Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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.

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