Movie News: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is it worth seeing in 3D?

Marvel Studios 10th feature film, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, is breaking on American shores this weekend, and the decision people have to make is… ‘is it worth seeing in theaters and more specifically, is it worth seeing in 3D?’

Well, dealing with the broader questions first, whether or not you are a fan of the Marvel Movies, you really have to tip your cap to Kevin Feige and the whole Marvel Studios machine for really doing what seemed if not impossible, highly farfetched; namely creating a critically and commercially successful movie empire based on the shared universe approach of comic books.

It, in many ways, is the return of serial movies, the type popular in the 1930s and 1940s, but done on a massive scale, undreamed of by those low budget quickies of yesteryear.

And Marvel Studios films have managed to be not only popular, but entertaining, sometimes impressively so. I would list their movies from best to worst as:



And now their 10th film, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, is poised to carve out their place on the above list. I find myself largely uninterested in the film. Nothing about the premise, the characters, or the one trailer I’ve seen intrigues me at all. Add to that they have an unimpressive ‘Before the Window’ 3D rating from CINEMA BLEND, like all previous Marvel Movies, and it is no incentive to see this in 3D.

But what does stand out in opposition to all that disinterest is the director, James Gunn. James Gunn like many of the directors Marvel picks, lacks any pedigree in the action or blockbuster genre, but like other directors chosen, they have a personality to the films they have directed, and a way with actors and characters, they have glimmerings of potential.

I enjoyed James Gunn’s SLITHER and I do think Marvel Studios helmed by Kevin Feige have been nothing short of phenomenal in picking talent both in front of and behind the camera. For all the heat their choices engender prior to the film, their unconventional choices have proven movie after movie, to be great.

And it is hard to argue with great. I have no interest in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY as a concept or as characters, but I am interested in seeing James Gunn do a big, fun, space hopping action picture.

So verdict: I’ll catch GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on a matinee, or 2nd run, without 3D

Hopes this helps anyone on the fence, and feel free to chime in with your opinions. ENJOY!


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

Marvel Comics.


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.


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.


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:


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!




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

Buy Here:

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.


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

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.



Buy your Copy Here:

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.


What is worth buying Monthly: WEIRD LOVE
Buy it Here:

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–




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! 🙂

1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 MIND MGMT #1 (O/A)*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 STAR WARS (O/A) (C: 1-0-0)*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 THE MASSIVE #1 (O/A)*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*GOON OCCASION OF REVENGE #1 (OF 8) *Special Discount*
1 @ $1.75 = $1.75*GHOST #6*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*GREAT PACIFIC #18 (MR)*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*MANIFEST DESTINY #8*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*MERCENARY SEA #6*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #2 (MR)*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*REVIVAL #22 (MR)*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*SAGA #21 (MR)*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*STAR WARS #19 2013 ONGOING (C: 1-0-0)*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*WALKING DEAD #129 (MR)*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*SIMPSONS COMICS #213*
1 @ $1.94 = $1.94*LOW #1 (MR) *Special Discount*
1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*RAGNAROK #1 *Special Discount*
1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #87 (MR)*
1 @ $2.07 = $2.07*BLACK SCIENCE #7 (MR)*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*LAZARUS #10 (MR)*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*MANHATTAN PROJECTS #22*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*MASSIVE #25*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*SKULLKICKERS #29*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*SOUTHERN BASTARDS #4 (MR)*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*STRAY BULLETS THE KILLERS #5 (MR)*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*HALLOWEEN EVE ONE SHOT CVR A (O/A)*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*MIGHTY AVENGERS #12*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*MIND MGMT #24*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*BEAUTIFUL WAR #2*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*CALIBAN #4 WRAP CVR (MR)*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*SIMPSONS ILLUSTRATED #12*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*WEIRD LOVE #2*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*ENORMOUS #2 CVR A CHEGGOUR*
1 @ $2.79 = $2.79*TUKI SAVE THE HUMANS #1*
Go here to order :
Tell em HT sent ya!


Podcast of the Day : A Black Fantastic Four?!? FLAME-ON!

PODCAST OF THE DAY : House To Astonish 120 – Nice discussion of comic and movie news. A Black actor playing one of the Fantastic Four in the upcoming movie? FLAME-ON! :).

Possibly not the choice that would have come to me, but the actor, script, and director will determine if its a great, inspired idea, or a mediocre one. I give them the benefit of the doubt. Idris Elba in Thor was a great decision, as was Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury, so this could be a great idea too.

Listen HERE!



ALL NEW X-MEN VOL 2 HERE TO STAY – Collecting issues 6 to 10 of the series this is an interesting and fun premise for a miniseries, namely have the X-men of the past interact with the present. However for a series, it is a gimmick, an in-joke, that runs the risk of staying around too long, and outliving its sell by date. For the moment Marquez and Immonen art keeps it interesting, but already the premise is getting to feel belabored.

UNCANNY X-MEN VOL 1 REVOLUTION – Collecting issues 1 to 5 of the series the pluses are a strong, witty and fun script by Brian Michael Bendis, and some gorgeous art by Chris Bacchalo. The weaknesses are the layouts can be lost under muddy finishing/coloring, and a tendency, unsatisfying tendency, to end the very slight collections on a cliffhanger. It is a weakness that both volumes share.

Add to that the outrageous price of $24.99 for only 5 issues ($5 an issue!!!), a hundred thirty plus pages of story and the absence of a complete, standalone story becomes even more insulting.

It is a very petty and miserly and obscene ‘bleed your audience’ policy that Marvel has undertaken here, that does not deserve to be rewarded by purchasing these overpriced volumes. That said, I do feel the writing in these volumes is fun and entertaining and action-packed and worthy of a read if not a buy.

Just be aware that the cliffhanger ending, appropriate for a $3 monthly serialized comic, is wholly inappropriate for an overpriced $25 collected edition ; that you should be able to enjoy on its own without waiting months for the next volume.

GRADE : B-. Until the ending I was enjoying both volumes, but without an ending the volumes are very much like a great parallel bar routine where the athlete fails to stick the landing. Pretty, but ultimately disappointing and forgettable.

And add that exorbitant price point of $25 for 5 issues of material (and yes I realize the trade can be had for a little bit cheaper, but that is still overpriced as well) and it becomes a case of look, do not buy.

Borrow or rent these puppies for a quick read, then move onto something else, that you would not have any problems paying retail for; something you would not mind proudly adding to your bookshelf such as BATWOMAN VOL 1 HYDROLOGY. A book that I have also recently read.


DC publishing (the other big comic book company besides Marvel) has their own problems, however producing satisfying collections is generally not one of them.

DC hardcover collections, offer an issue more and two dollars less retail, and offer a contained story, something that Marvel’s new publishing initiative MARVEL NOW may want to take note of.

Marvel writers generally are currently doing good work (far better than their esteemed competition that with few exceptions is self-destructing due to editorial hubris), so to have that sabotaged by ghetto collections… possibly not the route Marvel wants to go.

To try the books and decide for yourself or to hunt them down for less than retail use the below links and this blog earns a couple pennies. If I’ve helped turn you on to something you would have otherwise missed (BATWOMAN HYDROLOGY is a must have for any art lover’s collection. It is exquisite), then please use the links below. Thanks:

All-New X-Men, Vol. 2: Here to Stay

Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1: Revolution

Batwoman Vol. 1: Hydrology (The New 52)

Batwoman: Elegy


Image of the Day : As if from a Great Height


Images from the stunning Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America located on 45+ acres in Washington, DC. One of the areas hidden gems, even people who have lived their whole lives on the east coast tend to be unaware of this historic and spiritual architectural gem.

The mission and mandate of the monastery was to recreate the moments and places of Christ’s life in the Americas, to be a pilgrimage to the Holy Land recreated in the new land; and as such its importance is at once regional, national, and international, and undeniably spiritual regardless of your religion.

The guided tours, taught by informative (and in our case) witty guides are just a must to attend when in the area, as are the rolling and beautiful grounds that cover over 45 acres. It is more to see then you can take in on any one trip, but what you do take in on that one trip… will stay with you.

IMAG1498 IMAG1485 IMAG1528