Friday, August 6, 2010

My No-Prize snafu

I came across my very own No-Prize, pictured above, earlier this evening.  I received it in 1998 after writing in and getting a question published in one of Stan Lee's Soapbox columns - I think I asked some asinine question about Stan's role with the company or some such noise.  To earn a No-Prize, one usually had to explain away a seemingly unexplainable gaffe within one of Marvel's books (Mr. Fantastic is drawn with three arms?  He must be stretching his back into the shape of a fist so he can punch someone!), but the rules got a little lax in the '90s: all one had to do was get a question published and the once-lofty prize got shipped out en masse, lucky for me.

What's funny about this is that my name is misspelled on the envelope - I go the double-C route with "McClelland", and what's written above drops the second "C" and capitalizes the first "L".  What's funnier is that my name is also printed incorrectly in the Soapbox and the handful of books in which it appears.  What really takes the cake, though, is that I have a sinking feeling that I misspelled my own name - the one I've had since birth! - on the letter I sent in.  I don't have any proof of this, but I can distinctly remember seeing my letter printed and saying "this is my fault.  THIS IS MY FAULT!"  So, for posterity, my name in the catalogue of Stan's Soapbox No-Prize winners is officially "Jeff McLelland".  Dammit!

I've probably written a total of four letters to comics in my life (and none in the last, oh, ten years), but I also had a letter printed in a Superman: Man of Tomorrow letters column and was awarded the "Baldy" award for that issue - something they ran with for a good long while over at DC.  I never received anything in that regard, leading me to believe that the Baldy award didn't actually exist.  I mean, at least with the No-Prize, you get SOMETHING - an empty envelope with a stock image of Spider-Man on the front.  Thus the irony of the situation: I got more of a prize from being awarded a No-Prize.


tararebeka said...

I just stumbled on this post via Google.

I follow a Superman Tumblr and today they showed a panel of Clark winning the Baldy in the comics. I reblogged 'cos I had won a Baldy back in the day, but never received anything. So, for the hell of it, I Googled 'Baldy' and, come to find out...

Q9: What is a Baldy?

A9: In the old letters page of each Superman comic, the editor sometimes bestowed a Baldy award to the best printed letter. An actual award was mailed to recipients, and in a few cases the editors have mentioned what the prize was (e.g., platinum-edition SUPERMAN #75). Even aside from the physical prize, receipt of a Baldy is a great honor to Superman fans.

Doug Shaw ( received a Baldy in 1990. He reports that the actual award is a personalized postcard signed by Lex Luthor. In 1994, editor Mike Carlin sent the original author of this FAQ (David Chappell) "an honorary Baldy for keeping such complete tabs on us!" David's award was also a personalized postcard.

DC has explained that, in the comic-book world, the Baldy is a special award established by Lex the First for journalistic achievement in Metropolis. The official name for the award is the Zenith Award for Excellence in Journalism, and Metropolis journalists provided the nickname (ACTION #693, Nov.93).

DC Comics no longer includes a letters page at the back of the current comic books, instead replacing it with a news page of up-coming comics information.

So, it seems we both got the shaft. Granted, it was nearly 20 years ago, but the thought that we should have gotten something, but didn't, kinda burns.

Jeff said...

I know! That's something I'd have saved for sure...and wouldn't it be even cooler now that they don't make 'em anymore? I appreciate the comment, Tara!

Fabio Marques said...

Hi Tararebeka,

I also got a Baldy Award in the 90s Superman Comics. In fact I was awarded two times... They sent me a Baldy Award for my letter in Action Comics #719 (March/96) and another one for my letter in Adventures of Superman #544 (March/97). I also got a Toupee Award in Superman Adventures #20, but never received anything.

What was the issue you were awarded?


Fabio Marques.

Fabio Marques said...

P.S.: Images of the Awards:

Jeff said...

Hey Fabio, thanks for the link! Lucky guy, you got two Baldy awards! Just offhand, I know that I wrote in regarding Man of Tomorrow #9. Since that book was published four times a year, my letter should have appeared in, what #10? 11? One day I'll dig it up and find out.