Wednesday, December 23, 2009

some links for the holidays

Since it´s going to be a few days till we get our presents ( my sister will visit us on the second day of Christmas ) I thought it´s time for another link post. These days can get pretty long especially if you are waiting for your newest comic order.

In most cases I myself get to read the links after I post them since I haven´t got the time to do it before.

DC redefines it´s Co - Features

One of the constant topics of 2009 was the increase from 2.99 to 3.99 on certain books. It has been the topics of many posts on this blog since I still don´t get any review copies from MARVEL or DC and have to buy them all by myself. In times of economical crisis where - for instance - the car industry is lowering prices and showering the customers with tons of incentives the comic industry is going the other way. If your consumers have less money the reasonable thing to do would be to lower prices.

Instead the big two opted for commiting slow financial suicide of which they will both see the effects about now. Marvel moreso than DC as Marvel´s policy so far has been " Let´s see how much money we can get from a single reader ". DC has followed the policy of adding value to the books with the heftier price tag through their Co - Features something I´m familiar with from my youth since it´s a policy that´s still being put to practice in Germany right now.

I can´t say how successful they were but as somebody who read three books that included them I can say that I liked the idea. And judging from Dan Didio new plans there must be some credit there. Now what are the changes and how will they affect ME ( which is the only important part ) ?

BOOSTER GOLD and DOOM PATROL will both loose their co - feature and go back to 2.99. Which means that I will continue to read BOOSTER GOLD for less money now and DOOM PATROL will be dropped from my reading list. I wasn´t that big a fan of BLUE BEETLE and to be honest the series has seen better art. So I was reading it mainly for the BOOSTER GOLD part. As for the new DOOM PATROL book the only reason to get this book - at least - was the METAL MEN back up story. As the art team is heading to new projects ( which sadly are not mentioned ) there was no sense in continuing the METAL MEN co - feature without them.

Thankfully for those poor readers who missed them collections will be available in the not too distant future.

TEEN TITANS on the other hand will keep it´s co - feature but like on JSA ALL STARS and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA they will go from stories focussing on one character to rotating story arcs about different members. Now if you have heard enough about me and want to know how your pull list is going to be affected you can read it here :

  • all about the changes in DC`s co - features

  • All in all I have to say that DC´s model looks much more successful than Marvel´s policy in that departement.

    Superman and Ali back in the ring

    No, there will be no sequel rather than a reprint of the legendary 1978 team up of the century of Krypton´s last son and the greatest boxer of all time.

    For all those readers that read it when it first came out this is a chance to get a new copy since the old one has been almost read to death. And for all those unfamiliar with the book ( and those who didn´t believe such a book really existed ) here is your chance to see why Neal Adams will always be one of comic´s greatest.

    There will be two editions : one hardcover with a new Neal Adams cover and bonus material and one hardcover in the original tabloid size which will be the one I will be going for - IF I can afford it. Otherwise I will have to wait for the softcover edition of this landmark comic.

    Now the icing on the cake would be a german edition since this is a comic you can give away as a present ( I already have one person in mind ) but since PANINI usually tries to offer their readers the good stuff chances are good. Here´s the link :

  • Superman vs Muhammed Ali finally sees a new printing

  • MARVEL gives away free comic

    And it has nothing to do with Free Comic Book Day......okay, not really since they are starting a few months before. Okay, what´s it all about ? It´s called MARVEL´S GREATEST COMICS and it´s a campaign to get new readers for their best titles by offering the first issue for 1 buck.

    And to start it all of the first issue, THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN ( coming out on March 3rd ) will be totally free. The following titles will be CAPTAIN AMERICA 1, WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ 1, THOR 1 and PUNISHER MAX 1.

    Now at first the idea of getting a one dollar comic from MARVEL for one buck with the first one being absolutely free sounded really good I first thought the news was about a new weekly series. DC has tried to get a successful weekly series ever since their initial success of 52 but so far they have only met with failure. Because for me you need three things to have a weekly comic that sells like cupcakes :

    1. cheap - you can`t sell a weekly comic for the same amount as your regular comics if you want them to sell. If a reader has to choose between a weekly comic and a monthly comic from the top writer and top artist and they cost the same he´ll always go for the monthly comic. Except if the weekly comic has good talent which brings us to

    2. good - if you only have a lower price point without offering some really good art and story your weekly comic won`t sell much. We saw this with Marvel´s 99 cent line where the only comic that had good sales numbers was UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER - MAN. Which coincidentially was the only book with a good story and good art.

    I´m not saying that you have to have ALL your top people working on the weekly comic but you have to include one or two a - listers if you want to sell it.

    Marvel used to know this when they published MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS because they always had one main feature to hook the readers, one good feature that was stand - alone or just a few issues long and then some other stuff. You need one good series to give the readers something to come back for.

    Now what is the third thing ? It has to be

    3. available - the best comic is worth nothing if people can´t buy it. And with people I don´t mean the ones that are already reading comics. You have to reach the other half. With something like a cheap weekly comic that has some top artists you need to go big. Go outside the comicshop ghettos to the shopping malls, the seven elevens, the newsstands at the train stations, the bookshops, the coffe shops....hell, even the barber shops if you can. As long as you don´t step outside your usual outlets your success will be limited.

    Anyway, since Marvel´s new campaign is NOT about weekly comics I have to say that we will just have to wait and see.

    I think a lot of people will go for these first issues ( especially the free one ) but the question is how many will then go and buy the following issues. It´s a good idea to get new readers but I think it will only work if the first issue really has a hook. At least it shows that Marvel is trying something even if the new HOUSE OF IDEAS seems to be the marketing departement and not the creative departement. You can make your own conclusions about what that means. Here are the details and the publishing schedule for

  • Marvel´s greatest comics


    Is anybody left who reads HULK ? After the fiasko of issue 600 I dropped it from my pull list even if I´m still reading my brothers issues. It´s that whole " train wreck appeal " where you know something will crash and burn in the worst way possible but you still can´t help watching. Marvel used this effect very efficiently in Warren Ellis THUNDERBOLTS where you knew from the start that it will end terribly. But it was such bittersweet joy to watch it all go down in flames. It´s also the big pull on DARK AVENGERS. We all know Norman Osborn will crack. The question is when and how.

    Now if you manage to produce this train wreck IN your book that can be a good thing. If your book IS the train wreck that sucks.

    Still in their " event for events sake " phase Marvel is launching FALL OF THE HULKS and I fear with such high calibre artists like John Romita Jr involved I won´t get around reading a few issues. It has even be announced that the always elusive Paul Pelletier will become the new regular artist of HULK. Which usually means six issues. Anyway, here are some interviews with the creative people involved which I haven´t read myself yet so there may be some spoilers involved :

    Interview with Jeph Loeb, Greg Pak and Jeff Parker Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

  • interview with Paul Pelletier


    The new BATMAN & ROBIN book has also disappeared from my pull list - at least till Frank Quietely comes back. I don´t know if I will try to get the other issues in trade or just wait for the german publication but here are two interviews with Mr. Morrison of which the first one might be a bit old but since I haven´t posted it yet.....

  • morrison talks batman part 1

  • morrison talks batman part 2


    Yes, there are still some X - Men related issues in this blog. After the end of Joss Whedon and Sean Cassadays run on ASTONISHING X - MEN there was no x - book I was reading on a regular basis. Right now I´m following the exploits of Marvel`s merry mutants in the german edition but that´s all. Now back in the day UNCANNY X - MEN was the top title of Marvel so for all those who haven´t read enough about it here´s a new interview with John Byrne. I know he gets a lot of flack because of the things he says but credit where credit´s due and I have to say I still like to read his new stuff.

    Staying on the subject of all things Dark Phoenix here´s an interesting article about the possibility of getting better superhero comics through the Dark Phoenix saga that compares the way writers, artists and editors worked together at that time. Something that´s lacking from today´s comic industry. In some cases you even might think that there are no editors involved at all. Anyway, interesting stuff by Justin Zyduck.

    And since we are on the topic of the best X - Men ever let´s hear it from the other side. Chris Claremont´s new series X - MEN FOREVER is a series I wanted to write about but so far I haven´t gotten around to do it. I bought the first six issues but because Tom Grummet only does the occassional issue now and then i will get the following issues in trade - or the german translation. Anyway, here are some interviews about the series which contain a few spoilers :

  • chris claremont on x - men forever part 1

  • chris claremont on x - men forever part 2

  • chris claremont on x - men forever part 3

  • Graeme on X-Men Forever

  • More stuff

    More creators talking this time from THE COMICS JOURNAL in the form of a conversation between Dave Gibbons and Frank Quitely and a conversation between Matt Fraction and Denny O´Neil

    Another thing that´s hard to come by are tutorials by comic pros so here is an article about coloring comics by Chris Sotomayor

    Also since no link post would be complete without the obligatory top list of comic things here are the top 75 most iconic DC covers of all time.

    Last but not least here´s a newsflash from tv Guide Magazine about BATTLESTAR GALAKTIKA´s Katee Sackhoff a.k.a. Starbuck new comic series .

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  • The bill of rights is just a piece of paper. It burns like everything else.

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Merry Christmas !

    Christmas is still a few days away but since I´m not sure if I can post something in the next few days I wanted to make sure to put my Christmas whishes on the blog before Christmas.

    This is my fourth Christmas post and with the first three I at least managed to post them at Christmas. Although I must say that problems with my computer are nothing new. In my first Christmas post I already had the problem that I couldn´t burn any files and was about to loose all my picture archive ( just like right now ). So far the topics of my posts have been :

  • why I only give comic related presents ( and why some of the stinkers in your collection make great christmas gifts )and how to pick them

  • how I pick christmas presents and why ultimates 3 sucks ( which I already knew after reading the first issue and another one about

  • which presents I gave away

  • just a short post with a larger one on the next day

  • about the christmas story with deadman and the pre - crisis supergirl

  • Supergirl image line art by Adam Hughes, colors by Jprart on deviantart

    So which topic should I choose for this post ? Now the problem is that I don´t have any access to all the pictures I collected this year. Normally I just pick something that tickles my fancy and in 95 percent of the cases I already have all the material I need. Recently one of my readers commented that my posts are waay too nerdy and all over the place.

    Which is because I mostly write my posts the way I have a conversation. I thought about doing a post about Marvel´s secret Legion of Super - Heroes comics but I will do that on another occasion.

    So my fourth year writing a Christmas post. I like christmas. Because I just like to give people presents. It´s true. It may sound weird that I don´t write " I like to get presents. " and kind of hypocritical. Because on one side for me Christmas is about finding the perfect gift for others. On the other side I mostly get pretty crappy gifts. Especially my younger brother has big problems in that departement.

    One year I even went so far as to make a whishlist on amazon for him because he didn´t know what he should get me. Of course he never looked at it in the end. I don´t know, maybe I should just do it like my mother and drop a few decent hints throughout the last months before Christmas. There are a few series I began reading but which I haven´t continued because I don´t have enough money to follow them all :


    Back when I was in the money and starving for good reading material I started reading the phone books but because of other stuff that I deemed more important the last one I read was Vol 11 GUYS. Now that the series has ended it would be nice to read the following issues.

    - POWERS

    The same here. I followed the series till the 8th trade LEGENDS. There have been a few since then but because I never remembered which was the last one I had read I lost track of the series. I have heard that they have even gone to Marvel´s ICON imprint in the meantime. Also a book I would like to continue even if the double page spreads are so confusing that you don´t know if it really is a double page spread or just two separate pages.


    Yes, this is an oldie but goody. I read the first two trades and for anyone who wants to try this series out I should add that you should read the first two trades or none at all. Because there are some things in the first trade that are weird and only make sense after reading the second one. There were a few more trades but I think there are two that are important for the storyline.

    - DYNAMO 5

    This is a rather new one. I don´t think I have written something about this series. It´s a pretty decent superhero book with an innovative twist ( at least as far as I can say after reading the first trade ) and nice art. I got the first trade which was pretty cheap - thanks to IMAGE´s policy of putting out the first trades of series for ten bucks - but I never got around to buy the following ones. I also lost track of INVINCIBLE but a few months ago I got all the new trades.


    I started reading Paul Grist on his cop series KANE of which I only got some scattered issues. There were some plans to release the series in Germany but I don´t know if they ever released more than one. KANE was a series which I mostly found at conventions or one time even at a WILDSTORM signing but I lost track of it. I don´t even know if the whole series is available in trade.

    With JACK STAFF I felt it was my second chance to read Paul Grist. The series is about the hero JACK STAFF who was Britain´s greates hero who vanished twenty years ago and resurfaces now - a bit like Captain America. I like the series not only because of Paul Grist´s art and writing but also because he tries to build the english superhero universe. And into this he incorporates such heroes / anti heroes like THE CLAW, THE SPIDER and others who appeared in british pulp comics and which were published in Germany in the cult comic KOBRA.

    Just ask anybody of my generation and he will probably fondly remember the KOBRA comics. Anyway, trying to stay on topic here I got the first two trades but there are two more available. And although the writing is a bit repetetive in some cases - due to the fact that this series is not written for the trade - I would like to see how the story continues. One thing I have to add about the switch from black and white in the first trade to colour in the second trade is that it has good parts but also it´s bad parts.

    The good part with the black and white version is that since you have to colour it in your mind it´s always right as if it´s colored by the comic artist your vision might not be the same as his. The bad part with the black and white version is that for instance a black person can look white if the artist doesn´t draw him different from the whiteys. Which is the case with one of the characters. I reread the first two trades recently and tried to order the third from amazon but they ran out of copies. So I will have to order them through blackdog or another comicshop one of these days.

    Other series that I have on my list are WALKING DEAD - I only got the first two trades, THUNDERBOLTS - because of my budget I am following it in trade now but I always forget to write down the last issue I read before going to the comicshop, WALTER SIMONSON´S THOR - I got the first two trades but since I already have the issues in the floppy format it´s not that urgent, NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC - got the first two trades to close gaps in my collection and I have to get the following trades one of these days, MAN OF STEEL - also to close some gaps ( as well as reading them in chronological order ) and I need the trades 5 and up, etc., etc., etc.

    The list just goes on and on. On the other side there are some comics which are going to be presents in the not too distant future. For one VAMPIRE BOY 1 by Carlos Trillo and Eduardo Risso which wasn´t up to the quality of 100 BULLETS and also the first LONE RANGER trade which for my taste had a weird story and pretty mediocre art. I think the best part were the covers by Sean Cassidy. I put both of them in my thread to get rid of some of my comics and tried to get some WALKING DEAD trades for them. But no luck so far.

    As for the Christmas presents for this year I got all of them till the end of last week which is cool because you don´t have to get into the whole mess that is Christmas shopping in the last days before christmas. The bad part is that you have to wait that much longer till it´s finally Christmas. I think I got some good ones this year and if I can I will post something about that after the holidays because there is the slim chance that one of my brother´s might read this.

    I know that they usually never read it but like always it would be just what I need that one of them finds out prematurely about his present. My older brother is especially hard to surprise since he has begun to sneak around my stuff lately. I remember that once I had to buy three birthday gifts for him because he kept finding the hidden presents and ruined the surprise. Which is one of the reason why I try to buy presents that I also like. You never know when you have to keep it for yourself because your brother already found out and ruined the surprise.

    So anyway, once again this is the end of the post. I hope to do a review of this year which is a pretty popular thing for blogs at the end of the year. Last year I started a look back on the best and worst as well as some predictions what the new year has to offer. With a bit of luck I can do something similar this year - even if I couldn´t finish the series last year.

    So here´s a Merry Christmas to all my readers out there ( if there are still a few left ), all my link partners, the writers of the blogs I like to read as well as all the other bloggers out there keeping it real.

    If you are reading this you are the resistance.

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  • Thursday, December 03, 2009

    Comicbörse Stuttgart 2009

    As you may have noticed, it has been a while since my last post. As usual, just when I had all my ducks in a row for the next posts my computer commited suicide and it seems that my only option now is to take the harddrive and get a new computer.

    So that means that it may take a while till I continue with the DC solicitations - or any solicitations for thast matter. The good news is that I was planning to write about something else in my next post anyway. At the end of November the Comicbörse took once again place and as usual I wanted to do a post about the comics I got there. Initially I was there to deliver the latest HORST translation in person ( since I forgot to make backups of the HORST data I had to sent for them again so it will take a while till the next one is online ) but as always the Comicbörse in Stuttgart is one of the few places where you can get hardcovers or trades at a reasonable price. Otherwise german comics are just too expensive.

    So here is the first part of the swag I got. I don´t know how far I will come so I will start with the franco belgican part. Normally I have my big picture archive to draw upon but this time I have to get everything directly from the internet. We´ll see how that goes.

    ODI`S BLOG 1 + 2

    Yes, this may surprise some people but I have been known to read the occassional bande dessinee from time to time. It´s true, because of my exposure to only the best comics the american market has to offer I´m a bit picky when it comes to buying BDs. But from time to time there is one that catches my interest. This time it´s ODI`S BLOG by Sergio Garcia and Lola Moral.

    The comic is a bit difficult to describe which is always a good sign. The stories are - well, here it begins. You see, all the pages in the comic are without words. So I don´t know if stories is the right words. The comic is about two main characters : one female, who has this haircut that makes her look a bit like Mickey Mouse; and a male who looks suspiciously like Tintin.

    The episodes take place somewhere between our real world and the dreamscape, that magical twilight dimension where everything is possible. Like the Windsor McKay strip LITTLE NEMO the main character in the strip - mostly the female - goes about his everyday life, suddenly enters this other dimension and finally makes it back to our world. Of course without text it´s never explained if there really was a translocation to another dimension or if it was all in that persons mind - like a visionquest. Here a mountain of unironed clothes becomes a raging sea, a lonely stretch of road becomes a rollercoaster ride and the city a battlezone.

    In any case it´s a very funny comic that`s also poetic and let´s you take a different look of the ordinary things in life and discover the Don Quixote that lies in us all.

    Since the comic is without words SALLECK PUBLICATIONS, who is the german publisher, didn´t have to translate it. So far there have been two volumes which I bought together with a signed print. Normally the days for signed stuff is way behind me - except when I get something signed at a convention - but in this case I made an exception.

    The book is not available at amazon right now but you can get it at the SALLECK PUBLICATIONS homepage where you can get them for 11 EUROS


    I also got the Dean Yeagle sketchbook at Salleck. There was a Crisse sketchbook but with four sketches on a 18 x 22 book they were just too small. The Dean Yeagle sketchbook on the other hand had much bigger pictures. With 15 EUROS it was more expensive but being a signed and numbered edition it was O.K. Especially with a little discount that you get at comic fairs. I don´t think you can get the 48 pages paperback at the Salleck homepage ( at least I couldn´t find it ) but for those who are unfamiliar with the name here´s the product info :

    Dean Yeagle has spent most of his career in animation, working first for Zander's Animation Parlour in New York City and then with his own animation company, Caged Beagle Productions. In 2000, he began drawing cartoons for Playboy Magazine, and continues to do so on a regular basis. He publishes books featuring his character 'Mandy', and does design work and consulting for animation, corporate clients, comic books, children's books and advertising, and appears at comic conventions throughout the world. He has had a one-man show at Galerie Arludik in Paris (2008). He is married to Barbara, has a daughter Rebecca, son-in-law Nick, and granddaughter (and pure joy) Lily. They all live in Southern California.

    Site Web: caged beagle


    This adaption of the classic children´s book of Franck Baum by David Chauvel and Enrique Fernandez originally appeared in three tomes that were collected into one volume by Ehapa. Of course we all know the story - or at least that part of it that was adapted for the Judy Garland musical - but the comic manages to capture the flair of it.

    Sadly there are a few things that I have to comment. First of, the reduction in size - from magazine sized album format to US format book size - really doesn´t work so well. It may be that it helped with keeping the price down but on some pages you have a hard time figuring out what is happening. The artwork is just too detailed for the small format.

    Another thing that - at least - I found annoying is the final cut. Either the three chapters of the book weren´t cut very good or there was some accident when they were glued together. In any case the pages are uneven, it took me out of the reading experience and it doesn´t look very nice on the bookshelf.

    Apart from that it´s a great book with wonderful art that really brings this classic tale to life. I can only recommend it as a present for the upcoming Christmas holidays. Some pages are a bit grey and dull but that´s only at the beginning and serves to show the transition form Dorothy´s world in Kansas and the wonderful land of Oz.

    A few more pages :


    Canari is written by Crisse and drawn by the late Carlos Meglia who died last August. When I first saw this in my local comicshop I was a bit reluctant to buy it because it was a BD and not inked. Usually I prefer inked comics over those overcolored comics where every panel looks like an anime cel.

    But being that this is the last work by Carlos and it was offered at a bargain price. Carlos Meglia wasn´t very well known in America, in fact on the few occasions where he worked for american publishers like on IMAGE´s WILDCATS there were some readers who mistook him for a Humberto Ramos rip off. Which is kind of funny since Humberto Ramos was influenced by Carlos Meglia. Maybe one of these days I will get around to do a proper post about Carlos Meglia and his famous Cyber Six series.

    And that´s all for the first part. Maybe next time we will get to the other comics I bought but I may have to wait till after christmas for that since a lot of the stuff is going to end up as presents.

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