Posts Tagged ‘Comic Book History’

Go Support “Sequential Crush Presents How to Go Steady” On Kickstarter!

June 27, 2016

howtogosteady

I don’t post about a lot of comic book Kickstarter projects here because there’s always a billion of them going on, many of which look fun or intriguing for one reason or another. But every so often there’s a project that I think everyone should get behind, and today that project is Sequential Crush Presents How to Go Steady by Jacque Nodell, with art by Jenny Cimino. The book is a how-to guide for love and dating based on romance comic books from the 1960s and 1970s, and it looks fantastic.

Romance comics are often overlooked by comic fans these days. When we think of the history of the medium, we often just focus on superheroes, or the brief crime/horror surge of the early 1950s, but romance comics were a big deal for a long time. They first debuted in the mid-1940s and became increasingly popular; by the 1960s, practically every comic book publisher had at least one romance book, if not several. It was a massively popular genre, and one of the very few corners of the comic book world marketed directly at female readers.

Reading old romance comics today is always entertaining because they were very much of their time, and often behind the times a bit since they tended to embody the values of the old white men who published them rather than the trendy young girls who read them. But they definitely did evolve as American society did, even resulting in some distinctly feminist tales by the 1970s. The genre offers a fascinating perspective on how young women were viewed in this era, as well as the dominant values of the period and how they changed.

Nothing better captured these dominant values than the advice columns that appeared in almost every romance comic series. Young girls would write in to ask advice on everything related to romance, from kissing to dating to fashion to jealousy to break ups, and the advice columnists would try to steer them in the proper direction. Jacque Nodell has pored over innumerable stories and advice columns to put together this book that explores the “timeless dating advice, wisdom, and lessons from vintage romance comics.”

And she’s certainly the best woman for the job! Her website, Sequential Crush, is arguably the best online resource for classic romance comics, a veritable treasure trove of old stories, advice columns, and quizzes, along with thoughtful and illuminating commentary on them all. In a landscape where the history of romance comics is too often ignored, Jacque Nodell has continually shone a light on the genre.

Jacque was actually a huge help in my own research, too. While putting together Investigating Lois Lane, I was stumped by a blatantly anti-feminist letter column that ran during Lois Lane’s women’s lib era when editor Dorothy Woolfolk revitalized her series; I couldn’t find information about it anywhere, and had no idea how to tackle it in the book. Then I found out about a similar column from a romance comic that was also edited by Woolfolk on Sequential Crush, and all the pieces fell into place. You’ll have to read my book to find out how, but my chapter on the subject owes a huge debt to Jacque!

Sequential Crush Presents How to Go Steady also features original art by Jenny Cimino which looks gorgeous; she’s totally capturing the classic romance comic vibe with her work here. The project as a whole should be a great, interesting read, and will be of particular interest to comic book fans, romance fans, and history buffs alike. You should definitely go take a look at it and considering backing the project; it’s almost a third of the way there now, and I’m very much hoping to see it make its funding goal and even more because this is definitely a book I want to have. Comics! History! Romance! What more could you want?

Comic Crowd Sourcing, Round Two: Sandman Letter Columns! Got Them? Win Prizes!

April 18, 2016

sandman

Earlier this month, I put up a list of over 150 comic books that I needed letter column data from for a research project I’m working on. The response was AMAZING, and I got all of the information I needed in about ten days. Thanks so much to everyone who helped out; it’s so great to have a complete data set.

Inspired by this success, I’ve decided to branch out a bit. All of my initial data was on superhero comics from 1960 to 1999, tracking the female readership of them through letter columns, but I think an interesting comparison to that would be Sandman, a comic that’s said to have had a substantial female audience. The late 80s and early 90s were not great for women in the letter columns of superhero books. Marvel was averaging about 5% women in the books I looked at, well DC was at about 6%. It’d be fascinating to compare this to the letter columns in Sandman, and see what sort of a difference it made in what was a very male dominated industry at the time.

This is where you all come in. I have NO issues of Sandman whatsoever. I’ve got the Absolute editions, and they’re swell, but they don’t have letter columns. There’ll be a full list of Sandman issues at the end of the this post; if you’ve got any, let me know what’s in the letter columns and I’ll cross the issues off the list as data comes in. In return, you’ll be entered in the ongoing contest to win some swell prizes. Here’s how it all works, copied straight from round one:

  1. For every issue listed below that you send me the gender breakdown of the letter writers, you get ONE ENTRY in the contest.
  2. For every issue listed below that you send me a list of all of the names in the letter column, you get TWO ENTRIES.
  3. For every issue listed below that you send me a readable photo or a scan of the letter column, you get THREE ENTRIES.

These entries go into a raffle, the prizes for which are these:

GRAND PRIZE: $25 US

SECOND PRIZE: $15 US

THIRD PRIZE: $10 US (awarded to three winners!)

So five prizes are up for grabs, in various denominations, and I will give them to you in whatever format you’d like. Straight cash? Sure. Amazon gift card? No problem. Comixology credit? Can do. McDonald’s gift certificates? Okay. Is BitCoin still a thing? Because I’ll get you some. All in pennies? That would be super annoying, but I’ll do it.

Moreover, because of the nature of the contest, you could win more than one prize! If you’ve got every issues of Sandman and send me tons of data and I can close this thing down tomorrow, guess what? You’re probably going to get some prizes. Conversely, if you’ve only got a few of these books, you’re still in the mix if you send the data along!

Plus, win or lose, you’re helping with some fun research. I’m putting together a really interesting portrait of comic book audiences over this decade that I think will make for an enjoyable read and be helpful for other researchers and historians.

Figuring out the data is pretty simple. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re reading a letter column:

  • The gender of each writer is pretty obvious from their name. Richard is probably a guy and Rebecca is probably a girl. Stick with what’s obvious.
  • There are some ambiguous names, like a Pat or a Sandy or some such. If you’re not sure of a name, don’t count it but let me know the name.
  • Do the same with initials or letter writers who use weird pseudonyms or titles.
  • With some ambiguous names, the text of their letter may reveal their gender, so it never hurts to read the letter if you aren’t sure.
  • Some issues won’t have letter columns. That’s fine, and important information that will get you a contest entry. Just say there’s no column in the issue.
  • If you have any other questions or aren’t sure about something, just let me know the name(s) and I’ll figure it out!

Here’s a hypothetical rough idea of what I’m looking for with each issue:

Sandman #45 – 6 men, 3 women,  2 unknown = Sandy Jones, T.K. Smith

And that’s it! You can add more information or send pictures for more entries, but this is the core of what I’m looking for.

To participate in the contest, send the information to:

comicletters@gmail.com

Thanks so much, everyone! The first round was a huge success, and I’m hoping to get another big response here. This’ll be the last round, too, so it’s your final chance to get on board to win prizes and/or be a part of fun comic book history research. Any information you can provide will be hugely helpful!

Here are all of the issues:

  • Sandman #1 (1989)
  • Sandman #2 (1989)
  • Sandman #3 (1989)
  • Sandman #4 (1989)
  • Sandman #5 (1989)
  • Sandman #6 (1989)
  • Sandman #7 (1989)
  • Sandman #8 (1989)
  • Sandman #9 (1989)
  • Sandman #10 (1989)
  • Sandman #11 (1989)
  • Sandman #12 (1990)
  • Sandman #13 (1990)
  • Sandman #14 (1990)
  • Sandman #15 (1990)
  • Sandman #16 (1990)
  • Sandman #17 (1990)
  • Sandman #18 (1990)
  • Sandman #19 (1990)
  • Sandman #20 (1990)
  • Sandman #21 (1990)
  • Sandman #22 (1991)
  • Sandman #23 (1991)
  • Sandman #24 (1991)
  • Sandman #25 (1991)
  • Sandman #26 (1991)
  • Sandman #27 (1991)
  • Sandman #28 (1991)
  • Sandman #29 (1991)
  • Sandman #30 (1991)
  • Sandman #31 (1991)
  • Sandman #32 (1991)
  • Sandman #33 (1991)
  • Sandman #34 (1992)
  • Sandman #35 (1992)
  • Sandman #36 (1992)
  • Sandman #37 (1992)
  • Sandman #38 (1992)
  • Sandman #39 (1992)
  • Sandman #40 (1992)
  • Sandman #41 (1992)
  • Sandman #42 (1992)
  • Sandman #43 (1992)
  • Sandman #44 (1992)
  • Sandman #45 (1993)
  • Sandman #46 (1993)
  • Sandman #47 (1993)
  • Sandman #48 (1993)
  • Sandman #49 (1993)
  • Sandman #50 (1993)
  • Sandman #51 (1993)
  • Sandman #52 (1993)
  • Sandman #53 (1993)
  • Sandman #54 (1993)
  • Sandman #55 (1993)
  • Sandman #56 (1993)
  • Sandman #57 (1994)
  • Sandman #58 (1994)
  • Sandman #59 (1994)
  • Sandman #60 (1994)
  • Sandman #61 (1994)
  • Sandman #62 (1994)
  • Sandman #63 (1994)
  • Sandman #64 (1994)
  • Sandman #65 (1995)
  • Sandman #66 (1995)
  • Sandman #67 (1995)
  • Sandman #68 (1995)
  • Sandman #69 (1995)
  • Sandman #70 (1995)
  • Sandman #71 (1995)
  • Sandman #72 (1995)
  • Sandman #73 (1995)
  • Sandman #74 (1996)
  • Sandman #75 (1996)

Have A Comic Book Collection? Want To Help With Cool Research AND Win Prizes? Check This Out

April 5, 2016

comics.png

Folks with comic book collections, I need your help. I’m working on a research project that looks at comic book letter columns, tabulating the names of the people who write into the columns in order to get a rough idea of the gender breakdown of the series’ audience. It’s a big project that starts in 1960 and runs through 1999 and covers both DC and Marvel, including several of their major ongoing series as well as a few shorter lived books. I’ve compiled data for thousands of issues already thanks to my own collection, the Grand Comics Database, and a few other sources, but I’ve got some holes in the data.

That’s where you all come in. At the end of the post, I’ve listed all of the books I don’t have letter column data for yet; it’s about 150 issues, across a variety of titles. I’m guessing that some of you out there have these comics, and if you can check the letter columns for me and send me the data, I’d not only be much obliged, you’ll get to be part of a fun contest.

So here’s how it’s going to work:

  1. For every issue listed below that you send me the gender breakdown of the letter writers, you get ONE ENTRY in the contest.
  2. For every issue listed below that you send me a list of all of the names in the letter column, you get TWO ENTRIES.
  3. For every issue listed below that you send me a readable photo or a scan of the letter column, you get THREE ENTRIES.

These entries go into a raffle, the prizes for which are these:

GRAND PRIZE: $25 US

SECOND PRIZE: $15 US

THIRD PRIZE: $10 US (awarded to three winners!)

So five prizes are up for grabs, in various denominations, and I will give them to you in whatever format you’d like. Straight cash? Sure. Amazon gift card? No problem. Comixology credit? Can do. McDonald’s gift certificates? Okay. Is BitCoin still a thing? Because I’ll get you some. All in pennies? That would be super annoying, but I’ll do it.

Moreover, because of the nature of the contest, you could win more than one prize! If you’ve got a big comic collection and send me tons of data and I can close this thing down tomorrow, guess what? You’re probably going to get ALL of the prizes. Conversely, if you’ve only got a few of these books, you’re still in the mix if you send the data along!

Also, you get to be a part of cool comic research, win or lose, and that’s pretty rad. All of the data I’ve put together so far is offering a fascinating portrait of comic book audiences, and you’ll be helping make that data as complete as possible. Getting to help out with the history of a genre we all love is its own reward!

Figuring out the data is pretty simple. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when you’re reading a letter column:

  1. The gender of each writer is pretty obvious from their name. Richard is probably a guy and Rebecca is probably a girl. Stick with what’s obvious.
  2. There are some ambiguous names, like a Pat or a Sandy or some such. If you’re not sure of a name, don’t count it but let me know the name.
  3. Do the same with initials or letter writers who use weird pseudonyms or titles.
  4. With some ambiguous names, the text of their letter may reveal their gender, so it never hurts to read the letter if you aren’t sure.
  5. Some issues won’t have letter columns. That’s fine, and important information that will get you a contest entry. Just say there’s no column in the issue.
  6. If you have any other questions or aren’t sure about something, just let me know the name(s) and I’ll figure it out!

Here’s a rough idea of what I’m looking for with each issue:

Batman #452 – 6 men, 2 women, unknown = Sandy Jones, T.K. Smith

And that’s it! You can add more information or send pictures for more entries, but this is the core of what I’m looking for.

To participate in the contest, send the information to:

comicletters@gmail.com

As entries come in, I’ll cross out the books on the list until, ideally, everything is done. Then I’ll get in touch with the contest winners and send out your prizes in whatever form you choose.

Thanks so much to everyone for helping! Any information you have, even if it’s just an issue or two, will be HUGELY appreciated, and be a massive help in my research on the evolution of comic book audiences. Check your longboxes, tell your friends, and hopefully we can get the full list completed!

Here are the comics, in alphabetical order:

  • Amazing Spider-Man #419 (1997)
  • Amazing Spider-Man #421 (1997)
  • Avengers #380 (1994)
  • Avengers #19 (1999)
  • Batman #366 (1983)
  • Batman #369 (1984)
  • Batman #373 (1984)
  • Batman #375 (1984)
  • Batman #376 (1984)
  • Batman #416 (1988)
  • Batman #418 (1988)
  • Batman #443 (1990)
  • Batman #460 (1991)
  • Batman #461 (1991)
  • Batman #462 (1991)
  • Batman #464 (1991)
  • Batman #465 (1991)
  • Batman #466 (1991)
  • Batman #469 (1991)
  • Batman #473 (1992)
  • Batman #474 (1992)
  • Batman #475 (1992)
  • Batman #522 (1995)
  • Batman #561 (1999)
  • Batman #562 (1999)
  • Batman #563 (1999)
  • Batman #564 (1999)
  • Batman #566 (1999)
  • Batman #569 (1999)
  • Batman #570 (1999)
  • Batman #572 (1999)
  • Catwoman #82 (1999)
  • Catwoman #83 (1999)
  • Catwoman #84 (1999)
  • Catwoman #85 (1999)
  • Catwoman #86 (1999)
  • Catwoman #87 (1999)
  • Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #8 (1983)
  • Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #9 (1983)
  • Dazzler #9 (1981)
  • Dazzler #10 (1981)
  • Dazzler #11 (1982)
  • Dazzler #25 (1983)
  • Dazzler #30 (1984)
  • Dazzler #33 (1984)
  • Dazzler #35 (1985)
  • Dazzler #41 (1986)
  • Dazzler #42 (1986)
  • Elektra #3 (1997)
  • Elektra #4 (1997)
  • Elektra #5 (1997)
  • Elektra #6 (1997)
  • Elektra #8 (1997)
  • Elektra #17 (1998)
  • Fantastic Four #322 (1989)
  • Fantastic Four #323 (1989)
  • Fantastic Four #324 (1989)
  • JLA #14 (1998)
  • JLA #15 (1998)
  • JLA #25 (1999)
  • JLA #26 (1999)
  • JLA #28 (1999)
  • JLA #29 (1999)
  • JLA #30 (1999)
  • JLA #31 (1999)
  • JLA #32 (1999)
  • JLA #33 (1999)
  • JLA #34 (1999)
  • Justice League #147 (1977)
  • Justice League #162 (1979)
  • Justice League #200 (1982)
  • Justice League #206 (1982)
  • Justice League #245 (1985)
  • Justice League America #37 (1990)
  • Justice League America #62 (1992)
  • Justice League America #63 (1992)
  • Justice League America #64 (1992)
  • Justice League America #65 (1992)
  • Justice League America #67 (1992)
  • Justice League America #68 (1992)
  • Justice League America #74 (1993)
  • Justice League America #75 (1993)
  • Justice League America #76 (1993)
  • Justice League America #77 (1993)
  • Justice League America #78 (1993)
  • Justice League America #79 (1993)
  • Justice League America #80 (1993)
  • Justice League America #82 (1993)
  • Justice League America #84 (1994)
  • Justice League America #88 (1994)
  • Justice League America #89 (1994)
  • Justice League America #90 (1994)
  • Justice League America #95 (1995)
  • Justice League America #96 (1995)
  • Justice League America #107 (1996)
  • Justice League America #110 (1996)
  • Justice League International #8 (1987)
  • Justice League International #10 (1988)
  • Justice League International #11 (1988)
  • Justice League International #14 (1988)
  • Justice League International #15 (1988)
  • Justice League International #16 (1988)
  • Justice League International #22 (1988)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #2 (1989)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #5 (1989)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #14 (1990)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #15 (1990)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #16 (1990)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #17 (1990)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #19 (1990)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #21 (1990)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #25 (1991)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #31 (1991)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #32 (1991)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #35 (1992)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #37 (1992)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #42 (1992)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #43 (1992)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #44 (1992)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #48 (1993)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #53 (1993)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #54 (1993)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #58 (1993)
  • Sensational She-Hulk #60 (1994)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #1 (1992)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #2 (1992)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #3 (1992)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #4 (1992)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #8 (1993)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #10 (1994)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #11 (1994)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #12 (1994)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #14 (1994)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #16 (1994)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #18 (1994)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #19 (1994)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #20 (1995)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #21 (1995)
  • Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #22 (1995)
  • Superman #330 (1978)
  • Superman #338 (1979)
  • Superman #369 (1982)
  • Superman #37 (1989)
  • Superman #73 (1992)
  • Superman #82 (1993)
  • Superman #141 (1999)
  • Superman #148 (1999)
  • Wonder Woman #220 (1976)
  • Wonder Woman #286 (1982)
  • Wonder Woman #294 (1983)
  • Wonder Woman #300 (1984)

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