Posts Tagged ‘DC Comics’

“The one where Ian tells Jose that Scott Snyder and Jock’s Detective Comics #871 is his pick for the BEST COMIC of 2010!”

DECEMBER 7, 2010


We hope you have as much fun listening as we did making this podcast!


‘Tis The Season To Tell It Like It Is… And Insideman Ian MacMillan and Comic Retailer/Webmaster/Vlogger & Blogger Extraordinaire Jose Melendez prescribe a MASSIVE LUMP OF COAL as  a “present” for the ill-advised, ill-conceived and illogical REBOOT of Buffy the Vampire Slayer– the EXACT same film being promoted by a slew of powerful filmmakers who have decided it’s “A-OK” to proceed WITHOUT the participation of Buffy’s Creator and Guiding Master, Joss Whedon.

Not satisfied with simply sampling that cold, pitiful bowl of winter gruel, The Boys then turn their attention to Dan Slott’s second “solo” issue of Amazing Spider-man– Issue #649. Unfortunately, things are much worse than were initially anticipated and look to be going downhill fast. Listen in SORROW as Peter Parker REGRESSES back to his bumbling, immature, lying persona of 20+ years ago! Sadly, this is the among the book’s LEAST offenses. WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS NUMEROUS RANTS & CAN BE ADDICTIVE TO PEOPLE WHO ENJOY ACTIVE INTELLIGENT DISCOURSE ON COMICS.

NEXT UP: Batwoman #0. KATE KANE is one of Jose’s favorite characters from the Batman Family. Find out if Issue #0 meets ALREADY HIGH expectations or defeats Mr. Melendez INSIDE the PODCAST! Cringe in fear as Ian– ever in need of realism– takes the writers to task for one of the silliest time snafus to ever appear in Modern Comics.

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST, Jose and Ian serve up a HEALTHY EXAMINATION of ONE of 2010’s BEST COMICS (if not the ABSOLUTE BEST): Writer Scott Snyder and Artist Jock’s Detective Comics #871.

Already SOLD OUT and SLATED FOR A 2ND PRINT, sit back with a smooth cup of Apple Cider and warm the cockles of your heart as you discover that, in fact, these TWO COMIC BOOK GRINCHES BOTH REALLY DO HAVE HEARTS… As long as they are DISCUSSING QUALITY COMIC BOOKS written and drawn by TALENTED, CONSCIENTIOUS CREATORS, that is.

It is a discussion you do NOT want to miss… As you’ll learn more about WHAT MAKES A GOOD COMIC than you EVER thought possible– and in just a few minutes!


ALL in ALL… A JAM PACKED HOUR (PLUS a few more BONUS minutes!) sure to INFLAME & INSPIRE. You’ll laugh, You’ll cry… But BEST of all, you’ll FEEL LIKE A COMIC FAN!

Hosted by Jose Melendez and Insideman, the Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast is a no-holds barred straight-forward examination and opinion forum concentrating on virtually ALL forms of media and pop culture, including: Comic Books, Television, Film & Music.

If you click on the NEW “Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast #4″ PODCAST PLAYER above, you should be able to listen to the full podcast IMMEDIATELY.

You can also download and/or just listen to this LATEST PODCAST on the DEDICATED IMJ PODCAST PAGE at… Where you can also listen and/or download ALL of the PREVIOUS PODCASTS from the Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast Vaults!

And later, look for Enhanced Video versions of this Podcast at the

Inveterate Media Junkies YouTube Channel


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“The one where Jose asks Ian what the HELL is going on in the creative process of American comic books?”

NOVEMBER 28, 2010


We hope you have as much fun listening as we did making this podcast!


Joltin’ Jose Melendez and Insideman Ian MacMillan briefly discuss the supposed impending, needless and most certainly temporary DEATH of Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man by the infamous sales powerhouses Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis. Ian & Jose then launch into SPINE TINGLING REVIEWS of Millar’s SUPERIOR #1 & #2 and BENDIS’ AVENGERS #7. Have Marvel’s not-always-so-dynamic-duo FINALLY seen the light and started creating comics that rise above their normal less-than-noble output or do these new offerings sink to depths previously unknown?


Leaving no stone unturned, the boys then sharpen their steely gaze on BATMAN: THE RETURN and compare that $4.99 Grant Morrison / David Finch 30-page One Shot comic book to Grant Morrison & Yanick Paquette’s BATMAN, INC #1. Find out if Jose and Ian believe that Morrison is, in fact, a two-faced devil with the power to both SUCK and SHINE in the same week… And whether Mr. Melendez has come to praise or bury ARTISTS turned ARTISTS/WRITERS David Finch and Tony Daniel.

UP ON THE GRILL: Superior #1 & #2, Avengers #7, Batman: The Return and Batman, Inc #1! Is it FEAST or FAMINE? Your fate awaits!

Grab a cup of HOT COCOA– or a Jack Daniels “neat”– depending upon your age & predilections… And enjoy a BRAND NEW PODCAST with almost FIFTEEN MINUTES of BONUS EXTRAS!

Hosted by Jose Melendez and Insideman, the Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast is a no-holds barred straight-forward examination and opinion forum concentrating on virtually ALL forms of media and pop culture, including: Comic Books, Television, Film & Music.

If you click on the NEW “Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast #3″ PODCAST PLAYER above, you should be able to listen to the full podcast IMMEDIATELY.

You can also download and/or just listen to this LATEST PODCAST on the DEDICATED IMJ PODCAST PAGE at… Where you can also listen and/or download ALL of the PREVIOUS PODCASTS from the Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast Vaults!
And look for the Enhanced Video versions at the
Inveterate Media Junkies YouTube Channel


“The one where Jose tells Ian he’s Number 1, then treats him like Number 2.”

NOVEMBER 16, 2010

Inveterate Media Junkies PODCAST #2 PART 1

We hope you have as much fun listening as we did making this podcast!

Jose Melendez and Insideman Ian MacMillan discuss the MASSIVE RECEPTION to the 1st Podcast, the SURPRISE APPEARANCE of ENHANCED You Tube Videos, take a HARD LOOK at the crappy COMIC SALES FIGURES for October, stir up trouble about some IDIOCY concerning J. Michael Stracynski’s move to writing ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVELS ONLY and then take a BIG WHACK at the NEW TITLES that Marvel sadly deemed “good enough” to appear in their FALL “SNEAK PEEKS” issue.

Jose then puts to rest ALL YOUR QUESTIONS about why there are so many Iron Man, Captain America and Thor mini-series in the shops right now…  And warns you that you are staring at the TIP OF THE ICEBERG.


If you click on the “Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast #2 Part 1″ link (in light blue) above, you will be taken to a SEPARATE PAGE where you can listen to a Quicktime version of the podcast.

If you use a PC and do NOT have Quicktime– you can download it quickly and easily here:

For the few folks who are still having trouble playing the PODCAST LINK — click the link below (or paste the address into your browser) to go to our BRAND NEW PODCAST HOST…!

There you can download and/or just listen to this LATEST PODCAST on the DEDICATED IMJ PODCAST PAGE… And you can also listen and/or download ALL of the PREVIOUS PODCASTS from the Inveterate Media Junkies Vaults!

PART 2 of the IMJ Podcast #2 will be posted next!

And look for the Enhanced Video versions at the

Inveterate Media Junkies YouTube Channel

hopefully this weekend!


NOVEMBER 10, 2010

Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast #1 PART TWO

We hope you have as much fun listening as we did making this podcast!

If you would like to listen to PART ONE of the 1st Inveterate Media Junky Podcast


A few folks are having trouble playing the PODCAST LINK. If you use a PC and do NOT have Quicktime– you can download it quickly and easily here:

Otherwise, please feel free to visit the PERMANENT Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast Site

You can DOWNLOAD a copy of the PODCAST there– which will play back on various players– including REAL PLAYER.


NOVEMBER 8, 2010

Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast #1 Part 1

We hope you have as much fun listening as we did making this podcast!

A few folks are having trouble playing the PODCAST LINK.’s “Media Players” are NOT currently working properly. If you click on the “Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast #1 Part 1″ link (in light blue) above, you will be taken to a SEPARATE PAGE where you can listen to a Quicktime version of the podcast.

If you use a PC and do NOT have Quicktime– you can download it quickly and easily here:

(It is a player you’ll definitely want if you don’t already have it.)

Otherwise, please feel free to visit the Inveterate Media Junkies Permanent Podcast Page at

You can DOWNLOAD a copy of the PODCAST there– which will play back on various players– including REAL PLAYER.

Again, many apologies for the WORD PRESS glitches. We have a “work ticket” in progress with them and hope to have these issues solved shortly.


(Hopefully with all the GLITCHES fixed!)

And frankly, it looks like a


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!)

I believe that's BULLSHIT your sensing, Spidey!

In case you’ve been cavorting out in the real world this past week and shut yourself off from everything geeky… You might not know that DC Comics, then Marvel (lamely)– stated that they are now committed to the $2.99 price point for individual comic books and that they would lower their $3.99 floppies to $2.99 starting January 2011.

The news took the Tweets, Blogs and Email servers by storm. Many rejoiced. Others shook their heads in disbelief… Even more simply couldn’t wrap their heads around it.

After all, who has EVER SEEN the cover price of comic books decrease?


The August comic book sales figures came in… And the results of the price increase were ominously telling.

For the first time in the modern era– not one DC or MARVEL comic book broke the 100,000 copy sales plateau. Not one. No matter how popular the title– comic book sales were down across the board. New books launching for the first time at the $3.99 cover price were uniformly victims of extremely lukewarm sales.

The sales figures reflected an immediate repudiation of the price hike.

This news must have been very frightening to the Powers That Be– as they instantly and collectively realized they had been completely fucked by their own naked greed.

Several industry higher-ups also reported being shaken by stories of long time collectors who suddenly stopped collecting upon hearing the news that their favorite books would suffer an increase of over 30%.

Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley even went so far as to make the following statement/rationalization:

“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.”

All well and good Mr. Buckley… But I have a few quick questions:

If a popular book sells more copies– why are you raising the cover price? Shouldn’t better selling books be lower priced since you are selling more books? Shouldn’t your increased profits allow you to afford the popular creative teams without an increase in cover price?

Since you say you have to raise prices to pay for quality talent– why are you also raising the prices of books that feature virtually unknown (therefore lower paid) creative teams? Why are those books also $3.99?

I mean, I guess what I ‘m asking is… Is this a legitimate price increase, Mr. Buckley? Or are you just attempting to baffle us with bullshit?


The price increase issue has been shrouded in very persistent, negative rumblings. Most believe the jump had nothing to do with publishers incurring additional production costs… And was apparently just an arbitrary increase to squeeze fans. This thought drove a lot of people more than a little crazy. Virtually anyone who thought about the controversy for more than a second decided not to believe the Official Publisher Party Line™– that prices were raised to cover increasing production costs.

Then, of course, there was the added insanity of companies raising cover prices– for any reasonin the middle of a very long Recession/Depression.


A lot of comic book pros are attending the high-profile New York Comic Con this weekend– the spot where DC Comics decided to evoke their price lowering mea culpa.

DC honchos Jim Lee and Dan Didio handled their announcement with a welcomed maturity and restraint… While some of the more brash Marvel staffers seemingly couldn’t be bothered with that. Many seemed intent on playing coy while “discussing” the important subject of rising comic book prices– as if the idea of comics being overpriced in a bad economy was barely a topic worth discussing. Not surprisingly, a couple of Marvel editors and employees seemed to delight in poking fun at DC’s decision to lower their books’ creative page count from 22 to 20… Like two fewer pages in a comic book is the sign of anybody’s fucking Apocalypse.

I sure do wish I was at the con. If I was, I would love to lob this question at one of those snappy Marvel employees:

Why does Marvel seem to consistently think that their fans are STUPID… Or that we don’t want to be treated like ADULTS?

You gotta remember that most comic fans are– what– 25 to 45 now? Why wouldn’t these adults want to discuss such a negative financial impact on their cash flow in a mature manner?


A lot of collectors have been known to drop in and out of this hobby as they move on– or are attracted to– different entertainment forms. Therefore, they are not completely up to speed on every bit of comic book history– including the esoteric study of comic book prices through the decades. Others simply forget history. Even more are too young and would not know the history unless they read a book that discussed the subject.

That stated, I know beyond a doubt that many now reading this article will not know the following two facts:

#1) Back in the day, only a poorer selling comic had its’ cover price raised– as low sales at lower price levels could not justify the continued publication of certain books. Better selling books always had lower prices. The rest of the books in a publisher’s line might be $1.25 each– and the less popular titles would be $1.75 (or whatever). This was the publisher’s way of catering to all of their fans… And the fans of the more expensive titles rarely complained because they felt that the companies cared.  But now– as DC publishes 19 Batman books in one month or Marvel releases 46 Deadpool comics every 30 days– it is hard to believe that the companies care about anything other than money… And how quickly they can get you to part with yours.

#2 There was a time, believe it or not, when comic books only had 17 PAGES of original art and story in each issue. So this whole 20 story pages per book (a number DC is reportedly adopting) verses 22 pages (which Marvel is apparently sticking with… at least this week)– is a bullshit argument over NOTHING.

I truly believe the lower page count will force the better creators– the people who really deserve your attention and your money– to get rid of some of those horrific space wasting splash and double splash pages that the companies have become so enamored with… Pages that only exist to pad a story for eventual collection in a Hardcover or Trade Paperback.

Make a note here: if enough fans resist the lower page count, DC will add the 2 pages back to their books. If fans act like they don’t miss those two pages in DC’s books– Marvel will contract their comics by 2 pages quicker than one of their editors can say something stupid or snarky about the subject at a convention.


Commentators like CCW*TV’s Jose Melendez should pat themselves on the back for selflessly using their pulpits to rail continuously against this stultifying price increase. While many uncaring retailers just shrugged off the issue and continued to fill their weekly You Tube videos with the usual self-promoting stupidity and lame book reviews… Other brave men and women led the way in exposing the unnecessary price increase as nothing more than a naked cash grab.

It was their protestations on Twitter, non-profit Blogs and Videos that caused thousands of fans to quickly rally against the price hikes. It was their words that caused thousands of comic book collectors to do something that the majority of fans had never done in the face of a price increase before… Many true blue collectors DROPPED EVERY BOOK but their core, must have titles– and took to the internet rejoicing in their new austere approach to comic book collecting.



Yum! Yum!

So the commentators commented. The fans protested. Thousands dropped the more expensive titles (or refused to buy the new expensive titles)… Causing DC and Marvel  to blink. Sounds good– exactly the way a free economy is supposed to work in a democratic society. People voted with their wallets and pocketbooks and the greedy corporations were forced to learn an unusual lesson.

So why are there still some people out there who think Marvel and DC only lowered prices because they care about their fans? There is no indication that this arbitrary price increase was anything but good old-fashioned corporate greed… So why would anybody think these companies lowered the prices to help their customers out?

It’s crazy. The people now forced to lower the prices are the same people who arbitrarily raised the prices just a few months before!

The bottom line is the bottom line and the only reason you saw your favorite books increase by a dollar overnight was because certain dolts at certain conglomerates got a little too full of themselves and thought you would all line up and gladly take a bite of their hastily prepared shit sammich. (Please note: This audio link is NSFW or Meddling Parental Units!)

Personally, I can’t wait to watch the inevitable fancy two-step that Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley will soon be forced to perform– since it was just last week he thought the price increase was perfectly appropriate.

Following the Twitter Splosion™ after DC Comics announcement that they are LOWERING prices on ALL their $3.99 comics effective January 2011, several questions are left unanswered:








Here is one last poll to cover this emerging news:

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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


❤ = LOVE



It’s simple: a GREEN HEART means I loved the book, a RED SKULL & CROSSBONES means I extremely disliked the book (I attempt to reserve the word HATE for things I truly hate– and I try not to hate on inanimate objects) and the INDIFFERENT PINK SNOWMAN is just a “Meh. Who cares?” moment.

I offer short commentary with very few– if any– spoilers!

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it is worse that I dislike a book or worse that I don’t give a shit either way.

Please note: The books are listed in no particular order.


Book killed ANY interest I had in this series

Cyberforce Hunter Killer Volume 1 GN ($14.99, TOP COW) You know you’re in fucking trouble when the introduction to the book (written here by AOTS Roving Reporter Blair Herter) makes no sense. Mark Waid’s story is run-of-the-mill and flaccid. Kenneth Rocafort’s art was nice– but also seemed deliberately obtuse and sketchy.

Art: Pretty Story: Sketchy

Invincible Volume 13: Growing Pains GN ($16.99, IMAGE) I’ve read lots better and more cohesive Invincible story lines. Ryan Ottley’s art, as always, is stunning. An apropos middling PINK SNOWMAN for the reuse of the boring PINK SEQUIDS.

I'm that sucker that seemingly gets REBORN almost every Wednesday at the comic book store

Zombie Warriors GN ($14.95, ARCANA) 1st off– silly me– I thought the book was about ZOMBIES. It’s not. It’s about kids injected with a serum that turns them into super-soldiers (sound familiar?) and they are recruited… Oh fuck it, I don’t care. (And you shouldn’t either!)

Just. Shoot. Me.

Frank Castle The Punisher: Naked Kills GN ($19.99, MARVEL) A collection of 4 Punisher One-Shot comics– where 3 out of the 4 stories sucked. The lone winning tale being Jonathan (Rot & Ruin) Maberry’s “Naked Kill”. The rest seemed like the writer’s were stretching their styles to provide various forms of perversion, pain and degradation that Marvel’s MAX imprint normally delivers. While sometimes creative and different, I also did not care for Laurence Campbell’s art.

Thought provoking, cool and barely read

Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter GN ($14.99, MARVEL) To be blunt: I went in with low expectations and came out a True Believer. Sadly, I don’t even remember seeing this comic solicited in “floppy” form. Kieron Gillen‘s story is thought provoking without being pedantic– showing how anyone, hero or not, can go too far in the pursuit of justice. Since I’ve seen NO promotion, I’m guessing the book sold very poorly… A true shame.


Avengers/X-men: Utopia HC ($39.99, MARVEL) That’s a lotta money laid out to come away feeling indifferent. This book meanders through the Avengers/X-men conflict as Cyclops bridles under Norman Osborn’s H.A.M.M.E.R regime. Fairly boiler plate stuff. Paul Cornell’s “Dark X-men, The Beginning” short is the best story in the bunch– but certainly not worth spending $39.99 over. If you need to know what happens in this book– later issues of the X-men comic will most certainly fill you in. I’m sure those book’s descriptions of what happened in this hardcover are much more exciting than what actually did happen here. Luke Ross’s art on a couple of stories was also very jarring– when compared to the other artists used in the collection.

Jeff Parker-- Hindered by poor subject matter

Marvel 1602: Spider-man HC ($19.99, MARVEL) I reluctantly gave this HC a so-so grade– especially since “average” Jeff Parker stories are normally 10x better than the rest of Marvel’s output. Given the constrictions inherent in the Marvel 1602 era– Parker’s story stands as a cut above any other spin-offs to Neil Gaiman’s original series. It was a sort of cute idea when Gaiman did it but it needs to stop now.

Sadly, I feel gypped

Runaways: Homeschooling HC ($19.99, Marvel) This book earns its’ mediocre grade because it is one of those semi-coherent, slapdash affairs that Marvel seems to be so fond of printing as of late. In this new Hardcover/Graphic Novel era, the Marvel Powers That Be seemingly have never seen a story that they didn’t feel deserved to be collected for one final cash grab. What’s sad here is the first 4 issues of Homeschooling– written by Kathryn Immonen and drawn by Sara Pichelli– are killer… A fine return to form for a book that surprisingly floundered under the crushingly bad stories written by Terry “Echo” Moore. So why didn’t I like it? Well instead of giving us 5 or 6 issues of coherent continuity– Marvel throws C.B. Cebulski’s “What If the Runaways Became the Young Avengers?” into the back of the hardcover. This may be a perfectly fine story in its own right… But put in at the back of this book at such a critical juncture in the ongoing story line left me feeling confused, gypped and angry. I wanted to see more of the current story I paid to read. If I wanted to read a “What If?” tale then I would have bought one of Marvel’s “What If?” collections. An “A+” for the first 4/5th’s of the book and a “D” for the What If? story… Simply because it is not where it should be. I got so mad when I realized they weren’t going to continue the regular story that I read the first 3 pages of the Cebulski story and then slammed the book covers together. (I dislike decisions that waste my time.)

A great Invincible book-- without Invincible

Invincible Presents Volume One: Atom Eve & Rex Splode GN ($14.99, Image) If you told me I would have liked this book better than the most recent Invincible graphic novel– I would have told you that you’re nuts. But I did.


The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft GN ($16.99, Image) I wanted to like this GN, I really did. But in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything but, “It was okay.” I felt the story dragged on too long. Liked the art. I guess in the end, after reading so many of Michael Alan Nelson’s excellent Cthulhu books from Boom! Studios– maybe I am just Cthulhu’d out. Too much squid, perhaps? Either way– if you need a Cthulhu fix, I suggest the Fall of Cthulhu books from Boom!

This book could have been a contender

Pug GN ($14.99, Image) The is a perfect example of a book being judged by its’ cover. The cover to Pug is vibrant and alive. One of the most striking– yet simple– pieces of artwork to grace a hardcover or graphic novel in many years. Unfortunately the fun stops there. The artwork inside is crude and definitely suffers from not having the great coloring that enhanced the cover. The story is somewhat simple as well. This is what I call a “development” book. While I cannot wholeheartedly endorse this effort– I’ll be back to purchase what they do next. I also did not like the sideways “comic strip” style book format (and I love reading and collecting comic strips collections). I think the use of this different comic book format actually detracted from the reading experience here.

Sweet Mignolas!

B.P.R.D. Volume 13: 1947 GN ($17.99, Dark Horse) I love almost everything to do with Hellboy. Everything. And the B.P.R.D. comic book is no exception. This volume investigates the early days of the B.P.R.D. when Hellboy was just a child. You might understandably wonder, “How exciting is a Hellboy book without Hellboy?” The answer is: DAMN EXCITING. It’s wonderful to watch craftsmen like Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart weave the Hellboy legend– giving life to the many names and faces that pop up in the current comics. It may sound like an investment (and it is)– but if you aren’t reading Hellboy or B.P.R.D. in collected form– then you are missing out. If can afford it, start at the beginning. Dark Horse is good at keeping all these volumes in print– and even if you only bought one trade every other month, you will catch up… And I believe you will be very glad you did.

Super Spy Cinderella

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love GN ($14.99, Vertigo) Shawn McManus is one of the greatest artists in comics and he works so sporadically in the medium that you just want to hunt him down and chain him to a desk until he draws 100 more books. Chris Roberson’s spy story is lots of fun too. I can’t imagine fans of Fables or Jack of Fables not loving every panel of this trade paperback!

It's not gonna change your world but it IS funny and fast paced

The Expendables GN ($16.99, Dynamite) I am trying to figure just what Chuck Dixon did (if anything) to deserve being seemingly “exiled” by the Big Two comic publishers (DC/Marvel). The guy is a damn solid writer who turns in above average work on everything from G.I. Joe to The Expendables. I haven’t seen this movie yet but I know Sylvester Stallone’s writing well enough that I am certain Dixon’s dialogue is funnier. Dark Horse and other publisher’s should give this guy all the work he can handle. Unlike many of his peers who turn into hacks when faced with the perpetual grind of monthly comic book writing– Dixon gets better with age.

Excellent, as usual

The Walking Dead Volume 12: Life Among Them GN ($14.99, Image) Creator Robert Kirkman is leading up to something insanely sinister in this latest volume of the hit Zombie series. His rag-tag group has found a community walled off from the Zombie menace– where children still run the streets playing as if nothing has happened… A concept that can also be found in the excellent Billy Connolly Zombie film Fido. Much like Fido, this Zombie suburb is rotting from the inside. My only gripe? That the graphic novel wasn’t double-sized… So I could keep reading what happens next!

A thought-provoking, excellent read

Absolution GN ($24.99, Avatar) There are days when you just want to read a “straight” superhero story or some science fiction or even a war story. But if you want to read a story that’s almost guaranteed to be OUT THERE– then 9 out of 10 times Avatar’s got the book for you. Christos Gage brings on the provocative in this collection– as a cop superhero kills a bad guy one day and discovers that he likes the expediency of it. When the killing gets easier, he begins to believe it is the only way to do his job. All kinds of different themes get examined here– from the religious to the ethical– and Gage refuses to let any subject off lightly. If you like your hero action in your face and mind bending, then this book’s for you.

There's some sad, nasty shit in here

☠ Ultimate Comics Avengers: Next Generation HC ($24.99, Marvel) Hey, if there’s a red skull and crossbonesit must be Millar time! This is the already infamous story arc that has the Ultimate Red Skull allowing his henchmen to rape a woman right after he throws her infant child out of a third (or fourth) story window. Just ugh, Mark. Just fucking ugh. And you too Joey Q– for allowing this shit to see print.

You won't see comics like this from anybody else

The Sword Volume 4: Air GN ($14.99, Image) The Luna Brothers make me feel schizo. One minute I am beside myself because their sense of story pacing can be so slow, the line art so plain and pedestrian… And the next minute I realize exactly what they are doing and they drag me back in for the rest of the ride. They are intent on creating fantastical stories in mundane, every day worlds. They insist that their main heroes and heroines look exactly like the guys and girls that live next door. Sometimes characters have discussions that restate complete conversations that occurred earlier in the same book– because that’s what people do… They repeat themselves. In many ways, this is the comic book art form at its’ most bare bones and gracious. The Luna Brothers are not trying to assault you. They are trying to tell you a story– nobody’s way but their way. And they always succeed. Check out Girls for some science fiction craziness and Ultra if you want to see the Brothers unique take on the superhero genre.

Starts snazzy, lags in the middle, then dies

Haunted Tank GN ($14.99, Vertigo) When I started reading this book, I thought I was going to really enjoy it. I love crazy stuff. Author Frank Marrafinio takes the conceit of the original Haunted Tank comic series and turns it on its’ ear. Confederate Calvary General Jeb Stuart– cursed forever to defend family members in time of war as a ghost– discovers to his shock that his current descendant is an African-American soldier fighting in Iraq. Cool idea but the sarcasm is never biting enough, racial themes never fully explored enough. Sure this is a Vertigo title– so you are going to read some things that will surprise you… But in the end, you’ll just be asking, “Why did I bother?” Henry Flint’s art is magnificent.

I wanted to like this but there was NO WAY

Koni Waves: The Perfect Wave GN ($19.95, Arcana) Whenever anyone uses the word “perfect” in the title of their creation– they’re jonesing for trouble. Unfortunately, this Arcana collection is no different. Having been introduced to the original Hawaii 5-0 by my parents, I have always been fond of Hawaiian based stories– whether on TV or in comics. The most recent comic example being Mark Murphy’s excellent Tiki Joe Mysteries: The High Stakes Patsy from SLG. Everything Tiki Joe gets right, Koni Waves fails at. Koni Waves offers up a mountain of cheesy dialogue and silly, forgettable plots. The art– pedestrian at best. This is a personal gripe– but I cannot stand to look at page after page of simplified art with virtually NO background objects drawn in. BO-ring.


MySpace Dark Horse Presents Volume 5 GN ($19.99, Dark Horse) I have adored every single one of these Dark Horse collections. Why? Because Dark Horse always makes a point of using some of the BEST creators in the business to make these short story collections. Most of the time these artists and writers are working with properties that they are well known for. Sometimes they are writing and drawing characters that they would never normally be associated with. Like all anthologies, there are winners and losers here. But the good far outweighs the bad. Allow me to direct you to David Malki’s hilarious Wondermark short called “The Gax of Life” and Jesse Reklaw’s great “Going to Work”. Malki showcases the unique humor that drives all of his Wondermark books (some of the coolest hardcovers ever)… While Reklaw writes the most scathing fictional story about the comic book world I have ever seen. Those 2 stories are worth the price of the GN– so other stories by Jeff Parker, Dean (Mister X) Motter, John Arcudi and Matt Kindt (among many others) are all gravy, Baby!


Something's FISHY here... And for once it AIN'T the Sub-mariner!


Invaders: Eve of Destruction GN ($19.99, Marvel) This book literally could be retitled “Bait & Switch”. You think you’re buying an Invaders title– when you truly are buying reprints of Marvel Universe 1-7.  The first three stories are indeed an adequate Invaders story… But the last 4 comics reprinted deal with The Monster Hunters. It’s this kind of bullshit that drives me crazy. I flipped through this book. Knowing that Roger Stern wrote it– and satisfied that the art was decent– I bought it… Only to find that more than half the book had NOTHING to do with the Invaders! WTF? The Monster Hunters do NOT appear anywhere on the front or back covers of this Graphic Novel. They rate a ONE SENTENCE mention on the back of the book in a mini-paragraph. WTF again?!? Marvel, are you so desperate for cash that you are now forced to HOODWINK your customers to generate sales? If so, fuck you!

Carey's Best

The Unwritten Volume 2: Inside Man GN ($12.99, Vertigo) This is a superbly crafted book. Mike Carey’s stories are dumbfoundingly good while Peter Gross’ art is perfectly suited for the subject matter. The final story in this trade revolves around a foul-mouthed rabbit and is one of the funniest, saddest things I have read in a long time. Without a doubt, this is the best series to come out of Vertigo since Bill Willingham’s Fables. What’s conceivably strange here? If you only know Carey from his X-Men work– you will be utterly flummoxed by how mundane that mainstream Marvel stuff is compared to how wonderful these stories are. I’m sure Mike enjoys those fat “X paychecks”– but I wish he would just create another title so he could work on his own projects– instead of working on heavily edited crap for the House that Stan the Man Built.


WTF? A cool retcon? WTF?


Deathlok: The Demolisher HC ($24.99, Marvel) I really liked this book too. Charlie Huston is an excellent comic book writer. Lan Medina’s art meshes well with Huston’s crazy story. Normally I don’t like retcons– but Huston’s version of Deathlok is different enough and creative enough that I didn’t mind it was a retcon that also borrowed a heavy flavor from the original Rollerball movie starring James Cann.

Garth Ennis. 'Nuff Said.

Battlefields Volume 5: The Firefly and His Majesty GN ($12.99, Dynamite) Let me just admit this up front: I believe I have liked or loved almost every single thing that Garth Ennis has ever written… Certainly everything he has created since he came into his “own” as a known comic book writer. This Battlefields GN is no exception. Another excellent entry in the series– with some truly knock-out moments that only a wonderfully imaginative writer like Ennis can supply. Extra points for being the only continuous World War II book currently being published.


Unfortunately, more like INANE in the brain

Wolverine Weapon X Volume 2: Insane in the Brain HC ($24.99, Marvel) I really admire Jason Aaron’s work on Vertigo’s Scalped…. But his Wolverine Weapon X stories– especially in this volume– just doesn’t woo me. First off, I am not a big fan of any form of entertainment that takes two dimensional characters and has them acting in a way that no longer makes them special. Wolverine– for all his inexplicable popularity– is one such character that really suffers from this type of off brand treatment. What Aaron and his editor didn’t seem to understand: Wolverine is really a nothing character. Creators who assign too much feeling or care to the murdering bastard don’t really understand that care is not what Logan is about. Killing is what Logan is about. I would have rather Aaron use his considerable writing skills to take the Killer Wolverine and wrap an exciting, intricate morality tale around that man. Slapping Logan into a pot boiler asylum story worthy of an old Twilight Zone episode presupposes that we care about Wolverine– when, in fact, must of us do not. We only notice him when he’s out being the best he is at what he does: KILLING. Still, Aaron’s writing is good– so I can’t state that the work or idea completely stunk… But I can type I am not the least bit surprised that Marvel canceled the title. Better luck for Aaron’s next iteration of the X-man.



Dark Wolverine Volume 2: My Hero HC ($19.99, Marvel) Can someone tell me how many FUCKING people Daken can slaughter on camera before the “public” no longer trusts him at all? Is it 10, 20, 200? How fucking many? Here he kills 2 more. Threatens some people, walks around in a STUPID mohawk… Awww, who gives a flying fuck? Really?



Wolverine Origins: Seven the Hard Way HC ($19.99, Marvel) The only thing that stops this book for suffering the scarlet stamp of the Red Skull and Crossbones is the VERY LAST IMAGE in the book. Since I am not your Friendly Neighborhood SpoilerI will not tell you about the great reveal at the end. However, I will say that I am very depressed to see how this story line is turning out… Mainly because I actually thought that writer Daniel Way was going somewhere significant with it. I should have realized that when artist Steve Dillon left (and he never seems to leave any series until it comes to a natural conclusion) there was trouble ahead. Some may prefer Braithwaite’s art over Dillon’s. Not me.

Sweet Christmas!

Impaler Volume 2 GN ($14.99, Top Cow) This book accomplished something I thought impossible– it made vampires scary to me again. The great writing by William Harms is moody and dark. The excellent art by Matt Timson adds claustrophobia. Some real unexpected shit inside too… All masterfully played out against a blanket of continuously falling virgin snow. I recommended buying Volume 1 and then reading these 2 collections together. Vampires= Scary. I never would have dreamed it.






(Please be patient while the trailer loads.)

Although, I do admit to digging Anthony LaPaglia’s turn as Lex Luthor!

Seriously, be content with what you’ve already got.

Buy Absolute All Star Superman when it is released in a few weeks!

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!)




Courtesy of Jose (CCW*TV) Melendez


Read the 1st Half of the Blackest Night Hardcover

Then read the 1st Half of both the Green Lantern Hardcover and the Green Lantern Corps Hardcover

Then read ALL of the Tales of the Corps Hardcover

Then read ALL of the Black Lantern Corps Volume 1 Hardcover

After that, read up to the end of Issue #7 in the Blackest Night Hardcover

Then read the Rise of the Black Lanterns Hardcover

Then read the remaining stories in the Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps Hardcovers

The read ALL of then Black Lantern Corps Volume 2 Hardcover

End by reading the Last Issue in the Blackest Night Hardcover

Your total cost to buy ALL the Hardcovers at FULL RETAIL will be $179.93 USD

Anyway you look  it,


*Jose would like you to PLEASE NOTE that this– like most HARDCOVER reads– is NOT the “perfect” reading order… But it will stop you from spoiling certain parts of the story!