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I'm putting out a dogfood called Beefo-O.  It has 89% more Beefo.

By fnord12 | February 26, 2013, 3:28 PM | Comics | Link

Marvel Sales

I took the Beat off my RSS feed because 90% of their posts are either massively long streams of cover images that are impossible to scroll through in Google Reader, or press releases. But it means i'm behind in my Marvel Sales links:



I know no one reads these things but me, but i still apologize for neglecting them.

By fnord12 | February 20, 2013, 6:02 PM | Comics | Link

Who are they for?!?!

I'm not reading First X-Men, but the latest Comic Critics installment applies equally well to all continuity inserts put out by Marvel over the past several years, as well as All-New X-Men.

By fnord12 | February 20, 2013, 10:18 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

Pride and Prejudice for Dummies

You remember that horrendous piece of shit Pride and Prejudice graphic novel Marvel put out in 2009.

(i dunno why the webpage is featuring a page from some Beast/Morbius comic as the "See Inside" link. prolly cause the P&P art was so awful they don't want anyone to see it right away? i mean, look at that! *shudder)


Well, apparently it's being read by Illinois students in an AP English class.

Enrique Montoya was happy not to be bogged down with unnecessary details. When pictures are included, you don't need so many long sentences with endless clauses to describe a scene, an outfit or the expression on a character's face.

He's absolutely right. All those goddamned boring words with their details and their meanings and their describing things. Who needs that when you're trying to read? You certainly wouldn't want to see examples of how to properly structure a sentence or use a clause in a composition class.

Did i mention this is an AP class? I can understand how some of you might have assumed we were talking about remedial English or an ESL class, but no. They are reading a graphic novel instead of the actual novel in a course where you can get college credit because classic literature has "complicated themes" and pictures make it easier to digest.

It's fucking Pride & Prejudice! It's not a difficult book to read. It's no Beowulf, ferchrissakes. It's written in plain English. Yes, there are different customs and practices. Women wear petticoats. Men don't expose their throats. But it's essentially a romance novel. WTF???

You know what? Just skip the reading altogether. Books should be replaced by films. They can watch the 2005 Kiera Knightly P&P and be done with it. I'm sure it's close enough to Jane Austen's novel. Specific context isn't all that important, afterall, when you're concerned with complicated themes. And instead of reading Emma, they can just watch Clueless. It's much more relatable since it isn't bogged down by all that period vernacular and out-of-date views on gender and class.

And that's not all! No. In their discussion groups, they've employed hand gestures ala Occupy.

When the students in the periphery agreed with something a member of the select group said, they raised both hands and snapped their fingers repeatedly in approval.

Again, why waste time with words during a discussion? Emoticons are the way of the future.

I'm not sure who to blame for this last bit - the English teacher or the author of the article who seems to be enthusiastically endorsing the dumbing down of our youth:

Kallenborn said he tries to incorporate one or two graphic novels a year into his classes. Last year, his students read the Marvel version of "Spiderman."

The Marvel version?? What other version is there? And they spelled Spider-Man wrong.

This article is the saddest thing i've read this week. Fnord12 tried to cheer me up by pointing out it's only Tuesday.

By min | February 19, 2013, 10:27 AM | Comics | Comments (3)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Captain Marvel #9 - So we all hated the time travel arc and with DeConnick also doing a poor job on Avengers Assemble, we decided that the Monica Rambeau arc was good, but not good enough to keep getting the book. Then min changed her mind, so here we are. And i'm glad she did; i thought this was a cute talky sort of book. I don't love the "here's some dinosaurs to fight; who cares why?" sort of action element where it feels like an obligatory acknowledgement that this is a super-hero book and not an indie soap opera book. But i did like the soap opera bits (until the Disease of the Week ending; hopefully that is just about limiting Carol's powers and nothing more, but then again: why do we need to limit her powers?) and i thought the cutesy stylized art fit the book's tone.

Secret Avengers #1 - This is like a solid C book that has the interesting angle of showing the new Nick Fury as a dirty Black Ops guy (along with Coulson and Hill). If Marvel was only putting out like 20 books a month, i'd probably get this. But i'm already kind of overwhelmed and all told i don't think i need to add a Hawkeye/Black Widow to the pull list.

Uncanny X-Men #1 - Same basic thing here. I did like Bachalo's art and the new costumes. I don't really buy the Magneto switch (surely he himself has tried to kill Xavier a number of times, and he also understands what it's like to not be in control of your own actions) but i think there's room for a double-cross here or some other explanation. I have been a defender of Bendis' dialogue, tics and all, but i really am starting to need a break from it. Magneto saying "This -- what I'm describing to you -- is what you call a lucky shot."... there's nothing inherently wrong with it but it just doesn't feel right. I'm tired of everyone sounding the same. More critically, i don't see what this story can't be combined with the one in All New X-Men. In a single comic, i mean. We need to pick up the pace on these books again. We've decompressed as much as we can decompress and now it's time to squeeze things back together a little bit. You know that Bachalo won't be able to draw every issue of this series; how awesome would it be for him and Immonen to switch off on a single book? So as much as i feel like i'm required to get this if i'm getting All-New, i'm saying we drop it.

Avengers Arena #4 - Well, i asked for the kids to get together and try to figure stuff out, but obviously Hopeless won't let that happen. It reads like plot-driven distrust; i really think that X-23 is both willing to believe and also capable of determining that Chase wasn't the guy who attacked Reptil. Still, i want to see where this story goes. According to the lettercol, issue #7 will have some revelations, so i think that's our next checkpoint.

By fnord12 | February 18, 2013, 3:55 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Iron Man #6 - HAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh Greg Land.

Fearless Defenders #1 - This seemed... ok. As Bunn notes in the text piece at the end, the "Defenders" name is arbitrary but that's fine. As a set-up issue, this did its job. I'm iffy on the art and i'm blaming the weird and sudden lesbian kiss on that as well (it would have been just as weird a kiss if it was a guy and a girl, but i imagine reaction to the follow-up of "let me come with you or i'll use my Asgardian artifacts to control you" would have been stronger if the archaeologist was a guy). We'll see how it goes. P.S., the cover promised Hand ninjas in addition to Asgardian zombies, but i'm not complaining that they failed to deliver.

Red She-Hulk #62 - Enjoying Machine-Man, enjoying (god help me) Tesla, but still kind of neutral on Red She-Hulk. It's a good story and i'm enjoying it and i'm ok with Pagulayan's art, but nothing yet has convinced me that RShulk is an interesting character or that she has any connection to the Betty Ross that used to exist. And just as a jokey aside, it would have been great if Captain America walked into Walter Reed and all the soldiers were like "Hey, who's the guy in the fake Captain America costume? Dude, that costume looks terrible!".

Avengers Assemble annual #1 - I liked this (storywise; i think the art was atrocious), but i think aspects of it were really forced. Sunturion as a continually abused corporate lackey is not really a great parallel for the Vision, not in any reading of the character that i'm familiar with. If we ignore that forced comparison, i think on a more granular level the exploration of the Vision's feelings after his resurrection were pretty good.

All-New X-Men #7 - I am surprised to find myself still enjoying this. No blatant continuity problems that i noticed this issue (disclaimer: i'm not up to date on what Mystique is up to at this point), but even beyond that, i expected that by now the meandering pace would have me pretty annoyed. By all rights this should be a mini-series (note that this is different than my argument yesterday that everything should be a mini-series; what i mean here is that the "Young X-Men come to the future" ought to be a limited affair with a set end point, not the basis for an ongoing series. See also: Avengers Arena), but so far i can see how it will work as a Bendis-paced book and even with the art problems (more bad panel layouts), i'm going along with it for now.

X-Factor #251 - Min asked why i always say that this book is a good read but i don't like it anyway. So a little more detail this time: So we've had this kid who is the daughter of Wolfsbane and the Asgardian Wolf-Prince Hrimhari. And it seems he's marked for death. Why? Not because of his mutant-Asgardian heritage, or anything else specific to the kid. He just happens to be the seven billionth person born on Earth. That's not a plot, that a lottery. When X-Factor was debating whether to go to the X-Men or the Avengers for help, my thought was that they should dump the whole story on Dr. Strange; it's got nothing to do with X-Factor. I really don't have any interest in this disparate group of mutants fighting every Hell God in the Marvel Universe (i also have categorization problems with including the likes of Pluto and Hela with Mephisto and Satannish, and what is Satana doing here? But that's not the main point.). All the plots in this book since we started getting it (the dimension hopping storyline, the fake superhero vigilantes, the banshee thing) have seemed equally random and just uninteresting. All that said, Peter David does a good job with the script and provides distinct (if uniformly goofy) voices for all his characters, which i appreciate. So i don't mind that we're getting it if others like it. But it's really not for me. So with that, i'll just go back to "It's fine for what it is".

Thunderbolts #4 - Now this i am just loving. Not only is it zany crazy fun, but it's really cool having a team with really unique perspectives, from Flash-Venom's highly moral good soldier personality to the Punisher's pragmatic but short sighted approach to, well, Deadpool. And, of course, all are reacting to the Red Hulk's seemingly outrageous scheme. I think people worried that this group didn't make much sense should be comforted with the fact that, so far at least, they don't and that's borne out in the plot. On top of that, some geopolitical blowback plus an underutilized Hulk villain. In another book i might complain that Elektra's been in captivity the whole time, but i trust Way & Dillon to make that pay off.

By fnord12 | February 12, 2013, 12:39 PM | Comics | Comments (3)| Link

Make everything a mini-series

Caleb does a decent job of running through the possible reasons why various New 52 books have been cancelled, but i'm not sure it really requires that much analysis. The comics industry is in a precarious state and we really shouldn't expect any but the most prominent books to remain in publication.

I really think instead of looking at those cancelled DC books as a failure, we should recognize that DC is at least trying to put out some weird and obscure stuff. I mean, we're well past any fears about brand dilution, so they could just close ranks and put out ALL Batman and Green Lantern books (not picking on DC; replace with Avengers or X-Men as appropriate). The only thing i suggest is that they plan for failure. Write it as a 6 issue mini and make sure issue #6 is a complete wrap-up. You can of course leave some open threads to be explored later. Then plan to move the same creative team to some other characters ("properties") with a new #1. If the first series did better than expected, bring it back in 6 months or a year as another mini. This way we don't have that awkward wrap-up issue with a year's worth of plots crammed into half an issue, and this way no one is writing posts about why your book "failed". I've said all this before but when you look at sales charts and the constant needs for reboots and renumbering, you realize that the companies are practically doing this anyway, so might as well formalize it and do it in a controlled fashion.

By fnord12 | February 11, 2013, 12:49 PM | Comics | Link

The Spidey founds out!

I really apologize for all the typos and worse lurking in my Timeline reviews.

By fnord12 | February 7, 2013, 8:59 AM | Comics & My stupid life | Comments (1)| Link

Don't let this happen to you

Even with all the griping i do here about Marvel comics these days, at least i never switched to DC.

This whole post was just an excuse to put up this image.

By fnord12 | February 6, 2013, 10:24 AM | Comics | Link

Crunky Cover Reviews

As many of you might have noticed, i have some strong opinions about some things. Mostly negative ones. Fnord12 asked me to put my energies towards reviewing the cover art on the monthly solicitations Marvel puts out. So, i'm going to give it a shot, but no promises on it being entertaining or ongoing.

(Clicking on the title will link you to the cover art.)

1. Age of Ultron #3 by Bryan Hitch

If She-Hulk got twisted like a corkscrew during the fight, then it makes perfect sense and i humbly apologize for lumping Hitch in with those artists. But if not, i need to point out how outrageous it is that even unconscious, her body is contorted to show off both her boobs and her ass.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy #1 variant by Milo Manara

Good fantasy porn (ala Boris Vallejo) poster art. We've got the slightly open mouth, the upthrust bosom (we aren't going to criticize the outfit. that's what Gamorra wears. der). All it's missing is a prehistoric animal of some sort for her to tame.

However, it's a less good cover for a comic book. A very less good cover for a comic book about a team of space action heroes. I'm not exactly in love with the main cover either, but at least the whole team is there posing in action poses that i will refrain from nitpicking (but if Gamorra's looking straight ahead while her gun is pointed to her left...).

What i'm saying is i'd prefer a cover that shows all of the GotG posing or fighting or something or a cover depicting a hint of what is going to happen in the issue over a cover that's just sexy Gamorra walking around some nondescript locale.

3. Uncanny Avengers #6 by John Cassaday

What is Thor wearing? No. Really. Look, i wasn't totally in agreement when fnord12 and Wanyas got outraged they'd changed his costume to look more like actual chainmail and dulled down his colors. But this...he's wearing a leather tank top (at least i hope it's leather and not spandex. Oh god, please let it now be spandex). And not only that. With his cape clipped through the top of it, it's not turned his tank top into a tank top with a boob window!

Why does Thor have a boob window!!!

Also, why is there an arm dangling over his right shoulder? Is he toting Golem around during his Apocalypse fight?

4. Avengers #7 by Dustin Weaver

This is not an artist criticism. You can't blame Weaver for Cap's chin strap look. I just want to know if i'm the only one who gets reminded of Natalie Portman's Garden State foam safety helmet everytime they see a picture of movie-costume Cap (a costume that, while high on head protection, leaves his soft middle completely armor-free. what is that about? why is Cap wearing a scale mail half-shirt?).

5. Secret Avengers #2 by Tomm Coker

There's nothing really super wrong with this cover if you don't take into account the long history of drawing women in ridiculous poses. She's not contorted. Everything is in proportion. She's looking focused. She's brandishing a weapon. Her hoohah isn't exposed.

But we do have decades of ridiculous female poses in comics, so i feel compelled to point out that once again, the female on the cover is nevertheless in a sexy pose while her male counterpart is being action-y with his arrows firing at an unseen enemy. In otherwords, look at this through the lens of the Hawkeye Initiative and see what you think.

6. Young Avengers #3 variant by Tradd Moore

The art style here is a bit too angular and cartoony for my tastes, but it's fine. I'm only linking to it cause of Kid Loki. Kid Loki!!

It's too bad the records don't seem to be anything real/recognizable. I for one would be very interested to know what sort of music the Young Avengers are into.

7. Uncanny X-Men #3 by Chris Bachalo

When did it become standard to obscure the title of your book to make it extra difficult (especially for new readers) to figure out what it is? I know it's Uncanny X-Men cause it was placed next to the solicitation info for Uncanny X-Men, and also because i'm sitting here devoting actual time to look at it. I'm not trying to quickly browse the magazine racks for that X-Men title i heard might be good.

Put another way, even inside a drawer box, fnord12 can easily determine what 80s comic is in front from what little he can see peeking out from the handle hole (and that's not just cause he's a huge geek). It's cause these covers displayed the titles in large and colorful fonts that stood out instead of turning it into a mini word search.

8. All New X-Men #8 by Stuart Immonen

That is Patrick Stewart in a Thor costume, and you can't tell me otherwise.

9. Journey Into Mystery #650 by Jeff Dekal

Hey! Sif got herself one of those "Sexy"/"Sassy" Halloween costumes! Now she just has to find a friend to put on the Sassy Thor costume, and they'd be set.

10. Fearless Defenders #2 by Mark Brooks

The torpedo endcaps Valkyrie riveted to the front of her shirt are a tad high. But, hey, at least her clavicles are well protected!

I was admonished, and rightfully so, for failing to mention that despite the strange shapes and placement of certain things, this is an awesome cover in that it's been made to look like the packaging for action figures. Who cares if the Dani Moonstar action figure it comes with might look like she's incontinent? The concept is still inventive.

11. A+X #6 by Guiseppe Camuncoli

Look, the 90s were a good time for me personally, but i'll be goddamned if you think you can bring back the Liefeld pouches without a fight!

I was gonna say "at least Camuncoli can draw feet" but then i looked at Wolverine's feet and wondered why his toes are (apparently) 12" long. I bet he's a strong swimmer! Har!

12. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #21 by Sara Pichelli

Wow. A cover i liked. Here's what i liked about it:

  1. If it's an accurate depiction of the contents of this issue, it's an exciting snapshot of what you'll get if you buy this issue. I hate the generic "we could have slapped this art on any issue" covers that we're more likely to see, especially since i've been reading the Silver Age stuff where the covers are always related to the inside story.

  2. That looks like Gwen Stacy. It's clearly Gwen Stacy, even if she's also clearly alternate universe, teen Gwen Stacy, she still looks like what you think Gwen Stacy looks like. That very thing is missing in alot of Marvel "real universe" art today. Guys, you can draw a character to look like how they've traditionally been depicted without sacrificing your unique style. Look! Pichelli did it.

  3. Because they're teens, there's a decided lack of inappropriate body parts being thrust anywhere or exposed even though they're falling and Gwen seems to be wearing a flippy skirt.

And those are all the covers i feel like being snarky about this month.

By min | February 5, 2013, 9:32 PM | Comics | Comments (3)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Punisher War Zone #4 - So yeah, this was what i was hoping for. The Punisher plausibly fighting the Avengers. Good stuff.

Avengers #4 - We've already dropped this but you can't drop them fast enough these days. I covered issue #1 on December 13th and this is issue #4 already. But nothing here makes me regret my decision. I mean sure, the Avengers race AIM to the alien sites from the previous story; nothing wrong with the plot. But the story? Pretty bland. A very laid back encounter with AIM, one little corpse-plant monster, and tons of origin flashback. And normally i don't complain about Hickman's characterization, because usually there isn't any. But what's going on with Thor? Passing around booze during a mission? Saying things like "Surtur's sweaty orbs, it's hot."? Dude! If you wanted to write Hercules, then just use him. That was awful. And listen, i've had it. I've got a declaration here. Footnotes. I demand them. "AIM Island is now a U.N. recognized nation-state" requires a footnote. You can't just throw in stuff like that with no explanation. Along the same lines, Hyperion's lengthy origin story really annoyed me. As far as i know, there are two Hyperions in the mainstream Marvel universe. The evil one that was the last surviving man from a dying atomic world. And the good one that comes from a parallel dimension. This one's origin had elements of each, but i couldn't figure out which it was supposed to be (the fact that the narration kept talking about two Hyperions, in a metaphorical sense, didn't help). Turns out he's a new one. I found out on Wikipedia. Forget the fact that we need another Hyperion like i need another issue of this comic. WHY DID I HAVE TO GO TO WIKIPEDIA FOR THAT? Why isn't it in the story? Maybe in that scene from the origin when he's rescued by the Avengers, Iron Man could have said "Holy crap, a third Hyperion? Why do they keep winding up here?". Or how about a goddamn footnote? This is the new rule: i'm not looking it up on Wikipedia anymore, guys. If it isn't there in the comic, i'm assuming you're wrong. It's impossible to buy all your comics and i can't keep up with everything. So if i read that AIM is suddenly a country, or Hyperion's origin is all messed up, i'm just assuming that Hickman doesn't know what the hell he's writing about. I don't want to hear about it on your Formspring page, or in an interview. It's just wrong.

By fnord12 | February 4, 2013, 8:28 PM | Comics | Comments (4)| Link

Getting there

Me, March 11, 2011:

Decimal points now, huh? I await Hulk #30.7DD when Marvel decides to go hexidecimal next year.

Marvel's March 2012 solicits:


Ok, these are actually Age of Ultron tie-ins. But is this really necessary? Isn't it bad enough that my list of comics that i own looks like this?:

Avengers(2010) 1-12,12.1,13-24,24.1,25-34

Do we really need to start adding letters to this too?

Couldn't it just be, i don't know, FANTASTIC FOUR #6?

At least, i guess, we'll know where Age of Ultron is supposed to take place for the FF, right? FANTASTIC FOUR #5AU will take place between FANTASTIC FOUR #5 and FANTASTIC FOUR #6. Right?!

By fnord12 | February 4, 2013, 4:33 PM | Comics | Link

I know i'm cheating on my Timeline project

...but after the Snapper post, i feel less restrained and i want to mention one a few other things about some Golden Age comics i don't own.

In Marvel Mystery Comics #13, the Sub-Mariner gets a crazy new costume.

'Like a lunatic's nightmare - but it's practical' also describes people who wear Crocs with socks to the movies.

Just passing through your military base in gas masks.  Nothing to be alarmed about.

From the right angle, it makes him look like Superman.

Or maybe the Golden Age Angel.

And he surprisingly wears the costume at least for one more issue.

Namor's chest is HUGE!

If this doesn't work, Namor will take his pants off next.

I was surprised to see a continued status quo like this in the Golden Age.

I love Namor's contradictory attitudes towards humans.

Oh, yeah.  Like *you've* never started a war.

And after the spanking, the oral sex.

And speaking of continuity, check this out from Marvel Mystery Comics #18. It's the tube that Namor trapped the Human Torch in at the end of issue #9!

All we need is an asterisk and a footnote - Fussy Fnord12.

A lot more going on in these Golden Age stories than i expected. I'd love to get the run of Marvel Mystery books, but the Masterworks series only makes it to issue #8, the originals are way too expensive when available at all, and even the online scans are spotty.

One more thing for fun:

Gulp, indeed.

Oh and speaking of the Timeline project, it's a D&D weekend so this is the last you'll hear from me until maybe Sunday.

By fnord12 | February 1, 2013, 1:24 PM | Comics | Comments (2)| Link

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