Topic: Comic Book History
TODAY'S FEATURE IS BLOG #4036 - Back on December 30th of 2010, I blogged about seeing Alternate Reality Comics in Las Vegas, Nevada. (See this link for Blog #3312.)
I was in Las Vegas for a holiday, but as usual, I checked out a few comic book stores in the area.
While there I met the co-owner of Alternate Reality Comics, Ralph Mathieu. He was kind enough to show us around his LCBS. It was a great visit!
Now, back to the present! Would you believe... That during the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International... Ralph stopped me and said hello on the massive exhibit floor?!
During our quick five minute meetup, he mentioned that his LCBS was celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year!
In fact, he pulled out a promo comic book that he had published honoring that fact of hitting 20 years in business. The photo of that comic book is shown above.
Ralph gave me that copy, and I have just finished reading it last night.
Here's my thoughts on the promo comic book:
Of course the front cover is a homage to the Fantastic Four #1 issue from 1961. The Fantastic Four were my favorite comic book series to collect during the 1960s, and I have picked up many comics that have used that famous cover as a homage.
The character in green with Red Vines is Epstein, the Ska Lizard, who is "The World's Most Beloved Comic Book & Entertainment Store Mascot!". This promo comic book is "...Published for the first time anywhere! A blatant attempt to cash in on comic sentimentality!".
I had seen Epstein during my visit to the comic book shop in Las Vegas. This promotional comic book gave the 'Origin' of Epstein. The first character you meet on the splash page is 'Cosmic Vyne', who looks a lot like 'Galactus', (LOL). The rest of the story is the true origin and how Epstein got to Earth. Transforming a comic book shop in Las Vegas into 'Alternate Reality Comics'!
Not bad at all! Cute parody! And on the inside back cover page, a 'Who's Who' page for Epstein. With a history of the LCBS. You see, back in 1987 Steve Marino started 'Dungeon Comics'. P.J. Wahlquist managed the shop from 1987 to 1994. The ownership changed to Blake Phillips shortly after the shop started.
It wasn't until 1995 that Ralph Mathieu purchased the shop and changed the name to 'Alternate Reality Comics'. That is what the shop is still named, 20 years afterwards!
The back cover had the only 'ad' in the comic book. All that you need to find the shop in Las Vegas, with address, store hours, online web site, photo of the store owners, (including Katherine Keller),and their own Facebook Fan Page!
This is a pretty good promotional comic book in my opinion! It hits on all eight cylinders!
Definitely rates a Near Mint (NM) 9.4 out of a 10.0 comic book grading guide in my estimation!
My thanks to Ralph for bringing this to my attention at the 2015 Comic-Con International. And Congrats on owning the LCBS for the past 20 years! Let you hang in there for 20 more should you like to do so!!
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Note: My online 'Local' Comic Book Shop (LCBS), carries many different genres of comics, magazines, graphic novels, and comic con promotional items. Possibly even copies of the item(s) that was mentioned here today...! If I have it, you'll find under the BIG TOP of Comics, at Comic Books Circus.com!
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