Tuesday, November 16, 2010
1992 Comics Buyer's Guide #975 Cover
The Comics Buyer's Guide still exists. I wasn't aware of that fact, even though I probably scan past it in Previews every month. Published in some form since 1971, CBG was the industry standard for news throughout the '80s. The Comics Journal was our New Yorker, Amazing Heroes was our People, and CBG was Newsweek. The tabloid regularly reported on which artist was switching titles, what publisher had gone down the tubes, and so on. There were columns by industry names (Peter David, Tony Isabella, Cat Yronwode,) comic strips, and an infamous letters section where creators would discuss important issues of the day, or more entertainingly, engage in bitter public disputes. Since each weekly issue cost twice as much as a standard comic, I only followed it when I could score cheap out of date leftover copies, but I always enjoyed those rare opportunities. Wizard Magazine and its many imitators severely diminished CBG's presence in the industry, and the internet rendered them both moot. Yet, somehow, I still see Wizard on the newsstand in more places than I see actual comic books, and someone somewhere keeps The Comics Buyer's Guide in print.
The July 24, 1992 edition offered a cover feature on Martian Manhunter: American Secrets, enhancing the pulpy noir vibe of the series by employing the popular European technique of black and white art with a single color for contrast. I might have suggested the virtues of this approach on the actual book, but it was gorgeously colored by Steve Oliff, so never mind that. The big news of that week was Jim Shooter's having "left" Valiant Comics, a positively genteel interpretation of events.