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Bad Weekend - signed bookplate version

I've got a few items of interest this time out, but up first, I wanted to point out that today is the final day to let your comics retailer know if you want a copy of the Bad Weekend hardback that comes with a bookplate signed by the entire creative team. 

Sean and Jake Phillips spent a week in the LA area with me recently - something that rarely happens - and we spent a lot of time signing thousands of these. They're meant to be affixed to the inside of the endpapers (they're on high end sticker paper).  

As I mentioned before, this hardback is the expanded version, with 8 pages of added scenes. Here's a sample from one of them... 

We did one of these bookplates For MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES and these disappeared right away, and they were just signed by me, not the whole team, so if you want one today is the day to let your retailer know - call or email them.

And that JUNKIES hardback is sold out at the distribution level now, I should mention. Amazon still has some copies available, and local shops will still have a few on shelves, but if you're looking to get that in hardback, it's going to be hard to find soon. 

We'll be releasing a softback edition in November. 


The issues that Bad Weekend was serialized in, CRIMINAL #s 2 and 3, are both going back to print, too, as demand for the single issues keeps growing. The new printings have a different logo color, like this... 

Issue 5 comes out next Wednesday, and begins the longest CRIMINAL story we've ever done. 
I mentioned in the last newsletter that I'd been hearing from a lot of readers having trouble finding the issues. A lot of first day sellouts at comic shops, from the sound of it. So for issue 5, we decided to do a huge overship. Every comic shop is getting 50% more than they ordered this time - at no additional cost - so I'm hoping this will help all of you find the book easier, and help shops expand their readership on the series. 

If you're one of those readers who's been looking for the single issues but not finding them, this is a perfect jumping on point. As always, every CRIMINAL story is its own thing, so you can start here even if you've never read any of the previous books. 
And if you aren't sick of hearing about CRIMINAL yet... 
The new issue of PANELxPANEL features a long interview with me and Sean and Jacob, and a bunch of articles and essays about our books. It's really in-depth, covering our work from a lot of different angles. 

You can get the issue here
I was a big fan of FILMSTRUCK, which went under last year, so I want as many of you as possible to join me in supporting THE CRITERION CHANNEL. The world needs more of the curated love of film this place provides, so if that is your thing, go subscribe. 
My friend Kieron Gillen is just wrapping up a great run on PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT that is the most meta-sequel to Watchmen ever. It manages to both comment on Watchmen and all the comics that came after it, at the same time... And issue 4 was a pitch-perfect tribute to one of my all-time favorite cartoonists, Eddie Campbell, specifically, his ALEC book: The King Canute Crowd. 
And even while doing that, manages to be about Watchmen. 
If Watchmen was meant to be the last word on dark superheroes (30 years ago) then Gillen and Wijngaard's run on THUNDERBOLT is the last word on Watchmen, or god knows it should be. 

And as a plus, that issue made me go out and buy a copy of Eddie Campbell's complete ALEC collection, which you can find here, if your local shop doesn't have one. 
The stories in this book are funny and sad and true and cover Eddie Campbell's life from the late-70s through to just a few years back. One of the best autobiographical works in the history of comics. 

And speaking of comics... 
Like a lot of my generation of comics fans and creators, my self-education in comics as an art form was wide and varied, but has a lot of empty spots, I’m well-aware, especially on the newspaper strip side. I grew up in the 70s and 80s, when there weren’t as many comics to be aware of, which probably helped, but from the first time I saw a comic book, I pretty much lived and breathed them, and so I explored outside superhero comics (which were my first comics love) early and often.
Now there are comics colleges and courses on the history of the medium taught all over the place, but I feel like the kind of lo-fi self-education my generation of fans were forced to resort to to feed their comics habit was a big part of what made me love comics and want to be part of it. The hunt, the learning, the discoveries, were all part of the joy. So I thought I’d chart as much of that course as I can remember, the good the bad the ugly, and what I learned from them, if I did. This will be bit of a memoir and a bit of comics education, told in small chapters in these newsletters (and probably not every time, honestly)… So I hope you enjoy history lessons.


The next two comics to have a deep impression on me is an odd one. My memory of these is that I read them before other comics that I recall, but when I looked at the dates, they came out years apart, so there must have been other comics in between them that I read, some of which I'll write about next time. 

But for some reason, these two comics have always been connected in my mind. Maybe because they were both written by Gerry Conway? Was I, at age 5 or 6, already following the names in the credits box? Marvel did give them all funny nicknames, so maybe (funny when you're six, at least). 

Anyway, the first one I recall must have been from the big box of comics my dad brought home. Astonishing Tales #8.
I have no memory whatsoever of the Ka-Zar story in this issue, but the Dr Doom story really made an impression. It's by Conway and drawn by Gene Colan, and it's a dark and depressing tale about Von Doom trying to save his mother's soul from hell - or Marvel Comics version of it. 
The idea of a guy I thought of as a villain having this tragic past, and this suffering, this yearly quest to save his mother in a battle with demons and magic... that was something more out a horror movie than a superhero comic, and I think it might have made me start liking the bad guys more. 
The entire story is up on this blog here, if you want to read it. I was haunted by the ending, and in my memory is was much different than what is on the page. I remembered wide dungeon hallways full of shadows and the sweeping cloak, as Doom walked away. What is here is that, but more compressed.
Still, Gene Colan's moody work had an early impression, and I was glad to get to write his final comic, not long before he passed away. It was an honor to work with him, and he was a great guy. He'd call me up and talk about old movies and going to the theater in New York, and his dogs. 

The other comic is one I read over and over again, along with the four or five issues that came after it, and I vividly remember being bummed out when I had to sell it at the garage sale when we moved away from Gitmo. 
That's right - the story of Gwen Stacy's clone coming back. Before I knew who Gwen Stacy was, I knew she was dead, and that she was cloned and came back to haunt Spider-Man. This is probably where I first learned what cloning was - just like I later learned about multiverse theory from WHAT IF. 

But what stuck with me the most from this, and the pages that still come back to me when I think about this issue is two moments. The moment when Aunt May sees the clone Gwen on the street... 
That is a great piece of storytelling from Ross Andru. I knew immediately that whoever that girl in the shadows was, Peter was heartbroken over her... I didn't know yet she was dead. But by the end... 
I was pretty much hooked forever and had to know everything about who this Gwen Stacy was. I think that sense of heartbreak in Peter Parker is part of why Spider-Man became one of my favorite books growing up. Even at the best of times, when he's winning and falling in love, tragedy was always waiting in the wings to fuck up his life. 

Both of these comics are about being haunted, too, I notice, which is something I write about a lot. I feel like I do it because I myself am haunted by things from the past, but I notice that a lot of the fiction I like is about that same thing... so among the universal themes, I seem to be most-attuned to "man versus the past" apparently. 

(these pages from this part are all copyright by Marvel Comics, obviously). 

Okay, that's it for this time out. I'll have more crime news next time. 

Send questions and comments to: and I'll see you next month. 
Copyright © 2019 Basement Gang Inc., All rights reserved.

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