Cover to Marvel Comics Avengers: 1959 #1, by Howard ChaykinSince AMC’s show Mad Men became a hit by turning mid-20th century nostalgia into a bankable commodity and by casting Vincent Kartheiser in his second role where I want to stomp his balls off, it was only a matter of time before the copycats started showing up. Much like Raiders of the Lost Ark begat Tales of the Gold Monkey and Bring ‘Em Back Alive, this year Mad Men has given us the creatively leeched Pan Am and The Playboy Club… with pretty much the same predictable results.

And so what with Marvel Comics hoping to bring in new readers and not being fools (Because Marvel doesn’t reboot! Marvel doesn’t NEED to reboot to keep their number one market sh… wait, what?), Marvel’s thrown their own hat in the Good-Old-Days ring with Avengers: 1959, apparently having missed the twin memos that the current trend is toward reliving the 1960’s, and that the last go-round with 1950’s nostalgia ended by jumping the shark. Literally.

Look: I’ve been around the block enough to know that the idea of a comics company sniffing for a bandwagon to jump on is hardly new. Let’s face reality: if Roy Thomas hadn’t snapped up Star Wars license, then Marvel would be the ones trying to pretend they hadn’t released Star Hunters – a comic so bad they pulled the “kill the hero and bring him back with a new costume to save the book” trick 120 days after the book started. Being a realist I know that if Mad Men was about Christopher Street in New York, Marvel would be releasing Avengers: What Price Glory Hole? right now. So I won’t try to hold the copycat feeling against this book.

We’ve reached the end of the deluge of new #1’s from DC’s universal reboot. With the 52 all new, on-going titles established, DC is now releasing miniseries titles for characters whom they’d like to keep active in the universe but, for whatever reason, did not merit an on-going title. This week’s candidates include Huntress #1, a six issue run that IGN seems to think is set on Earth 2, but actually, according to DC will have events that will play into Birds of Prey (presumably in this universe). DC also released Penguin: Pain And Prejudice #1, which will outline the origins of The Penguin. On October 12, DC will release The Shade #1, which will have a 12 issue run. So, why did DC decide that these characters wouldn’t make the cut for an on-going series over the likes of some of the more marginal Wildstorm characters such as Voodoo or Grifter? The mind of Dan DiDio is a curious place indeed.

I’m a little late with this but this past Monday, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette covered the 24-Hour Comic Challenge, which is held yearly at the Worcester Art Museum. Sixteen artists, who ranged in age from 9 to 57, participated. The goal of the event is to have each artist complete their own individual, fully written and illustrated comic book in the space of 24 hours. Artists used a variety of methods to complete their work, ranging from pencil to magic marker to electronic tablets. Jim Lee could learn a little something from these folks.

And one of the most awesome things about this event?

The artists’ work will be on display for a month in the Museum’s Higgins Education Wing. After that, it will be scanned into a computer and sent electronically to, the comic book retailer trade association that sponsors the event, for possible inclusion in the 24-Hour Comic Day Anthology.

How great is it that comic books, and work by, primarily, new artists of comic books, is being celebrated with an exhibition at an art museum – and then gets their work in front of industry and retailers? Now people can have a reason to visit Worcester, MA that doesn’t involve visiting elderly relations or buying crack. Good work!