Posts Tagged ‘CCW*TV Blog’

And frankly, it looks like a

PIECE OF SHIT

From The Daily Blam!

What a clusterfuck!

You can half-way understand when a Powerless Comic Book Company has no say in how their characters will be interpreted on film. But Warner Bros owns DC Comics for chrissakes… So who didn’t care enough or have the balls to simply say, “Uh folks… You know this film would be a lot more more fan friendly if you could, at least, leave the damn battery alone.”

First the suit, now the battery.

Hopefully  the story will make up for it.

I think the sight of a dozen– or 144– GLOWING Green Lanterns whizzing around in space with day glo costumes is going to epilepsy inducing– if not downright damaging to my corneas.

Just remember, these are the same people who gave the OK for Catwoman and Superman Returns!

(Thanks to CCW*TV Blog’s Jose Melendez for the link!)

Yes, you read that right.

DC Comic Books will GO DOWN IN PRICE starting January 2011.

Those terrifyingly bad sales numbers in August must have been a smidge MORE TERRIFYING to the publishers than they were originally willing to let on.

Can’t wait to see Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley’s response to this.

Here’s the Official Press Release:

Beginning January 2011, DC Comics will implement a line-wide pricing adjustment, lowering the prices of all standard length 32-page ongoing comic book titles currently priced at $3.99 to $2.99, it was announced today by DC Comics Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio.

“Today’s announcement re-affirms DC Comics’ commitment to both our core fans and to comic book store retailers,” said Jim Lee, DC Comics Co-Publisher. “For the long term health of the industry, we are willing to take a financial risk so that readers who love our medium do not abandon the art form.”

“As Co-Publishers, we listened to our fans and to our partners in the retail community who told us that a $3.99 price point for 32 pages was too expensive. Fans were becoming increasingly reluctant to sample new titles and long term fans were beginning to abandon titles and characters that they’d collected for years.” said Dan DiDio, DC Comics Co-Publisher. “We needed a progressive pricing strategy that supports our existing business model and, more importantly, allows this creative industry to thrive for years to come. With the exceptions of oversized comic books, like annuals and specials, we are committed to a $2.99 price point.”

When taking into account mini-series, annuals and specials, more than 80% of DC’s comic books will be priced at $2.99.

As of January, the following titles standard length ongoing titles, previously priced at $3.99 for 32 pages/22 story pages, will be priced at $2.99 with 32 pages/20 story pages:

American Vampire;
Batman: The Dark Knight;
Batman Incorporated;
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors;
JSA All-Stars.

As of January, the following licensed titles, previously priced at $3.99, will be priced at $2.99:

Gears of War;
God of War;
Kane & Lynch;
Ratchet & Clank.

As of January, the following ongoing titles previously priced at $3.99 for 40 pages/30 story pages including co-features, will no longer include co-features and will be priced at $2.99 for 32 pages/ 20 story pages:

Action Comics;
Adventure Comics;
Batman: Streets of Gotham;
Detective Comics;
Doc Savage;
Justice League of America;
Legion of Super-Heroes;
The Spirit.

In January, five books are $3.99 for 40 pages/30 story pages:

Batman: Europa # 1
First Wave # 6
DCU: Legacies # 9
Weird Worlds # 1
World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen

The following oversized anniversary issue will be $4.99 for 48 pages/38 story pages:

Hellblazer # 275

“Fans of our co-features should stay tuned. Some of these characters will find a new platform,” said Dan DiDio. “Going forward, mini-series and special events may feature a different price point and page count to best allow writers and artists the flexibility of format and story pages they need to tell their stories best.”

Meanwhile, Jose Melendez of the CCW*&TV Blog should be arranging his own press release– as he has been vehemently denouncing the price increase every day since it was first announced.

Random Rants™! are rants too tiny to warrant their own post but still significant (IMO) to be mentioned. As my schedule ebbs or grows, this feature will also allow me to throw something out to the blogosphere– without investing two hours in it.

Think Tweets– with hopefully a little more meat.

RANDOM RANT™ #1

There's a big difference between acting like a PR PUPPET and actually writing an HONEST book review

First Bit o’ Business:

A note about a column that almost wasInsideman’s Guide to Upcoming Hardcovers and Graphic Novels. With the helpful aid of Mr. Jose Melendez, I worked out the details with frequent SAYL commenter Locusmortis– who writes a similar monthly column focused on upcoming floppy releases for the CCW*TV Blog. Even though my column would be completely different, written in my style– I still wanted to check in and alert Locusmortis to what I had planned. I’m one of the few fuckers in Hwood who attempts to work with people– as opposed to always taking the shortest route… Which, in this town, is normally straight through them.

You won't see me reviewing Fables Volume 14: Witches GN until after it comes out in December 2010

Satisfied that all the ducks were in a row, I sat down with the distributor’s monthly catalog and began looking intently through the book offerings. It didn’t take me long to realize that this kind of column– focusing solely on comic book collections– would not work unless I had read the stories in advance… And by the time these Trades or Hardcovers see print– the monthly comics will have long been dissected/reviewed by a million different comic-centric websites or blogs… Sometimes as long as 8 months to a year earlier.

The fact is I would not be commenting on new material 99.8% of the time. Besides the Vertigo Crime line (a series of mostly great original black & white books that, sadly, might yet be another casualty of  the Jim Lee/Dan Didio/Geoff Johns DC Comics era)– there is precious little work being printed in collected form that still doesn’t see print as a floppy first. And as more and more companies flog and steer people toward the release of digital floppies, I truly foresee a day when the only way you can buy a PHYSICAL COPY of a comic book is by purchasing a hardcover or trade paperback collection.

But that’s the future and I would be writing this new column today.

If I don’t read the floppies and I don’t read the collections in advance, how in the hell can I really recommend a collection of said stories? What NEW ELEMENT could I bring to the table by adding this column to the SAYL Blog? Speculation on what type of binding (hot glue or stitched) they might decide to use on each book? (Nerd Fact: Almost 100% of all comics collections use the cheaper, simpler hot glue method for binding the stories together.)

Recommending something you haven’t read is a slippery slope I dare not tread. Just like most film stars nowadays, there are precious few comic book pros that you can automatically assume will always hit their next project out of the park. At $3.99 per comic or $24.99 to $29.99 per hardcover– that is an investment that very few are willing to make without at least reading one or two reviews first… No matter whose name is on the cover. I certainly don’t want to recommend anything on the basis of a name. I don’t want anyone investing money in something just because I think it might be good. I also don’t want to play fast and loose with personal friendships or professional relationships– only to find my subconscious urging me to recommend something I haven’t experienced just because a friend or business associate of mine created something.

So a column ends before it ever begins. I feel much more comfortable talking in-depth about books after I read them. That way I can give you a fair assessment in a review– just like I did with the inaugural review column Love, Dislike or Indifference – Rating 30 Recent Hardcovers & Graphic Novels. For those who care, I’ll try to do more of these shorter book reviews more often… Especially after a good friend pointed out that my 30 reviews could have easily been halved to 15 or even cut down to 10 reviews per column… With the bulk of the content spaced out over time. Oops! I often can be far too exuberant for my own good.

RANDOM RANT™ #2

Your Forecast: Partly Cloudy with 100% Chance of Batmen

Here’s a little factoid that’s liable to blow your mind:

As I began searching through the September 2010 catalog to research the column that never was (detailed above), I came upon the DC Comics section– where I counted 14 PAGES (including the cover) solely promoting the BATMAN FAMILY line of books.

If you are familiar with CCW*TV Blog veteran and Ultimate Bat-Fan™ Stamps 1723– you’ll know that she will never think of this as Bat Overkill. She’ll believe it’s more like Bat Heaven… Or, at the very least, an embarrassment of Bat Riches.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bats too. In many ways, he gave me one of my worst and best movie roles… But we’re talking 19 Batman related comic books in one month– and that number does NOT include issues of Superman/Batman, the Dark Knight on the cover of either Brightest Day #13 or #14 (if the prelim art is to be believed), Bats on the cover of DC Universe Legacies #7, DC Comics Presents Batman #2, The All New Brave and the Bold #1 + 5 more Trade Paperbacks or Hardcovers and a $60 Harley Quinn Bust.

Do you know how much all this will cost? I guess I could have tallied it up when I was looking it all up– but I didn’t. Let’s indulge my laziness and just state with the utmost certainty that all this Bat Stuff is going to cost a Bat Shitload… Maybe even more than some people pay for rent on any given month.

Flogged to Death. The mere thought of this bastard irritates me.

This quite obviously is one of the ways that DC has decided to increase their market share. Flooding the market with your most popular character (or characters) is a time-honored tradition at the Big Two (Marvel & DC Comics). Think Punisher, X-Men, Wolverine and Deadpool just to name a few… And do a double take when you realize that EVERY CHARACTER I just listed was a MARVEL character.

So Didio and DC’s unique way of overtaking Marvel Comics as the #1 comic book publisher is to simply act like Marvel Comics and vomit out book after book after book featuring– or strongly related to– one popular character.

The big question is: Can you run a 70-year-old character into the ground– or dilute him so badly that his fan base will just flip the switch and say, “Fuck it. I’m done?” Deadpool– a relative newbie given the years Old Pointy Ears has been patrolling– is suffering a similar fate now… As once hot book after once hot book featuring the disfigured mutant is being systematically shut down due to poor sales.

Want to know what really sucks? I can remember when I thought 4 Batman books in one month were more than enough.

RANDOM RANT™ #3

What do you get when you shepherd-- then edit-- the MOSTLY CRITICALLY acclaimed Vertigo title in DECADES? Why, you GET FIRED, of course!

By the time you read this, the “belt-tightening” at DC that “forced the lay-offs” of 3 very talented Vertigo editors will be old news. Ever love a job so much that you would willingly become the cliché and offer to pay your employer for the right to come to work each day? I have. I know for a fact that one of these editors at Vertigo did too. This Stockholm Syndrome affinity for your workplace becomes all the more insane when said dream job disappears overnight. You blame yourself. You blame your co-workers, the economy– even the sleep robbing witch downstairs that blares her music late at night while she lamely performs some half-assed aerobic work out.

Amazingly, it takes most people weeks or months to blame their employer. What people don’t realize is this same thing is going to continue to happen to them and every one they know until they insist on breaking free of corporate America and take the daring, scary jump to go out on their own… And start their own business.

I can’t imagine that any of these fine people will be out of work for long… And I am sure Marvel would love to volley another big fat “I told ya so” at DC after losing the likes of a super creative mind like Paul Cornell to a Distinguished Competition talent exclusive.

RANDOM RANT™ #4

The most recent pic of Dan Buckley we could find

Over at CBR/Robot 6, Kevin Melrose is quoting Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley as saying:

“I think it’s the appropriate price point for the entertainment value and quality that we offer in the books. The $3.99 price point was already the price point for limited series and one-shots before we moved some of our regular series up, and we still have several regular series that are at $2.99. If we want to continue to have the talent and the quality that we offer in those books, it’s a price point that we had to explore. What we offer from an entertainment standpoint is pretty solid and I think we should be proud of that.”

So how does that explain $3.99 price points for books that have artists who are just learning to draw comics? Or writers who are just learning to write their first books? Or the fact that some bean counter admitted long ago that he offered up the idea of raising the books’ cover price an arbitrary dollar just to see if the market would bear the huge price increase?

And one last thing: Please get off the “What we offer from an entertainment standpoint is pretty solid…” horse.

Fifteen $3.99 comics equal– or cost a few dollars more– then a brand new Video Game. You read the books in two hours or less. The video game takes 60+ hours to play. (It would take me 100+ hours to play.) If you just purchased an average stack of comics that week, you would be lucky to sell them on eBay for half off ($22.50). Meanwhile, you can quickly sell the video game back to any number of outlets and score a $30+ trade in fee– with none of the extra charges that you incur when placing an auction on eBay.

(Thanks to Jose Melendez for the link.)

RANDOM RANT™ #5

Over at IGN, they’re trying to scare up some page views by asking if Robert Kirkman is ending The Walking Dead. They are using these 4 Teaser Posters to prop up their argument:

Don't believe everything you read

As usual, a brilliant marketing plan by Kirkman & Company– ratcheting up the comic’s action and suspense just as The Walking Dead TV Show premieres on AMC.

But it is just that:  A promotional push.

I’m not saying somebody major might not die in this story arc… Since Kirkman has killed many major characters already. But I seriously doubt it will be main character Rick Grimes. Might be his son Carl– but I doubt that too.

While I am certain that Kirkman can do whatever he wants with his book– I doubt he, director Frank Darabont or AMC want him to kill off the series most recognizable characters now. People who watch the show and then decide to pick up the comic will be awfully confused if there is no Rick running around inside the book. As it stands, comic buyers that come to the series via TV will have to digest Rick’s lack of a hand– an injury that Darabont seemed to think would not be happening on the TV show anytime soon– if at all.

And the idea that this is story arc could mark the COMPLETE END of The Walking Dead comic? Puh-leeze!

Again, it’s just IGN hyperbole to attract web surfers. Kirkman would be crazier than Christine O’Donnell to end the book now. I could see a new series with new survivors popping up some day– but again, that would currently screw whatever continuity will exist between the book and the show once Halloween night rolls around.

 

ROBERT KIRKMAN-- Hard at work tending to his CASH COW

A lot of what is about to happen in the Spider-man books is all rumor and conjecture. As Dan Slott takes over as the sole writer of Amazing Spider-man with issue #648, there seems to be at least ONE costume change (if not THREE) and some “gadgets” (whatever in the hell that means) that will eventually be added to the mix.

Here’s the cover image for Amazing Spider-man #650:

PISS IN MY EYES WOULD STING LESS

As Spidey Patrols, A Nation Pukes

There is no word on how long this Tron-like* abomination will stick around or when and if the “gadgets” will appear or disappear.

Either way, it just seems more like a return to the horribly absurd 90’s.

Anybody that’s been collecting for a few years knows that costume changes always sell big– especially when they occur in Spider-man comics. But this one is, well, crap. It feels like a cross between Spider-Man 2099 and the laugh inducing Electric Blue Superman.

Pffft!

Awww Christ! The agony!

And before anybody goes all bug-nut crazy on me– this post is not a slam against Slott. It’s more of a collective sigh that Marvel is going in this direction. Slott’s talented and seems like a nice man. But I thought that all that Brand New Day and O.M.I.T. bullshit was supposed to take the character back to his roots. You know, “We want Spidey to be the way he used to be.”

None of that seems to be working out.

It’s a shame too– I really thought given the way Slott was geeking out over the opportunity to be Spidey’s main caretaker that we were going to see some solid stories that didn’t rely on smoke and mirrors. Is Marvel really afraid that Spider-man– or any comic for that matter– will not sell just on solid storytelling… So much so that they are back to relying on costume changes and gadgets?

I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS

(In all fairness, I first saw Jose Melendez at the CCW*TV Blog compare the new Spider-man costume to Tron outfits. )

EXTREMELY FUNNY WEBSITE!

Lots of irreverent fumetti that includes spot-on biting commentary

Comixed.com

Just one of many funny fumetti to be found on Comixed.com

(Thanks to CCW*TV Blog’s Jose Melendez for the link!)

Go to the Boston Globe website and prepare to laugh your ass off!

There you’ll find 19 popular cartoons– reconfigured as if they were written and drawn by “Tea Party cartoonist Joe Smith” — with a lot of help from real-life cartoonist Ward Sutton.

No matter what your party affiliation, few will be able to resist a laugh at this spot-on harpooning and lampooning!


Thanks to CCW*TV Blogger Jose Melendez for the link!)

GOOD LORD!

Sinners not allowed to play

According to icv2.com:

Self-published by designer Frank Casey, the Bible Battles Trading Card Game combines Old Testament stories with historical figures and events in a traditional TCG format.  The game is currently available.  This is Casey’s first game design.

Like most trading card games, Bible Battles requires each player to construct his own deck of cards from his collection.  There are 500 different cards in the complete card set.  Cards are available in 60-card fixed starter decks and 15-card random booster packs. The cards draw from Old Testament tales and other historical places, individuals, and events from the pre-Christian era.

Six factions exist in the game:  Romans, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Canaanites, and Egyptians.  All six factions can be found in the booster packs, but there are starter decks only for the Roman and Israelite factions.

Game play centers around cards called “followers” which provide both victory points (called “wisdom”) and the resources to play other cards.  Victory can be obtained either by reaching a wisdom goal (usually 30) or forcing your opponent to draw the final card from his deck.  Players must balance collecting wisdom, attacking opponents, and defending their own holdings.

(Thanks to CCW*TV BLOG’S Jose Melendez for the link!)

I don’t know about you– but if I found out that God was betting against the Panthers on Sunday, I’d bet against the Panthers.

Just like I wouldn’t run a marathon with this guy

What's the point?

(Thanks to CCW*TV’s Jose Melendez for the link!)

And it’s empty…

Manga & Wine... Yum.

…Just like my dreams of ever reading all these books.

Yes, each shelf is stacked TWO ROWS DEEP. Yes, there are FOUR MORE shelves just like this one.*

In all seriousness, I will finish every one of them… As soon as my clones arrive.

*Yes, CCW*TV Blog Readers– I really did listen to you… ALL of you!

Geek & Gamer Girls Song

Unfortunate Katy Perry backbeat. Cool Seth Green Rap. Great Stan Lee Guest Shot.

Fantastic KATIE SACKHOFF sighting… Now with long RED HAIR!

(Thanks to CCW*TV’s Jose Melendez for the link!)

This is NOT a true story!

Did I ever tell you that after all those one night stands, Peter Parker has the Herpes?

A likely candidate... But no

I know, right? Logically, if he was gonna get it from anybody– it most assuredly would’ve been the Black Cat. But NO – the culprit’s gonna be Mary Jane Watson Parker.

Yep. MJ’s gonna give Peter the Herpes. At least that’s what Dan Slott just told me Joey Q called up and demanded he write the other day. Seems that people are STILL hung up about there being no real marriage between Pete and Mary Jane. They’re apparently missing MJ more than ever– even after the O.M.I.T. storyline– so Joey Q wants to sully her rep as much as possible so people will stop loving her… So he’s decided to go the STD route– as if that’s really something to be ashamed of to begin with (cause it isn’t). Yet JQ’s undeterred. He told Slott, “Unlike Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage– herpes is forever!”

Slott also told me that if the “herpes angle” doesn’t work, JQ has insisted he write another new story arc that reveals MJ is now pregnant with twins after having three-way sex with Harry & Norman Osborn. The way Joey Q sees it this third time– when Peter doesn’t show for the wedding, Mary Jane’s Aunt insists they throw the reception anyway. MJ understandably gets tipsy at the party, Normie takes advantage– and forces Harry to join in so he can “learn how to act like a man.”

The twins will be dizygotic (non-fraternal). One will be Norman’s and the other baby will belong to Harry.

Holy Shit!

Slott then said that if none of these “carefully crafted” moves successfully destroys Mary Jane’s fan base, JQ has devised one last fail-safe plan that will rewrite the O.M.I.T. storyline one FINAL time. Now, instead of MJ whispering heretofore unheard of demands (designed to protect Peter) into Mephisto’s ear– she will now offer to become the devil’s wife.

The Bride of Mephisto storyline will take place under the collective O.S.H.I.T. Banner* and will drag out across 24 $5.99 one-shots– All of which will be released in a single month (and collected into a Deluxe Over-Sized Omnibus Hardcover retailing for $174.99 less than 45 days later.)

As has become Marvel’s usual practice, most of these one-shots will be primarily filled with previously printed material from several Amazing Spider-Man comics– all released some 20 to 30 years ago. These “classic flashback” segments (as JQ has fondly dubbed them) will not have much– if anything– to do with the current O.S.H.I.T. storyline. Of course the writers, penciliers and inkers (no colorists or letterers) of these earlier works will be compensated at the standard rate of 4 cents per every 10,000 copies sold.

Just another day at the Poon-Tang Corral for new SEXUALLY IRRESPONSIBLE Peter Parker

About six months after the O.S.H.I.T. storyline concludes, Slott will reveal that the radioactive spider venom still cursing in Peter’s blood had caused a false positive on the herpes test. Therefore, Peter never truly had the sexually transmitted disease. It will also be intimated that the same irradiated venom keeps Parker perpetually safe from all STDs– so he can resume banging different women every night.

Meanwhile, MJ will continue to blow the hideously malformed Mephisto in Hell… And she will rarely, if ever, be mentioned in the Marvel Universe again.

*O.S.H.I.T. first coined by DEEMAR, artist in residence at the CCW*TV Blog

A funny from Comic Book Resources

You wouldn't think this would be hard to find... But IT IS.

I couldn’t find this book. Hardly anywhere.

And if I did, I sure as hell couldn’t buy it for cover price. I have detailed this sad phenomenon in two posts now: MANGA PUBLISHERS– Why Do You H☠TE Me? and Comic Book Retailers – Update Your F****** Websites! It seems like all of the Manga publishers really don’t care about– or don’t care to cater to– the completists (like me) in their audience. To be clear, I don’t mind an occasional book hunt (in fact, sometimes it’s fun)– but I really do not want to hunt to fill holes in every frickin’ Manga title I decide to collect.

Yet, I usually have to.

Run from the Borders!

Case in point: Tokyopop’s Future Diary series. Volume 6 just came out, OK? But try to find Volume 2. This Manga title oddly seems to follow the old comic collector paradigm– as #2 seems the rarest volume so far.

Which is why I was so delighted to find that the Borders Bookstore located down the street from me had one in stock. Note to the wise: The “Check for Store Availability” links on mainstream bookseller’s websites are often a big boon to the collector of hard-to-find books… Especially if you have friends in other cities or states and can con them into picking up a copy for you and sending it in the mail. Put your Zip Code (or a friend’s Zip Code) into one of these website search boxes and BOOM– you might be able to save yourself from overpaying $20 to $30 USD (or more) for a scarce Manga title.

Luckily (or so I thought), I didn’t have to do that this time. Once I found someone to go over there and getting the book for me– I’d be all set. My friend nicely offered (around 5 pm in BIG CITY traffic no less). I felt double fortunate.

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

Possibly my new Best Friend (Unfortunately, I mean the Magnifying Glass)

About 20  minutes later she called from her cell phone. Seems she bought the book (I was having it held for me at the front desk) and when the clerk finally handed it to her– she realized it was not in acceptable condition. You may have read this in another one of my posts before but I am going to write it again: I do not care how much of a discount a mainstream bookstore, comic shop or website gives me on a book. If I buy it NEW– I expect the tome to be in new, Near-Mint to Mint condition. I’m not going to pull out a magnifying glass or anything when I buy it– but the damn thing better look– and be– right.

Seems my rep had preceded me– as my friend knew that I was very condition conscious. She told me that the book looked like it had been opened and read several times. The line where the cover was “scored” (so it will bend back easily at the spine) was WHITE– even though the cover itself was BLACK. This meant 2 things: #1 the book was severely manhandled and #2 the book had been carelessly read so many times, the black ink had fallen off the score line. That’s a lot of reading.

I apologized for her wasted time and gas and asked her to return the book.

WHAT PISSED ME OFF MOST OF ALL

Has Alfred E.Neuman taken over Borders?

My friend later told me that when she handed the book back to the clerk– asking to return it for a refund due to its’ poor condition… The clerk just looked at the book, rolled his eyes a little, sighed and said, “Okay.”

No “Gee whiz, I’m sorry the book is in such bad shape! Let me see if I can find you another one.” Just a resigned sigh that, once again, another customer had him selling a less-than-new product.

Barnes & Noble, Bookstar and Borders– This is what happens when you turn your bookstores into libraries!

You provide comfortable seating in all kinds of places throughout your store and you never stop your customers from reading your books from start to finish. Often these people will read a few chapters and then come back the next day to read a few more… And will continue this pattern until they have finished a whole novel. I’ve even seen people reading while they are eating a sloppy tuna sandwich that they’ve just pulled out of a paper sack. These folks are obviously enjoying a free read on their lunch break! Mom’s bring three or four kids into your stores and they all pick out a book to read– but rarely buy anything.

And you have the audacity to blame Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad for your flagging quarterly profit reports?!

You then add your own insult to your own injuries by selling coffee and chocolate eclairs too!

All the while allowing your customers to read, read, read. Have you ever bought a book from one of these stores and gotten home to see a big chocolate smear inside– on one of the pages of your supposedly new book? I have actually seen customers doing this horrendous act while they read a book in a Barnes & Noble. No shame, no remorse. They just flipped the page and kept on reading.

Good God Almighty! They damn well better be glad that I haven’t ever paid for and brought one of these sullied atrocities into my home. I’d race back to that bookstore and return that damn thing so violently it would take an amazing proctologist to retrieve my return!*

But I wouldn’t feel bad. I doubt my hijinks wouldn’t stop them from selling that rescued copy either.

Guess what DOESN'T mix with a NEW BOOK?

*Many thanks to Jose Melendez at the CCW*TV Blog for reminding me of my hatred of people who eat and read for free in bookstores a couple of weeks ago.

PILGRIM VS BATMAN

One of the millions of reasons everyone at the CCW*TV Nation luvs poster par excellence STAMPS…

Her FINE sense of HUMOR!

STAMPS’ TWEET

THE PRECURSOR TWEET TO STAMPS’ TWEET:

Hilarity, thy name is GD Batman*

(*My quote, CENSORED– just this once– out of deference to CCW*TV Nation poster comicbookdude who also runs the very opinionated– which is what makes it great– ItsJustSomeRandomGeek’s Blog :-) )

IT’S QUITE SIMPLE, REALLY

This is one of the BEST BOOKS you're NOT reading... And now it's CANCELED.

The good guys at CCW*TV– comic retailer par excellence Jose Melendez and comic writer extraordinaire Elliott Serrano– are very high on the obvious talents of one Mr. Jeff Parker. They like him so much, they mention his name often and are always certain to note whenever a new “JP” book arrives. Since they turned me onto Jeff’s work, I have already mentioned him in several posts (here and here) and even reviewed his Namora #1 one-shot comic on this very Blog.

The fact that Jeff’s book– Agents of Atlas (also known as “AoA” for brevity’s sake)– was never a big hit had been quite the topic of discussion (and bone of contention) for most folks posting on the highly recommended CCW*TV Blog. So much so, when Marvel dropped the bombshell that Jeff had decided to end the current AoA run with issue #5, practically everyone on the blog declared the comic’s demise a national tragedy.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I also personally believe Agents of Atlas is one of the FINEST COMICS Marvel has printed

in well over a decade…Which makes “Jeff’s decision” to stop the book cold all the more distressing to me and other discerning comic fans. Some say Parker made the smart move to “cancel” the title himself before Marvel did it themselves… That way he could leave the book on his own terms and with his vision intact. I absolutely agree.

Namora and M-11 get their DESTROY on.

And even though Agents of Atlas is soon ending active publication, I strongly suggest that you make a point to pick up all the various Trade Paperbacks or Hardcovers that are available before they too sell out. Cancellation doesn’t mean a book is dead. There are a lot of great AoA adventures for you to read if you haven’t already done so!

Which brings me to Jose politely insisting that I finally read the Agents of Atlas: Turf Wars hardcover the other day. When he went so far as to  double-check and determine that this new collection wouldn’t spoil my current reading of Marvel’s Dark Reign crossover books– I read Turf Wars immediately.

Upon reading the hardcover and enjoying every single page of it (despite the annoying, frequently rotating, list of pencilers)– I decided to try to determine exactly why Agents of Atlas didn’t sell– in any of its’ various incarnations– considering the huge amount of talent involved in the book from Day One.

The obviousness and simplicity of what I decided may just shock you.

THE GOOD STUFF
Another Leinul Yu Comic Book Cover Master Class

Another Leinul Yu Comic Book Cover Master Class

Let’s quickly run down what the Agents of Atlas creative team and the publisher did right. As already stated, Parker and company really couldn’t have devised and created a better comic book. One CCW*TV Blog poster noted that he felt Marvel had done their part in supporting the book as well– and that is true. They gave AoA like, What? 3 different chances to succeed– despite never seeing powerhouse sales? And Marvel execs certainly let Parker run loose in the Marvel U– with one-shots and guest stars from the likes of the #1 best-selling Avengers book to the popular X-Men and Hulk comics. They also contracted with the über-talented Leinel Yu to create the regular series covers… And for my money, you can’t pick any better living comic book cover artists than the triumvirate of Leinel Yu, Brian Bolland or Olivier Coipel.

So we have a fantastic book, popular guest-stars that should guarantee lots of crossover sampling and beautiful book covers… So what went wrong? Why didn’t Agents of Atlas sell?

THE 1ST THING THAT WENT WRONG

#1: Jeff Parker is too talented.

I know, I know… I can already hear you screaming, “How in the fuck is that a problem?”

Well, I’ll tell you how it’s a problem: Because Parker is so talented, people saw Comic Companies putting his name on lots of books (Underground for Image and Mysterius the Unfathomable at Wildstorm– to name just a few “instant classics”)… Yet hardly any fans knew anything about the man– let alone that he could actually write comics.

Parker is one of those rare polished professionals that jumped into a Marvel writing gig without already making a “name” for himself as a writer at some other comic company or in some other mainstream medium like television, movies or prose fiction first. In fact, prior to his current Marvel stint, Parker had mainly worked only as an ARTIST.

Get the pattern? Parker had ZERO “heat” as a writer. There was nothing to differentiate his stellar work from the hundreds of other comic book writers already busting their asses attempting to make a living.

You may have been a big fan of Jeff’s art– but chances are you didn’t know bupkiss about his writing ability. The Big Two (Marvel & DC) will tell you that in this era of $3.99 comicsnot being a name writer is a big negative. Marvel definitely loves hiring all kinds of famous and semi-famous prose writers whether they have proven comic writing skills or not. (DC, sadly, is following suit.)

Yet Marvel hired “No-Name” Parker anyway and given his awesome talent– immediately launched him on a new title… Something that is virtually unheard of in nowadays. Usually– especially when working for DC or Marvel– every creative person must toil in less popular “B” and “C” titles first… Learning their craft and building that “name”– before being given a shot at the “Big League” characters. They definitely don’t get to shepherd their own book straight out of the chute.

So, as weird as it sounds– Agents of Atlas’ sales have been a “victim” of Jeff’s superior talent– as Marvel gave Parker the book long before he had the chance to build the huge fan following most writer’s acquire before being offered such a major opportunity.

At $3.99 per issue, current readers cannot afford to give new talent a shot… Unless, of course, someone pairs the newbies with a already popular creative partner or places them in “creator proof” titles like Spider-man or Batman… In other words, books that have proven over time to sell well despite the quality of the creative teams involved.

Agents of Atlas was far too obscure a title to ever be considered “creator proof”… And Marvel taking a gamble by putting Parker at the helm is a commendable decision. It is also a very hopeful sign that Marvel actually values and looks for something other than exceptional pencilers when evaluating potential new comic book employees.

Parker’s overabundance of talent brings us to the MAIN REASON Agents of Atlas did not sell well. The reason being so simple that I must fault Marvel for not catching on and doing something to correct it.

THE 2ND THING THAT WENT WRONG

#2: The strange, giddy SYNOPSIS PAGES that Parker wrote for every issue of the continuing Agents of Atlas’ comic book.

As noted above in Reason #1, the new $3.99 price point makes a casual comic buy virtually a non-existent animal these days. Most comic enthusiasts are  not going to pick up a new book– especially a continuing book they aren’t already reading– just on the strength of a cool cover drawing. They need much more. And with the popularity of huge company-wide crossovers diminishing by the year, the Synopsis Page is one of the only major tools left to convince a possible new patron to take a chance on a new title.

Unfortunately, Gorilla Man-- not enough people knew enough about you to save you.

Whenever you have an exceptional writer– especially one that decides to work in the comics field– their work/vision tends to eclipse the power wielded by their editors. This is not a phenomenon that only adversely affects the comic book industry. Every medium has popular writers that get away with bloated, eccentric works– simply because they can.

Now, it’s very clear that Parker was not given the freedom to indulge some of his wilder eccentricities because of overwhelming popularity. He was far too new at the scripting game to enjoy such creative license. I believe Jeff “got away” with his quirkier dalliances because the Powers That Be couldn’t bring themselves to stifle his creativity– and wanted to keep this wonderfully talented man satisfied and working for them (and not the Distinguished Competition) for a very long time to come.

As a person who has made a pretty satisfying career out of entertaining folks, I can tell you without equivocation that every writer needs an editor… If anything– just to encourage said writer to keep going down the “good paths” in his or her work. Writing the SAYL Blog is one of the hardest “assignments” I have ever undertaken… Not for the sheer volume of grunt work that a Blog requires– but because I am own editor.

So we’ve got Jeff Parker– great writer– seemingly given little editorial guidance or interference when writing a series of weird, off-putting first page synopses for every issue of Agents of Atlas. How these pages ever saw print is amazing– as they contradict everything one might learn in a “Marketing 101″ class. Every person involved– including Parker’s AoA Editor– obviously did not understand or give enough credit to the valuable importance the Synopsis Page now holds in determining what books comic readers buy.

And it is my considered opinion that no one told Parker to quit writing these extremely important marketing blurbs just for CURRENT Agents of Atlas reader.

Rarely (if ever) did Jeff write a catchy, straight forward synopsis that might benefit or encourage a non-reader to purchase his book.

As a reader from Issue#1, I  can tell you I loved the cool, wacky synopses that Parker wrote. At least he was attempting to do something different… Right? But I’m not the person that Jeff or Marvel should have worried about. I was already a true believer in the comic. But after reading several of these complicated, overly mocking introductory segments back-to-back– I knew the tone used in these pages was a horrible mistake. I could literally envision thousands of comic fans picking up different Agent of Atlas issues for their beautiful Yu covers or popular guest characters– only to quickly place them back on the racks after reading the near indecipherable, almost always impenetrable Parker synopsis.

I know it’s tough to believe that something so seemingly inconsequential could be the main culprit that led to Agents of Atlas demise. Could it really be that everyone’s hard work was wasted just because of a few quirky synopsis pages?

You damn well better believe it could.

Consumers are literally overwhelmed with choice these days– hence all the overtly titillating product enticements and quick-cut movie trailers that tell you a film’s entire plot in 2 and 1/2 minutes. If the potential object of desire doesn’t hook you instantly– or expose itself so frankly that you can relate to it immediately Chances are you are going to ignore it and move on to the next bright & shiny thing that does.

So before you go blaming Marvel completely for canceling your favorite comic, please try to realize that– like all things– there is more than enough shared culpability here. I have no doubt that Jeff Parker’s wildly inventive style is mere months away from gaining wide mainstream acceptance. I can also easily see Jeff eventually considered as the “American” equivalent of an Alan Moore or Warren Ellis.

Unfortunately for Agents of Atlas fans– that day isn’t a reality… yet. But take heart. It IS right around the corner.

THUNDERBOLTS-- Another Parker comic YOU should read!