Comics Buyer's Guide

Comics Buyer's Guide (CBG; ISSN 0745-4570), established in 1971, was the longest-running English-language periodical reporting on the American comic book industry. It awarded its annual Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards from 1982 to circa 2010. The publication ceased with the March 2013 issue.[1][2] The magazine was headquartered in Iola, Wisconsin.[3]

Comics Buyer's Guide
Cbg1600.png
Comics Buyer's Guide #1600 (January 2005)
Senior EditorMaggie Thompson
Categoriescomic books news and criticism
Frequency
monthly (February 1971 – August 1972)
twice-monthly (August 1972 – July 1975)
weekly (July 1975 – June 2004)
monthly (June 2004 – March 2013)
PublisherF+W Media
FounderAlan Light
First issueMarch 1971
Final issue
Number
March 2013
1699
CountryUnited States
Based inIola, Wisconsin
LanguageEnglish
Websitewww.cbgxtra.com
ISSN0745-4570

HistoryEdit

1971–1983Edit

 
Alan Light in his first office, in his parents' basement, in 1975

CBG was founded in February 1971 by Alan Light under the title The Buyer's Guide to Comics Fandom (TBG) as a monthly newspaper in a tabloid format. TBG began primarily as an advertising venue – known in comics fandom as an "adzine", i.e. a fanzine devoted to ads. Ron Frantz, in his book Fandom: Confidential, traces the lineage of Light's endeavor to Stan's Weekly Express, (aka WE) a pioneering adzine published from 1969 to 1973, whose bare-bones approach was inspired by an "obscure journal of flower advertising known as Joe's Bulletin".[4] Frantz also provides background on Light's interaction with the WE Seal of approval program, with which he cooperated in order to help combat mail fraud. Frantz in addition describes the infamous long-running feud between Light and Comics Journal founder Gary Groth.[5]

TBG's frequency was changed to twice-monthly with issue #18 (August 1, 1972). Besides occasional letter columns, beginning with issue #19 (Aug. 15, 1972), prominent fans Don and Maggie Thompson began a monthly column, "Beautiful Balloons." A news column, "What Now?" by Murray Bishoff, was added with #26 (Dec. 1, 1972). These provided the editorial content required by the United States Postal Service to qualify for second class mail (along with paid subscriptions being instituted with issue #27, January 1, 1973).[6]

TBG went weekly with issue #86 (July 18, 1975). Cat Yronwode succeeded Bishoff as news reporter with issue #329 (March 7, 1980), renaming the column "Fit to Print".

1983–2002Edit

In 1983, The Buyer's Guide was purchased by Krause Publications.[7] Columnists Don and Maggie Thompson were hired as editors. Krause changed the name with their first issue #482 (February 11, 1983) to Comics Buyer's Guide. At that time Krause instituted the controversial[8][9][10] CBG Customer Service Award, the display of which signifies an advertiser had a "clean bill of health".

Writer Peter David's column, "But I Digress...", joined the publication in 1990.[11] The magazine added Mark Evanier's column "P.O.V." in late 1994.

In 1992, the magazine spun off its distributor and retailer news into a separate periodical, Comics & Games Retailer (which ceased publication in 2007).[12] Co-editor Don Thompson died in May 23, 1994.[13] In 1998, Krause brought on John Jackson Miller as managing editor and Brent Frankenhoff as projects editor, with Maggie Thompson remaining as editor.[14] Frankenhoff was promoted to CBG Editor in 2006, with Maggie Thompson assuming the title of Senior Editor.

In July 2002, Krause was acquired by F+W Publications.

2002–2013Edit

With issue #1595 (June 2004), CBG changed its format from a weekly tabloid to a monthly perfect bound magazine. In addition, in hopes of enhancing newsstand sales, CBG added a price guide for contemporary comics as well as other new features intended to make the magazine more appealing to those with an avid interest in comic books as an investment. This marketing strategy was also tied to the yearly publication of the Standard Catalog of Comic Books, produced in conjunction with Human Computing, the makers of the comic collectors’ software ComicBase.

In July 2005, the magazine began archiving past features at its CBGXtra.com service. In late 2009, CBG's page count was reduced, the perfect binding ended, and some of the features changed, including the removal of the price guide listings.

On January 9, 2013, Krause Publications announced the cancellation of Comics Buyer’s Guide effective with issue #1699 (March 2013). The website CBGXtra and its Facebook page continued as archived resources for a time but are no longer online, replaced by the web site of the new owner Antique Trader.[1][2] Alter Ego #122 (Jan. 2014) is a tribute issue devoted to Comics Buyer's Guide with features regarding what would have made the 1700th CBG issue if the magazine had continued.[15]

A complete collection of CBG and its predecessor is held by the Michigan State University Comic Art Collection.[16][17]

ColumnistsEdit

CBG hosted many columns over the years in addition to Don and Maggie Thompson's "Beautiful Balloons", Murray Bishoff's "What Now?", and Cat Yronwode's "Fit to Print".[18] With issue #25 (Nov. 15, 1972) Martin L. Greim, publisher of the fanzine The Comic Crusader, began to contribute an occasional column initially titled "M. L. G. on Comics", that later would be known as "Crusader Comments".[18] With issue #162 in 1976 Shel Dorf began an occasional series "Shel Dorf and the Fantasy Makers" interviewing creators in comics, television and film.[19] Another columnist in the 1970s was David Scroggy.[20]

Another column was Robert Ingersoll's "The Law is A [sic] Ass!". The column dealt with how comics writers erred in their depiction of the law, and what Ingersoll thought they should have done. It also dealt with procedural errors.[21]

In the CBG era, the magazine has been noted for its letter column "Oh, So?", as well as columns by Peter David, Tony Isabella, Catherine Yronwode, Rick Norwood, Mark Evanier, John Jackson Miller, Bob Ingersoll, Heidi MacDonald, Chuck Rozanski, Craig Shutt, Beau Smith, Andrew Smith, and others. As part of the June 2004 switch to monthly publication, Maggie Thompson revived the "Beautiful Balloons" column.

Cartoons and stripsEdit

Cartoonists whose work appeared in CBG include Marc Hansen, Chuck Fiala, Jim Engel, Dan Vebber, Fred Hembeck, Mark Engblom, Brian Douglas Ahern, Chris Smigliano, Mark Martin, Batton Lash, Brian Hayes, and others. For some years CBG reprinted installments of The Spirit comic strip by Will Eisner. The panel cartoon "Last Kiss" by John Lustig was also among the longtime fixtures. Professional comic book artists such as Jack Kirby, C.C. Beck and Alex Toth, as well as otherwise-unknown fan artists, regularly contributed covers along with headers and spot illustrations to the "Beautiful Balloons" and "Fit to Print" columns.

Comics Buyer's Guide Fan AwardsEdit

Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards
 
Awarded forFan-voted awards for comic book creators, titles, and characters
Sponsored byComic Buyer's Guide
CountryU.S.
Hosted byChicago Comicon (c. 1983–1996)
Formerly calledCBG Award
First awarded1983
Last awardedc. 2010
Websitehttp://www.cbgxtra.com  

Upon taking over as editors in 1983, Don and Maggie Thompson aspired to bring back a series of comic book fan awards like the Goethe Awards, which they administered in the first half of the 1970s. (The Goethe Award — later known as the Comic Fan Art Award — originated with the fanzine Newfangles and then shared close ties with The Buyer's Guide to Comics Fandom.)[22][23]

CBG administered the annual Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards from 1982 to circa 2010, with the first awards announced in issue #500 (June 17, 1983). The format and balloting of the Fan Awards were in many ways derived from the Goethe Award/Comic Fan Art Award. The awards were initially voted on by CBG subscribers; the voting was later opened up to everyone. As many as 5,000 votes were cast per year during the 1990s.[22]

The awards were often presented at the annual Chicago Comicon[22] until 1996 (when the Wizard Fan Awards moved in); from that point forward the CBG Award results were simply published in the magazine.

CategoriesEdit

As of 2006, awards were presented in 12 categories for works published in 2005:[24]

  • Favorite Publisher — created in 1997
  • Favorite Editor
  • Favorite Writer
  • Favorite Penciller — changed from "Favorite Artist" in 1986
  • Favorite Inker — created in 1986
  • Favorite Letterer — created in 1986
  • Favorite Colorist — created in 1986
  • Favorite Comic Book
  • Favorite Character
  • Favorite Cover Artist — created in 1985
  • Favorite Original Graphic Album — created as "Favorite Book" in 1984; renamed "Favorite Graphic Novel" in 1986; split in 1987 into Original and Reprint
  • Favorite Comic Book Story

Past awards:

  • Favorite Fan Artist — created in 1982; retired in 1984?
  • Favorite Reprint Graphic Album — created in 1987; retired in 2001
  • Favorite Limited Series — created 1985; retired in 2001
  • Favorite Painter — created in 1991; retired in 2001
  • Favorite Direct-Sales Book Only Title (Phil Seuling Award)
  • Favorite Publication About Comics — retired in 1995

Past winnersEdit

Dates for awards are slightly confusing, as explained by the Comic Book Awards Almanac:

The awards are for work done in the listed year; the results are published the following year. (Note that prior to approximately 1997, CBG referred to the current year's awards by the year the work was done, but around 1997, CBG started referring to the current year's awards by the year the award was given – though they continued referring to awards prior to the switchover date by the year the work was done. For consistency, the years on this site either refer to the year the work was done, or include the context necessary to determine which meaning is indicated.)[25]

Alex Ross won the CBG Award for Favorite Painter seven years in a row,[26] resulting in that publication's retirement of that category in 2001. Comics Buyer's Guide Senior Editor Maggie Thompson later commented in regard to this, "Ross may simply be the field's Favorite Painter, period. That's despite the fact that many outstanding painters are at work in today's comic books."[27]

The following are past winners (where the information is available):[25]

Favorite PublisherEdit

Favorite EditorEdit

Favorite WriterEdit

Favorite Artist/PencillerEdit

  • 1982 Frank Miller
  • 1983 George Pérez
  • 1984 John Byrne
  • 1985 George Pérez
  • 1986 John Byrne
  • 1987 George Pérez
  • 1988 Todd McFarlane
  • 1989 Todd McFarlane
  • 1990 Jim Lee
  • 1991 Jim Lee
  • 1992 Todd McFarlane
  • 1993 Todd McFarlane
  • 1994 Todd McFarlane
  • 1995 William Van Horn
  • 1996 John Byrne
  • 1997 George Pérez
  • 1998 George Pérez
  • 1999 George Pérez
  • 2000 George Pérez
  • 2001 John Romita Jr.
  • 2002 George Pérez
  • 2003 George Pérez
  • 2004 Jim Lee
  • 2005 George Pérez
  • 2006 George Pérez
  • 2008 George Pérez

Favorite Fan ArtistEdit

Favorite InkerEdit

  • 1986 Terry Austin
  • 1987 Terry Austin
  • 1988 Terry Austin
  • 1989 Terry Austin
  • 1990 Scott Williams
  • 1991 Scott Williams
  • 1992 Scott Williams
  • 1993 Scott Williams
  • 1994 Scott Williams
  • 1995 Pat Block
  • 1996 Terry Austin
  • 1997 Terry Austin
  • 1998 Al Vey
  • 1999 Al Vey
  • 2000 Al Vey
  • 2001 Tom Palmer
  • 2002 Jimmy Palmiotti
  • 2003 Scott Williams
  • 2004 Scott Williams
  • 2005 Terry Austin
  • 2006 Scott Williams

Favorite LettererEdit

Favorite ColoristEdit

Favorite Comic BookEdit

Favorite Original Graphic Novel/AlbumEdit

Favorite Reprint Graphic Novel/AlbumEdit

Favorite Limited SeriesEdit

Favorite PainterEdit

  • 1991 Simon Bisley
  • 1992 Joe Jusko
  • 1993 Joe Jusko
  • 1994 Alex Ross
  • 1995 Alex Ross
  • 1996 Alex Ross
  • 1997 Alex Ross
  • 1998 Alex Ross
  • 1999 Alex Ross
  • 2000 Alex Ross

Favorite CharacterEdit

  • 1982 Wolverine
  • 1983 (tie)
  • 1984 Wolverine
  • 1985 Batman
  • 1986 Batman
  • 1987 Batman
  • 1988 Batman
  • 1989 Spider-Man
  • 1990 Spider-Man
  • 1991 Spider-Man
  • 1992 Spawn
  • 1993 Batman
  • 1994 Batman
  • 1995 Donald's Nephews (Huey, Dewey, and Louie)
  • 1996 Batman
  • 1997 Batman
  • 1998 Batman
  • 1999 Batman
  • 2000 Batman
  • 2001 Spider-Man
  • 2002 Batman
  • 2003 Batman
  • 2004 Batman
  • 2005 Batman
  • 2006 (tie)
    • Batman
    • Spider-Man (tie)
  • 2008 Batman

Favorite Cover ArtistEdit

Favorite Comic-Book StoryEdit

Favorite Direct-Sales Only Title (Phil Seuling Award)Edit

Favorite Publication About ComicsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Frankenhoff, Brent (January 9, 2013). "F+W Announces Closure of Comics Buyer’s Guide". Comics Buyer’s Guide
  2. ^ a b Miller, John Jackson (January 9, 2013). "End of an era: Comics Buyer's Guide, 1971–2013". The Comichron
  3. ^ Brent Frankenhoff (December 14, 2012). The Greatest Comic Book Covers of All Time. Krause Publications Craft. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-4402-3499-6. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  4. ^ Ron Frantz. Fandom: Confidential. Mena, Arkansas: Midguard Publishing, 2000, p.53
  5. ^ Ron Frantz. Fandom: Confidential. Mena, Arkansas: Midguard Publishing, 2000.
  6. ^ Groth, Gary. "Editorial", Archived 2010-05-31 at the Wayback Machine Nostalgia Journal #27 (July 1976).
  7. ^ "Light Sells Buyer's Guide to Krause Publications", The Comics Journal #80 (March 1983), p. 22.
  8. ^ "Comics Buyer's Guide Advertisement Criteria Draw Fire from Advertisers", The Comics Journal #91 (July 1984), pp. 8–10.
  9. ^ "CBG Censors Ad Addressing Glenwood Distributors Accounts", The Comics Journal #115 (April 1987), p. 26.
  10. ^ "Comics Buyer's Guide Rejects Trident Ad", The Comics Journal #131 (September 1989), pp. 11–12.
  11. ^ Greenberger, Robert (January 10, 2013). "The Comics Buyer’s Guide: 1971–2013". ComicMix.
  12. ^ "F+W Shutters Multiple Magazines" (Folio). 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
  13. ^ Butler, Don (July 1994). "CGB Co-Editor Don Thompson Dead at 58". Hero Illustrated. pp. 16.
  14. ^ "News Watch: Krause Publications Names Editors", The Comics Journal #203 (April 1998), p. 30.
  15. ^ Mr. Morrow (2013-12-05). "Alter Ego bids farewell to Comics Buyer's Guide in a special tribute issue". TwoMorrows Publishing. Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  16. ^ "Michigan State University Libraries Comic Art Collection: "Buxadé" to "Büyük Mavi"". Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  17. ^ "Michigan State University Libraries Comic Art Collection: "Comics Ban" to "Comics Express"". Archived from the original on 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  18. ^ a b "Comics Buyer's Guide – Antique Trader". Antique Trader. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  19. ^ Russ Maheras list of "Shel Dorf and the Fantasy Makers" interviewees Archived March 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Hal Scroggy's Watercolor Portrait of Shel". Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  21. ^ Ingersoll, Bob. "The Law Is an Ass". World Famous Comics. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c Miller, John Jackson. "Comics Buyer's Guide: A Look Back: Launched as The Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom, how a publication started by a teenager ran for nearly 1,700 issues," Comichron. Accessed Jan. 22, 2020.
  23. ^ Thompson, Maggie. "Comics Fan Awards 1961-1970" Comics Buyer's Guide (August 19, 2005). Archived September 14, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "22nd Annual Comics Buyers Guide Fan Awards (2004)," Hahn Library. Accessed Jan. 22, 2020.
  25. ^ a b Comic Buyers Guide Fan Awards, Hahn Library. Accessed Jan. 22, 2020.
  26. ^ "Comics Buyers Guide Fan Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. n.d. Archived from the original on September 25, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  27. ^ Thompson, Maggie. "Super-power to the people!" Comics Buyer's Guide. #1663 (March 2010), Page 16.
  28. ^ Hembeck entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.
  29. ^ "COMICS BUYERS GUIDE #1657 SEP 2009," Previews World (2009). Accessed Jan. 22, 2020.
  30. ^ Official Press Release. "'Tales of the Starlight Drive-In' Wins 'Best Graphic Novel' in 2009 Comic Buyer's Guide Fan Awards," CBR (Aug 15, 2009).

Further readingEdit

  • John Jackson Miller, Maggie Thompson and Brent Frankenhoff. "Weeks of Wonder: The TBG Years. A Guide to The Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom 1971–1983". Comics Buyer's Guide 1997 Annual, pp. 59–101.

External linksEdit