Image, Picture of the Week!

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This picture was taken at this past weekend’s War of 1812 Commemoration, capturing a moment in one of the biggest firework celebrations on the Eastern Seaboard.

I like how it turned out, all mired in reflections of reflections.

I’ve been reading and observing Abelardo Morell’s seminal photography book/monograph titled CAMERA OBSCURA. And today’s picture has some of that concept, of the strange tricks that light plays.

 

Pick up your copy of CAMERA OBSCURA

Here!

COMIC OF THE DAY: Al Ewing and Greg Land’s MIGHTY AVENGERS and the Black White Nick Fury?!


Marvel Comics.

MIGHTYAVN2013001_HitchVar

You know them? They are owned by Disney, they are brother to Marvel Studios that produces those box office shattering movies that have been all the rage for the last several years.

Well Marvel Comics while not the money maker of the film or video division, is the idea-space for those other mediums, and as such has an importance that belies its modest publishing revenue. As such, they are not going any place.

That said they could be doing better. But at every turn the publishing arm seems to be almost antagonistic to their customer base.

Tactics such as over-saturation of the market and expensive cover price of its titles ($4 is way too much to pay for an ad strewn comic with no additional content) translates into the audience (me) making a conscious choice to avoid all their books at best, and limit my consumption to one or two titles at worst.

Enter… THE MIGHTY AVENGERS.

THE MIGHTY AVENGERS by Al Ewing and the criminally castigated and underrated Greg Land is my favorite Marvel Comic, and the only one I purchase monthly.

Now don’t get me wrong there are other Marvel books I like, Aaron’s THOR, Remender’s CAPTAIN AMERICA and UNCANNY AVENGERS, the new MOON KNIGHT and IRON FIST has me interested, and if all those titles were $2.99 rather than $3.99 I would pick them all up. But I really do feel if any company can successfully ‘hold the line at $2.99′[an euphemism for not raising prices]… it is Marvel Comics, and their refusal to do so… is a misplaced arrogance, a belief that the entrenched fan-base will buy the books regardless.

It is a price gouging mentality, and I am proof to the contrary.

Rather than them getting $15 a month from me for five $2.99 comics, they get $3.99 for one comic. That greed, that one dollar extra cover price, has cost them $11 from me, $11 that now gladly goes to Image Comics or Dark Horse Comics.

And more than that, I am now trained to wait. I’ll wait till a Marvel series gets collected and is available at my local library and I’ll read it for free. So yeah Marvel Comics, that $3.99 cover price… here is one concrete case where you have actually lost business because of it. So great job there.

And the one Marvel Comic that I do get, is Ewing and Land’s MIGHTY AVENGERS.

Al Ewing creating a frenetic and pulp-inspired book that every month delivers a satisfying story, and one of the only books on the stands that offers multiple characters of color, treated respectfully (rather than as punch-line’s such as other Marvel Books are doing. Example being ‘Nick Fury’ gate. :).

Movies made workable the character of Nick Fury, by using the popularity of actor Samuel Jackson.

Now Marvel Comics wants to integrate that successful character from the movies with the 1960s comicbook version. So the brilliant way Marvel Comics decides to do that is by labeling the Black Nick Fury as the ‘son’ of the White Nick Fury. Wtf? Really? :).

That’s the direction you’re going? Can you say demeaning, bigoted and stupid? Hey Marvel here’s a solution for you… How about they are both just Nick Fury, with no relationship to each. Nick Fury being a title, like ‘Christopher Chance’ that gets passed to whoever is worthy. Took me two seconds to come up with a better way for both Nick Fury’s to coincide without demeaning and denigrating the Samuel Jackson version.

Who would have thought it would be the movie Marvel Universe that would get it right, and the comic-book Marvel Universe that would increasingly be the disappointment.)

Which is why Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS is such a treat and a surprise. Despite being hamstrung with having to participate in Marvel’s various events (could not be less interested in Marvel’s Crossovers) Al Ewing manages to use the handicap of the crossover as a springboard to tell his own highly imaginative and absorbing tales of werechickens (don’t laugh, it’s pretty cool)and inter-dimensional evils, while at its heart always being a very generational story. A book that is about… Fathers and Sons.

Add to this Greg Land, who has had to suffer the recriminations of people with not a fiftieth of his talent, self styled art ‘critics'(parrots jumping on a bandwagon) who unable to create art, and ignorant even of the process, yet think themselves schooled to heckle their betters.

If you think Greg Land uses ‘porn stars’ for some of his inspiration, I would say two things to you, 1/ who cares and 2/you probably watch way too much porn. :).

Every artist from Jack Kirby to Gene Colan had a little stock/trace file, for poses or buildings or cars or fashion. You know why? Because it is a bloody job and stock photography and images are tools, and drawing, making your deadlines, is a job. And being able to take those inspirations, regardless of where they come from, and craft a functional and beautiful story out of it, takes immense talent. Greg Land is an immense talent, and his work on MIGHTY AVENGERS is drop dead gorgeous, brimming as it is with 70s Indie Black Empowerment images.

mightyavengeers

So from writing to art, there is a one-two energy Ewing and Land have going here, that hopefully will continue for sometime. But when and if MIGHTY AVENGERS goes the way of other Marvel Titles, here’s hoping these guys create a similar creator owned title at Image.

I would love to see Al Ewing creating his own pulp-inspired or sci-fi tinged characters, and Greg Land drawing them. For all the good things Image has, a book with a majority of ethnic characters is not one of those things.

Perhaps it is time there was such a book.

So Marvel for all my bashing on them has to be applauded for THE MIGHTY AVENGERS. But if all involved really want the series to grow, 1/add a letters page and back-matter, 2/focus on stand-alone stories primarily, and 3/making it a $2.99 rather than $3.99 book wouldn’t work.

But other than that a fantastic read, month in and month out.

Oh and Al and Greg, two more suggestions, One/change the preamble that starts the book to be something with a little more import and oomph, and two/ Let Luke Cage take back the name Power Man. It’s a good name, and it’s his.

Thanks for reading and if intrigued by the above you can buy back copies of the Mighty Avengers or the Trades here:

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=24852602&affid=200301p0

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=25358810&affid=200301p0

Enjoy!

What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!

What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!

 

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MARVEL

What is worth buying Monthly: Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS

Buy Here: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=24597149&affid=200301p0

At 3.99 and up, and with stories that don’t lend themselves to satisfying stand-alone monthly reads, Marvel Comics for me have largely priced themselves out of the monthly or periodical business.

The only exception being Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS, the only book by Marvel Comics I seek out on a monthly basis. And even then I pre-order that title so I end up not paying the outrageous $3.99 retail price. And once that title is no longer, I will go back to, happily, getting 0 periodicals from Marvel.

Don’t get me wrong, Marvel has some fantastic writers and artists, from Remender’s UNCANNY AVENGERS to Aaron’s THOR, however at nearly $4 a pop for advertising strewn monthlies, from a company that has the margins of scale to hold the line at 2.99 but simply choose not to, I can’t justify paying $4 and up for their monthly comics. Which you invest all that time in, and the story ends up being derailed by editorial or a weak conclusion. Much better way to sample Marvel, I have found, is to wait till the stories are collected, do your homework by checking the reviews, and using resources like Amazon or your local comic store or library to purchase the collected editions at a sizable discount.

DC

What is worth buying Monthly: ASTRO CITY and GREEN ARROW, and the upcoming GRAYSON has me interested as well! Buy Here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=22331595&affid=200301p0

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=24307845&affid=200301p0

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=25854386&affid=200301p0

Everything I said for Marvel goes for DC, with the exception DC has of late had far fewer creators or titles I’m interested in sampling at all. I think they followed up the initial high of the New 52 with largely a lot of uninspired and direction-less characters and books. Their flagship titles such as JLA, Superman, Batman, due to too many cooks (editorial influence) and over-saturation of the characters across multiple titles, are largely unreadable. However in the titles that are one-offs and left alone in the periphery, such as GREEN ARROW and ASTRO CITY that tell self contained stories with characters that are the singular vision of one creative team, if DC can do more of this they can right their flailing ship. Have 1 JLA title, 1 Green Lantern title, and no more than 2 Batman or Superman titles, but staff them with exciting creative teams, and that lack of confusion right there is a start. Add to that if they have more such titles at the $2.99 price-point, they can attract readers rather than alienating them.

DARK HORSE

What is worth buying Monthly: MIND MGMT, THE MASSIVE, GHOST, DARK HORSE PRESENTS, THE GOON OOR, POP, and SUNDOWNERS

Buy your Copy Here: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=22803281&affid=200301p0

When it comes to the smaller publishers I’m more forgiving in regards to price. They don’t have the scale to set prices as a Marvel and DC do, but still try to provide lower prices, and even when the prices are the same, smaller publishers such as Dark Horse excel in giving you more pages, less ads, extra material, including letters pages, and best of all books that are the unique vision of a distinctive creative team, not typically beholden to company wide editorial events. The books as a whole are more mature, able to offer something more than another reworking of decades old super-hero stories.

Dark Horse makes some of the best hardcovers and collected editions, and recently they have excelled at making some of the best monthly books.

Among them MIND MGMT, THE MASSIVE, GHOST, DARK HORSE PRESENTS, THE GOON OOR, POP, SUNDOWNERS and the recently ended Brian Wood’s STAR WARS. At over half a dozen titles, it for me is clearly a more interesting company with more interesting titles than either Marvel or DC.

IDW

What is worth buying Monthly: WEIRD LOVE
Buy it Here: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=25619219&affid=200301p0

IDW makes great collected editions and art books. I’m less enamored of their monthly titles. One that does get my vote for solid entertainment month in and month out is WEIRD LOVE.

The last company to mention is IMAGE, and I left them for last because they are the best. I get more books from IMAGE than all the other companies combined. In part 2 of this installment we’ll devote it to covering all the great monthly books available from Image.

— to be continued–

 

 

Deal of the Day : Favorite 3D Book ‘ NATIVE AMERICANS & THE WILD WEST IN 3D! ‘!

Deal of the Day : Favorite 3D Book ‘ NATIVE AMERICANS & THE WILD WEST IN 3D! ‘!

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First published in 2009 by Voyageur Press NATIVE AMERICANS & THE WILD WEST IN 3D is part of a short lived but impressive series of 3D titles edited by Greg Dinkins and released by Voyageur.

 

Sporting high production values and smartly designed built in glasses, not the flimsy glasses you think of when you hear 3D, but a high-quality fold out stereoscopic viewing apparatus that is actually built into the front cover, and you have a book that is at once a fascinating historical read and document, while at the same time being a ‘you are there’ thrill ride.

It’s an impressive alchemy of form and function, and that’s why it is today’s DEAL OF THE DAY! use the following link to Get one for yourself and one to give out as a gift. You’ll be glad you did. :)

 

Native Americans & the Wild West in 3D: A Look Back in Time: With Built-in Stereoscope Viewer – Your Glasses to the Past!

Slims vs Comic Books! Diamond Preorders for books shipping July 2014!

The internet has made buying anything, a process far easier than I think we truly grasp. The technological leaps ahead that we have done in a few scant decades, taken for granted, underplayed and underacknowledged by a population seeking to numb itself from its horrors, by conversely meeting with jaded cynicism its wonders.

Reading is likewise much changed in the age of the atom.

This post particularly, concerns itself with reading slims (my name for the product hard-headedly referred to as a comic-book. Hardheadedly because it is neither typically humorous or a book).

The term ‘Slim’ poises it correctly as something periodic and sleek and a bit sexy and just as well suited for grownups as Dvds or books or paintings.

Today’s recommended Slims are:

Slims suffer from a bit of a distribution issue. For the most part you are not going to find them in the spinner racks of convenience stores any longer, nor in the big box superstores of say a Target or Walmart. So while Graphic Novels have never been more popular or influential in our society, the serialzed, periodic form of the Graphic Novel, the Slim, suffers from a visibity issue. They are hidden away for the most part in niche stores, called “direct market comic stores” that our misnomers that will not attract anyone but those already in the know, or nostalgia seekers.

It is an insular inbred model that does not shine its light beyond its own living room, and as such is not new reader friendly. Which is a shame, because as someone who has grown up with this oddest of hobbies and artforms, here in 2014 the width and breadth of story and art of the medium has never been better.

From scifi to mystery to historical drama to horror to humor to instructional to spy thriller, you name a genre and there is a writer, artist producing great work in this medium of Slims, of graphic literature.

That said there is, as in any medium, a lot of garbage out there, particularly in the most visible genre of Slims… the Superhero comic. A genre hampered by monopolistic collusion to the point the very term Super-hero has been jointly trademarked by the colluding companies of Marvel and DC. An idiotic trademark, attempting to own a term as much a part of the cultural venacular as God or myth or justice. But it is the choices of fawning to uncreative monopolistic interests that results in flooding the medium with a lot of noise, a lot of bad books.

The rising popularity of digital gives new options to find books, which is a great thing, however it also increases the odds that the books you come across will be bad, will be the noise rather than the signal.

And with Slims being $2.99 at best and $3.99 on the worse end, you can’t afford to experiment at this price point. This is no longer the day of 25cent comics, so each purchase of $2.99 or $3.99 has to justify itself. The $2.99 or $3.99 has to earn its value against a world rife with options from gaming to streaming to dvds to itunes to traditional books.

Which is why preordering is a pretty fantastic idea. Diamond is the monopoly that distributes Slims. Retailers order from them two months in advance. Customers like you and I preorder from Retailers. The benefit of preordering from your retailer… discounts of typically 35% to 40% off!!! WooHoo! Sign me up! :).

Now that said, that discount only means something if you’re ordering a great book. For a crappy book even getting 99% off is not reason enough to get the book.

So the following are books you can order by the end of May, at a discount, for July shipping. I’ve done the homework for you! :)

MAY140044
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1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 MIND MGMT #1 (O/A)*
MAY140047
*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 STAR WARS (O/A) (C: 1-0-0)*
MAY140048
*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 THE MASSIVE #1 (O/A)*
MAY140050
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1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*GOON OCCASION OF REVENGE #1 (OF 8) *Special Discount*
MAY140010
*
1 @ $1.75 = $1.75*GHOST #6*
MAY140062
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*GREAT PACIFIC #18 (MR)*
MAY140707
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*MANIFEST DESTINY #8*
MAY140712
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*MERCENARY SEA #6*
MAY140713
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #2 (MR)*
MAY140719
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*REVIVAL #22 (MR)*
MAY140723
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*SAGA #21 (MR)*
MAY140726
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*STAR WARS #19 2013 ONGOING (C: 1-0-0)*
MAY140085
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*WALKING DEAD #129 (MR)*
MAY140744
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*SIMPSONS COMICS #213*
MAY141127
*
1 @ $1.94 = $1.94*LOW #1 (MR) *Special Discount*
MAY140566
*
1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*RAGNAROK #1 *Special Discount*
MAY140444
*
1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*USAGI YOJIMBO COLOR SPECIAL ARTIST ONE-SHOT *Special
Discount*
MAY140055
*
1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #87 (MR)*
MAY141233
*
1 @ $2.07 = $2.07*BLACK SCIENCE #7 (MR)*
MAY140696
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*LAZARUS #10 (MR)*
MAY140709
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*MANHATTAN PROJECTS #22*
MAY140711
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*MASSIVE #25*
MAY140071
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*SKULLKICKERS #29*
MAY140730
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*SOUTHERN BASTARDS #4 (MR)*
MAY140731
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*STRAY BULLETS THE KILLERS #5 (MR)*
MAY140734
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*HALLOWEEN EVE ONE SHOT CVR A (O/A)*
MAY140640
*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*MIGHTY AVENGERS #12*
MAY140795
*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*MIND MGMT #24*
MAY140070
*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*BEAUTIFUL WAR #2*
MAY140447
*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*CALIBAN #4 WRAP CVR (MR)*
MAY141073
*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*SIMPSONS ILLUSTRATED #12*
MAY141129
*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*WEIRD LOVE #2*
MAY140541
*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*ENORMOUS #2 CVR A CHEGGOUR*
MAY141626
*
1 @ $2.79 = $2.79*TUKI SAVE THE HUMANS #1*
MAY141240
*
1 @ $2.79 = $2.79*BLACK KISS 2 XXXMAS IN JULY SPECIAL ONE SHOT (MR) (C:
1-0-0)*
MAY140601
*
Go here to order : http://www.dcbservice.com/
Tell em HT sent ya!

Deal of the Day : ANOMALY


DEAL OF THE DAY:
Anomaly-Main-Logo

Anomaly-Buy
The ANOMALY Hardcover is touted as something new under the graphic novel sun, in terms of scale and scope.

At over 7lbs,and nearly 17″ wide by 12″ tall and 370pages… this tale by co-creators Skipp Brittenham and Brian Haberlin that is equal parts STARSHIP TROOPERS meets BLADE RUNNER meets AVATAR lives up to its impressiveness and hype.

In a world racing toward digital, it shows in its tactile art object glory, why print will always have its audience. There is a wow factor with interacting and touching, and even smelling a well designed art book, that can not be replaced or replicated by a tablet or laptop. Don’t get me wrong, digital has is strengths, and ANOMALY using built in AR codes in the book, and a website, makes digital and tablets and phones part of the conversation if you so choose.

Cover1

But ANOMALY, the book, remains a wonderful experience whether or not you have a signal, or your device has power, which is the strength of the ancient technology of books. It is self sufficient, and does not suffer the obsolescence most technology falls victim to.

I have books from the 1950s and you can hand those books to anyone who can read… and the magic in those books can be consumed with no problem nor external player needed. That cannot be said of most technologies since. Most people can no longer play 8track tapes or laser-discs or records or video tapes or even cds. All of which are mediums far newer than my book of the 1950s however far more temporary based on their dependence on a player to translate the storage medium. A book in that way remains superior technology, being both a storage medium and a player.

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And the rate of technological obsolescence is speeding up, as companies hurriedly race to produce the next thing to get you to re-buy what you just bought, but in a new format. More than likely in less than 10years, your huge collection of mp3s will be as useful (and as used) as real audio files. And no doubt your Blu-rays and certainly your DVDs will (as the players break, and the market stops producing new content and new players) go the way of the Laser-disc, as a format that time, for good or ill, has passed by.

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However, books such as ANOMALY, the ancient technology, will remain accessible and valued. Indeed ever more valued as tangible items, and physical quality, become ever more a cost, publishers and manufacturers are unwilling to undergo.

At $75 retail, it is not cheap by any definition, but neither is it overpriced. And to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Henry the Vth, “if you wear it, it will only wear better and better over time’. Add to that Amazon has it at a substantial discount, and you have today’s DEAL OF THE DAY. Details here:

Anomaly : Price your copy here!

If you appreciate this post, and agree this installment’s DEAL OF THE DAY is for you please use the link above to purchase it. You’ll get a great item and this blog will earn a couple pennies to keep the proverbial doors open, and keep bringing you more DEALS OF THE DAY posts. It’s a win/win! :)

Image of the Day : Venerable Benin Ivory Bracelet! Priceless!!

bracelet

bracelet2

What remains of pillaged cultures. The art and beauty and brilliance, that remains only in the pieces of art to survive colonialism. Beauty remains.