DC Direct Mini Neon Signs

Early next year, DC Direct will begin releasing a series of Mini Neon signs. DC has made large neon signs available to retailers for years now, but these are smaller, cheaper versions — the Batman mini, for example, is 12″ high by 7″ wide. These will retail for $89.99 apiece. Along with the Batman and The Flash signs depicted below, there will also be a Wonder Woman, Superman, Justice League of America, and Green Lantern Mini Neon sign.

Wonder Woman Animated Movie Coming February 2009

Next up in Warner Brothers series of straight-to-DVD animated DC films is Wonder Woman, scheduled for release in February 2009. One of the things I thought the New Frontier movie did very well was its interesting take on Wonder Woman (which I assume it got from the comic, but I haven’t read it so can’t confirm).

I assume this won’t be that dark, but at least it’s something until DC gets its act together and gets going on the live action film again (hint – do whatever it takes to get Joss Whedon back helming the project).

Re-Issue of Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes

Last year I mentioned the three volume Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes set that rocked my world as a child.

The first volume in the series, the Batman encyclopedia, is going to be re-released in May retailing for about $20. The Superman and Wonder Woman editions are also being re-released over the summer.

And for that very special Batman fan in your life, Previews is offering a Neal Adams-signed Batman volume for only $149.99.

The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes: Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman

The other day, quite by accident, I happened across a copy of three books that I spent untold hours reading as a kid — the three volumes in Michael Fleisher’s Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes.

Fleisher is a comic book writer who is best known for his run on DC Comics’ Jonah Hex. While he was writing comics in the 1970s, Fleisher was also busy writing a multi-volume Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes.

The plan was to do an 8-volume set. Volume 1 would cover Batman, Volume 2 Wonder Woman, Volume 3 Captain Marvel, Plastic Man and The Spirit; Volume 4 Green Lantern; Volume 5 Flash; Volume 6 Superman; Volume 7 Captain America; Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch; and Volume 8 Dr. Fate, Hawkman, Starman and Spectre.

The Batman and Wonder Woman volumes were published in 1976, and the Superman volumes was published in 1978. The other volumes never saw the light of day.

The books took the encyclopedia in the titles quite literally, consisting of hundreds of pages of encyclopedia entries, listed alphabetically, covering every major and minor character and event in history of the hero or heroine in question.

I was fortunate that when the Batman and Wonder Woman volume were published, my local library purchased copies of both. Being 8 years old at the time and a Batman fanatic, I had each of the books checked out on and off for more or less the next several years. Comics Treadmills speculates that it might not be humanly possible to read the Batman volume cover to cover, but I think I did that at least twice from 1976 to 1979.

One of the great things I loved about the Batman and Wonder Woman Encyclopedias as a child was almost certainly its downfall — Fleisher included lengthy plot summaries of numerous Batman comic books. For example, when the volume was published, Bruce Wayne’s Aunt Agatha had made a single appearance in Batman #89 in a story typical of the DC stories of the 1950s and 1960s. Aunt Agatha catches Bruce and Dick Grayson as Batman and Robin, but wrongly concludes they’re attending a costume party. Hilarity ensues.

Aunt Agatha is a very minor character, but Fleisher devoted hundreds of words to essentially retelling Batman #89 in his Encyclopedia (frankly, his retelling was probably better than the original). On the one hand, this was like a gold mine to an 8 year old. Today a very good of Batman #89 is worth $400 or so; it was probably worth significantly less in 1976, but still out of the range of this 8 year old’s allowance.

On the other hand, the long plot summaries made the book huge. This was a very large book — about 9″ x 12″ if memory serves — and about 400 pages. That would have been a fairly expensive book for a relatively niche market. It’s not surprising that after the Batman and Wonder Woman volumes appeared in 1976, the only other volume published is the Superman volume in 1978 which was intended by the publisher as a tie-in to the Richard Donner film.

I’m surprised that no one has done a similarly obsessive Batman or Wonder Woman project on the Internet. A Fleisher-style encyclopedia would lend itself well to a Wiki-based project.

Wonder Woman Gets a Hair Cut

Yahoo! Entertainment actually has an entire story devoted to Wonder Woman’s new haircut. Superman had to die to get mass media interest, but Wonder Woman just has to cut her hair?

Is there any gimmick DC won’t try to improve their sales? And with a lineup that includes books like Aquaman Secret Files can you blame them?