Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I also find it amusing that in the USA this has become the second biggest holiday ever. Personally I think it is my generations fault as baby boomers never want to get older, so they have just continued to carry on Halloween even as they got older and now we have as many (or more) adult costumes then children's costumes. Something that my generation has a hard time doing is learning what it means to be a parent and leaving somethings behind to be the exclusive domain of being a kid.
Now for the really scary thing - mid-term elections next week!
Monday, October 30, 2006
DC this week has 52 which is at the halfway point. I have to give DC a hell of a lot of credit for making this book a reality. Also this book has become really interesting again. My biggest problem is that so many ideas are being floated and how many will actually have a chance to flourish. Time will tell.
Adam Strange Archives Volume #2. This was one of the all time great series from the Silver Age. Adam Strange is just a regular guy who happens to transport to the planet Rann via a Zeta-beam and has to figure out how to defeat some new menace every time. He was called the thinking man's hero and I think the book still holds up very well.
Then we have Atom - a good slightly odd ball series with Gail Simone as writer. American Virgin a decidedly offbeat (even for Vertigo) book that is tracking the trials of a young evangelical man who has vowed to stay a virgin until marriage. His girl friend was murdered and he is now tracking the killer and it has taken him to the underside of society. Battle Britton, a nice mini-series about WWII by Garth Ennis. Blue Beetle which is an okay series that is tracking the adventures of the newest Blue Beetle. Detective Comics, which is now a consistently solid book.
Exterminators is out a solid Vertigo series about bugs and other things. Jonah Hex, which begins an origin story of Hex, a great western series. JLA the relaunch, which while a pretty book, it has yet to pull me into the story. I have a feeling it maybe 12 issues before the team ever actually has a meeting. Midnight, the Authority ultra powerful killer and gay lover of Apollo is getting his own title, no expectations going in on this one. Mystery in Space which is a great mini-series by Jim Starlin and friends focusing on Captain Comet. Nightwing, issue #2 by Marv Wolfman, Other Side the second issue in the Vertigo series that is looking at a soldier from either side of the Viet Nam War and working towards their inevitable meeting. Outsiders the team title by Winick. Seven Soldiers #1 - the end of Morrison's magnus opus makes it to the rest of the country. Supergirl and the Legion, another book that we should have had last week and a really well done version of the Legion. Superman Confidential starts by Cooke and Sale, which I have high hopes for and maybe causing me to look forward to three Superman books a month.
Marvel has Agents of Atlas, a terrific mini-series by Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk which I'm sure no one else is getting, but everyone should be getting. Avengers Next, the M2Universe, I believe, which I have low expectations for, but it is a version of the Marvel Universe where we have next generation heroes (which I would want, but I want the whole line to go that way and the top creators on those books). Fantastic Four The End, Alan Davis' mini-series on the last days of the FF, usually I skip these series, but I love Alan Davis' artwork. Hulk, continuing on with his adventures on another world, Ant-Man, issue #2 and already planning on dropping this book, She-Hulk, fun series by Dan Slott, Uncanny X-Men a so-so version by Ed Brubaker and company. I may get What If Avengers Disassembled because Jeff Parker is writing and I have really enjoyed a lot of his work.
Also on the independent front we have Fallen Angel, Peter David's continuing story of a Fallen Angel, good solid book. Local a terrific series by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly from Oni press, this is a really nice book and I would encourage anyone to pick it up and check it out. Finally Wormwood Gentleman Corpse by Ben Templesmith, the twisted series that is half humor, half horror and just a bizarre masterpiece. Ben's artwork really shines and the story makes me worried about how he comes up with his ideas. This week I also may pick up Nightly News, but I have to see what it is at the store before I decide.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
I heard a radio talk show host say that the bye week is for the fans also so they can have a week off with the anxiety of watching your team.
Also in Baltimore it is great to have a team that has a shot at the playoffs as opposed to rooting for the hapless Orioles (nine losing seasons in a row.)
Hopefully the Ravens can get into the playoffs and go all the way, but no matter what it's nice to be this far into the season and be in first place.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Nextwave Agents of Hate #9 - Writer - Warren Ellis, Artist - Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger - Inker, Dave McCaig - Colors
Premise - A group of heroes who were brought together by H.A.T.E. , now fight H.A.T.E. and it's parent company the Beyond Corporation by destroying their unusually WMDs. Actually it is absurdest humor, poking great fun at many super hero conventions.
What I Like:
1) The art. Stuart Immonen maybe one of the most versatile and best pencillers in comics today. This book is done in a cartoonish type style and Stuart has also done a lot of work in a more realistic style. I have never seen an artist who can change their styles so effectively and maintain a high quality in their work. Many artist are so stylistic that you know immediately that Byrne, Chaykin or Quietly is drawing the book. A great job and a perfect style for the book. The inker and colorist are doing great jobs as the art really pops off the page.
2) The fun. Little lines like Tabitha saying to Elsa "Why do the French hate us, anyway?" and Elsa's answer "They don't. They don't know you. The French-Canadians hate you, though." just makes me laugh as I'm reading the book. Out of context it is not as good as in the comic. The utilization of "Not Brand Echh" comedy heroes. Year ago Marvel published a parody book that was mocking their own heroes. This book brings back Charlie America, Giant-Sam, Bulk and Forbush-Man. Very funny and just out and out fun.
What I didn't Like:
1) The upside down panels. I understand that it was to make sure we had the same perspective as the heroes, but it was a lot of upside down panels and detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
2) That this series is ending with issue #12.
Grade - B
Friday, October 27, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Action Comics #844 - Geoff Johns & Richard Donner - writers, Adam Kubert - Artist, Dave Stewart - Colorist.
Premise - An object falls to earth and seems to contain a Kryptonian young boy.
What I Liked:
1) The story. It had big moments and little moments and told a solid engaging tales of Superman's reaction to finding perhaps another lost child from Krypton. Very effective in moving from grand scale action to personal character moments.
2) The art. Adam has developed a very unique style that is hard for me to define, but feels very good for this book. Excellent facial expressions and the coloring was very well done for this book. Also the layouts were great. Two pages spreads where the panels ran across both pages and terrific one page pin-up action shots.
What I Didn't Like:
1) Very minor complaint. When they added English sub-titles as Superman and the boy spoke in Kryptonese the white lettering was a little tough to read.
Grade - A
Side Note - I enjoy the fact that I'm enjoying Superman in his series, it has been years since I really followed and enjoyed a Superman book.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I just have had this feeling for awhile that we are becoming too much of a cult and I want our beloved art form to continue to thrive. Trades and such maybe the comic of tomorrow, but if the monthlies ever die I will be greatly sadden. Of course if the up trend continues I will happily be wrong.
In order to see if my gut feeling was right I checked sales from September 1996 to September 2001 to September 2006 (using Diamond sales figures) for the top 20 c0mics I discovered that in 1996 the top 20 books combined had sales of 3,639,500 in 2001 1,633,600. A drop of 55% from 1996 (which was not a high water mark for comics). By 2006 the number was 2,221,200 which is an increase from 2001 of 36%, but a decline from 1996 of 39%.
Also to choose the 10th best seller the percentages hold the same. In 1996 Spectacular Spider-Man sold 165,400, in 2001 JLA #58 sold 74,300, a drop of 55%. In 2006 Wolverine #46 sold 107,900 an increase of 45% from 2001, but a drop of 35% from 1996.
It was also interesting that in 1996 DC had zero titles in the top 20 and 11 or the 20 were X-Men related titles.
So is the current sales a boom or just an echo before it begins to fade away.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Tomorrow starts with 52, which is starting to heat up and I'm enjoying this series a lot more again and look forward to my weekly fix. Action is also tomorrow and we have the Geoff Johns and Richard Donner writing duel. It should be interesting with Adam Kubert as the artist as I think DC will allow some really radical stories to give Donner what he wants. Boys is next and this book is due to be cut from my list by issue 6 without some redeeming quality being found shortly.
Deathblow is re-launched and with Brian Azzarello as writer I'm looking forward to it (although his other super hero work sucked, this is not really a super hero). Hawkgirl is also out and this book has really been bland and doing nothing and will be cut if Hawkman or a new writer/artist doesn't come on soon. Ion is a good series now once we got over that horrible first two issues and I look forward to Kyle's story being moved on. Jack of Fables is fun stuff, but a dislikeable lead makes this book hard to root for and it is a far cry from it's sister book Fables. JSA Classified is a book that I find enjoyable because I love the Golden Age heroes and JSA and this 2 issue arc has the Hourmen in it. Justice is a pretty book, but really should be ignored until they do 12 issue trade or hard cover, Loveless is Azzarello's western book and is a great book and I don't follow all of what he is doing because it should be read as a trade, but it is a wonderful book that will probably be canned by issue 24.
Planetary is out and this is the penultimate issue of possibly the best comic series ever done - Warren Ellis and John Cassady's seven plus year odyssey is almost done. Secret Six is out and this book is a solid entertaining comic with Gail Simone at her best. Showcase featuring the Phantom Stranger is 500 plus black and white pages reprinting the early Phantom Stranger stories. This character has become so cool over the years and I can't wait to dive into some of his early beginnings. Superman/Batman Annual is next and I have no expectations about this book.
Seven Soldiers the final chapter of this magnus opus has been delayed (at least to my store) as has Supergirl and the Legion. Trials of Shazam which is the first trial for Freddy as he has to earn his powers this time. Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters which continues to be a book that I like and never thought I would, a real surprise for me. Wetworks which seems to be a fun action movie so far (we are only on issue #2). Captain America which while still good has lost its direction waiting for Civil War to end. Daredevil is out and still a good book and one that I like to read.
Heroes for Hire is out, which is another book that I expected to try and cut, but I have enjoyed (shares the same writing team as Uncle Sam, Gray and Palmiotti). Nextwave the funny satire of super heroes by Ellis is always great. Ultimate Spider-Man and the clone saga, which is really killing this book. X-Men by Mike Carey which has been interesting so far and has me intrigued with where the story is going. Zombies just because its Zombies.
Masterworks Tales of Suspense, a hard cover with great stories from the Atlas era of Marvel and I'm sure is mainly monsters and other madness by Ditko, Kirby and Ayers. EC Archives Weird Science, the great EC comics finally get a company producing Archives of there books and this is the first one. Great 50's stuff with some of the greatest artist and writers of that era. Mouse Guard which is one of my favorite series and I just love the all age feel of this book. Finally Tag #2 which is a 3 part mini-series that I believe is already in development for a possible movie. Someone tags you and you are dead, but still walking and you have to tag someone else.
Lots of entertainment and some good stuff to read and share.
I have mentioned illegal immigration before but the numbers are so overwhelming that it is impossible to underestimate the impact that this population is going to have on the US. By 2050 the European population will become a minority in the country that they founded. This is a frightening prospect. Look around the world and look at all the different countries and governments that exist and think what the US will be like if we mirror a Brazil or Argentina.
The European population is not even replacing itself. The riots in France are a precursor to what will happen in the US. When the marches for illegal immigrant rights managed to have so many people so fast, that should have raised alarm bells everywhere.
I guess all great civilizations die and the Roman Empire certainly collapsed after a time, so I guess Western Civilization and the US will be just another chapter in history one day, but I think our guilt and good intentioned rationalization is our ultimate doom.
We now have 36 million foreign born people in our nation. This number is larger by far then any other time then in our history. The assimilation of that population is not happening and in fact they are assimilating our country. When I was in Miami at the airport I felt like the foreigner in my own country. This is a conquest of America by population, the Hispanic population and Asian populations are out breeding the rest of the native American population.
Also most of the immigrants from the countries that are over running us do not assimilate and in fact bring their own culture. They keep their own culture and just transplant it to the US. The reconquista of the American southwest is well underway. On the surface keeping one's own culture may sound noble, but for America to succeed we need to be America's first.
Yet there is no hue and cry from our media or our leaders. We are slowing fiddling away as our civilization is torched. To think that this is not happening is to ignore the overwhelming facts. Maybe the world will be a better place after all is said and done, but I think that is dismissing all the fantastic things Western Civilization brought to the table. After Rome fell we had the dark ages, what is after the end of Western Civilization?
I think other signs are the corruptness of our government. No longer are these people concerned about the populace, they are concerned with power and self gratification. What choice did we have in 2004 Bush or Kerry. The difference between them was minuscule and only was different in how they would continue to lead the country to ruin.
We are living on the third tier of a house of cards and acting as though every thing is fine and it is not. If you speak the truth people will call you xenophobic or worse a racist, but wanting to maintain your culture is okay for others, but not for us! It's okay to have a Latin civilization or a Muslim country, but wanting to maintain our culture is close minded? We are the only culture that does not guard what we have and seem willing to give it all away without a shot being fired.
My generation will be mainly gone by the time the full impact is felt, but I want to fight the cause and raise the alarm so my children and the next generations can enjoy a better world and Western Civilization is the best we have done so far.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Got to meet Mike, but not Arielle (bummer), still I directed Gwen to loan her New Frontier as a great uplifting super hero comic.
But Gwen (my oldest daughter) is moved in to some much nicer digs, had great food at Stonewood, heard Corey (a friend of Gwen and her significant other Andre) bring up what even I consider an inappropriate subject and went to Howl-O-Scream at Bush Gardens - a series of haunted houses and night time rides.
A nice visit to Tampa.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I find that the more I do this and search out other blogs the more I learn.
The comic community is certainly an interesting and vocal group. Also it seems like more bloggers are bigger DC fans then Marvel, but it could be I'm finding liked minded individuals. Also I was happy to see that there seems to be a larger female population of readers then my own observations would have lead me to believe.
It's nice to know that we have that type of community and for the most people they sound like an intelligent group. I still worry then we are a smaller and smaller group and monthly comics may be heading towards a demise in the future.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Second random thought. If Einstein is right and energy can not be destroyed and our brain has electrical impulses what happens to that energy in our bodies when our bodies die?
As I said random thoughts.
BATMAN LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #211 - Yes
FABLES #54 - Yes
FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #30 - Okay
GREEN ARROW #67 - Yes
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #5 - Yes
JLA CLASSIFIED #28 - Okay
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #3 (OF 8) - Yes
TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #1 (OF 8)- Yes
WORLDSTORM #1 – Okay
ANNIHILATION #3 (OF 6) Yes
CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE #7 (OF 11) - Okay
THUNDERBOLTS #107 – Okay
ULTIMATE POWER #1 (OF 9) – No
UNCANNY X-MEN #479 - No
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Also it is amazing how the entire media and "leadership" ignore the confluence of problems that I see forthcoming which are going to hit the country like a brick in the head. We have the end of cheap oil (it's only going to go up long term), the influx of illegal immigration (if you think we just hit 300,000,000 million in this country today you didn't count everyone), the aging baby boomers (who will cause two big impacts, a strain on the health care system and a withdraw of money from the stock market), an overwhelming national debt, a rapidly growing population, an infrastructure that is in huge need of maintenance and upkeep; and the globalization of the economy.
Personally I see a world wide economic downturn in the near term future. Eventually we may get to that Star Trek or Legion of Super Hero type universe, but it is going to be a bumpy damn ride in getting there.
Monday, October 16, 2006
52 - this series has picked up and I hope it continues to be dynamic and play off all the build-up they have done; Authority - Grant Morrison and Gene Ha on Authority - should be great; Batman and The Mad Monk - Early years of Batman courtesy of Matt Wagner, very good book; Birds of Prey - Gail Simone delivers as one the best writers in comics today, Checkmate - Greg Rucka is delivering a good story about DC's answer to Shield, Claw - Chuck Dixon and Andy Smith deliver a great barbarian adventure, Creeper - Steve Niles on a classic Ditko oddball character, still deciding on this series and maybe over before I can decide; Deadman - Bruce Jones and John Watkiss, this is a very cool vertigo take on a "Deadman"; Desolation Jones - A wonderful Warren Ellis creation that I'm very happy to see back on the stands, the ultimate burnt-out secret agent; Fables 1001 Nights of Snowfall - a hard cover Fables book - should be excellent; Exterminators - under looked vertigo series about more then just an Exterminator, solid read; Flash - hoping it gets better; Hellblazer - the newest writer is doing a great job and Frusin(?) is the perfect artist on this book; New Teen Titans Archive Volume #3 - Great Wolfman and Perez Titans work from the earlier years of their re-launch of the title; Omega Men - It's a number one, so I have no clue and no real expectations at this point; Robin - a good read and a fun book for the most part; Shadowpact - Detective Chimp is one of the stars no more needs to be said; Showcase Challengers of the Unknown - fun Kirby work from the late fifties I believe; Skye Runner - a nice fantasy book that I mainly get for my oldest daughter, really strong story and art; Testament - vertigo title paralleling the bible with a near future - interesting concept and so far a decent book; Wilcats - Grant Morrison and Jim Lee, let's see what this mix brings us; Amazing Spider-Girl - an alternative MU with Peter Parker's daughter taking over the mantle, I passed on this before but I'm signing up this time; Civil War X-Men - more to finish the mini-series then for any true merit; Hellstorm - Son of Satan - new max title from Marvel - will give it a try out; Ultimate Fantastic Four - Carey is doing a decent job and I enjoy the melding of Kirby's Forever People concept with this FF; X-Factor - Peter David's best book right now; X-Men First Class - Jeff Parker is a writer whose work I've been enjoying and he is on this worn out concept book; Conan - I think Tim Truman is finally on board as the writer; Lone Ranger - issue #2 - first one was a blast and was basically starting the classic origin; Wasteland - great book, Wormword Gentleman Corpse- fun stuff from Ben Templesmith as artist and writer.
Lots of good stuff and some great reading material. No longer all in color for a dime, but still a great entertainment bargain.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Personally I thought Kyle Boller showed more potential as a starter today then McNair has most of the season, at least Kyle can get it down the field.
4-2 is still a damn good record and we have a bye week, so I'm hoping we can turn back around. Shake off the poor passing defense and build on the positives.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #36 It's an ultimate shocker! Part 4 (of 6) - Wow I get it the ULTIMATE shocker for the ultimate universe, very clever.
ULTIMATE POWER #2 (of 9) And neither world will survive unscathed. You cannot miss it! - I could be wrong, but I'm guessing both worlds survive and I can miss it.
ULTIMATE VISION #0 Delve into the motivation and mission of this most fascinating new Ultimate character! - So all the other new ultimate characters are boring as sh*t?
ULTIMATE X-MEN #76 Ultimate Bishop, who's been on the trail of Cable for a reason that will blow you away! We kid you not. Part 2 (of 4). - About 1 comic a decade blows me away and this will not be it.
ANNIHILATION #4 (of 6) Bottom line, no Marvel Cosmic fan will forgive himself for missing THIS ISSUE! - Marvel cosmic fan, exactly what the hell is that? A fan of just space stuff, Jim Starlin's work - what is a Marvel Cosmic fan? I guess I can miss this issue and forgive myself.
AGENTS OF ATLAS #4 (OF 6) The Sea Monarch joins the AGENTS OF ATLAS as they take on an evil that looks to be deeper than the ocean itself! - Evil deeper than the ocean itself? Okay what the frell is that crap supposed to mean?
THE IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #2 Who will live? Who will die? The answers will shock you! - We are on issue #2, I don't even remember the character names yet, so you are not going to shock me, guaranteed.
BULLET POINTS #1 (OF 5) But when a deadly bullet kills Dr. Erskine along with his bodyguard, M.P. Ben Parker, Steve's destiny-and that of the Marvel Universe-is changed forever- Probably fair hype as this is the premise of the story, but really what any one major event being tweaked change the course of history forever.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #24 This stunning conclusion of DRUMS OF WAR sets the stage for the next year of Captain America stories that will have everyone talking! - So Civil War and all the other books no one will be talking about?
FANTASTIC FOUR: THE END #1 & 2 (of 6) how does their disbanding set the stage for a conflict that will send shockwaves across the galaxy and beyond? - Not just the world, or the solar system, but the galaxy and beyond.
INCREDIBLE HULK #100 - There was no unrealistic hype and this is issue #100, seems odd.
GHOST RIDER #5 Johnny has one last chance to reconcile his life before he has to immerse himself in death. Featuring a guest appearance by...SATAN! - Only in comics is does Satan get this type of notice.
THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST #1 a history-spanning kung-fu epic that will shatter every perception of what it means to be the Immortal Iron Fist - Not redefine the character or give new insight, shatter EVERY perception - sounds plausible to me, what will you do in issue #2?
NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF H.A.T.E. #10 BUY THIS BOOK! It's more important to the Marvel Universe than CIVIL WAR! I swear! Cross my heart, and such! - Good stuff, I love the humor this book has even in the solicitations.
MOON KNIGHT #7 And now, this other thing. Someone is out there. Someone hitting the old haunts, scenes of the old crimes. Leaving messages. Leaving bodies. Someone who knows you. Someone who crushes steel and pulls off limbs. All to get your attention. Someone out of your league! - Just so stupid sounding.
WHITE TIGER #1 (of 6) But will she survive long enough to ask the right questions? - It's issue #1 of a 6 so I'm guessing yes.
PUNISISHER X-MAS SPECIAL the gift of holiday homicides - Please I do not want that gift.
DEMONS OF MERCY #1 (of 6) This will have a limited print run. - What comic doesn't (and X-Men #1 with five covers doesn't count) ?
ASTONISHING X-MEN #19 After the shocking and brain-smashing events of last issue, the X-Men are off to protect the Earth from its destruction at the hands of the Breakworld. And when it's all over, nothing will ever be the same! No really, we mean it - No you don't!
CABLE & DEADPOOL #34 or let Cable tip the first domino towards WORLD DOMINATION! - Not galaxy domination only WORLD, wow, showing restraint.
UNCANNY X-MEN #480 The victor will decide the fate of an entire galaxy! Part 6 (of 12)! - That's better, the hell with just a world.
WOLVERINE #48 Logan's survived a plane crash, near-decapitation and being burned alive. The question is... HOW? In this special epilogue to the sellout smash Civil War tie-in arc, the answers start to unfold. Think you know everything there is to know about Marvel's most popular mutant? Think again. Logan's newest mystery begins here. - ZZZZZZ, wake me when Wolverine doesn't have a new mystery.
X-MEN #193 And when the dust clears, what decision does Rogue make that will shake the X-Men to their core?! Part 6 (of 6)! - Cable did the world, uncanny the galaxy, Rogue can only shake up the X-Men - wait didn't everything just change in Astonishing X-Men?
WISDOM #1 (of 6) bring you a sci-fi mini-series unlike anything you've seen before! - Well I've seen an awful lot of stuff.
CRIMINAL #2 featuring a full length continuing story - Doesn't almost every comic book on the stands have this?
Friday, October 13, 2006
1) They can be displayed on a bookcase. Seems simple, but I'm proud that I have read so many comics and enjoy the fact that when someone comes into my house you can see a huge array of material on the bookcase. Otherwise you drag some visitor down to your basement or attic (if you bother showing them at all) to see your 45 long boxes and show your collection. Want to share some great artwork, okay then let me pull out the box and then take the comic out of the plastic cover and show it to you. My method is here sit on the couch and look through this book. Better yet why don't you borrow it and read it.
2) The actual comic gets too valuable and you are afraid to touch it. I had some high dollar comics and it got to the point that I was afraid to actually take it out of the bag. Once you have a book that valuable you are no longer really going to want to take it out and read it, so how else can you enjoy the materials other then in a hard cover (or trade). If you want to hold onto the book and keep it as an investment fine (but I would say to sell it sooner rather then later). Also if you hold onto it make sure you have it listed as a separate item on insurance with an estimate of value from a comic dealer on record.
3) Ease in reading. Now this applies to Archives and Masterwork size books only. Still this is a great size to sit down where ever you want to read these stories again. The Absolute and Omnibus editions are nice, but tend to cut off your circulation in your legs as you are reading them.
4) The wealth of material that is now available. The Golden Age is represented by DC Archives with a vast array of material and Marvel has recently begun publishing their golden age material. The Silver Age material is almost blanketed by Marvel Masterworks and DC has a large array of material from that era also. Dark Horse has done Gold Key material for Magnus and Solar, as well as Tarzan material (published by DC) by Joe Kubert. Gemstone publishing is just starting to do the EC comics material starting this October in an archives format. Marvel has just recently started publishing their material from the fifties. All of it is really great stuff and I encourage you to at least sample some of these books.
If you buy comics and collect them to read first and foremost, then I believe hard covers and trades are the best way to go. Besides you can loan books out easier then a possible valuable run of comics and proudly display your comics to let people know that you are a fan. If your a football fan you might wear a team jersey, a paint collector has the painting on his wall, doll collectors have them in display cases - why should a comic collector hide his passion in a card board box.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
As a series I'm wavering on whether I like the series or not. It has certainly not been all that I was hoping it would be. We are almost halfway through the book and I feel like we have left more plot threads dangling then any comic has a right to leave. It reminds me of the Claremont era, where he would throw out possible plot points and story lines that would have you wanting more and then never pick up on them again.
With 52 I can't even begin to count all the various plot points they have left hanging. I thought that this book would float around the DCU utilizing the four to six main characters as reference points and show us how the world has changed because of Infinite Crisis and the fact that Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman are gone. Those points have hardly been touched on and we have had a ton of characters being introduced and no real method for us to continue to explore them. Also very few of the main titles have explored that missing year.
I really enjoyed this issue and the Black Adam "family" is fascinating, but I'm waiting for some seminal or at least damn exciting moments to occur. I guess if they occurred in 52 we would have to be dealing with the repercussions in the regular books and the timing thing is screwing it up.
This rambling has been without focus in someway, but I'm trying to decide if I like 52 or not. I guess I want to see some plot lines resolved before the end of the year and wanted to get a better feel for what impact not having the big three around has meant to the world or their cities at least.
Bottom Line I like it, but hope it has some more punch in the months to come and I'm anxiously awaiting the inevitable projects that will come out of this book.
Still all in all DC has done a good job of putting this book out and I'm anxious to hear what projects will spin off from this book. So I guess it is a success, in that it is the first book I read every week and I look forward to even the one or two pages of various characters.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Is the meaning of life to multiply and ensure our genetic immortality? No. I refuse to believe that a biological function is the meaning of life. That would put us on par with every other life form that reproduces and lets face it insects can lay thousands of eggs at one time and are better at reproducing then we are.
Is it to do God's will (whatever God you follow)? No. My religious beliefs have evolved to the simple form that I believe in spirituality, but nothing else. Since way too many wars and bad feelings have been created by different people following god's will, this is not the meaning of life.
Is to have the most toys? No. Again this ultimately becomes an empty pursuit and I think evidence of this is Bill Gates the richest man in the world wants to spend his life trying to give back to the world. The pursuit of the toys is what consumes people, once you have them you try to find something else, power, fame or philanthropy.
So what is the meaning of life? I have often said that it is trying to enjoy oneself as much as possible and to do it in such a fashion as you try not to harm others while doing it. But even that seems hollow somehow and a little too lonely perhaps. Plus it is almost impossible to live a life and not hurt someone else (intentionally or not - a broken heart is a hurt).
So again I'm left wondering what is the meaning of life. I think that each of us may have to define it for ourselves, but personally I wish there was a greater goal that we had as humanity. When I was younger and we had the space race and we were talking of exploring under our oceans I felt like we had that. Watching Star Trek (especially STNG) I felt that same felling. I think the meaning of life is to move forward and find ways to make the world a better place. I hope that tomorrow is better then today and I realize it may not be, but then maybe the next tomorrow or the one after that will be better.
The meaning of life then is to try and improve the world and make it better, to care for your friends and family, to stand up for what is right and live life to its fullest.
Monday, October 09, 2006
52 - Still my first read, but this series is leaving more sub-plots lying around then Claremont ever did in X-Men, Absolute Sandman Volume 1 - a Christmas gift for one of my daughters (she already knows about it) - I refuse to abandon my 10 hard covers and buy the same material again - but I'm tempted, Batman Legends of the Dark Knight- just following this arc, Fables - great ongoing series, Firestorm - solid entertaining series, Gen13 - never followed the book before - but testing out the relaunch as Gail Simone is the writer, Green Arrow - should be continuing examination of the one year gap, GL Corps - this series continues to build steam and is a good read, JLA Classified - Chaykin's take on heroes intervening in sovereign state's affairs, Martian Manhunter - probably in the minority - but I like this mini-series and enjoy anytime J'ohn J'onzz gets the spotlight, Tales of the Unexpected - New mini-series featuring the Spectre and Dr. 13 can't wait, Annihilation - good work by Giffen and he made me like Nova, Civil War Front Line - starting to bore me at this point, Masterworks - Spider-Man - maybe my last Spider-Man Masterworks as I think the material was getting weak at this point, Thunderbolts - signing on to check out the run up to Warren Ellis taking over the book on issue #110, Ultimate Power - a cross-over with the Ultimate Universe and Squadron Supreme - have to check it out and it appears to be a self-contained mini-series, Uncanny X-Men - Brubaker's weakest writing - but not all bad, Wolverine Origins - I have to stop getting this book, Magnus Robot Fighter Archive Vol 3- the last of Russ Mannings work and the last Magnus archive, X-Isle #3 a fun mini-series from IDW or BOOM - I forget which. Absolute New Frontier was supposed to be out and it looks like they put Absolute Sandman out in its place, which is disappointing as New Frontier is one of my all time favorite stories.
It could just be me, but I swear more stuff always comes out at the end of the month versus the beginning.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Obviously I can only theorize why someone else buys a comics, but for me a comic has to have more then one element to draw me in. Also I have a tendency to buy more then I really care about in general for a variety of reasons, not the least that in order for me to be a critic I feel I have to see a lot of the material. As with most people who are immersed in an area, they have a tendency to like stuff that is further away from the center of that medium. Movie and TV critics seem to like the offbeat, because they are burnt out on the stuff the general public may view as entertaining. I believe this is true with comics also. The people who read the most will love certain books, that most people ignore or don't like.
One element that I think is important is the character that the book is about. When I started reading comics (age 5 or 6) I never cared who was writing it or drawing it I wanted the next issue of the Fantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man or Batman. I never really paid attention to who was writing it. It is still a strong pull for me today and impacts my opinion on a book. I like the Martian Manhunter and will grade the book easier then if the series was about Booster Gold. If you don't like a character it is going to be harder to even try a book about the character.
The writer is a big element for me today. I'm more willing to buy a new series by Grant Morrison then I am by Brian Bendis. Still if Bendis is writing a book about a character I like with a good artist I would try it out. Morrison could be writing about a character I don't care about and I will probably still try it.
The artist can be a huge element. In fact with Bryan Hitch and John Cassady I will buy the deluxe format hard cover of Ultimates Volume 2 and Astonishing X-Men even though I think both series are just okay. Their artwork is so nice that it makes a so-so story worth the read. The counter point to this that even a great story poorly depicted is hard to follow.
Concept is a huge element and the biggest draw for me with many of the independent comics. Reading the premise for Wasteland drew me to trying out that series. I enjoy post-apocalyptic stories and Wasteland is 100 years after the world has been destroyed by the "big wet". So far we have to assume it was a major ecological disaster that Al Gore has blathered on about forever. Still that concept made me want to buy the book and try it out.
On time publishing. This was more of an issue when I read fewer comics. At the insane number of books I'm getting monthly now I hardly notice an issue not coming out. When I was only getting around 30-40 books a month and I'm waiting for the next issue, a two or three month lag was unacceptable. Long delays in publishing between issues either make me drop the book or just get the trade once it is done.
Investment. This is an element that I think is a big one. Not only money but time. I think the slow publication and long gaps between issues hurt many independent books and then when they go to trade a $15 investment for a totally unknown product is daunting. X-Isle is a fun little mini-series (5 issues) that is just now having issue #3 come out and it has been months between issues. It is a $3 (maybe $4) an issue book. The delay in publishing would make many people fall off this series and makes the retailer order less so you don't even have a chance of picking it up. Then sometimes it may not even be finished.
Being in the know. Marvel does a great job of making certain books key to having a feel for what is happening in the overall universe and certain books being core books. In other words if you follow the Marvel Universe you have to follow a certain title. Recently I believe Marvel has made New Avengers that book and used it to build into Civil War.
Obviously any combination of the above elements make each person decision a reason to buy or not buy a comics. A book about Sugar and Spike written by Bruce Jones and drawn by Frank Quietly done as a four issue $6.95 deluxe book would never sell. But a mini-series about Bruce Wayne and Diane Prince being lost in a dimensional warp and stuck together for a few years written by Grant Morrison and drawn by George Perez for $3 for four issues would be an immediate add to my list. A real example is Fell. This was an immediate sign up for when I heard Warren Ellis as writer, one and done stories, a detective in a run down town and a $2 price tag.
It is important for the strength of the industry that people re-evaluate why they buy what they buy and try to expand their horizons. I believe that various factors makes it hard for fans to decide and buy Human Target over New Avengers. New Avengers comes out monthly, has a writer many people like, name artists, has major characters that a lot of people love and has the feel of being a core title to know what is happening in the Marvel Universe. Human Target has an obscure character, a less known writer and if you miss this book you only miss what happened to Christopher Chance. It is maddening because a book like the Human Target was well written, drawn and had wonderful literate themes about identity.
Hopefully people can re-evaluate why they buy a book and try to look around and try something different as opposed to buying a spin-off of Avengers or JLA.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Nightwing #125 - Writer Marv Wolfman, Layouts Dan Jurgens, Finishes Norm Rapmund, Colors Moose Baumann
Premise - Dick Grayson is looking for a job and trying to figure out what he is doing with his life. He meets new friends and is trying to determine what an apparent new villain the Raptor is doing.
What I liked:
1) The writing. Devin Grayson and Bruce Jones are but a bitter memory and already fast fading. Marv Wolfman returns Dick Grayson as a hero. Dick is trying to find a job as a civilian while also fighting crime as Nightwing. An underlying mystery is being started with shadowy figures who want to fix the fact that Nightwing should have died in Infinite Crisis. It is not a perfect first effort, but Nightwing feels right again. Thanks Marv.
2) The art is good. A nice solid strong super-hero style and I enjoy Rapmund finishing the work and not just inking. Dan Jurgens does nice layouts, but sometimes his full pencils leave something to be desired. The coloring is also good for the book. Not an eye popping art job, but a clean solid well done art job. After all the muddled work from before I happy with this style for now.
What I Didn't Like:
1) Not enough happened. Still it was a first issue for the new team, but comics sometimes move too slow.
2) It is a little too clean cut. Chuck Dixon kept Dick a hero, but also gave him a fighting edge. I'll give Marv more time because he is just getting back to the character, but I want more of an edge to Dick.
Grade - B
Side Comment - This book has been in need of help for a long time and I think this issue shines so well because of where the book has been. Still having said that the easy grading and pure love for this book dissipates after this issue. They need to step up their game more to make this a top tier book. Nightwing is a favorite character of mine, so it is easier to make me happy on this book, then others.
It seems that we have gone from the Silver Age where the heroes were almost perfect, to a time when heroes had their own personal issues, to anti-heroes and now I'm seeing the rise in popularity of non-heroes and even evil people.
Looking at just this week's books and we can see Boys #3, Ant-Man #1 and Criminal #1. Add to that mix the Punisher series and Wolverine and we can see a rise in popularity of people who are actually bad people. As an adult reader I find a lot of this material interesting and often entertaining, but it is a trend which I'm not happy to see. Add to that the new Showtime TV series where the star is a serial killer and two other TV shows where the criminal is the star (Smith and one other I can't remember) and it seems as though the bad guy is now the good guy. Prison Break even has a little of that element. except the good guys who are running from the law where framed by the government or something.
Wolverine under Millar was especially brutal, where Wolverine was just turned into an insane killing machine and I hear (as I did not finish reading the series) that he killed tons of people, both good and bad. Not much of an anti-hero now. Ant-Man appears to be a lousy Shield agent who is using the costume and powers for private gain. The Boys are a group of hired freaks whose job is apparently to take down the super heroes. During the course of this series we will apparently see that the "good guys" are apparently perverted twists who deserve to be taken out. Garth Ennis (who is a good writer) apparently hates super heroes and is using this book to portrayal them as twisted and sick individuals, so when his group of twisted sick individuals kill them or whatever for the government we won't mind. Criminal is a little bit different because it is a creator owed book that is highlighting the bad guy and showing us his side of the story. While I like Brubaker I think 100 Bullets is covering this territory in better fashion.
I guess I wouldn't mind all of this if it wasn't for this feeling that we are making the bad guys the heroes in way too many forms of popular culture (and I haven't even touched on video games). Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't always follow the rules, but I don't take actions that will hurt other people or demean them in any fashion (I'm sure I have missed on that on occasion, but you get the point).
I'm not one to try and tell everyone what the right thing to do is, but I think if our popular culture is glamorizing the bad people it has to make an impression on people and maybe immune them to violence or something.
Bottom Line I get concerned when the ideals of Superman (truth, justice and the America way) or Spider-Man (with great powers comes great responsibilities) are almost mocked and we cheer and laugh when the Punisher kills someone. Two great Marvel icons Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic are now being made over into bad guys. In Boys number 3 a JLA/Avengers type group male members were shown to be forcing a young female hero to perform an act for them to be allowed into the group. Obviously the Boys will take them down one day, but I feel like maybe it is over the line.
This type of material is okay, if at the same time we weren't always trying to tear down our heroes. I really hated the way some people have tried to paint the founding fathers as evil white men or something else ridiculous.
We need heroes and ideals. We may not always be able to hold up to the ideal all the time, but if we strive to reach the ideal we are doing good. It's okay to not be as good as your ideal, but I don't need to always see their feet of clay. Now in real life, I have no problem letting me know what is behind some of these bozos that are our elected officials, but in fiction I want the heroes to still be heroes.
Perhaps naive or a little pollyanna, but there it is.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Even better yet if our group is as large as I think it maybe and we each have a few loyal followers can we make an impact on the sales of an individual title?
It would be interesting to see, but it is amusing that we are always critics of what we watch or read, but with the advent of the internet we all are able to put make our voices heard louder than before.
Which in a roundabout way leads me to a question that was posed to me today. Has technology improved our lives or detracted from our lives?
As with any such question the answer is yes and no, but on balance I think we may have lost more then gained.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
This is beyond the pale. I can understand 9/11 better then this.
Monday, October 02, 2006
52 (Needs to pick up on the excitement level or explore more of the 456 mysteries they have left lying around), Atom (good series, Gail Simone rocks), Battle Britton (Ennis on war stories is great), Boys (Ennis as a shock jock), Detective (Dini rebuilding the rogues), Jonah Hex (best western on the racks and a top ten series in my mind), Mystery in Space (issue #1 was great, hope #2 holds up), Nightwing (finally Marv Wolfman arrives to hopefully revive this book), Omac (one of Bruce Jones better efforts), Otherside (new series from Vertigo going to the Vietnam war, looks very interesting), Outsiders (fun series, nothing too serious), Agents of Atlas (unadulterated funky super hero fun, Jeff Parker is fast becoming a writer I look forward to reading and Kirk is a very good artist), Criminal (Brubaker on a non-cape book, should be fantastic), Dr Strange (love the character, not a fan of Vaughn, so let's see what we get), Giant-Sized Wolverine (Wolverine is almost killed - WOW a new idea! - Aja art), Hulk (part 45 of 37 of Planet Hulk - also known as keeping a wild card out of Civil War), Ant-Man (Kirkman and Hester - going in with limited expectations on this new series), Cross Bronx (the first issue was really cool, by Mike Oeming a crime noir/supernatural mix), Fear Agent (unbelievable fun in the style of old movie serials with a cliff hanger at the end of every issue - buy it!), Rocketo (Frank Espinazo - a wondrous wide ranging adventure), Fallen Angel (neat book by Peter David), Leading Man (fun series where the movie actor is also a real secret agent), War of the Worlds Second Wave (should have come in last week, another our civilization has been destroyed what do we do - decent series (Wasteland is an "A" to this book's "C")), and I may get Thrud the Barbarian - a humorous take on the Conan type character.
As always way too many books, but hey I have fun and the people I mail them out to have some fun, so it is all good.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Damn, but it is an a great time to be a Raven fan and thankfully we can go back into hope for next year mode with the Orioles as they have closed out their ninth straight losing season.