I HAVE A DREAM. And it Involves Elvira. And Skottie Young. And The Hero Initiative . Look, just read it, will you?
No, this isn’t the weirdest slash fiction ever.
Here are some concepts people LOVE: Elvira. Variant Covers, Buying Stuff To Do A Good Deed. And laughing at really, REALLY bad old comics. Like Mystery Science Theatre 3K but with bad colouring instead of terrible cinematography
There are a plethora of bad comics out there, many of them in the public domain. IDW reprinted quite a couple for their ‘What Were They Thinking.’ line. Lots, LOTS more can be found here, for your perusal, enjoyment and/or general mockery. Just bear the sheer amount of this material available in the back of your head for a couple of minutes.
So, there have been a few attempts at Elvira comics over the years. They’ve been ….ok, but the covers were usually the best thing about them, after that, they would descend into poorly written slapstick, and it would never read nor be as funny as the real thing. The mistake was that Elvira is her best when she’s either mocking the thing she’s watching OR she’s doing the Fourth Wall breaking thing in her own story. When she was written as part of a comic story, she didn’t have the chance to address the reader as well as she would in her films ‘Mistress Of The Dark’ or ‘Haunted Hills’ as she wasn’t doing her own act, but being written by people who didn’t quite get it. This style CAN be done well in comics, though. As proven by John Byrne’s groundbreaking run on She-Hulk run from the 90’s. Which at one point featured The Jen skipping naked as a result of an argument Byrne was having in the letters page. As Meta-Textual as comics could get back then without involving 3-D technology or Smell-O-Rama.
So here’s what I’m thinking:
An Elvira hosted ‘So Bad It’s Good’ Comics Anthology. The comic runs two or three of those clunkers from yesteryear, but each strip has a new two page bookend sequence where Elvira introduces and closes the story, and also pops in to the story via captions or a cut-away panel by the likes of Kaluta, Wrightson, Adam Hughes, Jason Pearson,Adam Warren, Tula Lotay, Adam Hughes, Kyle Baker, Amanda Connor, Hilary Barta, Becky Cloonan, Kevin Maguire, Jaime Hernandez, Tara McPherson, Adam Warren, Ty Templeton, : Gals and Guys who give good boob but also know how to draw their funny.
Stick in a reprint from the DC or Claypool days which can lead to new trade paperbacks of the older material they created. Then the comic finishes with an original short story by contemporary writers and artists, like a behind the scenes skit, interviews with comic characters or just some satirical commentary on the stories of the time. If this whole idea means at some point there would be an Elvira strip written by Alex DeCampi and drawn by Frank Cho, I would die happy.Since the bulk of the book would simply be a case of scanning from the archive I mentioned earlier, I think the charitable thing to do would be to donate a contemporary page rate to The Hero Initiative per public domain story used, who are ‘a consortium of comic publishers came up with the idea to create a financial safety net for comic creators, much in the same fashion that exists in almost any other trade from plumbing to pottery’. The Comics Industry still doesn’t have anything vaguely like a pension plan, so these guys are an important part of our business, providing both security and dignity to people who’ve worked in the field and are now seeing hard times. They create a number of products to sustain themselves, including a really good annual published by IDW Comics. so if you feel inclined, go buy something from them or simply donate what you can here.
(The key thing to do this well, obviously, is to have Cassandra Peterson write Elvira’s dialogue for the comic. I assume this goes without saying.)
Of course, Elvira lends herself to no end of variant covers. There are hundreds, if not thousands of photos out there. DC and Claypool created over 150 covers between them that can be used straight away, then there’s the usual suspects to create new ones: Dodson, Young, Hughes, Powell, so that works, but here’s the twist. Instead of ordering your variants via ratio, (So order 26 copies to receive the Joe Madureira 1 in 25 variant or 101 copies of Elvira Presents#1 to get the Adam Hughes variant being the standard policy we’re working with now) the covers could also be allocated on a donation basis It means retailers can get the quantities they think they can sell rather than clogging up their inventory. So if you want the 5 copies of the Skottie Young 1 in 10 version of Elvira Presents, you can just select to pay 50 x cover price minus retailer discount and get the book that way, with half the money paid going to the publisher and half to The Hero Initiative.. Everyone benefits, far more this way than the current situation of unsold books cluttering up comic shop backrooms across the world.
Boobs, Variants, Charity, Good Comics. You’re welcome..
(Much thanks to the guys at Off The Beaten Panel for their database of odd comics. Go have a look at their take on the odder end of funnybooks here. This column is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Brett Ewins, who deserved a damn sight more than this business ever gave him. Good night, Mate.)