Thursday, December 3, 2009

To Trade or not to Trade?

Is it time for me to 'Trade' in my monthly comicbook buying habits for collected editions?

I have recently been thinking about the various comics series that I am collecting on a regular basis, and have come to the rather startling realization that I could stand to save quite abit of money if I were to simply stop buying the monthlies and instead just wait foir the softback trades to come out and buy them instead. One obvious savings would be the fact that ,most trades are cheaper per issue than the originals that they are reprinting. Another way that they are cheaper (and this one just occurred to me) is dependent on whether or not you are collecting any comics that regularly issue multiple covers - and of course dependent on whether or not you actually ever buy any of those alternate covers. I personally can think of one time when I readily bought the alternate cover each month: when the Boys began issuing a second guest artist cover for awhile, I was along for the ride. Of course this ended up costing me double each month and after six months I had payed for a whole year's worth of issues in just half the time!

However, I don't think that I would consider this option for every book even assuming that they all have trades issued on a timely basis; for some books, honestly, I enjoy them too much to wait for any trade collection. I could just see myself flipping through the latest issue on the stands peaking inside for any little hint of what is going on with the series right now, as if the book were an ex who I had run into and was sereptisiously questioning just to see if she were better off than me since we broke up. I know, that is a really sad analogy, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, I now would like to offer a list of some titles that I could live with reading in trade, and some that I would probably never stop buying on a monthly basis.

Those that I would be happy to read in trade format include:

The Boys
Project Superpowers
Batman and Robin
Lone Ranger
Dark Avengers
New Avengers
Justice Society
Agents of Atlas
Invincible Iron Man
Guardians of the Galaxy
Rex Mundi
Captain America
28 Days Later
Kick Ass
The Marvels Project

And those that I would find it very hard (if not impossible) to wait for the trade to come out before reading include:

The Walking Dead
Fantastic Four
Secret Warriors

Wow, after looking at these two lists, I realize that I have some serious thinking to do about my future buying habits, as well as some pondering on whether I would really be able to go 'cold turkey', so to speak while waiting for the trades to catch up to the issues where I would stop reading. Like I said, some serious thinking ahead...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Marvel's Dark Reign over this reader...

I am a big fan of Johnathan Hickman's work, and have been really enjoying his recent stint on Marvel's Secret Warriors title. Recently I realized that I had two Hickman comics waiting to be read, Secret Warriors #8 and the Dark Reign - The List: Secret Warriors one shot. I was thrilled with the realization that I was about to hunker down with two times the Hickman goodness. Well, I had just gotten through reading the issue of Secret Warriors and had cracked the cover of Dark Reign - The List, when I spotted the fine print at the bottom of the first page; that fine print explained that the events of this comic took place after the events of Secret Warriors #9, a comic which had not yet been released! Well, that sucked. I just didn't understand why the issue of Secret Warriors could be so late and that the one shot could still come out on time. Out of curiosity I went back and looked at the full page ad for the one shot and Secret Warriors 9 which had appeared in the back of Secret Warriors 8: to my surprise, issue 9 of the series had originally been scheduled to ship after the Dark Reign one shot! Well this really sucked and seemed kind of dirty pool for regular readers of the title. Why would Marvel schedule aone shot to come out on October 7th when the issue you would want to read before it was scheduled to come out on October 28th - a whole three weeks later!?!

My guess is that Marvel decided to have a Secret Warriors Dark Reign one shot and wanted it to come out then for reasons of shipping symmetry - the other one shoys were all coming out around the same time. Unfortunately this did not allow for the regular shipping schedule of the monthly Secret Warriors title which would be much later in the month. The upshot of this is that I had to put off a really cool book for a few weeks and Marvel found anew way to put off one of their readers...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

If I were editor on MY OWN dream comic book one-shot...

This post really owes its existence to one of my recent daydreaming sessions while riding the bus on my way home from work. I was reading a graphic novel ( I find them less conspicuous to read in public than individual comic books, for whatever reason) and I had just happened to reach the endof the book - it was the third installment of the Rex Mundi series collection from Dark Horse - and my thoughts started to drift towards all things comics, and I found myself speculating on who I would most like to see chronicling the story of my life. Well of course I quickly came up with a ridiculously long and unwieldy list of names of my favourite comics creators and soon realized that maybe I should limit the exercise to something more specific. So I did. I then decided to consider who I would most like to see chronicle my life story - for the present day. To further limit things, I decided that only those creators whose work I was enjoying on anything resembling a regular basis would be considered to be in the running, so to speak.

Well, that still left me with an ample - read too long- list of names from which to choose from. I limited things to only writers and artists; I do not mean to slight the contribution of inkers and colorists to the medium but really I am just too lazy to take things that far. I won't get into the process of elimination just suffice to say that it was a fun process and really an effective technique to get me to realize just how many gifted individuals work I am fortunate to be enjoying these days. I heartily recommend it. Anyway, without any further ado, I present to you the winners of the first ever, Stephen's Current Day One-Shot Winter Special:

Johnathan Hickman
Mark Millar
Ed Brubaker
Brian Michael Bendis

Choosing the four writers was tough, but choosing the four artists was not any easier - even though I had included a pin-up section and had decided that the Special would recieve the dual cover treatment! The four section artists that I settled on were:

John Romita Jr.
Charlie Adlard
Gary Erskine
Bryan Hitch

This was a fun exercise, however I didn't stop there: I decided to have some more fun with things by taking the liberty of pairing up the writers and artists into four teams. Here now are the four pairs that I finally setteld upon (and it may interest you to know that it was not as hard a decision to pair them all up as I thought it might, I guess some of these names just are a more obvious fit style-wise that I thought) :

Writer - Artist
Hickman - Erskine
Millar - Hitch
Brubaker - Adlard
Bendis - Romita Jr.

Now this part was probably the most fun; after the slogging through the choice of names, I found that it was just as challenging to pair the names up based on their styles. I have to admit that some pairins were easier to figure out than others. I felt that the Brubaker - Adlard combination was almost aninstinctual no-brainer for me. But that's just me. I also was excited about the thought of Erskine and Hickman working together on my favourite character, lol.

So why did I choose the creators that I did?

I have been enjoying Johnathan Hickman's work ever since I lucked out and stumbled upon his mini-series, The Nightly News, which had me hooked from the first issue. From there, I have followed his work rather closely through series such as Pax Romana, and more recently his work for Marvel, with series such as Secret Warriors and Fantastic Four.

Mark Millar is a writer who I have been enjoying all over the place for a few years now. I remember how anxiously I would wait for the next issue of the Wanted mini-series or the next issue of The Ultimates a few years ago. More recently, I have been enjoying his work on such stories as the Old Man Logan issues of Wolverine and even the less than critically acclaimed, Kick-Ass.

The first time that I can remember reading Ed Brubaker's work has to be his early series, Lowlife. When I met him at a Seattle comic convention a couple of years back and asked him to autograph my collected edition of the series, he was a bit taken aback (in a good way) to see someone carrying one of those books around. I guess you never completely escape your early efforts, lol. (Much) More recently, I have been enjoying Brubaker's work on both Daredevil and Captain America for Marvel, as well as his creator owned series, Criminal, and his recent mini, the Marvels Project.

With Brian Bendis, it seems as if one moment I had no awareness of his work at all, and then the next I was enjoying his work in various places at once; with both Daredevil and his creator owned series, Powers, I found myself really taken with his work. Now I have been loyally following his work on his various Avengers titles and Marvel one-shot comics for the last few years - even his less than well received Secret Invasion mini for Marvel a year or so ago. Regardless, I still find myself enjoying his stuff enough to keep on coming back without much hesitation and you would know that that says a lot about his writing if you knew how finicky I can be about my books these days.

So the artists.

I remember John Romita Jr's earlier work on the Uncanny X-Men back when I was a teenaged comic fan, and the funny thing is that I wasn't too crazy about his work at the time. I suppose part of it is the fact that at around the same time I was enjoying the likes of Paul Smith working his magic on the book as well as the occasional 'fill in' issue by one Barry Windsor Smith or one Alan Davis. That is some mighty fine 'fill in artists', eh? Anyway, as time went on I obviously warmed up to his work; recently I found myself reading Amazing Spider-Man for the first time in years because of his run with J Michael Straczynski. Since then I have enjoyed his work on the Eternals mini and Wolverine and other books and recently have been reading Kick-Ass in large part because he is on it.

I have been a fan of Charlie Adlard ever since his work on the Mars Attacks miniseries for Topps comics in the late nineties; from there I enjoyed his work on the X-Files series, Shadowman, various one-shots, and now as the regular artist on the Walking Dead series.

Gary Erskine is a personal favourite of mine and I am pleased to finally declare my appreciation of his work in some kind of venue (even this less than mighty blog, lol). I first saw Erskine's work in the pages of Marvel UK's first Knights of Pendragon series. As with Romita Jr. I wasn't a huge fan of his work on first sight, mainly because the inking over his pencils was very rough and lost a lot of the details of his pencils. Soon enough however, his work really grew on me and I was hooked and keeping an eye out for the next time I could enjoy his art, which was usually in one miniseries or another. From books such as Hypersonic (for Dark Horse) and The Filth (for Image), or his work on different Terminator books for Dark Horse to his fill in issues on series near the ends of their respective runs, such as Firearm or Blaze, I have followed his progression. The only series that I have held off from reading so far have been Army at Love and the Thunderbolts, only because the premise of both books has not grabbed me at all. Also in the case of Thunderbolts I believe he was mainly only the inker on various issues.

Bryan Hitch. When I first saw Hitch's work on a book it was one of those Marvel Uk titles from back in the early to mid Nineties and at the time I thought that he was pretty much trying to be an Alan Davis clone. He has sure come a long way since then. I don't think that I have enjoyed the art as consistently on any regular series or maxiseries more than Hitch's runs on the Authority and the Ultimates and Ultimates II; it was this fact that made it so hard for me to even consider reading the recent Ultimates III series when I heard that he would not be on the book - that plus the fact that Millar would not be writing it either.

So, since the last time I checked most comics still came with covers and in many cases multiple covers, I decided that it would be appropriate to choose acouple of cover artists. Also, what special would be complete without the obligatory bonus pin ups that we have all grown used to seeing in the back of many a comicbook through the years?

For my cover artists, I went with a couple of artists that I didn't see doing a complete story in the comic. I won't get into the whole deadline thing, but suffice to say that I thought it would be a safer bet to only commission them for their cover work at this time - what an asshole, eh? lol
For the covers I setteld on two perennial cover artist favs of mine:

Alex Ross and John Cassaday

Both artists have become known as being able to consistently deliver awesome covers and both are already favourites of mine so it seemed a natural fit in both cases. Both of these gentlemen are reasons that it is so easy for me to buy as many Dynamite comics as I do.

As for the pin up artists, I decided to go crazy and shoehorn in as many of my remaining favs as possible. the list: (drum-roll, please)

Michael Golden
Howard chaykin
Paul Smith
George Perez
Tony Harris
Mike Mignola
Matt Wagner
Frank Miller
J. G. Jones
Jerry Ordway

Whew! What a list and I am soo sure that I will remember somebody else -just as soon as this is posted! Well, don't you wish that all of the tough decisions in life were like this? Anyway, If anyone out there has been motivated by this, please feel free to compose your own similar lists and send them to me and I will be pleased to post them to this blog - with your permission, of course.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Marvel has shown an understanding of subtle buzz building.

Here is something funny: I went to an Incredible Hulk movie blog and found out some interesting ifo on the future Captain America movie. Why is this funny to me? Mostly because these two characters don't seem similar to me; one is the epitome of chaotic destructionwhile the other is an iconic figure that represents calm decision-making while under siege. (well, more or less)

However, based on the information contained within the recent Hulk DVD, there would appear to be a link between the two characters on the big screen. This next bit I learned from the Hulk blog. In one of the deleted scenes from the last Incredible Hulk movie, Bruce Banner goes to the Arctic and contemplates suicide. While there he gets caught in a snow slide. One result of this is that the frozen figure of Captain America appears to be revealed among the ice and snow. Now this is a hotly contested point made hard to prove by it being a very brief glimpse in the scene but it has been confirmed by the movie's Director, so... Anyway, this leads to my next point: that Marvel has been showing some ingenious efforts to tie the continuity of their different characters together. Whether it is Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man, Captain America's shield during Iron Man, the super soldier serum during the Hulk, or this scene with Captain America under the ice. this will only be heightened in a couple of years as Marvel has timed things to have series of movies released in sequence so as to build off of each other's momentum. Even though the Captain America movie will be reportedly set during WW II it is understood that the character will be brought upto current continuity with the release of the subsequent Marvel movie, the avengers.

I gotta give Marvel credit, they definitely know how to hype the product - by using the product.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Which Super Hero is Best at Poker

Both characters have had their movies relaunched over previous years and it looks like they are just as big as they used to be. The Dark Knight was a box office smash. And The Man of steels new film looks set to be re branded and re done to have a darker feel and be a huge success like Batman.

But all in all these superheroes are great at saving people, but which one of them would win at a game of poker. Let us look at both of their powers and look at why Superman would come out smelling of roses.

The Dark Knight
Well the remake of Batman has brought a more sinister and darker side to the character; compared to The man of steel I feel the Dark Knight can pull a bluff a lot better than Superman. But the Dark Knight does not really have any out of the world powers that are able to compete with Superman; maybe if he teams up with Robin they will have a better chance.

Well we now switch our view to the mighty Man of Steel; of course he is the winner hands down. The man has exceptional powers; there is one of two ways in which he can win. Firstly he can move super fast and look at the decks and second he can see through with his xray vision.

This post is really just for a bit of fun but to be honest with or without Rakeback I feel that a professional poker player can beat these superheroes hands down. Because it is all about the draw of the cards the skill that a person holds and not to mention being able to tell a great bluff.

Great Poker Tips and Rakeback Deals

Thursday, January 22, 2009 - The Perfect Collection For The Comic Enthusiast

To learn a lot about comics and comic book collecting, website such as can be a great source of information. In addition to the selection of comic books, you can find a great deal of information and other products that make comic book collecting much easier and much more fun. and other comic book websites offer a wider variety of materials and resources than the normal brick-and-mortar stores. This is because the websites have more space and less of a need for storage space that traditional comic book stores need. If you got to a website like, you might get interested in the hobby and become a comic book collector yourself.

Online comic book collecting allows the collector to search for items that they really want. For instance, if you had every story that the Joker was ever in except for one or two, you would go to a site like and be pretty sure you could find it somewhere. This allows collectors to craft their collections with a lot more finesse, and take a lot less time doing it. Imagine how hard it would be if you had to wait until conventions came around or network every chance you got, in the hope of meeting a collector who had what you needed, and then trying to talk him out of it at a reasonable price.

Of course, the existence of sites like shouldn't mean that the collector gives up on books on collecting comics. There is a lot of good information still being made available in print media. You will probably even find some good print books about online comic book collecting.

With online comic book collecting comes on line information trading as well. The Internet has revolutionized the way collectors collect, and the way they meet, and the sheer numbers of other collectors with whom they can interact, and the comic books and books on collecting comics they can potentially buy., for instance, has message boards on its DC Direct page.

Message boards are another feature you will find at and other online comic book collecting websites. Message boards are generally better than blogs because they are more instant and provide a better forum for asking and answering questions. You can even cross-reference some of the information you receive on message boards so you are sure to get the most accurate answers regarding any questions you might have about the on line comic book collecting hobby.

For serious collectors, there is a wide variety of resources available to build our collection. On line comic book collecting websites like and others have a great selection of materials and resources that help to make the hobby more fun and exciting. While some find the "thrill of the hunt" more exciting by driving around trying to find the right merchandise, on line comic book collecting is a new way to relieve some of those activities because you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Desert Punk

When the Desert Punk is mentioned, it's not a troubled youth.  It's a Japanese comic book that was later turned into a TV series.

Desert Punk

The comic book form of Manga goes back a long way, but the modern style started at the end of World War II.  In Japan it's not just a kids thing.  There are such komikku (another word for Manga or comic) for subjects from fantasy and science fiction to sexuality and even business.  Manga books look like phone books, presenting individual episodes in a number of series like Desert Punk.  American comics that copy the Manga style are called Amerimanga.

Desert Punk

Anime dates back to 1917 in the earliest days of European and American cartoons being copied by Japanese.  In the first one a one of theis a samurai suffered defeat at the hands of a practice dummy.  Anime grew in popularity in Japan far beyond the popularity of animation in America because the live film industry in Japan was somewhat stifled by budgets and a lack of non-Japanese looking actors.  Many creative people express their ideas through the cartoon style Anime.  Manga that become popular are generally turned into Anime.  Many of these Anime series make their way to America where they are edited and dubbed into English.  FUNimation does much of this translation work.

Kanta Mizuno  is the main character of Desert Punk.  He's a handyman in post-apocalyptic Japan.  At 17, he's a member of a guild of handyman, and his reputation is he always gets the job done.  He is sex crazed, crude, but very skilled and diligent in his tasks.

Don't be fooled by the term “handyman.”.  Desert Punk, also known as the Demon of the Desert, doesn't go around fixing things in people's homes.  He fixes things by eliminating people.  But like a typical handyman, he has all the right tools.  Take his winch, for instance, which is used to pull him up to high places.  But his enemies often fail to see the winch.  They believe he can fly.

Desert Punk

Check out Desert Punk today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaara Of The Desert

What exactly is Gaara of the Desert?  Is it a type of sand?  Or is it an Ogre that eats unsuspecting travelers?  You're going to be amazed.  Because Gaara of the Desert is a character in the Japanese Anime and Manga “Naruto.”

Gaara Of The Desert

Gaara of the Desert has an interesting name and is associated with many Japanese names and concepts that have to do with his character.  A Japanese letter is written on Gaara's head.  It means love, and is the second character in his name.  The first Kanji character in his name means self, and the last means carnage.  Therefore his name can mean carnage loving self, or boy loves to kill.

Gaara Of The Desert

The name fits well with the character because Gaara of the Desert is a killer.  Gaara killed a man just for passing him on the road when he was six, thus his father became very worried.  His father sent assassins to kill Gaara, but instead Gaara killed them.  Gaara even killed some ninjas his father sent against them.

Gaara of the Desert is around 12 when Naruto first starts.  Gaara's father had intended him to become a death machine.  His father placed a demon inside the boy, which is what gives him his hyper violent nature and the powers he has to kill.  Because of this demon, Gaara can never sleep because if he does the demon will take control.

Gaara of the Desert was originally designed as a foil, or antagonist, for the main hero Naruto.  They shared similar origins.  But the choices they make in life were not the same.  Simply put Naruto used his powers for good while Gaara used his for evil.  The two fight throughout the series.  Naruto destroys Gaara by taking out the demon.  But later Naruto brings Gaara back to life.

Gaara Of The Desert

Every hero needs a villain to bring out the best in him.  Gaara of the Desert has filled this role throughout the Naruto narrative.  He is very well liked by fans of the series, and his battles with Naruto are considered the high points of both the Manga and the Anime.

The bottom line is don't cross Gaara of the desert.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sailor Saturn

Hotaru Tomoe is the ill schoolgirl known as Sailor Saturn in the manga and animation series Sailor Moon. Besides the seizures specific to the ailment, Sailor Saturn is the last of the solar system soldiers to discover the amplitude of her powers. She plays in a great team with Chibiusa and Usagi, two other heroines of the metaseries, who are her best mates. In daily life, Sailor Saturn doesn't make friends with her classmates, both because of her seizures and the strange powers she has. Sailor Saturn plays a good role in the manga and the animated series of Sailor Moon and details on her life are usually dealt with in the manga form preponderantly rather than in the animations.

Sailor Saturn

Sailor Saturn has the body covered with cybernetic attachments in one version, but later she appears wholy human. Modifications in plot and character development vary from one presentation form to another; thus, Sailor Saturn changes her age for instance. She is pictured as a 13-year old teenager first, then she somehow gets reborn, grows up and is about five, and finally she becomes a teenager again. As for her hidden powers, Sailor Saturn learns about their existence only when Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto unite their talismans and make her react.

Sailor Saturn

Even if she is endowed with highly destructive skills, Sailor Saturn uses her powers to save the world and stop the chain of evil in the Millenium kingdom. After the rebirth and the assumption of a new life, Sailor Saturn is a lot more vivid and definitely happier. She wants to be a nurse some day, particularly as she has minor healing powers. If we were to discover a philosophy at the heart of the series, Sailor Saturn stands for the all necessary doom: without death there can be no rebirth, thus, her weapon, the Silence Glaive can throw a world into complete destruction or annihilation only to be reborn a lot purer afterwards.

Sailor Saturn

With every number in the manga series, Sailor Saturn improves her powers. Her uniform indicates the changes in her statute, since after each major initiating happening, a detail is added to suggest the modifications. One has to be a real fan to read episode after episode, as it is pretty difficult to grasp the complexity of the plot in its mid development. Present in Japanese and English variants of the series, Sailor Saturn makes the picture of this entertainment form complete.

Johnny Saturn

Designed by Benita and Scott Story, Johnny Saturn gave a new definition to the concept of web comic. The battle between good and evil is central to the plot, but the main character is simply facing the challenges of life. Hence, the typology of the characters to be found in Johnny Saturn is similar to any Romantic plot with legends, angels, demons and lots of fights between them. But there are also mad scientists and demigods as well as all sorts of conceptual beings, making up the puzzle world that is the very charm of the Johnny Saturn comic.

Johnny Saturn

In terms of basic characterization, Johnny Saturn represents both a web comic and a superhero and fantasy book; yet, many readers see it as a sheer allegory of the strenuous efforts a common man makes in his way to find justice. On top of these all, we could also identify a deeper philosophy according to which good can be achieved through bad deeds too.

Johnny Saturn is who comes to oppose the evil Dr. Synn and his plots. Johnny Saturn is not the prototype of the hero with lots of powers and plenty of heroic tales to tell: he is the regular guy caught up inuncommon circumstances who must get in charge of his existence. As the narrative plot in the comic moves on, Johnny Saturn gets to other inspirational life levels: he shows the sacrifice of a savior and the determination of a leader.

Johnny Saturn

The creators of the Johnny Saturn comic achieved something more than fame and success with their extensive saga of the character. The Storys send a deep message that touches moods and influence readers while staying away from visual manipulation. Mondays and Wednesdays are normally the days when the story of Johnny Saturn is told further on; it's been four years since the release of the strip, and it still has an ongoing success as thousands and thousands of fans get on the Storys' official site every day.

Johnny Saturn

Johnny Saturn swarms with the concerns, issues and taboos of our world: yes there is drug addiction, depression, suicide, anger, grief and lots of others, but they are all approached in a very straight-forward manner without dramatizing. Even the political struggles get to underlie the story of Johnny Saturn, but the advantage here is that a comic allows room enough for allegories without hinting directly at people and events from real life.