Tagged: Super Weird Heroes

Ed Catto: Craig Yoe Gets Super Weird


%e2%80%a2super-weird-heroes-madam-fatalLast week we discussed three books that each took a whimsical look at the sillier side of superheroes. This week, we take a deeper dive with Craig Yoe and his latest book Super Weird Heroes.

Craig is a prolific author and/or creator with a fanboy streak a mile wide. His impressive books range the gamut from Archie to Zombies and just about everything in between. Two of my recent favorites are Haunted Horror (Vol. 1) and Zombies! The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics.

Surprisingly, Yoe has never published a superhero book. “I started out reading Little Lulu and Uncle Scrooge,” said Yoe. When he outgrew characters like that, he thought he was putting comics behind him.

%e2%80%a2kangaroo-man-jpgBut when some junior high friends turned him onto early Marvel heroes, like Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, he found he was hooked on comics again. Since then, he’s always had a soft spot for them. “When I started Yoe Books,” said Yoe, “I thought superheroes were so strong… they didn’t need me.”

But then as he gathered vintage comics for his other geek culture projects, he couldn’t help but also stumble across some of the most fascinating, albeit obscure, heroes.

Yoe noted that it wasn’t as easy to get old superhero comics. Because this particular genre is so strong, so many collectors seek out these comics. To find and buy the comics, he was competing against collectors with some deep pockets.

Who’s Your Favorite?

Yoe was hard pressed to pick a favorite. But he was excited to speak about a few in particular.

%e2%80%a2bullet-girl-splashCaptain Hadacol has a fascinating story. A southern senator created the medicine, Hadacol – with at least 12% alcohol. (It may have had more). The hero, Captain Hadacol, gets his powers from drinking this “medicine!”

The Deacon was a mafia-type criminal who was crawling through the woods to escape his pursuers. When he came across a church and broke into it, he donned a priest’s outfit to become… the Deacon. And the Deacon’s sidekick was a young boy who was beaten by bullies to become… Little Nicky.

“The sidekicks are so much fun,” said Yoe.

And one of the most interesting sidekicks is Bullet Man’s ‘assistant’ Bullet Girl. In the story that Yoe features, Bullet Girl get’s fed up with Bullet Man’s chauvinist attitude – and quits! This particular story is illustrated by the legendary Ken Bald.

And to sweeten the pot, Yoe also offers readers a page of original artwork from another Bullet Man adventure.

%c2%b6super-weird-heroes-book-back-coverYoe tracked down several of the golden age creators and he found that even they didn’t remember these obscure superheroes. “I get the impression that back in the day, the editors told the writers and artists to just go and create their own heroes,” Yoe said.

These are the plucky heroes – the heroes that didn’t stick. They were often published by smaller publishers with precarious printing schedules.

The Look and Feel That’s Real

Yoe takes great strides, in all his reprint books, to present the material in all their newsprint glory. Many companies who publish vintage comics clean them up and then publish them in slick color. But Yoe Books takes the opposite approach.

%e2%80%a2super-weird-heroes-book-the-deacon-copy“We like the reader to get into the book so they feel like they are reading an old comic, maybe in the forties under a tree, purchased from a candy store,” said Yoe.

“Also, you can’t tell, but if one of the panels is blurred, we spend hours and hours and to ensure they look good and are readable. We didn’t overly correct when it’s out of register. We work to ensure they are not misprinted. We monitor every single panel and make sure the color has a nice fidelity,” said Yoe. “ We make sure the comics look old.”

Who’s it for?

These superheroes have broad appeal. Super Weird Heroes is available at brick and mortar bookstores and IDW has received major orders from bookstore chains. And there’s been strong interest from comic shops. “There’s no better retailers in the world than comic shops, right?”

superweirdheroes-%e2%80%a2“There’s something here for everybody,” proclaimed Yoe. “Hard core collectors will love this and kids will too. “

In fact, Yoe told me the tale of a shipment of books arriving at his home. “My six year old boy saw the box, grabbed one and asked ‘Will you read this to me?’”

Yoe estimated, using the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, that it would cost a collector $105,280 to acquire all the comics with these stories.

“It’s the best Holiday bargain ever,” said Yoe.

Ed Catto: So Bad It’s Good


It wasn’t that long ago that comics enthusiasts would cringe at all the silliness. It used to be so hard for comic fans to be taken seriously by the world at large. I vividly remember being so enthusiastic about those moody “serious” 70s Batman stories like Night of the Stalker (Detective Comics #439) or There Is No Hope in Crime Alley (Detective Comics #457). But I knew if I ever were to discuss these comics with any non-comics fan, I’d simply get an eye roll and sarcasm along with a “Holy Comics” pun or a “POW, ZAP, WHAM” pantomime. There was no respect for comics.

detective-comics-457-%e2%80%a2In fact, this led to the adoption of the term “graphic novel” in 1978. Will Eisner coined the phrase to inoculate creative endeavors in sequential art (comics) against the public’s dismissive mindset for all comics.

Today, the world understands that not all comics are silly and all comics are not about superheroes. So much so, that there is a conversation bubbling up in many places that argues that maybe we don’t even need that highfalutin term – Graphic Novel – anymore.

Geeks have won. The world now knows that comics can be many things and can be enjoyed by many different people in many different ways.

Which now brings us full circle. I also believe there’s no need to cringe at the silliness of comics anymore. Comics occupy such a big wide world that all of it can be celebrated – from the silly and whimsical to the grim and gritty.

And maybe that’s why there’s been a mini-trend of books that simply have fun pointing out all the silly comic super hero characters. So consider this a sequel of sorts to my Yuletide Book Guide column last week. This week, let’s get ready to rumble giggle with a few wonderful books.

The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History by Jon Morris is an excellent introduction to 100 of the goofiest heroes ever. Morris spotlights each with background, vintage artwork and colorful commentary. It’s divided into three sections: The Golden Age, The Silver Age and the Modern Age. Some readers might take offense at the heroes he’s selected to ridicule (Hey, I remember when we took Marvel’s Human Fly seriously) but it’s a great primer!

I’ve know a lot about many of the characters featured, but super-obscure characters like The Bouncer, Dr. Vampire and Captain Truth were new to me –and I’m so glad I know about them now.

superweirdheroes-%e2%80%a2In fact, this book is so much fun, that I’m glad that Morris just came out with a sequel: The League of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Villains from Comic Book History.

Craig Yoe is man filled with passion and wit – and both always come out in everything he does. I enjoy all his comics and books, but Yoe Books, in association with IDW, just published Super Weird Heroes. This amazing book also spotlights these goofball heroes of yesteryear, but here you can also read their adventures. This book is 500 pages total, but offers 320 pages of glorious goofy reprints.

Michael Eury is likewise an author filled with passion for his subjects. I really enjoy his Back Issue magazine, obviously a labor of love. His upcoming Hero-A-Go-Go: Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters, & Culture of the Swinging Sixties zeros in on the goofiness for a specific time period.

“Whereas Back Issue magazine allows me to explore the comics and culture of my adolescence, Hero-A-Go-Go is my love letter to my childhood, the Swinging Sixties,” said Eury.

This book is not on sale until April of 2017 so you’ll have to be patient. But there’s so many good things that I can’t wait to read – everything from Dell’s Monster Superheroes and Joe Simon’s Jigsaw to the story behind All Star Dairy’s Batman Milk! And there’s a great preview available right here.

hero-a-go-go-%e2%80%a2“It was a thrill interviewing folks like Bill Mumy, Ralph Bakshi, and Dean Torrence (Jan and Dean Meets Batman) about their contributions to Camp culture, but I was most charmed by Bob Holiday, who brought the Man of Steel to life on Broadway in It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman,” said Eury. “He took the role of Superman seriously, and I’m honored to shine a much-deserved spotlight on his valuable, but too often overlooked, contributions to the Superman saga.”

So don’t take yourself too seriously and spread a little fun this Yuletide season –and beyond – with these treasures. Here’s your handy ComicMix summary:

Both League Regrettable Superheroes  and Supervillains books are published by Quirk Books and the hardcover versions retail for $24.95.

Craig Yoe’s Super Weird Heroes is published by IDW and the hardcover retails for $39.99.

Michael Eury’s Hero-A-Go-Go: Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters, & Culture of the Swinging Sixties is available for pre-order now and will be published on 4/19/17 for $36.95.