Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bart Sears Checklist

The Bart Sears Checklist has been a work in progress for many years now, and it is intuitively an ever-evolving thing. I know of no other compiled list of Bart's work, let alone anything near as comprehensive as my list. With Bart doing less comic work these days, the checklist is about as complete as it is ever going to be, minus things I haven't discovered as of yet.
As it stands, it is crazy long, far too long to list here, that's for sure. There are over 250 comics listed, all of his Wizard stuff, posters, books, action figures, cards, and much more.
If any of you are interested in getting a copy of it, send me an email and I'll be happy to send the file to you. I will be putting it into PDF form eventually too, heck, I might even print up that booklet of it I've been attempting for years.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Look out! A veritable flood of Bart Sears TPB's are coming our way

First wave, The Joker: Going Sane TPB

Bart Sears The Joker: Going Sane TPB

This one is a tricky one. DC's website lists this TPB, due out on July 30, as such-

Written by J.M. DeMatteis, Eddie Campell and Daren White;
Art by Joe Staton, Bart Sears and Steve Mitchell;
Cover by Staton and Mitchell
Discover whether The Joker would become sane if Batman disappeared in this thriller collecting Legends of the Dark Knight #65-68 and #100! After a life-and-death struggle, The Joker seemingly kills Batman. Faced with the loss of his nemesis, the insane Joker can only retreat…into sanity.

But Bart didn't work on any of those issues, curse it. So, either they mean LOTDK #200 (which Bart did do) when they say#100, or it's an error and he has nothing to do with this TPB. I'm hoping it's the former, but it wouldn't be the first time it would be something like the latter.
I'll obviously be checking up on it when it comes out, which will probably be a few weeks after the release date (my comic shop can be a bit slow), and I'll let you all know what the situation is.


Next up, Invasion! TPB

Bart Sears Invasion TPB

Written by Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo
Art by Todd McFarlane, Bart Sears, P. Craig Russell, Joe Rubinstein and others
Cover by McFarlane and Rubinstein
The massive 3-issue miniseries from 1988 is collected for the first time! In this universe-spanning saga, the deadly but emotionless Dominators have come to Earth to wipe out the threat posed by metahumans. But what is the real reason for their attack?

This one is also quite interesting, and perhaps a little bit frustrating. If they use the above image as the cover for the book, and list Todd McFarlane as the penciller, I shall be very upset. Why? Because -


Bart has confirmed this with me in the past, because I was once unsure myself, considering there is no signature visible. But, yes, Bart pencilled all three covers for the series, as well as pencilling the interiors of the final issue. I wrote DC an email several weeks ago stating these facts, hoping they would alter the mistake before the book went off to the printers, but as of yet have not received a response, and I suppose I probably won't. In which case, may it be on their heads!
Still really looking forward to this book, though.
Look for it on August 27.


Lastly, The Scream TPB

Bart Sears The Scream TPBWriter: Peter David
Penciller: Bart Sears
Inker: Randy Elliott
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Publication Date: December 24, 2008
Price: $13.95
Danny Duncan's life is a mess. His job is mind-numbingly boring, his elderly father is slipping into senility, and since Danny got out of the Belle Foux treatment facility people have been saying he's crazy. On top of all that, odd things have started to happen around Danny. His emotions are affecting coworkers and customers in bizarre ways. But nothing could prepare him for the Scream--a horrible manifestation of his most powerful feelings.Follow Danny and the intrepid reporter Sian Ferguson as they attempt to uncover the disturbing reality behind Danny's newfound abilities, its connection to Belle Foux, and the dirty businessman who will protect his secret at all costs!

This was a shock to find, I must confess. For a series that wasn't particularly good, and didn't exactly light the sales charts on fire, why would DH bring out the trade? I ain't complaining, mind, I'll definately buy it, it's just a bit odd, I say.
This Trade is conveniently scheduled for December 24 2008, because none of us have anything else to do that day... knuckleheads.

The Helm #1

Bart Sears The Helm #1Hey look! There's a new Bart Sears comic out!
Helm #1 from Dark Horse comics came out on the 16th of July, and I'm actually surprised at how decent it is.
It's written by comics newbie, Jim Hardison, who does a pretty good job of it. The story is well paced, humorous, and perhaps most impressively, original.

I think it is fitting to compare this series to Bart's previous project, The Scream, which is after all in the same sort of vain, is finished by Randy Elliott in both instances, and of course, both are published by DH.
Whilst there are many similarities, the books are worlds apart. Firstly, Peter David, a comics veteran, wrote a pretty pathetic story for The Scream, Bart put in some fairly weak breakdowns and Randy's finishes were a real hit and miss.
Enter Jim Hardison, with his fresh story, Bart's more refined breakdowns and Randy's more detailed finishes and Helm blows Scream out of the water.
Sure, there's only been one issue of Helm, but even if the skill level dips in the remaining issues, it would still be miles ahead of Scream, which I consider to be Bart's second worst project in all of his career, only marginally ahead of the deplorably bad Spider-Woman.
Now, I'm certainly not saying that this is Bart's best work, nowhere near it, but the past few years have been lean times indeed for the average Bart Sears fan, so it's good to see Bart's work on a comic that is successfully executed, popular or not.
On a collecting point of view, this comic is awesome! The paper quality is sensational, a healthy stock. The advertisements are conveniently back-to-back, which means that when I go to laminate the pages, I can just pull out the advertisement sheets, leaving the 11 comic page sheets and cover. I love it when that happens, though it is very rare, as stated in another post.
So there you have it, why don't you go check out Helm #1 at your local comic shop, I give it 2 thumbs up, for what it's worth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Guess what the Postman delivered today? #1

Back in 1987 and 1988, DC comics produced a series of comic backing boards with images of DC heroes and villains on them, 8 characters to a sheet. There were 6 sheets in the first series from 1987, and 9 sheets in 1988. Sheet number 2 in the second series features an image of JLE #1.

A few weeks ago, I saw this DC card on eBay, and knew it was something I'd not come across before, so I bid on it straight away. Then, with a bit of research, I discovered the card's origin and found out that it was originally part of a backing board, but was now cut out to stand alone as a card.

So what is it, a card or a backing board? Well, I think it is both. It originally came in backing board form, for sure. But the way the backing board was designed suggests it is a card as well. I come to this conclusion because on the back side of the 'card' there is some text that fits the front exactly, and each image on the board has a number on the back, the JLE card being #50. That says it is a card to me.

So anyway, I won the bidding, for a ridiculously cheap US99c, add on a few dollars for shipping and that badboy is mine! It went into my Bart Sears card folder straight away, and all of the pertinent details were added onto the Bart Sears Checklist.

Bart Sears JLE Backing Board Card front

Bart Sears JLE Backing Board Card back

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What to do with all of those Bart Sears comics

Let's face it, collecting comics can be a space consuming affair, especially if you're in any way a serious collector, because that means you're probably using bags and backing boards for each comic. My own comic collection probably peaked at about 1000 comics at one stage, back in the mid 1990's when there were just so many comics out there. There came a day, though, when I came to the conclusion that enough really was enough. So I culled, and then a few years later, I culled some more, then a few more times. Now I probably have about 200 comics, excluding my Bart Sears ones of course. And that is plenty for me, thank-you very muchly.

So I've got a comic box for all of my non-Bart Sears comics, and they're happy where they are. But what about my Bart Sears comics, which are obviously far more important to me. For a long time I had them stored in boxes that perfectly fit comics, the boxes previously containing ketchup squeezy things. Then they were upgraded to a custom made wooden comic box I knocked up in woodworking class in High School. Next they were stored in Michael Palin book set slipcases, that, again, were the perfect size for comics. And most recently, they've been housed in two small wooden chests, the perfect size once more.

But late last year, I undertook a monumental task that will take me over two years to complete- I have chosen to laminate every single Bart Sears comic page!


How many pages is that, you ask? Over 2000, that's how many.

And it get's worse. The anal retentive freak that I am demands that I don't just buy any old laminating sheets; nope, I need the good stuff- 250 microns of sturdiness.

So why am I doing this? Won't that cost a fortune? Isn't it a waste of time? Well, yes, it will be expensive, the laminating sheets I use cost about US$40 for a pack of 100. That's why it will take me over two years to do, I'm restricting myself to one pack a month.
The question of whether it is a waste of time? I don't think so. If you think it is, go and pull out a comic you own from the 1980's or earlier and have a proper look at the paper. Do you remember it being smoother, brighter, cleaner? What if you could encase that comic in a plastic seal that would ensure the pages neither fade nor wear, ever!

If I felt as if I would ever consider selling my Bart Sears collection, then yes, I probably would resist the urge to laminate the pages, but that is never going to happen, never ever never.

So the way I see it, I'm giving these comics that I cherish so much an extended shelf life with no side effects at all. I still have posters of various things that were laminated nearly 20 years ago, and there is no sign of decay or anything like that.
So while some of my Bart Sears comics could be little more than a pile of dust in 30 years, they could theoretically still be around in 300 years now thanks to my trusty laminating machine. That thought alone makes it feel more than worthwhile to me.

So I've been laminating my Bart Sears comic pages for a few months now, and I know I've made the right decision. I've just started laminating the Justice League Europe issues, and they look fantastic now. True, they take up much more room than they ever did before, but the trade-off is worth it. I put each page slap-bang in the centre of the A4 sized laminating sheet, put it through the machine, and leave it that way, I don't trim the excess laminate off, I just stack them on top of each other and put them in a A4 sized box.

Some comics are easier to do than others, namely Justice League Europe, in which every page is double sided, so no advertisements show up on the final product. Other comics aren't so accommodating, unfortunately. There have been several comics with a comic page on one side that has an ad on the back, with no opportunity to double up (doubling up meaning when you can take two pages that are consecutive but also have ads on the opposite sides that can be put ad to ad to form a single page). But these are rare enough. Each issue has an average of just over 13 sheets required to complete them, with the most sheets for one issue being Invasion! #3, which took all of 42 sheets to polish off.

I'm trying to laminate the comics in a chronological order, but there are some comics that I am sorely tempted to bump up the list, and I can't wait for the day when the whole lot is done. But I'll keep you all posted on how it is progressing.
So stay tuned.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What's it all about then?

Well, this little Blog of mine is dedicated solely to the art of collecting the work of Bart Sears, that's what.
Sure, it sounds easy enough, but it ain't, believe you me!
Why, I've been doing this for the better part of 17 years, and, I've said it before, I'm still finding stuff I previously didn't know about.
But as I draw closer and closer to completing my Bart Sears collection, my thoughts turn to storage and preservation of this hard-earned stockpile. So, in future blogs, I will go in depth and impart what I have learned about the art of collecting.
As I said earlier, I'm still coming across things I've not known of before. Which means that I still keep the postman in business every now and then with deliveries of new Bart Sears goodies. And I want to share those with you. So whenever I get a new Bart Sears item, I'll tell you all about it in an ongoing series of posts titled 'Guess what the postman delivered today?'

So stay tuned for all sorts of interesting (I hope) tips and plenty of fun and laughter.