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By fnord12 | June 27, 2007, 5:19 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

3-D Man

He......he comes out of a pair of 3-D glasses when his crippled brother puts them on and concentrates. That's just so awful. Who came up with this crappy idea?

While looking for that image, i also found this.

By min | June 27, 2007, 3:19 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

Yes, i've discovered xkcd

Go read 'em all. Especially if you're one of them math nerds.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2007, 4:50 PM | Comics & D&D | Comments (3)| Link

Fat headed girl you make the rockin' world go round

Everyone knows i love any Kirby-drawn character with a giant head (Examples: Ego, Arnim Zola, and MODOK).

But a giant head on a lady? That's just hot.

Tana Nile

(Click on the image for a full-sized version you can print out and hang on your bedroom door.)

This is Tana Nile. She is a Rigellian Colonizer and she can dominate you with a mind thrust. You're goddamn right she can!

By fnord12 | June 26, 2007, 11:33 AM | Comics | Comments (2)| Link

Hey kids! Rip off your friends!

(click for the full ad).

By fnord12 | June 26, 2007, 11:27 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

But i *like* super-hero comics!

I like comic books. Everybody knows that. I think its blending of static art and words allows for unique types of expression, and i think the medium is definitely not given the respect it deserves in the larger world of literature. I have enjoyed many different stories, in many different genres, that have been published in comic book form.

But the enthusiasm you see on this site and elsewhere from me around comic books really deals very specifically with super-hero comics, more specifically Marvel super-hero comics. I love reading about a bunch of wackos with crazy powers in crazy outfits beating the hell out of each other, and more importantly, i love the idea of the shared universe that's been going on for decades - all these interconnecting story arcs that are part of a giant ongoing epic. That's something fairly unique. And of course within the Marvel Universe there are tons of sub-genres - you've got Dr. Strange, X-Men, Punisher, Runaways, etc.; all very different types of stories.

So, for me, if the rest of the comic book industry had to die in order to keep my Marvel fix going, so be it! But i don't think that's in any danger of happening. Between comic strips, manga, DC's Vertigo, and all the indies, there are plenty of non-superhero stories available in comic form, and even if all the current publishers suddenly went out of business, i think the medium itself is strong enough that it would regrow. I don't see a crisis in the American comic industry due to the dominance of Marvel and DC.

Other people have different opinions, of course. I suspect that these are people that have "outgrown" super-heroes (which is fine) and have some favorite comics that they feel the world needs to know about, but the glut of super-hero books somehow prevents them from getting out there.

I know how they feel. There's plenty of bands that i love, for example, that i think ought to be more popular and i do bemoan the fact that radio stations and MTV mainly play pop drivel. I've never actually met someone who loved Britany Spears* that would be devastated if i replaced her spot on the radio with Can or something, but now i know how they would probably feel if i did:

Alan David Doane:

A Future for Comics -- It is my long-held belief that the direct market network of mostly superhero-oriented comic book stores is headed for extinction. The reason it is passing into history is because it excludes new readers and embraces only an existing "fanbase," willfully ignoring the fact that comics as a vital, living artform are so much more than superheroes. At the same time, a minority of shops within the direct market are reaching out to a broader audience for comics, one nurtured by mainstream media coverage like comics receive on National Public Radio or in print publications like Time Magazine. The question is, will the truly full-service comic book stores that point the way to the future serve as an example to the majority of stores currently dependent on Diamond's weekly shipments of superhero titles? Or will the backward, pro-superhero (but ultimately anti-comics) policies of such stores destroy the direct market before a transition can be made to a viable graphic novel-dominant marketplace that serves all comics readers?

In the 1970s and '80s, the direct market thrived because superheroes were about all there were in comics, at least in North America. Alternative/ground-level titles like Elfquest, Cerebus and Love and Rockets were curious sidebars to what most readers thought of as comics, but in the 1990s and especially since the beginning of the 21st Century CE, those comics as well as manga and some newspaper strips, have come to define what the average person thinks of as comics. Meanwhile corporate superhero comics have marginalized themselves through editor-driven, continuity-dependent, poorly-crafted "events" like Identity Crisis and its descendants. Such titles create a frenzy of interest in the minority of comics readers who value the sub-genre of superhero adventure fiction more than they value the artform of comics as a whole. [Hey that's me! - fnord12]

Such readers don't consider actual quality much of an element [fnord12's emphasis] in the debate over the future of comics at all, and have created an artificial sales bubble that is destined to feed on itself until the direct market itself collapses. [A 'sales bubble' that has been going on since as long as there have been super-hero comics, i suppose - fnord12]


I have shopped at a lot of comic book stores since the 1970s, and stores that carry mainly the latest corporate superhero comics with a heavy emphasis on back issues increasingly fill me with indifference bordering on contempt.

First, i'm a little stunned by his raw condescension and the dismissal of the entire super-hero genre, as if nothing within that catetgory could possibly be any good.

I'm also not clear on why he feels that comic stores need to carry the sort of content that he is looking for. He makes a very convincing case that the non-superhero genres are thriving and growing outside of the direct market - look at his argument over how sales analyses that only use info from Diamond are useless. Manga seems hugely popular in places like Borders, based on the amount of shelf space they devote to it - why do we need that replicated in comic shops as well? Meanwhile, i need access to tons of back issues because the back-story of the Marvel Universe is important to me. If you replaced all those boxes with trades that people could get elsewhere, no one would have any need to go to these stores. He needs to think of comic book shops as serving a specialty market - sort of like a CD store that focuses on jazz music.

And i'm a little confused by his apocalyptic vision - if us dumb super-hero fans are only a "minority of comics readers who value the sub-genre of superhero adventure fiction more than they value the artform of comics", then what is he worried about? This majority of sophisticated non-superhero comic book fans must be getting their books somewhere already. Why does he care if the direct market shops go out of business?

I'm not saying he doesn't make some good points. He's right that some comic book stores are operated by people that have no business running a business, but that's really neither here nor there regarding his larger argument (although isn't it interesting that he trashes super-hero comics for being 'corporate' and yet his description of what a good comic store should look like sounds a lot closer to Walmart than a Mom 'n' Pop? (except "They will operate their business in accordance with local, state and federal laws, including labour and employment laws.
", ofc.)). And it's worth trying to promote non-superhero books; there's lots of good stuff out there. But I love my poorly-crafted, spandex-obsessed revenge fantasies super-hero comics, dammit, and he better not take them away from me or i will personally pull my underwear up over my pants and go over there and beat the crap out of him.

Update: ADD takes a thrashing in the comments section here. Many of my points are made much more eloquently there.

*I know, Britany Spears is like 10+ years ago, but i have no idea what's on the radio today, and she's my standard shorthand for 'bad pop music'. Just be glad i didn't say Madonna.

By fnord12 | June 14, 2007, 2:46 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

No, really

I know it's been commented on before, but why is Reed Richards tangled up in ropes on the classic cover of FF#1?

By fnord12 | June 12, 2007, 2:16 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Ant-Man: I take back my concerns about the comic getting too silly. This is really good. I was afraid i was going to have to make up my own explanation as to why a guy i never heard of can knock out Dragon Man with one punch, but in the very next panel they gave me the explanation i would have made up. Thanks! Also: did Dragon Man travel back from the Battleplanet with the heroes in Beyond or do i need an explanation on how he returned? Ofc, none of this has anything to do with the quality of the comic, which was all character development/interpersonal relationship stuff, done very well. But i prefer to talk about punching Dragon Man.

Iron Man: Also very good. I need to pick up the Warren Ellis run to understand more about what Extremis is. Also, it's unclear to us whether the scenes depicting the Mandarin's revival were flashbacks (in which case, why was it urgent that SHIELD go to China in recent issues?) or current (in which case, how can the Mandarin be orchestrating these events?), but i'm sure a re-read of recent issues will clear that up. Not going to do that now, though - that's why these are speed reviews. I like the modernization of the Mandarin and i like the way this story is unfolding - i used to just get this because my brother wanted it, but it's actually moving up to be a title i look forward to.

Omega Flight: Good, but slowly paced. Even if this were an ongoing, i'd be antsy about this title. As a mini, it's clear that nothing is actually going to happen in this series. We could easily have cut this issue in half by removing a number of the pages showing the Wrecking Crew walk through the Great Beast's dimension (and the dimension should be in black and white, dammit). It also seems a little contrived to have the demons that hounded Beta Ray Bill's people be related to the Canadian Great Beasts - just an excuse to get Bill on the team. Still, it was done well. I love the props the Wrecking Crew is getting, too. They are Thor level villains and they are being treated as such; in the recent past they've been used as "generic thug" villains, which annoyed me. Good story; just wish it would move a lot faster.

By fnord12 | June 11, 2007, 10:22 AM | Comics | Link

Bye, Blade

Poor Blade. He's an interesting character and he obviously has drawing power considering the popularity of his movies, but he keeps getting saddled with... less than top level creative teams* and he can't seem to maintain a book.

*I didn't try the most recent book, but i have tried his books in the past and they've been terrible. I hadn't heard of this team so i passed on this book. If this funny cover is any indication, maybe i made a mistake.

By fnord12 | June 8, 2007, 10:16 AM | Comics | Comments (5)| Link

Hey baby hey baby hey baby hey baby!

min knows all about this bird.

By fnord12 | June 7, 2007, 3:06 PM | Comics | Link

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | June 7, 2007, 2:27 PM | Comics | Link

Tom Tomorrow Funny

Harry Reid and George Bush in that old Bully of the Beach ad.

By fnord12 | June 6, 2007, 11:56 AM | Comics & Liberal Outrage | Link

Amusing enough

If you're bored at work. And who isn't? (Except Josh, ofc.)

Vaguely Wonder-Woman-ish parody concept. The non-adventures of Wonderella. Read 'em all. What else do you have to do?

By fnord12 | June 5, 2007, 4:33 PM | Comics | Comments (2)| Link

Do i, in fact, hate retcons?

It has been suggested that the events depicted in Illuminati #3, in which the Beyonder's origin is seemingly retconned and it is strongly implied that Secret Wars II never occurred, would have thrown me into a whirlwind of outrage if it were done by a writer and editor that have not already earned my trust. Leaving unexplored the question of "Is it hypocritical to like something if it is done by a good creative team but not like the same basic idea when it is done poorly?", i just want to challenge the notion that i have some inherent problem with retcons.

I don't. There are some retcons that i like a lot, some that i loathe, and some that i am fairly neutral towards. If a retcon adds something interesting to the marvel universe as a whole, i am happy with it. The best example of that is Kurt Busiek's Avengers Forever, which basically goes through Marvel's history and "cleans up" a number of Kang stories, most of which were very bad.

The ones i hate are the ones that are not only bad stories in their own right, but also invalidate a good story in the process. Example: The Terminus Factor. While Dave Campbell will tell you exactly why that story was so bad, what he doesn't tell you is that in addition to being terrible, that story also makes it very clear that what you thought was happening in the original Terminus stories was not the case at all, turning a very cool character into something pretty generic and lame.

Another crappy retcon was the recent change to make Xorn an entity separate from Magneto, invalidating Grant Morrison's interesting take on Magneto's character and motivations. It was a bad story that led to much confusion.

The key here, however, is that these are bad stories invalidating good stories. Secret Wars II, on the other hand, was a terrible story. What Tom Defalco vindictively did to the origin of the Beyonder after he got control of the company when Jim Shooter was fired was even worse. Those stories could use some enhancement or a new way of interpreting them.

Like the Xorn retcon, though, these "new developments" on the Secret Wars II front could lead to more questions than Marvel intends. While Secret Wars II was a bad story, there were a number of important things that came out of it, especially in a lot of the tie-in books. If we are now saying that Secret Wars II only happened as a simulation on a far off moon, then how did the things that happened as a result of Secret Wars II actually happen, and what was going on in the 'real' MU when we were actually being shown scenes from the simulation? If Marvel decides they need to follow through with this, they've got a lot of 'splainin to do.

However, here i think they are deliberately drawing on the Marvel legacy of the ambiguous retcon. The best example of this is Fantastic Four #350, in which Doom states that he typically is traveling off-world and most of the time you see Doom it's really a Doombot. The genius of that is that it's totally not definitive. You don't have to take Doom's word for it if you don't like the idea and if you do, you basically get to pick which Doom appearances were "real" and which weren't.

I think the same philosophy can be applied here (and i think this was done deliberately). Professor X gets his information regarding the Beyonder based on some suspicious mind-flashes, and Black Bolt is unable to confirm the details. Therefore the origin retcon is not definite. Furthermore, the scene on the moon is also ambiguous. This is a guy with reality-warping powers; he can do essentially anything he wants, so what we are seeing isn't necessarily what is implied here. So basically, if you hate Secret Wars II so much that you want it stricken from the continuity, here's your starting point (you still have a lot of work to do). If not, then the Beyonder has gone through his Secret Wars II experience, traveled back in time, and is now running through it again at his leisure in order to make some sense of it.

The larger point that the story is trying to make about these particular characters is a good one as well and overall it was an interesting read, so i liked it.

Also this week i got Daredevil, which was also quite good. Neither me nor min can guess who the mystery mastermind villain might be, though.

By fnord12 | June 4, 2007, 9:57 AM | Comics | Comments (8)| Link

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