Hasslein Blog: March 2015


Hasslein Blog

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hasslein Books: Now Featured in Diamond's Previews Magazine

"Say, is that the April 2015 issue of Previews, the monthly ordering guide from Diamond, the largest comic book distributor serving North America, which transports comics and books from large and small publishers and suppliers directly to retailers? And is that ordering information for a Hasslein Books title I see, letting every single comic shop and bookstore in North America know about said book, and thus enabling them to order copies? And is that a Doctor Who-related book, prominently listed at the very top of the Doctor Who section, ahead of all other Doctor Who titles featured in this month's edition?"

"Why, yes. Yes, it is. Thanks for noticing."

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Longbox Legerdemain: Hulk vs. Spider-Man

By Matthew Sunrich

During the early 1960s, when it was a tiny, struggling publisher, Marvel took strides to distinguish itself from DC.

While DC had a "clean" (and, frankly, bland) house style, Marvel took a different approach, opting for more dynamic character designs—often at the expense of accurate anatomy—and more daring action sequences. The higher-ups at DC found Marvel's comics to be crude and amateurish, never envisioning them as threat to their #1 position in the industry.

It's certainly true that DC, unlike most other comic companies, had successfully weathered the tempestuous "interregnum" period of the 1950s and had even been responsible for the resurrection of the superhero (via Barry Allen as the new Flash in Showcase #4, 1956), but it wasn't until Marvel introduced a new generation of superheroes (The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, et al.) that the Silver Age was shifted into high gear.

Outside of stylistic differences, Marvel's books differed from DC's in another major way: the heroes were flawed. Readers never saw Superman exercise poor judgment, and he certainly never engaged in heated disagreements with the other members of the Justice League. The "good guys" at DC never approached anything resembling moral ambiguity, never had to deal with the everyday struggles that real people faced, and the stories always resolved themselves neatly.

Not so in the pages of Marvel's comics.

From the very beginning, Marvel's characters bickered—even came to blows—with each other, tried to use their powers for their own selfish purposes, allowed their egos to get the best of them, even lamented the "gifts" they had been given. At the time, this was revolutionary. Also, some of the heroes, such as the Hulk and the Thing, were monsters. Both Bruce Banner and Ben Grimm desired to cure themselves; Banner's circumstances were worsened by the fact that his mind was lost within the id-like rage of the Hulk whenever he transformed, whereas Grimm's rocky form, while permanent, did not affect his brain.

With all of this taken into account, one of Marvel's biggest points of interest soon became superheroes in conflict with each other. The cover of Amazing Spider-Man #1 depicts Spidey battling the Fantastic Four. Daredevil fights Spidey and Captain America on the covers of #s 16 and 43, respectively, of his own comic. The Hulk battles the Thing—for the first of many times—on the cover of Fantastic Four #25. These are just a few examples; this sort of thing happened all the time, and the fans loved it.

The closest equivalent I can think of at DC was that time Superman raced the Flash.

Read more »

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Forgotten on the Planet of the Apes: Forbidden Zone Prime

By Rich Handley

Planet of the Apes fans who read comic books have fond memories of Marvel Comics' 1970s spinoff Apes title. The series ran for 29 issues, containing adaptations of the five classic films, as well as informative articles and interviews, and several wonderfully trippy original stories written by Doug Moench and illustrated by the likes of Mike Ploog, Tom Sutton, Alfredo Alcala and Herb Trimpe. Marvel also published an 11-issue color reprint of the first two film adaptations, under the title Adventures on the Planet of the Apes, and a weekly British sister-series from Marvel UK that produced a total of 139 issues repackaging the U.S. material in serialized format (all of which are archived for downloading here).

What fans may be less aware of are a quartet of unpublished stories that Moench wrote that never saw print due to Marvel's unfortunate cancellation of the comic after 29 issues. After Marvel finished adapting Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the magazine needed to move in a new direction, now that all five films had been adapted.

To that end, as of issue 30, Moench intended to make his Derek Zane storyline (from issues 9, 10 and 21, about an inventor lost in the future after building a time machine to rescue Taylor's crew) the main focus of the book. The result was "Journey to the Planet of the Apes," which would have been a multi-arc storyline that would have lasted until around issue #60, taking Zane on a variety of adventures into other eras and, ultimately, to other worlds. (It's astounding to realize that the writer had planned things that far ahead, and a crime to fans that none of it was ever produced.)

Moench completed an 18-page outline for the first chapter of the saga, titled "The Secret of the City." The plan was cut off at the knees, however, when Marvel—pressed for increased licensing fees from APJAC Productions—abruptly canceled the magazine before issue #30 could be produced. This first chapter of "Journey" thus remained unpublished, as did several other stories Moench had written for upcoming issues.

"Future History Chronicles VI: The Captive of the Canals" would have picked up where the fifth chapter of that story left off, with the main characters finding a great city known as Sexxtann, and encountering Her Majesty's Cannibal Corps. In part six, readers would have learned more about the Cannibal Corps, while also meeting Her Majesty, a giant female gorilla captured by the humans of Sexxtann, known as the Industrialists—descendants of citizens from several African nations who blamed apes and Caucasian humans for the planet's devastation, and thus decided to form their own isolated civilization.

Moench also wrote a new chapter of "Terror on the Planet of the Apes," titled "To Meet the Makers." This story, which took place immediately following the previous "Terror" chapter, introduced the Makers' latest creation: Smashore, a 9-foot-tall albino Gorilloid with a hole in his head to propel bombs, a utility belt, bionic eyeballs able to shoot death rays, and laser-shooters in his fingertips—a reminder that although it was set in the Planet of the Apes universe, Marvel's "Terror" was, first and foremost, a comic book.

The above three unpublished tales are available online, thanks to Doug Moench, who provided them to me as research for my first book, Timeline of the Planet of the Apes. Moench graciously allowed his work to be shared with fans, and archivist Hunter Goatley hosted them at his wonderful Apes fandom site, with Moench's blessing.

But it's another Moench-penned Apes tale that is the most intriguing.
Read more »

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Once a Redshirt...

By Rich Handley

A special announcement from Hasslein Books: "Handley's been shot!"

It may not look like me, but the dying man in the image below is yours truly, cameoing in Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive issue #4, written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton, hitting stores this week from IDW Publishing and BOOM! Studios.

My career in Starfleet was all too brief.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Press Release: BACK IN TIME Documentary Kickstarter Campaign

A one-of-a-kind documentary, which examines the unique cultural impact of the Back to the Future trilogy through interviews with cast, crew, and uber-fans of the series. Set to premiere at We're Going Back on October 21st, BACK IN TIME is beginning a new Kickstarter campaign on Monday, March 9th.

New York, New York, March 6, 2015 – Malka Media Group, Patchwork Media, and director Jason Aron are pleased to announce that the documentary feature film Back in Time will premiere in Hollywood, California on October 21, 2015, as a part of the We're Going Back fanfest honoring the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future. The film will release digitally and on Bluray/DVD on or shortly after October 22nd, and will be available for preorder via a Kickstarter campaign beginning March 9th.

Back in Time offers an unprecedented look into the overwhelming cultural significance of the Back to the Future trilogy.  The film crew trekked across more than a dozen states and through two continents capturing footage for the feature. They conducted more than 50 interviews with cast, crew, and some of the trilogy's biggest fans. The film features cast members including Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Tompson, as well as production members like Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, and Alan Silvestri.

MJF Foundation fundraisers Terry and Oliver Holler, restorationist Joe Walser, collectors Bill & Patrick Shea, webmaster Stephen Clark, author and historian Rob Klein, hoverboard entrepreneurs Jill & Greg Henderson, Secret Cinema director Fabien Rigall, author Rich Handley, Superfan and Community creator Dan Harmon, and co-executive producer and The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg are among the fans who took the time to speak with the film's creators about how the Back to the Future trilogy has affected them.

The new Kickstarter campaign (the feature initially funded shooting through Kickstarter in mid-2013) is aimed at funding enhanced post-production work on the film, plus expanding the film's distribution to include exhibition at festivals across the country, allowing more people a chance to see it on the big screen. Backers who pledge to the new campaign are being offered perks which range from digital copies of the film to branded shirts, posters, and signed memorabilia, as well as some truly exclusive collectibles and packages.

More specifics on the documentary—such as Kickstarter details, information on October's Hollywood premiere, and film festival dates—can be found on www.backintimefilm.com as they become available.

View the Kickstarter page, including a new trailer.

Learn more online:

About Jason Aron
An avid filmmaker for the past decade, Jason’s passion for the medium can be traced way Back in Time, to when he made a line-by-line tape recording of a certain iconic film. He’s the one who conceptualized this project, and his commitment to the integrity of the film is second to none. You can learn more about Jason and his work on his website: www.jasonaron.com.

About Malka Media Group

A production company for the modern age of constant connectivity, Malka Media Group is staffed by young, edgy talent—creatives who not only understand the ever-evolving technological landscape, but who relish the chance to experiment and push boundaries. MMG's prestigious list of clients includes sports figures, corporations, media companies, and educational institutions. More information can be found on the company's website: www.malkamediagroup.com.

About Patchwork Media

Patchwork Media has provided production and facilitation services to a variety of projects since the mid 2000's. The company focuses of working with branded entertainment and media outlets to attain mutually beneficial outcomes. Patchwork Media's website may be found at: www.patchworknyc.com.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Sioux Falls Comic Book Fan to Set Unexpected World Record

John Boylan
605 521-7586

SIOUX FALLS, SD—March 8, 2015—On Saturday, March 21 at the Sioux Falls Design Center, Sioux Falls illustrator and comic book collector John Boylan will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for Largest Swamp Thing collection.

Boylan’s entire collection of over 800 items—books, memorabilia, toys, and more—will be on display from 1:00PM to 5:00PM at the Sioux Falls Design Center in Downtown Sioux Falls. The collection will be authenticated by legendary comic book artist and creator Phil Hester (Marvel, DC, and more) and Sioux Falls business owner and comic enthusiast Andy Howe (Howe’s Oil, Local Zip). Boylan promises the event will be “a celebration of fandom, fanaticism, and all things Swampy.”

Refreshments will be provided.

Boylan has been in contact with the Guinness organization for several months, making sure the event exceeds all criteria for formal inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records. These criteria include having two qualified witnesses present for the entire attempt, public access to the attempt, and piles and piles of paperwork.

Following the event, Guinness will review Boylan’s application and materials, and—if all goes according to plan—his collection will be officially recognized as a Guinness World Record in a matter of weeks.

Swamp Thing is a character in the DC Comics Universe. While lesser known than other DC characters like Batman and Superman, “Swampy” is no less beloved, with a passionate fanbase that spans the globe. Many of these fans have reached out to Boylan over the past year after finding his online catalog of all things Swamp Thing, RootsOfTheSwampThing.com.

John Boylan is an illustrator, graphic designer, and lifelong comic book enthusiast. This is his first attempt at setting a Guinness World Record.

Guinness World Record-setting event hosted by John Boylan

Sioux Falls Design Center
108 West 11th Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Saturday, March 21




Saturday, March 7, 2015

Meet Cosplayer Kit Quinn at Atlantic City Boardwalk Con


Friday, March 6, 2015

Longbox Legerdemain: The Hulk and the X-Men: Strange Goings-On

By Matthew Sunrich

Considering the immense popularity of the X-Men franchise, it's hard to believe that during the late Silver Age/early Bronze Age, it was one of Marvel's worst-selling titles. Of course, this was before the introduction of Wolverine and the other "all-new, all-different" X-Men. The original lineup consisted of Cyclops, Beast, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Iceman, and Angel (with occasional appearances by extras such as Havok and Polaris), and despite the efforts of various creative teams, it was a fairly lackluster title. Neal Adams was brought in at one point in an attempt to boost sales, but even he couldn't save the book.

The comic never completely left the racks, but it did go into bi-monthly reprints for several years before being "resurrected" with #94. The final issue of original material was #66, which shipped in early 1970. This issue is noteworthy for featuring the first meeting between Charles Xavier's team of mutants and the Hulk.

Last summer, Marvel introduced a new title called Savage Hulk (previously mentioned in my article on Thanosvs. Hulk). It was designed to feature new stories of the Jade Giant that could take place at any point in his continuity, providing virtually endless possibilities for creators. The inaugural four-issue arc was the brainchild of Alan Davis and is set during the aftermath of the events of X-Men #66.

Before we go any further, let's talk a bit about Alan Davis.

Sometimes referred to as the "other Alan" (after Alan Moore) of the "British Invasion" of comics of the 1980s, Davis spent several years working at Marvel's UK offices and for other publishers in England before making his break in America. (He was one of the original artists of Moore's groundbreaking British character Marvelman, who became Miracleman when he came to the States for reasons related to trademark infringement and to Moore's chagrin, ultimately turning him against Marvel forever. The character was the subject of numerous, complex legal disputes involving the likes of Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman but was finally bought whole cloth by Marvel a couple of years ago; the original run is now being republished with Moore's name removed, at his insistence, and with new covers, some of which are by Davis.) He started off working for DC on such titles as Batman and the Outsiders and Detective Comics before moving on to X-Men and, most notably, Excalibur for Marvel. Since the turn of the century, he has worked almost exclusively for Marvel, producing noteworthy runs on Wolverine, Captain America, Thor, Avengers, and Fantastic Four, and has established himself as one of the preeminent creative forces in comics.

Read more »

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: First G.I. Joe Adventure Team Novella Released on Kindle Worlds

For Immediate Release:

MYSTERY OF THE SUNKEN TOMB is the first long-form G.I. Joe Adventure Team prose fiction novella released on the Kindle Worlds licensed publication platform. It is currently available in e-format only, and sells for just $1.99.

Set in 1973 at the height of the Adventure Team toy era, MYSTERY OF THE SUNKEN TOMB is jam-packed with all the fan-favorite Adventure Team equipment, vehicles, and mission themes of Hasbro’s 1970-73 releases. If that isn’t cool enough, each of the G.I. Joe Adventure Team action figures of the era have been fleshed out as individual characters in the story, each with their own unique personalities, skills, and specialties. Overall, MYSTERY OF THE SUNKEN TOMB offers all the Adventure team action, danger, and excitement G.I. Joe fans crave.


About the Author:
Jim Beard writes adventure fiction in a classic pulp style. A native of Toledo, Ohio, he was introduced to comic books at an early age by his father, who passed on to him a love for the medium and the pulp characters who preceded it. After decades of reading, collecting and dissecting comics, Jim became a published writer when he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. Since that time he's written official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comic stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history.

His prose work includes GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES, a book of essays on the 1966 Batman TV series; SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER, a collection of pulp ghost stories featuring an Edwardian occult detective; MONSTER EARTH, a shared-world giant monster anthology; and CAPTAIN ACTION: RIDDLE OF THE GLOWING MEN, the first pulp prose novel based on the classic 1960s action figure.

Jim also currently provides regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, and is a regular columnist for Toledo Free Press.

If you would like to interview Jim or for any more information on MYSTERY OF THE SUNKEN TOMB, please email jsajim@yahoo,com.

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