Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Man pulling rope causes collapse of building

Sergio Aragonés' Groo: The Hogs of Horder #1, by Sergio Aragonés

Groo was one of those titles I used to read back in the '80s, so seeing that new issues had come out made me check out #1, for old time's sake. Aragonés, as you know, is famous as one of the rofflesome artists from Mad magazine, and Groo (written by Mark Evanier, uncredited on the cover) is a parody of Conan The Barbarian style comics. This book is sadly not that great. I like the art well-enough, but the jokes are a bit lame, and the whole thing is basically a rather tiresome commentary on the credit crisis and the decline of American manufacturing.

What I did like, though, was the letters page at the end, which Mark Evanier began with an interesting comment on the origins of the (now largely vanished) comics letter page. Apparently, back in the mists of time, comics could avail of advantageous postal rates if they carried a certain number of text pages per issue. Originally the publishers would run text stories of the required length, but then someone had a brainwave – why pay some hack to write pages of text that no one reads, when you can get comics readers to write them for you for free! Thus the letter page was born.

These days Dark Horse & Image seem to be the only publishers still running letters pages. I think the others reckon they are better off running ads for the US military.


Ned Usa said...

Dark Horse and Image, those are names I haven't heard in years.

Good post.

ian said...

Yes, they are still soldiering on. Image is quite eclectic these days, not the superhero stuff of yore, while Dark Horse does a lot of Star Wars tie-in stuff.