Wednesday, June 29, 2011

comic news avalanche - DC news

Yes, I know, I shouldn´t start a new post while I´m still working on the last one but I just had to put the DC stuff into a seperate post or it would have become too long.


Before the relaunch the GREEN ARROW series is wrapping up and here are two interviews with writer James Patrick about the last Green Arrow story before T J Krul gives you the lowdown on the new Green Arrow and Captain Atom books. And as more news of DC´s new titles is known there is also some new art that was " leaked " on the internet like Francis Manapul´s first Flash art for the new series and Jim Lee´s full Justice League lineup although there is still the mystery of the 15th female member to be solved . I´m so hoping it´s Power Girl.

For more creative questions and answers ( and some possible spoilers ) here are interviews with Fabian Nicieza on LEGION LOST , Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning on RESURRECTION MAN , Dan Didio and Keith Giffen on OMAC , Dan Didio on the end of Clark Kent and Lois Lane´s marriage , Ron Marz on VODOO , Peter Milligan on JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK and RED LANTERNS , Scott Snyder on the new BATMAN book , Tony Daniel on DETECTIVE COMIS and SAVAGE HAWKMAN , Judd Winick on the new CATWOMAN book and RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS , Scott Lobdell on SUPERBOY and TEEN TITANS , Joshua Fialkov on I VAMPIRE , Paul Cornell on STORMWATCH and Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti on ALL STAR WESTERN .

And since you´re probably tired of reading at this point here´s a video interview from CBR TV with Grant Morrison about the new ACTION COMICS book

and one with James Robinson talking about Justice League, Alex Toth, the Shade ( the villain from Starman, not Shade the Changing Man ) and more.


Now that there are more facts about it here are some articles on the DC relaunch with ( or by ) Justin Gray and Mike Costa , headwriters Jim Lee and Geoff Johns , Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza , Tom Bondurant from GRUMPY OLD FAN and from ROBOT 6 Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffmann - part 1 and part 2 .

Over at ComicGeek Speak they have three episodes with listener feedback to DC´s announcement , a discussion about DC´s announcement and the new books and they also take a look at the 52 new titles .

For my german readers Marc - Oliver Frisch from comicgate takes a detailed look at the 52 titles in 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 parts and fellow blog COLLECTED EDITIONS has 3 arguments for and against the relaunch and tells us not to panic while also ranking the prospects of DC´s outgoing series to be collected as paperbacks . For more info CBR´s readers have ranked the new 52 titles and here´s the official solicitation . RANDOM HAPPENSTANCE also has some thoughts on the relaunch while MATCHING DRAGOONS has its own list of 52 new DC titles with such brilliant titles as CHALLENGERS OF THE STATUS QUO, LOIS LANE TOT REPORTER or JLA RUBBER. And I think everybody would buy GEORGE PEREZ DRAWS WHATEVER HE WANTS.

BULLY COMICS also has a great list of 52 new DC titles and really, you just have to love such great titles like I SHALL CALL THIS ONE THE TIME THAT AQUAMAN SPOKE AS IF HE WERE BRIAN BLESSED AND GOT HIS OWN BOOK, ARRIBA BLUE BEETLE ( which preferably is written in spanish ) or JUSTICE LEAGUE BWA HA HA. Not to forget the book every DC fan has been waiting for GREEN ARROW AND BLACK CANARY BOINK.

There are - of course - some negative reactions to DC´s plans as everybody already hates the new TEEN TITANS book and Jill Pantozzi at NEWSARAMA explains why Oracle is a stronger character than Batgirl will ever be .

Spanish blogger Pedro Angosto from MAN OF BRONZE has the link to the first protesct march against DC , speculates on the new Franchise League of America and paints a resume about the old DC series . All in spanish of course, sorry.

More DC stuff : the Detroit Free Press has an interview with Geoff Johns , England´s The List has an interview with Grant Morrison about his new book Supergods and why it´s stupid that every hero must have an origin story, Corinna Lawson from GEEKDAD has an open letter to DC comics concerning digital pricing that has some great ideas ( and is therefore probably going to be ingnored totally ) and Michael May on ROBOT 6 explains what makes Wonder Woman tick . And strangely enough his arguments are not too far from my own observations a few posts ago. To quote myself :

Wonder Woman is one of the best known female comic characters and thanks to a tv show that was better than it got credit there are a lot of things people know about Wonder Woman. She comes from a secret island of amazons where men are forbidden to set foot and she´s a princess. She´s strong, she deflects bullets with her bracelets, she can talk with animals and she has a lasso of truth and an invisible jet.

People know what her costume looks like and that she changes clothes by spinning around. Now, can anyone tell me why the people of DC think they can sell more Wonder Woman comics by changing all the things I mentioned above ? Because I can´t understand it.

As someone who is always the last to know I only discovered that there was a tv pilot being made with Adrianna Palicki as Wonder Woman when it was canceled. Now the german press would have loved this ( I can just see the Palicki Palacki - die neue Wonder Woman headlines ) but as I understand it one of the reasons it didn´t gel with the test audience was that they changed her costume. Rest my case.

Brian Cronin has a post about what is supposed to be the goofiest moments in DC´s HARDTRAVELLING HEROES but to tell you the truth, it only reminded me how awesome that book was and prompted me to re - read the run again. Maybe I´m biased on the matter since the books that are out now wish they had art as good as Neal Adams but the whole article seems a bit biased. Which may be because you really had to be reading comics at that time to really appreciate them for their breaking new ground in comics territory. Although I have to give him kudos for pointing out the Nixon cameo I missed entirely.

In other DC related things you may have already heard via COMIC BITS ONLINE that DC canceled a muslim superhero and I absolutely have to link to HARK A VAGRANT´s hilarious Lois Lane - Reporter strip.

As always, there´s a video at the end of the post and since I had a funny one in my last post here´s one I have been looking for a while now. I don´t know why but british tv seems to have the funniest stuff.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Comic Legend Gene Colan passes away

This is the part of the comic news I don´t like and the reason why I hate going on the internet after a long weekend. Because more often then not somebody you really liked and admired has died.

Which was the case this Monday when I read that Gene Colan had died at the age of 84. I had followed the news about him tackling his health problems but I was still sad that he had finally succumbed to illness. One of the few things I took comfort in was that he had finally begun to get widespread recognition for his art and knew how loved he was by comicfans of all ages. He even got back to doing comic work for BART SIMPSON´S TREEHOUSE OF HORROR and CAPTAIN AMERICA 601, the last one even won Gene Colan the 2010 Eisner Award for best issue.

I´m probably not the most qualified to write about Gene Colan since - like in the case of Jack Kirby - it took me quite a while to be able to appreciate his craftsmanship and artistical brilliance. Growing up reading the german comics of the Williams Verlag Gene Colan for me was this guy that appeared throughout various collections and who had a really strange style. He was in DOKTOR STRANGE DER MAGIER , which lasted 12 issues

and also on DER DÄMON, how Daredevil was called here in Germany. Or at least that´s how he was called when Williams Verlag published the series as back ups in their DIE FANTASTISCHEN VIER books ( Fantastic Four ).

Before that the Bildschriften Verlag published the series under the name of DEVIL - MAN but thankfully I missed that whole period because their production values wer not very good, the translations were horrific and the jumped ahead and backwards in the publishing schedule.

CAPTAIN MARVEL was another series that was published as a back up in Germany, this time in the pages of DIE RUHMREICHEN RÄCHER , which had also been in the bulk of Marvel publications by Bildschriften Verlag.

NAMOR DER SUBMARINER was also a back up feature, in DIE SPINNE 

as was DER EISERNE whose own series sadly only lasted 12 issues and who then was relegated to the role of back up feature in issue 45 of DIE RUHMREICHEN RÄCHER where he replaced the Captain Marvel series.

I especially remember reading the issues with Iron Man fighting the Mandarin and his armor was out of power and he was stuck in some kind of canyon or whatnot. What I can´t remember is him going up against Whiplash but during my research I came upon this cover so Gene Colan´s claims to have created that particular character may be more valid then Marvel is willing to confirm. I guess they owe him some residual money now that they have used Whiplash in the new IRON MAN II movie.

Gene Colan also did some issues of DIE RUHMREICHEN RÄCHER 

and of course DIE GRUFT VON GRAF DRACULA with CAMBER OF CHILLS as a back up then stories from MYSTIC, MYSTERY TALES, MARVEL TALES, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, JOURNEY INTO UNKNOWN WORLDS, WORLD OF FANTASY, CRYPT OF SHADOWS, ADVENTURES INTO TERROR, ADVENTURES IN WEIRD WORLDS, ASTONISHING, TALES TO ASTONISH, STRANGE TALES, UNCANNY TALES and TALES OF SUSPENSE. Boy, they really threw anything in there they could get their hands on. Now coming back to Gene Colan, when I first saw his artwork in the books I was reading I found it strange.

Strange because it was so unlike most other artists. Man, at that time I didn´t like it but Today I would just love to re - read those comics again. Gene Colan also was on a lot of DC books edited by Ehapa I read later on, mostly his work on WONDER WOMAN or WUNDERGIRL how it was called,


or SUPERMAN where he did a story of which I only remember that some guy with a headband wore his costume while Superman wore a different garb. And it somehow involved the Phantom Zone and strange horned kryptonian animals which I mention in part 3 of my COVERSTORY series .

I only began to appreciate Gene Colan through the internet where I found some of his comission work and for the first time saw his incredibly detailed pencils in a high resolution.

I never knew that most inkers had problems bringing his work to the printed page adequately but I actively began to look for his work. The really weird thing was that at that time companies were reluctant to give Gene work and it was only through a friend who built a website for him that he could finacially support himself through comissions. Looking at his comissions you could see that he was still as good - or even better - as in his active days. And now that the technology was finally able to do it his penciled work was being brought to printed comics like in his participation in Michael Chabon´s THE ESCAPIST comics.

As for me I began to collect his work and one of the highlights of his career is his TOMB OF DRACULA work where he co - created BLADE .

Here in Germany it was recently reprinted in a color version that´s very expensive ( although you can find some issues pretty cheap on comic fairs and online since nobody has enough money to finish the collection ) and drowns the linework with too much color. So my tip is to get Marvel´s ESSENTIAL COLLECTION of the series which is not as expensive and you can really appreciate the great art by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer, one of the few inkers capable of adding some depth and mood to Gene´s pencils.

And if you have the possibility get the spanish BIBLIOTEKA MARVEL version which is in a smalller format but is printed really well. Even Gene Colan himself was impressed by the quality of the spanish version.

Last but not least I want to recommend a book by TwoMorrows Publishing before letting others chime in who knew the man much better than me. SECRETS IN THE SHADOWS : THE ART & LIFE OF GENE COLAN is a great book with tons of art by the master himself and interviews with about everyone he ever worked with.

CBR´s George Khoury remembers Gene Colan , Greg Hatcher´s Gene Colan memorial references his Phantom Zone story with Steve Gerber, and The Comics Journal has an extensive feature on Gene Colan by Tom Field .  He is also mentioned in an episode of Comic Geek Speak .

There are also articles on 999 , Actua BD , Comic Box , Comic is art , El Factor G , El lector impaciente , Es muy de comic , Lola Fett , The Dreamers , The Los Angeles Times , The New York Times , The Sun Star , Spiegel online , Sci Fi Forum , Williams Marvel Comic Archiv , Zona Negativa and Zoo le mag to name just a few.

EL SHOW DE LOS HOMBRES LOBO has a nice collection of spanish links about Gene Colan for readers who are fluent in the spanish tongue.

Oldies but goodies are Gene Colan´s interview on ComicGeek Speak and the book of the month : Essential Tomb of Dracula Volume 1 episode. Great episodes that you should listen to if you haven´t already done it.

Before closing the post for Today I want to thank the guys from MARVEL - COMICS ONLINE for their invaluable information on the back up features in the William comics. They also have all the info for the Bildschriften Verlag and any other german comic companies that published Marvel.

edit : Today I was going over the links because I was working on my new BEST OF THE BEST post that is going to be included in future posts. There were some I had to delete because they didn´t work anymore but I want to include a new one. CRIVENS ! COMICBOOKS, CARTOONS & CLASSIC COLLECTABLES ! is doing a series about the favorite comics of his youth and part 1 is about DAREDEVIL 53 . The post is not as long as most posts here but it does have some nice Gene Colan art in high resolution. And who knows, you might find some other stuff you want to check out.

There are a few tribute videos on YouTube but instead of other people talking about him, here´s the master himself talking about his work on Daredevil from the Man Without Fear : Creating Daredevil documentary.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

comic news avalanche - non DC comics

I hoped to finally get to my first report on the GRATIS COMIC TAG books of 2011 so that I can start giving them away. But the comic news have been piling up since my last post so I have to work them off first.

I know it has been almost two weeks since my last post but first doping out three posts in one week and then doing another one only four days later I was kind of burnt out and needed to reload my creative batteries. I know that doesn´t bode well for me ever improving my post - per - week quota but I´ve always gone for quality over quantity. And the heatwave we´re having these last few days in Germany doesn´t help either.

As usual I´m first posting the links before doing my usual magic of embedding them all into my usual mixture of banter, comments and wittyness and splitting it up into two posts - one about DC and one about all the other stuff. Maybe I´ll even have to do a third one but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. But before we come to this post´s news I wanted to get the word out that I have already read the GRATIS COMIC TAG 2011 I have and although I have to wait AFTER I have written the reviews with actually giving them away you can already write me a line if you want to get a certain book. Man, I never would have believed that it´s so difficult to give away free comics. Now let´s jump right into it.


Fantagraphics Gary Groth gives an interesting interview about the state of the industry , what´s happening at Fantagraphics right now and what may be the future of printed comics. What I found a bit strange is that on one side Gary Groth is such a big supporter of creators rights on the other side Fantagraphics themselves violate contract rights when it comes to second or third editions or foreign editions of the comics published under their Eros imprint .

Speaking about the state of the industry John Mayo reports the sales numbers for May 2011 and there seems to be hope that readers really stop buying the big events and as a consequence there may be an end to the big, annual crossover events. Me personally I´m skipping FEAR ITSELF and FLASHPOINT. If it´s important it will come out as a trade and I will get it later like SECRET INVASION.

Now some people may not see this as big news but it´s Robocop vs Terminator - round 2 thanks to Dynamite´s new series TERMINATOR / ROBOCOP - KILL HUMAN. I am a big fan of the first miniseries and although Frank Miller is not writing this one and Walter Simonson is only providing covers any match between those two is bound to be interesting. I´ll definitely will check out these issues.

And last but not least image comics announces a new rating system on their books. Now in my opinion this makes no sense unless you want to make it easier for certain people to get on the news by taking action against certain publications. And I know the old argument, that there is a rating system for films and that´s not a bad thing. Okay, following that line of argumentation it doesn´t work so well with movies as there often are movies that SHOULD be for 18 years and up. But because the movie company thinks it would be more profitable as a movie for 16 year olds it gets cut, it turns into a big mess and in the end it doesn´t earn them as much money as they expected.

Because instead of being a good movie for it´s intended audience - people who are 18 or older - it´s a bad movie for everybody beyond the age of 16. In the end the movie company thinks they saved the movie because if they hadn´t improved it it would have made even less money.

Another aspect with the whole " there is a rating system for movies " argument is that comics are not like movies. The biggest problems comics have is when they try to behave like movies or people who come from the movie world think it´s easier to write comics. Comics are more like books and you don´t see any rating system on books. Still they somehow manage to sell the right books to the appropriate age groups. And you can´t tell me that the average book seller is so much more intelligent than the avarage comic seller.

Comics are more like art and there is no rating system with art.

It´s true that there have been a plethora of legal battles about what is art and what is pornography ( I think Woody Allen said it best when he said : if it´s done right it´s pornography. ) but I have never seen a seperate part in a museum that is adults only. So you may be in favor of a rating system or against it but just saying that it must be so because movies have a rating system - that´s too easy in my opinion.


Since my last post was about Marvel Point One line and not much else there are still a lot of news left dealing with Marvel. First up is Carla Hoffmann who takes a look at what Marvel is doing in September although I have to say that there´s not much on the list that interests me personally. Like I said, I´m passing up on the whole FEAR ITSELF thing and even if I applaud them for bringing new characters like Monkey King into the fold or taking a new chance on Shang Chi I have to say it´s strange that they appear in books like Iron Man or the Spider Island tie - ins. It would have made much more sense to feature them in Iron Fist.

To tell the truth, to me Spider Island sounds like a non - event because, really, who cares what would happen if everybody in New York had spiderpowers ? And what´s up with Peter Parker using his spiderpowers openly ? Yes, everybody has spiderpowers now but not everybody has webshooters have they ? I guess that would be a bit difficult to explain.

They also don´t eem to have much faith in Alpha Flight since the new series with art by Dale Eaglesham is another limited series and X - MEN SCHISM seems like another non - event. I´m getting the books but mainly because of the art by Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho or Alan Davis. The story is rather meh, or at least it sounds that way. Cyclops and Wolverine fighting ?

What a new concept that hasn´t been done to death before - like in the pages of Joss Whedon´s ASTONISHING X - MEN where at least it was treated in a humorous way. The whole idea of Cyclops and Wolverine having a conflict and the X - Men splitting in two teams - one led by Cyclops and one lead by Wolverine - sounds more like WEDNESDAY AT X - MANSION and not like something that will change the status quo of Marvel´s merriest band of mutant misfits in the longterm. And it´s not like there haven´t been two ( or more ) X - teams at the same time before.

In the ultimate corner it seems like Jeph Loeb and Arthur Adams ultimazation of the X - MEN has come to an end because Carla speaks about it in the past tense but I have to say I liked it. The standalone character of the individual stories really appealed to me and especially issue 2 is one I have read a dozen times and I even had to buy a second copy because it started to show signs of tear and wear. I have to admit I always have the reading copy with me when I´m traveling.

So far all other ultimate titles seem uninteresting even Ultimate Spider - Man with the death or return of Spider - Man. I have to say Marvel really fumbled the ball on this one as there have been several friends who knew that Spider - Man was goping to die but not that it was only the ultimate version. Oh, and one final thing I wanted to mention is that the link at the end is not for the Marvel solicitations for September 2011 but for the Marvel solicitations of March 2010. So does that qualify me for a no - prize ?

But it´s not like there is nothing interesting happening at Marvel. And with " interesting " I don´t mean necessary good things as an old chinese curse says " May you live in interesting times. "

DC doesn´t have the exclusive on number 1s and Captain America is restarting with a new number 1 and Steve McNiven on art. I´d rather stay on the title I´m currently reading but that seems to be transformed into CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY which continues the numbering of the current CAPTAIN AMERICA book. The new series is going to be penned by Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko. In this interview Mr. Andreyko reexamines Captain America and Bucky´s past but there may be some spoilers if you haven´t kept up with FEAR ITSELF. I haven´t seen much of Chris Samnee´s art so far ( who´s going to provide the art for CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY ) but Ed Brubaker has a lot of leeway in my book at the moment. I´m just not sure if my comicshop is going to automatically put it on my pull list or I will have to order the book again.

On a similar note Colin Smith talks about comic fans and dead superheroes where he also mentions Bucky ( who was resurrected by Ed Brubaker ) and like the link above it might include some spoilers from FEAR ITSELF. And I have to correct him because Peter David DID bring Uncle Ben back to life in one story. Oh, and " wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey " seems to be the new " it - word " thanks to Dr. Who´s brilliant BLINK episode.

Another book I´m still reading is DAREDEVIL and even if I I´m reading it in the trade format and still haven´t read the last one ( I´m not sure if it can be read without the Lady Bullseye story and the german version of that is currently out of print ) I thought it was one of Marvel´s steady books. On the other side I don´t know how much they have f - worded the series up with the whole SHADOWLAND thing. So maybe they kind of ruined it which would explain their announcement that Marvels next big thing is Daredevil . In the article Gene Colan´s passing is mentioned ( I´ll come to that topic a few paragraphs down the line ) as well as the big influence he had on Daredevil and it´s a nice touch that they can include some tribute material in the first issue.

I´m not sure about the whole approach of getting Daredevil out of Hell´s Kitchen and into the world is such a great idea but with somebody like Marcos Martin on the art it will at least be visually interesting. As for Paolo Rivera, I can´t say much about him but the art I have seen so far looks solid. And with people like Neal Adams, Brian Hitch and John Romia Sr providing covers for issue 1 a lot of people might try it.

In any way I will probably have to wait till it comes out here to find out if it´s any good. There was a short moment when I thought about going back to the floppies but so far the title just reads better in the trade format.

Now I already mentioned that Zeb Wells and Joe Madureiras are working on a new Spider - Man book which is going to be called AVENGING SPIDER - MAN. I really don´t want to be cynical but that is going to be in the " I´ll believe it when I´m seeing it " departement. I can still remember Marvel´s big announcement that J. Scott Campbell was going to draw a new Spider - Man title with a dozen sketches to accompany the news. Which ultimately turned into J. Scott Campbell doing covers for spider - Man now and then.

There also was a big announcement that Ed McGuiness would do an Ultimates storyarc and when I remember correctly they said that he would start at the same time as Joe Madureiras with his run and who ever finishes first would be published first. Well, Joe Madureiras didn´t finish first because his run wasn´t complete when they started printing it. And I don´t know if Ed McGuiness ever started with his work on an Ultimates run because soon after he started on the new HULK series and his story for Ultimates hasn´t been mentioned since. So I´m not sure if Marvel pulled a fast one on it´s readers but otherwise there would be unpublished art by Ed McGuiness lying around at the Marvel offices. Now I don´t know if that´s the case but I don´t think Marvel would be stupid enough to waste Ed on something like covers - nice as they may be - when there´s an unfinished Ultimates book lying around.

So I´m curious about the new Spidey title - I would even buy the american issues - but I´m not holding my breath.

Where Joe Madureiras is concerned he still has a lot to make to the readers for ruining the BATTLE CHASERS franchise as bad as he did and I just hope this time his art is not as confusing as on his Ultimates run where you couldn´t grasp what the f - word was going on on the page.

What I really can get behind is the new Wolverine project by Christos Gage and Neal Adams . Neal will be providing art on NEW AVENGERS 16.1 ( gee, aren´t you glad we talked about Marvels Point One iniciative in the last post ) and it appears that he is already working on a new five part Wolverine mini.

As somebody who still likes his art I seem to be in the minority but this could help me bridge the gap till his next issues of BATMAN ODYSSEY come out.

With the whole attention to DC´s 52 new titles here are the readers picks for Marvel 52 number 1s and The line is Drawn´s new installment is all about Marvel´s new number 1s of which my favorite one has to be Spider - Man’ s Wife, Mary Jane #1, with guest Doctor Strange channeling their love to DESTROY MEPHISTO.

As for Marvel related news the best headline of the month award goes to HUMAN TORCH KILLER STOPS IN NORFOLK by HamptonRoads.Com´s Will Harris while the award of strange tale of the month goes to a chinese worker who went to his office dressed up as Iron Man .

Since we spoke about creator rights earlier Neil Kirby wrote a Father´s Day tribute to his father Jack " King " Kirby called Happy Father’s Day; Glad You’re Not Here about the fact that Jack Kirby´s name gets buried somewhere in the credits in small print while some other movie guy plasters his own name in big bold letters all over the screen. It´s really sad but nothing new regarding how Hollywood or better the movie industry treats creative people. When DAS WUNDER VON BERN had such a big success in Germany they interviewed everybody, his neighbour and his dog except Rochus Hahn a.k.a. Robi - who wrote the original script. I would have loved to hear his thoughts about this instead there was an endless parade of interviews by people who were only tangentially involved.

Graphic NYC has a great interview with Chris Claremont in two parts, part 1 focusing on his beginnings in comics and his work on X - Men with John Byrne while part 2 is about anything that came after. A good read that brings many insigths into his career. I have to say i´m about two minds on Chris Claremont having grown up reading comics when he was in his prime. His UNCANNY X - MEN stories and his tenure on NEW MUTANTS will always be some of my favorite comic works of all time while some of his other work didn´t excite me that much.

What is strange is that he did return to the X - Men titles somewhere between 375 and 385 and the issues were unreadable much like his work on Fantastic Four. I later bought some of his UNCANNY X - MEN issues with John Romita Jr ( the list of artists he´s worked with is like a Who´s Who of comic artists ) in the BIBLIOTEKA MARVEL format and those issues read almost as good as when they first came out. And I should know because that was when I started reading american comics.

Now you could argue that he has lost his touch but I have been following his X - MEN FOREVER series since the first issue and I was highly enjoying that.

Apart from Joss Whedon´s ASTONISHING X - MEN this was the only time I felt the urge to go out of my way and get the american issues again instead of waiting for the german translations. I have been following it in the trade format since that way it´s easier to cope with the fact that Tom Grummett is not drawing every issue ( and on the ones he draws he sometimes has really hasty inkers ). The latest issues have gone into weird territory but I have to say, the moment I read the first issue it felt like I was never gone from the title.

I read the issue and the characters were very much like I remembered them. Too bad I had to find out by this interview that the title has been cancelled. After they managed to have Mike Grell on the annual it would have rocked to have other veterans like Neal Adams, Kerry Gamill or Bob McLeod on some issues. I think they DID manage to get Ron Lim to do some issues. One of these days I really have to get around and do a post on this book.

After so much to read here´s a video interview by CBR with Marvel´s Editor in Chief Alex Alonzo about event comics and comics in digital media :

Since we´re on the subject of digital media Comic Alliance´s Chris sims has a great article about why DC and Marvel should do webcomics although I hate to say they probably would never do it because the idea of giving something away for free - even if it helps them sell more comics in the end - is so frightening for them. It´s a wonder they participate in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY at all.

The next news is really sad because comic legend Gene Colan passed away at the age of 84. There was a long part about my appreciation for this great artist but I have decided to honor Gene Colan in a post of his own .

Tempus Fugit. 

Since the end of this post is rather depressing I want to finish with this commercial, one of the funniest I´ve seen in a long time. Sadly the headline by YouTube gives away a lot.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Marvel.1 - not as stupid as it sounds ?

With all the news about DC on this blog you might think that I´m sponsored by them. But let me assure you, I´m still the only one paying for all the comics that I review here.

So, since I owe them no alliegance I thought it was about time to give some equal opportunity posts to Marvel and the other comic companies. I guess the biggest thing that bugs me about the whole DC relaunch is that I always was a big supporter of DC. For me they were the comic company that always had the readers best interest in mind and thought about the long term effects. While Marvel seemed to be focused on the quick buck and cheap marketing ploys.

Well, we´ll talk about one such cheap marketing ploy ( or maybe something more ) later on. DC always produced the better series for the readers as apparent by less changes in the artistical departement and aside from finally succeeding to get me to stop caring about the FLASH ( a series I read for years ) I was mostly in for the long haul. But I guess always coming in second got to them and suddenly the idea of relaunching their entire line with designs by Jim Lee doesn´t sounds so bad anymore.

Not that Marvel´s FEAR ITSELF is more innovative. Who knew that when Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke the words " The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. " he meant a crossover by one of the two big comic companies 77 years in the future ?

All joking aside, at the moment I´m " evented out " or like other blogs have phrased it I´m suffering from event fatiguee. And that´s pretty lucky because FEAR ITSELF sounds like a really hare brained story. The whole thing with now giving out hammers by the dozen thing sits wrong with me. And FLASHPOINT doesn´t sound much better. Not that I could get my hands on any issues if I wanted. Both online shops I use have sold out all their issues and I´m not sure if my regular comicshop has some issues.

I heard most shops sold out on them which is either a good sign because it could mean there was a higher demand than supply. Or it could mean that they were simply underordered because comicshops don´t trust the big events anymore. Because the readers just don´t care anymore.

But back to Marvel, I thought about doing a news post with all the Marvel news but decided against it. Not that there is no news about Marvel that´s comment - worthy. I mean who´d have thought that Joe " I´ll do my comic series after I finished with my playstation even if it destroys my BATTLE CHASERS franchise forever and after that I´ll do a fugly run on ULTIMATES that makes you wish I kept on designing computer games " Madureiras would ever return to comics ? And to draw a monthly Spider - Man series nonetheless.

But that´s not what I want to write about Today. What I´m going to write about are some comics - finally ! - and I´m once again pondering a few questions about the 3.99 price tag most Marvel comics carry. Because I want to know if we as the comic reading and comic buying public have been lied to. But let´s start with the question of this posts title.


The .1 concept or Point One, like Marvel itself calls it, is to do special issues that are geared to help introduce readers to a new series. Comics don´t sell as much as they used to do which on one side could be caused by the fact that instead of 12 or 20 titles Marvel now has over hundred.

And if you keep selling to the same audience and number of clients this means your costs for producing comics rise while your revenue shrinks. The only way to get more money is to bring in new readers. DC is doing it by going day and date with their complete line, Marvel did it years ago with their ULTIMATE line. Which they have now flushed down the toilet. And rebooted. And killed of Spider - Man. And brought himback. Well, it´s a different person in the costume now but you know what I mean.

So Marvel´s new idea to bring in new readers was to do these .1 issues that are for instance UNCANNY X - MEN 534.1, an issue that comes between UNCANNY X - MEN 534 and UNCANNY X - MEN 535. In Marvel´s own words :

Geared for new and long - time readers alike, the all - new Marvel: Point One initiative delivers the perfect jumping on points for the biggest super hero series in the world! Beginning in February 2011, select Marvel comic series marked with a ".1" after the issue number feature full - length, self - contained stories by Marvel's top creators, laying the groundwork for the next year of storylines. From INVINCIBLE IRON MAN to AVENGERS to AMAZING SPIDER - MAN, each Marvel: Point One issue of the associated series not only begin major new storylines, but also seamlessly introduces new readers into the dynamic Marvel Universe and its popular super heroes.

Additionally, each issue bearing the Marvel: Point One branding will be followed in the same month by another issue of that series, delivering new fans another exciting installment of the series they enjoy.

" Marvel is absolutely committed to providing new readers with easy entry points into all our comic book series and Marvel: Point One is the next step in our new reader initiatives, " explained David Gabriel, Senior Vice - President, Sales & Circulation, Marvel Entertainment. " And to make sure readers can sample all of Marvel's top series, we've priced every Marvel: Point One issue at $2.99. Utilizing our top characters, top creators and employing a huge marketing push, we expect a lot of new faces in comic stores nationwide to check out Marvel: Point One. Retailers should stock up on these titles and the subsequent issues. "

The biggest super heroes in the universe. The biggest creators in comics. And now, it's time to jump onboard the biggest comic book series with Marvel: Point One, beginning in February 2011!

Okay, now you´re probably wondering " Hey, that statement says Marvel Point One starts in February and now we´re in the middle of June. Why so late ? " and you´re right.

First of all, when the .1 issues were announced for AMAZING SPIDER - MAN, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, WOLVERINE, CAPTAIN AMERICA, DEADPOOL, HULK, THOR, UNCANNY X-FORCE, AVENGERS, SECRET AVENGERS and UNCANNY X-MEN it didn´t look like I was going to get them anyway. Especially the DEADPOOL issue. I mean who needs more Deadpool ? One series is already too much and right now we have at least six of them. Overkill much, Marvel ?

But the whole idea of spending 3 extra bucks on an issue that´s just some in - between story and a logistic nightmare for all the comicfans out there obsessing with the numbering sounded ridiculous.

Then Carlos Pacheco was announced as artist for the .1 issue of UNCANNY X - MEN and I thought " Okay, just the one. " Or .1 in this case. Although Carlos Pacheco´s style has changed from his art on JLA / JSA VIRTUE AND VICE for more of an HEAVY METAL style I use every opportunity to get some pages from him. Okay, the last work I really, really, really liked was his SUPERMAN / BATMAN storyline ABSOLUTE POWER and the last inkers he had in his ULTIMATE books weren´t on the level of longtime partner in crime Jesus Merino. But what can I say ? Us paisanos gotta stick together.

Okay, I´m right in the middle of the review but I haven´t finished with the segueway yet. So, I thought that I would get just this one issue. Then Brian Hitch was going to do the AVENGERS.1 issue. Okay, two. I can live with two. No big thing. Then Scott Eaton was doing SECRET AVENGERS.1 who was always an underrated artist for me. He also did the next regular issue of SECRET AVENGERS so I thought - in Bob Ross´immortal words - what the heck, I´ll take that too. Which was also my reaction when I found CAPTAIN AMERICA 615.1 in my comic bag. The art didn´t look too bad and since I was catching up on my CAPTAIN AMERICA with three issues I went for the whole " the more the merrier thing ".

So now I had managed to buy 4 of these .1 issues which for me were enough for a post. Not the most balanced since I don´t have all the issues and it might well be that all other issues I didn´t get really sucked. But as I said, for the moment I´m buying all comics myself and if Marvel doesn´t like my conclusions they can always send me the rest of the issues for free. But let´s get started with the issues in question.


Do you remember when comic stories used to have titles ? Back in the olden days, in the times before the times, in the long long ago every comic story had a title. Impressive, grandiose titles like WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW ? or THE BOY WHO COLLECTED SPIDER - MAN or FOR THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING. Well, it seems like sound words, caption boxes and thought ballons titles are now a thing of the past especially with the .1 issues.

I shortly thought about using the title I wrote above but since it´s too long I´m going to refer to this story as PRESS RELEASE - if I have to.

This was the first one I was absolutely sure I would get so it´s just fitting to start with it. The story is written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Carlos Pacheco, as I already mentioned. Having Cam Smith, Dan Green and Nathan Lee doing the inks is a bit weird but since you barely notice the different inkers I won´t complain.

Since I´m reading the X - Men in the german translation I´m still a few months behind on the books so I can share the viewpoint of a new reader or someone who´s thinking about coming back to the title.

The art is - of course - stunning and that´s really promising for the upcoming X - MEN SCHISM series that has art by Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho and other comic greats. Yeah, I know X - MENSCHISM sounds like Snoop Doggy Dog is now writing for Marvel but that´s not the worst title for a comic series I have ever heard. Not by a long shot.

PRESS RELEASE has a subplot about A.I.M. scientists extorting money from San Francisco corporations with an earthquake machine, but the main story is all about Magneto. One of Marvel´s best villains Magneto has always flip - flopped between the light and the darkness. Starting out as a villain he has often play Malcolm X to Xavier´s Martin Luther King and was at one point even headmaster for the NEW MUTANTS. The Meister of Magnetism with the BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY t - shirt collection has even died a few times and come back more villainious than ever or as the big mutant hope.

Right now it looks like he´s on the side of the angels again and PRESS RELEASE deals with the repercussions of that. Thanks to the fallout of Brian Michael Bendis godawful AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED the mutant population is on the brink of extinction and the X - Men are now residing in San Francisco. Having just barely survived an all - out attack by Bastion ( well, not everybody made it out of this one alive ) and saved the world the X - Men are the focus of the media and that includes Magneto now.

As he seems trying to turn over a new leaf ( he brought Kitty Pryde back to earth ) he´s now faced with the problem of selling the idea of a mass murderer and mutant activist living right next door to the public. One of the things that I find odd is the fact that while science has now proven that the idea of species being wiped out by other species as a result of evolution is wrong this has no impact on the x - Men comic.

According to new studies there were two human races co - existing at the same time and one of them just became extinct. The other one didn´t substitute them or eat all their food or whatnot. But still the idea of mutants as the new dominant species by extingushing the human race is being propagandised in the pages of X - Men. I would have thought that the new scientific discoveries would have been an opportunity to tell all humans that they will not be extinguished and that they can co - exist with mutants.

Well, another missed opportunity now that mutants are a minority. Speaking of propaganda, that´s what this issue is all about if you keep in mind that propaganda stats with pr. The story doesn´t dissect EVERY aspect of Magneto´s personality - you could do various miniseries on that subject - but it manages to show you a bit how he ticks. And, together with the preview images of upcoming X - Men issues, it really makes you want to read further issues.

So in that prospect this comic really does what it´s supposed to do.


Man, they should really start to give these stories titles. Although I do kind of like my own title. It´s abit long and gives away some part of the story but the shorter one I cam up with does give away the ending so there you have it.

This one has surprised me a bit. Besides the top notch artistic team of Brain Michael Bendis, Brian Hitch and Paul Neary the ending leads into the next big event of earth´s mightiest - well, mortlas is not so fitting since Thor returned to their ranks - heroes. It´s not surprising keeping in mind the first six issues of AVENGERS proper just unexpecting. Besides that there´s not much to add on this one because I really can´t find any faults here.

It has a solid story, great art by Brian Hitch and really gets you interested to pick up the book. And all for 2.99 - preview avengers 12.1


As I said before, Scott Eaton is one of comics most underrated artists - at least in my book. He has worked on a few high caliber series but aside from his time at CrossGen it seems he´s always the guy between regular artists. As with the AVENGERS.1 issue I´m a regular reader so I don´t know how successful this issue is in selling the concept of the Avenger´s new black ops team.

On one side the story is not essential to the series so you could have the complete collection without it. On the other side it´s a clever story by Nick Spence that serves up the usual back and forth between this particular team. Especially the new Antman who´s very annoying mostly because while he embodies the reader he speaks out loud what most people wouldn´t think. I mean a lot of people might think that Benjamin Grimm is not winning any beauty contests in the near future. But most people would have the common sense not to call him an ugly bastich to his face.

Because they would end up in a hospital or a cemetery. So it´s never been very realistic to see the new Antman just do this kind of thing. Although you have to keep in mind that there was this scene in an Avengers special where the male members where discussing which women they would like to have sex with while in the presence of their female colleagues. So Marvel might be the new home for males behaving unrealistic to impress women. But aside from that little gripe - which is more a gripe with the character per se and not the story - it´s an enjoyable read. i think a few readers might pick up the regular series.

  • preview secret avengers 12.1


    Mitch Breitweiser is not one of my favorite artists. Truth to tell I could do without any of his issues in my collection. Still the editorial team of Captain America has managed to keep a certain " house look " with all the artists that have come and gone so far. I mean they don´t have them all mimicking Steve Epting. But so far they have had Michael Lark, Butch Guice, Mike Perkins, Stefano Gaudino, Chris Samnee and Luke Ross in the series - sometimes three of them in one issue - and still made it look cohesively through the right coloring or the right inker.

    And Ed Brubaker has a lot of leeway for his run on Captain America so far. Not so much that I´m going to try out his non - superhero books but enough that I took a chance at this one.

    The story in this comic does not so much LEAD into the next big thing but rather present a dilemma that Steve Rogers has got to solve sooner or later. And keeping in mind that according to the news the demise of a certain character ( that rhymes with Ducky ) seems to be on the horizon it looks like it´s going to be sooner. So it looks like so far I can recommend all the .1 books I have read - preview captain america 615.1


    I have kept CAPTAIN AMERICA 615.1 for last because it is followed by the big 70th anniversary issue CAPTAIN AMERICA 616. I have already written a bit about it when it was announced but besides having great stories illustrated by artists like Ed McGuiness, Mike Deodato,

    Howard Chaykin and Paul Grist

    ( which all DO have titles ) it has 94 comic pages for 4.99.

    Back when Marvel was raising the price to 3.99 for their regular issues one of the main arguments was that it was impossible to have top artists on books with a 2.99 price tag. Well, on the four .1 issues I got you have Carlos Pacheco, Brian Hitch and Scott Eaton who are not exactly at the bottom of the barrel. I´m not saying that this could be done on a regular basis but you can´t tell me that a company that´s as money oriented like Marvel is not making some profit. It´s probably less than on their regular books but I can´t believe they are not making money with this.

    So far there are also two issues I have ( there may be more but once again I have to buy all my comics myself ) that have two complete stories. AVENGERS 10 has also the complete first issue of HEROES FOR HIRE and UNCANNY X - MEN 534 also includes the first issue of AVENGERS ACADEMY.

    Once again, I don´t know how much profit Marvel is making with this but is shows that it is possible to publish a comic with twice as much comic pages as the regular books for the same price.

    Or four times as much comic pages for an extra buck. Even not including the comics that include the bonus books this raises an interesting question. Was Marvel´s only possibility to raise the price to 3.99 ? Or did they also have the possibility of raising the price to 4.99 and putting in more pages ?

    Okay, you might argue that 94 pages for a 4.99 comic may be cutting it close. but what about 84 pages for 4.99. There have been a few bloggers who have written about the " satisfying chunk " meaning that readers are sometimes willing to pay more, even buy a graphic novel instead of a few floppies if they have the feeling they get their money´s worth. With Marvel producing between four and five series for most of their characters coming up with the material wouldn´t be a problem.

    And it would be ideal for artists like Brian Hitch, Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Arthur Adams, George Perez, Richard Corben or Ed McGuiness who have problems keeping a monthly schedule. They could do stories from 5 to 25 pages and you could include them when they are ready. And if you want you could also include veteran artists who haven´t gotten much comic work lately like Kerry Gamill, Bob McLeod, Sal Buscema, Ron Frenz, Walter Simonson or Mike Zeck. I would love to see some new pages by them.

    So, I would say the Point One iniciative from Marvel is better than it sounds at first but with the 2.99 price tag I have to wonder how much of the money we pay for the regular issues are justified and how much of it is just Marvel filling their pockets. And wouldn´t the better alternative be to offer 4.99 books with more pages ? In Germany the X - Men comics are printed in 100 page books for 5.99 and although there is a lot of filler material I still have the feeling to get my money´s worth. So is a comic for 4.99 with 64 to 84 pages really an utopic idea ?

    In a time where the economy is bad the comic industry is the only one that has increased its prices while the rest are reducing prices and showering the customer with incentives and special prices. While the rest of the business world is doing all it can to keep its customer base comics are doing everything in their power to get rid of its core readers. The only comic companies that haven´t raised their prices so far are the independent companies. Although they don´t use that.

    I don´t know, but if it was up to me I´d put STILL 49 CENTS CHEAPER THAN YOUR AVERAGE MARVEL COMIC in bold letters on every Image comic if I was Erik Larsen.

    And on all books by IDW, DARK HORSE or ABSTRACT STUDIOS. And bigger than the small " Drawing the line at 2.99 " thingie - that´s for sure. So it seems the whole 3.99 ( or 4.99 ) thing at Marvel will still be a topic on this blog. Especially when it looks like I will be reading less DC books in the future.

    So I hope we can finally come to the first GRATIS COMIC TAG post next as I´m itching to give them away. Yes, you have read right. Due to the big success of my last free comic contest there will be a new contest. Write in soon as there is only one copy of each comic available at the moment. But who knows ? I might get another few copies with my next visit at the comicshop.

    Today we´re taking a break from the Muppet Show videos for one about german comic artist Jens Harder and his award winning graphic novel ALPHA.

    New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest