Saturday, December 24, 2005

Recent Things

Panini has cancelled their edition of Ultimate Fantastic Four comic.

The last issue is #10. Panini's Ultimate Fantastic Four #11 and #12 have been cancelled.
I suppose the main reason for the cancellation is poor sales (being a UK reprint book and all), but by the time issue #12 was due to ship they were going to be getting dangerously close to overtaking the American series and that probably factored in to the decision. This is what happened with the Transformers UK comic in the '80s hence the need for original strips by the best of British. It would have been interesting as all hell if they'd commissioned some new stories for this series, but it's the 21st century and the UK is ruled by the Chavs.
Another blow for the

DC Solicits for Feb

In the last post I covered all things relevant to the "one Year Later" arc, some notable omissions and points of interest include:

BLUE BEETLE by Cully Hammer - Awesome artist. Probably not Ted Kord. This is one that I can see selling really well (on the back of Infinite Crisis and the death of Ted Kord), and then people getting bored with and sales going down the toilet quick as a flash. Look at the shiny artwork and re-design.

SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF THE SUPER-HEROES #16 - How this is going to fit into One Year Later is anyones guess, I thought it's supposed to be set in the future.

GREEN LANTERN: NO FEAR HC - £17 retail price. For 6 issues?!? I thought the point of collections was to make them cheaper? ID Crisis HC is £17 too, but thats 7 issues, all oversized, and it was a mega-eventful story. The Tim Sale Catwoman series was only £13 in HC, and that was a deluxe format mini, not a run of the mill ongoing. Tut tut DC.

SUPERMAN/BATMAN #25 - The last issue written by Jeph Loeb. I seem to remember Jeph's son worked on this issue before his untimely death. Unfortunately, this book is now running so late that it is the only core DC book not joining into the One Year Later festivities. In the grand scheme of things compared to the death of a son; no, it's not really important, but DC should have pushed for this to have a February release, to tidy up the One Year Later event.

Marvel Solicits

ULT. IRON MAN TPB - Out of all of the Marvel solicits for March, the thing that stuck in my mind the most was the Ult. Iron Man HC collection. Not only is it a lot more sensibly priced than the DC HC's of late, like ID Crisis, it has two covers. Yup, in true Marvel style, any good idea DC has Marvel will "borrow". In March, look out for Ult. Iron Man Direct Market edition (fanboys) and the bookstore version (conservative types). Personally, as with ID Crisis, I think this is a great idea, and I too am tempted to buy the bookstore version, because its a lot easier to get a non-comic reader to pick up a book with a simple, informative design, than some fannish insular picture of a character who might not be instantly familiar to the layman.

THUNDERBOLTS #100 - Woop de doo. Considering issues 76-80 had NOTHING to do with the first 75 and subsequent 20 issues.

ALIAS OMNIBUS: If you don't already own Alias (nothing to do with the poorly written TV series featuring the woman with Affleck's chin), then this is your perfect opportunity to do so. Written by Bendis! with art by Michael Gaydos, this precursor to "The Pulse" goes where no other Marvel book dared to go. fuck. Fuck. FUCK!!!

ULTIMATE X-MEN ULTIMATE COLLECTION BOOK 1 TPB - How is this different to the Ultimate X-Men vol.1 HC?

SPIDER-GIRL PRESENTS JUGGERNAUT JR. VOL. 1: SECRETS & LIES DIGEST - The singles issues of this sold like 7 copies of each issue, but it was a whole lot of fun, recomended for '80's Marvelites. Pure fun.

INCREDIBLE HULK: PLANET HULK PRELUDE TPB - How do you kill a Summer crossover before it even begins? Start the prelude a month after House of M finishs. At least with DC Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis were actually related to each other.

- Having said what that about Planet Hulk, its looking like Thanos is going to be a massive part of this Annihilation crossover, this can only be a good thing for me as I am a big fan of Thanos when he is written properly as an evil, sadistic shit.

X-MEN: MUTANT GENESIS - The Jim Lee stuff in the early '90's was absolutely fantastic and sold 8 million copies and laid the foundation for the forming of Image. This is a must read, X-Men at its absolute best (except the Whedon stuff).

More about adverts at Larsen

The oft-intelligent Erik Larsen has more to say on the subject of advertising:


Heard lot's of good things about this book, but I can't seem to find it for sale anywhere. Shit, I cannot even find a picture of it. anyone with any information or ordering codes, please let me know.

That's the lot for now. Have a good Christmas and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Are comics too cheap?

This is a serious debate which has been raised by some comic stores in the US, who think comic companies are underselling their stock. Two of the items in questioning are Warren Ellis' "Fell" and the forthcoming Stephen King "Dark Tower" collaboration.

The argument for "Fell" is that at 2 bucks a piece, the retailer doesn't make enough money to warrant paying the staff to put the comics on the shelf. What a load of fucking bollocks. I bet his store is packed come Free Comic Book Day (May 6th, 2006). Surely he pays his staff by the hour, and not by the unit of comics loaded onto the shelf. I think this is just about the biggest bunch of arse I have ever heard (at least since Marvel announced a 1602 sequel without Neil Gaiman).
I am all for this format and I am intrigued to see more people experimenting with the form, although to be fair, indie publishers and creators have been playing with form for years, kudos to Ellis for breaching the mainstream with a new format.

The other argument is with the forthcoming Stephen king project. Some retailers are complaining that $3 an issue is too cheap, and want to see the book raised to $4 (about £3) so they can make a quick sensationalist buck off the backs of hordes of Dark Tower followers who want to read the missing chapters (the comics contain all new work, not just adaptations of already released books).
How fucking short-sighted can you get? Comic shops have a lot to learn from other places, namely businesses, because comic shops don't have a clue how to run a business themselves, relying instead on quick buck turnarounds and a loyal readership, rather than trying to expand the pre-existing readership. This is a comic event that could feasibly bring in thousands of intelligent people (who already read) into the world of comics, from there we can get them on to others: Sandman, Promethea, 30 Days of Night, Invisibles, Preacher, Planetary, Transmet and hundreds more.
Or...we could fleece them for every penny/cent we can, and make them think "Shit, I just spent $24 on six comics which will take me an hour to read, I could have bought at least two novels and a cappuccino which would have lasted me a hell of a lot longer." I would have been much more interested in this project if Marvel released it as an OGN (original graphic novel) with a $15-20 price tag including back up materials (scripts, King interview etc..) available from your local bookstore (as well as comic stores), because it looks like a hell of a lot more of a purchase than six comics in a plain carrier bag, sold by a retailer who is more interested in the cancellation of "Enterprise" or Formula One than the comics you want to buy.

I know that seems a bit extremist and its cutting out the direct market retailer, but until the direct market retailer does something to encourage readership which has more intelligence driving it than "more profit, less customers", they deserve to get hit in the place it will hurt them most (other than cancelling Star Trek), the wallet.

It's been much lamented over the last ten years that a change is coming and in order to survive changing customer demands the industry will have to evolve, but there comes a time where talking about it will not suffice. It seems more and more evident to me that the majority of retailers want nothing more than to keep comic reading a private, insular, self-perpetuating industry, where outsiders are shunned and elitist attitudes rule the roost ("I liked Superman before the film came out and I don't like his new logo" etc...).

At the Brighton Comicon I had the pleasure of meeting a few like-minded retailers, and it's made me realise that the future for the comic industry isn't as bleak as I'd previously thought. All we need is the old guard to die - and die they will - and the new guard of comic retailers will be there to take over. People like Stephen Holland at Page 45, Jamie at Comix-Shop, Jeff at Bedford (sorry mate, forgotten the name of your shop), all of whom are poised to continue retailing the comics that matter to the public. Talking to them all is great fun, as they always have a positive comic story, a title to recommend, a point of sale tactic and general love for the industry. Whereas the best the old guard can talk about is the level of sales during the Pokemon craze and the queues outside their shop for the Death of Superman farce (true fact, most US comic retailers fondest memory in 30 years of business include those two facts - Diamond Sales E-Mails).

At the tail end of 2005, the comic industry is an odd one to look at. On the whole, its been a healthy year for comics: good reviews in main stream press; the continued excellence of comic book films; more genre diversity; increased book store presence and Tpb sales; the slow rise of indie press attention; more mainstream writers flocking to the industry (Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Allan Heinberg etc...), but there are still a few negative aspects: the insular nature of the industry; the continual whoring of the industry (merchandise for everything - a Hellboy Ouija board for Christ's sake!); compulsory company wide crossovers and of course the steady decline of sales across the board.
On the whole though, I would have to say the good far outweighs the bad, and 2006 is shaping up to be another interesting year.

-Sid Beckett: Would like to add that any spelling errors are due to a shit spellcheck bought to you by

Saturday, December 17, 2005


With Commentary by Sid

The staggering repercussions of DC Comics' INFINITE CRISIS continue to spread in March, as the heroes of the DCU take a sudden leap "One Year Later."

Spinning out of the incredible ending of INFINITE CRISIS #5 (DEC050244), the "One Year Later" issues introduce a spectacular array of new creative talents and startling new directions across the DCU. Now, DC unveils the complete list of "One Year Later" titles, along with their creative teams!

For those of you not in the know, the above should have filled you in. Every core DC book takes a leap one year forward in March. Much intrigue will follow as we try to piece together what has happened but we won;t be in the dark for long (about a year to be fair), as DC's "52" will shed light on the missing year.
52 is a weekly maxi, maxi-series told in real time. I presume the first issue will debut in April. As far as I know, the price is yet to be determined.

SUPERMAN #650 New creative team! Written by Geoff Johns & Kurt Busiek Art by Pete Woods Cover by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson and
ACTION COMICS #837 New creative team! Written by Geoff Johns & Kurt Busiek Art by Pete Woods Cover by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson
The dream team of Busiek and Johns. Although Busieks recent work isn't a patch on his older stuff, he is still a legend in the industry and his work on Superman: Secret Identity was awesome. Geoff Johns is, as always, the DC stalwart. No-one has done more for DC in the last few years than this man.
And Pete Woods is a fairly solid penciller.

AQUAMAN: SWORD OF ATLANTIS #40 New creative team! New title! Written by Kurt Busiek Art and cover by Butch Guice
My complete lack of interest in Arthur Curry as a character means I won't be picking this up. I have heard very mixed reports on aquaman for the last year, upto and including the sub-Diego storyline (which has had a complete lack of house support in any other DC titles, JLA, Infinite Crisis or anything). Will be interesting to hear the reports on this one.

BATMAN #651 New creative team! Written by James Robinson Art by Don Kramer & Keith Champagne Cover by Simone Bianchi and
DETECTIVE COMICS #817 New creative team! Written by James Robinson Art by Leonard Kirk & Andy Clarke Cover by Simone Bianchi
Despite hearing great things about his Starman run, I have never really read James Robinson consistently enough to judge his competence as a writer. Although seeing Dave Lapham off Detective Comics is bloody amazing. As good as his Matrix and creator woned work was, his Batman bored the piss out of me. Do like Leonard Kirk as well.

BIRDS OF PREY #92 New art team! Two new members! Written by Gail Simone Art by Paulo Siqueira & Robin Riggs Cover by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson
Not much interest in this series for me, I havn't read it since Ed Benes left.

BLOOD OF THE DEMON #13 New series direction! Written by John Byrne & Will Pfeifer Art by Byrne & Dan Green Cover by Byrne
How is this not cancelled?

CATWOMAN #53 New art team! Written by Will Pfeifer Art by David Lopez & Alvaro Lopez Cover by Adam Hughes
Not really reading this either, sorry. i miss the purple costume and Jim Balent.

FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MAN #23 New cover artist! New title! Written by Stuart Moore Art by Jamal Igle & Keith Champagne Cover by Brian Stelfreeze
See Demon.

GREEN ARROW #60 New art team! Written by Judd Winick Art and cover by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens
Scott McDaniel on Green Arrow should be a great thing. His Nightwing work is without par, but his recent Robin work didn't really work for me. Green arrow is a fantastic character when written right, it took Metlzer to remind us this...twice.

GREEN LANTERN #10 New art team! Written by Geoff Johns Art by Ivan Reis & Marc Campos Cover by Simone Bianchi
By March, issue 7 should be out!

HAWKGIRL #50 New creative team! New title! Written by Walter Simonson Art and cover by Howard Chaykin
Continued numbering. Interesting. Still not enough to hook me though, sorry guys.

JSA #83 New art team! Written by Paul Levitz Art by Rags Morales, Dave Meikis and Luke Ross Cover by George Pérez
Think I will stick with this a bit longer, I started buying it with the ID Crisis crossovers and have just kept buying it. Its been good so far, but the new creative team might put me off.

JSA CLASSIFIED #10 New creative team! Written by Stuart Moore Art and cover by Paul Gulacy & Jimmy Palmiotti
Have to judge this series issue by issue, as with all anthologies.

MANHUNTER #20 New series direction! Written by Marc Andreyko Art by Javier Pina & Fernando Blanco Cover by Jesus Saiz
Can't belive this isn't canned yet. I suppose its good that DC have such commitment to their poorer selling titles, Marvel would have axed this at #12.

NIGHTWING #118 New creative team! Written by Bruce Jones Art by Joe Dodd & Bit Cover by Jock
Damn. Might have to can this title, I don't really like Bruce Jones as a writer, I tend to get bored after about 5 issues, like I did on his Hulk series.

OUTSIDERS #34 New roster of heroes! Written by Judd Winick Art by Matthew Clark & Art Thibert Cover by Daniel Acuña
Should be good, it's a fairly solid title so i shall keep with it for the foreseeable.

ROBIN #148 New creative team! Written by Adam Beechen Art by Karl Kerschl Cover by Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines
Started to get a bit bored by the Willingham run, which is shocking considering how much I like his Fables work.

SUPERGIRL #7 New writer! Written by Greg Rucka Art and cover by Ian Churchill
I have enjoyed this series far more than I thought I would. it would be nice if it came out a bit more regular. After Infinite Crisis is all said and done this book might seem a little more obsolete, and I'm sure its contents will become more perfunctory.

SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF THE SUPER-HEROES #16 New title! Written by Mark Waid Art and cover by Barry Kitson & Mick Gray
A rose by any other name... Maybe its just me, but I didn't find any of the characters interesting, and for the first time in years i actually stopped getting a Mark Waid title. Still, a 15 year old girl in a miniskirt should boost the sales on this book.

TEEN TITANS #34 New roster of heroes! Written by Geoff Johns Art and cover by Tony Daniel & Sandra Hope Variant cover by Ed Benes
Bastard variant covers! One of the best series DC has put out for years, I will stick with this one as long as Johns is on it. Young Justice was my favourite books for years and this series fills that gulf nicely, it's been really great following the progression of Bart Allen over the years, as he surfaced around the time I started reading comics.

All "One Year Later" titles will be solicited in the January Previews (Volume XVI #1) and are scheduled to arrive in stores in March.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Crazy Comic Covers #2

My second favourite Superman cover of all time, my absolute favourite also includes Trickster - with a chainsaw.

Quicksilver in Good Comic Shocker

Here's one I really didn't expect to enjoy, despite the fact it had Spider-man whinging aboyut Gwen being dead again. I thought they had done enough work to establish MJ as "the one" but... - Hang on, I digressed and started bitching about Spidey again.

Anyways: Son of M #1 written by David Hine is a six issue miniseries spinning out of events of House of M. Decimation leaves Quicksilver with egg on his face in a world he inadvertantly helped create, Quicksilver has always been isolated from his peers, but now even his sister and father have left him...and so have his powers.

On sale next Thursday.

More about The Other

The Other Part 8: Marvel Knights Spider-Man #21

SPOILER ALERT (ships 15/12/05)

The cover says it all, J. Michael Straczynski and Pat Lee. Look at the horrible drawing, I think its meant to be a coccoon with Spidey in it, but I couldn't be sure.

The writing on this book is fairly solid, like I've said before I am reluctant to hate JMS for the content of this story-arc for the simple fact it was Hudlin's brain child. Tony Stark confronts MJ with some pretty horrific home truths; they have to desicrate the body in an attempt to hide the cause of death if they wish to protect Spidey's secret ID. Starks description of what needs to be done is grissly, and eventually MJ succumbs to the reality of the situation and comes up with a sensible, practical alternate option to burning her husbands corpse (maybe Stark has been reading ID Crisis and wanted to tap into the burnt corpse dollar).
There is a brilliant scene between MJ and Wolverine, where he seemingly is hitting on her, those of you with the ability to read between the lines and who actually understand the character of Wolverine (he hasn't been written consistently for years), will guess as I did, that he is giving her someone to hate. If you can't figure it out, it is descibed fully on the next page, so its reader friendly too.

The next event of consequence, is finding the hollowed out corpse of PP in the morgue. Quite evidently he has shed his skin as some spiders do, but that probably wouldn't be your first thought upon finding a dead friends hollowed out body and Stark incorrectly assumes that someone else has broken into his tower again. After a breif biology lesson in the nature of spiders, we see what the cover already told us, that Spider-man is in fact not dead, but in a cocoon. Growing, rebuilding, evolving.

Thanks to the inconsistencies in Pat Lee's "Art", Cap, Wolvie, Stark and Jarvis are all about the same height, but the rest of his work is so bland and inoffensive it's pretty hard to comment on (and no, I am not jumping on the "I hate Pat Lee" bandwagon - I started it).

It's certainly better than issue 5 and 7, but at the same time it kind of renders the last few issues obsolete. Spider-man is obviously about as dead as Spock was at the end of Star Trek 2. I know there are a lot of people who are defending this story-arc, but if a movie franchise treated its fans the way this storyline is, it would be a commercial and critical flop that would make Joel Schumacher blush.
The tagline for the series is "Evolve of Die", but it seems in the course of evolving the character, they're killing the readership.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Spider-Man: The Other is a big piece of shit.

Okay, now this book is a good seller, so I run the risk of offending customers who are reading it and love it. To any of my customers who I know I run the risk of offending: These are my opinions, if you like the book then great. I am not telling anyone not to buy it, in fact, I buy two of each what with all the pointless variants that make no sense in relation to the story (as I am a spineless consumer whore).

I really didn't want to slate this series, as regular readers of this blog may know I am a huge fan of both Spider-man and Straczynski, but this series has left me with a seriously bad taste in my mouth.

Where do I start, there is so much wrong with the series. I am not a fan of comic newcomer Reginald Hudlin (didn't even like House Party, sorry), but I do however love JMS and Peter David, and I especially love Mike Weiringos artwork. I understand "The Other" is the brainchild of Reginald Hudlin, and it was during his writing tenure* that the series really took a turn for the worst, but I thought I would see it out and wait to see if JMS's issues were any better. They were not, hence this column.

*The Other is a twelve part series. Parts 1-3 and 10 were written by Peter David, parts 4-6 and 11 were written by Hudlin, Parts 7-9 and 12 by JMS. Don't ask why, it defies all logic.

So I guess I should start at the beginning then.

Part One: Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man #1

So we open with a dream sequence with Morlun, a portent of things to come or reference to a really kick ass story. Either way, a good start. We have a new Spidey villain debut on page 3, which is a nice idea but he is a technology based villain not an animal based villain, which never works for me. Call me old fashioned, but I like my Spidey villains to dress up in bad gorilla outfits and give themselves bad names. Still, one out of two isn't bad, what with him being called "The Tracer" (your mother's a tracer) and all. Although his only ability seems to be he has magic bullets which chase people and can turn around, fly up and down, go around corners etc...
So, after half an issue of Spidey running away from bullets (plural, take not) he decides to try and catch them (which is better than jumping over them and letting innocents get shot, like the last time PAD wrote Spidey). Strangely enough, Spider-man pulls of the Supes-esque feat of catching a bullet (lack of plural), the other bullet penetrating his shoulder - which promptly makes Spider-man pass out.
Yeah, I know, I have seen Spidey go toe-to-toe with a herald of Galactus, but a bullet in the shoulder drops him. Oh well, never mind, its only set up for the second half of the issue anyway.
So after Spidey gets fixed up and has a blood test taken, he has an obligatory argument with Mary Jane and then goes out to trace the Tracer. A bit of a mix-up means Spidey inadvertently smashes up good ol' JJJ's limo. A welcome return for the grumpy publisher, who has recently only been used to any decent affect in The Pulse and Daredevil.
The issue ends with a grim portent of things to come, with Spidey being told there is bad news regarding his blood test and the foreboding figure of Morlun looking into Peter's apartment.

Not a terrible issue to be fair.

The Other Part 2: Marvel Knights Spider-man #19

I HATE PAT LEE. And I mean his artwork, not the publisher politics. But enough of that, it's the story I am concerned with.
The best thing with this issue, as with the last, are the sepia tone flashbacks (they only go back a few weeks, but the sepia tone works to good effect as we instantly know its a flashback - good work that colourist) showing character building between MJ, Peter and Steve Rogers (that's Captain America people), which shows that moving Peter and MJ into Avengers tower is more than a change of scenery and affects every aspect of their lives.

We then get another "MJ has an obsessive fan" story in between pages of Spider-man and Iron Man fighting The Tracer, but clumsy Tony Stark; despite being arguably the third brainiest guy in the Marvel Universe his armour comes without firewalls (doh!) and Tracer overrides the armour and uses it to attack Spider-man. Yeah, right.

Then MJ beats a guy up with a pool cue, Spidey neutralises the bomb and all is over in the space of seconds. They then go home, after a nice monologue from MJ accusing Peter of having survivors guilt, Peter delivers the bad news that he is dying.
And we have no idea why or what from.

Oh yeah, Morlun showed up in the issue too. To be fair, the thing I noticed most about this issue was the adverts, which tells you something about the story and art.

The Other Part 3: Amazing Spider-Man #525.

We open with an interesting flashback showing Aunt May in her early years at her Mothers deathbed, an interesting look at an early slice of May Parker life, which turns out to be nothing more than a nightmare.

We get a few good pages of Aunt May where, okay, she is talking to herself (well, at Ben, but he is dead) but she is still sharp enough to see through Peter's angry facade. interesting stuff, until...
Oops, Tony Starks done it again, Tracer has managed to break into Avengers tower and is now sat down having a chit-chat with Aunt May. You really think Mr. stark would be more careful though.

Morlun shows up, then pisses off, then Wolverine shows up (but at least he did it without making the cover, must be a first) and queries "What's the matter Groucho? Don't want to belong to any club that'd have you as a member?". A great line which really sums up Spidey's inability to be a team member over the years.

Back to Aunt May who is now making a sandwich for Tracer, and to be fair, their conversation is handled pretty well. Tracer reveals he is a modern God of technology, which is a nice spin on an origin (and fits in nicely if you've just finished reading American Gods). Spider-man shows up just in time to stop Tracer finding out his secret origin and starts trying to beat up Tracer. One quick blood analysis later and Tracer too finds out Peter is dying, he refuses to fight him which gets our hero all flustered and he starts wailing on Tracer, who promptly melts, but all this forces Peters hand and he has to come clean to Aunt May.

Part Four: Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man #2

The first few pages continue directly after the events of last issue, then a perfectly placed comic relief page raises the somber tone before we all start killing ourselves from the depressing tone of the book. Light pieces of dialogue and comic relief seem to be Hudlin's thing, its quite reminiscent of Smith and Bendis when its done right (a few times in black Panther its been very obtrusive) - but still, a compliment to Hudlin.

A nice utilisation of Spidey's new found "I'm a genuine superhero" status brings Hank Pym and Reed Richards into the story, obviously trying to stop any more Stark-isms happening (although bringing in the creator of Ultron might not help), they come to the conclusion they need the foremost expert on radiation based mutation: Bruce Banner.

An atypical superhero fight ensues to fulfil the action beat requirements of a Marvel comic, and eventually the Hulk is subdued. Brucy can't help, but he recommends a trip to Wakanda, a place that is more scientifically advanced than anywhere on Earth and coincidentally, where Black Panther (currently written by Hudlin - cheap plug) lives.
A nice nod of the head to Anansi the Spider-god pays homage to the totemistic theme introduced originally by JMS way back when (Amazing Spider-man Vol. 2 #30-35). Spidey gets his hair braided which is still better than the skin-'ed look in his House of M series. all this is to no avail for our webspinning wonder, for even the mighty Wakandan's can shed no light on what is killing our hero.

Morlun shows up to mess with Spidey's head again, obviously playing the much-lamented mindgames, on top of everything else that is happening too. Tut tut Morlun. Cameo from DD leads into cameo with another famed Ditko character; Dr. Strange, who tells Spider-man in no uncertain terms "You are going to die".

The Other Part 5: Marvel Knights Spider-man #20

Meanwhile in Latveria...

Okay, are you ready for this? Because this is where the series gets really bad, but don't fret, there are 7 issues left and it's going to get a whole lot shitter before its done.

Spider-man is breaking and entering Castle Doom, and with him are two Iron Men, or at least two people in the really old sixties style Iron man armour (you know, like the statue in my shop that has never sold), we'll call them Gold and Silver for the time being as we have no idea who are in them. One seems a bit old but...nah, it couldn't be, could it?

Nothing's happening, nothing's happening, Spidey break a lot of doors down, something about a map.

Oh, right. He's trying to use a time machine despite everything we have ever been told about the delicate nature of the fabric of time and space, how heroic. It's on this very same page that Gold and Silver are revealed. Are you ready?
It's Mary Jane and Aunt May.

Are they fucking kidding me? What the fuck? The entire F4 have tried and failed to infiltrate Doom's fortress, but MJ and Aunt May manage it. Oh well, at least they didn't fight anyone in the costumes, as that would be stupid.

So, they go back in time but chronal displacement yadda yadda yadda, sees his dead parents, Pat Lee art, "we'll be back Peter" (no you won't, Amazing Spider-man #365 not withstanding), "I wuv you Daddy". Wuv you? Jesus, I ask you.

Then PP and co. go back to their proper timeline and loads of Doom-bots attack them all, Spidey is trying to fight back but its too much for him (the bad art is killing him remember). Luckily, MJ and Aunt May still have the Iron Men costumes so they put them on and fight all the Doom-bots. You read that right.

That's the first half of the issue. the rest of the issue is taken up with Spidey doing all the things he never got around to doing, like going to Las Vegas. Super hero fight. Morlun. someone breaks into Avengers tower. Peter Parker and MJ go into Space in one of Tony Starks space-pods (knowing how airtight and secure Stark's security measures are I wouldn't trust a space-pod in a vacuum). Aunt May cries.

The Other Part 6: Amazing Spider-Man #526.

Back on Earth. With a monologue that would make Wolverine proud.

Morlun shows up, and finally he decides its time to fight Spider-man, as Spidey fights tend to go from time to time, they fight through the Bugle for a bit. To be fair, the characterisation on JJJ is spot on, and Spidey does keep firing out his trademark quips. Morlun does his best Gwen Stacy impression and falls out of the sky, unlike Gwen he gets back up. They stumble into Empire State University - which contrary to John Bryne's scribing is the birthplace of Spider-man - a nice piece of symmetry for a final fight, more akin to JMS's writing than Hudlins, nice touch.

We have the "Never been hit that hard, and I've gone toe-to-toe with the Hulk" line, which I believe was used in the first Morlun fight, another nice touch.

Spidey musters up all his resolve, uses his usual "I will not quit" schtick, which usually works very well for him, and it honestly looks like he is going to win. But Morlun is too strong and powerful, and a quick wry smile tells us that Morlun isn't even close to beat.

He rips out Peters eye and eats it, and then proceeds to beat seven shades of poop out of the red and blue adorned arachnid.

The best issue so far to be honest, but it's a horribly deconstructed fight scene, in the days of Ditko, Kirby et al, this fight scene would have been told in 5 pages, tops. These days it takes an issue. And I'm not sure with the eye thing, I'd think it was cool if I thought it would stick.

Part Seven: Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man #3

At least this issue had a more reasonable advert count (12 pages). This is easily the worst issue, which I find all the more disturbing as this marks the first issue of the story written by JMS - one of my favourite ever writers. I was kind of holding out hope that this would be the issue where it all turns around, but alas, 'twas not to be.

Morlun has won, battered Spidey close to death and eaten his eye (as you do), but then the cops show up and Morlun decides the best thing to do is disappear. An old Spidey trick is used, where he gets unmasked but his face is battered, bloody and broken beyond all recognition (its not a proper Spidey story unless someone takes his mask off).

The New Avengers and MJ show up at the hospital where Peter has been taken, the hospital refuses to let the Avengers move him as it might prematurely kill him - meaning; he is going to die. Mary Jane arrives in the hospital room just in time to witness Morlun about to eat Spider-man with his hands (just like the watered down pathetic Morbius from the Fox Spider-Man cartoon).

All the while a pathetic monologue is running about how "The Man is dead" and "only the Spider remains", which has been done before numerous times throughout Spidey's 40 year history, and Mary Jane decides to stand against Morlun, a nice gesture if futile. At the point where Morlun breaks MJ's forearm, Spider-man awakes from his death bed coma.

Now, it is important that you remember the following fact: When cornered, when death looms, Spider's bite, and they sting.

Spidey leaps from his death bed onto Morluns back, his one good eye glowing, a massive stinger protrudes through Spidey's wrist and he stabs with it, paralysing Morlun. Then Spidey grows fangs and feasts on the head of Morlun, much to the disgust of MJ. The New Avengers hear the screams and rush to the aid of PP, just in time for Spider-man to die. The Avengers take Spidey's body from the hospital, deciding that the World cannot know about his demise, and the issue ends with a two page spread of Iron man flying across the NY cityscape with the corpse of Peter Parker.

To be fair to this series, the dialogue between Peter and MJ moments before his death is pretty decent, and stays true to the characters. But the damage has already been done. Even if there weren't five issues left in this story line, I think the most novice comic reader would have a hard time believing Spider-mans death. It reeks of Superman's death all those years ago: pointless and titillating.


What's next for Spider-man? If I was a betting man, I would expect to see him disappear into a cocoon (not the Guttenberg flick), before eventually emerging stronger than ever before, bound forever to the totemistic rituals of Anansi the Spider god "I am forever the Spider" yadda yadda and saves the day against Morlun, hoorah, everyone is safe, status quo is reset, the end.

Maybe it's just me. Is anyone enjoying this series? I need to know for the sake of my sanity.

Jesus, 5 more issues.

-Sid Beckett (uses too many brackets)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005



Wednesday, November 30, 2005

This week is broken - I want a new one.

I am officially writing this week off. 3 days in and it sucks so hard.

I'm not going to whine about it, but if anyone asks 28th Nov-4th Dec 2005 has been cancelled. Declare it AWOL, MIA or PSP for all I care. Its done. Ignore it. Move along.

But just so this post is worth looking at, here is a picture of me with a drag-queen. Fuck it, if Kirkman can get away with only posting J-pegs then so can I!

Normal service will resume next week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nuclear Wessel

Busy, busy week. I will try to get a in-depth review of Brighton - something which most comic sites seem to have somewhat floated over - later in the week.
In the meantime, here is some crap that I have been meaning to post on this blog for a few weeks mow


It seems I am not the only person fed-up with the adverts in Marvel products lately, but at least the message has got back to Joe Q. This from Newsarama.
NRAMA: While we realize as E-i-C this may not be your area per se, you usually have a comment or two and can refer us to someone who can comment [about the plethora of adverts of late]?
JQ: We're very aware of the problem and we're going to rectify it.
NRAMA: Is the answer as simple as to increase profit margin? And as a comic book reader yourself, do you believe there is a point where "X" number of ads is too many ads, and if so, what's that number for you?
JQ: We've heard the fans and we will make sure that their reading experience is the number one priority and not the ads. They will be seeing short and long-term resolutions in the next couple of weeks.

So maybe they do listen (Shawshank was right!!!). So far the adverts have found themselves somewhat repressed towards the rear of the comic, and the page count has crept down again.


No editorial needed.
But I am going to recommend the following site, especially the song: America the Burning. It is so preposturous it ends up being quite funny. The best thing is the woman singing as she sounds quite proud and extroverted, surely thats a contravine of the seven deadly sins? Fuck it, what do I know about God? I still think the whole "created the world in seven days" thing sounds like bragging.


Issue #0 of the new Transformers book has shipped, which I am sure most of you are aware of. Just a quick plug for the book as it is written by Simon Furman.
The book which ships from IDW and retails for $1 (about 80p) is available with a plethora of variants, ranging from affordable to silly.
The book, which I felt was a little sparse on Transformers, promises to gradually increase the character count as the astory progresses and is a more than welcome return to the "Robots in Dusguise" concept. Good things are expected from the ongoing, expected January. If you are having trouble finding issues, feel free to contact me and I can help you out.


I liked it, although its not what Asterix used to be what with only one of the creatros still being alive (it resonates half-completion in the way the latter day Red Dwarf novels did). I do however, just love the creator owned concept behind Asterix and most European comics, and I am supporting this book now because when the last creator dies (Udderzo I believe) then that's it. No more Asterix.


Matt Boyces debut book.
I think its a fantastic book and thankfully I am not alone. It has been selling well with very good feedback from both punters and fellow comic creators. Its big launch was at the Brighton Comic Expo (thanks to Liam Sharp - the nicest man in comics), more of which will be mentioned in a later post.
A lot of people pick up this book and say one of two things: "It's funny" or "Matt's a strange one, 'ent he?", I am looking forward to the first person I see pick it up and say "wow, as well as being funny, it's also incredibly poignant too". Some people cannot see the hidden depths behind characters like "the man with a hole in his head", it's a metaphor, a none too subtle metaphor but a metaphor still (I am sure that's far too many "metaphors" in one sentence, and this has only made it worse).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Do Comics Cost Too Much?

This is a topic which get's bought up all the time on the internet, amoungst comic collectors, and in-store. Do Comics Cost too much?
The answer - as with most things in life - is not as simple as yes or no.
When I started collecting comics when I was 15, the average price of a Marvel comic was $1.50, but a lot of books were already retailing for $2, and shiny foils covers like X-Men Alpha or Spider-man Maximum Clonage were selling for $3.50 and upwards. In that ten year period, the price of comics has increased to an average cost of $3 a book.
So yes, comics have on the whole increased in cost, but they are hardly the only product to increase in price in the last ten years. The overall costs in printing have increased a lot, and fuel prices have obviously increased exponentially. But these days the production values of comics are far above that of there badly coloured, low-paper grade predecessors.

And besides, there are options.
We have comics in our back issue section for as little as £1. There are some cracking reads there. Mid #200 Daredevils by John Romita! Classic Dr. Strange adventures. Almost a full run of Defenders, the little super-hero team that couldn't. The list goes on: Web of Spider-man, Excalibur, New Mutants, Punisher, Batman, Superman. Classic superhero tales from iconic heroes, all at bargain prices.
There are always "free Comics" given away at our main point-of-sale (the Counter). They are completely free and don't go as fast as they should considering the lack-of-price. They range from promotional items like the recent Red Sonja #0 or the 25 cent Goon issue, to overstocks of books like Ultimate Marvel Team-up #3 or Captain America: Truth #1. Books that we, to be honest, completely over-ordered. Either way, the titles we give away are hardly shit. And what good are they rotting away in the back store room? Better to give them away to people who might enjoy them and you never know, it may get new readers into comics, or put existing fans onto a new title (as has happened with the Oni overship of Paris #1) or back issue run. Free comic Book Day is proof that this works.

Free Comic Book Day: - Check out the website.

DC "Showcase" and Marvel "Essential". 500 Pages plus ranging from £7 - £11 in price. What a bargain. The first 160 issues of Amazing Spider-man are available in this black and white format, some of the best comics ever. What about John Brynes X-Men run with Chris Claremont? Silvestri Wolverine? Silver-age Superman? Jack Kirby F4? All are available in this format.

Trade Paperbacks. Okay, apart from some recent exceptions from Marvel (Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol. 4 springs to mind), Trade Paperback collections usually work out cheaper than the single issue format. Sea of Red from Image is a great example of this at £6 for four issues. The first seven issues of Ultimate Spider-man available for £9!

Hardcovers. The complete Rising Stars for £45. That's a total of 27 issues and works out cheaper than singles or even Tpbs. Okay, yeah, most of the time Hardcovers do work out a lot more expensive than the singles, but not in this case.

Complete Collections. The Complete Bone is only £27! That's less than 50p an issue in one handy volume. Other great examples of this include the great Soulwind and Geisha.

At the end of the day, you will pay the price if you're a fussy reader.

So what's the benefit of collecting comics then?

There are still a few real advantages of collecting single issue form. For a start, you don't have to wait so long between issues, it's easier to find the time to read 22 pages than it is to read 160 and the letter pages help give a sense of belonging and community. you also get to appreciate the cliffhanger ending, books like House of M and Infinite Crisis are predicated on the idea of it's monthly suspensefull ending, yet many people I know prefer to wait for the Tpb. Each to their own, really.
Another factor to the single issue is the resale value of the single issue. There is very little in the way of resale value to a Tpb or HC, most people who buy comics that I know are more interested in reading than in selling them on, but its kind of nice to know they are worth something when you come to sell them on.
I for one will keep collecting comics regardless of the format, although I do prefer the single issues on my Marvel titles it is mainly because I have been collecting them that way for so long I don't know how to stop. With an awful lot of new titles or indie books I check out the Tpb, as its easier than searching for all the singles, and I already have enough monthly titles to keep up with thank you very much.

Over the coming years, there will be a more noticable divide between comic collectors and comic readers, maybe the industry will be strong enough to sustain the two separate markets, or maybe the industry will end up following Japan and Europes lead. Either way, a change is coming to the industry in the next few years

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Death of Superman

It has oft been said that if you have one truly original concept within your lifetime, you will be a rich man.
Since then political correctness has swept Western civilisation - it's altruistic message usually twisted beyond recognition by its supporters - and original idea's have been replaced by the repackaging of old ideas and special edition DVD re-releases.
But, in the pre-WW2 days of the late thirties, two Jewish immigrants by the name of Jerry Seigal and Joe Schuster had an inspirational creation: Superman; and with it the idea of superheroes was born.
An entire genre of storytelling grew from this concept, almost encompassing an entire medium as its popularity wave spread its influence across the decades. Arguably as recognisable world-wide as Mickey Mouse, Coca-Cola and Super Mario (full name: Mario Mario), capturing the imagination of children and adults all over the planet with his simple message that good must, and will triumph over evil
No-one could have foreseen the success that an essentially throwaway character could have had, especially not from the pages of the funny-books, after all, aren't they for kids? He is essentially just a science-fiction creation with underpants on the outside isn't he? Surely if his popularity across 8 decades and his viability as a commercial property could have been predicted, then Seigal and Schuster would have made sure to retain the intellectual rights to the property? But alas, this was not the case.
At best, Superman was a metaphor for Jewish settlers (the strange beings from another land) who wanted more than anyone else for the promise of the American dream to hold true. After years of facing anti-Semitism, the prospect of living free and not being persecuted for your beliefs must have been a charming allure to migrate to the Land of the Free (TM), especially considering how things were heating up in Europe (Note to God: Poland - bad place to put a country). Yes, Truth, Justice and the American Way - what a tag-line (how many other countries have a tag-line?), and what an icon to uphold those beliefs.

But something strange is happening to our icons, they don't have the power they once had.

Mickey Mouse looks different. The Fonz grew old. Tom and Jerry gained the ability to speak. Somewhere along the way, Snoopy became more important than Charlie Brown.

And Superman died.

How do you kill off Superman?

Behind the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iraqi War, it was one of the biggest events I saw growing up. Now I wasn't a comic-book reader at the time, and only had a brief understanding of who the character was and what he could do - but I knew what he meant intrinsically, even if only on a subconscious level, and I knew that Superman wasn't supposed to die.
Now you can make an argument about how we are all mortal and it teaches kids about the facts of life, but damnit, you already took Aslam from us and if you really want to teach kids about life and death buy them a cat and move near to a busy road.
You don't just kill Superman.
But they did, and to be fair, it was a big event. Few comic stories make the national news but this one did, comic shops had queues around the block and many retailers still to this day cite that as their fondest memory as a store-owner. The issue (Superman #75) sold literally millions of copies.
The Last Son of Krypton - in the heart of his adopted city of Metropolis - died, mere feet away from the Daily Planet offices and his loved one he had fought so hard to protect: Lois; Perry and Jimmy. His cape billowed in the wind in a final gesture of nobility and defiance. This strange visitor from another planet, who had lived as an inspiration to all and embraced the American way, died saving others, and proved himself to be as human as any of us.

Fast-forward six months, he is fine. Alive and well.

How do you top that? What does the character have left in him? Where do you go from there? Long hair? New costume? Slightly bigger "S"? Slightly smaller "S"?
As a Superman fan and reader, there have been very few stories that have inspired me in the last 10 years. A lot of damage was done to the character and, I would argue, to the comic industry as a whole. Comic readers are used to characters coming back from the dead, Joker, Magneto, Jean Grey, Mr Immortal, it's part of the industry we all know and accept.
But Superman is an icon, and by bringing him back, the non-comic reading world felt cheated, lied to even. The next time a comic story hit's the news do you think the public will listen as closely? Do you think the news stations will react to the press release at all?

Next year sees the release of a new Superman film for a new generation, so new in fact that the guy playing Supes - Brandon Routh - is younger than me, making me feel bloody old. It's a new lease of life for a previously iconic character and only time will tell if the more blasé, modern day sceptical audience will be as transfixed as previous audiences, especially with the watering down of the character by shows like "Lois and Clarke" and "Smallville". After all, you can see people flying in movies and video games all the time these days, who can't fly. And with most of the world turned anti-American (or at least anti-Bush), what's so good about Truth, Justice and the American Way?

The original Richard Donner Superman movies were heralded by the tag-line, "You Will Believe a Man Can Fly". But Superman is about more than flying. He is about honour, morality, equality. He represents no one race or religion and brings a message of peace and understanding. The concept is worth more than any amount of capitalistic profiteering.
Iconic figureheads tend to outgrow the limitations and intentions imparted by their creators.
Maybe Superman isn't about believing that one man can fly, but about believing that maybe we all can.

-Sid Beckett. Bitter, but strangely optimistic.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Time Magazine ran a feature on their website highlighting the Top 100 Novels of all time, Watchmen featured on the list. Long cited as one of the best graphic novels of our time, it's nice to see a comicbook being featured up there with the true literary giants.,24459,watchmen,00.html


Entertainment Weekly dedicates five pages of its October 28 issue to WATCHMEN, comparing it to Citizen Kane, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Sopranos as "a masterwork representing the apex of artistry in its respective medium."

It's no big news that comics are picking up media attention still, what is impressive is the level of acclaim they are recieving. Watchmen is currently voted 6th on the Time 100 list (and that's voted by the readers, not by the magazine). As well as big magazines, we also have websites trying to bring comic series to the masses.

It's not just the powerhouses like Watchmen and Transmetropolitan getting reviews either, Stephen Holland of Page 45 utilised his entire column in this months "Comics International" to bring the attention of Strangehaven to peoples attention.
It seems to me the only people not paying attention to whats really happening in the industry are the comic fans.
Sorry guys, but I am calling you out.

Is it me or are us lot some of the most negative, bitter people involved with any "fan" base? every time a comic gets noticed, or something different comes along, people seem to start setting up the storm barriers: "It's our industry, we don't weant new readers coming in challenging our opinions". It's the mentality of "I'm alienated by my peers for reading comics, therefore I must be a true fan".

Case in point: Time Magazine's Top 100 novels, there were quite a few people online coming out with crap like "...but it's not a novel", or "Technically, it's a Tpb, not a Graphic Novel" or worst yet: "Isn't Time owned by Warner Bros. who own DC? Isn't that suspicious?" Fuck off. Fucking twat's. One, yes, its literature, therefore its a novel by proxy. Two, does it really matter if they got the terminology wrong? Oh, excuse me, it makes such a big difference, I was going to read something refreshing and expand my consciousness and facility with language but they called it a graphic novel not a tpb so I won't fucking read it, or anything which doesn't have a red "M" in the top left corner. And 3, yes, Time Warner does indeed own Time magazine and DC, but for fucks sake, think about it, even if they are forcing the inclusion of Watchmen onto the list, is it really a bad thing? Besides, they named Art Speigalman in the Top 100 People poll earlier this year, as written by Marjane Satrapi, that's hardly going to turn a profit for DC or Time is it? Some comic fans piss me off.

Don't get me wrong, the majority of my customers are great. They listen to recomendations, they talk intelligently about the things they don't like, and even more eloquently about the things they do like. They have hobbies and interests outside of Cap and Bucky, they go out, watch interesting movies, listen to diverse movies, and even recommend fresh comics to me that I have never even heard off. There are a few comics shops like this up and down the country; obviously I don't know all of them, but two of the best I have heard off are Nottingham's Page 45 and Leed's OK Comics. But unfortunately, most of them have gone the other way, unclean, unfriendly, unapprocahable and unorganised, basically a whole lot of "un". Hopefully, with time, more comic shops will follow suit with the stellar exaples listed above, we might even see the gradual fazing out of Star Wars toys and Magic the Gathering.

There are two types of comic books at the moment (as with most genres actually): commercially acclaimed and critically acclaimed. Stuff like House of M and All-Star Batman and Robin are commercially acclaimed because of the level of advertising that has gone into making them the best-sellers that they are, we hear they are hot books, Wizard run a six page article and we all check them out. Which is fine, because they certainly are not bad comics, by any sense of the word.
Then there are the critically acclaimed books; stuff like Ex Machina, Finder and Battle Hymn. These are the books that the people working in the industry buy / read. You think Warren Ellis reads New Avengers because he wants to (if at all)? No, he reads it because he cares about the industry and wants to see what the top sellers are doing, as a professional its in his best interest to analyse the industry (something which very few creator's seem to do).
These titles, which sell no where near the 248,000 units of the top sellers, are the titles really driving the industry forward. These are the titles that make Marvel and DC take notice, the breeding ground for future talent, Bendis! didn't just get handed Ultimate Spider-man on a plate, it was the sweat, blood, tears and arrests his put into the making of Torso, Jinx and Fortune and Glory which got him noticed as an industry professional.

Yet most comic readers would be hard pushed to identify the names of Criag Thompson, Dan Schaffer, Carla Speed Mcneil, Dan Clowes, Art Speigalman, Marjane Satrapi, Andi Rutton, Andi Watson, Alex Robinson, Rich Koslowski, Scott Morse, Scott Mcloud, Jeffrey Brown and countless others. Heck, some comic readers wouldn't be able to tell me who Will Eisner is.
But this is where the real progression is being made. These are the books which are getting noticed outside of our very blinkered, spandex only genre-within-a-medium-which-defines-a-medium.

I'm not saying don't read New Thunderbolts, Spawn or Teen Titans, as I love my superhero comics more than most (and if I did have a problem with superheroes, that would make me all negative and hypocritical), they just don't define my reading. All I'm saying is; next time you feel dissolusioned by an 8 issue crossover, next time you finish reading two superhero's punching each other in the face and think "it's all a bit samey", just remember, you are the only person limiting your exposure.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Cacophony of Dirge

So, not done one of these for a while; a random blog. Kind of a "What's New with Sid" blog.

Don't expect too many updates this week, I actually have stuff to do at work for once (shock-horror). You see, I have not sorted our comic back-stock for about 4 years and it's got to the point that if I don't do it now I never will.



I have just started reading my Promethea Hardcovers, I am glad I didn't read the series when it first came out circa 1999, I so wouldn't have understood it on the level I do now. It is heavy going and certainly not for everyone.
I think Morrison and Ellis fans would get a kick out of it, obviously Alan Moore fans will, as he penned the series. The art is by the ever so talented J H Williams III who some of you may be familiar with through his work on the recent Desolation Jones series (another book I will get in trade as well as singles).
Promethea is an interesting use of fiction about fiction, Alan Moore has constructed a truly rich and thoroughly intriguing historical tapestry for the protagonist and the reader to navigate through, all the while examaning the core philosphy behind existence. Like I said, it can be heavy going, but it is certainly one of the best books I have read this year.
The story can be both lighthearted and deadly serious, following Sophie Bangs journey as she slowly unravels the mystery of magic and Promethea, with comic relief from her best friend (her name escapes me and I can't be assed to google it). We also have the misadventures of F4 parody "Five Swell Guys" (one of whom is a female named Roger) and social commentary in the form of a very Transmet-esque news service, constantly updating the reader of the mental state of the local mayor, and his 42 multiple personalities.
The artwork is dense with lots going on in the background, such as adverts and posters for pop-icon "Weeping Gorilla", and its never afraid to experiment while both form and style.
Promethea ran for 32 issues (even the issue numbering has relevance to the final story) and is currently available in all good comic stores as five Tpb volumes, the fifth of which is due for release very soon. Each retails for about £10 each, except in bookstores where they can run up to £13 each.
Seriously, the now deleted Hardcovers sold for £17 each in comic stores, or £25 each in Borders and Ottakers! It pays to support your local store.


Batman Begins!

God I love this movie, between this and Sin City, comic fan's really had it good at the cinema this year. In fact the only person who had it better was cult legend Rutger Hauer - surprising everybody by appearing in both. If you've not seen Batman begins or Sin City yet - then what are you waiting for?


Comic Shop Newsletter

Coming soon, honest. I am kind of waiting 'till closer to Christmas as that is what this newsletter will cover. Expect it Mid-November.



I have turned into a complete DVD whore lately. I finally relented and imported South Park series 5 and 6 as it looks like they are never going to be released in the UK, my god - these are two of the funniest series I have ever seen.
Simpsons Series 6 is another one I am working my way through, as well as the first two series of Ren and Stimpy.
The best DVD you can buy at the minute is undoubtably the abjective-less Firefly series by Joss Whedon, its avilable in HMV for about £18, if its sold out there, then go to:
Which segways nicely into my next thread.



SEE THIS MOVIE. It's fairly awesome, and by fairly I mean a lot. People have compared this to the original Star Wars, which is a nice gesture but one which I think ultimately does more harm than good. While Star Wars created an entire scene, Serenity reminds us what it was about good 'ol fashioned Sci-fi action adventures that we used to love: characters!
Lets face it, Episode 1 - 3 had no Han Solo, and that's what they were missing. Don't blame Lucas, don't blame CGI, don't blame Jar-Jar, it just didn't have Han, that was all.
And while Firefly / Serenity doesn't have Han Solo, it does have extremely well realised, realistic characters.


Video Games

This week I have been mostly playing Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands. After 19 years I finally completed Bubble Bobble and Super Bubble Bobble, strangely enough it took the assist of my girlfriend whom has never played the game before and turned out to be remarkable good at it. Go figure.
Rainbow Islands is still a complete bastard. I finally got past the level seven boss but because I had all seven rainbow diamonds it unlocked levels 8 through 10 (stages 29-40), all of which are rock hard and you cannot use continues on them. christ, I am starting to sound like I am on Andi's blog.


More about Comics

The Other is turning into a surprisingly dull story. My interest in all things X has pretty much atrophied, Astonishing X-Men is the only glimmer of hope. the Ultimate Universe chugs along quite nicely, especially the Ultimates, can't wait for the animated movie of that. New Avengers is still quite a good book, but the three issue in four weeks really hurt our sales for it. Superman is surprisingly healthy at the minute, I think its because of all the infinite Crisis malarky, it is really raising the bar at DC, not long till All Star Supes. Lots of DC variants at the minute, but I suppose you don't have to buy them. The Batman books are tragically juxtaposed right now; stuff like Batman is great, but Detective sucks, and that thing about Leslie Thompkins killing Spoiler made no sense at all. Comics comics comics rragh! I read too many.

Transformers is late.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Stuff I Buy Final Week

Small week.

This is the last one of these, I just thought it would be fun for people to see what an average month looks like for me, so that way you can all figure out what books i am reading.

JUL050277 ASTRO CITY THE DARK AGE #4 (OF 16) $2.99 - Waiting for the full series, thats how I read the first volume and it read a lot better.

AUG050262 AUTHORITY REVOLUTION #12 (OF 12) (MR) $2.99 - Uh, I think I cancelled this. I don't know. it wasn't what I hoped anyway and looking at the sales figures, I am not alone.

AUG050186 BATGIRL #69 $2.50 - I think thats seven issues behind.

AUG050183 BATMAN #646 $2.50 - Looking forward to this, as always.

AUG050182 BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHTS #70 $2.50 - Not so much with this one.

AUG050208 BIRDS OF PREY #87 $2.50 - 10, 12 issues behind? Shit or get of the pot time methinks.

AUG050214 GREEN LANTERN CORPS RECHARGE #2 (OF 6) $2.99 - Enjoyed the first issue more than I thought I would. don't always agree with Gibbons as a writer, pleasant surprise.

AUG050285 HELLBLAZER #213 (MR) $2.75 - Bored. Looking forward to new writer.

AUG050194 ROBIN #143 $2.50 - great artwork, but I am falling behind.

AUG050195 SUPERMAN #222 $2.50 - Been great since Azzarello left.

AUG051885 MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #19 $2.99 - Too many ad's, story is okay, hate Pat Lee.

AUG051926 RUNAWAYS #9 $2.99 - Waiting for a good chunk, then will blast through it.

AUG051888 SHE-HULK 2 #1 $2.99 - Still undecided on single issues or trade.

AUG051895 SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #1 $4.99 - Pointless, but I have bought it anyway.

AUG051955 SUPREME POWER HYPERION #2 (OF 5) (MR) $2.99 - Waiting for all five.

AUG051890 ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #24 $2.50 - Still enjoying.

AUG051893 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #84 $2.50 - Really liking this at the moment.

AUG051951 X-MEN #176 $2.50 - About 15 issues behind.

APR052741 SHAOLIN COWBOY #4 $3.50 - Love it, one of my favourites.

AUG052972 TRANSFORMERS #0 $0.99 - I am there, will get all covers as I am a TF geek.

A House of M / Infinite Crisis dissection.


Ryan says:

House of M is perhaps one of the biggest let downs I've ever read (but this is only 3 years of comic reading speaking here), this thing is so slow, Bendis could have easily fitted it in 6 or even 4 issues, but then I guess they wouldn't be able to sell as many tie ins would they. The whole mutant thing they've been moving to wasn't much of a surprise either; it's something that's been recognisably wrong for a while. The whole Hawkeye thing managed to get sand in my vagina too, so the guy dies and then comes back, but he dies again essentially because he isn't any good at Tetris.

Infinite Crisis is to me the better of the two, the whole things happening in the real universe so any changes are going to be around afterwards, you'd think by now Marvel would push the boat out and do a big crossover that isn't in a 'different universe'. I love what DC has been doing, luckily the whole thing built as I've been reading comics so I haven't missed out on much, might have to go back and read the original crisis though. I only followed OMAC and Villains United, out of the four, for the past 6 months and it still hasn't interfered with my enjoyment of the story. The small beef I've got with DC is why they haven't released a list of all the issues that were involved in the story, I mean come on marvel did it on a door hang for gods sake.

But my major beef with DC is what they're doing to my characters, I came into comics reading Hush and I fell for those characters. Yet now the I'm-an-asshole-Batman I love is going to go through the crisis and change. I know that loads of other fans want him to be a little lighter but this is the Batman I've been following and I want him to be just as cynical when the crisis is over, I just hope it's handled well. But I'm all for the fixing of Superman, that line from Batman in Infinite Crisis sure put a smile on my face. The X-Men change is deserved though, the mutant thing needs to be put back into its box, just hope my favourites make the cut.

So I guess I hate the way House of M has been told, but I love what they've done to the X-Men situation. Yet I love the way the new crisis has been handled, I'm just pensive about what the characters will be like when they come out on the other side, but I guess that's just how they want me.

…and there's my two cents.
So what are your feels about them?

Sid Says:
Couldn't have said it much better than that myself.
House of M is unfortunately what we have come to expect from Marvel recently, a fairly decent idea horrifically executed. Reading an issue of House of M is akin to drinking Pepsi Max - it goes down quick enough but you are left wanting more with a bad taste in your mouth, and you wish it had a little more sugar in it.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the "twist" that the villain of the piece wasn't Magneto for once, but trying to paint Wanda as the victim is pissing me off, kill her. I don't care.

As for the Hawkeye situation, I've always liked the character, especially in the original Thunderbolts, but I really don't care if he lives or dies anymore. I quite liked his death, it wasn't hyped, it wasn't cheesy, it was very much a case of "this is how it is", even Hawkeye had that grim moment of recognition. The Internet backlash and the Bendis letter page in powers was hilarious, all these people talking trash at Bendis for killing him off, but at the same time saying they didn't think he was really dead - Marvel couldn't have bought that much publicity. I don't care if he lives of dies, but Marvel should. Pick one. Stick with it.

On to Infinite Crisis.

I love this book, I have read it like 3 times in the last week. The more you have put into this book by reading all the back story, the more you get out of it. By contrast though, even a complete DC novice can enjoy it.
I have read most of it: Villains United, OMAC, Rann / Than, Day of Vengeance, ID Crisis, Outsiders, Teen Titans, Supes / Bats etc... But I have never read the original Crisis, so there are bit's of it I don't get. But I still love it.

I have a friend who has followed the lot, he is a real DC fanboy (he has the Flash and Supes logos as tattoos for Christ's sake), he swears by the original Crisis. You only have to mention Psycho Pirate and he pop's like a girl at a Boyzone concert (who is it the kids like these days?). He loved Infinite Crisis.

By sharp contrast, another friend of mine only reads Green Lantern, missed ID Crisis and the original Crisis. He sat down and read Infinite Crisis. Loved it.
In fact, even the Internet reaction has been remarkable healthy. Yeah, a few people griping here and there but that is always going to happen, you can't please everyone (and if you could people would rip your idea off until people hated it).

There are however a few complaints / questions about Infinite Crisis, here are my solutions:

"I don't get it?" - Then read it again, the first issue is the equivalent of the first 15 minutes of a movie. Its introduced the characters and started to set the scenes. You might not get every reference and understand what is going to happen, and isn't that the point? To keep you interested and turning the page / watching the movie, finding out more and more as the story progresses.

"I still don't get it?" - Go to Newsarama, they have an excellent breakdown of what is going on page by page, what you should have noticed, what's important etc...

"Two Supermen? That's gay!" - It's all going somewhere, keep reading.

"I haven't got a checklist" - That's because if DC did one, people would piss and moan at the sheer depth of the story. It's been building for over two years, there are far too many comics to mention. Be glad you have read what you have. Absolutely essential reads are: ID Crisis, OMAC, Superman: Sacrifice and DC Countdown. But there are loads more. A full checklist would turn more people away. DC has fairly healthy trade support and we have a good back issue section.

"Mark Waid said Batman won't be a dick anymore" - That's bollocks. Mark Waid always makes Batman a dick. Check out Kingdom Come and JLA: Tower of Babel. Mark Waid is more guilty of dickifying Batman than anyone. He means, he won't be as much of a dick. Or its a cunning play on words, and Batman will be a Dick, Dick Grayson. Much rumour-mongering suggests the idea of Bruce becoming the new human host of Spectre. Which I hate the idea of and can't see them doing 7 months after Batman Begins comes out, because regardless of how good or bad it is, it won't be forever.

"Who the fuck is the Psycho Pirate?" - Dunno. I know he was in the original Crisis and remembered what happened, went a bit nuts and was in early Animal man by Grant Morrison. It seems he is in the same situation as Donna Troy - knowing all that came before, but as a villain.

"Superman hasn't really been much cop lately has he?" - No, and its awesome. The best thing to happen to his character was them giving him one. If Supes is too perfect, then he is damn difficult to write and even harder to read. His biggest flaw isn't magic or Kryptonite, its naïveté. A flaw which is all too...human (cue Star Trek end credits, fade).


In short, both house of M and Infinite Crisis seem to be a way of hitting reset buttons for the respective companies. Some characters need to be "reset" or "fixed", (most of the X line at Marvel for instance, and you can only have WW, Supes and Bats hating each other for so long before something gives. It's just DC's approach is interesting and they will do it with reverence to what has come before. Whereas Marvel will just write the line "No More Mutants" (you can't blame Bendis for everything, he has a boss you know) and let everyone deal with the fallout with no real direction for the next 5 years.

I have always been a Marvel fanboy, I have collected Spider-man for 10 years, 80% of my immense comic collection is Marvel. But right now...

Make Mine DC

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Dear Comic Readers,

Fed up with too many advert's in comic-books these days? You're not alone.

Lot's of my customers have mentioned the over-abundance of adverts in the pages of Marvel books these days, so I decided to look into it a little more.
I must admit, adverts in comics have never really bothered me that much, I have always looked at them at worst as a necessary evil. At best, they are a fun way of grafting individual comic's to the time period they were released in. How cool is it reading an X-Men comic from '78 and seeing a Star Wars related advert? Or the bad hair on the kids in the 1980's Lego adverts? Zeitgeist baby.

So I was reading Marvel Knights Spider-man #19, and I was thinking to myself, "damn, this issue feel's thick?", so I did a page count. Now, in the old days, your average comic page count was 32 pages, with 22 pages of that being story, somewhere around the mid '90's the page count jumped to 36 pages, keeping the steady 22 page story count. Now bear in mind thiose 32 / 36 pages also included at least 1 page of letters, and 1 page of in-house group adverts (for instance, a look at everything coming from the X-Universe for a month).

Marvel Knights Spider-man #19 ran at 52 pages!!! That's 22 for story, 1 page for cover, and 1 page for

sorry, you weren't reading that were you? - "previously in" and credits (like in the Ultimate books), and 1 final page for in-house group adverts (in this particular issue, advertising for the rest of The Other crossover). The other 27 pages were all adverts.
Crazy shit, huh? Thats more adverts than comic.

Now you can see why so many people wait for the Tpb's. I don't know about you but I don't want half of my comic boxes to be filled with adverts, but after 12 years of comic collecting I don't want to break by Amazing Spider-man collection.

Marvel claim that monthly comics cost so much to print these days, that adverts are the only way of subsidising / off-setting the cost. But printing the comic with twice the adverts doubles the size of the book, which surely doubles printing costs you'd think?
Now, unless the adverts cover more than half the printing cost, they are not worth running at all as Marvel would lose money. So we have to presume that Marvel are making money on these adverts, otherwise, why print them?

Now Warren Ellis / Image can afford to print a 24 page comic with 16 pages of story, and they need to sell 20,000 to make profit and make sure everyone working on it get's paid. One in-house advert. That's it, and they can make money on that at $2. So presumably, at $3 a pop, Marvel are making good money on a comic that sells somewhere in the region of 70- 75,000 issues each with 27 pages of ad's. Very good money.
If Marvel can ship an 88 page Tpb for £7.50 (still cheaper than the price of four individual comics) with no adverts, then you have to ask why are the single issues costing so much with adverts.

Is this just a blip? A freak one-off occurance? Ult. X-Men #64 which shipped the same week ran 27 adverts, Ghost Rider #2 shipped with 23 pages of adverts and last months MK Spider-man # 18 shipped with 23 pages of adverts with another four devoted to that Nick Fury's Howling Commandos series that won't sell.
By contrast, DC's infinite Crisis #1 only had 10 pages of adverts, and 32 pages of story. Now thats more like it!
I really can't see what difference adverts make to the price of comics anymore. Is it done purely because that's the way it's always been done? Has it become a case of the tail wagging the dog?

So what can we do?

In truth, very little. But if Shawshank Redemption taught us only one thing, its that writing letters can make a difference. Write Marvel, write Wizard, bug the shit out of them and maybe, just maybe, they will listen.

-Sid Beckett.
Writer of whatever's on his mind. He would like to add that Shawshank also taught us not to cry in prison and introduced us to the word; fuck-stick

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Stuff I Buy Week 4

AUG050028 GOON 25 CENT COMIC $0.25 - It's 25 cents for Christs sake, and has got so many good write-ups. Worth checking out for sure.

AUG050196 ACTION COMICS #832 $2.50 - More of the same from Supes.

JUL050284 EX MACHINA #15 (MR) $2.99 - Awesome series, I find the art a little flat and soulless sometimes, no doubt because of all the photo ref-ing, but its still a killer series.

AUG050284 FABLES #42 (MR) $2.75 - Awesome book, love it to pieces, I think when this book wraps-up, it will really start garnishing attention.

AUG050205 INFINITE CRISIS #1 (OF 7) $3.99 - OOOOOHHHH! Cannot wait, it has been hyped to death but its still gonna be a whole lot of fun. DC havn't dissapointed with this 2 year and building crossover yet.

AUG050217 JLA #120 $2.50 - Could go either way, JLA has been up and down faster than Gwen riding Norman Osborn the last few years.

AUG050193 NIGHTWING #113 $2.50 - For the most part good, waiting to see where this current arc goes. Can't belive we are 113 issues in already.

AUG050236 VILLAINS UNITED #6 (OF 6) $2.50 - Surely this should have shipped before Infinite Crisis? If DC drop the ball with a 6 issue how are they going to cope with a 52 issue weekly? Either way though, I will be there.

AUG050291 Y THE LAST MAN #38 (MR) $2.99 - Awesome series, and one which is ultimately destined to end with a bang rather than fade away.

JUL051936 ESSENTIAL SPIDER-MAN VOL 7 TP $16.99 - Its Oldskool Spider-man, what's not to like.

AUG051944 EXILES #71 $2.99 - Thats 22 consecutive issues unread.

AUG051884 FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 $2.99 - Not a bad way for a series to start, the 'Ringo artwork helps. Not to keen on Tracer as a villain though, seems a bit '90's. I hope the Other will be as good as JMS' Spidey.

AUG051900 GHOST RIDER #2 (OF 6) $2.99 - Eh, it's okay.

JUL051844 HOUSE OF M #7 (OF 8) $2.99 - C'mon, wrap it up. I want to know where this is going.
JAN058166 HOUSE OF M LARROCA VARIANT COVER #7 (OF 8) (PP #684) $2.99

AUG051937 MEGA MORPHS #4 (OF 4) $2.99 - Waiting for the digest 'cause it will be so much cheaper.

AUG051892 ULTIMATE X-MEN #64 $2.50 - This series feels like its going through the motions until the Steve Dillon relaunch. Still no Bryan Singer.

AUG051898 WOLVERINE #34 $2.50 - Crappola compared to the Millar run. Issue #32 was great.

AUG052580 TOYFARE TOP 100 GEEK MOMENTS CVR #100 $4.99 - 100 issues? Making me feel old!

AUG053241 STREET FIGHTER II #0 PI - I will check it out, wasn't too impressed with volume one by the end of it.

JUL058060 DISTURBED TEN THOUSAND FISTS SPECIAL ED CD PI - Yeah, I will get it, but not from a comic shop. most likely.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Letter to Mr. Larsen.

Dear Mr. Larsen,

First off, let me say, I have never been a follower of your work. (It gets better from here on, honest).
I got into comics around 1995, about the time most people were getting out of them, I liked the Clone Saga, still do. Since then I have been somewhat of a Marvel / DC fanboy until about 3 years ago, when I started branching out to find anything new that could interest me.
I always kind of considered Image to be somewhat lacking. I have never liked Spawn, Shadowhawk or any of the Top Cow books (JMS excluded).
It shames me to say that I had written Erik larsen the comic creator off as, "one of those Image guys". -How wrong I was.
However, I recently started buying more Image, (Invincible, Walking Dead, Girls, Flight) and was very impressed by the diversity of the product. I noticed that it was yourself who was behind a lot of the drive and diversity in the "New" image.
So when I saw that you were doing a weekly column on CBR, one of my favourite websites, I made it a point of reading it every week. I got a lot of friends to read it as well, people who had also previously ignored both yourself and Images work.
What a great column. Every one has been good, until about two weeks ago.
Thats when we got the great column.

I agree with most of the things you said in the column. I hear that PAD took major offense, some people will. Things that are worth saying are often the things that people don't want to hear.
So with a lot of people up in arms about the truth, with everyone on tender hooks waiting to hear your reply to Peter Davids response, what do you do? You have captured the industrys attention, knowing that EVERYONE will be checking out your next column, what do you do?
You run a column about how important your Grandpa is to you..
...thats so cool.
Good work Erik.

I was wrong it seems, about both Image and Erik Larsen.
-Sid Beckett

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Crazy Comic Covers #1

Sometimes, these articles write themselves.

The subject matter for this issue is a good old Christian boy, who after watching the Americans oust the Nazi's, decided he wanted a life of adventure and joined his army. After being crippled in battle, god cures him (!!!), so he dedicates the rest of his life smuggling bibles into Rumania, with an assist from God who hides the bibles from the eyes of the guards on the border of the Iron curtain (these arn't the books you're looking for, move along!).
And then he moves to Hong Kong, gets married and then I got bored of reading it as my brain started to crawl away from my body and I caught it half way down the stairs pleading for freedom.

The Stuff I Buy Week 3.

After the mammoth amount of comics that comprised last weeks order, I am pleased to say that this week looks a little more sensible.

JUL058295 ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #643 SECOND PTG $2.50 - Think I will skip this, much as I love DC, the second print thing has kind of passed me by these days. I even skipped on the Spider-Man House of M 2nd Prints.

JUN050360 DC SPECIAL THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY #4 (OF 4) $2.99 - After a bum first issue, I am pleased to say this book has picked up steam heading to its conclusion.

AUG050181 DETECTIVE COMICS #812 $2.50 - I have stopped reading this City of Crime storyline, sorry. Dave Lapham might write a kick-ass Matrix story and Stray Bullets, but his Batman doesn't do it for me.

AUG050221 JSA #78 $2.50 - I started buying this for the Infinite Crisis cross-overs and god help me, I don't know how to stop.

AUG050224 OUTSIDERS #29 $2.50 - Thank god Winnick is back, that 2 issue fill-in did nothing for me whatsoever.

AUG050231 RANN THANAGAR WAR #6 (OF 6) $2.50 - The only Infinite Crisis miniseries I havn't enjoyed. Its not that there is anything wrong with it, I just don't care for any of the characters.

JUL058321 SUPERGIRL #1 THIRD PTG $2.99 - Another one I will probably skip, nice as they are and all.

AUG050198 SUPERMAN SHAZAM FIRST THUNDER #2 (OF 4) $3.50 - First issue started off promising, but not enough to judge the series on. Solid characters and creators though.

AUG050290 VERTIGO FIRST OFFENSES TP (MR) $4.99 - An awesome book to get and lend out to people who are a little dubious about reading comics, the last one of these Vertigo put out I used to get a load of people into comics.

JUL058296 WONDER WOMAN #220 SECOND PTG $2.50 - I think I'll have to skip on this.

JUL050258 WONDER WOMAN #221 $2.50 - But this one I will have to get. Loving Greg Ruckas Wonder Woman run.

AUG051673 FELL #2 $1.99 - It's Ellis, it's monthly, it's cheap. And it's good too.

FEB051648 RISING STARS HC $69.99 - Bastards! I bought the extremely expensive Dynamic Forces Leather Bound HC's (Remarked Editions too) Vol. 1 and 2 for $100 each, only for them to not do the third volume. I hate DF. Where's my American Flagg while I'm whinging.

JUL051703 RISING STARS VOICES OF THE DEAD #5 (OF 6) $2.99 - Its average, but being purchased out of some misguided concept of loyalty to JMS.

JUN058283 ASTONISHING X-MEN SECOND PTG VARIANT #12 $2.99 - Have to check this one out, if the cover is awesome I will grab it. I love the disparity of the reprints though, Issues 7, 8, 10 and 12 get reprints!

JUL058045 GHOST RIDER RETAILER VARIANT #1 (OF 6) PI - Didn't even hear about this? Whats going on, I presume its a variant in the same style as New Avengers and Sentry.

AUG051928 MARVEL TEAM-UP #13 $2.99 - Falling behind, not read this since #7, I do love the randomness (and obscurity) of the team ups. Issue 14 is a must read.

MAY051811 POWERS #13 (MR) $2.95 - Great series, shame #12 was so late though. Hopefully Bendis will be back on the letetrs page this month.

AUG051954 PUNISHER #26 (MR) $2.99 - Christ, I am bored. Does anyone else want to see Ennis do something refreshing and original?

AUG051896 SPIDER-GIRL #91 $2.99 - How the hell has this book made it to 91 issues? it's great and all, but Marvel have tried to cancel it so many times. Long live Spider-girl.

AUG051887 SPIDER-MAN THE OTHER SKETCHBOOK $2.99 - Nice, but ultimately pointless.

AUG051956 SUPREME POWER NIGHTHAWK #2 (OF 6) (MR) $2.99 - Waiting for all 6 issues before I read this.

AUG051941 UNCANNY X-MEN #465 $2.50 - I wish I was strong enough to cancel this.

AUG051976 X-MEN COMPLETE AGE OF APOCALYPSE EPIC BOOK 2 TP $29.99 - I really am tempted to get this and volume one, despite having first prints.

AUG051947 X-MEN UNLIMITED #11 $2.99 - I don't even know if I still get this.

AUG053021 BAREFOOT GEN VOL 4 TP NEW PTG (RES) $14.95 - Diamond UK seems unable to provide us with Volume One of this, which is really annoying as our Volume 2's are just sat there gathering dust and I really want to read them.

APR053461 COMPLETE CALVIN & HOBBES HC $150.00 - Yes, look at it. Every Calvin and Hobbes, ever.

JUN050452 V FOR VENDETTA NEW EDITION HC (MR) $29.99 - Tempted, sorely tempted.

JUN050406 WATCHMEN THE ABSOLUTE EDITION HC $75.00 - Ditto. And a lot better value for money than the Absolute LOEG, which only contained six issues each.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Stuff I Buy Week 2

AUG050003 PREVIEWS VOL XV #10 PI - I don't actually buy this, and neither should you. Every good comic shop should have a copy of this to hand for you, the consumer to order from. It contains everything that will be coming out on a respective month. Diamond Comics recently changed there comic ordering policy and it is now more important than ever to pre-order those rare, quirky indie books.

JUL050028 REVELATIONS #2 (OF 6) $2.99 - I am waiting for all six issues before I read this. Looks a little Da Vinci Code influenced. I love Jenkins writing and I am a big fan of Ramos work (although I feel his best work is behind him now). Check out Crimson and Impulse for his awesome early work. And his four issue collaboration with Jenkins in Spider-man (Vol. 2 #44-47 I think?).

JUL050212 ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #644 $2.50 - Because its core Superman. I have really enjoyed Rucka's run, there have been quite a few duff issues, but the OMAC tie-ins more than compensate.

JUL050280 AUTHORITY THE MAGNIFICIENT KEVIN #2 (OF 5) (MR) $2.99 - Started as a joke this, now it sells better than the main Authority title. Good old fashioned Ennis fun. Waiting for the set before I read it, but if the last two examples are naything to go by, this will be really great and silly.

JUL050190 BATMAN #645 $2.50 - Core Batman, the only Bats book I don't buy is LOTDK, which is out of continuity. This book has been interesting lately, what with Jason Todd running around again. Better than Detective and Gotham Knights.

JUL050198 BATMAN JOURNEY INTO KNIGHT #2 (OF 12) $2.50 - Was going to get this, but refused to as it has Pat Lee covers, and I hate Pat Lee. Not just because of the whole Dreamwave thing, but because the guy cannot draw.

JUL050224 FLASH #226 $2.50 - Not Geoff Johns, so the new writer has a lot of work to do to make me like this. Will give it a chance though.

JUL050233 JACK CROSS #2 $2.50 - Its Ellis, its monthly, its Jack Bauer free of the 24 "real-time" constrictions. I'm there.

JUL050235 JLA #119 $2.50 - Honestly, important stuff happens in this book but it comes across as emotionally stunted. I think its the curse of two writers on the same title, they hit all the cliff notes, but with no real character emotion. Art feels a little dated too.

JUL050237 JLA CLASSIFIED #12 $2.99 - Its Ellis, but its characters written out of character. Fun in a throw away kind of way, which I think is how its intended. Part of Ellis' DC / Wildstorm dealings was that they got one honest to god superhero book, this is it. Just written to fulfill contractual obligations methinks.
JUL050240 LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #10 $2.99 - Recently stopped buying this book when I realised I didnt give a shit about any of the characters. If I wasn't reading so many titles already I would keep it going, as it is, it had to go.

JUL050307 NEIL GAIMANS NEVERWHERE #4 (OF 9) (MR) $2.99 - Waiting for the trade.

JUL050246 OMAC PROJECT #6 (OF 6) $2.50 - Really enjoyed this title for the most part. Its a bit like the second Matrix film this: okay as it is, but will be made or broken depending on the sequal, the follow-up of course being Infinte Crisis.

JUN050348 SUPERMAN BATMAN #22 (RES) $2.99 - Boring me a bit this, there have been very few issues overall that I could say I have loved. Will keep it going though.

JUL050214 SUPERMAN BIRTHRIGHT TP $19.99 - I actually quite enjoyed this series, take it with a pinch of salt. A nice transition book to bring fans of Smallville to Superman. For my money though, people should stick with Brynes Man of Steel mini.

JUN051755 INDIGO VERTIGO ONE SHOT $4.99 - Dan Schaffers latest offering, teaming up with that mentalist from Queen Adreena. Dogwitch is great, so this should be good.

JUN051789 INVINCIBLE #26 $2.99 - Awesome, but you've all heard that already.

JUL051663 SEA OF RED VOL 1 NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA TP (MR) (O/A) $8.95 - This has been getting similar write-ups to Invincible and Walking Dead, so I thought I'd give it a looksee.

UL051864 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #524 $2.50 - One of my favourite writers JMS on my favourite characters core book. I hope he stays writing this for a loooooooong time.

JUL051875 DAREDEVIL #77 $2.99 - I hate to see Bendis go. And Maleev. Note to Brubaker: Big shoes to fill, huge.

JUL051893 FANTASTIC FOUR #531 $2.99 - JMS on F4, sounds good, but not as good as Waids run. Artwork hasn't been as good as expected from McKone. Give the book time though, its certainly not bad.

JUN052030 GIANT SIZE X-MEN #4 $4.99 - Poo really, I will read it in store and probably leave it there.

JUL051927 LAST HERO STANDING TP $13.99 - Already have the singles so I won't be buying this, but fans of 80's Marvel should. Its so old school its untrue.

JUL051876 NEW AVENGERS #11 $2.50 - Yes, great, love it. but 3 issues in 4 weeks mean my store is going to have a lot of leftover issues from the Sentry story arc.

JUL051877 SENTRY #1 (OF 8) $2.99 - Speak of the Void. Market saturation already? Methinks so. JRJRs artowrk will help shift this one though.

JUL051845 SPIDER-MAN HOUSE OF M #4 (OF 5) $2.99 - Wow, getting so bored of House of M.

JUL051857 ULTIMATE IRON MAN #4 (OF 5) $2.99 - Really enjoying this but the lengthy wait between issues is really breaking the flow. Will re-read in tpb.

JUL051856 ULTIMATE SECRET #3 (OF 4) (RES) $2.99 - As above, but with added Ellis.

JUL051861 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #83 $2.50 - It shocks me how much I am enjoying this book again, I thought it got really dull around the whole Venom saga / Carnage / death of Gwen, but I have really got back into it. I can't wait to see Bendis and Bagley break Stan Lees record, it will be interesting to see if they can beat Cerebus' run.

JUL051846 WOLVERINE #33 $2.50 - And here's me thinking that Wolvie #32 only shipped last week with two covers? Thats $7.50 on Wolverine alone in two weeks!?! Expect sales to drop with Millar gone, especially with that House of M thing bogging this book down.

AUG052578 WIZARD COMICS MAGAZINE SPIDER-MAN 3 CVR #169 $5.99 - As always.
No indie books at all for me this week, it makes me look like a proper Marvel / DC fanboy. Oh well, heres a recomendation from a few weeks ago: Ait/Planetlars Full Moon Fever. Its werewolves; on the moon.