Why Marvel Studios is Successful and Marvel Comics is Suffering! The Last word on Diversity!

Marvel Studios under the brilliant leadership of Kevin Feige has become an unparalleled success because of amazing producers, writers, directors, casting agents, and actors, who take material made often for a juvenile audience and made it work for an adult and non-comics audience, while also satisfying comic die-hards like myself.

And as movies from the 1st film (IRON MAN) to the 18th film (BLACK PANTHER) show, the reason for this is Kevin Feige’s willingness to embrace Diversity. Diversity is not just the makeup of America, contrary to the Trumpian and XM hate radio mob  who who would preach dissension. and hate, it is the makeup of the world. And when you stop running and hiding and sticking your head in the sand, trying to wind back the clock to a Jim Crow America, you realize it is also the makeup to success.

Marvel Comics however has floundered for decades now and continues to flounder with diminishing sales. And while the vocal minority of morons and closet Nazis and talk show radio supporters would blame diversity.

The truth, that common sense and reason would tell you is, appealing only to existing readership has led to a diminishing readership, that can barely get a hundred thousand people, to buy even their most popular book. The people who grew up in the news-stand and comicshop and subscription model of comics,, is an aging and diminishing audience. We are picking up new readers, in large part due to the diversity initiatives and book store and libraries, MS MARVEL and MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR being some of Marvel’s biggest books in collected format. Doing HUGE in Libraries. However while we are picking up new readers in book format, the periodical format continues to lose across the board, for all comics Marvel is producing, whether they put a White, Black, Asian or other character in the comics, and I would argue Marvel is making quality comics across the board, what they suffer from is pricing.

They have in an age of growing options for entertainment dollars, with options of tv, streaming, video games, virtual, and regular books and magazines, priced themselves out of the market. $4 retail for a 20 page comic, that typically is filled with ads and does not give you a full story… it is for most of us an insupportable expense.

Even Die-hards like me have to pick and choose, and generally speaking, the choice is to not support Marvel in the monthly format, not at their $4 and up retail price point. I have not bought a Marvel Comics in years, only their recent diversity push, a good thing rather than the curse word Rush Limbaugh morons would make it, when they finally had Black writers and artists on staff, got me to buy their monthly books again.

I’m speaking of BLACK PANTHER and the short lived POWER MAN AND IRON FIST which was a relatively self-contained title, by dream creative team of David Walker and Sanford Greene. But I stopped getting it when Marvel decided to try to screw with the success of that book by making it into three books. Trying to over-milk their audience. With BLACK PANTHER they quickly started additional titles and crossovers that you had to get to get the whole story. Better and cheaper to just get the collected edition. And when Power Man and Ironfist ended, so did my buying Marvel Comics.

So Marvel’s floundering sales, is a relatively steady study in decline, and has notching to do with diversity. That they have not floundered more is due to their talented and diverse creators and characters. If someone on Youtube or a blog or the media is blaming diversity, you are dealing with an idiot and a bigot and a liar. And you should unsubscribe from their channel and or feed, because stupid people are a waste of time.

Diversity is not Marvel Comics problem. Their problem #1 is pricing. $4 they charge per issue, or $3.99 as they like to call it, you have gone past the threshold the market will bear, or that even your die-hard already converted audience. Particularly when in comparison to other publishers who give you more for that same $4. Other publishers give you less obtrusive ads, letters pages, back matter. And some like CHAPTER HOUSE comics and even DC COMICS (prior to Bendis, hopefully Bendis doesn’t support the same price hike that he supported at Marvel) realize that $2.99 retail is the breaking point for comic book adoption and growth.

Marvel Comics is also big enough that they can support a price of $2.99 retail for their comics. That would take care of their major problem. their second problem,relying on Diamond totally for their periodical distribution. Marvel used to offer mail order subscriptions at a nice discount, that’s how I got some of my books, you would use the ad in the magazine and subscribe to get your comics in the mail. I loved this model as a kid. I used it in addition to the comic book stores.  I think it is a great model unfamiliar with dealing with the Diamond pre-order model. And the third and most important thing, if a title is successful as a single, standalone title, don’t break it by being greedy and stupid. See previous comment on POWERMAN AND IRON FIST.

All those three points come down to Marvel Comics being better managed and better run, if not, no amount of crossovers or character changes or fabricate storyline outrage, will correct Marvel Comics dwindling sales.


Here endeth the Diversity Discussion.




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: 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.


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: 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.


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–



Graphic Novel Review : Hickman and Pitarra’s MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2!


“The World has rules, created by those who consider themselves above them. So we became radicals, who accepted neither.” — Jonathan Hickman’s THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2

THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2- I find writer Jonathan Hickman’s work very hit and miss. Quite frankly more miss than hit, while always filled with elaborate and imaginative ideas, his work generally lacks an emotional quotient, an emotional core, to make it worth reading.

His writing then becomes simple extrapolations of the head, that lack heart. Cold and off-putting works. I find this of almost all of his mainstream work that I have tried, SECRET AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR, his current AVENGERS work I find unreadable dreck, with nothing to keep anyone emotionally interested or invested.

His Indie work can be likewise a gamble. Volume 1 of his Image series THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS was okay, if unremarkable. However I’m glad to say Volume 2 is much better, as Hickman is finally starting to pull taut the threads of his story.

The art by Nick Pitarra does a lot of the heavy lifting, with fun sight gags and panels that makes this far more entertaining than arguably the words or script alone would convey. I point you to the panel of the oval office orgy (say that three times fast 🙂 )for proof of that.

So lifted up on Pitarra’s visuals Hickman’s MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2 is finally starting to hit its stride. And while Volume 1 is okay to read, it is not necessary, you could just pick up Volume 2, as it brings you up to speed pretty quickly. Grade: B. Worth a Purchase.

The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 2 – Price your copy here

A choice of Romney or Obama means the American People Lose

Here’s the thing.

The lesser of two evils, is still evil.

I voted for Obama four years ago, though his voting record in Congress, and the big-business backers to his presidential campaign, raised serious questions for me, whether his deeds as president would live up to his words.

Four years later we can see they have not.

Those eloquent speeches, riding into the office on the quotes of men who fought for civil liberties, have been lost in a presidency that has seen sweeping expansion of state powers and infiltration of big-business interests at the expense of civil liberties and the citizenry.

We live in a ratcheted up cointel-pro state.

Ah, yes… you don’t know that term.

It’s used sparingly these days. It’s a doctrine, it’s a doctrine, and a plan of action… for keeping things the same. It’s in many ways just a retrofitting of the doctrine of manifest destiny.

It is a doctrine that has been used in this country that consists of the state sanctioned murder of movements contrary to the status quo, be those movements the Native American or the Black Consciousness movements of the 60s or Move in the 80s

(MOVE? You don’t know the name… Ahh— I forget how little of the world the press let’s anyone see these days.

MOVE was people wanting to live, their way, in the cradle of Liberty, the city of Love, and finding themselves in the way of interests…virulent.

It’s my 9-11.

Philadelphia Mayor requested it, the bombing, and the Pennsylvania Governor ordered the dropping of a bomb, in the heart of the city, on American citizens, to settle an issue of homesteading, gentrification, and because he didn’t like the way they lived.

Look it up.

Take a few minutes away from playing Angry Birds, and you will find a story… to make a right man wrong.

The tax-dollar paid bomb killed men, women, and children. We dropped a bomb in the heart of an American city, and not a station mentioned it.

Welcome to the war.

And yet there were survivors.

Surviving is what we do.

And they had the survivors incarcerated… for having the temerity to have survived. They are still 30 years later, incarcerated, unwanted truths… locked away.

It was the story that a young reporter called Mumia was covering, before he was shot down by Philadelphia police bullets, and thrown on Death Row for not having the good manners… to have died quietly.

That… is MOVE. That is a story of a great wrong, and it waits… to be righted.)

or the Branch Davidians in the 90s (a multi-racial, an multi-ethnic group, whose massacre at Waco has been coopted by militant and hate groups that share none of the interests of the Davidians).

And that increase in surveillance, control, and punishment of citizens for exercising their rights as citizens, that cointel-pro that has seen the massacring of American citizens and American Liberties for years, has received a new rubber stamp approval by Obama. He has signed and trumpeted every erosion of civil liberties put in from of him in the last four years.

His presidency in effect has been in many ways a continuation and mirroring of the Bush years, which is not surprising considering the backers are the same.

What I’m saying is I voted for the lesser of evils 4 years ago, hoping the words and the promises were the man.

They were not.

They were just rhetoric. Having watched his administration, two things have become clear to me…both Democrats and Republicans are not about the issues, they are about the tribalism.

I say that because in ways deep and true Obama’s presidency has been a staunch ‘conservative republican pro-big business, anti-civil liberties, pro-corporate welfare anti-citizen’s welfare’ presidency.

So people, conservatives who defended Bush’s presidency, should have for the past four years been defending Obama. And liberals, who berated and opposed Bush’s presidency should have been equally vocal in their opposition to Obama.

But oddly enough that’s not what happened. And it’s because it’s not the issues staunch do-or-die Republicans or Democrats, and much of the press care about, it is the football game. It is cheering for your colors, right or wrong.

And that way, that tribalism, that excuses wrong if it is done by your team, and hates right if it is done by the other team… has no place in a sane world. Which is obvious by looking at our world.

You have to be able to call wrong, wrong, regardless of the color it wears. And you have to be able to call right, right, regardless of the team it is on.

At the end of the day, such pointed tribalism, is the height of irrationality and the height of self destruction.

I voted for Obama four years ago, because he was the lesser of two evils, and I hoped he would live up to his pretty speeches and his word. He did not.

Romney and Obama are backed by the same corporate interests, they are a rigged game, spouting diatribes on inanities at each other, but on the real choices, “do I send troops to kill here”, “do I leave Gasoline companies untaxed”, “do I offset mounting debt by instituting a flat mandatory tax on business generating revenue in the US”, “do we punish companies for off-shoring, and H1visas, and not hiring domestically”, in the serious things where it is about the rights of big business to rape the American people… Obama and Romney are in complete agreement, they are (bs stances on homosexuality aside) kissing cousins. 🙂

They will do whatever they are told to do.

So no, I won’t be choosing between the lesser of two evils this year. I’ll vote for someone else, an Independent I like, or a write in candidate.

And yes, yes, I know the argument that a vote not for a front runner is a wasted vote.

That argument never held water with me. All a man has is one vote, and the granting of that vote, if it takes the will of other men into consideration, the will of the majority, how then is it his vote?

Let 300 million Americans vote for the same person, the popular candidate, and I will alone spend my one vote on the candidate I believe in. And if he wins not, then he wins not, but he will not lose for my absence.

Let the records at the end of days show that, while all the lions or hyenas roared in unison, that the son of David followed not the sure thing… but pursued even onto defeat… the right thing.

So what candidates am I toying with currently…

Well I’m sure the landscape has more changing to do between now and November, but I’m intrigued by:

Stewart Alexander


Gary Johnson

As far as write-in candidates, I like big name stars who go out there fighting for the little guy and aren’t above getting arrested doing so. 🙂 .

So a write in ticket of George Clooney and Danny Glover, I think would be pretty damn awesome. Neither one being a stranger to international affairs, and really after Bush II, it’s obvious that a real deep understanding of just about anything isn’t necessary to be president. :).

So yeah those are the names I’m researching now, for a list of all 2012 candidates, go here:

Presidential Candidates 2012

And I guess I’ll leave you with a quote, that seems to have value in these valueless times:

“A warrior must focus his attention
on the link between himself and his death.
Without remorse or sadness or worrying,
he must focus his attention on the fact
that he does not have time
and let his acts flow accordingly.
He must let each of his acts
be his last battle on earth.

Only under those conditions
will his acts
have their rightful power.
Otherwise they will be,
for as long as he lives,
the acts of a fool.”

—Don Juan as quoted by Carlos Casteneda



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BEST COMIC BOOK COVERS OF 2011! The Remaining Parts!

“These people are like family to me. It has not been easy for anybody. Let me put it that way: It was like a death in the family. Only I was the dead guy. I felt like William Holden, face down in the swimming pool, narrating this thing.”– Frank Darabont on his departure from WALKING DEAD

Okay we’re wrapping this puppy up of the best Comic book covers of 2011. This covers the rest of the year not covered in the first part of this Article.

Okay onto the fun!

John Tyler Christopher for Annihilators: Earthfall #1

Steve McNiven for Captain America #1,3- Steven McNiven in addition to interior work, did several covers. These two were head and shoulders above all the rest of his covers for 2011. They differentiate themselves, particularly #1 by being very memorable. A great cover notable by distilling an entire issue into one image. A great cover is something iconic. CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 is a poster waiting to happen.

Sean Phillips for all four of the CRIMINAL LAST OF THE INNOCENT and select INCOGNITO covers. I didn’t care for some of his INCOGNITO covers in 2011, I think both as concept and covers INCOGNITO never quite gelled into having an identity. Whereas with CRIMINAL LAST OF THE INNOCENTS (as well as the other story-lines) the covers just scream creativity and read me. Great stuff.

JH Williams III knocks it out with his cover for BATWOMAN #1.

Kalman Andrasofszky for X-23 #14. I have no interest in this character or this book, but that is just a fun cover.

Esad Ribic did a lot of covers for 2011, but his covers tend to be too static for my liking. They fail to make me interested. Two exceptions, that made this list being X-FORCE #4 and #13.

Gabriele Dell’Otto gives a very intriguing cover to VENGEANCE #1. And Joe Casey seems to have an intriguing story to tell, but I couldn’t get past the very bland interior art by, to me, an unknown. But Dell’Otto’s cover did the job, it had me interested in buying the book. However the interior art quickly unsold me.

Sean Murphy for American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1.

Jae Lee offers a great cover for Wolverine #9. Compare this image to another image below and see what you think. You’ll know the image when you see it.

Gorgeous Terry & Rachel Dodson covers highlight UNCANNY X-MEN 537 & 535. For some reason they knock it out of the park when drawing Kitty Pride. however the other characters they do in other covers… Emma, Colossus, Wolverine… not so much. But with their Kitty Pride covers it’s like that’s when they get interested and inspired. I think they just love drawing brunettes. 🙂

David Yardin worked his way on this list with two covers that are very visceral, bordering on a rough, muscular moment of ugliness captured, frozen in that moment before the point of no-return. Namely:
Spider-Island: Heroes for Hire #1- A silly cover for a silly storyline, but Yardin’s cover (based on a Romita cover) makes it more compelling than it should be and X-Factor #219. The covers depict ugly moments, which are disturbing, but it’s drawn with sexiness and sensuality beneath the savagery so it makes for something of an uneasy and unsettling image that gets you to stop and take notice. And that’s what covers strive to do.

Sam Basri was fantastic on POWER GIRL, and his cover for #26 is Hilarious and great!

I like wrap around covers so thumbs up to New Mutants #25, looks a bit computer generated, but nice enough.

Jock for Daredevil Reborn #4

Paul Chadwick’s art highlights the exceptionally well laid out DHP #1. Fantastic Typography!

Birds of Prey #11 by Stanley Lau. Jae Lee’s cover looks more than a little like this one. I’ll leave that for others to ponder. Getting back to Lau, I dislike all of Lau’s covers for CAPTAIN ATOM, his earlier work on BIRDS OF PREY is much better. It’s like the work of two completely different artists.

I have yet to read Morning Glories, but Rodin Esquejo offers a titillating cover for #8 that is both sexy, and creepy (nurses putting on gloves is never a good thing).

Dan Brereton for Spider #1

Jason Pearson for Astonishing X-men 36. Did I mention I love wrap around covers?! 🙂

That’s it kids. Let’s call it a wrap on the best Comic Book Covers of 2011!!!

Hope you enjoyed, and here’s hoping for even more great covers in 2012!!!