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The ’90s Revisited – The Demon Annual #1

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demon_annual_001Ex-Nihilo…Death!

Script: Alan Grant
Pencils: Joe Phillips & David Johnson
Inks: John Dell
Colors: Robbie Busch
Letters: Todd Klein
Editor: Dan Raspler
Cover Art: Joe Phillips
Cover Date: 1992
Cover Price: $3.00
Published by: DC Comics

Jason Blood and his pal Harry (some sort of human pillow?) arrive in San Francisco. Not long after, they’re attacked by some large creature and Jason is forced to call forth Etrigan to fight it. Meanwhile, some kid and his cat are on the scene stirring up some trouble of their own. Etrigan’s adversary is eventually recalled–apparently this was just a test for Etrigan by some old guy. The old guy is Nihilo, and he’s confronted by Jason and the kid–apparently his nephew–also known as Klarion (the witch boy). Nihilo regales his "guests" with his story, which comes down to his having been cursed with immortality by the cruelty of Eclipso. And with Eclipso apparently being back, Nihilo seeks death before Eclipso’s attention returns to exacerbate his suffering.

Klarion, however, attempts to invoke Eclipso to kill the Demon Etrigan. He winds up "eclipsed," along with Teekl (his cat), and we get another lengthy fight scene. Along the way, Eclipsed Klarion seems to burn out Nihilo’s eyes as punishment, and ultimately, Eclipso seems to have the Demon beat…but Harry intervenes, creating an illusion of sunrise, which spurs Eclipso to move Klarion and Teekl underground, abandoning the fight in favor of preserving his control over their magical bodies. Etrigan lives, and rides off with Harry and a large "The End" closing out the story.

I went into this issue "blind." Other than some very loose basics, I’m almost wholly unfamiliar with The Demon and Etrigan outside of an episode or two of Justice League Unlimited, his appearance in 1999’s Judgement Day, possibly Final Night, and a few issues of Demon Knights (being The New 52, though, could be vastly different!). Ditto with Klarion. I didn’t even know who the kid was til the name was put out there, and then I only know whatever I read (and have presently forgotten) from the Grant Morrison mini whenever that 7 Soldiers stuff was out. I vaguely knew of Etrigan being a "rhyming" demon and definitely appreciated some of the rhymes in the issue (outside of the story itself, a writer being able to make mostly-sensible rhymes work is fairly impressive to me for whatever reason).

I’m not all that clear on the actual relationship between Jason Blood and Etrigan outside of there being at least a bit of an adversarial thing. Is Etrigan related to Merlin? Or is that someone else? There’s not much "background" here as far as Blood and the Demon. Despite that, this was a fairly self-contained issue…which gives it more credit with me for being a $3 issue–a 20% increase on the prior chapters of Eclipso: The Darkness Within being $2.50. This is also the first non-squarebound issue of the event. This is one I’m highly confident I did NOT ever read before, though it was an interesting enough read as a first-time thing in 2022. Even though I didn’t know the characters, I feel like I got to know or recognize the "essential" bits.

Visually, this had a certain "darker" style to it that put me in mind of early issues of Batman: Shadow of the Bat (though PART of that may be Alan Grant’s name with this issue). Something to the visuals also put me in mind of older Hellblazer issues and perhaps Vertigo stuff as well.

Readers are directed to this issue from Justice League America Annual #6…but other than that, there’s really nothing here that seems to truly tie in to the event. Having read previous chapters, I have a bit more context for Eclipso…but I don’t think it’s really needed in reading this…we get filled in contextually with what we "need" to know. If there was no "meta" context of having read prior chapters, this would seem a standalone story to me, and not a bad one at that. There’s also no direction to the "next" chapter of Eclipso: The Darkness Within…and with Eclipso seemingly "defeated" for the purposes of this issue–"driven off," at least–we get a conclusion of sorts that doesn’t push us into another chapter.

As I do not recall reading any other issues of the title from the ’90s–except perhaps the Bloodlines Annual–this was a decent introduction of it to me; the extra length to the issue giving more room for things to play out beyond what "just" a normal single issue would have. It doesn’t obligate me to check recent issues, nor to dive into subsequent issues. Even within the event itself, this seems more like a one-shot/special that happens to feature the characters. As "a" #1, this is additionally worthwhile if fished out of a cheapo-bin. #1, extra-sized, dark, contained…and yet ties into the overall event by virtue of referencing a black diamond and having Eclipso.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 28, 2018

This was another interesting week for new comics. Small-ish, but some high prices making it feel like a slightly bigger week. And I totally forgot to look for a certain back-issue that I’d missed last week, so I may be back out this weekend hunting.

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We have the $4.99 conclusion to Metal; the $4.99 next issue of Doomsday Clock (that I’m about ready to jump off and just wait for the eventual collected edition); and the $4.99 250th issue of GI Joe: A Real American Hero (the numbering goes back to the original Marvel-published #1 from the early 1980s!).

On the idea that I’ll catch up on reading TMNT before I make it back to the shop with the pull-list, snagged the "B" cover since IF I’m gonna have two copies of the issue, might as well get a different image. PLUS the TMNT stuff is my core "exception" where I’ll let a LOT more go than I will with any other property. The second issue of The Terrifics; the new Detective Comics (which is no longer going to sync necessarily with Action Comics the way it has for most of the past 22 or so months).

The latest issue of The Demon: Hell is Earth; and then the booklets that go along with the latest issue of Previews.

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And there’s the issue of Previews itself, along with image+; these kinda just are what they are.


Next week starts the April books; and also puts us into the month in which we should be getting Action Comics #1,000. While by regular scheduling that should have been this week, it’s being "held" for 3 weeks so its release coincides with the 80th anniversary of Superman. And based on the understanding that it’s otherwise done…I’m pretty much ok with it for said anniversary status.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 28, 2018

This week’s another moderate-sized week…certainly not tiny, but not as big as some. Of course, part of that came from leaving several titles that I’ve bought out of habit but I’m so ridiculously far behind on actually reading that the issues–if I opt to catch up–will probably be bargain-bin-fodder by the time I’d get around to where I’d be ready to read them anyway.

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Action Comics #998 means we’re a mere TWO ISSUES from the big #1000! I’ve been looking forward to The Terrifics for awhile, and glad to see it finally make it out. I think one thing I like about it over the likes of Silencer and Damage is that it actually uses characters I’ve read before, albeit in a new way…WHILE introducing other stuff. Then there’s Detective Comics #975, another title approaching #1000. THen the latest issue of the 6-issue Demon: Hell Is Earth mini. The latest TMNT issue–#79, chapter 4 of Invasion of the Triceratons. And a 25-cent Primer issue from Aspen. 25 cents, of course I’m gonna snag it!

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Then there’s GI Joe: A Real American Hero #s 248 and 249…the “A” covers. I’d snagged #s 246 & 247 a couple weeks back on a whim, so finding an actual “A” cover in stock (as opposed to a “B” or “RI” cover!) for #248, got that AND the latest new issue in #249…just ahead of the big #250 issue!

And while the cover alone would have caught me anyway, knowing ahead of time from a TwoMorrows Facebook post last night that the new Back Issue deals with editors, I was interested in it for content and so went in actually looking for the issue.

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And then there’s the new issue of Previews, which partly showcases on its cover the reason I’ve once more dropped Marvel–they can’t even make it 6 months from real-world-release to announcing the NEXT “Big Thing” or “relaunch” or renumbering-but-it’s-not-a-reboot or whatever. (Whether it’s an actual EVENT series or “just” an initiative…it seems like they are entirely incapable of real-world-time having one thing actually finish before announcing/rolling out the hype-machine on the next thing!)

That said, it’s a new big catalog of comics coming up, and a sort of time capsule for down the road.

And that, for now, is that…the weekly haul to close out February 2018!

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JLDark and Early Digital: Really?!?

I saw this ad this week, for the new Justice League Dark animated movie. And at first glance, I thought I had missed its release–despite being in a Walmart on Tuesday and actually looking at the movie section and new-release endcap without anything jumping out at me.

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But no…I didn’t actually miss it. I realized the ad says on digital January 24.

I swear, every time I see ads like this, they just make me more and more angry, and less and less likely to buy anything new in the way of movies.

Bad enough the high price and shrinking "first week discounts" (if any) the last several years.

But this "digital-only" "window" just bugs the crap out of me.

Is there anyone who is REALLY just so desperate to see something like this, that they’d rather pay the $20ish for digital ONLY when a "mere" TWO WEEKS later for that SAME PRICE they can add blu-ray AND dvd to their stock?

Maybe if the digital version was say, $10, I’d consider it. I’d wait this one out on principle if I didn’t know myself and OCD on these. With the voice cast, content, and having all the previous such animated releases since the line started back in 2008, I’d kick myself for "missing" the thing.

But I’ve already gotten to where–despite loving them in the theater–I refuse to buy Marvel MCU movies; the way they screw around with "formats" and "combo packs" shut me out years ago.

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