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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:39 pm
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From: John Packer
Date: Thu Nov 3, 2005 5:37 am

One thing, I'd like to add. If I had the money, and Archie was willing to sell. I'd buy those characters from them.

John Packer
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:40 pm
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From: Frank D'Urso
Date: Thu Nov 3, 2005 8:54 am

People;

The issue here is WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Isn't that the THEME of comic
books that kept you reading every month?

I think Archie Comics is on the right track in regars to their MLJ
characters....the Bruce Timm style and fun adventure stories as had most
recently appeared in the former ARCHIE'S WEIRD MYSTERIES....

GOOD stories and art CAN carry the day, who would have thought the
INCREDIBLES would have been a big hit (before they heard of saw anything
about it).....ARCHIE COMICS can have adventure heroes again, there was
recently a resolicitation for Archie Super heroes again in previews, but
it was teh Archie Gang stuff I already have....

MAYBE they collect their stories and publish them once a year, maybe
that builds up an audience, maybe quarterly?

John Byrne drawing a cover and/or a story would be a big seller.

Mike DeCarlo, Joe Staton PLUS their regular Archie staff.....would make
a great team.

Previous versions (MLJ, RADIO, RED CIRCLE, !MPACT, ARCHIE ADVENTURE)
were all FINE for their times, now just lets get these chcracters back
in print, keep teh presses rolling, keep the artists drawing and teh
writers writing....with QUALITY there will come SALES....as long as the
STORIES remain oriented towards 8 - 9 year olds who will be the future : )

If teh PUNISHER can guest star with Archie then ALL THINGS are possible : )

Frank "like the JLU" D'Urso
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:41 pm
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From: John Packer
Date: Thu Nov 3, 2005 1:30 pm

This is fine, IF, that's the audience they want to reach, however, the storiesstill need to be quality, and I would say that they should use the cartoony style that they used in AWM. And, I have no problem with reading these, if they do it. I enjoyed the Super Teens. Actually, this is what Archie does best. If they go at it wholeheartedly this way, I think they can make it work, though they will probably not get much of the die-hard super hero comic readers. But, if they can capture the bulk of their Archie readership, then it may be well worth it for them. (This might even spill over for them to do Mighty Crusader cartoons.)

If they are going to do a serious superhero comic, that is a totally different story, and they need to make sure they market it right, as well as have quality. If stories that appeal to both adults and children can be done, and still be interesting. What, about us? We (many of us if not all) grew up during the 60s, 70s, 80s. Marvel comics back then weren't overly simplfied, nor were DC. We were kids reading these comics, some of which had soap opera elements, some with sophisticated Science Fiction themes, etc. Who were the readers of comic books in the 40s? Wertham didn't write Seduction of the Innocent because adults were the primary readers. I'm sure there may have been some older readers, but (I don't know if there are any research statistics) I believe, most of the readers were kids.
Of course you had Fawcett's Captain Marvel, which was done in a simpler vein. However, I enjoy those tales as well. Mainly, it depends on how you put it across. If it's quality, and you market it right, it'll work. Of course, you can't please everyone.

John Packer
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:42 pm
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From: John Packer
Date: Thu Nov 3, 2005 2:05 pm

Note: There was a typo (ommisssion) in the previous post.
How it read: If stories that appeal to both adults and children can be done, and still be interesting.
It should have read: I believe stories that appeal to both adults and children can be done, and still be interesting.
Sorry if there was any confusion.
John Packer
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:43 pm
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From: Frank D'Urso
Date: Fri Nov 4, 2005 7:46 am

"I enjoyed the Super Teens. Actually, this is what Archie does best."

Exactly my point!!! Thank you. They should take what they do best and
use their superhero characters to tell good stories.

Frank "spelling and grammar on the internet?" D'Urso
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:46 pm
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From: Phil Latter
Date: Fri Nov 4, 2005 6:06 pm

John,

Respectfuly stated, you said that the primary readers of the Golden Age comics were kids, not adults. Sorry, I disagree.

As, there were also millions of men ---yes, millions, not hundreds of thousands (and women, too for that matter, though not in combat roles, although my mother was a British Wren on the aircraft carrier H.M.S. Invincible) --- in uniform in the Armed Forces of The United States and other countries including Canada and Britain, etcetera, fighting against the Axis Powers, who read tons of comic books, and passed them on to tons more of their buddies, once they read them. Millions of comic books went overseas with them.

This is all very well documented. And therefore, almost certainly, these titles, almost certainly, included patriotic titles like Captain America and The Shield, etc,etc,etc.

My dad was an electician and torpedoman in the Canadian Navy with the Allies. He wasn't into comics themselves, (they weren't his thing), but he's mentioned, years ago, when I asked him, that there were lots of U.S. comic books on Canadian warships in World War two.

U.S. comic books were actually BANNED in Canada at the time (a long story), but they would, nonetheless, come over in "Razzes" (delivery of foodstuffs, books, supplies) between ships in the ALLIES of various countries, steaming together /-sailing at sea; they'd shoot over a harpoon-like cable with a soft ball on the end, between ships, secure it, and then, send large shipments of food, other supplies, mail, periodicals, newspaper, and yes, even comic books, over in boxes and crates, all roped in, on pulleys.
There were some comics in them, too.

In World War Two, probably more adults read comic books than at any other time.
Because, don't forget, print runs of innumerable golden age comic book titles was in the millions, unlike later, when print runs were in the hundreds of thousands. And these days, various titles are only in the tens of thousands.

And they were inexpensive (cheap), with huge page counts, so you got your money's worth, unlike today.

Escapist literature is very popular, when you are at war, and may lose your life.

It's not (only) inflation that makes the price of a comic book these days several dollars for one. It's also those low print runs. The less copies you turn out, the more you have to charge $$$ for them, to make it still viable.

These days, yes, probably most comics are read by adults, not kids. Kids these days are into movies, music, video games. Not a quick read for several dollars for just one comic that captures their attention for five minutes. No wonder some theorize that is a dying industry.

Warm Wishes,

Phil Latter
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:53 pm
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From: "Donald Bearden"
Date: Fri Nov 4, 2005 7:59 pm

Excuse me, Gentlemen, but may I make a point or two in this discussion?

To begin with, Phil is absolutely right about the readers of comic books in World War II. Sure, us kids back home read them, but so did our dads in the trenches ducking mortar shells, snipers and hand grenades as well as all the other stuff thrown at them. They read them whenever and wherever they could get them and they weren't particular. The read Walt Disney and they read Super-Hero alike. Our mothers read them too, whether they were in the military or at home. In almost any home in my area, you might see a mother reading a comic book for her own pleasure. In those days, the mothers knew what the kids were reading because they would pick a comic book off the floor and quite often read them before putting them down. After the war, the returning men felt they had too much to do to get things going again to read those "Comic" books. Somehow, at least in the US, after the end of the war it became a sign of immaturity to read comic books. If an older admitted to reading comic books, he was laughed at. Comic books became "Junk" reading and dropped into disrespect. Few adults from that era will actually admit that they ever read comic books, but they know who various comic book heroes are and you might be surprised how much they know about them.

With adults no longer reading comics, sales dropped off and the companies tried new ideas to capture readers. The various "horror" comics, westerns, crime comics, and even War comics tried to recapture the audience that had returned as victors without a need to escape from their own hells into the world of Superman or Sub-Mariner. By 1956, almost all Super-Hero features were gone. The only surviving characters from the war years were Superman, Batman, Green Arrow , Aquaman, Congo Bill, Wonder Woman and an occasional appearance by a few others. What had been Timely Marvel was publishing a bunch of so-called horror books with short monster stories and a few actual emotional stories. They also had a few Westerns. DC had gone mostly to science fiction, war, romance, funny animal, and stories of the above mentions super-heroes, but in the September-October issue of Showcase they introduced the second Flash trying to jump-start the industry again. They had also introduced J'onn J"onzz in the November 1954 issues of Detective Comics. It was slow moving, but finally the introduction of the Justice League of America in the Summer of 1960 started the move that was to restart the industry. Other companies tried new heroes for a few issues during the "dead years" -- Companies like Radio Comics with The Fly, Lancelot Strong, and The Jaguar. Best known for Archie comics, they still tried to work with 6-9 page stories that gave no real room for development. They tried, but in the 1960s they were back to doing Archie style books. Too bad, too! The Fly had lots of potential, but the writers they hired didn't know what to do with him. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby had left early and the replacements left much to be replaced.

It wasn't until the 1980s that the revivals of the Radio characters (and MLJ as it had been known in the 1940s) actually had people that wanted to develop and make the characters such that people would read them. The managed to get Radio (now called Archie Comics Group) to allow them to start an imprint called Red Circle. These were a class group of comics, but their distribution was primarily to the Comic Shop trade and dealers weren't really into risking too much. Many Comic Shops got in 10 to 12 copies of the Red Circle books but didn't push them. Within a year or a little more, the publisher dropped the Red Circle imprint and moved the Super-Heroes under the Archie Adventure Comics label and made the books look like Archie products. Disaster followed. I believe that if Red Circle had continued separate and had decent distribution and advertising, they might have succeeded.

Of course, by then prices had begun rising regularly and quality dropping in comic books. In my personal opinion, most of the modern comics are not even on a level with those of the late 1950s and early 1960s, much less worth 300-800 per cent more

Thank you for allowing me to voice some opinion.

Don Bearden aka Don the Elder.
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:54 pm
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From: Phil Latter
Date: Sat Nov 5, 2005 8:40 am

Don, my friend,

It's an Open Forum, and you (and everyone else) are always welcome to jump in and share your thoughts and insights.

I'll just add a few minor points in. Red Circle Comics started actually in the 1970's, producing mild horror and suspense type comic book titles, such as Sorcery, which later became Chilling Tales of Sorcery, and there were other titles as well. I have quite a few of them.

One of those issues of Sorcery cover-featured (and inside) a Green Hornet clone, looked very much like him, called The Cobra. But he was a villain.
The art was by the incomparable Gray Morrow. Green Hornet fans should seek that issue out.

The Red Circle superhero line (Mighty Crusaders, The Fly, The Sheild, etc,etc.) came later.

That's all I'm adding, because, as far as I'm concerned, you're Bang On on many, many points.

I can tell that John Packer, you, in addition to myself very much enjoy these discussions.

Best,

Phil Latter
Halifax
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:55 pm
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From: Frank Motler
Date: Sat Nov 5, 2005 8:51 am

Dear Phil & all,
Just happen to have these books out, at the moment.

The list (far as I know) is:-
Chilling Advs In Sorcery #3-5 (#1-2 are earlier & humour)
Madhouse #95-97
Red Circle Sorcery #6-11
Super Cops #1

As you say, loaded with Gray Morrow art/ covers & highly recommended here, also
regards, frank m.
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:56 pm
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From: Robert Pincombe
Date: Sat Nov 5, 2005 8:59 am

Wasn't Gray Morrow the de facto editor of that line? He was charged
with creating if I remember but Archie didn't give the company enough
time to build.

Robert
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Post Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:57 pm
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From: CArchivist
Date: Sat Nov 5, 2005 1:27 pm

In a message dated 11/5/05 2:13:57 PM, ,!-- e -->, ,="mailto:canadiancomics@yahoogroups.com">canadiancomics@yahoogroups.com,!-- e --> writes:

"With adults no longer reading comics, sales dropped off and the companies tried new ideas to capture readers. The various "horror" comics, westerns, crime comics, and even War comics tried to recapture the audience that had returned as victors without a need to escape from their own hells into the world of Superman or Sub-Mariner. "


Actually it was the reverse. Because there was still a huge older audience still reading comics post-war, it was then that publishers began to create material in different genre's. Lev Gleason claimed his research on his crime titles yielded a mostly older audience. The main reason the different genre's came in was because ex-GI's demanded more older material (hardened after a bloddy war, they weren't interested in Andy Hardy fantasies). This same period saw the rise of Crime, War, Romance, and Horror genre's as the dominate sales force in comics after funny animals. This was also reflected in other medias--and thus came Film Noir in the movies, older themes in the paperback industry (with their "lurid" covers), biker clubs, beat movement, Playboy, Irving Klaw fetish work, crime and mystery dramas on the radio, and major changes in both Jazz and the Blues. The sedate post-war times really didn't kick in until well into the 1950s when much of the worse excesses of the immediate post war era had worked itself out. (well you can argue it never really went away, just morphed into the teenage sub-culture and Rock N Roll and violence concerns on TV)

We should always remember comic books do not operate in a vacuum and one should always be aware of trends going on in the general public too.

my best
-Ray
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