Author Archive | Bruce Canwell

The LOAC Road to 200: The LOAC Wheel of Fortune is Stupefyin’!

We’re Cadillacin’ toward our 200th release, and we thank you for riding along with us! It’s time once again to spin the LOAC Wheel of Fortune to see which past release gets spotlighted for the month of April.

Before we continue our focus on the year 2014, begun last month, a tip of the Dick Tracy fedora to those readers (you know who you are) who corrected us after last month’s “LOAC Wheel” feature appeared. In March we truthfully mentioned that 2014 was our busiest year ever. We went on to point out that we released twenty-three books that year.

“Nay, nay,” said those Ol’ Eagle Eyes who visit this space, “your list is one short! Wonder Woman also appeared in 2014, and it’s not on the list you presented!” What can I say? They were right, and we had fat-fingered the year-of-release for Princess Diana as 2015, not 2014. Here’s a corrected list of our 2014 releases:

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The LOAC Road to 200: March’s LOAC Wheel of Fortune

It’s that time again — as we move toward our two hundredth entry in The Library of American Comics, we’re spinning that LOAC Wheel of Fortune to see which of our past releases gets spotlighted for the month of March.

We wanted to focus on the year 2014, which was the busiest in our almost-twelve-year history. A whopping twenty-three — yup, that’s 23! — Library books were released that year:

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Ad-dicting & En-LIFE-ening

We continue our look at comics-related ads that appeared in Life Magazine, previously begun here. This time, just for fun, we’ll go in reverse-chronological order and start at the tag-end of the 1950s. I was but a wee bairn of two months and twenty-five days old (and Stevenson B. Canyon was once again crossing paths and trading barbs with “The Copperhead,” Copper Calhoon) when this ad for Teacher’s Scotch, starring the one-and-only Milton Caniff, appeared in Life‘s October 12, 1959 issue:

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Ad-ing LIFE to the Comics

In various LOAC books we’ve shown (and discussed) examples of the intersection between comics and the world of advertising, yet it’s not a topic we’ve lingered over in this space. I decided to change that just a bit recently, when going through the contents of a bunch of Life Magazines. (One of the perks of this job is being able to sift through old magazines and newspapers, to get a look at — or in some cases, remember — The Way It Used to Be.) These Lifes had a variety of comics-based advertisements, so I snagged a batch of them to share with you.

The earliest Life ad I found with a comics connection was in the magazine’s April 15, 1940 issue. I knew Bud Fisher’s Mutt and Jeff were popular, but until I saw this I had no idea they were experts on digestive difficulties …

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The LOAC Road to 200: February’s LOAC Wheel of Fortune

As promised when we announced the drive toward our two hundredth release, we’ve loaded a handful of our previous books into the LOAC Wheel of Fortune, given it a spin, and will offer a few thoughts and recollections regarding the book selected by the wheel.

There are a number of ways to view a backlist as robust as ours: last month we spun the wheel based on only our superhero releases. This time we’re taking a different approach by spinning on all the books previously released in the month of February. Since we have our backlist captured in a table, it was a simple matter to sort on the second month, yielding this list:

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The “LOAC 2018 Year in Review” Sandwich: A Ten-Book Filling Between Two CANYONs

Early in each new year we look back at the prior twelve months in LOAC-Land. It provides our readers with a handy one-stop checklist of our most recent books — and it helps remind us of what we were up to all those months ago!

As we tallied 2018’s Library of American Comics output, we were surprised to see we had both begun and ended the year with a book of never-before-repeated Steve Canyon comics. We kicked off January, 2018 with the release of Volume 8 …

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Our Double Feature: The LOAC Road to 200 and The LOAC Wheel of Fortune!

As you may have seen if you visit our various social media platforms, during 2019 The Library of American Comics is on pace to release its 200th volume. We call this the “LOAC Road to 200,” and we plan to celebrate our fast-approaching milestone in a number of ways as this still-new-year unfolds.

One new feature we’re adding to this space to mark the LOAC Road to 200: our very own LOAC Wheel of Fortune! Each month we’ll load an electronic wheel with a selection of our past titles, give it a virtual spin, see which title the wheel selects, and spend a bit of time discussing it.

The arrival of the “big” 2018 Christmas gift I received from my siblings (as discussed here) put superheroes in my mind for two reasons. Reason the First: Without those 1970s Marvel Comics letters pages, in which Dean and I regularly appeared, offering words of comment about the Marvel mags of the day, the chain of events that helped create The Library of American Comics may have never come to pass. Reason the Second: Roughly ten percent of our two-hundred-title output is devoted to such characters — from the comic-strip versions of DC’s “trinity” (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman) to the long-running newspaper feature headlined by Marvel’s most popular character, the Amazing Spider-Man, to the Bell Syndicate’s Miss Fury (the first lady costumed hero created by a female cartoonist, Tarpe Mills). Factor in that one of our first 2019 releases on the LOAC Road to 200 will be the fifth volume of Spider-Man and it made lots of sense (to me, at least) to load the LOAC superhero books into the wheel …

… Give ‘er a spin, and see which book came up! In this inaugural spin, it was —

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Notes on the Canwellian Holidays

A Happy 2019 to all our readers and visitors to this space!

Later this month, as separate postings, we’ll be giving the LOAC Wheel of Fortune its first spin and we’ll present our annual Year in Review feature, as well. But first (which is a funny way to enter a room), here’s a little show-and-tell about how I spent my waning days of December, 2018 …

My wife, Krista, and I alternate years in terms of with whom we spend the holidays: odd-numbered years it’s with her family, even-numbered years with mine. In this case we packed our bags and jetted south to the Sunshine State for a week with my mother, also seeing my Florida-based sister, her husband, and their daughter in the process. Krista is the daredevil in our family — I adhere to a line by Ray Bradbury I read long ago. I’ll paraphrase it as: “Why do they call it terra firma? Because the more firma, the less terror” — and as a Christmas present, my sister arranged a meeting in Kissimmee so my wife and niece, Haley, could try a ride known as The Slingshot. The operators claim, “This innovative Slingshot amusement device is by far one the most exciting vertical amusement rides available today. Slingshot passengers are catapulted vertically at over 100 miles per hour …” It looks like this, from a distance:

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