WELCOME TO REC.ARTS.COMICS (part 3 of 10: the r.a.c FAQ)
written by lots of different people
edited by Paul A. Estin 1990-1993
Tom Galloway 1993-present

[last update: 6/29/95]

3. Frequently-Asked Questions (The r.a.c.* FAQ)

Questions answered here (a + before a question indicates a changed answer,
a * indicates a new question).

  1. META-r.a.c./email QUESTIONS

A0. What other comics FAQs are available?
+A1. Why not split off a new group for Sandman/superheroes/adult comics/etc?
A2. Where can I get GIFs or other scanned comics art?
+A3. Are there pros on the net?
A4. What are the email addresses of comics companies?
+A5. What letter columns or comic strip creators can I e-mail to?
A6. Who is Suicide Squid?
A7. How can I get a Suicide Squid t-shirt?
A8. Who is Paul


B1. What's this about Sandman ending?
B2. When is the 1995 San Diego Comics Convention?
B3. What and When/Where are the Spirits Of Independence Conventions
B4. Whatever happened to D'arc Tangent, Grimjack, Big Numbers, Miracleman,
Akira, 1963, Mage II, Eye of Mogambo, Sweeny Todd, and Puma Blues?
B5. What's this about Marvel buying Heroes World? And DC going exclusive
with Diamond? Why does this matter?


C1. Where does the money go from buying a comic?
C2. How do I become a pro comics writer or artist?
C3. What are the Ages of comics?
C4. What was the first #0 issue?
C5. What are some of the gay characters in comics?
C6. Where can I buy original comics art?
C7. Where are various comics museums located?
C8. Where did the "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog" cartoon
C9. How do you spell/pronounce the last name of artist Bill Sienkiewicz?
C10. What is The Cowboy Wally Show?
C11. Where can I get comics on microfiche/CD-ROM?

D1. What was the Crisis on Infinite Earths?
+D2. What was Zero Hour?
D3. Where can I find Man of Steel, Women of Kleenex?
D4. What are the different types of Kryptonite?
D5. Where are the "real" locations of Metropolis, Gotham City, Hub City,
etc., in the DC Universe?
D6. Who were the original Charlton equivalents to the characters in
D7. Can Superman become President of the United States?

E1. Isn't there a gay Marvel mutant?
+E2. How old is Kitty Pryde (of Excalibur)?
E3. What is Marvel's corporate structure?

F1. Who's this Cerebus character people post a lot about?
F2. What's the joke behind John Byrne's Next Men's letter column title?

G1. Where can I get a Calvin & Hobbes t-shirt, stuffed tiger, phone, etc.?
G2. How can I contact syndicates about submitting my strip?

H1. When's the James Cameron Spider-Man movie coming out?
H2. What were the lyrics to the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon theme song?

  1. META-r.a.c./email QUESTIONS
    A0. What other comics FAQs are available?

In addition to this general FAQ, there are a number of comics FAQs and
other on-line resources available about more specific topics or characters.
Information about how to obtain these can be found in parts 7-10 of the Welcome
to r.a.c.* posts. FAQs are also available for the newsgroups:


Before posting a query asking for information about a topic, check the
index of topics in Part 6, and the specific entry for where information
about the topic can be found in Parts 7-10.

A1. Why not split off a new group for Sandman/superheroes/adult comics/etc?

This is a highly flammable topic of debate. Several dozen splits have been
suggested over the past few years. Relatively few have succeeded. Some
readers would still prefer going back to a single r.a.c. with no subgroups.
Here is an incomplete list of previously rejected ideas:

rac.superhero battlin' guys wearing tights. Failed in the 1992 vote;
also ambiguous (define superhero. be aware that we've
got *lots* of ambiguous characters by any definition
so far).
rac.image got less than 40% positive response in 10/94 straw poll.
rac.mature implies other comics are immature. ambiguous.
rac.adult implies sexually-explicit material. ambiguous.
rac.sandman Sandman is ending as a regular series within the year.
Empheral groups like this are very unlikely to pass.

A straw poll was taken of suggested new groups in 10/94. From that, six groups
and a rename received sufficent support to justify going to a formal vote. Due
to various problems, the first wave vote was not completed until 4/95. In it,
the groups rac.dc.universe, rac.marvel.universe, rac.other-media, and
rac.elfquest were created. In wave two, rac.dc.lsh, rac.dc.vertigo, and
renaming rac.xbooks to rac.marvel.xbooks all passed and took effect in 7/95.

Due to the delays, and a group creation rule against further reorging a
hierarchy within 3 months of a reorg, there are unlikely to be any further
splits/new groups in the r.a.c. hierarchy until fall. It is expected that a
suggestion period for new groups, followed by a straw poll, will take place in
September/October '95. Groups which receive significant support in the poll
will go to the formal voting process. Bringing up new groups before then would
be pretty much a waste of time.

When thinking about a split or new group, keep in mind that it will have to
be well justified. If you want your proposal to have a chance, it should meet
the following criteria:

Please note: r.a.c. has seen a lot of split discussion over the years.
Some proposals, such as the ones above, will likely be quickly shot down
unless distinguished from what's been seen many times before. However,
opinions do change. Within 18 months, sentiment went from less than 35%
in favor of publisher groups to almost an 80% majority. Both rac.creative
and rac.other-media took two votes to be passed.

A2. Where can I get JPEG/GIFs or other scanned comics art?

With a few exceptions (Generation X #1, Cerebus: Operation Crazed Ferret, etc.
all described in Parts 7-10 of these Welcome messages), you won't find that
information here. It is illegal to post or make available for FTP scanned in
copyrighted art (the by far most common requests being for same). Yes, it's
against copyright even if no one makes money off of it. Yes, it's against
copyright even if you *really* want it and don't have a scanner to make your
own fair use copy. Before posting about this or other copyright related
issues, you are urged to read the misc.legal copyright FAQ or Brad Templeton's
10 Common Copyright Myths post in news.announce.newusers as past evidence has
shown that most people do *not* understand even the basics of copyright law,
let alone the nuances. Hint: If the words "Berne Convention" have no meaning
to you, you're not aware that under it any work is automatically copyrighted
as soon as it is in a fixed form, and you think whether the copy is made for a
profit matters in terms of violating copyright, you're ignorant of the
topic and need to read up on it before posting.

Note: there are people watching for this. An r.a.c.er got a cease and desist
email, with a cc: to Marvel, from a Berkeley Systems representative when he
posted images taken from Berkeley's Marvel Screen Saver. Many companies have
employees reading the net.

Only images for which the copyright holder provided permission for posting
will be listed in the Welcome messages.

A3. Are there pros on the net?

Yes. Lots of them.

First let's get the three people who sometimes post here who are likely to be
mistaken for comics pros out of the way. If you see a post by Art Adams, Kevin
Maguire, or Michael Collins, as of the latest update of this FAQ it is *not*
by the comics creator of that same name, but rather by people who happen to
share the name in real life (i.e. they are not trying to be confusing by
assuming an alias).

The first pro on the net was probably Henry Vogel of the late, lamented,
Southern Knights. He's not been on for a few years, but one scene in the
Knights involving breaking into a computer used an r.a.c.er's name and site as
username and password.

For a number of years, the only pro on was Peter David. He's worked a number
of net references into his work, including a reference to Suicide Squid in the
dialogue of Spider-Man 2099 #20, page 3 and the following from one of his
Psi-Man books, written under the pen name of David Peters:

"Chuck was impressed to see the latest hardware rolling his way--the
computer aided RAC 3000, Ultraflame Model.....'What does RAC stand for?' he
"Really Awesome Car."
"'Oh.' He shrugged. Obviously a name developed by people in marketing."

Not to mention individual netters who have shown up as characters in his
comics and novel work. It's considered bad form to ask for him to do this for

Starting in late '93, a lot of other pros started coming onto the net, in
addition to a few others who came on after Peter but before then. A probably
incomplete list includes, in alphabetical order: Scott Adams, Steve Addlesee,
Bill Amend, Chuck Austen, Mark Badger, Kyle Baker, Scott Bateman, Ward Batty,
Cliff Biggers, Addie Blaustein, Steve Blevins, Larry Bogad, Craig Boldman,
Ruben Bolling, Joyce Brabner, Tom Brevoort, MD Bright, Larry Brody, Fred
Burke, Kurt Busiek, Louis Bright-Raven, Steve Campbell, Cedrick Chan, Bernard
Chang, Dan Chichester, Chris Claremont, Steve Conley, Rebecca Dart, Peter
David, Dwight Decker, John Dennett, Alma Derricks, Evan Dorkin, Diane Duane,
Ben Dunn, Sarah Dyer, Chris Eades, Mark Evanier, Matt Feazell, Kevin
Fitzpatrick, Roger Fletcher, Michael Fry, Steve Gallacci, Steve Gerber, Dave
Gibbons, Clay Griffith, Al Gross, Phil Hall, Larry Hama, Amanda Hass, Matt
Hawkins, Tom Heintjes, Mike Heisler, Matt High, Jay Hosler, Bob Ingersoll,
Marie Javins, Patty Jeres, Jimmy Johnson, Rich Johnston, Jason Scott Jones,
Matthew Kelleigh, Jay Kennedy, Rick Kirkman, Jeff Lang, Jim Lee, Christian
Lichtner, Steve Lieber, Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier, Roland Mann, Jose
Marzan Jr., Scott McCloud, Dwayne McDuffie, Jim Meddick, Larry Merrill,
Patricia Mulvihill, Will Murray, Fabian Nicieza, Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, Kris
Overstreet, Tom Peyer, Richard Pini, Dan Piraro, Christopher Priest, Dave
Rawson, John Ney Rieber, John Rozum, Scott Saavedra, Mark Sherman, Dez Skinn,
Walt Simonson, Laurie Smith, Roger Stern, Len Strazewski, Martha Thomases,
Garry Trudeau, Gary Ushaw, Dan Vado, Ivan Velez, Martin Wagner, Mark Waid,
Lawrence Watt-Evans, Bob Wayne, Mack White, Bebe Williams, Elin Winkler, Paul
Witcover, Marv Wolfman, Wayne Wong, and Gregory Wright. Neil Gaiman is
occasionally forwarded posts about Sandman, but is not directly on the net.

IMPORTANT!: Unless you know the pro doesn't mind, do *not* send email to a pro
posting from a Compuserve address. Compuserve, and Compuserve only, charges the
recipiant of email from the Internet $.15 for each such message. It's rather
gauche to make someone pay to read fan mail you send them, don't you think?

Btw, pros are put on this list based on their posting on some group in the
rec.arts.comics or alt.comics hierarchies or stating to the FAQ maintainer
that they are lurking. A pro is defined as people who have been paid for
creating (including editing) comics, are employed by a comics company, or do
significant work for publications about comics. If a pro is active elsewhere
on the net, but not in these hierarchies, they're not listed. If they are a
pro in some other creative field, but haven't done pro comics work, they're
not listed.

The following etiquette has developed around the presence of pros. First off,
they are under no more obligation to read or answer posts than any other
r.a.c.er. It's nice if they do, but they're not paid to do so any more than
anyone else here. It's also considered bad form to ask a question specifically
of a pro about a book or topic with which they have no special association, as
opposed to a general query to the newsgroup. For example, it's fine to ask
Peter David a question about the Hulk since he writes it, but not about the
Superman books since he doesn't and hasn't written them and has no special
knowledge of them.

There are, unfortunately, fairly common debates about whether r.a.c.ers
either suck up to or gratuitously flame pros. Probably both are true to an
extent. In general, most r.a.c.ers feel that efforts should be made to treat
pros the same as other r.a.c.ers. Just as you wouldn't gush at or insult a
non-pro poster, you shouldn't do it just because the poster has had work
published. Unfortunately, there are some people who apparently take pleasure
in the chance to flame, either by post or email, pros who appear here. Please
note that the majority of people here are *not* like that, and we don't
appreciate that type of behavior. However, note that this does not mean that
a pro's work may not be criticized; that's considered fair game.

For pros who are both particularly active on r.a.c. and who generate a high
volume of queries or comments about their work, a convention has developed to
call their attention to such posts. Prefix the Subject: of such posts with
their initials, logins, or last names in all capital letters, followed by a
colon. For example, if you wanted to address a query to Peter David, you'd
have: Subject: PAD: When will Aquaman encounter Suicide Squid?

The ones this seems to happen with are:
Dan Chichester: DGCHI:
Peter David: PAD:
Mark Evanier: ME:
Steve Gerber: SG:
Steve Lieber: SL: or LIEBER:
Dave Rawson: RAWSON:
Mark Waid: MWAID: or WAID:
Dan Vado: DV: or DANSLAVE:
Tom Brevoort: BREVOORT

Finally, general compliments/fan mail should be sent to creators via email
rather than posted. Unless the post will be of interest to someone other than
you and the creator, it's bad netiquette to post rather than email. Note that
many creators (and other "real world" celebrities on the net) get such massive
amounts of email that you should not expect an answer or even that your email
will be read. After all, if they spend all their time reading and answering
email, they won't have time to do the creative work that's getting them all
that email in the first place. But keep in mind that sending email to
Compuserve addresses is considered rude due to Compuserve's practice of
charging the recipient $.15 per Internet message.

A4. What are the email addresses of comics companies?

The following is an alphabetical list of either official company addresses or
addresses of someone who works at the company who's willing to accept email.

Antarctic Press: antarc@texas.net

Comic Shop News: wardo@jupiter.netdepot.com or cliffbig@netdepot.com

COMX-TV: aa277@freenet.buffalo.edu

Dark Horse Comics: dhc@teleport.com

DC Comics: dcconline@aol.com (note it's "dcc" not just "dc")

Double Diamond Press: hepcats@eden.com

Extreme Studios: mhawk38882@aol.com

Harris Comics: smb25@columbia.edu

Image Comics: kellyimage@aol.com

Kitchen Sink Press: jamieksp@AOL.com
320 Riverside Drive
Northampton, MA 01060
413-586-9525 Voice
413-586-7040 Fax
800-365-SINK (7465) For catalog requests and credit card orders

Malibu Comics: rolandmann@aol.com

Mermaid Publications: yaghoob@unixg.ubc.ca

Mojo Press: mojo@eden.com

MU Press/AEON: e.vick1@genie.geis.com

Oktober Black Press: cward@ultradata.com

Quality Communications Ltd: comics@Quality.win-uk.net

Sky Comics: souder@rs4.tcs.tulane.edu

Slave Labor Graphics: danslave@aol.com

Twist and Shout Comics: n0abt%town2@ncl.ac.uk

Warp Graphics: elfquest@elfquest.com

Westfield Comics (subscription service): JWEGERT@DELPHI.COM
will send a free catalog if you send name and address.

World Comics: megalon@teleport.com

To the best of my knowledge, no other companies are formally on the net,
as opposed to people who happen to work for companies.

A5. What letter columns or comic strip creators can I e-mail to?

ANTARCTIC PRESS: antarc@texas.net Letters to any AP title can be mailed to
this address. It is suggested that your Subject: be something like
Subject: Letter of comment for TITLE

ARLO AND JANIS: arlnjan@aol.com

AVANT GUARD: Stephen Conley sconley@aol.com

BABY BLUES: Rick Kirkman cortneylov@aol.com

BIZARRO: bizarro95@aol.com (while this comics panel doesn't have a letter column, Dan Piraro, its creator, has solicited comments from readers)

BONE: Jeff Smith 71732.1342@CompuServe.COM

COMICS INTERNATIONAL: Comics@Quality.win-uk.net or Comic@Squonk.win-uk.net
Subject should be: Comics International (etc)

DARK HORSE COMICS in general: dhc@teleport.com
Letters to any Dark Horse comic can be mailed to this address, and
they will be forwarded to the editor/creator in charge of the specific
book. It is suggested that your Subject: be something like
Subject: Letter of comment for TITLE

DC COMICS in general: dcconline@aol.com (specify which letter column it
should go to, and on the safe side state they have permission to reprint
your email message. Note the "extra" c in the address; it's "dcc" not "dc").

DILBERT: scottadams@aol.com (while this comics strip doesn't have a letter
column, Scott Adams, its creator, has solicited comments from readers)

DON SIMPSON'S BIZARRE HEROES: 73613.1376@compuserve.com
Note: the letters can be inserted directly from CIS into his publishing
program, so he requests that you include a greeting (Dear Don, etc.)
and use paragraphs and tabs, followed by your name and email address.
In other words, send email exactly as you'd like it to appear in the
letter column.

ELFQUEST: All Elfquest family books have individual email addresses for
letters. These are:
New Blood newblood@elfquest.com
Shards shards@elfquest.com
Jink jink@elfquest.com
The Rebels rebels@elfquest.com
Hidden Years hiddenyears@elfquest.com

Blood of Ten Chiefs botc@elfquest.com

FAN (Overstreet Magazine): fanmail1@aol.com or fanmag@jagunet.com

FRANK & ERNEST: FandEBobT@aol.com

STEVEN GRANT: steven_grant@tscnet.eskimo.com
Willing to take letters for books he writes.

HEPCATS: hepcats@eden.com

HERO MAGAZINE: 74544.1144@CompuServe.COM (place "Letters to the Editor,
HERO ILLUSTRATED" in the Subject: line)

MILESTONE COMICS: Posts are being considered for letter columns. Recommended
procedure is to put MILESTONE: in the Subject: line, and include a line
at the beginning of the message body that you are submitting the post for
letters page publication.

MR BOFFO: boffo97507@aol.com

MU PRESS/AEON: E.VICK1@genie.geis.com

OVER THE HEDGE: michaelfry@aol.com

NEGATIVE BURN: 72164.1134@compuserve.com

NEW GODS: wootinie@aol.com (Chris Eades, assistant editor of the book)

ROSE IS ROSE: pbrady8222@aol.com

SHERMAN'S LAGOON: slagoon@aol.com

STRANGERS IN PARADISE: Terry Moore 71552.2233@compuserve.com

THATCH: ThatchMail@aol.com

TEKNO COMICS: tkno99a@prodigy.com

TOM THE DANCING BUG: tomdbug@aol.com

VISITOR: jhurricane@aol.com (editor Jesse Berdinka)

A6. Who is Suicide Squid?

Short answer: Suicide Squid is the de facto r.a.c. mascot. Squiddy was
accidently created in April, 1991 when a netter wanted to ask the question
"Can someone tell me what's going on in Suicide Squad?" and typed an "i"
for the "a" in Squad. Many netters responded with what had been going on
in the Suicide Squid comic, which was a pretty good trick since it didn't
really exist. People then tried to reconcile the different versions of the
comic, and it mushroomed from there. Suicide Squid is now used in r.a.c.
posts for a generic comic book title when one is needed, or as a way of
commenting satirically on various events in comics. The current
writer/artist of the book is usually said to be Alonzo Mori, and the SS
fan club is the Black Ink Irregulars. The annual r.a.c. Awards are often
refered to as the Squiddies, and the r.a.c. team in the last three San Diego
Comicon trivia contests has gone by the name of the Black Ink Irregulars
(and won all three years).

A copy of the Squid relevant parts of just about every post mentioning
Squiddy since his creation is kept at theory.lcs.mit.edu in the FTPable
file pub/wald/suicide-squid. As you might expect, it's quite large but
fun to read.

There are Suicide Squid t-shirts, and wearing them is a good way to be
recognized by other r.a.c.ers at cons, signings, and other events.

A7. How can I get a Suicide Squid t-shirt?

There have been three runs of these shirts, sold only to r.a.c.ers and a few
comics professionals. The art was done by pro artist Ty Templeton, and the
shirts have appeared on an episode of Parker Lewis Can't Lose (then on Fox,
now being rerun on USA Cable in the U.S.) and on Prisoners of Gravity, an
Ontario public TV show about science fiction and comics which is also shown on
some PBS stations in the U.S.. A Squid shirt appeared regularly on the '93-4
season of Prisoners of Gravity.

The third run has been mailed out. There may be extras. Send email to
tyg@hq.ileaf.com to be put on a waiting list or to be put on a mailing list
for a fourth run should the third run be sold out (fourth run probably won't
happen until Fall '95, but could go earlier if a lot of interest).

A8. Who is Paul?

Paul is essentially Suicide Squid mark 2. Someone posted about a rumor that
Marvel was going to kill off one of their characters and concluded the post
with a list of possibilities, one per line. Underneath the last, they had
their name, "Paul". People promptly jumped on this, and started constructing a
comics continuity for a character named Paul. The continuity frequently made
reference to the christian disciple Paul and his history. There is no
relation between this Paul and the New England Comics character and comic book
Paul the Samurai.


B1. What's this about Sandman ending?

Neil Gaiman has announced that Sandman will end with #75 as a regular series.
The Kindly Ones was the last multi-issue major storyline. It will be followed
by a short storyline titled The Wake (#70-72ish), and a some standalone one
issue stories, possibly including an issue about what it's been like to write
Sandman. The final issue will be The Tempest, drawn by Charles Vess. Neil's
announced his intent to continue to do specials and mini-series about the
Endless and their supporting cast, but not as a continuing, regular, series.
DC will be doing an anthology series called The Dreaming, with stories mostly
about the existing DC characters Neil moved into the Dreaming such as Cain and
Abel and the like.

B2. When is the 1995 San Diego Comics Convention

The 1995, 26th Annual, SDCC takes place July 27-30. This is the largest
comics convention in North America, with literally thousands of pros, a huge
dealer's room, and interesting programming...and 35,000 or so total attendees.
Not to mention that the r.a.c. trivia team, the Black Ink Irregulars, has won
the trivia bowl the last three years, and will be going up against
a team of comics professionals this year as a special event)

Featured guests this year include: Neil Gaiman, James Gurney, Jeff Smith,
Joe Sinnott, Ramona Fradon, Stan Sakai, Mike Baron, art spiegelman,
Francoise Mouly, and Alan Davis

Until April 15, registration is $40 for all four days for adults, $20 for
children under 16 and seniors over 60. Children under 7 are free when
accompanied by an adult member.

San Diego Comic Convention
P.O. Box 128458
San Diego, CA 92112-8458
Tel: (619) 491-2475 Fax: (619) 544-0743

There is a World Wide Web page with up to the minute information at

B3. What and When/Where are the Spirits Of Independence Conventions?

These are conventions "sponsored" by Dave Sim/Cerebus and a local
self-publisher and retailer in each of the towns holding a SOI convention.
Ones scheduled so far, with creators scheduled to attend and the retailer
sponsor are: (Dave Sim and Gerhard will be at all conventions)

Chicago, Illinois - August 12, 1995
Larry Marder, Evan Dorkin, Steve Bissette
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - September 9, 1995
Don Simpson, Bill Tucci, Steve Bissette
Phoenix, Arizona - October 7, 1995
James Owen
Kansas City, Missouri - November 4, 1995
Richard Corben, Steve Bissette
Kitchener, Ontario - December 3, 1995
Steve Bissette

More information can be found at:
A complete text file containing all on the homepage except for maps and
graphics is available via anonymous ftp from:

B4. Whatever happened to Akira, Big Numbers, D'arc Tangent, Grimjack,
Miracleman, 1963, Mage II, Eye of Mogambo, Sweeny Todd, and Puma Blues?

These are all series at least seemingly vanished without having actually
been cancelled, and in the midst of an active storyline. There are different
reasons for each.

AKIRA: According to its US editor, Marie Javins, Akira #34 ships in August
1995 and is monthly thereafter until #38. #37 and 38 will contain tributes by
western artists and writers such as Moebius, Mark Texeira, Alex Toth, and Kent
Williams. Whether the trade paperback collections will be completed is up in
the air.

BIG NUMBERS: Two issues of the twelve issue series came out, written by Alan
Moore and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz. It's unclear whether #3 with art by
Sienkiewicz was completed or not. At any rate, the book went on hiatus in
order to build up inventory. Sienkiewicz left the project, and was replaced
by his former assistant Al Columbia. Columbia apparently finished the art
for one issue, and then destroyed it (the two most common stories are either
he burned it or tore it up and make a collage out of it). Moore would like
to see it finished, but hasn't found an artist for it.

D'ARC TANGENT: One issue of this came out back around 1982 from the team of
Phil Foglio, Connor Freff Cochran (who at the time went only by Freff), and
Melissa Singer. It was good and is missed. Foglio and Freff had a serious
falling out by the time of issue two, leading to lawyers. I won't try to
explain that, as both sides still have very different explanations. Instead,
here's the current, legally determined, status. Foglio has rights to do a DT
comic as of April 20, 1995. DT ideas from Freff and Singer are not to be
used. Should there be a movie, Freff and Singer control any comic book
adaptation of it. Freff has original novel rights, and Singer has all
secondary rights. As of 1993, Freff was working on DT screenplays, but I've
no further knowledge of this. As of late 1994, Foglio stated not to expect
any D'arc Tangent work from him until at least after the current 8 issue
Buck Godot series wraps up, as he's busy with that, Xxxenophile, and doing
work for the Magic:The Addiction people.

GRIMJACK: Creator John Ostrander would like to start up Grimjack again, but
the rights are held by what's left of First Comics after various corporate
buyouts and mergers. He's said that he gets the rights back after five years
without publication though. There may also be a question about the ownership
of Cynosure, since it was both created by someone else, and used extensively
within the First "universe". Cynosure is also the name of a new comic by
completely separate people, so it's not even clear what the trademark status
is. On the other hand, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski is currently
working on a script for a Grimjack feature film. It'll be an adaptation of
the Demon Wars/Dancer storyline, and JMS plans to be as true to the source
as possible. He's a long time comics fan and should do a good job.

MIRACLEMAN: Was published by Eclipse Comics, which basically disentegrated for
both market and personal reasons. The problem is that Miracleman is owned by a
combination of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham (most recent creators, and
owners of Alan Moore's original share), Eclipse's former owners (the company
legally ceased to be in December 1994), and possibly by the original British
publisher although the last is less certain. At any rate, in order for it to
be published again, all owners would have to agree as to where, when, and
under what terms. This is unlikely to happen any time soon. Here's what
Neil Gaiman had to say about it in May '95:

"Let's see. Eclipse filed for bankruptcy some time ago, fairly secretly.
(At least, I've heard nothing from Dean about it.) I'm owed money by them,
so is Mark Buckingham.

MM 25 was finished years ago. They had it in a drawer for over a year, but
never published it. Nor did they pay Mark for drawing it.

I managed to get the artwork back for MM 25 before the bankruptcy.

The legal status of Miracleman is a can of worms you'd not believe."

1963: The mini-series finished, and was supposed to be wrapped up in an
80-page Giant with artwork by the Image founders as the 1963 characters
crossed over with the present day Imageverse. This hasn't happened, and it
is rumored that the delays lie with the artwork. It's not on the schedule,
and no one seems to know when or if it'll be coming out. Meanwhile, the
1963 characters were used in an issue of Shadowhawk.

MAGE II: Matt Wagner's Mage series was supposed to have a followup. It has
become a cliche in r.a.c. circles that the statement "Mage II will be out
in 18 months" is time invariant. Who knows when it'll actually appear, but
r.a.c.ers won't believe reports of it until they have it in their hot little

EYE OF MOGAMBO: According to Martin Wagner, "Doug Grey was so disenchanted by
the lousy sales of Eye of Mongombo that he just gave up on the series after 7
of its 10 issues and went back to the world of commercial art. A true shame."

SWEENEY TODD: The last information from Neil Gaiman was that once Michael Zulli
and himself had cleared room on their schedules for it, work would proceed.
However, no further information as to when it might be available is

PUMA BLUES: According to Michael Zulli in 4/95, it is very unlikely we'll
see any more of this series. No reason given.

B5. What's this about Marvel buying Heroes World? And DC going exclusive
with Diamond? Why does this matter?

In early 1995, Marvel bought Heroes World distributors, which had been a
general comics distributor based in the New York/New Jersey area. As of July
1995, Marvel & Malibu Comics will be sold exclusively through Heroes World
Distribution. Few other items will be distributed through Heroes World, and
most non-Marvel/Malibu comics are not among those few. Retailers will have to
order comics through multiple sources, as opposed to the former
all-encompassing services of Capital City, Diamond, and similar distributors.

Why should this matter to you? For starters, most comic retailers will have a
slightly smaller discount than before, hence reduced profitability. Some
stores may be forced out of business this year. It's also the case that
Marvel will have better information about what comics sell where. It's been
theorized that this may help lead to Marvel Stores similar to Disney or
Warner Bros. Stores.

As fallout from this, late April 1995 saw an announcement that as of July 1,
DC comics will be exclusively distributed through Diamond distributors.
Diamond will continue to distribute other comics though.

Due to lost profits and an uncertain market, your local store may cut back on
comics sold off the rack. You are STRONGLY advised to talk to your retailer,
and make your buying preferences known in advance. We live in interesting
times, and open communication is more important than ever.

It's also the case that determining Marvel's market share and sales will
be much more difficult than before, when Diamond and Capital City released
information about company market shares and relative ordering of different
books. Since only Heroes World will carry Marvel, there will be no way of
obtaining this comparative information.

Some posters believe this is an evil act. Others believe that MEG is no more
evil than any other multinational conglomerate. Changes in the industry (such
as the rise of Image Comics) have cost MEG millions of sales, and Marvel
wants that market share back. What is certain is that the comics industry
and markets will be in a state of flux for the next year or so, much more
so than usual.


C1. Where does the money go from buying a comic?

Per a January 1995 post from Matt High of Antarctic Comics, this rough guide.
Mileage may vary among different publishers, but this should be reasonably

"Out of the cover price of our books ($2.75/2.95 usually):
40-45% goes to the retailer
20-25% goes to the distributor
13% goes to the printer
7-8% goes to the creators/artists
2% goes to shipping (UPS/USPS)
the remainder (10-12%) goes to the publisher (salaries, rent, utilities,
supplies, advertising, etc).
Antarctic Press is at the second-highest discount level...We sell distributors
books at 65% off cover price, they turn around and resell them for 35-50% off.
Marvel and DC sell their books to the distributors at 59-62% off, and they
turn around and resell them to the stores at 40-57.5% off."

C2. How can I become a pro comics writer or artist?

Let's start with the bad news. Right now, there are basically four ways
to become a pro comics writer.

  1. Get a job with a comics company. This way, you'll know of needed stories
    the day they're needed, the editors will know you, etc. Notice how many new
    Marvel writers are Marvel assistant editors or have other jobs at Marvel?

  2. Get a reputation for writing outside the comics field. DC seems more
    open to this than other companies (Nancy Collins, Rachel Pollack, Lewis
    Shiner, Paul Dini, Sam Hamm, etc.), but if Stephen King walked into Marvel
    and said he wanted to write a comic, they'd fall over themselves getting
    him one.

  3. Learn to draw. Sort of like one, but wartists are becoming more and
    more common these days. But see below for artists.

  4. Start your own comic or comic company. Expect to lose money. But you'll
    get to write your own comic without company constraints, and you'll have
    a portfolio if you decide to go for the big time. And who knows; it might
    even take off and make money. But don't count on it or quit your day job
    until you're sure based on several issues worth of sales.

Notice that none of these say "Write up one page story submissions and
mail them to a company". To be blunt, in the current market, your odds of
getting in doing that are incredibly low. You might, and I'll be the first
to congratulate you if you can pull it off, but frankly the four ways
mentioned here are *much* more likely to succeed. And note that none of
them offer great odds either.

Becoming a pro comics artist is a lot easier, but still tough. As the old
joke about making chicken soup goes, first catch a chicken. Or in this case,
actually be able to draw at a professional level of quality. What you need
to do is make up a portfolio showing that you can draw comics, and not just
pin-ups. Do about 4-6 pages of storytelling, with multiple panels on the
pages showing that you can work with the flow of a story. Don't skimp on
backgrounds; show you can draw buildings, cars, trees, civilians not in skin
tight suits, etc. Also, when you do this, note your speed. If you can't draw
one professionally ready page per working day, you're too slow for a monthly
book. Keep this in mind when looking for work; you can kill your rep by
claiming to be much faster than you are and then blowing deadlines due to
the lie catching up with you.

Then you can either mail (photocopies) of your art to companies, or, if you
can, go to any major comics conventions in your area and show your work to
editors and possibly artists at the company tables. At the very least,
you'll get some useful criticism of your work. At the best, you may end up
getting an assignment.

There's also the Joe Kubert School in New Jersey, founded by long time
comics artist Joe Kubert. It's oriented towards producing comics artists,
and a number of alumni have gotten jobs in the industry. Doesn't hurt in
making contacts either, as many of the instructors are working comics
artists. Its adddress is: The Joe Kubert School, 37 Myrtle Ave., Dover, NJ
07801 (201)361-1327.

Online, check out the resources listed in Part 6 of the Welcome messages
and detailed in parts 7-10. In particular, look for SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
and COMICS GROUND. The latter is an on-line resource for aspiring comics
creators to display their work for commentary and criticism, as well as
make connections with other creators. Also look at SELF PUBLISHING PRIMER
in part 9.

C3. What are the Ages of comics?

If you read comics for any length of time, you'll encounter references to
Golden Age and Silver Age comics. While I'm personally fond of the science
fiction definition of Golden Age ("The Golden Age of science fiction is
twelve" i.e. whatever you read at that age was your Golden Age), in comics
it's generally used to refer to comics from the 30s and 40s and those
superhero comics that continued into the 50s. There is then a gap of a few
years with no real name for the comics published in that period. The Silver
Age is generally considered to have begun with either the first appearance
of the Martian Manhunter in Detective Comics, or the Barry Allen Flash in
Showcase, both around 1955. However, Marvel's Silver Age is considered to
start with the publication of Fantastic Four #1 in 1961.

As for the ending date of the Silver Age, it gets fuzzy. Pretty much all of
the 60s and little of the 70s are included. Two events suggested for the
end of the Silver Age are Jack Kirby's move from Marvel to DC and Mort
Weisinger's retirement as editor of the Superman line.

There is no clearly defined Age after the Silver Age, although a number of
possibilities such as Platinum, Bronze, Independent, and (in more depressed
moments) Mylar and Silicon (the last based both on computer coloring and the
ever expanding female breast size in many comics these days) have been
suggested. A number of different events signifying the start of new ages have
also been suggested, such as Giant-Size X-Men #1 (new X-Men introduction),
Cerebus and Elfquest #1 (start of major groundlevel/self-publishing), Pacific
Comics startup (first major independent line), DC's Crisis, and even as late as
Image Comics startup (first creator owned books to fight it out with Marvel and
DC for the top of the sales charts). It can be amusing to chat about it, but
it's doubtful that any real conclusions will be reached; they haven't been so
far, and there've been a *lot* of iterations of this discussion over the years.

C4. What was the first #0 issue?

Zap Comix #0 came out in the late 60s/early 70s. Apparently the art to what
would have been Zap #1 was stolen, and Robert Crumb did new art that became
the published Zap #1. The art was later recovered, and printed as Zap #0.

C5. Who are some of the gay characters in comics?

A short list for DC includes Mindy Meyer's brother (Wonder Woman), Maggie
Sawyer and Toby Gaines (Superman), Extrano (New Guardians), Pied Piper
(Flash), perhaps Jan Arrah, Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet (Legion of
Superheroes v4). It has also been suggested that the Amazons in WW are gay to
some extent. Watchmen had Silouette, Hooded Justice, Captain Metropolis, and
possibly others. Fighting American #6 has about the most unambiguous coming
out scene you're ever likely to see in a code-approved comic.

In the Vertigo line, there are numerous gay characters. Offhand, Hazel,
Foxglove, Judy, Cluracan, and Hal in Sandman, along with Judy. Lenny and
Kathy in Shade, Ray Monde in Hellblazer, Liz Tremayne in Swamp Thing, and

Marvel has Northstar, perhaps Mystique and Destiny. Mystique has been
revealed to have mothered two children, and it's strongly implied that she
had sex with Wolverine in Wolverine #51, so if she is gay, she's bi-. Note
that according to Chris Claremont, his planned origin for Nightcrawler had
Mystique, a shape-changer, being Kurt's father and Destiny being the mother.
At the time, Mystique was in male form and sufficiently traumatized from war
incidents to not realize her true gender or past. Hector of the Pantheon in
Hulk is gay; while at first this was somewhat hinted around in the comic and
only stated in Peter David's CBG column, he has now explicitly stated his
orientation in the comic. Justice's father was gay, but in the main Marvel
timeline he closeted himself due to pressure/abuse from his father and
passed to the degree of marrying and having a kid. From Malibu, Spectral
(The Strangers) and Pinnacle (Mantra) are gay.

In the Milestone line, Fade in Blood Syndiate is gay, and Masquerade is
what amounts to a self operated transsexual, although it's unclear what
his orientation is beyond that. Donner and Blitzen in Shadow Cabinet
are lesbian partners, and Rick, a supporting character in Static, is gay.

Warp Graphics has stated that all elves in the Elfquest comics are omnisexual,
with some cases of explicit gay relationships such as Dart and Kimo.

At Image, Sarah, aka Rainmaker, in Gen13 is lesbian.
Others include the women warriors in Epic's _Sisterhood of Steel_, Barney (The
Masked Man), the woman from _Detectives, Inc._, Robbie and Rik from _Omaha_,
and Terry, Pam, and George from _Zot!_. Several characters are either gay or
bi in _Love and Rockets_. _Desert Peach_ has a gay main character, Erwin
Rommel's (fictitious) younger brother.

Many of the above are gays-written-by-straights and are of questionable
merit. Others have been said by gays to have been handled quite well.

C6. Where can I buy original comics art?

OK, so strictly speaking, this isn't a FAQ. However, the following
strikes me as useful enough info to include here.

Four Color Images, the comic art gallery, sells original art by a large number
of comics artists. They're located at 32 Watts St. New York City, NY 10013,
212-431-4234, ComicArt@aol.com, and are open M-Sat 11-7. A catalog is
available by mail.

Also, the following will send a free sample catalog upon request:
Graphic Collectibles, 22 Blue Hills Drive, Saugerties, NY 12477

C7. Where are various comics museums located?

International Museum of Cartoon Art, Boca Raton, FL
Plans to open in January, 1996, Founder - Mort Walker, Board Members include
Will Eisner, Jim Davis and Marty Nodell

Words & Pictures Museum of Fine Sequential Art. Northampton, MA
Curator - Peter Laird, rotating exhibits. Heavy on fantasy art, but a wide
variety of comics art is represented Other highlights include Mark Martin
gargoyles, a large Gilbert Shelton mural, original Wrightson Frankenstein,
McKean, Sim/Gerhard, JJ Muth, etc. Admission normally $3, $1 on Wed.

Museum of Cartoon Art, Rye, NY
Windsor McKay originals, Bathroom graffiti by 100s of cartoonists, including
Will Eisner (i.e. when a cartoonist visits, they're invited to draw on
the bathroom walls.

Comic Art Museum, San Francisco CA
Rotating exhibits of original comic strip and comic book art

National Gallery of Caricature and Cartoon Art, Washington, D.C.
The museum was made possible by four cartoonists: Thomas F. Gibson, William
Rechin, Pat Oliphant and J. Arthur Wood. The gallery is built around Wood's
cartoon collection. The hours are 11-4 Tuesdays through Saturdays, no
admission charge and it's located at 1317 F. St. N.W.

Michigan State University Library
Not quite a museum, but they have a, to my knowledge, unsurpassed special
collection of comics. The comics are available for reading in a reading
room; you fill out a request and the librarian brings back the comic,
which you read in a specific room. No stack browsing.

C8. Where did the "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog" cartoon

Page 61 of the July 5, 1993 issue of the New Yorker.

C9. How do you spell/pronounce the last name of artist Bill Sienkiewicz?

It's spelled as above, and pronounced "sin-KEV-itch".

C10. What is "The Cowboy Wally Show"?

TCWS is a graphic novel written and drawn by Kyle Baker around 1988. It was
done for Doubleday, not a regular comics publisher, and thus showed up in
bookstores rather than comics stores. In a strip in Spy Magazine in 1993,
Baker comments that more copies were returned than were published; it's
hard to tell how much he was exaggerating.

At any rate, this book is now out of print and very hard to find. To give you
an idea, Jim Cowling bought a copy via an ad on the net for $100. As for why
it's in such demand, Jim later stated it was worth every penny to him. It's a
very funny book, and has contributed numerous .sig quotes to those of us who
have a copy. It's become something of an icon on r.a.c.m., and in the 1993
Alternative Squiddies, one category (inspired by a thread the previous year on
r.a.c.m.) was "Body Part You'd Give Up For A Copy Of The Cowboy Wally Show".
As of August 1994, Baker stated that he only has one copy of it, and had
thought about reprinting it when he does a new book.

C12. Where can I get comics on microfiche/CD-ROM?

Per Mike Kelly, a customer of theirs:
MicroColor International, Inc.
85 Godwin Avenue
Midland Park, New Jersey 07432
Phone 1-800-666-4054 or 201-445-3450 9 am - 6 pm (mon-fri) EST
(EST is GMT minus 5 hours)
FAX: 201-445-2924
Ask for a recent newsletter and order form.

MicroColor sells 5 issues of a comic per set, with the price in early '95 being
$34. Each comic is on its own fiche. The stock is mostly, if not all, from the
Golden Age in the 40s, and from a variety of publishers of that period. They
also have viewers for sale, but most public libraries have viewers you can use
to view microfiche. Apparently they're thinking of getting into CD-ROMs, but so
far no source of reprinted comics on CD-ROM is known to me.


D1. What was the Crisis on Infinite Earths?

The _Crisis on Infinite Earths_ was a 12-issue series published by DC in
1985-6. The "Crisis" effectively revamped the entire DC Universe by
merging several universes (containing the various DC characters) into a
single universe (whose history is still somewhat unclear in parts). The
Crisis was used as an opportunity to change DC history retroactively (see
"retcon" in the list of definitions in part 2), including the remaking of
several main DC characters. Thus people refer to the "post-Crisis" Superman,
Wonder Woman, etc., as distinct from the "pre-Crisis" versions who existed
on "Earth-1" (Silver Age) or "Earth-2" (Golden Age).

The confusion *really* begins because the revamping and "retconning" didn't
all take place in the Crisis limited series itself, nor in the comics
immediately after then. If DC had simply started all their series over from
scratch, things would have been pretty straightforward. Instead, they declared
the Pre-Crisis history to be implicitly intact, until and unless they could
explicitly create the new, post-Crisis versions of characters and histories.

Thus, new changes were still being made in titles up to eight years after the
end of Crisis. So, for example, the "old" Hawkman appeared in the "new"
Justice League. But then Timothy Truman began writing _Hawkworld_, which
retconned Hawkman's character; among other changes, Hawkman "now" arrived on
Earth much later. So, the Hawkman who appeared in the new Justice League
comic (call him the Silver Age Hawkman, or the pre-Crisis Hawkman) "now" (in
real world time) "no longer exists, and never has" (within current DC

But then the creators realized the problem, so they said that most of the
Silver Age Hawkman appearances in JLA were actually by the Golden Age Hawkman,
and a new Hawkman was created whose purpose was to satisfy those few JLA
appearances made after the GA Hawkman was known to have been MIA.

Confused yet? Suffice it to say, the way DC handled the Crisis and its
aftermath confuses *lots* of readers and provides a perennial topic of
discussion on r.a.c.misc. Zero Hour was said to be an attempt to "fix"
problems caused by Crisis and part of the McGuffin for Zero Hour was that
Crisis actually didn't end, and all continuity problems until ZH were symptoms
of this. (see next question).

There has been the occasional announcement that Crisis would be reprinted as a
trade paperback, but the latest word from DC is that they feel it would be too
expensive and don't plan to do so.

D2. What was Zero Hour?

Zero Hour was intended to fix problems resulting from inconsistant post-Crisis
DC continuity. It was a five issue mini-series in summer 1994 which will cause
price guides fits since the order of the issues was #4, #3, #2, #1, #0. The
month after Zero Hour, all mainstream DC Universe books were #0 issues, making
it even more fun for indexers.

The #0 issue had a timeline of the DC Universe which is considered definitive.
The end result of Zero Hour was the killing off and aging to their proper age
several Justice Society members, and a resetting of the DC Universe such that
it's much the same as the post-Crisis but with "subtle differences". So far,
the only specific differences stated are:
# It's no longer true that Batman has caught his parents' killer.
# Bruce Wayne did officially adopt Dick Grayson
# Dick Grayson had a traumatic experience in his early days as Robin relating
to failing to prevent someone being killed by Two-Face. This has seems to
have caused a character change to his being much more self doubting.
# Batman and Talia never had a son (from the Son of the Demon gn)
# Catwoman's origin was completed revamped in Catwoman #0. Changes include her
no longer having been a prostitute (which was itself a post-Crisis retcon),
her not having a sister, and not having been trained by Ted (Wildcat) Grant.
# Legion of Super-Heroes/Legionnaires: both books have started over completely
from scratch, similar to the post-Crisis reboot of Superman and Wonder Woman.
Past continuity has some effect on the books, but the writers are free to
chuck it if they want to.
# Wonder Woman does not have her powers on Paradise Island
# Contrary to what was said in the early 1990s JSA series about her having
died when the JSA was in limbo, Al (Atom) Pratt's wife, Mary, was killed
shortly after giving birth to Grant (Damage) Emerson circa 14-15 years
before the JSA entered limbo. This would also invalidate her appearance in
a pre-Crisis "Whatever Happened to the Golden Age Atom" story in DC Comics
Presents, since she would have died before the current heroic age began.
# According to Christopher Priest, he was told circa June 1995 that Batman
and J'onn J'onzz no longer know each other, and Batman has
never been in the Justice League. This is strange, given that the JL's
Year One annual, out just weeks before (and after Zero Hour) had Batman
in it (and J'onn J'onzz for that matter)

D3. Where can I find "Man of Steel, Women of Kleenex"?

In the late 1960s, Larry Niven wrote a hysterically funny essay in which he
speculated about possible problems that the pre-Crisis Superman would have in
attempting to reproduce or just have sex with a Terran. The essay appears in
Niven's collections _All the Myriad Ways_ and _N-Space_, and in the anthology
_Alien Sex_. And yes, we know that Niven didn't take the bottle city of Kandor
into account. The story was also reprinted in Penthouse Comix #5, with some
illustrations by Curt Swan (with all trademarked Superman indicators like
costume colors and S-shield obscured).

D4. What are the different types of Kryptonite?

Post-Crisis there have been only three main types, of which only one has made
more than one appearance. This, usually refered to just as "kryptonite", is
green and has similar effects on Kryptonians as pre-Crisis Green K. While it
has no immediate effect on Terrans or other races, prolonged exposure has
resulted in cancer due to radiation.

Mr. Mxyzptlk created a chunk of Red Kryptonite, which effectively removed
Superman's powers for a time.

In the Pocket Universe storyline, Superman encountered what amounted to a
rainbow of types of pre-Crisis Kryptonite. He was not affected by any of it,
although PU Kryptonians were.

Pre-Crisis, there were numerous types. These were:

Green Kryptonite: weakens and eventually kills super-powered Kryptonians.
Usually harmless to other races, but one story in Brave and the Bold had a
device used which resulted in Terrans being affected similar to Kryptonians.

Anti-Kryptonite: similar to Green K, but affects non-super-powered
Kryptonians. This was a retcon used to explain why the non-powered Argo
City residents could be killed by what seemed to be Green K.

X-Kryptonite: Only one chunk, it was created by Supergirl trying to find a
cure for Green K. It gives Terrans, or at least Terran cats, Kryptonian
style powers for a limited time.

Red Kryptonite: Causes a specific, odd, effect. Often involved physical
transformations or mental changes. Each chunk had a different effect, and
could only affect a given Kryptonian once. Effects usually wore off in
24-48 hours. Created when Green K passed through a space cloud.

Gold Kryptonite: Removes a Kryptonian's super-powers permanently. Created
when Green K passed through a different space cloud.

White Kryptonite: Kills any plant life from any world. Yep, another space

Blue Kryptonite: Has the same effect on Bizarro Kryptonians as Green K does
on real Kryptonians. Created by the same imperfect duplicator ray that
created the Bizarros.

Jewel Kryptonite: Remnents of Krypton's Jewel Mountains, it allows Phantom
Zone residents to focus their mental energy and cause explosions in the
outside world.

Two notable fake varieties are Silver and Yellow K. Silver was used to keep
Superman from closely investigating what turned out to be a 25th (silver)
anniversary gift for him from his friends, and Yellow was used by Luthor to
fake out what he thought was Superman. It turned out it was a Superman
robot ordered to react to Kryptonite like the real thing. When Luthor found
this out, he returned all the gold from Fort Knox which he'd stolen.

D5. Where are the "real" locations of Metropolis, Gotham City, Hub City,
etc., in the DC Universe?

Metropolis and Gotham City have been equated to *many* different real-world
cities over the years; there is no one correct answer. (Even if there were,
the current writers are under no duress to use it.) Hub City, from _The
Question_, is a bit different; it is based on a combination of two cities in
Illinois, one of which is definitely East St. Louis. Writer Denny O'Neil
admitted this at one point, but no longer does so in order not to offend
residents of the cities.

Metropolis, as originally developed by Siegel and Shuster, was probably
Cleveland, the "big city" with which they were most familiar. There are also
possible early references to Toronto. Later, Superman's home was moved to
somewhere in the BosWash corridor on the U.S. East Coast. _Who's Who in the
Legion of Superheroes_ showed a 30th century Metropolis, which stretched
slightly beyond New York and Boston in either direction, and used those names
explicitly in the description of Metropolis. John Byrne seemed to think it
was back in the midwest.

Gotham is a traditional nickname for New York City, but there is a separate
NYC in the DC universe. It is definitely a port city, probably on the east
coast; too much plot has depended on that fact. Again, various sources have
placed Gotham City all along the east coast, often near Metropolis. The
distance to Metropolis has also varied; from hundreds of miles to linked by a

In DC Comics Presents #87 (Maggin written, Schwartz edited), Superman is
transported to Earth-Prime, which, pre-Crisis, was supposedly our Earth. His
thoughts are:

"The Earth's there all right...but everything's out of place! New York is
sprawled out all over where Gotham is supposed to be...Boston suburbs cover
Star City...and Metropolis is...Metropolis is nowhere to be seen!"

Also, in Adventures of Superman #425, Clark and Lois board a train travelling
from Atlanta to Metropolis. Cities mentioned as in-between stops are
Charlotte, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Gotham City, in that order.
This would seem to imply that both Gotham and Metropolis are in New Jersey as
the train is heading in a northern direction and New York City is not

Frank Miller once claimed that, metaphorically, "Metropolis is New York in the
daytime, while Gotham is New York at night." Works for me.

Mayfair Games published an Atlas of the DC Universe, written by DC staffer
Paul Kupperberg. While not completely official, it does jibe with locations
that DC used when its house fanzine of the mid-70s discussed this same
question. The locations given for the main DC fictional cities are:

Metropolis: Delaware
Gotham City: New Jersey
Star City: far nothern California
Coast City: on 101 near Sausalito between San Francisco and Oakland
[Now destroyed, but based on maps shown in the Superman
titles, seemingly moved to midway between LA and SF.]
Middleton (where J'onn J'Onzz first operated): suburb of Denver
Littleville (Robby Reed): Wyoming
Blue Valley (Kid Flash): northwest Nebraska, near South Dakota
Central City/Keystone City: a bit north of Kansas City, Central is in
Missouri while Keystone is in Kansas on the other side of the Mississippi
Calvin City/Ivy Town (Atoms): both in Connecticut near New Haven
Dos Rios (El Diablo): 65 miles south of San Antonio
Fairfax (2nd Dial H for Hero): suburb of Bangor, Maine
Midway City (Doom Patrol, Hawkman): Michigan, just east of Sault Ste. Marie
Smallville: Kansas, 50 miles west of the I-70/I-35 interchange on I-70.
The population is given as 90,000 btw.

Many people have noted errors in the geographical plausibility of the above
entries. For example, the state borders near the Mississippi and Missouri
Rivers are obviously different in the DC Universe than in our world, and Coast
City can only be "between San Franciso and Oakland" if one intends to drive
from one city to the other without bothering to use the bridge that directly
connects the two. These are from the Mayfair Games book, which was obviously
not edited as scrupulously as the r.a.c Welcome posting. :-)

John Byrne is moving Wonder Woman to Gateway City, a fictional city not listed
in the Mayfair Atlas. However, it was previously used at least twice. Once
as the home of Jim (Spectre) Corrigan in the 1960s Spectre series, and it
was mentioned as the final home of Terry (Mr. Terrific) Sloane in the JLA/JSA
team-up where he was killed. At the time, Gateway City was on Earth-2, and
given the Gateway Arch lookalike shown in Spectre, was clearly meant to be
a St. Louis analog. However, Byrne has said that his Gateway City will be
similar to San Francisco. Blame it on Crisis I guess.

One final note: There's an actual small town in southern Illinois named
Metropolis, located about twenty miles north of where the Mississippi and Ohio
Rivers meet. Their "Welcome to Metropolis" sign has "Home of Superman" on it,
they have a Superman statue on display, and every year they have a Superman
festival. The local paper, a weekly, is called the Metropolis Planet.

D6. Who were the original Charlton equivalents to the characters in

Alan Moore's original proposal for Watchmen used characters from Charlton
Comics who had recently been purchased by DC. However, these characters
dated from the time then DC Editor-in-Chief Dick Giordano was in a similar
position at Charlton, and he wanted to make use of the characters after
Watchmen was over, which for a number of them wouldn't have really been
feasible. So Moore changed the characters to originals, but who can still
be matched up well with the preexisting Charlton characters (even without
cheating and looking in the back of the Graphitti Watchmen hardcover where
Moore's notes list the match-ups).

The match-ups are:
Blue Beetle I & II - Night Owl I & II
The Question - Rorschach
Nightshade - Silk Spectre II
Peacemaker - The Comedian
Captain Atom - Dr. Manhattan

Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt - Ozymandius

Other characters had no direct Charlton counterparts. In particular, the
Minutemen were a Moore creation.

D7. Can Superman become President of the United States?

The question here comes from the following U.S. Constitution passage:
Art. II, ss. 1, cl. 5, "No Person except a natural born Citizen. . . shall be
eligible to the Office of President." Pre-Crisis, Kal-El clearly failed
that requirement as he was around 2-3 years old when he landed on Earth and
was clearly born on Krypton. There was a story circa the mid-370s of Action
Comics where due to amnesia he thought he was the President and disguised
himself as such and carried out a number of duties.

However, post-Crisis, the theory seems to be that he can because Kal-El was
sent to Earth in fetal form and wasn't truly born until the birthing matrix in
the ship opened up in Kansas. While not bound to this, one of the Armageddon
2001 Superman annuals showed a possible future where the Supreme Court ruled
in favor of this interpretation by a 9-0 vote, and Superman became President.


E1. Isn't there a gay Marvel mutant?

Yes. This is Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier) from _Alpha Flight_. When John
Byrne began the series (issues #1-26), he made the point that Jean-Paul was
gay, using tiny hints that are obvious if you're looking for them.

In issue #7, Northstar visits Raymonde Belmonde, presumably a former lover.
In #8, Aurora apparently knows (and disapproves) of his sexual orientation.
In #11's back-up story, James Hudson comments that Northstar didn't seem
too interested in women. There were other tiny hints as well-- nothing
that really made sense unless you knew what to look for.

The hints were subtle enough that you might not get the idea independently.
But if you read the stories with the possibility in mind, it was quite clear.
Later in the series, there were strong hints that Jean-Paul had contracted

Unfortunately, the Editor-in-Chief of Marvel, (there is debate on which
one; Jim Shooter or Tom DeFalco), declared "There are no homosexuals in the
Marvel Universe," and decided to "fix things." After Byrne, Bill Mantlo
was writing Alpha Flight, and he retconned both Northstar and Aurora into
being half-human and half-elf (thus their pointed ears), and decided that
Northstar's sickness was due to being outside of the realm of faerie.

Note that nothing in the faerie storyline indicated that Jean-Paul was
*not* gay, just that he didn't have AIDS. Also, Mantlo should be given
some credit. He dropped several "hints" as well, including issues #28 and
#45 or 46. Unlike Byrne's, these had the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

The "faerie" change was later de-retconned, though I am unfamiliar with the
details. In any case, much later, in issue #106, Northstar held a press
conference is which he came out of the closet (He does *not* have AIDS). A
Marvel editor explained that (paraphrasing), "Many of our readers suspected
the truth all along, but now we decided to make the issue clear." Yeah,

It's also worth noting that the true powers-that-be at Marvel (i.e. way
above the editor-in-chief level and at the corporate level) got very antsy
about this story and the media attention it got. Northstar pretty quickly
effectively went back in the closet in that little if any reference to his
orientation was mentioned during the rest of Alpha Flight's run.

E2. How old is Kitty Pryde (of Excalibur)?

The short answer: Kitty was 13 1/2 when she joined the X-Men. She had her
15th birthday in Excalibur #24. Soren F. Peterson reports that Claremont
spoke at a con the weekend of July 27-28, 1991 and stated without a shadow
of a doubt that Kitty Pryde is only 15. Now, there's no *way* that only 18
months passed in the interim; too many events have occurred. But forget
trying to make sense of it. If Chris Claremont can't keep track of Kitty's
age, why should you? Until the writers retcon it, 15 it is.

However, as of October, 1993, an issue of Excalibur had Kitty saying:
"Unh-uh, Professor...we've *had* this conversation once too often,
when I was still a *minor* [her emphasis], living at the mansion. The
whole stern-but-benevolent patriarch riff isn't going to *work* anymore.
You have a *case* to make -- make it as an *adult, one-on-one*."
So she may be 18 now, but it's not completely sure. Particularly since an
issue of X-Men appearing at about the same time stated that only a year had
passed since events which took place before Kitty's 15th birthday party.

In an interview in Hero Illustrated, Excalibur writer Warren Ellis says
she's nearly 18, and her birthday "will probably fall somewhere around
Excalibur #94".

E3. What is Marvel's corporate structure?

Marvel Comics is part of Marvel Entertainment Group. While Marvel
Entertainment is a publically traded company on the New York Stock Exchange,
only 20% or fewer of its shares are available for trade. The other 80% are
controlled by financier Ron Perelman (*not* Ron Perlman, the actor who played
Vincent in TV's Beauty and the Beast) via various holding companies. This
means that Perelman cannot be outvoted, and has complete control over the
company. It's estimated that at a stock price of $16, that 80% is worth
around $640 million, so don't bother posting about trying to buy out Marvel
unless your login is something like bgates@microsoft.com.

Companies under the MEG umbrella or otherwise controlled by Perelman include:
New World Media: TV/movie production.
Marvel Comics: X-Men, Conan, Barbie, etc.
Toy Biz: action figures & such.
Fleer Cards: sports & non-sports. (bought in 1993)
Pannini Stickers: stickers (made in Italy). (bought in 1994)
Welsh Publishing: backer of Bongo Comics (The Simpsons) and publisher
of various children's magazines. (bought in 1994)
Malibu Comics: Ultraverse, Bravura, ST:DS9, et al. (bought in 1994)
Heroes World: comic distributor (not retail shops) (bought in 1995)
Skybox Cards: non-sports (notably DC comic cards). (bought in 1995)


F1. Who's this Cerebus character people post a lot about?

Cerebus, written and produced by Dave Sim, is longest running and generally
best selling black & white comic on the market. Cerebus, the main character,
is a 3 foot tall aardvark who has been, among other things, a barbarian, prime
minister, pope, and outlaw. The series is expected to run exactly 300 issues,
ending in March 2004 (I'm not making this up) with the death of Cerebus. A
long time net.favorite, the comic can be read on several levels. Sim keeps
just about all regular issues of Cerebus in print via what are called
phonebooks; trade paperbacks collecting 20-25 issues at a stretch, all of
which are kept in print. See near the back of any issue of Cerebus for details
on how to order them if your shop doesn't carry them.

F2. What's the joke behind John Byrne's Next Men's letter column title?

The title is "A Flame About This High". The joke to which this is the
punchline is "You know what really burns my ass?"


G1. Where can I get a Calvin & Hobbes t-shirt, stuffed tiger, phone, etc.?

You can't. Bill Watterson has made the decision not to merchandise C&H beyond
the strip itself, collections, and possibly a calendar. Anything else you may
see that uses the characters is bootleg, and is done against Watterson's
explicit wishes. Also, Watterson receives no money from the bootlegs, so
in buying such you're only supporting ripoff artists, not the creator. In the
past Watterson and his syndicate have won large judgements against
manufacturers of such material.

G2. How can I contact syndicates about submitting my strip?

According to Ted Rall in June 1995:
"For addresses and contacts at all the major and minor syndicates, THE
source is the Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory. It comes out every
summer in July. Call 1-212-674-5151 to order it for about $7 if I recall

H1. When's the James Cameron Spider-Man movie coming out?

Per Hank Driskell, who works for Digital Doman, Cameron's special effects
company, the movie is still tied up in legal wrangling among studios about who
owns it. There is no script (as of July, 1995), although Cameron had finished
a script treatment before the legal stuff hit the fan. Cameron has at
least two movies definitely scheduled before he could do Spider-Man. There is
no way the movie will be out before 1997 at the earliest, with '98 more
likely...if the movie is ever made at all.

H2. What were the lyrics to the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon theme song?

(Side notes: the Canadian group Moxy Fruvious does a, rather altered, version
of this song. Also, per the warped mind of Nick Smith, these lyrics make for a
hysterical comedy routine if you read them as you would a dramatic reading of
an epic poem)

Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size
Catches thieves, just like flies
Look out, here comes the Spider-Man

Is he strong? Listen, Bud.
He's got radioactive blood.
Can he swing, from a thread?
Take a look, overhead.
Hey there! There goes the Spider-Man

In the chill of the night
At the scene of a crime
Like a streak of light
He arrives just in time!

Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man
Wealth and fame, he's ignored.
Action is, his reward
To him life is a great big bang up
Wherever there's a hang up
You'll find the Spider-Man

[end of part 3]

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