Here we go. Another weeks worth of comic books have arrived and it’s back to the racks and into the conversations. Now, if you keep up on the events inside the comic book industry you know that lately there has been a lot of legal battles. The big one being Marvel vs Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich over creator rights. Back in 2007 he sued marvel saying that the rights to the character belong with the creator, Marvel counter sued saying the money he made on the convention circuit totting himself as the characters creator was their money. He lost, Marvel won, and it’s not very good.
Creator rights is nothing new, pick a character or a creator and 90% of the time you are going to see some legal battle either happening or possible. Battles for the rights to Superman, Bill Finger being stiffed over everything he did for Batman. Marvel Comics general treatment of legends like Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. Hell, Image comics was created to defeat the work-for-hire model. Like I said it’s a long list.
That’s a different conversation for a different day. Right now I just want to pass something a long. Gary Friedrich is a guy that gave a lot for the love of comics, one of the workhorses, and now he can’t even say he created Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider for crying out loud. As a fan, I’m just bummed out by this. We could go on talking about this and each and every other ugly story like it, but I’m bummed out enough and want to get back to reading the comics I love and thank the creators, writers, artists and all involved.
Steve Niles has set up a fund for Friedrich to help him in this legal battle. If you love comics, help a man who’s getting beat up by the business.
Ok, like I said, we are here because we love comics, right? So let’s read some. This week I’ve purposely passed by any of the Marvel releases. Not out of some moral stance or self-righteous protest, more that with what we already talked about in mind they just seem ugly to me so I give them a miss. For the other big guys, DC Comics, honestly nothing really caught my eye past the ones I regularly read, maybe it’s six month post-new 52 burnout syndrome.
So we got three independents lined up.
A Titty McBoobsalot character from the 90’s gets a redux that is amazing and two beloved sci-fi properties get the comic book treatment with some mixed results.
The rapid fire, in your face, fast and dirty reviews you’ disagree with hit you after the jump. (more…)
We’re back to the high point of the week (for comic nerds that is), it’s another new comics Wednesday. If it’s a high point, why are so many people so low?
Yes, there are a lot of things we could talk about to open up AotNCW this week, such as Image Comics celebrating its 20th anniversary, happy b’day you plucky little upstart, keep fighting for the creative types, down with the suits! However, I can’t stop it, we have to address the giant blue naked dude in the room.
When the news hit this morning it wasn’t a surprise (Bleeding Cool broke and rebroke this story months ago), but it did slowly settle in some shock. They are really going to try this? They are going to muddle with The Watchmen? It’s the damn holy bible of comics, it is untouchable, may their faces melt of like that one Nazi’s at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Around my third cup of coffee my rage starts to subside a little. oh sure I kept up with what people were saying on twitter on the matter, if you don’t want to scan through a days worth of tweets here’s a summary. No one thinks its a good idea, everyone hates it. When I finally made it to my local comic store, I ducked in quick and grabbed some books and got out, the heated discussion about how it is the worst thing ever was there too.
Is it really that bad? Yes, my apathy started to set in a little and I got to thinking. Yes, The Watchmen was a damn special little book filled with some wonderfully flawed characters and a mind blowing story. Yes, it can probably take credit for giving the industry a level of respect it hadn’t seen in a long time (if ever). Is it really untouchable though? Every other damn character in comics has been done, redone, flipped over, butchered, remade and recycled. Hell, the Watchmen are retreads of Charlton Comics characters themselves. For crying out loud, Alan Moore has made a habit taking ‘classic’ characters and telling new stories about them (Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Wendy from Peter Pan, and Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Lost Girls and everyone in every edition of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) What makes the Watchmen so special that they can’t be run around a bit and explored.
There is a chance a couple of good stories out if. If it’s not good, don’t buy it? Yes, this could be the biggest stink burger of a book DC (or any one for that matter) has ever put out or it could turn out to be a nice little addition to this slice of comicdom. The nice thing about comic books is the story doesn’t have to end, it can grow and evolve and continue. Let’s see what the various creative teams have to offer before we ride them out on a rail.
I could go on, but we do have some books to get to this week, don’t we. Like I said, I did’t spend much time before the racks today, luckily I knew what I was getting. Bucky is back and all Mission Impossible in his new book, so we have that. The newest incarnation of the Justice League International wraps up its first arc and, since it’s their birthday, I check out Images book about killer ladies in the 80’s
Your rapid fire and possible spoiler filled reviews start after the jump.
Here we go, another headfirst dive into the stacks because its a new comic book Wednesday! Now before we leap I want to tackle something that has been heavily talked about over the last few weeks. Yes, the ‘new’ DC Comics Logo. You’d think after a week and half it’d be talked to death, but no. Just this evening at my local comic shop, the nerd rage continued. I’ll admit, when I first saw it pop up on Bleeding Cool I was a little sour on it, well more cynical than sour but I am old. That was soon replaced with mild apathy and then gradual acceptance. I used up most of my logo related rage when ‘the spin’ came out in ’05. On topic, check out this video (lifted from Bleeding Cool), a very accurate representation of the average reaction to the new branding :
Welcome back to the comic racks everyone. Yes a whole new week of pulls to run through and time well wasted at your local comic store. From the conversations around the stacks today, it looks like the big story of the week is not about this week, but rather the last 52, and how the new 52 didn’t quite do it. Diamond Distributors has released the overall sales states for 2011 (that is purchased by comics shops and not necessarily resold to customers), and it looks like another year for Marvel at the top spot. With a market share of 37.29% and unit share of 40.93% Marvel was well above DC Comics 31.41% market and 36.77 unit. The mathematicians out there can already guess that leaves the independents with the scraps, Image Comics ranked third (5.27% and 4.71%), followed by a virtually tied Dark Horse (4.71% – 3.35%) and IDW Publishing (4.73% – 3.78%).
DC’s New 52 did pay off in one area though, locking in 9 of the top selling books of the year. Justice League #1 came out as the years top seller to the surprise of no one, with Batman #1, Action #1, Justice League #2 and Batman #2 to round out the top 5. Marvels only top ten appearance came with Ultimate Comics Spider-man 160 at number 6, so Peter Parkers death counted for something. The rest of the top 10 were Green Lantern #1, Justice League #3, Action #2 and finally Detective Comics #1. The smaller companies got some love too, top selling trade? Another no brainer. Image’s The Walking Dead walked (shambled) away with the top seller, no doubt due to the hit TV show on AMC
Ok, before the this game of shouting numbers carries on to much longer, here is the really good news, comic sales are up, way up. Single issue sales were up 3 million over 2010′s, bringing total comic sales to 72.13 million units sold. What’s that mean for us the reader? If the industry is stronger we get a better product, right? If you want more coverage of the sales figures check out Newsarama and Comics Alliances coverage., they are the experts, I’m just a dude that loves reading comics, speaking of which… let’s read some, damn it.
This week in the stands, I found my wanting a little, it was a light shipping week I guess however it did come with a few high points. The easy grab for Marvel was The Scarlet Spider #1, spining out of the events of this summer’s Spider Island arc and desperately trying to make the whole clone saga matter, this I have to read… The one that got away? Damn it, I could not find a copy of Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand, by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, the main character is called Lobster Johnson, it’s by Mike Mignola, I must read this! Dark Horse kicks off Dark Matter, which is basically “Terminator” on a spaceship, alright, I’ll bite. From Image, Whispers, yes another crack at the horror comic genre. That really just leaves DC Comics, should I? Could I? Yes, I think it’s time to pick up another one of my least liked from the relaunch, it’s time to revisit The Suicide Squad, so someone tell Harly Quinn to put some pants on.
Happy first new comic day of 2012! If you’ve been mulling over an easy to keep new year’s resolution, here’s a no brainer, READ COMICS! Simple right? For the past few months I have found myself back in the habit and stretching out of my comfort zone, each week grabbing a handful of books that I wouldn’t normally pick up, and it’s been fun, expanding your horizons and trying something different is really great for you and helps you grow as a person.
Now if we could just get the big two comic companies to do the same.
Yes, I have a bitch to pick here and it is about the brewing mega-events both of the big guys have planned. Now, I am not going to go after Marvel for their latest superhero vs superhero slugfest, A vs X (we all know Civil War was amazing, please don’t cheapen it by ripping it off, again.) I will say this though, they have announced that there will be midnight launch parties for the first issue of Avengers Vs X-Menat participating comic book stores. Yep, you’ll be able to pick it up a whole 14 hours earlier! Oh sure, I sound cynical, but I’ll be in line too.
Now over DC Comics they have been teasing this strange purple hoodie lady since the end of Flashpoint/start of the New 52. Yes, she made a background Where’s Waldo-esque cameo in each of the new number ones and yes we are all pretty clear she has something to do with the new continuity, but how? Who? When? Well, over at DC’s official blog, The Source, they at least gave us the ‘who’ – apparently her name is Pandora. Really guys? That’s the best you can do? Any interest I had fizzled with such a stock throwaway name. According to DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras we’ll “soon see the next step in this character’s evolution in the pages of ‘Justice League,’ and in the months to come you will see more events ripple across titles as we continue to weave the DC Universe together and tell even more amazing stories.” It feels like another shot at the DCnU just being the dreaded dark 90’s all over again to me. Buckle in, because I am pretty sure she ties into the all new, all different, yet completely the same as it always was multiverse for DC Comics. Oh sure the new continuity will remain, Supes still won’t have his undies, but my call is the next big event will be all about the new playing field of multiple earths, that while different, amount to the same as it’s been.
Now, let’s see whats on the shelves today. Honestly, a lot of really good books. Yes, there are new issues of Swamp Thing and Animal Man, two books you really should be reading. Wolverine And The X-Men: Alpha & Omega kicks off and looks like fun read. The second issue of the previously reviewed Defenders is out and the cover alone makes it a must, purely for the look on Doctor Strange’s face. The Boys, The Goon, Irredeemable, and Uncanny X-Force also look really good this week. Oh, and don’t forget, The Annotated Sandman is finally on the shelves, $50 is a small price to pay for Neil Gaiman‘s incredible work on this Vertigo series.
That’s enough staring at the shelves, let’s get into some books. Stop me if you’ve heard this one, baby gets rocketed from his dying planet, lands on earth to be raised… yes, I know you are screaming stop, but I don’t care, for the gazillionth time Superman’s origin is being told, let’s see how Grant Morrison feeds us the same old story. I’ve also grabbed yet another horror/vampire looking book, but this one comes from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, so I am willing to give it a chance. Lastly, my habit of revisiting Marvel characters I haven’t read in years continues, now it’s Frank Castles turn.
Hit the jump for the fast and dirty rapid fire reviews.
It’s here, the last new comics Wednesday of 2011. It’s year end and what a year it has been, we’ve seen a lot happen in the last 365, both on and off the pages. We’ve seen the requisite deaths and resurrections (welcome back Johnny Storm). The Ultimate version of Peter “Spiderman” Paker bit the dust as well, and was replaced with half-black and half-hispanic controversy named Miles Morales. Speaking of deaths, the 20 year run of Wizard Magazine ground to an unceremonious halt, alleged victim of the decline in print media sales. On the upswing, digital comic sales have started the march to becoming the norm. Love the idea or hate it, comics being sold and enjoyed on iPads and other tablets has seen steady growth and now that every major comic book publisher has a Day-and-Date digital initiative in place its now fact more than fad. DC comics flushed the last 25 years of continuity and relaunched their whole main line back at number one, including drawing to an end the 73 year run of Action Comics. Not to be outdone, Marvel ended and relaunched the Uncanny X-Men, a book had a 544 issue run.
All these events and happenings and many other thing led to one unified truth. People were talking about comics again. Be it the ‘bad press’ from the death and recast of Spiderman, the total reboot of DC’s New 52, and yes even Superman loosing his underoo-on-the-outside look, people were talking.
Sales numbers have increased, new and lapsed readers have been brought in, and from my perspective I’d say it’s been a good one for the much loved industry. On a personal note, I know that my monthly spending on comics has taken a huge increase and my enjoyment of the work many of these creators put out on a weekly basis is double that. I guess in short what I am trying to say is a big thanks to all involved in the comic book industry and I look forward to what you bring in 2012. I’d list you off one by one, but that would take awhile.
Now that the fluffy statements are done, we should dig into some books, right? One that I won’t be covering today, but you should really really pick up is the recalled and now finally released DC Comics Elseworlds 80-Page Giant. Originally recalled shortly after its release in 1999 due to ‘questionable content’ involving a baby Superman in a microwave (and really, thank you for protecting us from that. Lord knows had more people seen it we would have gone through endless orphaned alien superbabies being placed in various kitchen appliances, it would have been a nightmare.) A few thousand squeaked out back in ’99 and I was lucky a few years back to pay a sizable chunk of money for one, and now YOU can pick up for too, for a less sizable chunk of scratch. Clocking with a $7.99 price tag, you do get your moneys worth. Talents like Mark Waid, Chuck Dixon, Kyle Baker, my personal favorite Ty Templeton and many many more, DC Comics Elseworlds 80-Page Giant is well worth the money. A hefty handful of stories and more packed in its pages, it gives you the weirdest and funnest view of DC Comics that you’ve seen in a long long while.
Alright, let’s settle in on this weeks books. On the way (and slightly inspired by re-reading Mark Waid’s work above) I find a nice ‘in’ on a deeply storied work that I have been wanting to get into. The DCnU’s wild wild west (or east, since it is in Gotham) swings into its second arc. The Cape proves to be one of the (if not the) most intriguing read I’ve had in a while. Oh, and Deadpool too.
It’s late on a Wednesday evening as I finally get settled into rip though this weeks comics. Blame my wife’s need to drag me out from store to store as she spends my pay cheque on gifts for distant family members for some obscure item exchange ritual that apparently takes place this weekend. Oh don’t get me wrong, I do love Christmas just it shouldn’t interfere with an important day like New Comics Wednesday, damn it.
Sure, I did eventually make it to a comic store but it was late, we spent to much time finding the perfect oven mitts for old Aunt Mable (make sure they are brightly colored, her eyes aren’t so good anymore and you don’t want her trying to take a roast out of the oven with the cat again). When I finally made to one of my local comic shops I came to the realization that you can do about 96% of your Christmas shopping in one. Seriously. I am sure the shops you frequent are much like the ones I do. Yes they sell comics, but also so much more! They are part toy store, clothing shop, used book emporium, magic trick dealer, and just about anything else. If you still have some shopping to do, seriously, go to your local comic retailer and do it there.
I’ll admit, I nerd out hardcore come Christmas. I spend the free time fake killing people and acting out fantasies via video games (Boxing Day/Dec. 26th is my 1 year anniversary on DCUO), I will get at least one action figure and my lovely and thoughtful wife will usually clean out the (rather large amount) of books that linger in my pull file. Now, it is the season of giving so I spread the nerdy as well (heads up to any other nerd dads out there Fisher Price Imaginext and the Playskool Heroes, action figures for toddlers, you’re welcome), comic books make great stocking stuffers, the trades are great secret Santa gifts.
I guess my message is two fold this week. For one, hats off to the retailers out there. While I do dabble in buying digital comics, your stores will always be a wondrous haven, please keep packing them with anything and everything and being an eclectic source of awesome. For everyone else, give the gift of comics this year, you’ve got to have a kid on your list that needs to learn that Batman isn’t just a video game character, that Wolverine isn’t Australian (he’s Canadian, damn it). At the very least you can probably pick up a cheap GI Joe bobble head for Aunt Mable, her eyesight is bad, she won’t know its a misshapen Baroness that you paid 99 cents for.
Suppose we should get into some books this week, shouldn’t we. Ok, this time around I hopped out my comfort zone and picked books I really know next to nothing about. From Image I pick up a character I haven’t looked at since the early 90’s, Dynamite yields one I haven’t cared about since the very early 80’s and from the big two, their confusingly similarly titled obscure books that make think of an AC/DC song.
Yes it is that time again, time to rip into a new week of comic book releases. A handy guide to how you should spend your money at the comic store and also a great excuse for me to ignore my wife and family. I assume an oversized pull list is not grounds for divorce. One small note about this weeks edition, when I got home (stack of comics in hand) a power outage forced me into reading them all by candle light, just like Amish comic book fans! Hey, it was either that or learn to churn my own butter and how am I suppose to do that without access to Wikipedia?
As another calendar year is about to wrap I’ve been reading a lot of speculation on the comic industry in 2012. My opinion? I think it’s going to grow and flourish. Not the heady heights of the speculative driven market of the early 90s but it will thrive. Six months ago there was a lot of doom and gloom about the future of comics, sales where shrinking, readers where starting to drop off and, the whole industry seemed stagnate (and also Marvel fired a bunch of support staff, always a bad sign.) Now? Sales are up, hitting some highs even, and say what you will about digital, it is a evolution of the industry and is apparently reaching new readers. Yes, I am old fashioned and prefer the ever growing stacks of comics that crowd my office. I also have an iPad filled and each week seem to buy at least one or two books digitally.
One last thought on 2012 in comics, and that is Free Comic Book Day! Mark your calendars kids, the next one hits on May 5th, 2012 – the day after Avengers debuts in theaters – so it should be a damn exciting time to be a comic nerd. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Jim Lee’s t-shirt design to mark the event.
Looks good, love the return of the thought bubble (so… the ‘Y’ is thinking about what year it is?), just… I know this is old news and we’re all suppose to be over it by now, but… damn it. Superman looks naked without the red underoos on the outside.
We should probably get to reading some comics today, shouldn’t we. Ok, this week we’ve got a whole new number one from DC’s New 52 to go through. It’s something old that is new again, for like the 9th time, I’ll warn you my expectations are low. Also, Marvel’s latest hero vs hero slug fest kicks off with a shot so we’ll see who fired first and if we really should care. The last two, horror comics seem to be hitting a renaissance of sorts so we’ll check back in on a book that helped make that happen and a new one that looks so damn nice.
Your 4×4 fast and furious reviews start after the jump. (more…)
Finally it’s new Comics Wednesday and its time to dive into a whole new random pile of books and see what we come up with. To be honest, this week came with a few hints about what 2012 will look like, well for one company that is. Yes, we are on the cusp of hitting comic book crossover event season. “Hey, wait… Fear Itself and Flashpoint JUST wrapped up” you might say, but you know how it works. Big guys are warming us up for the next one.
DC looks like they might be going for smaller events at the moment. Crossing over a few books and letting the characters meet each other again for the first time in the DCnU. Don’t fool yourself, There is the mystery purple hoodie lady, there is something brewing. Who is she? How does she fit in? Is this a set up to how the new Multiverse set up since the reset? Personally, I really wish last weeks Tiny Titanswas the true canonical answer to who the mystery lady is, but Dan DiDio would never let that happen, would he.
The other guys, Marvel that is, have an event they just dropped some details on, oh we’ve already covered it, but I just wanted to chime in here. Avengers Vs X-Men? Come on. This had better be bigger than that. Back a few weeks, Marvel Point One hinted more than just your typical and done to death hero vs hero slug fest. Also, what is Wolverine going to do? He’s on both damn teams! Oh the drama. With any luck, when the Phoenix smacks her/itself into the Earth, maybe Marvel will get is own (imo) much needed reboot.
Ok, so what do we have this week? I bite into another one of those books. You know the one everyone is talking about, one that’s winning awards, one that I probably should have picked up long ago. Also, check in with one of DC’s New 52, one I dropped at issue one and never looked back, even though everyone was talking about great it was and probably going to win awards. Speaking of next years event for Marvel, I grab a book that is supposedly made up of the ‘connective tissue of the Marvel Universe’ so, we should have something to talk about beyond Captain America fighting Cyclops, again. The last one? I prove a point about Alex Ross and marketing ploys.
It’s all up after the jump in the fast and dirty reviews.
A.K.A. the curse of the 5th week. Ok, that’s a little harsh. Sometimes 5th weeks are awesome in the world of comics and packed with specials and events oh the fun, other times its just an excuse to dump out a few trades and poop out some filler.
The kings of filler this week are the folks at DC Comics. Nothing to speak of for their New 52 here, other than one Batman title and the second issue of LOSH secret origin that we’ll get to in the reviews. The rest of their releases are filled with video game tie-ins and trades (including Absolute Hush, a steal at $100 for a story that’s probably been washed out of cannon.) I did hover over the video game tie-books to be honest. inFamous, Uncharted, and the DCUO comic, I’ve played all the games, I have enjoyed all the games. Hell I even read the first few issues of the DCUO one since I still play that game, but… do I need to read it? Maybe it’s just that the DCUO book that turned me off the idea of reading about a game I could be playing. That book was (and I assume still is) terrible.
This fifth week is also the unofficial (or official, I don’t know, no one sent me any invitations to the party) anniversary of Marvel Comics, which they are celebrating with… VARIANT COVERS! Lots of them. Well, that is lame. I really hate the whole variant cover thing, really. Yes, they are often pretty, but also pretty useless and petty. It’s still that lame old 90’s trick to get me to shell out more money just because someone may or may not be wearing pants on the cover and that makes it rare. I will, however revisit a boyhood favorite title of theirs this week.
The rest of the companies? Looks like Dark Horse just publishes Bettie Page merch these days, IDW dole out new issues of two really great books, Start Trek and the insanely great TMNT. Oh, and Archie, yes the gang from Riversdale rock and roll all night and party every day with the rock band Kiss. Will I read that? Will anyone?