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Monday, May 10, 2004

Some minor observations. 

Observation the First: The other day I'm at a restaurant and I hear, in the booth behind me, a couple of kids of about 8 years old talking about Captain America and how badass his shield is. I smiled, and then a thought came to me.

How the hell do these kids know who Captain America is? There's no TV show, no movie tie-in, no Captain America books aimed anywhere even remotely at people under the age of 16, so... how did they know? What's reaching these kids and telling them about old Marvel stand-bys that are largely no longer marketed at them?

Observation the Second: I'm at Half-Price Books yesterday, because it's the most glorious place on earth, and I head on over to the smallish comic book/graphic novel section. What do I see? A mother and her two daughters, scouring the sizable collection of manga there, picking up stacks. The mother wasn't actively participating, but she was there, watching her kids, and everyone was having a good time.

I have never, ever seen that in a DM store. Granted, the two daughters and mother were of indeterminate Asian origin, so they have a bit more cultural knowledge of the existence of manga, but damn. What the hell are we missing, here?

Observation the Third: I dug up some old EC Comics reprints that I bought back when I was a kid, maybe 12-14 years ago. Who's this Russ Cochran guy, and how did he manage to get the rights to reprint all this stuff?

These books are what got me into comics way back when. I loved horror stories, loved the lurid art and the wicked plot twists, and they set off the spark of comic interest in a young boy that DC and Marvel quite frankly failed to maintain, until I came across The Dark Knight Returns back in 2001.

I was a kid who took his allowance down to the local (tiny) bookstore once a week shopping for comics. I had no idea what titles were out there, so I always browsed randomly. I had no concept of when comics came out (Wednesdays), and as I was doing this on my own, I never had anyone to clarify. DC and Marvel's release schedule thusly seemed pretty scattershot and uncertain, and 30 days is a long, long time for a little kid to wait for the next issue of something that gets read in 10 minutes. So I lost interest in a lot of monthly titles pretty fast, because it seemed like a shitload of work for me just so I could get stuff that, even to my young mind, wasn't really all that good. (This was around the release of the 2099 line at Marvel, if that gives you some context.)

These EC reprints got it right, though. On the back cover of every issue of Vault, Tales, and Haunt were four cover images, two by two, of upcoming titles... and the dates they were coming out splashed right across each. None of these covers have wordy splashes of dialogue of text to tell you what each issue is, just one stark, intriguing image and the three bubbles on the left showing you the narrators of the tales.

Point being, I knew when the next issue came out, and I had enough of a tantalizer to be looking forward to it.

Whatever happened to these reprints, anyway?

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