Buy these issues here:
Buy these issues here:
If you are not watching Youtube channel COMICTOM101, and are a fan of this niche hobby called comic/comic books, you may want to start.
Like I mentioned in previous posts I find myself watching Youtube channels courtesy of streaming platforms like Roku or Amazon Fire, more than I watch regular broadcast or cable programming. And while I watch a variety of topics and channels, from nature shows to woodworking to short films to cooking shows, the number one tyoe of channels I watch is the comic related ones.
This week’s 15 best channels, have changed a tad from my previous posting.
A mainstay WE LOVE COMICS, that has some good advice and tips on his channel, has been bumped because of his antics in PGXgate. As a channel that goes out of his way to speak about integrity, I think his very selective defense of his sponsor PGX is suspect. As is his silence on the subject in light of the questions COMICTOM101 brings to light.
PGX is a certification company that has been involved in suspect story, after suspect story, from (per Bleeding Cool) certifying fradulent copies of Walking Dead as a rare collectible, to the well known grading issue stories, to the most recent claim of an ex-employee, of plans by the company to sell graded comics under a shill account.
It is that last story, that any user of PGX would be concerned about, that WE LOVE COMICS completely failed to address when bringing into question the claims, of a ‘possibly disgruntled’ employee.
Especially when WE LOVE COMICS goes out of his way to say he talks to the owner over the phone, and not to address that issue and other issues, such as the WALKING DEAD fiasco, has to call into question any claims of impartiality.
And look, I don’t really have a dog in the certification fight.
While a long time comic book fan, I’ve always looked at slabbing of books (encasing them in plastic once graded) very skeptically, regardless of the company.
Only this year, 2018, have I really decided that for me, for select books that I already have in either a collected or reprint format, that having the original issue of a select, upwardly mobile, original bronze or silver or golden age comic, can be a smart addition to a long term collection or investment.
I still think slabbing modern day comics is suspect at best. But that is an argument for another day,
Anyhow, So from 0 certified comics at the beginning of 2018, I now have 10 of them. So still a very modest graded collection. Nine CGC titles and 1 CBCS title.
I went with CGC because of its long standing history, and the fact that the books are easily bought and sold on Ebay and other channels. Also because of their reputation.
Because especially when it comes to trusting someone to grade your comics, reputation is everything. CGC is not perfect, it has issues, as does CBCS. I prefer to just buy already certified books, than goes through the delay and cost of sending my own books in. A smart shopper can get a slabbed book at a very affordable price on the secondary market.
I’ve bought a total of eleven books, one I had to return for a refund, for obvious pressing issues visible from outside of the slabbed book. Pressing is another practice I have issues with, as it damages the comic long term, to get it to get a higher grade in the short term. That is also an argument for another day.
Back on track, the ten books i have that are graded with none of the books costing me over a $110 in already certified condition, is not a bad deal at all.
Now, the one company I actually sent books to, via a convention was CBCS, and I ended up canceling that order, because of the delay time, and was charged $28 to get my books back, and received one of them back water damaged. Possibly not innocently so.
And again I researched all 3 of the certifying companies, CGC, CBCS, and PGX, not content to listen to just rumors.
But yes from personal experience I have no plans to go through the hassle of getting anything certified via CBCS. If i get it via the secondary market fine, but me dealing with that process, not so much.
PGX from research one, had a lot of shady stories attached to their name, but they were older stories. That maybe you could chalk up to growing pains. But years into their business model and new stories of concern pop up to add to the existing story.
I recently just came across the Walking Dead story, and to follow that up with these pretty damning accusations of a ‘let go’ employee, is cause for questions. Especially when you see the questions the company should be answering they are avoiding.And i saw that video from WE LOVE COMICS where he did hint at drug use being the reason a PGX employee was let go.
And for WE LOVE COMIS and PGX to now backtrack from that when called on it by COMICTOM101, does not fill one with confidence in either the company PGX, or their ‘impartial’ spokesperson WE LOVE COMICS.
Based on CoMICTOM101’s great reporting, for me the PGX question is answered in regards to the question of whether graded items from them should be avoided.
Now can they right the ship? Absolutely.. But it would seem it would need to be an overhaul and transparency from top to bottom. With the leadership paying to staff the company with recognized and respected graders. Once that A team of great vetted graders is in place, and an established perhaps third party inspection of their grading and database process is in place, you do the hard part of restoring your name. You own up to perhaps not doing it right in the first place, and not planning it right in the present. But a willingness to correct it in the future. To own up to any incidents that could be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an attempt to scam people. If the employee in question who was let go was correct, hire him (or them, since it sounds like it was more than one let go) back.
And the number one thing you to to restore your reputation, and this is going to hurt, you offer a recall and free regrading of every PGX book out there in the wild. Yes it is expensive, yes it is going to require real graders, yes you are going to put yourself in the red in the short term. And yes it is absolutely the right thing to do, to restore customer confidence.
Do i expect PGX to do that? Based on their history, absolutely not. I expect them to continue doing what they have been, making income where they can, however given the prevalence and the increasing number of negative stories around PGX’s name, it is not a path I see as sustainable for them.
I, to speak for myself, as i said the verdict is in. I’ll not be buying any PGX books or their sertification process. And I find any channel that advertises sending your books to PGX without addressing the issues, is not impartial, and has to be viewed as a paid commercial for the company, rather than anyone with any real concern for the comic book community.
I would like to be wrong in that assumption, but given how the ground currently lays, I do not see it.
That’s all for now, and come back tomorrow for my installment on this week’s recommendations of the TOP 15 Youtube Comic Book Channels!
G.I. JOE RETALIATION- A good, if flawed popcorn flick. A brisk running time, and strong action sequences makes up for haphazard plot, script, and largely half baked performances.
Not giving you time to ponder too long the film’s shortcomings (the whole Storm Shadow and RZA subplot is so under-written/poorly written it seems almost to belong to a different, unfinished movie) is a definite strength of this film. Taken at speed, and not too seriously, it’s a fun and at times adrenalin inducing 90minutes, and one of the few films to do a good job of utilizing REAL 3D.
Usually not a fan of 3D, however this time a combination of good theater, and I think a well converted 3D film, makes for a film that is fun to see in 3D, rather than a chore. Dwayne Johnson largely carries the film, being the most likeable and engaging actor in the movie. GRADE: B! Enjoy!
First some sights of us gassing up and on the road to Philly:
So finally done with the “hard-traveling” heroes bit (i.e. the road trip pics), and I already told you about getting to the con itself, and the lines… so we can get to the meat and potatoes…onto the interviews!!!
One of the first creators I ran into at the convention, was the LOADED BARREL Studios table, which was nicely located near the entrance. Their comic, BRIELLE AND THE HORROR, was one of the first comics I picked up, and was one of the first creators I interviewed at my first convention back in 2007. (that’s a lot of firsts :))
So it was a bit appropriate after being off the convention circuit for just about five years, that the first people I should run into should be LOADED BARREL studios. Kudos to the young lady who called us over, or I would have no doubt walked past obliviously. I reviewed their first issue, on this blog years ago and was quite impressed by it. I’m a fan of photo-manipulated comics, and have never seen it done as well as the team of Jared Barel, Jordan Barel, and Alex Goz do it.
So it’s good to know they have since finished BRIELLE AND THE HORROR, and have a new series THE GREY out as a graphic novel. Definitely looking forward to picking it up and you should be too. It doesn’t appear to be available on Amazon yet but you can order it here. I’m looking forward to what the future brings for this company.
Next up, after some meandering and wandering, I talked to the gang at POWER COMIX with their new kids comic SAGA OF THE POWER HEROES. Following up on that, Spoke to Jim Demonakos of the band KIRBY KRACKLE, and listened to his latest CD.
This was Jim’s first show at Wizard World Philly, and I thought the portable players/listening section he had setup was a nice touch. However being the founder of his own quite successful convention, Emerald City Comic Con, as well as a successful band, Jim is no stranger to conventions or great ideas. The music of Kirby Krackle being proof on both fronts, and comes recommended. You can sample the music and get your CD here.
On the video front, I met Ryan Cole, the cinematographer and Joe Parascand, who plays Sheriff Tom, one of the stars of the film MARY HORROR. Again a nice setup, with a multi-display arrangement to showcase their horror film. A horror film you can find out more about at MARY HORROR.
My next interview at the con was Artist/co-creator Frankie B. Washington of the quite impressive web-comic ROBOT GOD AKAMATSU. The series done with writer co-creator James Biggie is a nice take on the Giant Robot genre that I haven’t seen before, and highlighted by great visuals, going by his gray-scale drawings.
With movement toward animation and merchandising, this is a series and a creative team to watch. And you can do so here! (One word regarding the site, the artwork there is colored a little dark, maybe even a bit muddy, so you lose the sense of the great line work and gray-scale artwork that they had on display at the convention. So my only caveat to the creators would be think about showcasing their linework/gray-scale art a bit more on the site or work on tweaking the coloring, as I feel the artist’s work gets completely gutted by the current coloring process. Other than that, well worth a look.)
One of the other interviews of the day, and one of my few purchases was from Shawn Alleyne’s PYROGLYPHICS Studios. PYROGLYPHICS consists of creators Joseph Currie, Koran Curtis, Stanley Weaver, Charlie Goubile, James Mason and the aforementioned Shawn Alleyne and together they’ve just launched a title called STREET TEAM. Highlighted by simply gorgeous art, their post-modern comic is equal parts martial arts, manga/anime tinged, masked heroes, video-games and good old fashioned action. Toss in they also offered a special that included two huge prints, magnets, and postcards, and it was an easy buy.
Now the comic looks like it may just be a one-shot and a spring board for the video game, but I hope not. I hope we can look forward to quarterly or annual issues of STREET TEAM. Well to get your copies of STREET TEAM and find out more go bug Mr. Alleyne himself here or the Street Team crew here.
I also had the chance to meet the talented husband and wife duo of Jerry and Penelope Gaylord. They have very distinct styles to one another, but very complimentary and very good. See for yourself at IDENTITY COMICS! Tell ’em HT sent ya!
One of the joys for me of going to these shows is discovering a talent, an artist I was unaware of. So it’s with great pleasure that I came across the artwork of Laura Guzzo (kudos to her friend, Michael I think, who did a great job promoting her and singing her praises). Not only is she an ASTOUNDING artist, but her print prices are ridiculously reasonable.
You need to run, don’t walk to her website (well considering this is the web you don’t have to walk or run, try clicking here :)) and see her great artwork and purchase some at her Etsy store. She’s definitely going to be working for the big comic companies in no-time. Specifically she has an interesting and unique vision, that would make her a strong cover artist. I look forward to seeing her upcoming work.
Well kids, that’s a wrap for this installment. All in all a fun convention, and I hope I’ve pointed you to some talent to familiarize yourself with. And if I do help turn you on to some new talent, just let them know that Heroic Times sent ya! 🙂
Thanks again for visiting and I’ll leave you with a couple pictures from the con, most notably the Philly version of Black Widow,, which I have to tell you… is a pretty awesome version. Grrrowwlll. 🙂
In closing huge kudos to Jerry Milani of Wizard World for a fantastically well publicized, and well organized show!
And lest I forget, for anyone who I didn’t cover, please chalk that up to my head and not my heart, more than likely I didn’t have your complete contact info when time came to put this together. Just leave me a comment here, or email me if I gave you one of my business cards and we’ll get that corrected asap.
Thanks to everyone who made the show a great time for all involved! That’s all folks, go out there and be good to each other.
Where what I review isn't new
“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.” - E. Gilbert
Run by a film fan who loves to write, talk and promote filmmakers
Cult, classic and crazy movies you must see, might see and maybe miss