Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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I just read it today, and yeah, I loved it! I'm going to go back and pick up issue 12, a Batman teamup by the same fill-in creative team.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

The story itself (about Billy Batson's interactions with a substitute teacher) was pretty good.

Happy to be of service.

I'm reading a bunch of current monthlies, but I've also gone back and started reading Powers, by Brian Bendis and Mike Oeming. A friend gave me a bunch of trade paperbacks he wanted to unload when he was moving, and the whole first series of Powers was among them; I'd read some of the first "Retro Girl" story, but nothing else. I like it -- it's grimy and poppy and sleazy and fun. But I'm glad I'm reading it in a big chunk, rather than issue-by-issue; I like to be able to keep the whole mystery in my head, and that's tougher to do over the course of several months, rather than days.

Once I get through Forever (the last of the trades he gave me; I'm currently on The Sellouts, volume 6), I'll probably switch over to digital, buying up the subsequent collections when a sale rolls around. I expect a Jinxworld sale to be coming in the next few months, as Bendis & Co have more Jinxworld books in the works. 

I read the Powers TPBs as they came out and really enjoyed them. I'm also glad that I waited for the collections before reading them. My only criticism of the TPBs is that the artwork and text go right up to the margins, which would be fine in a periodical lying flat. The binding in the TPBs sometimes obscures what is in the center. 

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I'm reading a bunch of current monthlies, but I've also gone back and started reading Powers, by Brian Bendis and Mike Oeming. A friend gave me a bunch of trade paperbacks he wanted to unload when he was moving, and the whole first series of Powers was among them; I'd read some of the first "Retro Girl" story, but nothing else. I like it -- it's grimy and poppy and sleazy and fun. But I'm glad I'm reading it in a big chunk, rather than issue-by-issue; I like to be able to keep the whole mystery in my head, and that's tougher to do over the course of several months, rather than days.

"SILVER AGE" GREEN LANTERN

I just finished reading Green Lantern from the beginning through #75 (so far) and I thought it would be fun to compare the Silver Age "fifth week" event from 20 years ago to the comics it attempted to emulate while the real Silver Age ones are still fresh in my mind. I have long believed that it is not really possible to truly emulate an earlier style of stoytelling (although the results are sometimes worth the effort), and re-reading this issue, divorced from the others of the "event," didn't really dissuade me of that opinion.

For one thing, stories of this era were more or less complete unto themselves; even in the rare instances they were continued, each part stood alone and made sense by itself. That's not really the case here. The Silver Age event began and ended with bookended specials, with a series of individual issues in between. Whereas this particular special did recap the events of the first special, it wasn't really a satisfying story on its own. I intended to post this reaction to my "Green Lantern" discussion as a kind of interlude, but I actually think it would be more of an intrusion. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the Silver Age event itself, only that there's no mistaking this one for an actual comic of the Silver age. (No surprise there.) I have two more such "interludes" planned in the future, but I don't yet know whether I'll post them here or there.

FLASH #167 (MOPEE):

I have long wanted to read the "Mopee" story but, being a "Mopee," it didn't lean itself to being reprinted frequently. By the time Flash Omnibus got around to it (in 2018), I didn't think to read it. I consulted volume three yesterday (for #191) to supplement my "Green Lantern" discussion, and thought I'd read #167 as well before putting it back on the shelf. 

The story wasn't all that different from what I had come to expect. I have no idea what Gardner Fox had in mind when he wrote it. (Similarly, I have no idea what Bill Mantlo had in mind when he wrote Marvel Team-Up #28 in which Hercules... oh, nevermind.) I suspect it might have been an attempt to give Flash a character akin to Superman's Myxyzptlk or Batman's Bet-mite. (Why he would want to do such I thing I have no idea, but that's my working theory.) Marvel Team-Up #28 was eventually worked into continuity (after a fashion) in Thor #356, so maybe such a thing is possible with Flash #167 as well (?). 

It was published (and it wasn't dubbed an "imaginary story"), so it must have been intended to have "happened" in some form, at least initially. My first thought is that Flash did encounter some elf-like creature, but it was either delusional or lying. Why he went along with it I have no idea. Perhaps he thought doing so was the quickest means to an end. (Mopee had taken away Flash's speed in the story.) Whatever. Now that I've read it, I need never read it again. One of these days I'll do a comprehensive read of Flash as I am doing now with Green Lantern, and I'll be able to skip that story in sequence.

I'm guessing your other interludes might be the "Retro-Active" specials that covered the 70s, 80s, and 90s? I'm not sure if I have all of those, but I really did enjoy most of the ones I picked up. 

Re-read Tange nt: Superman's Reign and U.S. Avengers.

"I'm guessing your other interludes might be the "Retro-Active" specials that covered the 70s, 80s, and 90s?"

Shh... it's a secret. ;)

If I can ask, what's the current status of everybody's local comic book store?

As previously reported, mine has yet to reestablish a DC supply source since that company left Diamond and other publishers apparently are slow to get back to "normal" during the pandemic because there are weeks where barely anything comes in.

Of course the fact that the one I go to is operated by a couple of senior citizens who are seriously considering retiring and closing down if they can't find a buyer for their business doesn't help my personal situation any.

They swear they'll remain open at least to the end of the calendar year, but then we're back to the supply chain issue of the second paragraph.

I am very proud of my LCS (Titan Comics - Dallas). Since reopening, masks are requited for all customers and staff, and every customer must use hand sanitizer when entering the store. the number of customers is strictly limited, aisles are marked with directional arrows and spots are marked off from the register at six foot intervals. Checkout is covered with a shield and the credit card machine if covered with a plastic bag. Pens are single use only, then put in a cup. when the cup is full, the pens are sanitized. 

In contrast, my secondary shop (no names, please) has not made any changes whatsoever. None of the employees wear masks and they are optional for customers. I've been there twice since reopening (once to see about a Roy Thomas signing which I ended up not attending, and once to see if conditions had improved), and I won't be going back until this is all over.

Regarding DC, my LCS receives the comics on Tuesdays but holds them until Wednesday to be put out the same day as everything else. 

I'm sorry to hear about the situation in your LCS.

Both require masks, limited number of people in the store.... Although that's kind of the law here at present.

The one I most frequent (though it has become more of a gaming store, with a large comics section) is in the process of moving, however. It was supposed to be a big event at the end of the summer, but it was pushed back and de-enbiggened due to COVID.

The one I used to frequent closed some years ago.

My friendly neighborhood comics shop, Fantom Comics in Washington, DC, is alive. Thriving? No, but they're making a decent go of it.

The original owner got his real estate license and moved to the 'burbs earlier in the year, and the silent partner in the store increased his involvement so he's now the primary owner. (There are a couple of other people with minor stakes in the store. One is a previous manager who became nationally famous, got recruited by Image Comics, and now does marketing for Boom! Studios. Another is the manager who replaced her, who went to work for Midtown Comics in New York and now is an assistant editor at Penzler Publishers/The Mysterious Bookshop, a bookstore that specializes in mystery/detective/crime fiction.)

This change in ownership happened just before COVID-19 hit, after a mediocre year. I recall we regular customers got a note saying if 2019's sales were like 2016's sales, they'd be fine ... but 2019's sales were like 2018's sales, which were bad. If everybody bought one more title on a regular basis, that would be good.

Part of the reason that previous manager became nationally famous is that she tried hard to promote Fantom Comics as not just a bookstore, but as a community gathering place, and her successors have continued her efforts. Things like book clubs, autograph signings, Small Business Saturday sessions where vendors set up tables to sell stuff, even salsa dance lessons. One time, my wife and I led a discussion on the spiritual themes in Rep. John Lewis's March, and his collaborator Andrew Aydin, came by and joined in. Another time, they had a book club discussion about Black Panther, and somebody live tweeted it -- and Ta-Nehisi Coates joined the twitter thread! So they invited him to come to the store in person, and he did, twice! 

The way things are now, the store had to close for a while because of the District of Columbia's COVID-19 restrictions. Since reopening, they keep the door locked and let in only a few people at a time, they require masks, there's hand sanitizer everywhere, and they require you to ask for the key to use the restroom. They made arrangements with the taco restaurant downstairs for people to pick up their books there if they want. They also will ship stuff to you for a small fee -- a service I availed myself of last week, since I haven't been downtown in months.

And Fantom has continued to have social activities, now via Zoom, like its monthly trivia night, the book clubs, and drawing lessons with a staff member. 

When people sign up for these things, they ask for donations; like every other business, foot traffic is a fraction of what it was (and it doesn't help that the store is on the second floor of an old rowhouse, above a Subway restaurant on the ground floor and the taco joint in the basement). I'm not sure all of the people I knew who worked there are still there (partly because I don't go downtown that much any more). I know they've had their hours cut.

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