For getting me to buy crap that I wouldn’t have even glanced at if it wasn’t for those fabulous covers.
By Angela Outlaw
I didn’t even start reading Warlord of Mars until I had bought the 5th Issue. It had become a ritual. While processing the books for New Arrivals, Boss Magnus and I would take a moment in between boxes when one of us came upon the stack of ridiculousness. We did this for many titles. It even spawned a temporary sign campaign on Wednesdays.
Along with our usual picks for the week, we’d add a “(…) cover of the week”, like “Ghetto Fabulous Cover of the Week” or “Sneaky Uncle Cover of the week”. Whether due to laziness or the overuse of “Homoerotic Cover of the Week”, the signage ceased, but our opinions never die.
So there we’d be, giggling and “ah”-ing over the fabulous and somewhat mortifying covers of Warlord of Mars.
Golden pasties, thin chain linked gold underwear, a ripped guy in a little diaper thrusting a sword into the air while standing over a lion with eight eyes and some crystals in the background. What’s not to love? I’m sure you can think of several but if you see my list of things that I find cool, these covers represent a great deal of the items on said list.
Honestly, I probably would have kept buying them until the covers stopped being awesome. But I couldn’t justify the dent in my funds without reading it. I expected it to be ridiculous; I didn’t expect it to be so awesome.
A large chunk of Dynamite Entertainment’s content is in comic adaptations. Buck Rogers, Lone Ranger, and the newly rereleased Dark Shadows are just a few of the random oldies that they cultivate. Their titles are often overlooked but carry the necessary warmth of nostalgia that every comic store requires. That’s right, Archie can kiss my ass! Talk about a title that doesn’t get read. The only people who buy Archie are those random people on the street that wandered into a shop out of sheer confusion and/or boredom. They praise Archie like some distant time capsule and ignore the rest of the store because they don’t care.
More people have read Betty X Veronica fan fic than the actual Archie comic. Once in a while someone will actually buy it for some weird cover that they think will have future value. Or they’ll buy it for their kids…who will not give a shit…because they are far too busy playing with whatever overpriced piece of technology that they are clearly too young to appreciate…because those are the only types of people that would buy a fucking Archie comic for their kids (parents who bought their eight-year old an ipad)!
That’s where Dynamite Entertainment has the real value. The Fabulous cover art is just a bonus. One cannot have a true comic shop without some random dusty issue to stick out and makes someone say “My God, they really made an Ash vs Xena comic?” This gem of underappreciation will no longer be taken for granted by me.
Like all of pop culture gold, there’s always some that slip through the cracks. Like the 1982 film, Bronx Warriors that should, in every respect, be just as valued in cult cinema like Rocky Horror or Troll 2, Warlord of Mars has opened a new chapter of discovery in my world. Based on an early 20th century Science Fiction series that follows John Carter and his adventures in planetary romance. I’ve found myself rewatching Metropolis (The shit-tastic 80’s remastered edition…oh yes, that exists) and the Mad Max movies, scrupulously devouring the connections between the sleek turn of the century art deco mentality and the Heavy Metal apocalypse of the 80’s. Stylistically speaking, there seem to be no connections whatsoever. But what I’ve come to realize is that Warlord of MarsThe /Barsoom Series was Heavy Metal, before Heavy Metal.
Before I venture any further into a laser infused detour, I’ll make my point. Comic book cover art can tell us much more than simply what to expect. It can deceive us, derail us, an even infuriate us (Especially when you find a good series with shitty covers. Who knew?).
Dynamite Entertainment has stepped up to the plate. The interior artwork isn’t always up to par and the writing can get somewhat sloppy and stupid. There’s nothing that’ll get me to read Green Hornet of The Bionic Man. Kevin smith irritates me.
But I have, at least, stepped through the door and have been turned onto some very fun series!
(Nowhere man #1?!?! Futuristic guy in futuristic rain with hot pink paint running down his face to look like neon tears?! COME ON!!!)