Wizard Rewind August 1993
Welcome back for another edition of Wizard Rewind. Each month, I want to take a look back at a random issue of Wizard Magazine. So, let’s review what was being talked about and what was Hot all those years ago. And maybe for fun update a little Casting Call or even create one from scratch, while we are at it. But specifically, let’s review the Wizard Top 10 to see how those books are doing today. To better understand the market, we should have some idea of our history.
With that in mind, before I dive into the Top 10 from August 1993, let me set the stage and bring you back on a trip to 26 years ago. So, let’s all go back in the day…
Ok, so let’s turn back the clock to August 1993. This is a long stretch of time going back 26 years, as the market was a much different place all those years ago. Folks talk about books being over printed when they hit 100k+. But to put that in perspective, Batman #500 was being released in August 1993 and there are estimates that it had a print run well in excess of 1.5 million. Yes, you read that correctly.
So, what was going on in the world back in ’93 apart from me getting ready for my sophomore year of high school? Nolan Ryan earns his 324th & final victory, the Eiffel Tower has its 150,000,000 millionth visitor, and NASA loses radio contact with the Mars Observer orbiter 3 days before the spacecraft is scheduled to enter orbit around Mars.
Topping the Billboard charts through all of August ’93 was UB40’s Can't Help Falling In Love. I know you all remember that song. It’s in your head now isn’t it?
But how many of you remember it was from a movie? And that movie was Sliver; with Sharon Stone, Jake Taylor, and the other Baldwin. No not the chubbier one, that’s Daniel. And not Stephen, he was in Bio Dome. And no, not Adam Baldwin. He isn’t even related to them. This had the other one, Billy. The one who always seems to be doing a Robert De Niro impersonation. You know, he was the one in Fair Game with Cindy Crawford.
But Sliver was already out in May, so it isn’t part of our look back. No, the August releases were typically stuff that theaters didn’t fully believe in to debut earlier in the summer. They were also movies that didn’t quite fit the more Oscar bait type fare that comes in the fall either.
But the summer box office of 1993 wasn’t done quite yet, as they released a bonafide hit with Harrison Ford’s The Fugitive. Also sneaking into theaters was Robert Townsend’s Meteor Man, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (yeah sure, final), and a personal fave, Searching For Bobby Fischer.
I don’t know why I like it. I just do. I mean it’s a movie about a kid playing chess. I don’t even particularly like chess all that much. But that said, anytime it’s on I gotta watch it.
But the real gem released in August was John Woo’s 1st American feature, Hard Target with JCVD. Where to begin with this movie? Was it as good as John Woo’s last directorial effort before coming to the U.S., Hard Boiled? Obviously not. That film was awesome, and if you haven’t seen that one, get on it.
But this movie had its charms. It had the vintage John Woo ballet-like action that unfolded in slow motion. I don’t believe it had doves, but it did have Van Damme punching a snake, Lance Henriksen just being awesome with his elephant gun pistol, the Mummy guy just being sadistic with ears, and Wilfred Brimley with the best Cajun accent ever while being a certified bow-wielding, horse riding bad@$$ as shown above. And in case you thought I was being facetious, here’s the snake punch.
He wasn’t even remotely close to hitting that fake snake either. Seriously though, the action, while ridiculous, was still a sight to behold. It really was. And if the below doesn’t inspire you to check this movie out, then you just don’t get 90’s action movies.
Over on the small screen there isn’t much to speak of. You know it was the Summer ‘93, when 60 Minutes is atop the charts most of the month followed by Reruns of Home Improvement, Seinfeld, Coach, and Roseanne.
But some highlights on TV were The Shockmaster botching his WCW debut at Clash of the Champions XXIV by tripping and losing his mask while crashing face first through a wall on Ric Flair's interview segment “A Flair for the Gold”.
Late Show with David Letterman premiered on CBS, with guests Bill Murray and musical guest Billy Joel.
But most of you will probably remember this month as the premier of The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on Fox Kids. I say most of you, because this was after my time. Too old to get into this Battle of the Planets/Voltron rip off.
But my little brother was really into it, so I remember hunting the toys stores with my dad. These were the days before anyone could just order a case on the internet and have stuff delivered to the house in 2 days or less. We had to hit the pavement, check those shelves, get to the store before they opened.
Ok, now that we rewound your mindset back to 1993 when you were wearing your plaid shirts tied around your waist, with your acid washed mom jeans, and Carhartt jackets and let’s look back at this month’s Wizard.
Before we wrap up this month’s look back, let’s dive into a couple more excerpts from this issue. Apart from the Top 10 list, Wizard also offered a lot of other features. This issue had a spotlight on Azrael, a feature on Jim Shooter and the birth of Defiant, an interview with Peter David of taking over Aquaman and leaving X-Factor, and a story on Jim Starlin. This issue in particular also had a preview on the new Malibu Comics universe.
Remember these guys? Granted much of the universe seemed at first glance to be knockoffs of existing characters. But they had their charms.
They had their Superman/Captain America type hybrid, a Shazam like kid who becomes a hero, and their own super team up JLA/Avengers.
These were followed up by an Iron Man type, a Batman, and a Punisher to name a few. This was an interesting universe with plenty more familiar archetypes. I jest, but this was actually one of the better thought out independent comic universes.
Moving on, let’s take a look back on this month’s Comic Watch and the Wizard Picks From the Hat. Comic Watch were back issues Wizard was highlighting that month, while Picks From the Hat was a list of new releases that they felt might have some legs.
So, in all honesty, none of these picks would have really paid off 26 years later. But that has a lot to do with print runs. People think speculator is a dirty word, and in the 90’s it was because some people thought this over printed nonsense would be their kid’s college education.
A lot of people like to make a correlation to today’s market, but they are really not the same animal. Big discrepancy between the print runs aside, this isn’t really an apples to apples comparison. The world is a completely different place with the internet and social media we have today. Variant covers are not the same as the gimmicks of the 90’s.
Will most of these variants be worthless in a decade? Probably, but to be fair, so will 90% of the regular issues on the shelves as well. So, it’s all relative in my opinion.
That said, this was another issue that was before they began a Casting Call feature. So, I decided to cherry pick the feature from this issue of Wizard that I felt offered me the most interesting Casting Call Challenge. So, I went with the cover feature spotlighting Azrael and Knightfall.
I realize we are getting a new Batman, and despite all of the complaints, I am more than willing to give Robert Pattinson a chance. In fact, I am very optimistic. That said, he’s too young for my Knightfall movie. This Batman needs to be aged, more in line with Batfleck. So, I have to recast.
My movie would put Batman through the ringer. I mean that was the storyline after all. Bane set it up so Batman was completely spent after facing all of his rogues gallery before he finally stepped in to break him. So, I want this movie helmed by Chad Stahelski. I want John Wick level pacing through the action as Bats is running on fumes by the time Bane gets a hold of him.
Only problem is that this is something that probably should cover a trilogy of movies. One movie isn’t enough.
So once again, just for fun, let me give it a try and see what I can come up with to cast this movie today. With that, this is my pitch to cast a Batman: Knightfall movie (or trilogy) made today without any regard to logic, budget, or star power.
I could keep going on and on with Batman’s Rogue’s gallery on this one, but I gotta draw the line somewhere and save a little for another time. I mean I didn’t even get some of the biggie’s like Penguin, Two-Face, or Poison Ivy. But I think this is a good start on a Knightfall trilogy.
We start in with the breakouts and maybe end with Bane breaking Batman’s back in movie #1. Episode 2, we get into Jean Paul Valley’s Batman and focus in on our other Robin’s while a broken Bruce Wayne fights his way through his recovery. And then we wrap up the trilogy with Batman taking back Gotham from JPV’s Az-Bats.
Ok so that’s another month in the books. Hopefully, you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoy looking back to the past. Thanks for your time for those that made it this far, and once again, I leave you with these familiar words of wisdom.
“If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.” ― Terry Pratchett
**Graded sale data sourced from Gocollect.com**