After finishing the Fantagraphics Floppies series of blog articles, I promised myself that I’d never do anything like that again, and I’d probably never read a comic book again. EVER!
But then time passes and I started thinking about doing another one… but perhaps with a smaller publisher… one that had published some great comics, like Red Ink, Vortex or Tragedy Strikes Press. Nothing as extensive as Fantagraphics.
Eclipse Comics popped into my head.
Now, Fantagraphics has published some wonderful comics that have gone on to live forever. Eclipse Comics has… not. Fantagraphics has Love & Rockets, Eightball, Way Out Strips, Acme Novelty Library. You know. The Best Cartoonists In The World.
Eclipse had ESPers.
OK, I’m exaggerating slightly. Fantagraphics has published their share of dross, but also a lot of interesting stuff. Virtually none of what Eclipse published has been reprinted. Miracleman, Zot!, … Er… That might be it.
So why Eclipse? Why would a grown person be interested in re-reading a publisher who produced comics mostly for 14-year-olds? I don’t know, and I think I’m talking myself out of doing this now.
Meanwhile, I’m starting to buy the Eclipse comics I didn’t buy in the 80s.
Man, shopping for comics is hard. I mean, if you don’t want to spend the absolute max amount.
(This long and even more boring Shopping Comics For Dummies can safely be left unread.)
OK, here’s my methodology, if I were to buy, say, the four issues of The Blanderizer series, in lowish grades.
I have several tabs open.
First I go to Ebay and search for “The Blanderizer complete”. I find one that wants to all four issues for $1… but with $13 postage. I sigh.
So I go to Mile High Comics, because I like them and they have a lot. They also have the absolute highest prices for a lot of stuff, but there’s usually a “codeword sale” going on that drops the posted price by about 50% (so get on the mailing list where they tell you what the codeword is). But even with that rebate, their prices are sometimes “whaa?”. So let’s say The Blanderizer #1 is posted as $2, #2 is $45, #3 is $1 and #4 is $5. I quickly click “buy” on #3 and #1 (so those are 50c and $1). (Postage is free if you buy a lot.)
Then I go to CyberspaceComics on ebay, because they are the cheapest (if you buy a lot. Their normal postage is $4, but it drops to 25c per issue if you buy a lot). So I see #2 posted as $1 (so it’s $1.25) and click “buy”. But there’s a lot that they don’t have…
So I go to the My Comic Shop tab and find #4 for $1.95. (Postage is a flat $5 no matter how much you buy.) They have almost as much as Mile High, and their prices are more “even”. But they basically have a price floor at $1.70, so Mile High are cheaper on the cheap stuff.
If all else fails, I go to Amazon, but since you’re bound to get a $4 postage surcharge, buying single issues there isn’t the most economical thing to do. But if you’re buying graphic novels, Amazon is usually cheaper than all the options I’ve mentioned above.
So it’s so complicated: You’ve got to get the volume up at all of these; if not, the postage is going to dominate. If you’re buying hundreds of comics in one go (which I did for this project), shopping around this way decimated the cost compared to buying from just one of the major ones (i.e., Mile High or My Comics).
The median acquisition cost for the comics I bought I guesstimate is around $1.80, which is quite cheap by modern comics standards, and is about the median cover price. Which means that “investing” in Eclipse Comics was not a good idea, if anybody had ever imagined that.
I hope you were as bored reading that as I was writing it.
The allure of Eclipse Comics is perhaps that they were a sort of midpoint between “mainstream” superhero fare and “alternative” comics. They published a lot of slightly quirky genre stuff. Nothing too outrageous, but basically decent.
Perhaps that’s it. Reading basically decent comics somehow seems attractive these days. I can’t figure out why.
I’ll be covering the entirety of Eclipse Comics’s output excepting books that reprints other books Eclipse has published. And I’ll do it chronologically by title.
I briefly considered doing it on a month-by-month basis; one blog article per month of the 80s, but that seemed a bit too OCD even for me. Instead I’ll do it chronologically by the date the first issue of the series in question was published. And I’ll be lumping related series into the same blog post to avoid having to do 260 blog posts. Instead there’ll be… er… over a hundred? Something like that?
Let’s get started.