Mars Will Send No More enters its eighth year this month, and this blog’s focus has always been on comic books, art, and music. So, let’s have some music. And let’s have it loud.
In the first five months of 2019, Mars Will Send No More earned just over $200 in store credit thanks to readers who followed links to find and buy comics at MyComicShop.com. That store credit means a big bonus box of comics for me this month, and it does more than justify the endless hours I spent finding various issues and series in the store so readers can get right to what they want with a single click. It means hours of happily reading old favorites and exploring new books! So, let’s open the big box of virtually free comics and see what awesomeness awaits!
Note: Although this post celebrates the results of affiliate links, every hyperlink below leads to a previous post here on MWSNM where the books are discussed in more detail.
First up: Armadillo #2 by Jim Franklin. This off-beat 1970s underground publication by Rip Off Press cost 50 cents when it came out, and I sold my copy in VF+ condition for $50. The book is on my list of 20 All-Time Favorite Comics, and I have sorely missed it. This time around, I got a VG+ copy that was selling for about $9, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that other than some creases along the spine and a few dings on the back cover, the book is in outstanding shape. For some surrealist art featuring armadillos, see my post with images from the interior.
Next up: Wolverine #75 and Wolverine #100. Both of these feature Wolverine holograms, and #100 has Wolverine switching back and forth between his costume and his skeleton. Yes! I don’t even care much for the interiors of these books, but of all the books I sold with holograms in 2013, these are the two I regret not having on hand. I’ve posted about both these books and scanned the hologram covers, so see my posts about Wolverine #100 and about the Fatal Attractions event that features a slew of holographic X-Men covers.
Next, something I’ve wanted for a long time: replacement issues for the complete Concrete collection I used to have! I didn’t covet every issue, just the ones I loved most. Last year, thanks to another dose of store credit, I started to put the series back together. I am still missing #9 of the first 10-issue series, and Volume 2 of the Complete Short Stories, but I am looking forward to re-reading the six-issue series Think Like a Mountain, and The Human Dilemma, plus the gorgeous covers and interior art from the original series. You can view the glorious back covers and more in my post about Concrete.
The fun doesn’t end there. I have never stopped missing my complete collection of Planetary, so this time around I got the Planetary Omnibus. It’s a giant beast, with more than 850 pages, and beautifully done. Even though I know the whole story, the artwork in Planetary is just incredible to look at. This is the one I am most looking forward to devouring, and you can take a look at my posts about Planetary to see what madness and mayhem fill its pages.
Speaking of mayhem: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Once upon a time, I had a lovely reprint collection consisting of the four full-color Mirage “Graphic Novel” editions, plus 3 or 4 of the black & white “Collected Book TPB” editions, and about a dozen other single issues of the original Mirage series by creators I liked. They were fun to read and fun to own, but I was only sad about selling a few of my favorites. This time around, I got the three Michael Zulli issues that are super weird and dark, the three issues of the Return to New York story that feature a Triceraton from the earliest stories, and issue #6 of the original series, which features a fun drawing of Turtle vs. Triceraton on the cover. There are still a few Turtle goodies on my wish list, such as issue #10, but this batch will keep me in Turtle heaven for a good long while.
Completing this massive stack of comic books are the two books that collect the entire Queen of the Black Coast story as told a few years ago by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan in Dark Horse’s ongoing Conan series. I used to have a complete set of the first 51 issues of that series, plus the reprints with Frank Frazetta covers, and I considered trying to replace all of them because of how awesome they were. But I was in the mood for something new, and despite the mixed reviews I’ve read about this version of the Conan classic, Queen of the Black Coast is hands-down my favorite story from the original Robert E. Howard publications. Considering my obsession with female pirates, that should come as no surprise.
I’ll let you know what I think of the Conan story. Until then, thank you for dropping by to plunder my comic book archives, and for your generous use of my affiliate links to find books you want to buy.
Last month, one of my online friends visited Phoenix as part of a massive road trip. We basically did the same thing we do online: drink beers and shoot the shit for hours!
Connecting with online friends in a real way always make me a bit nervous, and plenty of people have stories about meeting that range from awkward to horrifying. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy positive experiences, and this one was a highlight of my month. Good conversation, good beer, and lots of laughs.
I’d never been to State 48 Brewery before, but they have a massive selection of draft beers, tasty burgers, a convenient downtown location, friendly staff, comfy chairs, and an open layout with art painted right on the walls and a huge window into their brewing operation. They will also sell you a 64-ounce growler for $6, and fill it with your beer of choice for around $12 anytime you bring it in. You just can’t drink it there, probably because of Arizona restrictions on how many ounces of beer you can legally serve a person at one time.
Mars Will Send No More is approaching the end of its eighth year, so I’ve been doing maintenance on it, clearing out dead wood and tidying up a bit. With more than 1500 posts, this garden of artistic obsessions requires pruning now and then. But I don’t mind. It’s fun to take a trip down memory lane and re-experience the ramshackle madness and mayhem upon which this blog was founded.
It’s a strange time for comic book blogs. Lloyd Wright at Diversions of the Groovy Kind is celebrating ten years of bronze-age comics blogging with nearly 3000 posts, and he’s musing on how life has changed since he started. He’s returned to writing comic books after stoking the fires of his nostalgia, and he’s a grandfather now, so he plans to post less frequently. Lloyd was a big influence on Mars in its formative days, so visit Diversions to wish him well and check out his latest original creations.
Paul O’Connor at Longbox Graveyard was an early supporter of my blogging endeavors when Mars was getting off the ground, and he’s been through changes, too. His “graveyard” has long since been been pruned and organized into a collection of his bronze-age favorites. He’s survived Californian fires, moved to Canada and returned, and is doubtlessly pondering his next conquest in the wake of leaving Twitter and putting his blog on indefinite hiatus. Drop by the Longbox to explore his entertaining collection of personal musings and generous guest blogs by fellow comic-book fans, and let him know we’d love to see him back.
Here on the distant frontiers of my Martian outpost, I’ve got no plans to abandon these virtual fortifications any time soon. We can always find something to rap about, whether it’s poetry, writing, art, food, or cats. But in honor of Lloyd and Paul and all the comic book bloggers out there, I’ll share an update about the comic book posts that have been the most popular here. Some of them overlap with my twenty-two all-time favorite comics, which you can find on the Archives Page. Some of them are from the earliest days of this blog, and others have recently rocketed to the top.
Here they are, in descending order starting from the currently most-viewed. Thank you for indulging and sharing my obsessions and joys, and stay creative.
Our Top Forty Most-Viewed Comic Book Posts
Magneto Rips out all of Wolverine’s Adamantium!
First Appearance of Spider-man’s Black Costume!
The Death of Barry Allen: Crisis on Infinite Earths 8
EC Comics & Ray Bradbury: There Will Come Soft Rains!
KISS: 1977 Marvel Comics Super Special #1
Dinosaurs of Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson!
Animal Man 5: The Coyote Gospel!
G.I. Joe 21 – The Silent Issue!
Miracleman 15: Nemesis!
Origin of Starfire!
X-Men: Fatal Attractions Wrap Around Covers With Holograms!
The Conception and Birth of Nightcrawler!
Wolverine Aces the Red Skull!
Jack Kirby’s 2001 A Space Odyssey – First Issue!
Complete Jack Kirby Portfolio from 1971!
Wolverine Aces the Hulk!
Origin of Galactus by Jack Kirby
Michael Zulli’s Ninja Turtles!
Black Cat: She’s So Totally Amoral!
Your Guide to Getting Started Selling Comic Books on eBay
All I’ve Got to Worry About Is Shooting My Dinosaur!
Jim Starlin’s Psychic Battle Motif: Thanos vs. Galactus
Jim Lee X-Men Posters 3!
A Look Inside Bruce Jones’ Run on the Incredible Hulk
Jim Lee X-Men Posters 1
Robert Crumb’s Meatball!
Todd McFarlane’s Torment of the Lizard!
Scenes from Jack Kirby’s Black Hole Adaptation!
Do You Want to Know More about the Creepy Guy at the End of Avengers?
Jim Lee X-Men Posters 2!
Anatomy of a Comic Book Bad Girl!
Origins of OMAC: Made of the Future: EC Comics
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Graphic Novel Collection by First
Preeeeeeeesenting… The Women’s Texas Championship!
Rick Griffin: Man from Utopia!
Tygers: Alan Moore’s Legendary Empire of Tears!
The Human Head According to John Buscema!
What If Spider-Man Had Stopped the Burglar?!
Wolverine Gallery 22: Jim Lee
Judge Dredd versus Satanus, the Black Tyrannosaur!
As you know, these quarterly reports are serious business, so for the love of all that’s holy, put on some decent socks.
In the past six months, your purchases at MyComicShop through the affiliate links on this site earned your humble martian moderator enough store credit to get two volumes of the Samurai Executioner Omnibus. THANK YOU, dear reader! These are books by the Lone Wolf & Cub creative team, full of poetic decapitations and deeply disturbing human behavior in Edo-period Japan.
I love omnibuses so much that I made my own this month. There will be an announcement about it here tomorrow. For now, here’s a shot of my first proof copy of the paperback edition. It’s 183,000 words, 588 pages, and weighs more than 2 pounds. It’s like heavy, man.
Hey! Wasn’t I supposed to graduate this month? Yes. But the forces of evil conspired against me, and the upside is that I have until November to turn in my final project. My sister wanted to send me a little graduation gift, which turned out to be a “sorry about the forces of evil” gift. It’s a plant that looks like an alien growing out of a Dimetrodon‘s back. Hell yeah!
It’s a lovely addition to the blogging station, especially because my venus flytrap bit the dust after I made the n00b mistake of letting its stalks grow. And yes, that’s a bloody stuffed puma in the photo, and I got him a friend this year. They read Villains of All Nations together.
Most people would think it odd that a grown-ass man takes a stuffed puma on visits to the dentist, but my dentist totally understands. He is my hero. He works on big cats like ocelots and tigers at the Phoenix Zoo, and he and his father saved the life of a jaguar that was illegally trapped in Mexico. The poor thing had tried to chew through the metal bars of its cage, damaging its teeth so badly that it couldn’t even eat. My dentist fixed up that awesome cat, and he and his staff take excellent care of me.
No, I don’t have him give pretend check-ups to my toy puma. But now that you mention it, I might ask for that next time! It would make a great photo.
Last but not least, my cell-phone pics of my old Godzilla toy got their fifteen minutes of fame this year. Some cable show about memorabilia found them and contacted me for permission to use them on an episode. No, I can’t remember the name of the show right now – This Bloody American Junkyard or something – but I signed a contract allowing them to unleash my late-night toy photos on the world. If a huge green monster destroys your city this year, I guess you know where to send the hate mail.
This is a different Godzilla toy who deserves his own gallery here someday.
Even after 12 quarters, we still receive inquiries into the nature of the cryptic phrase ‘mars will send no more.’ A page dedicated to our secret origin illuminates all.
But in another sense, Mars is our virtual garden. Or maybe a plant in our garden, grown from a digital seed. We tend it, trim it, prune it, feed it, groom it, give it love, and even worry that someday Mike Baron is going to show up and make us take down the whole thing, since he invented the phrase. It’s scary, sometimes: having a little digital pet that someone could just turn off at any time.
Blogging is like writing a book you can never touch. Paper burns, but what do pixels do? Where is the page when you turn off your machine? When we were kids, we read books about magic. When we became adults, we lived in an electric world made of it.
And you know what? We love it. Why do 7000 people drop by every month to look at 7 or 8 pages in the Martian Archives? We don’t know. We do get a kick out of being referred to by such notable sources as The Atlantic, who referenced our scans of America’s most famous comic book: The safety instructions found on every airplane! Interestingly, they don’t reference the exact post. Instead, they use a URL for our tag archives for the word airplane: https://marswillsendnomore.wordpress.com/tag/airplane/
What if we posted something new tagged with airplane? It wouldn’t matter what the post was really about, as long as it had a tag for airplane. We could post propaganda for the Martian Underground Resistance, in hopes that the Atlantic’s readers will someday join the revolution. Or, we could just leave them a greeting card with a cute cat and a cozy scarf on it.
LONG LIVE THE MARTIAN RESISTANCE!
MOUNTAIN LIONS FOREVER!
Leo was my big fluffy snuggle buddy for many years. He forgave me for trying to shave him with my electric hair trimmers. I forgave him for stealing my bacon right off the kitchen counter. Leo’s favorite comic book was the Bendis/Maleev run on Daredevil. He liked that best because he loved spending 3 or 4 solid days on the couch with me while I read the entire TPB collection cover to cover. Leo was a big kitty under all that fluff. He didn’t mind my throwing an arm over him like a big orange teddy bear to fall asleep with him.
Leo was not well the last year of his life. We knew he was living on borrowed time, but he loved to cuddle until the end. Leo died Thursday afternoon. I’m glad I got to share 14 years on this planet with him. Leo, my boy. I miss you already.
200,000. That’s a big number. Did you know scientists believe the biggest number is 45,000,000,000? Some speculate that even larger numbers exist.
Ok, maybe that’s not true. But what do we know? We only got a 100.6% in our statistics class last semester, which should be statistically impossible.
Do you remember what you did before blog technology? No, we don’t either. Something involving this weird stuff known as nature, maybe. Or this place we read about called “the outside world.”
But we have evidence life existed before blogging. At least creationists and evolutionists can all agree on that. In fact, both sides agree that the age of the universe may date back as far as 1982. In 1982, we were working on a strange technology known as paper. Paper is a substance made out of old computer printouts and egg cartons run through a wood chipper, with essential vitamins and flavors added.
Our ancestors taught us how to form primitive letters from paper using analog cut-and-paste technology called scissors. The ancient ones hoped we would use this technology for the good of all humankind. We decided that was a dumb idea. Instead, we cut out the names of superheroes and comic books.
Thank you for dropping by and reading comic books with us!
It’s a strange hobby, but someone’s got to do it. We have many more fun things to explore and share with you. So, put on your bathrobe, quit your day job, and click away!
It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating 100,000 page views. Actually, it was 2 months ago! Grab a beer and treat yourself, Martians! Thank you for dropping by and reading comic books with us. It’s always a pleasure when your space capsule docks at our mothership. Keep it cosmic, mutate yourself often, and watch out for rampaging dinosaurs!