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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Scavenging for cool stuff at the Montreal Comiccon (2023 edition)

An integral part of convention coverage is the ever-important article talking about all the cool stuff we bought from vendors, because really... other than talking to artists & writers and getting books signed, attending panels, snapping pics of cosplayers, getting photos with celebrities, and checking out the free exhibits... what else is there to do? (That was a joke, by the way)


I searched far & wide throughout the vendor floor for anything noteworthy and here's what I came up with:

1) TOTAL JUSTICE Black Lightning & Green Arrow (carded)

Kenner Total Justice Black Lightning & Green Arrow

As mentioned in my post-Ottawa Comiccon write-up last year, Total Justice Black Lightning was a figure I needed to complete my Total Justice collection, but passed on due to cost. It was worth the wait however, because at Montreal Comiccon I saw both Black Lightning AND Green Arrow for sale at a reasonable price. (I was also missing Green Arrow.) The price for the two was very reasonable, so reasonable that I didn't even bargain with the vendor -- I just gave him his asking price, snatched them up immediately, and spent the rest of the afternoon walking around with them. Score.

2) Batman 1989 movie glasses

1989 Batmania is alive every day in my heart and (in a perfect world) in my kitchen, but these Batman 89 drinking glasses were a little too fragile and pricey for me to want to leave with. If memory serves me correctly, these were promotional drinking glasses offered by Ultramar, a Canadian gas station outlet, and there was a total of 6 of them. I really miss the days when gas stations offered cool promotional movie tie-ins; now all they offer is 2 bags of chips for $7.50.

3) Batman Returns AMT model kit

I'm not typically a 'model kit' type-of-guy, but I would make an exception for this AMT Batman Returns Batmobile model kit straight out of 1992. I mean, how hard could it be? The Batmobile is ALL black, as are the plastic parts in the kit. Ultimately, I didn't buy this because it was a project I most likely never would've started or finished. I might've considered this had they been selling it for $15 less, however. Of note, they also had a Batman Returns Batskiboat model kit for sale.

4) Super Powers Batman puzzle

Upon seeing this, waves of nostalgia hit my body. You see, my parents bought me a ton of puzzles throughout my youth during my pre-school and kindergarten years -- they justified that it was a good hobby to increase problem solving skills and coordination -- so yeah, I had lots of puzzles as a kid. I probably even owned this one at some point. The Super Powers starburst logo still gets my heart beating fast as I associate it with awesomeness and DC comic heroes. I didn't buy this, but it was definitely a contender. 

5) Toy R Us Arkham City exclusive Batman

Celebrating 2011's Batman: Arkham City by Rocksteady Studios, this fully-articulated Batman action figure caught my attention for his classic blue-and-grey color scheme. It reminded me of the Super Powers Batman that I owed and loved when I was a kid or, conversely, the Batman that led the Outsiders in the 80s. I ended up NOT buying this because it was a little out of scale with the figs I'm used to collecting.

6) Wall of megos and other DC action figs

One vendor had a whole wall of Figures Toy Company DC figures up for grabs. It's rare for me to see this many FTC figs on sale at once -- typically I only see the odd one in a comic book shop since they sell out so quickly. I already own a few of these, but I'm not sure if I'm ready (or have the display space in my house) to take the plunge and buy more. That being said, smaller-sized figs are still a-okay with me, and I did notice that they also had some McFarlane Toys Super Powers figs for sale, but I already owned those ones and didn't need doubles. To wit, a lot of vendors were selling McFarlane Super Powers figs, but mostly Darkseids and Batmans. On a side note, it's only now that I'm looking back at this photo that I'm realizing the vendor was also selling Boss Fight Studio's Power Star figs (these are actually in-scale with Super Powers figs): 

I'm kicking myself for not noticing that Phantom up for grabs. Flash Gordon and Ming I can take or leave, but Phantom has been high on my want list since this toyline had been announced. DC tried their luck at publishing a Phantom ongoing series in the late 80s, so this totally justifies Phantom and Batman standing side-by-side on my display shelf:

The Phantom #1 v2 (1989)

7) Funko 3.75" Suicide Squad Harley Quinn & Joker (carded)

NOTE: These are not the actual figures. This is an image from

These were the ones "that got away". I had every intention of buying these, but rushed off to do an interview, and when I came back they were gone. These were two of the Legion of Collectors exclusives offered by DC Comics when the first Suicide Squad film was released. I've been collecting them as I see them available, and I'm still missing seven of the nine figures. Is it a lost cause? Well, I haven't given up, yet.

8) Toybiz Batmobile

This was the biggest score of all: a 1989 Toybiz Batmobile complete with plastic 'cocoon' Batmobile shield. While it was nowhere near mint, and the original owner apparently couldn't stick the Batman sticker right-side up, it was still something I gravitated towards and purchased with just a bit of haggling. Really happy to add this to my collection of Batman 89 Toy Biz figs.  


1. I did buy a t-shirt. But I have no idea where I put it. It was a Justice League shirt. I love shirts that have a lot of people on them. Oh I remember:

2. I also bought a script from Gail Simone because she's awesome.

3. I looked for the 1990 prestige format series Twilight, but nope. No one had it. It's because I wanted it. 

4. In 2016 I almost bought New Teen Titans #2 for a 100$. Now it's 500$ so that ship has sailed. 

5. I also bought Sailor Moon and Kirby stuffed dolls for my daughter. Shopping is hard. 


Big thanks to Leeja Murphy and Agence Pink for organizing this really fun 3-day event. So many interesting things to look at, so little time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

DC in the 80s visits 2023 Montreal Comiccon

We were thrilled to be invited to the 2023 Montreal Comiccon taking place at the Palais Des Congrès in Montreal, Quebec from July 14 to 18, 2023, mainly because when Montréal celebrates, they celebrate in full force (a comiccon being no exception). 

This was also a truly special occasion since co-editor Mark Belkin travelled all the way from New York to join me as we worked the floor and interviewed Mike Grell, Gail Simone, Renée Witterstaetter and Mike Rooth. We also chatted with Geof Isherwood and Dan Parent, but unfortunately missed out on Yanick Paquette and Greg Capullo due to time constraints. Rags Morales was, unfortunately, a no-show due to a last-minute flight cancellation. Also attending Montreal comiccon that weekend: Stephen Amell, Laura Vandervoot, Tom Welling, and a few other celebrities who had starred in DC TV shows. 

Montreal was extra hot and humid, yet this event had more than 65,000 attendees throughout the weekend. I mean, seriously, it was packed. The vendor areas were packed, the main foyer was packed, the panel rooms were packed -- but everyone was very respectful and mindful of others, and the crowds parted like the Red Sea for Moses whenever someone in a wheelchair or crutches needed to navigate through the busy convention centre. 

There was a bit for everyone this year: plenty of panels with celebrities and comic book creators, autograph sessions and photo ops, an Indie gaming zone, a tabletop gaming zone, plenty of vendors selling a lot of everything, exhibits,...

Did you know that Montreal is home to a lot of game development companies? Many of them were displaying their new games in the Indie Gaming Zone

The Tabletop Gaming Zone had open tables with games all set up to go. The only games being played were Marvel or Star Wars tabletop games; no DC comics games unfortunately. 

...and the Brampton Batman with his own Batmobile:

As mentioned, we stopped by to briefly chat with Mike Grell who told us that he's currently working on completing his Maggie the Cat graphic novel that's set to be released anytime soon. Grell was in fine form and drawing up a storm trying to fulfill his overflowing commission list. 

Mike Grell and co-editor Mark Belkin

Lots and lots of cosplay this weekend -- more DC than I've seen in previous years. The most popular female DC characters cosplayed were Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman, and Raven. The most popular male DC characters cosplayed were Batman, Deathstroke, and Green Arrow.

As per usual, we're going to feature the most stand-out DC cosplay that we saw this weekend:

Dr. Fate

This is the first DC cosplayer we saw as we walked in on Saturday morning, which we'd consider... a good omen. We chatted briefly with this cosplayer and they told us that Dr. Fate was one of their favorite characters, and that he was still looking for a Super Powers Collection Dr. Fate action figure for his own personal collection. (Can't argue with good taste.)

Batman and Batman-related character cosplay are always quite popular at the cons, mainly because I don't think a single person under the age of 65 hasn't been impacted by Batman in some form or another during their formative years. We always appreciate seeing the less common bat-family characters represented: 

Batwoman and Robin

Nightwing, Cassandra Cain (aka Blackbat) & Spoiler

This husband-and-wife cosplayer duo made a really great Zatanna & John Constantine. I especially appreciate his 'super serious' face and her 'about to burst with excitement' expression. Super adorable. 

Zatanna and John Constantine

Death of the Endless even made an appearance:


I don't think I've ever seen a Roy Harper/Red Arrow/Arsenal cosplay at a comiccon, but there's a first time for everything and this cosplayer totally nailed it. They took the extra time to set up the bow with trick arrows and pose for us. Just fantastic attention to detail:

Arsenal/Roy Harper/Red Arrow

I always love seeing characters from the Justice League Giffen/DeMatteis/Nolan run, and no, we didn't ask them where Blue Beetle was:

Booster Gold

We saw a lot of Ravens (of Teen Titans Go), and this one really stood out for the attention to detail:

Hey, it's Rorschach:

A few non-DC cosplayers that stood out...

...Johnny 5 from 1986's Short Circuit

...Marvel's Dazzler:

...Barbie (no doubt in reference to the soon-to-be-released film):

...early 90s Ghost Rider:


..She-Hulk (have you seen the Disney+ series yet?):

...and Angela (actually, there were a few more Spawn-themed cosplayers than usual, no doubt because Capullo was in attendance):

All in all, this comiccon was resounding success. Thanks to Leeja Murphy and Agence Pink for organizing such an impressive event. We can't wait to see what they come up with next time.


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Alan Davis Outsiders (Sans Batman) Read Through w/ M + M Inc.

Mark: Looks like we made it, we're M + M Incorporated. Took us a hot minute, 3 tries, but we finally decided on the Alan Davis Outsiders run, when Batman decided to leave. 

Michael: After our last M + M Inc. took a look at Alan Davis and Mike W. Barr’s Detective Comics run, we’re back with…Alan Davis and Mike W. Barr again! Starting with issue 33 of that series they were solo after Batman left them (what a jerk). The BATO and then the Outsiders issue are a perfect storm for me: my love for this oddball group is only matched by my love for Alan Davis drawing them and Mike Barr writing them. I read all the BATO issues back in the day. I fell off after Bats departed, so some of these solo Outsiders issues will be new to me too. We’re starting with issue 32, when Bats blows them off. I’m stoked!

Mark: I actually didn't care for this series when I was younger. I got issues here and there, mostly for Alan Davis, but I didn't connect with the group and art. As an adult, I read Batman and the Outsiders #1 and LOVED IT. We were actually supposed to do this years ago and never did. Also, when I asked AI which issues Alan Davis illustrated and it told me Davis only drew in the 2000s. Then I called the AI a liar, and it was like "Oh right sorry you were correct." It was probably messing with me because it knows its going to turn off my oxygen like HAL in 2000. 


Michael: Once again, Alan Davis with a KILLER cover. Okay, in the first six pages we get the Masters of Disaster and Matches Malone. I’m in heaven. Bats undercover as Matches always made me happy in the ‘80s. Batman not telling Geo-Force about his homeland being attacked is a dick move, which is pretty much how Barr wrote him in this series. He’s so petulant. I love that Halo totally ignores him and suggests the Outsiders continue without him. He looks pissed. “Everyone leaves me!” Boo hoo. Take that, you pointy eared jerk. Lots of great facial expression work again from Davis. A thought on the Looker epilogue: Davis draws the living hell out of it. I like Aparo a lot but Looker looks like a true looker under Davis’s watch. She’s still a preposterous character but who cares! 

Mark: I'm certain Barr thought Batman was a prick. Between this and Detective. I'm not sure why Batman needed Geo-Force to stay. It's just selfish. And then Barr writes it where Batman breaks up the Outsiders and Halo says no, and he smiles, then she says they can be a team without Batman, and then he frowns and goes on a diatribe about Robins leaving him. Totally reminds me of a time I broke up with a girl, because I wanted to have hand. Thinking she would realize what she was losing in me, but she moved on. And I was like "No one loves me. Everyone always leaves." Batman is early 20s goth me. 

Adventures of the Outsiders 33

Mark: Now Brion Geo Force is being a dick. Giving orders to Black Lightning? Watch that tone Euro Man. I guess I'd be pissed if Russia invaded my neighboring country. Actually I'm from Latvia, which is probably close to Markovia. Oh wait, that's a combination of my name and the country I was born in, which was invaded by Russia. And yet, I feel nothing for Geo Force. The Windfall - Halo thing is a dynamic I always enjoy. The villain-hero friendship that can't be. Rogue - Mystique had a bit of that. Cyborg and Jinx on Teen Titans go. 

MichaelI’m either going to call you Markovia or Geo-Force from now on. But I’m with you, he’s kind of a dishrag, personality wise. I’ve always loved Halo. I think I have a soft spot for conflicted heroes who don’t want to hurt people unless provoked (Dagger from Cloak and Dagger is another favorite). I’m starting to think Looker’s husband is being sort of unreasonable. Didn’t she basically have a major makeover, new hair, etc? Although I guess her body was altered too? I dunno, he’s being a little whiny for my tastes. And then the whole thing ends with Baron Bedlam (great name) resurrecting Hitler. Only in ‘80s comics, folks! Also I just have to say, how spectacular is that Alan Davis cover? 


Mark: It's all so poster worthy. I feel like Alan Davis doesn't get the love he deserves. Conflicted villain Windfall with older sister New Wave. So Windfall gives Halo some of New Wave's drugs to keep her docile. I wonder what she gave her? Was it Marijuana? Or Ibuprofin? Generic sleepy shit. It's funny about the guy saying you can't bring back Hitler cause it's 1986, wait until 2023 man. You could 100% bring him back, and he'd have a show on Newsmax tomorrow. Speaking of today, Russia invading a neighbor, Hitler hiding a "Trump Card", and then giving Hitler a young girl who is Jewish. Jesus Christ man, this issue is kind of weirdly traumatizing. 

Also, I wish Windfall pulled a Rogue, but I'm guessing she doesn't. 

Michael: I get some major, and sweet, loving vibes from the Halo and Windfall scenes. I hope these two kids can make it work. So, Markovia borders France?? Um, okay. Yeah man, the Hitler stuff is off the chain insane. He’s like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s here. I don’t think Mike Barr has ever gotten the respect he deserves for writing some truly bizarre and traumatic comics in the ‘80s. Dude never half-assed it, he just BROUGHT IT. Man, Davis is really firing on all cylinders here. He’s the only artist who could make Looker’s costume look that awesome. Speaking of Looker, I liked how she took on all of the Masters of Disasters by herself, even though it was pretty foolish to do. I’m beginning to like this character more than I did as a kid and honestly I think it’s 90% because Alan Davis is drawing her. 

Yeah, that “Trump Card” line aged horribly, thanks to current events. 


Mark: I wonder if someone stopped reading because we commented on Trump card. I imagine anyone who's read to this point. Hello again. So now Looker has issues with men AND women. Halo isn't feeling her, and neither is Windfall, who did go Rogue. I'll take Double Meanings for 600$ Ken. To go against your group and to turn on Mystique. What is Rogue? OK so from "women don't like each other" in Hitler, and I know I'm reading a comic book from the 80s that might be running out of plot ideas. Now a kid crying to her Dad and him having to comfort her before an execution. What's on the next page, Bedlam killing a cat? Well, it finishes strong with some hot art by Alan Davis and I liked the ending. Good twists and overall moral by Barr. I was starting to doubt. 

Michael: There are some amazing panels in this issue. The ones where Metamorpho gives Looker a “How YOU doin’?” glance and when Halo realizes Looker’s using telepathy to read her thoughts. I’m continually amazed at Alan Davis’s skills, even all these years later. Yeah, the plot here is extremely thin, but I’m just digging the bickering interactions between the Outsiders. They’re such a motley crew. I love your Rogue analogy for Windfall, too. Geo-Force impaling Baron Bedlam to the wall with a Nazi shield was SAVAGE. And it works because of how Davis draws the scene. Amazing stuff. Yeah that ending for Hitler was a twist, for sure.


Mark: Well Michael, we've reached the end of this run. Didn't quite hit like the Barr-Davis run, but the art is still amazing. There's the Star Wars hero ceremony splash page, and Alan Davis is in top form. And we get a motivation for each character. 

This issue is actually a lot more fun the past run. I'm really interested in Windfall and New Wave, but now I want to know how everyone on.. what's their name? Masters of Disaster? How have I not noted the villain team's name? I'm getting old. 

Michael: Yup, the series lasts a few more issues but this is where Davis departs so I think it’s only fitting this is where we depart too. I thoroughly enjoyed this issue. I find myself invested in Looker and her husband’s marriage and all the little character beats for the other members were nice too. Kind of a sweet issue. Davis is so damn good at whimsy isn’t he? I’m he facial expressions and the body language for everyone this issue is so beautiful. 

Mark: Like sexy Geo Force having such a sexy chest he tears open the official uniform of the Markovia kings garb. Which goes directly into Mawwiage (Princess Bride style). 

Michael: I liked this brief post-Batman Outsiders run. It’s certainly not earth shattering stuff, but I kind of like that about it. It was just about the Outsiders and their various struggles. I miss comics like this. Everything now seems to be event-oriented. I like how there was room back then for comics like the Outsiders. Nothing groundbreaking, just light and fluffy fun (with some dark moments interspersed, too). 

Mark: Yeah. Looker slapping her husband was really dark. What a weird sub story. I did notice we don't see a Black Lightning side story. I've felt he kind of got lost in the issues we read. And too bad about Windfall. I have no idea how that ends up.

Michael: As always, this was fun! Can’t wait to do our next one. 

Mark: Yuuuuuuup. If you read all the way through, bless you and thanks. One love. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Fake 1983 Teen Titans Images on Social Media

Recently there have been some fake images going around social media claiming to be production art for a proposed 1983 cartoon. Here is one of them.

I've seen this posted in a few areas. When it was posted in a comic book group on Facebook, everyone had such a laugh at what Starfire looked like, and how Cyborg wasn't the right race. Well of course it's funny, because it's a fake picture. I'm sure it's a real animation production cell from something, but it's certainly not a Teen Titans cartoon from 1983, or any other time. 

Here is what Marv Wolfman told me when I sent him this image. 

"Sorry, I have no idea what this is."

So next time you see something online that seems really dumb, maybe don't take it as face value. 

There were some more images posted, and some of them were from 1987 and 1988, put onto animation production cells, and the poster claimed they were from 1983. How Nightwing could be in a 1983 animation cell when he wasn't introduced until 1984 is beyond me. And should be beyond the people who post these fake pictures online.

Here is a real production cell from the 1983 anti-drug commercial, which may have been used for a cartoon. Protector had to replace Robin because Keebler sponsored the anti-drug comic and cartoon, and Robin was under a Nabisco license. 

You see how it looks like the Teen Titans? Because this is a real production cell. Here is an image from the commercial.

Nothing really to laugh at here. Also, I wish this was a real cartoon. What could have been. Just give me 13 episodes. This has been Mark Belkin airing his grievance with social media BS. Festivus for the rest of us.

Edit: I did some more looking at some more of the supposed cells that appeared online.

This is supposedly from 1983. I could believe 1989, but not 1983. If they could have used Nightwing in 1983, a year before he appeared in comics, then why use Protector?

Here is the first known image of Nightwing. It's from 1984.

And the Raven image is from 1988. It's clearly a swipe. 

Not going to bother Marv Wolfman with this, but 100% these aren't from 1983.