldn’t strictly salvage the “supply” logic, but it would suffice to obey the laws of asterisks used as footnotes. And why exactly are the words “digital comics” in capital letters? None of it makes a lick of sense, and in fact that digital coupon takes all common sense and uses it as a diaper.

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I thought I’d take a whack at:

Young Romance: New 52 Valentines Day Special # 1 (DC Comics)
This little beauty contains “six love stories from all corners of the DC Universe” according to the cover. It also says $7.99 on the cover. I think it says that because they want you to pay them that much money for it. Yeeeessssh. Not off to a good start.

Ultimately, this is not actually six love stories of blah-bitty-blah-blah, though, it’s a marketing decision to publish any old rag with “Young Romance” on the cover so they don’t lose said trademark. How romantic is that? I know I’m wet. Capitulating to established intellectual property regulations? That’s hot.

The first story features Catwoman. Now, the solicitation says this:
“Following the events of 'Death in the Family,' how can Catwoman ease Batman's troubled soul?”
I’m sure Bruce has some ideas on the subject, but that’s not what the tale is about at all. Ann Nocenti has Selina on a rooftop with a bunch of stolen paintings offering up the least smooth memory segue of the past decade. “Me on a rooftop with no getaway driver….that reminds me of the ol’ Sunnyside Job, also featuring a partner that's useless, also on the 14th of February.” OK.

But it gets worse. As Selina heads down memory lane, Batman shows up and starts spouting off the least authentic Batman dialogue ever printed. He actually tells Catwoman’s sidekick that he’s got “huge spunk.” Batman has never EVER said “huge spunk” in his life, unless maybe Evan Stone blurted it out in that XXX Batman movie. I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t watch that one. I leave that to my esteemed colleague Miracle Keith.

Selina is instantly smitten by all the spunk talk, of course. “He’s a big bully, but he’s sexy.” Of course he is. Batman then proceeds to scold Ms. Kyle on her thieving ways. Some dreck about the horrors of taking a television that represents the center of a poor person’s world. “The quicker you learn that—the faster you’ll make your way over to my side. To me.” That sound like any Batman you’ve ever known? Me neither.

Then it’s over, by the way. No epiphany, no turning point, no improbable turn of events that mirror her recollections and deepen the character. Just Catwoman sitting on a roof thinking to herself “I sure do remember when that really horrible dialogue happened”. The end. Blcchh.

Then there’s the Batgirl story. I use the word “story” loosely here. A guy named Ricky is stumbling around Gotham with a crow bar breaking into vehicles in the hopes that Batgirl will show up so that he can make out with her again. I’ll stop for a moment and let that sink in for you.

OK. Of course Batgirl does show up, at which time, Ricky maintains that he totally wasn’t actually going to steal that car, and Barbara believes him. Then a couple of scallywags show up out of the blue, call Ricky a “rat”, and imply that they mean to apply physical violence toward Ricky and his new little girlfriend, Batgirl. Batgirl beats the snot out of them.

At which point Ricky says “Hey, remember when we made out before? We should totally do that again.” Naturally, Batgirl agrees to this, and is super impressed with the guy’s kissing technique. I’m not kidding about any of this. I wish I was.

I’d like to say that this is the most pathetic tale of “romance” I’ve ever been subjected to, but the tragic truth is that reality is far, far worse. At least these two crazy kids are out there doing things and introducing actual bacteria into each other’s mouth.

In the real world, nothing is real, certainly not love. That’s way too dangerous to approach in anything other than imaginary computerland. In the real world you’ve got a lot of texting and sexting and a lot of having your male Samoan friend make up a hot female profile picture on Facebook, and that will be the Love Of Your Life. You don’t even really talk to her on the phone, (although the Samoan friend is SPOOKY good at it) and you sure as shit don’t go to her funeral when you hear that she’s died. True Love has less validity now than a 1970s pet rock. Good luck with that, y’all.

Young Romance wasn’t all bad, though. Also included were a series of cardboard punch-out valentines, old school style. Stuff like Robin saying “I get a side-kick out of you.” Buddy Baker says “You bring out the animal in me.” So TERRIBLE, and so, so wonderful!

Perfectly reminiscent of a day in which you actually handed these little cards and tiny candy hearts that tasted like chalk to girls. And your actual heart would pound! And you could steal an actual kiss behind the piano in Miss Hermerding’s class, and there were fleshy humans involved! Sure, the stakes were higher, because if it went sideways you couldn’t just make it go away by turning your goddamn phone off. Any way. Cardboard Valentines get an A+ , the rest of Young Romance fails spectacularly.
So that’s that, folks. The moral of the story is this – on Valentines Day, turn your phone off, grab a crow bar, and start breaking into vehicles. The heart is your playground at that point. Have at it!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ugly American # 13: I Am The Grape Lady

Before I get to relentlessly bitching about my relatively insignificant issues this week, I thought I’d give an update on Peter David, who actually has legitimate things to complain about but doesn’t. According to his blog, Mr. David is progressing so well that he’s being sent home a week early. The guy even went bowling (with a spotter) and scored an 87. These are good things!

This should not in any way dissuade you from heading over to Crazy 8 press and picking up some PAD novels. I just bought a print copy of Darkness of Light myself. It’s an epic fantasy adventure in the classic Peter David style, but I find myself anticipating the romantic bits between Karsen and Jepp more than I do the heavier, action plot elements. Which is weird. You know, about every four years I’m wired to lose my mind and engage in some hideously embarrassing romantic fiasco. And I’m getting close to due for that…please, please, Almighty, do not let this be the beginning of that shenanigans!

More to the point, there is also a “donate” button on David’s blog where you can give money directly to his recovery efforts via the Hero Initiative. I did that as well. If the guy has impacted your life, I urge you to consider doing that before you read another word of this.

So… with that out of the way… on to the complaining.

A couple of days ago I slipped and fell on some ice attempting to retrieve the mail. And this wasn’t the “Scooby-Doo” slipping for a half hour before awkwardly stumbling onto the pavement below. This was both legs coming straight out in front of me, parallel to the earth, as though I had just been sidewalk slammed by an invisible Godfather. (Ho Train not included) I fell relatively flat, every last ounce of breath left my body, and then my head smacked against the ground last. It was a good thing I was wearing my badass pea coat with the padded hood, because that served as having my aft shields at 12%. Without that, pretty sure I go “nighty night” in the 30 below zero wind chill for a bit, and all the king’s horses and all the kings men would have to figure out how to put that shit back together again.

As it was, I did not go strictly unconscious, but I was surprised to hear a throaty “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!” sound cut across the sky, and realized after a moment that it was me doing that. And then I thought: “Oh, that’s why the Grape Lady made those stupid noises.” And then I thought: “Why can’t I see?” Well, it was because my glasses had skittered about six feet away from my body. After a few moments of kneeling on the ground trying to catch my breath, I got up and retrieved my glasses and then thought: “This happens to Robert Griffin III about a dozen times in a three hour period every Sunday…how the hell does he survive?” Granted, he has pads and a helmet on, but still. I have more respect for Robert Griffin, and he should have absolutely no respect for me.

I’m fine, of course, other than the fact that I can’t seem to collect my mail without injuring myself. I’m glad that I have a bruise the size and shape of Ohio on my ass right now. If you can’t successfully walk across the street and back, you’re either under the age of two or a giant asshole. And I aint that young any more.

So the next day I arrest a couple of upstanding young gals, and one of them has a pit bull puppy waiting in the car outside. She’s not yet 16 years old and already got a prior felony conviction and on parole, mind you. So she knows if she gets pinched, she’s likely headed off to juvie jail. I’m not sure it ever makes sense to bring your puppy to the store when it’s below zero outside, but if you’re planning a heist, it’s extra not-smart. Well, I may be the world’s greatest bastard, but I’m not going to let an innocent get frost bite because some other jackass is a klepto. So I brought the puppy into the store, and into my office. Naturally, it whizzed all over my carpet inside of three minutes.

I save you from the torments of the tundra, and that’s how you do me, you canine ingrate??? It’s unbelievable. And that’s how my week is going.

But you know what makes me feel better? Making money on comics, baby! I pitched some ideas to Rich Johnston for his Speculator Corner, and he went with all of them and added a couple. But you know I saved some good stuff for my Monsters, right? You bet your ass, I did. So let’s get to it.

This is an interesting little sci-fi high concept project from Matt Kindt. It almost cracked my Top 10 for the year, actually. The gist of it - a writer is intrigued by an event in which an entire flight suffers inexplicable amnesia. All except one passenger, the mysteriously disappeared Mr. Lyme. As Meru digs into her story, she stumbles deeper into the web of the Mind MGMT, a kind of government psionics program designed to create and exploit candidates capable of precognition, telepathy, and mass mind control. It’s done with subtlety and craft, but that’s not where the real juice is.

As Meru gets deeper, YOU get deeper into it as well. Because in the gutters of each issue, Kindt leaves little snippets of the Mind MGMT field guide. It gives you extra depth into the story, and after awhile…. it starts talking to you. I won’t ruin it any further than that. Kindt also turned the backs of the first six issues into a giant puzzle. Once cracked, you can take the secret code to Kindt’s web site and unlock some extra video content. I wasn’t strictly impressed with what I got out of that bit, but just the idea that a comic creator would create a little easter egg hunt adds to the anticipation of the experience. The book is a cut above in most areas.

That’s not what’s caused the recent explosion in back issue prices, though. I think we can safely blame that on the news that Ridley Scott is now attached to an upcoming film project with the property. He’s a big name, of course, and after watching Prometheus I would say singularly qualified to tackle this material. Soon as that nugget hit the wire…..boom!

Issue # 1 is trading for around $50 at the moment, and sellers are getting around $150 for the complete run-to-date of seven issues. There is also a 1:5 variant cover of the first issue by Gilbert Hernandez. I don’t have a solid read on what that might be trading for currently, but surely more than the regular version?

Next time you’re at the ol’ local comic shop, I would check the racks and bins for these issues. Print runs were pretty tiny, but I was able to get some Mind MGMT from two of my local shops. It seems like the kind of thing that Strange Adventures would have ordered in some quantity. Just sayin’.

Super Deep Sleeper: Vengeance # 1
This mostly ignored little gem from Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta features the first appearance of one Miss America Chavez. If you read last week’s column, you’ll recognize that name as one of the stars of the new Young Avengers book.

No telling what kind of role Chavez will actually play in this book, or how popular she’ll be. Hell, given the current market, I’m not sure that the book survives more than 8 issues!

Young Avengers does have a good deal of buzz, though, and new characters are a rarity in the modern age. It doesn’t happen very often, and when it does, good things can happen in the back issue market. It takes about $100 to obtain a nice copy of Batman Adventures # 12 with the first Harley Quinn, New X-Men # 128 will cost you $30-$50 for that original Fantomex appearance. And have you seen the prices on Hulk # 271 these days? That’s not even Rocket Raccoon’s first appearance! And if an early appearance of a talking raccoon can land you $50 or more, I don’t think an uptick of popularity for Miss America Chavez is impossible.

This one has all the makings of a classic speculator score. The book is invisible and has a microscopic print run. It’s got a first appearance of a character primed for a spotlight. And right now it’s going to be dirt cheap if you can find it. I would consider it a no-risk investment at the $4.00 cover price, and I bet you can scare up a copy for even less than that.

Happy Hunting!