3 out of 5
I’m not really sure what to make of these books, so consider the rating more as a take on the effort / quality of their construction. …Because these are books made for collecting the signatures of Malibu Comics’ creatives. Was that a thing? Like, yes, getting people to sign your comics, for sure, and I realize some people would’ve made their own personal “sign my book” books, and so, sure, there’s a niche market for that – giving someone a ready-made signature-capturing book – but did other publishers do something like this? This seems like an oddity to me, and all I can figure is that this was a product of the creators-as-superstars Image era, when these little comics worlds were splintering off and we were boasting super tight continuity as led by imprint architects, and they made two of these, suggesting there was enough demand to do so…
The first issue’s construction is admittedly admirable. A sleek, glossy black cover – pretty professional looking – and glossy pages, covering the full spectrum of Malibu writers / artists, with little self-written bios and boxes for their signatures. The self-written part allows for some personality, and there are some bonus spot illustrations along the way, adding some further value. The behind-the-scenes crew, though maybe not each given their own “sign my photo” headshots, are least all featured in various group shots.
The second issue still has quite a bit of effort put into it, shaking up the construction a bit – photos first, bios (with an index) second – but it’s also cheaper: the cover, the pages, all feel like newsprint, and the bios are much more generic. It also feels a bit false in its presentation: an opening blurb talks about how this can be used as something of a Malibu completist’s checklist, but it’s definitely missing some titles in its references, and… no, there’s no actual checklist to use. There are also a lot less photos this time, replaced by placeholder images or illustrations; the whole book feels more like it was done out of guilt – let’s keep the Malibu train a’rollin’! – than need.
I guess my other question here is pricing. The second issue has a cover price – the first one does not. While, as mentioned, there’s undeniable effort put in to both issues’ construction, this seems more like something you’d offer at a con as a freebie. Charging for it feels… odd. But I guess I did spend a paragraph trying to suss out the potential value, so who knows.