Monday, January 10, 2011

300 posts and counting - out with the old, in with the new

Like I predicted last year I´m doing my 300th post in 2011 although I hadn´t counted on it being so late. But as usual I had planned to do something special for the 300th post which didn´t work out.

So I´m going to take a page out of the comics of my youth where the big celebration numbers were a feat in itself and the really important and revolutionary events happened in the issues with the uneven numbers.

First of all I want to thank all my readers for sticking with me and especially the ones who have participated in the big Christmas contest. The comics are already on their way to the candidates with the most right answers. I hope you have fun with the reading material and maybe we can do something similar in April when this blog celebrates it´s fifth year anniversary.

So, before I´m overwhelmed by 2011 I think it´s time to lean back and take a look at what 2010 brought us and what´s in store for 2011. With 36 posts this year I managed to get the lowest posting rate so far. But taking into account that I was mostly laid out this year because of my accident or partaking in the special course of the unemployment office it´s not such a bad quota. On the last few months I did 4 posts per month - on average - and I hope I can keep it at that.

But it wasn´t just a hard year for me. As predicted by myself on this very blog the bad economy and the price increase to 3.99 lead to poor sales in 2010 : sales of comics, graphic novels and magazines to comic stores declined slightly in 2010, slipping 3.5 percent from 2009, according to a year - end report released Thursday by Diamond Comic Distributors. John Jackson Miller’s estimate places the North American market at between $410 million and $420 million, down from the 2008 peak of $437 million. I guess numbers would have even been worse if DC wasn´t so determined to keep the 2.99 price tag.


Maybe the low sales have something to do with the fact that there seems to be a competition going on about who can come up with the ugliest costume. One condition : it has to be inside the pages of a actually printed comic. Here´s Vampirella´s new costume ( or lack thereof ) :

Talk about taking an iconic costume and ruining it. I think she´s gonna suffer the same fate as Lady Death who also donned street clothes to gain more mainstream appeal. The only problem was she went from being a big fish in a small pond to being a small fish in a big pond.

But Vampirella isn´t the only comic woman who got a makeover for the worse :

Can anyone explain to me why every time DC wants to improve sales for Wonder Woman they have to " re - imagine " her ? It´s like going to the garage for a broken muffler and they rebuild your car from scratch. That´s one of the reasons Power Girl´s history was so complicated.

Someone once wrote in an article about the X- Men that " it´s not necessary to re - imagine the X - Men. It´s enough to remember them . " Which is why sales are down. Instead of constant re - starts the comicmarket needs good stories that use the characters as they are. And since we´re on the subject of worst makeovers ever here´s Spider - Man´s new " gay Chorus Line meets sado - maso by way of Madonna " outfit. Clearly the winner of ugliest costumes ( so far ) :

I pity the fool who has to draw the fishnet parts of the costume every time from now on. Talk about unneccessary headaches. Oy. And is it just me or do all of these new costumes have a lot of black ?

But let´s first turn our attention to 2010. As it has been the habit here, we start with the digital side of the business as Robot 6 presents a rundown of 2010 in digital comics , Wired presents the best new webcomics of 2010 and The Webcomic Overlook has a list of the webcomic moments of 2010 .

Before we go any further I´m issuing a spoiler warning for this post which I normally don´t do. But if you can´t read all the comics that come out because of a tight budget there may be a few spoilers in the following lists of best comics or best moments in 2010. Be warned.

In the normal comic reading circles Comics Should Be Good finished it´s Year of Cool Comics archive that contains 365 kick - ass entries and Ain´t It Cool News has a roundtable that takes a look at DC and Marvel and 2010.


Speaking about Marvel, one of the Marvel title that´s mentioned on most best of 2010 lists is THOR : THE MIGHTY AVENGER, by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee which despite it´s acclaim by readers and critics alike has been canceled .

Which is really no surprise, keeping in mind that Marvel has been unsucessfully trying to kill one of it´s best Spiderbooks, namely SPIDER - GIRL for years.

One of the reasons why the book failed to catch on with the general comic reader ? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that there are at least 5 different Thor series out there due to the upcoming film. I know Marvel´s motto has always been to flood the shelves with product to overpower the competition but that doesn´t mean the only Thor book left after the dust has settled will be the best. I don´t know how long Marvel can keep on bleeding money. Thor : The Mighty Avenger sounds like an interesting read that tries to " re - boot " the book for the general reader but I thought this was supposed to be Straczynski´s job. Well, till he left to write Wonder Woman and Superman. Although he´s also left Superman in the meantime ( more about that later on ).

And speaking about the regular THOR title, I have now come back to reading the monthly because my paisano Pascual Ferry ( Hola, Pascual ) is doing the artwork but the story is just too far out, really total WTF material. Especially the part about Thor missing his mischievious brother Loki - who always tried to kill him, his friends, destroy Asgard and most of the universe while at it. Ah, this Loki, he´s a real character.

As for Pasqual´s art it´s stunning as always and I really want to know why Marvel doesn´t release it as a black and white book. It would really look much better. So it looks like the best Thor series right now is THUNDERSTRIKE even if it´s only a 5 issue mini.


Normally I would now comment on the books I found blew the competition away in 2010 but first I´ll let some other bloggers chime in. Publishers Weekly has a list of the best mangas in 2010 as do Comics Worth Reading , Manga Xanadu and Comics and More

Here are ComicBook Resources´ 10 best comics of 2010 ( I didn´t read any of the books besides Batman & Robin ) and here NewsOk´s 10 best periodical comics of 2010 of which I only read two , and I have to say Supergirl really sucks, sorry.

No really, that comic shouldn´t be anywhere near a top 10 list. As shouldn´t CRY FOR JUSTICE and BATMAN ODYSSEY, two series that have entertained me quite well this year ( especially the first one which was the better Justice League book for the first part of the year ) and who nevertheless can be found on Comixology´s The Year in Stank countdown .

More best of 2010 : I managed to read 3 books of Comics and More´s 10 best superhero comics and one of Techland´s 10 best comics , Ping Motherbox Ping has a list of Best of the Year Awards , Girls Read Comics has their own Best of 2010 list as does The Weekly Crisis and over on The Daily Cross Hatch the artists choose the best damn comics of 2010 .

Echland presents the best graphic novels in 2010 , Comics Alliance the best graphic novels and comics and Mtv´s Splashpage the best graphic novels, comics and webcomics . And for completists there´s ComicBook Resources´ 100 best comics of 2010 and Multiversity´s best and worst of 2010 list although I don´t concur in regards to the GROUNDED storyline in Superman. For me it´s one of the best stories in the last few years that was of to a wonderful start although the quality drop in the interlude issues is extreme. But it seems DC is already torpedoing it.

Chris Roberson is the new writer for Superman and J. Michael Straczynski is out to focus on graphic novels because the new storyline proved to be unpopular with a lot of readers. Well, that means that was it for me and Superman because that was the only story in the last few years that had any merit. It seems DC doesn´t know a good story when they have one.

Who does know a good story is Ian Robbinson at Crave online who includes DC UNIVERSE legacies in his 20 biggest comic book moments of 2010 which - in my opinion - had one of the best isssues of the year that featured wonderful art by Mr. Crisis, the great George Perez himself.

As it will take quite some time until the TITANS GAMES graphic novel comes out ( George has already finished his part but it also has to be colored and such ) I will be re - reading the comic a few times in the next months.

To finish our 2010 part - and start the 2011 part - Techland tell us what I was grateful for in 2010 and Robot 6 has a look at the 50 best covers of 2010 before taking a look at 2010 and making predictions for 2011 .


I even managed to be quoted on MIKE STERLING`S PROGRESSIVE RUIN blog with one of my predictions for 2011 that you could make in the comment section . You should really read them as there are some really hilarious ones. Now here´s the part where Mr. Sterling quoted me :

Subzero coldly predicts : “All the people who claimed none of the CrossGen books were any good after the company went bankrupt will be bitching that they aren´t as good now that Marvel does them. They will still buy them.”

Oh, sure, almost certainly. I am wondering when the first Marvel crossover will involve the Crossgen properties, too.

Neat,huh ? You can read Mr. Sterling´s comments on the predictions on these posts : part 1 , part 2 and part 3

Here a few creators do a resume of 2010 and speculate about 2011 and you can find more creators picks for 2011 part 1 and part 2 . Techland shows what they´re looking for in 2011 as About Com Manga has 25 most anticipated mangas for 2011. On my list ? The return of RUSE in 2011 although Marvel doesn´t put butch Guice on art ( although they could ) and a new Powerman and Iron Fist series which hopefully won´t suck.

Although the whole " re - imagined by Marvel " tag - line sounds like a lot of hot air I´m glad that the title is back. If it´s successful there may be more CrossGen titles which will be coming back. Back in the day when CrossGen was at it´s height I had at least 10 of their titles to read each month. And when I say each month I mean each month because in all of it´s first 5 years there was only one month were titles came out late.

And that was because the distributors changed the date for distributing the comics from Friday to Wednesday. I hope other companies would take note of that. I mean I love to have Frank Cho or Arthur Adams on monthly books but it also would be nice if they came out - at least - semi - monthly. Okay, in the case of Arthur Adams it´s understandable since he has to take care of his newlyborn offspring. But I think it´s a huge snafu by Marvel´s publicist departement that it wasn´t able to make that fact known to fans and we had to learn it from other sources.

I mean everybody can understand that a man has to care for his family. And I prefer an issue with great art by Arthur Adams that is a bit later than an issue that comes out in time but with rushed art. And since we´re on the subject of Arthur Adams it seems that his variant cover for SECRET AVENGERS got nixxed by Marvel and replaced by one from Chis Bachalo. Don´t know why, maybe they want to bring the Arthur Adams cover as a poster to make more money.

SECRET AVENGERS has been one of my top series of 2010 because this one got it all : gorgeous art by Mike Deodato, hot chicks like Valkyrie on the team and they even have Shang Chi in the latest storyline. Who could ask for more ?

It seems SIEGE has really paid off for the Avengers titles as John Romita Jr. keeps hitting them out of the ballpark on AVENGERS, Alan Davis is finishing a stellar run on AVENGERS PRIME and AVENGERS - THE CHILDREN`S CRUSADE brings back the sorely missed Young Avengers. Even if it could come out more often. NEW AVENGERS is the book I´m wishing was on my pull list thanks to Stuart Immomen´s dashing art and a Spider - Man who can´t get a break...heck, even AVENGERS ACADEMY seems to be a good book.

My only gripe with Bendis that he seems to be out to destroy me. No, really. What is it with you Bendis, can´t you let me have one little piece of happiness ? I´ll get you for this.


If you don´t frequent the comic newssites very often ( like me ) there may be some stories you might have missed like Stan Lee getting his own star on the walk of fame or that DC is bringing back lettercolums which has lead to a huge outcry from a lot of cybergeeks for whom writing an actual letter on paper with a pen seems to be a huge effort. Some are already trying to boycott that. Geez, if you don´t like them don´t read them like I do with the Fantastic Four lettercol.

You know, they will not cancel the lettercolumns for storypages. It´s a given that the stories will be cut to 20 pages. The only question is if it´s going to be one more page of ads or the lettercolumn.

Back when I started reading american comics I almost never got them in order or with huge gaps between issues. so for me the lettercolumns were the only way to find out what happened in those issues I missed. And I also could find out stuff that I hadn´t noticed or wasn´t aware of because I was new to the title. So unlike some other who are afraid of everything that harkens back to more than three years and isn´t STAR TREK I´m looking forward to lettercolumns.

By the way, Erik Larsen needs more letters for his SAVAGE DRAGON mag ( some comics out there never got rid of them in the first place ) so if you always wanted to give him a piece of your mind now is the right time. The chanches to get your letter printed are pretty good.


And finally we have the Death of Spider - Man . No, not the regular series, that´s dying a slow and agonizing death ever since BRAND NEW DAY, the character Spider - Man is dying. At least the ultimate version. I wish Marvel would make up their mind. First they start the Ultimate line, then they flush it down the toilet, then they bring it back as Ultimate comics and now they´re tearing it down again. I´m just tired of it all.

But Marvel has also a really novel idea : they are going to kill off a member of the Fantastic Four in 2011 thus making the team the TERRIFIC THREE.

It´s no wonder readers are betting on who is going to buy the farm ( most bets are on poor Ben at the time ) and when he will be back. Since I got back to the title after Dale Eaglesham had left mainly for Steve Epting´s art I don´t care as long as it´s a good story. Which till now it has been. So I´m just enjoying the ride.


Another comic title that has managed to garner some heat and hyperbole thanks to some death and drama is ARCHIE. They finally married him ( although to Betty AND Veronica in two alternate universes ) and have introduced the first gay character of the series.

Not every one is pleased with the new succes of the books. But you probably already know that since you are reading all the new posts on Comicbits Online ( which can be found on the blogroll ) as soon as they come out, right ?

I have to say Mr. Hooper is almost convincing me to start reading ARCHIE. Which is aided by the fact that one of my personal favorite Batman artists of all times : Norm Breyfogle. I would buy the ARCHIE issues right now if they had them at my comicshop but I will probably have to get the collected edition via amazon.

And speaking about amazon I have managed to get quite a few hardcovers for my collection at bargain prices. I´m also reading more and more series in the trade format although it can take quite some time before I can catch up on them.


Like always we a have a few comic creator links : the comic college has a spotlight on Charles M Schulz , Fantagraphics interviews Stan Sakai who celebrates 25 years of Usagi Yojimbo, The Huffington post has an Al Jaffe interview and there are two interview Robert Kirkman whose year just gets better and better thanks to the WALKING DEAD tv series and the resulting media attention. As a follow up to an earlier post here´s another interview with Felicia Day who seems to be on a roll with her THE GUILD comics. More mainstream related are the interview with David Finch and Mark Waid .

In an interesting essay 212 ponders the question why so many comic blogs write about mainstream superheroes .

Well, for my part I have always said that it has something to do with the fact that I don´t get any review copies ( aside from the fact that I love superhero comics ) . As long as I have to pay for the comics I read myself there are only so many I can get each month. I would love to read all those critically acclaimed comics but till some review copies find my way it´s just not in my budget. Sorry.

It may be a small consolation that if I read a mainstream superhero comic that sucks ( mostly through the comics my brother has on his pull list, like Supergirl ) then I will most assured say so on my blog. What´s DC going to do ? Send me less review copies ? Start writing a good Supergirl series ?

And I always say : if you´re tired with the big two because of the constant megacrossovers, killing of characters only to bring them back two issues later and the unending stream of retcons you could try out SAVAGE DRAGON or INVINCIBLE, two of the best books out there that are subject to one writer´s unique vision. I know this blog could offer a wider range of subjects which is the reason that I devoted two months to the WORLD WITHOUT SUPERHEROES posts. So far I didn´t get much reaction to it so I don´t know how popular it was with my readers.

To finish things of Ben Morse at The Cool Kidz Table explains his fondness of teen superheroes and gathers the Jewish Justice League while Austin Hartmann compiles the ten best drinking buddies in comics

If you have managed to get this far it´s time to wrap up this post. I´ll let my personal comments to 2010 for another time. As usual here´s a video, this time the YOUNG JUSTICE pilot for the new animeted series. Is it just me or is Robin´s excitement beginning to border on the annoying ?

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

Too late for pause....too late for peace. Namor has murdered he must die.