December 1st to 2nd Youtube Roundup : Dr. Von Chilla + Price Increases+Bendis+ Social Justice!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gswkW9as0M4

 

Under the heading “Don’t drink and Youtube” 🙂  – Dr. Von-Chilla went on a bit of a tirade regarding people speculating on comics and buying comics based on movie, tv news. Which I can get behind his feelings on that.

He also threw in there, ‘Brown chicks taking over for white guy superheroes’, which I think is a whole separate argument that I don’t get behind.

Now I know Dr. Von Chilla is not one of those anti social justice warrior nut-cases, who were hating on creators like Mark Waid and Ta-Nehisi Coates and Dan Slot, but that issue he brings up of characters changing, is one of the arguments of this mob.

It is that faulty ‘anti social justice warrior’ thinking.

If you do not like social justice warriors, you should not be reading superhero comics, because Superman, Batman, and Captain America in their origins were Social Justice Warriors. Before there was a term for it, these characters in the Golden Age were taken it to the fat cat businesses and corrupt syndicates and regimes that were sticking it to the little guy. From slum lords to Nazis the comics of the 1930s 1940s were all about saying things about what was wrong in the world. Far more courageously I might add, than most books do today.

So to hate on today’s comics for doing the same thing is to be disingenuous at best, and a moron at worst.

Now that’s me going on a tirade against people with an issue with Social justice concepts in comics. Here’s the thing, not all comics are for you or for me.

We have our preferences and there is nothing wrong in wanting to stick to that. What is wrong, is to not allow others there preference.

If the publishers can sell new characters to new populations, great for them, if they can spike sales of existing story-lines, by changing up the character, great for them (changing up not being the same thing as a mashup, which is what they are doing wrong today). That is nothing new. After the first 110 issues of the original IRON MAN he got in a rut. Back in the 80s… the creators, to get him out of this rut, wrote a FANTASTIC very long storyline where Tony Stark, became an alcoholic, stopped being IRON MAN, and James Rhodes became IRON MAN. And those were STELLAR issues from the 1980s. For my money the only issues, along with the original 110 issues, worth owning.

The same thing happened in GREEN LANTERN, the book was going nowhere after Neal Adams’ departure in issue 89 (IT SHOWS YOU HOW MUCH NEAL ADAMS BROUGHT TO THE BOOK AND THAT HE WAS A HUGE PART OF THE CREATIVE DIRECTION, BECAUSE WHEN HE LEFT EVEN THOUGH THE WRITER DENNY ONEIL STAYED, THE BOOK WAS UTTER CRAp. THE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS STORYLINES THAT MADE AND STILL MAKE THEIR PARTNERSHIP SO GOOD, WENT BY THE Way-side AND THE BOOK DEVOLVED INTO A BORING BOOK. AND I LIKE DENNY ONEIL AS A WRITER, BUT WITHOUT NEAL ADAMS HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THESE CHARACTERS. I SPECIFY THESE CHARACTERS BECAUSE HE DID VERY WELL ON BATMAN AFTER NEAL’S DEPARTURE) .

THE BOOK WAS BAD A LONG TIME AND DID NOT GET GOOD AGAIN UNTIL ABOUT #172 when writer Len wein comes aboard and started to direct the book back to earth, and replacing Hal Jordan with John Stewart. LIKE ALWAYS THE LATE, GREAT LEN WEIN WOULD BE CALLED IN TO HELP RIGHT A SINKING SHIP, AND WITH THE HELP OF HIS ARTIST WOULD COMPLETELY REVAMP IT, AND BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO the series.

AND ONCE HE GOT THE BOOK winning again, WEIN would turn iT OVER TO ANOTHER WRITER TO CARRY THE book to the championships (to toss in a sports comparison).

HE DID THAT WITH THE X-MEN, fixing it and HANDING IT OFF TO CHRIS CLAREMONT AND HE DOES THAT HERE WITH GREEN LANTERN… fixing it and HANDING IT OFF TO STEVE ENGLEHART AND JOE STATON, till about issue 200, with wonderful Joe Staton art and great Englehart stories, along with the ONeil/Adams run… those are my favorite issues of GREEN LANTERN to this day.

SO IF LOOKING TO COLLECT GREEN LANTERN IN MY Humble OPINION YOU GET ISSUES 42 to 80, then 172 to 200. Use the following link(YOU GET GREAT BOOKS, AND YTOU EARN A FEW PENNIES FOR THIS BLOG TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON. A WIN-WIN!):

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=179931&pgi=1&AffID=200301P01

 

https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/680115.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/4749311.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/679549.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/899707.jpgGreen Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 52Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 53Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 54https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/680145.jpg

https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/681251.jpgGreen Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 57Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 58Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 59Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 60https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/679569.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/680191.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/680199.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/679611.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/612061.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/800569.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/1081095.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/867585.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/804069.jpg

And they were experiments, creators tossing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck. They were allowed that freedom in the 1980s, they should be allowed that freedom today.

The ones that do not appeal to you, don’t buy. Like me I no longer buy Marvel Comics in monthly form. I think to pay over $3 for Marvel’s horrendous paper quality, and obvious attempt to milk the speculator market rather than create good stories is asinine.  And their obvious editorial mandate to create new characters, mashup characters, to get the mindless speculators, to buy cosmic ghostrider, or phoenix wolverine, or Thor venom, or Hulk Wolverine; is not creative, it is actually them in real ways making of themselves a horrible parody and joke. The same for DC, to a lesser degree, ever since Bendis went over there. He’s a good writer, but I find him more trojan horse at DC, bring the fratboy idocy, and disrespect for readers intelligence and pockets, that he championed while at Marvel.

No sooner he is over there and DC raises its prices to $3.99. So yeah these days, with Marvel and Dc, if I hear good things about a story, I’ll check it out at my library when collected or pick up the trade online. But as far as monthly books, you just get a whole lot more bang for your back from Independents like Image, Dark Horse, IDW, After-Shock, etc. DC and MARVEl, the two companies that realistically can afford to keep the price point of new comics at $2.99 or less, are the ones driving the price up($4,$5,$6,$7 is unsupportable, when realistically speaking most of these books will end up in dollar bins in a few years. It is bad business from the big two.)

So these days companies like Alterna and Chapterhouse who sell books for under $3, are the ones I am happy to purchase everything they sell. For me they are the future of comics.

So alll that to say, there are hundreds of comics released every month, there is no shortage of Alternatives.

And quite frankly to expect Superman or Captain America of today to appeal to you the same way as the Superman of your childhood did, and never allowed to experiment or change that character is moronic.  Characters change, writers changes, the audiences they write for likewise change.

You hate slabbing. Don’t slab. You hate variant covers don’t buy variant covers. (Quick aside : I’m not a huge fan of either of those things. I think pressing comics, while it removes imperfections from the cover, is PROVEN to shorten the lifespan of the interior newsprint pages. I think it is people moronically pursuing short term goals, at the expense of the longevity of the actual book. People are going to unslab these books in several years and find pristine covers over deteriorating interior pages, especially as it relates to older books. Newsprint+moisture+heat=mistake. Every single time.

But hey  if people want to continue doing this even after being informed of the potential damage (every single person you see pressing on youtube, presses differently. Different ranges of heat, different amounts of moisture, different drying time before slabbing. I guarantee you 99% of the people slabbing comics are doing more harm than good, and are making a mold infused mess rather than preserving a collectible. It is all experimentation and guess-work with the lot of them.

If you were to do it perhaps to salvage a book that already had interior water damage, I would only use CGCs  original service, rather than one of these diy -let me get my iron out -guys. Also going through CGC you have some potential recourse through your insurance company  if things go wrong. Better than some of these guys who are doing pressing at their kitchen sink. Okay that may have been a long aside. 🙂 )

 You hate new characters or change to your existing characters, don’t read those characters. Read the 80 years of back issues, or choose new comics to support. It is not that effing difficult, it is not effing brain surgery, it only becomes a problem when you want YOUR choices to be the only choices everyone else has available. That is the problem I have with the anti social justice warrior nuts.

They think their right to hate something, should supersede someone else’s right to love something.

Don’t tell me the things you hate. Tell me the things you love, and that is how you move the needle.

It is what is great about the Youtube comic community. A lot of people sharing their loves, has inspired me to buy a LOT of books this year. People telling me what they hate, has not gotten me to drop a single book, or change a single purchasing decision. I decide for myself what is worth hating, and I hate very few things. I dislike a lot. I have no interest in reading books or watching tv shows about trans or gay characters. I’m not saying these books or Tv shows shouldn’t not exist,  OR THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT, but I have no interest in them IN MY COMICS OR MY TV SHOWS. So AFTER THE FIRST SEASOn of supergirl tv show (which i enjoyed) I dropped out of the second season, because it was too much soap opera bs about her sister coming out. no interest. same thing with arrow, mr. terrifics relationship i think is out of place and just detracts from the show, etc.

so instead I just find something I like, to watch or read.  SO while I may dislike or avoid many  things, I hate very few. Your hate is not something I catch from you, like the cold.

But tell me of the things you love, and that I will check out, to see if I love it too.

Dr. VonChilla, knows this. Because I have watched his videos where he introduces us to books he loves. And some of those books I’ve bought.

That’s how you change the world for the better Dr. Von Chilla… one great recommendation at a time.

 

 

Today’s best and worst Comic Book related Youtube Channels

First Point, Youtube via your laptop or computer I find annoying and not worth your time.

Youtube via Roku, on my big screen TV, and absent all stupid comments I find incredibly useful and watchable.

Here without further ado, my additional points, Youtube Winners and  Losers for First Quarter 2018.

BEST

I like buying artbooks, and graphic novels, and collected editions, so I find some of these channels very helpful in helping me decide if  an item is worth buying. Especially when you are dealing with something like artist editions that can run hundreds of dollars.

So here are channels that helped me make great purchase decisions.

GABE INFINITY WATCH

GEM MINT COLLECTIBLES

NEAR MINT CONDITION

WALT’S COMIC BOOK CHANNEL

EARL GREY

OMNIBROS  LIVE

GORE VIDAL

WALLACE RYAN

 

WORST

Anyone who uses acronym’s such as SJW in their headlines, or as a snarky insult (I’m looking at DIVERSITY & COMICS channel, which is not about Diversity and is not about comics, but is about click baiting and laziness) is generally not a channel you should support or be subscribed to. The thing with acronyms is you end up blindly lumping things together that have nothing to do with each other. And instead of dealing with a specific argument, you tend to become the very caricature you are arguing against. You become as misinformed, in your ‘lumping together and your stigmatizing’ as those you accuse of lumping together and stigmatizing others.

Here’s the thing, we are all of us (if not idiots) more than the party line.

Let me say that again, we are all of us more than the party line.

Whatever party you choose to support this day or that. We are conservative when it comes to some things, liberal when it comes to some things. And biased when it comes to some things.

Take me.

I’m not a fan of witch-hunts. Whether that is the Salem Witch trials, or the McCarthy Witch Trials. Or today’s sexual harassment witch trials. I believe no one should lose their job or be punished, based on unproven allegations. I believe people are innocent till proven guilty in a COURT OF LAW. That goes for Cosby, or Weinstein, or Lauer, or Singer or Spacey, or Gibson, or as it affects comics, Berganza.

I do not like mobs. And I do not like Mob mentalities, and I do not like knee jerk responses, and I do not like talk show mentalities, and most of all I don’t like people tried on twitter and Youtube, and based on the accusations of the unproven, the opinions of the uninvolved, and the fear, and in some cases the vendettas of the powerful, people before trial… are tried and punished.

I do not like it.

Not when it comes to movies, or sports, or newscasters, or the medium of comic-books.

I do not know Editor Berganza from a hole in the wall. He could well be guilty. My problem he was fired on allegations rather than proof. As were all those I’ve mentioned. Accolades and awards and honors they have earned, stripped from them at the merest whiff of scandal. So until proven guilty, a man is innocent, and should be treated as such. I don’t like that comic book artist Adrian Syaf was fired for placing the numbers ‘212’ and the number ‘5:51’ in the background of drawings. Artists sneaking easter eggs into the background of drawings is not new for comics or any other medium. And how that is any different from Christians putting bible verses in the background of their scenes. Long story short, it isn’t. That’s what an editor is for to catch that stuff, and if you don’t you don’t. Based on the agregiousness of it, you take  the appropriate action. Which usually involves a good talking to, not ruining someone’s career.

So I do not like witch hunts..

Whether led by a republican, a lesbian, a trans-gender person, a bigot, I do not like witch-hunts. You have a case, prove it in a court of law, not by gathering lynch mobs.

And this overreacting is on both sides of the fence, and the quickness to throw broad dismissive labels, obscures the fact of what you are fighting against, and what you are fighting for.

That is the folly of labels, it makes people side with fools, and fools lead good men to horrible acts.

Labels and acronyms are always shorthand for the lazy, who can’t be bothered to know what or who they are really arguing against or about. If you are using the acronym SJW you might as well carve a swastika in your forehead because that’s the level you are arguing on.

We are all of us gradations of right, and gradations of wrong, and we are all gradations of irrational.

Being aware of those places where the unfair and the fair fight for possession of our soul, being aware of our culpability in any argument, makes us less likely to glibly go along with the mob, or those who would throw the first and last stone.

Being unaware that anyone who uses the term SJW or dem or repub, is in and of himself, guilty of being the exact same thing they would denigrate; makes you ignorant.

But that is fine, we are all ignorant of something.

Staying ignorant however, makes you stupid or evil.

And that is not fine.

You have to know in any argument, you may not be on the side of the right. And you must learn to accept no truth you went to bed with, as the truth you’ll wake up with. Only through constant questioning of yourself, and the things you love and the things you hate, and the things you believe, can you grow and stay on the right side of those things.

And just as surely… assuming you are always right, especially your side or group or acronym is always right, is the surest way to go marching down the road to hell.

Deep waters for Youtube and comics, huh?

Here is the thing, it doesn’t matter over what we conflict, How seemingly trivial or important.  it matters that we always know, the conflict is with ourselves first. And reason and right is not a given, it must be continually retried within ourselves.

I generally do not gravitate to comics that have trans-gendered or homosexual people in it. That has nothing to do with either of those groups, and everything to do with me. I would like to think it is less about homophobia and more my aversion and dislike of talk shows and reality shows and Lifetime movies, and not wanting that in my comic. Though definitely homophobia plays a part. But mostly its an aversion to those topics heavy handedly crowbarred into what should be a a superhero/action genre. That was my problem with Supergirl Season 2. And why I stopped watching it. It was the gay subplot, handled incredibly annoyingly.

Now contrast that to JH Williams III’s BATWOMAN which was a brilliant superhero book, that just so happened to have a Lesbian character. Or Priest’s DEATHSTROKE with its bisexual character, and these things aren’t written in 20 point type, it’s just another brilliantly layered part, or a brilliant superhero story.

But most people aren’t as talented as a Priest or Williams, so when my comic reads more like a mission statement it is time for me to find a different comicbook.

And it is specifically a superhero/comic related bias, I have an archaic definition of what Superhero and other comics are and should be, an idea that works for me. An idea of what entertains me in comics,  So I understand this bias in me, and I buy the comics that appeal.  However I’m not going to have a problem with their being homosexual or trans-gendered comics or creators, that do want to focus on the lifetime channel or talk show extremes. If there is an audience for those stories great. I won’t be reading them, but neither am I going to have a fit because these stories or creators or characters exist. And that is because I ‘m good with the world being what it is, and me being what I am, and I am aware what part of the failing is me rather than the world.

There is a lot of talk on youtube about social justice warriors, mostly by white men (mostly but not exclusively, there are also enough Black and Brown and Red and Yellow idiots to go around), who see comics by creators not like them, and filled with new characters not like them, and they are not comfortable with that.

That  is not a problem. Like I said, I also feel that discomfort for things outside my comfort zone.

But here is the difference, they feel threatened by these things out of their comfort zone, and attack. Rather than allow people to ‘do them’ (as the kids would say), and simply choose to not patronize the books and creators they don’t like, and just buy and read and enjoy the things they do, instead they want to attack, and force the industry to only reflect them and exclude the other.

That is a problem.

It is a problem of ignorance, and it is a problem of fear, and it is a problem of not knowing yourself, that the world is wide and wonderful, and we don’t have to agree to like the same books or like the same creators.

But we do have to agree to, not stop others from liking what they like.

We do have to agree, to fight with ourselves before we fight others, because most of the time when we lose control, and take up arms against others, it is because we haven’t solved something with ourselves.

So that was an incredibly long aside to get you to my list of Youtubers who are doing a disservice to our hobby, by waging war with others, because they can’t just  embrace this idea… that ‘you do you’.  :).

 

Case in point…

cAPN C-SUMTHING (not worth remembering the dudes correct channel, or name) – emphasizes one of my pet peeves, people who think having an opinion is enough. When it comes to sharing and broadcasting it to a larger audience, it is not enough to have an opinion. It needs to be an informed. You are sitting in a movie theater, and because you are warm you start screaming fire, and spreading an opinion, that with two seconds to inform that opinion… you may have realized you still have your jacket on, or the person a row in-front of you is smoking; so the theater is not actually on fire. So your initial knee-jerk animal brain opinion may have been ‘fire’, but shouting out that uninformed opinion, in the theater to a crowd, would create panic and possible injuries; whereas a moment to look around and inform that opinion, makes all the difference.

An informed opinion is worth sharing, an uninformed opinion is not. This Capn C-something perfectly illustrates the type of knee-jerk reactionary that is the bane of the Internet and the world.

First he has the money to buy a 100+ dollar Artist Edition, the time and resources to want to do a video on it and share his opinion on it, however he doesn’t even know what it is. When the description of the artist Edition is on every blurb about it, as well as on the back and inside cover You don’t even know what you are buying, and you are trying to do a review on it. Strike one.

Next he’s one of these reactionaries who uses acronyms and labels coined seemingly just to be denigrative. Social Justice Warrior, and then he is too lazy, to use the whole word. The kind who resorts to shorthand like SJW and Dems, the sign of someone who can’t be bothered to research the bandwagon he is jumping on, or the things he supports or objects to in any great depth. Strike two.

Third he sees a post by Christopher Priest, lamenting his pigeonholing by DC Comics as a Black Writer,and Priest stating that a good writer can write characters outside his ethnicity and gender, and that the publishers should not be lead by the ‘twitterverse’ the vocal minority who comments on titles they have not read and subjects they are not informed on. Capn Crumudgeon responds to this by saying ‘this Priest guy gets it’ while showing his ignorance by not knowing the writer currently works for DC and is one of their most acclaimed writers, and that Capn Cummudgeon by definition is the vocal minority Priest is calling out. Priest is not railing against diversity, he’s railing against editorial mandates decided by people who can not be bother to be informed on the positions they take.

Strike 3, you are out. What really lit me up about this, is a lazy acronym user like this guy, has more subscribers than actually informative people like some of the users listed above. It’s like people subscribing to JERRY SPRINGER instead of COSMOS. People stumble across his channel, probably like I did  (i did not subscribe  to him) because of his numerous Artist Edition reviews, and then he uses that as a platform for this half baked uninformed drivel, posing as a stance or world view. It reminds me of the brain damaged circus that passed for the last presidential debates. Something that debases viewer and viewed. If you are subscribed to this guy, unsubscribe. There are better places to get your book reviews from. And I list a bunch of them above. :).

 

And to not end on a down note here are more people/channels you should be watching and even subscribing to:

 

JARED OSBORN- He offers weekly pull list comic book hauls, and the occasional collected edition

POPE CEREBUS THE FIRST-

THE DARK NATE

IDWPublishing

24FRAMES

CURTISCAMRON

DRACIR’S COMICS AND THINGS

SOLID4STBEND

BRANDON 191

LUTHER MANNING

MARCUS LIM

JACKKIRBYBRONZE

So any of the above are better than those who embrace attacking the difference of others, rather than simply trying to better understand… the difference of themselves.   CAP’N and DIVERSITY (in name only), Youtube channels, come to mind, but any channel using acronyms such as SJW to cloak their ignorance and fear, you should strongly consider unsubscribing from.

Don’t support the uninformed who want to spend their time screaming fire, in a theater where there is no fire. Instead support the above channels that are trying to help people just find the seats, that are a good fit for them.

Here endeth the lesson.

GRAPHIC NOVEL Round-Up! Mark Waid’s THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK!

GRAPHIC NOVEL Round-Up! Mark Waid’s THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK Vol 1 and Vol 2

hulkwaid1
THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK Vol 1 – Collects issues 1 to 5, written by Mark Waid. The first three issues do a nice job of introducing Waid’s status quo of a Banner utilizing SHIELD to help him achieve the scientific greatness that being the Hulk has denied. The cost? Making the Hulk into an agent of SHIELD. So lots of interesting ideas in the first three issues, unfortunately the last two issues stumble. The art by Leinil Francis Yu is exotic, intriguing, chaotic and all this combines to be sometimes impressive, sometimes muddy and confusing. Grade : The hardcover at a retail of $24.99 for 5 issues, translates to $5 per issue. So grossly overpriced even if the book was great, and great it isn’t. So worth renting or reading it from your local library, but not worth buying. C+.

hulkwaid2
THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK Vol 2 – Collects issues 6 to 10, and suffers from the opposite issue of Vol 1, here the first three issues, drawn by Walter Simonson I found uninteresting, and the artwork a far cry from Simonson at his best. Completely forgettable. The final 2 part story stars Daredevil and sports far better art by Matteo Scalera and a far more intriguing story. GRADE : C-. Worth reading for the last two issues, if you can borrow it for free, otherwise just pass.

If you disagree with my assessment and want to try or buy it yourself, especially to find options to buy it well below retail go here:

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 1: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 2: Gods and Monster

The return of UNDER THE RADAR Vol2 Issue 2! Part 1 of 2!

“Must we start every sup, with who we love and who we don’t?” —Peter O’Toole in the LION IN WINTER


Okay it’s that time again. My recommendation for comic books/graphic novels to preorder now for January 2011 arrival.

If while going though the below list you see any titles that you want to purchase current or backissues of go

here.

But first, what is UNDER THE RADAR?

UNDER THE RADAR was an experiment I started a while ago that I was quite proud of. Basically a very cool PDF I launched out to comic book retailers and fans to highlight titles you would otherwise miss, or get lost in the deluge from bigger publishers flooding the market.

It was fun, and very intensive, and very time consuming, so when time became an issue it fell by the wayside.

But I notice my old UNDER THE RADAR posts get a lot of hits, and even though a lot of people are doing preview podcasts (audio/radio-like programs dedicated to recommending items to preorder), those can be quite time consuming, when what most people are looking for is a quickly viewed list of recommended items they might otherwise miss.

So with that in mind, UNDER THE RADAR is back, but in a FAR simpler format. No PDF, no long diatribes. just a monthly listing of new titles to preorder or be on the lookout for.

Okay without further ado, this is a list of titles you can preorder this month through your local retailer for January 2011 arrival.


Marvel

No letters pages, no back matter, ads breaking up the story.

All these odd decisions from Marvel give no incentive to buy marvel issues monthly. Seemingly, they don’t care enough to give you a something beyond what you would get in the trade paperback, a real sense of a Stan Lee dialog, or sense of a monthly behind the scenes look at the creative process, so generally I say eff em. I’m talking about the publishing policies and policy makers of Marvel, not generally the creators, (as marvel has some great creators, but perhaps in service of not the greatest decision makers) but rather the lackluster way the creations are fed to you.

So even though Marvel floods the market with well over a hundred titles a month, their policies make it very easy to dismiss most of them from purchase consideration. The exceptions for this month?

$4.99 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #500

Written by MATT FRACTION Art & 50/50 Covers by SALVADOR LARROCA Variant Covers by MARKO DJURDJEVIC, JOE QUESADA & JOHN ROMITA JR. GIANT-SIZED ANNIVERSARY ISSUE! Three generations of Starks face their ultimate foe, seventy-some years in the future while, in the present, Spider-Man joins Iron Man as he tries to fill in the blanks of his missing memory. What if amnesia was a weapon? What if the smartest man in the land had ten nightmares that all came true? Who is the son of Tony Stark? What’s inside of the rings? The future starts now, for the Marvel Universe’s favorite futurist. The Eisner-award-winning series makes a four-hundred-something-issue leap and raises a glass of non-alcoholic champale in salute to Ol’ Shell-head! By Matt Fraction (THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN, CASANOVA) and Salvador Larroca (UNCANNY X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR), with special guests Howard X, Y and Z! 104 PGS./Rated A …$4.99

100 pgs for $5. Not great, but I do like what Matt Fraction is doing with this book. Hopefully it isn’t full of reprints to pad out the page count, but figure the odds of that. A lukewarm recommendation.

* Marvel had a couple interesting trades, but their pricing is outrageous. For 4 and 5 issues of content they are trying to charge $20 to $30 for a collected edition, trade, or hc. Which basically boils down to them trying to charge you between $4 and $6 per issue collected. To that I say, hell no. A trade should, with rare eceptions, be no more than $2 per issue collected. So if you are only collecting 4 issues you’re only going to get $8 from me. And if it costs more than that you get nothing from me.

So Marvel trades get nothing from me this month.

*I’m interested in Matt Fraction’s THOR but not interested enough to pay $4 an issue, they can keep it.

$1.95 (save $1.04) THUNDERBOLTS #152
Written by JEFF PARKER Penciled by KEV WALKER Cover by GREG LAND The T-Bolts leap into HULK’s “Scorched Earth”! At the request of Steve Rogers, Luke Cage must take his hardened team to deal with a doomsday scenario unleashed in the pages of HULK! And now that the squad is a man short, Cage finally uses his power to recruit another prisoner to duty–and his pick will shock you! Will the Thunderbolts accept this new member as a part of their force? Or will this heavy duty wild card destroy the balance of power? Find out in the series that Newsarama.com’s Best Shots calls “The Avengers title that not enough people are raving about…it’s one of the best of the bunch.” 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99 (preview artwork is available)

The reason I’m picking up this title is it has potential, it has Luke Cage:Power Man (They need to go back to calling him that), Jeff Parker is a good writer, storyline sounds like a good jumping on point, and the price is $2.99. So to keep me picking it up monthly they’ll need to add letterpages or backmatter, or I’ll be hopping off of it relatively soon.

$2.99 BLACK PANTHER MAN WITHOUT FEAR #514

Written by DAVID LISS Penciled by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA Cover by SIMONE BIANCHI Luke Cage guest stars as T’Challa’s new adventure in NYC continues! The former King of Wakanda has sworn to protect the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen, and while battling the mob is one thing, how does he stop a killer targeting innocent people? It’s a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, as T’Challa hunts ruthless new crime lord Vlad the Impaler, while Vlad concocts a desperate and bloody scheme to entrap the mysterious new vigilante that’s ruining his plans. T’Challa learns what it really means to be a man without fear, courtesy of award-winning thriller novelist David Liss and the pulp-tastic art of Francesco Francavilla! 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

I think without argument Christopher Priest’s take on the Black Panther was the essential take, and Marvel’s use of this character since, has been in the shadow of that great run. And good writers not withstanding, Hudlin and Mayberry, I think it suffers from idiotic editorial decisions. Petty decisions intent, for whatever reason, on dismantling a great character. A female Black Panther? Really? That was someone’s stab at a good idea? Just indicative of the sabotaging type editorial decisions that have plagued this character.

The post-Priest series suffering from gimmics rather than gusto.

However with T’Challa back in the suit, if only in the DAREDEVIL title, I’m hoping this will be a good jumping on point. I’d love to see an entertaining, respectful run with this character. I’m unfamiliar with David Liss, but he has sense enough to toss Luke Cage:Power Man in here, and that means I’m willing to give him the benefit of a doubt, and willing to support, until they prove otherwise.

From Marvels ICON Line

$3.99 CASANOVA GULA #1 (OF 4)

Written by MATT FRACTION Art & Cover by FABIO MOON CASANOVA is back. Or is he? Actually Casanova is gone. Gone from space, gone from time. The burning question WHEN IS CASANOVA QUINN hangs over the entire world as E.M.P.I.R.E. and W.A.S.T.E. alike race toward the horrible, inevitable, answer…The second staggering volume of CASANOVA starts here by the Eisner-laden team of Matt Fraction (THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN, THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN) and Fabio Moon (DAYTRIPPER, SUGARSHOCK) taking over art duties. Never before collected! Never before reprinted! Never before understood! In gorgeous full 4-D psychocolor! Worth a million in prizes! Change your shorts, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy! Guaranteed!* *not actually guaranteed 40 PGS./Mature Content …$3.99


No ads breaking up the story, and loads of backmatter, and additional pages. So it’s me getting more bang for my buck, plus it’s Matt Fraction’s CASANOVA.

$14.99 CASANOVA TP LUXURIA VOL 1

Written by MATT FRACTION Penciled by FABIO MOON & GABRIEL BA Cover by GABRIEL BA Meet Casanova Quinn: prodigal son of a law-and-order family hell-bent on keeping the world safe and sound, now blackmailed into betraying his father and the international law enforcement organization he controls. LUXURIA collects the first volume of CASANOVA as its titular star transforms from devil-may-care thrill-seeker into the most dangerous man in the world. What happens when the ultimate player gets played? Find out in this genre-bending sci-spy epic. Gorgeously re-colored and re-lettered by hand, this staggering psychedelic spy-fi epic is collected for the first time as it was meant to be made. By the Eisner award-winning team of Matt Fraction (INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN), Gabriel Ba (UMBRELLA ACADEMY, BPRD: 1947), and Fabio Moon (DAYTRIPPER, SUGARSHOCK). With all-new, all-different, never-before-seen bonus material! Collecting CASANOVA: LUXURIA #1-4112 PGS./Mature …$24.99 152 PGS./Mature …$14.99

And speaking of CASANOVA we also have the CASANOVA trade. At $15 and being a collection of bigger ICON issues, the price point is a doable exception.

$3.50 INCOGNITO BAD INFLUENCES #4

BY ED BRUBAKER AND SEAN PHILIPS WITH COLORS BY VAL STAPLES Zack Overkill has plunged into the super-criminal underworld on a deadly mission that’s made him question everything. Now he’s come face-to-face with his target, and things just got a hell of a lot worse. And so with every issue, our Professor of Pulp Culture, Jess Nevines is back with another great essay on forgotten pulp history, available only in the single issues of INCOGNITO. INCOGNITO, BAD INFLUENCES #4 -32 PGS/Mature Content/Np Ads … $3.50

It’s always good to see the CRIMINAL team of Brubaker and Philips releasing another issue.

Uhh, yeah and that’s all for Marvel.


DC

All the negatives I said for Marvel, goes for DC as well. Which makes it easy to disregard most of the 100 or so books they put out every month. It’s stupid, confusing, greedy, and ultimately just off-putting to have 20 different Bat Titles. You should have just 2. BATMAN, and one 100page anthology called BATMAN FAMILY. Boom, job done. And until they do this it makes it very easy for me to buy none of their titles. Thanks. :).

The exceptions?

$2.99 POWER GIRL #20

Written by JUDD WINICK Art and cover by SAMI BASRI Racing headlong into the adventure and turmoil of GENERATION LOST, Power Girl is hot on the trail of Max Lord – seeking answers and looking for payback. But a trip to Project Cadmus leaves her with a bit more than she can handle, and monstrously outnumbered. On sale JANUARY 19 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

The one big difference between Marvel and DC is in terms of art. For the most part Marvel has frigging kick ass artists and cover design, and no doubt this is due to two of the companies driving forces, Quesada and Bendis, being great artists in their own right. DC to be kind, with a few exceptions (such as the great and innovative art of Perez or Quietly), underwhelms. DC’s covers and interiors are typically a bland, uninteresting house style; and in a medium that lives and dies on art, that’s not a good thing.

And when they do get a decent artist, like Simone Bianchi, seemingly the suits are too inane or cheap to keep them, and Marvel ends up offering the artist a better deal.

Which brings us to Sam Basri.

I touched on this in the last UNDER THE RADAR, Sam Basri is one of the few absolutely amazing artists that DC has working for them. His sense of cover design on the POWER GIRL series has been blowing me away. They really are works of art by themselves, and is one of the main reasons I’m picking up this series in individual issues rather than waiting for the trade. He really is one of DCs best artists, and the company really needs to realize this and pay him accordingly, or they’ll find him working for their competition in no time. 🙂 .

$2.99 SPIRIT #10

Written by DAVID HINE Art by MORITAT Cover by LADRONN Roscoe Kalashnikov was sure he could get away with murder – and in a town as corrupt as Central City, maybe he could. But if that’s so, why do his victim’s words still haunt him? She said something about “the spirit of justice” and now, around every corner, Roscoe is seeing a flash of trench coat and the briefest glimpse of a masked man… On sale JANUARY 19 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

David Hine on a SPIRIT comic? I’m intrigued. David Hine is a really good writer.

$2.99 THUNDER AGENTS #3

Written by NICK SPENCER Art by CAFU & BIT and HOWARD CHAYKIN Cover by CHRIS SPROUSE The new hit series by Nick Spencer (ACTION COMICS, Morning Glories) and CAFU continues! Think the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents are a messed-up team? Wait until you learn the secrets of the evil organization known as Spider! This issue promises twists, turns and a sequence illustrated by the legendary Howard Chaykin! On sale JANUARY 12 * 32 pg, FC $2.99 US

I’m hearing good things about this Nick Spenser, so this issue may be worth a look.

$2.99 LOONEY TUNES #194

Written by BILL MATHENY Art by DAVID ALVAREZ Cover by SCOTT GROSS Beaky Buzzard is hungry. He thinks he’s found a nice meal in Daffy Duck, but the wacky bird has another suggestion: Bugs Bunny. So just who will be feeding the hungry buzzard family? A hint: It won’t be the ever-cool Bugs! Poor Beaky doesn’t stand a chance… On sale JANUARY 5 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

$2.99 TINY TITANS #36

Written by ART BALTAZAR & FRANCO Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR Titans to the center of the Earth! Terra uses her powers to take the “hot” Titans on the journey of a lifetime. And if Terra is involved, you know Beast Boy isn’t far behind! Don’t forget the sunscreen and the bottled water, and watch out for the Sea Trap of Doom! On sale JANUARY 19 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

I’ve started looking for books that I can give to younger readers. The above seem to fit the bill.

$2.99 ACTION COMICS #897

Written by PAUL CORNELL Art by PETE WOODS Cover by DAVID FINCH & BATT The last place Lex Luthor expected his quest for the Black Lantern energy to take him was Arkham Asylum – specifically to the cell of The Joker! What clues about Lex’s quest could The Joker have to offer, and why on Earth would Lex trust him? Get ready for a one-of-a-kind confrontation between comics’ two greatest villains, as brought to you by the twisted minds of Paul Cornell and Pete Woods! On sale JANUARY 26 * 32 pg, FC $2.99 US

$2.99 STEEL #1

Written by STEVE LYONS Art by SEAN CHEN Cover by ALEX GARNER John Henry Irons is a normal human being who managed to overcome all odds and become a hero who Superman considers a peer and colleague. What kind of determination drives a man to reach such heights? Find out here as a battered and bruised Steel defiantly stands as the only thing between Metallo and the destruction of Metropolis! Doctor Who novelist Steve Lyons and artist Sean Chen (ACTION COMICS, SALVATION RUN) deliver a story that shows why Steel is a true DC Universe icon! ONE-SHOT * On sale JANUARY 5 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Great solicitation. Plus I really like the character of Steel.

*I’ve heard good things about Lemire’s SUPERBOY, but I’ve seen the art, and it just doesn’t work for me. May try it later in trade.

$2.99 SUPERGIRL #60

Written by NICK SPENCER Art by BERNARD CHANG Cover by AMY REEDER & RICHARD FRIEND SUPERGIRL welcomes aboard writer Nick Spencer (JIMMY OLSEN, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS, Morning Glories) and artist Bernard Chang (WONDER WOMAN, SUPERMAN) for a Girl of Steel story unlike any other! Someone is trying to kill the young heroes of the DC Universe! Who is this villain, and how can Supergirl stop him? Maybe her friends can help – namely, Batgirl, Blue Beetle, Miss Martian, Static and…Robin?! Buckle up, folks, because this one puts the pedal to the metal on page one and doesn’t let up for a second! On sale JANUARY 19 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Two things are getting me to give this a try, Nick Spenser and Static.

$2.99 HOUSE OF MYSTERY #33

Written by MATTHEW STURGES Art by WERTHER DELL’EDERA and DAVID LLOYD Cover by ESAO ANDREWS Since the Pair of the Conception first chased Fig Keele into the House of Mystery, Fig has never known who they were or what they wanted from her. Now, Fig solves a mystery that’s been lingering since the very beginning. Featuring a tale illustrated by David Lloyd (V FOR VENDETTA)! On sale JANUARY 5 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US MATURE READERS

Probably not the best place to jump in, but I’m intrigued, and have been meaning to pick this up.

Wow, I’m actually quite surprised how many DC comics I recommend this month. I guess their price drop has helped their titles to become more attractive, or at least most justifiable of the expense. Well that’s all for this installment. Catch me tomorrow for part 2 of this, and the remaining titles I recommend. Don’t miss it, as that’s where the good stuff is.