Welcome to the House of Misery!!!
Thanks to ace designer Matt Arnold for the logo (originally designed for my CBSI shop, can't believe I ever had the amount of time all that required and thanks to everyone who took part in that experiment).
Hi everyone! Remember me? I have been meaning to come back to the site as an active writer for a while now, and this seems as good a time as any. It's not that I actually have the time now, but I am willing to lose a couple of hours of sleep every week in order to be able to write about comics, because I just love them. No matter how good or bad the current state of the industry is, there are millions of these things out there and there's always an unheard comic that deserves some spotlight.
Don't expect me to talk about movie spec or stuff like that (we already got the best people writing about that on this site), I will just go through stuff I am buying and think they are underrated. Now, if you do remember me, you are probably thinking Do we really need more Mandrake and gorillas articles? and the answer is Of course we do … but it will not be that kind of column. To get it out of my system, here's Lothar fighting a gorilla called Gombo:
Again, not planning to go completely niche with this, in the coming weeks I will be talking about Vampirella, the (new) Fantastic Four, silver age Batman, Mickey Spillane, Giant Days and even Chaos! comics … So rest assured that I will try to make it interesting for everyone.
I hope you guys enjoy it and participate with your own recommendations, because it's just impossible to know all the comics ever and the community is a great resource in finding out about stuff you like. So, without further ado (right!) …
I would like to start this column by talking about Artgerm … Why? Because he's possibly the best cover artist out there right now, his covers move books like crazy and he seems to keep getting better … but, most importantly of all, because it's almost been 5 years since we published the first version of his checklist, which also was the first article ever posted on the site. Almost five years!!! Hope you are preparing something special for Feb 6th 2020, Ben 😀
As you probably know, we have a different checklist system now (available at https://checklists.comicbookinvest.com), where you will find the (more or less) up to date cover checklist for Artgerm (among others). If there are some comics missing, please feel free to comment on this very article and I will update it. I think it's a great resource for the community and we want it to keep growing.
Anyway, all this talk about checklists to say that in the process of trying to get the checklist to be as accurate as possible, I often discover covers people don't seem to talk much about …
Heavy Metal Magazine
So everybody knows about this one:
It's actually a pretty good book, with some pin-ups by Artgerm inside and generally great looking art from his pals over at Imaginary Friends Studios. Apparently this sells for a bit of cash, but you can get it from the Heavy Metal website at a very reasonable price (less than cover). That's how I got mine and while I write this, there are still some left. Good luck!
What people might not have heard of is that Heavy Metal put out a limited edition Artgerm variant of this issue for SDCC:
I have never seen a copy of this, but I assume (based on the amount of sites with the announcement) it exists and a few lucky people have it.
Another one I have never seen is the Heavy Metal 35th Anniversary special:
I found this image on Artgerm's deviantart account (dated December 2012), where he specifically points out this got cancelled, but some sites have this illustration as one of the variant covers for the May 2012 issue, complete with trade dress:
All of the covers were tributes to the first issue of the magazine, which makes me think it ended up coming out. I mean, some of the other variants listed in the same sites can actually be found on eBay, just not this one. Here's that Heavy Metal #1 cover, by the way:
Those Dynamite people, man, they sure know how to milk a cow, don't they? I personally try not to support that kind of behavior but apparently Vampirella AND (new) Artgerm is the kind of combination I can't say no to.
How many variations of the same art do I need? If it's as good as the cover for #2, as many as I can put my hands on:
From left to right, top to bottom, my Vampirella #2 Artgerm collection: Vampirella #1 Sneak Peek, Vampirella #1 Sneak Peek Virgin, Vampirella #2, Vampirella #2 Virgin (the one where you pay Dynamite to have a more exclusive version, it's not your retailer's greed), Vampirella #2 1:50 Noir Virgin (the one where you pay your retailer to have a more exclusive version) and Vampirella #2 Artgerm Collectibles Foil Edition (the one where the artist realizes he wants some of your money too).
Originally there was also a Blood Moon variant that Dynamite asked $300 for, but that's just too much (for me). I said originally, because I think they are going to put out another set of this art by adding trade dress to some of the virgins and other improbable modifications to keep squeezing this lemon. Good for them, but I am done.
There were conflicted feelings of disappointment and relief when the cover to #4 was announced as it's just a rehashing of some art he did for a print back in 2015:
I remember when this came out and thought the art was good, but it doesn't hold a candle to the art for #2. As I mentioned above, Artgerm keeps getting better … it's insane! Anyway, I got the main cover and that's it.
Which brings to the cover to #6 … In case you forgot what it looks like (how could you?):
I have already pre-ordered the acetate regular, the virgin and the charcoal versions. Hopefully that will be all, but the message I am sending to Dynamite is clear, and I am not proud of it. They know that if they keep putting out Artgerm covers, I (and thousands) will keep buying them. Is it a responsible way to buy comics? Probably not, but it is at least a comic written by Christopher Priest, so the quality will be there and it's not like I plan to pay for my kid's education with the money I make from them. I just like them as objects … and I understand that this last statement open another can of worms, but at this point in my life I have come to terms with the fact that my love for comics comes with a passion for the stories and the art working together to create something exciting, but also with a (healthy?) dose of collector's obsession (always within the limits of reason). Am I going too far? Did you also fall into Dynamite's Artgerm-trap?
In any case, thanks for reading and I hope you will join me next week for some other crazy stuff I have been obsessing about for no good reason!!!