Breaking Comic Book News (and a Confession)

Circle Citizen has important news to report from the world of comic books.
But first, a confession: Your Circle Citizen correspondent is a recovering comic-book geek. In the 1980s, he squandered many hours of his youth in a poorly lit basement comic-book store in Bloomington called 25th Century Five and Dime, digging in dusty boxes and trying to win favor with a dismissive, pasty-faced clerk. Many more hours were discarded at home, carefully storing–or “bagging and boarding”–each new purchase. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a favorite title (before it sold out to Saturday-morning cartoonland), and having collected the first couple years’ worth of issues, including TMNT No. 1, was a proud accomplishment.
So when your CC correspondent wandered into Downtown Comics (11 E. Market St., 237-0397) yesterday afternoon looking for news, he was also carrying the secret burden of a once-heavy obsession. Kismet happened. Turns out the store was gearing up for a major event: Starting Wednesday, publisher DC Comics is re-launching every title in its iconic catalogue with sexier new looks and re-imagined characters, in an effort, says storeowner Doug Stephenson, to “appeal to a younger audience.” Classic series such as Action Comics (which introduced Superman in 1938) and Detective Comics (which introduced Batman a year later) will start over again at No. 1. Meaning that if the typical $1 million price tag on original copies of Action Comics No. 1 has kept you from owning the entire series, you now have an opportunity to start from scratch. “It’s kind of a big deal for us,” Stephenson says.
To mark the occasion, Downtown Comics will host an all-day release party on Wednesday, Aug. 31, from 10 am to 8 pm, and showcase the new versions of Justice League and Flashpoint, still hot off the presses. (DC will roll out the rest of its 52 re-launches, called “The New 52,” throughout September.) Stephenson thinks many of his regular customers might stop by, particularly around lunchtime, and the group could include former radio personality Abdul Hakim-Shabazz and several Republican politicians whom Stephenson won’t name because they are “closet comic guys.”
And Stephenson shared some other news of particular interest to your correspondent. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles recently had a re-launch of its own, and the store still had a fresh copy of the all-new TMNT No. 1. Which now resides in Circle Citizen’s 40 Monument Circle library, properly bagged and boarded.