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Some Thoughts On the Week’s Comics (Week of April 19th, 2017)

This week involved a lot more comics than previous recent weeks…and of course, that meant a higher quantity of immediate-reads, too. As I’ve been doing the last few weeks, since I’m not getting to full-on single-issue reviews, I’m just offering some of my immediate thoughts related to given issues, even if it’s more meta-textual than about the actual issue.


Batman #21

batman(2016)_0021I’ve been looking forward to this issue for months. Though I’m a good 19 issues behind in READING the title, I had no real problem jumping in…this feels sort of like checking in on a tv show that typically has a lot of slow episodes, where I can jump in after awhile and know I have missed stuff, but not have any trouble coming up to speed with the current episode I’m actually watching.

Essentially, it seems Batman is finally ready or able to "get serious" about this button he found waaaay back in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.

However, he faces an unusual threat over the course of the one minute it takes Barry to get to the Batcave.

For a detailed synopsis and coverage of the issue, check out Chris Sheehan‘s review at his blog, Chris is on Infinite Earths.

This seemed to be more action than substance to me…but darn was it pretty to look at! (Despite the physical violence). I got the "lenticular" cover–quasi-3-D with a shift from Batman to Flash; though I really dig the standard cover, too! This is one of VERY few issues that have seemed actually WORTH a $3.99 cover price (the "enhanced cover" justifies the cost, much as such covers did in the ’90s.) Also AS an "enhanced" cover, where it’s basically still the same image as the standard cover (except the standard one does a "splitscreen" thing), it’s not "just" slapping another artist’s stock image on the thing to sell more issues. It’s a story that looks to be central to the throughline of Rebirth in general, and thus–with ’90s logic–is ok with me to have this as an extra cover, where I do NOT care for variants in general.

I’m very much looking forward to the next few issues of the story, and really hope the Flash issues hold up to the visual quality and story quality of this issue…if not delving deeper story-wise!


Superman #21

superman(2016)_0021I’m much more interested in Superman Reborn: Aftermath stuff right now, so this Black Dawn stuff isn’t really doing it for me. Despite that, I’m actually enjoying the heck out of this title in its own way, especially with Batman and Damian guest-starring, seeing Damian and Jon interacting, and the whole "family element" that seems strong in this title.

We get some development of stuff with the Kents’ neighbors, we get to see the Super Sons in action along with Superman, and even have a returning element from the beginning of this iteration of the Superman book.

I’m sorta anxious to get along to the "back to Metropolis" stuff that I believe is coming up…but at the same time, I’m glad that it wasn’t something that was "just there because now it’s always been there" with zero explanation except that it’s how it is.

I’m wondering what developments are going to mean for certain supporting cast characters that I was starting to like with the pre-Reborn status quo, and hope they get handled well/believably, as roughly 20 issues seems far too short a time for their presence.

I’m quite enjoying the character-sharing going on, and that even without having read the main Batman book or most other titles lately, I still get a dose of them here.

As good as this title’s been…even a less-than-thrilling issue of Superman still beats the heck outta most other titles out there for me!


Highlander: The American Dream #3

highlander_american_dream_0003I was not sure what to expect from this series, and in a way, still don’t. But I actually read #s 2 & 3 back to back, and I’m enjoying it. I think I’d much prefer this as a full singular story than issue-sized chunks, but it’s cool reading Highlander again, and really feeling this is a solid prequel to the original film.

The art feels rather "off"–if I was just looking at this, I would not recognize Connor MacLeod as himself…he doesn’t really look to me like he does as portrayed in the films, in whatever time he’s shown. I get more of a Casablanca Humphrey Bogart vibe here than I do Connor MacLeod or Christopher Lambert.

Story-wise, though, this holds the feel of the original film’s continuity and does not feel like it strays into the tv series’ continuity. In this case, I’m liking that. I like(d) the tv series quite a bit, but it seemingly "retconning" the films is one thing…this holding to them is a welcome change…especially on the understanding/assumption that this is a limited series, hence the subtitle The American Dream.

Whatever the case, this far in, I’m pretty much "stuck" with the singles, now, barring a full-blown double-dipping. Given the price of IDW‘s collected volumes, though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. All the more with having no idea if they’ll hold the Highlander license long enough or "bother to" put out enough for any significant collection(s). I do definitely look forward to the next issue(s), though I’m tempted to stockpile ’em til the 6th issue to read all at once.


Spawn #272

spawn_0272This is my 16th issue (17 if we count the Spawn Kills Everyone #1 from last year when there seemed to be a delay) keeping up with this title…doubling my prior "longest run" with the title.

This is, though, a title where I’d be hard pressed to really summarize an issue, or retain many character names "consciously," though I’m getting to occasionally recognize characters in the title.

But I’m enjoying the series enough and able to follow along each issue pretty well–or well enough–and so I stick with it.

Of course, with this not being a "favorite" or anything, if they manage to annoy me with variants or a price increase straight from current $2.99 to $3.99 or such, I’ll almost surely drop it cold-turkey. At the same time, I’m kinda hoping to just stick with it to #300…though that’s a good 2 years (at least) away.

Time will tell, but between "jumping in" around #257 and just sticking with it, along with the $2.99 price point when so many others have climbed on to $3.99, this is a welcome monthly-ish title to me. I also greatly appreciate the high number, as it is now THE highest-legitimately-numbered series out there, as far as Marvel/DC/Image/Archie and such go (and excluding the iffy-ness of some of the Disney titles that have not been in constant ongoing production).


It’s nice having an assortment of titles from an assortment of publishers to go through in a given week. Also to have shorter, weekly, compact "event" stories that are "just" crossovers between titles, and not full-blown separate mini-series with tie-in mini-series and entire tie-in story arcs in other titles [The Button]. I’m certainly looking forward to the next chapter of that, as well as the next issue of Action Comics, and figure we’re due for new TMNT stuff.

That said…looking forward to a considerably smaller week as far as new issues at full price go!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of April 19th, 2017

Much as expected, this was a huge week for me, in quantity of NEW comics, in PRICE, and having looked forward to stuff in general!

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I’ve been looking forward to The Button for months now, pretty much since it was announced, and to finally have the first chapter leaves me anxious for the next, now!

I had not even realized that I missed an issue of Highlander; so I believe NOW I’m actually caught up. And I decided to try the Riverdale Digest #1 half thinking it was going to be original material. Nope…it reprints the first issues of several of the "new" Archie titles. For $6, not a bad thing…and I’d be happy to pay $6 on a continuing monthly basis for a digest like this cycling through "monthly" issues of each series it contains! (Beats the heck outta $3.99 for one issue, and wading through two-DOZEN variant covers!)

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I’m WAAAAAY behind on READING Letter 44, but haven’t wanted to give the title up. Of course, I just found out that it apparently will be ending at #35 in July…so hopefully life will be such that I’ll be able to dedicate some serious reading time to re-read what issues I actually HAVE read, and then on through the whole run!

I’m definitely into the "habit" or "groove" of following Spawn, though I’ve no clue where it’s going or whatnot. As long as it stays at $2.99, I’ll probably keep up. However, it’s one that I definitely WILL drop on principle if it jumps to $3.99! The price point is one of its high selling points for me, and what helped get me onto it over a year ago.

Despite being quarter-bin fodder, I snagged a number of these True Believers editions/reprints of key X-Men premiere issues. Though I’m sorta (morbidly) amused at having paid $1 for the X-Men "Blue" issue, considering how many copies I have of it, and that I’ve bought copies of the "deluxe" edition (that this reprint’s cover is a panel from) just to rip the cover off as a poster.

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I also raided the bargain bins…though I found a lot more in an expanded 50-cent bin than the 25-cent bin that I was interested in. Knowing I’m already looking to fill in some 49-50 issues of Action Comics and nearly as many Superman as-is from the New 52 era, I figured with these issues of Superman Unchained, I think now I just need to snag #9 to have the whole series.

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Then there were some 25-cent issues of Detective Comics; at least 2 of which I don’t think I already had.

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And continuing my general trend…I’m happy to get ’90s Marvel comics from bargain bins. 50 cents on these, though I know I already had the Marvels issue, and 99% certain I already had the Amazing Fantasy 16-18 run. Still, for the convenience and all, and the four issues combined being still only HALF the price of a contemporary issue, not bad.


It’s also proving to be an interesting week with a convergence of release dates and such for several things I’d pre-ordered and/or had on my "radar" that I finally realized were out!

Definitely hoping next week will be a lot smaller at least price-wise, but we’ll see!

Token Post: Non-Comics This Week

Just a quick/token-y post.

This week we got a new Teen Titans animated movie. I first went to Target to get it but balked at the EXTRA-steep price. Found it $3 cheaper at Walmart…which sorta balances out the Tales of the TMNT: Super Shredder pricing.

teen_titans_judas_cotract_package

I think of all the DC animated movies, the only ones I’ve missed the figurines for are the Wonder Woman and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse ones. While nostalgia gives Ted Kord the edge for me in terms of "Favorite Blue Beetle," I can’t deny that I dig Jaime’s version of the costume…

teen_titans_judas_cotract_blue_beetle_figurine

And these darned figurines are a weak spot or "guilty pleasure" for me, they always sucker me for the extra few dollars for this edition of the movies. (Add Gods and Monsters to the list of ones I did not get with a/the figurine).

wild_times_oral_history_of_wildstorm_book

And last for this post, Wild Times: An Oral History of Wildstorm Studios arrived. I’d backed this on Kickstarter a couple months ago and was looking forward to it, and then forgot it with stuff going on in my personal life the last couple weeks…so this was a pleasant arrival.


Hopefully I’ll get to something a little more substantive for tomorrow’s post, but time will tell. I also hope to get to actually watch the Teen Titans movie this weekend…as it does not look like it will happen sooner. As always, though…time will tell!

More Vintage TMNT Figures: Ace Duck and Fugitoid

I’d actually pretty much forgotten about a local vintage toy shop, Retroland Toys. In definite need of distraction from stuff going on ‘in real life’, I ended up stopping in last Friday–I think it’d been at least a year, if not a couple years since the last time I’d stopped in.

Given my recent-ish hunting down of vintage TMNT toys, I was curious as to what their stock and prices were like, particularly in comparison to Big Fun in Cleveland Heights.

more_vintage_tmnt_fugitoid_ace_duck

They had a decent assortment of the older TMNT figures; nothing that particularly surprised me, but I was rather excited to note they have a Foot Cruiser and a couple of really good-condition Man Ray/Ray Fillet figures…making me think I do want to get a “replacement” even though I’m not gonna flat-out get rid of my original of the figure.

They also had a number of variant turtles–sports turtles, military turtles, surfer turtles, and I found a couple of rocker turtles. (There were a bunch of figures and vehicles in a display case, and then a bin of individual figures bagged with accessories in a bin next to the case).

And for what I was half-expecting…VERY GOOD prices! A couple had prices a little bit out there, but for the most part they all seemed to be $10 or a little under, with the vehicles in the $20 range. Basically, the prices are perfectly on par with buying any new contemporary figure/vehicle, if not cheaper.

I ended up deciding to get Ace Duck and Fugitoid, with Ace Duck having been fairly tops in my mind as the next reasonable figure to be able to get.

I also “randomly” remembered over the weekend that I used to have the “Wacky Action” Shredder figure, so I’ve added that to my list…and I’ve added Ray Fillet.

Overall, for figures that seem relatively common-ish that may not be terribly hard to track down, I think I’m pretty much left with Ray Fillet, Splinter, Tattoo, and the Foot Cruiser. Hothead, Wacky Action Shredder, the Robotic Foot Soldier, the 5″ Krang/Android Body, and the “Toon” Shredder & Neutrinos I don’t think I’ve actually seen in person since seeing them on pegs over 20 years ago when they were new and I passed on them at the time.

I also suspect the Party Wagon will be a bit hard to find intact. My own is a “shell” with the top missing, numerous accessories missing, and so on…and mine’s in pretty darned good condition compared to several I’ve seen online. I don’t care about most accessories for it, but want the main outer part to look whole and not be missing anything obvious.

From these, I suspect it’ll be down the rabbit hole on tracking down other figures or “coming across them” “in the wild”–Star Trek TMNT and Cave Turtle TMNT and whatnot…perhaps a replacement or replacement parts for the Turtle Blimp.

My primary checklist thus currently stands as the following:

Replacements

  • Ace Duck
  • Baxter Stockman
  • Fugitoid
  • Rocksteady
  • Triceraton
  • Splinter
  • Ray Fillet
  • Wacky Action Shredder
  • Party Wagon (vehicle)

New (to me)

  • General Traag
  • Rat King
  • Leatherhead
  • Usagi Yojimbo
  • Dirtbag
  • Tattoo
  • Wyrm
  • April II
  • Merdude
  • Hothead
  • Krang’s Android Body (regular figure size)
  • Robotic Foot Soldier(s)
  • Toon Shreder
  • Dask (Neutrino)
  • Kala (Neutrino)
  • Zak (Neutrino) (if radically different from the ‘non-Toon’ version)
  • Movie Star Leo
  • Movie Star Mike
  • Movie Star Raph
  • Foot Cruiser (vehicle)

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Some Thoughts On the Week’s Comics (Week of April 12th, 2017)

Last week really only had two NEW "new" issues, neither of which I’m giving a full review treatment to…so here are some stream-of-consciousness thoughts on them, as I’ve been doing for the previous couple weeks.


Action Comics #977

action_comics_0977It’s definitely an "interesting" time to be a Superman fan. From following The Final Days of Superman in anticipation of the shift-over to the "pre-Flashpoint" Superman "taking over" the main titles while the trailing-end of Lois and Clark were coming out, to the recent Superman Reborn 4-part "crossover," I’ve largely week-in and week-out been looking forward to each subsequent issue, and thoroughly enjoying that fact alone, as well as the stories themselves. Now it’s a bit weird, with Superman Reborn having just wrapped up, and not yet into firmly-established territory as to what’s "canon" and in what way, as readers and being in a similar boat with the characters themselves. I suppose I’m liking that with the Supermen "merged" and reality re-written (again) into a single timeline, at least we no longer have the "weight" of Clark and Lois having actually lost their REAL families and friends and all that, and existing as refugees on a world and timeline not even their own. Now that they just "are," and always have been, part of this timeline, events are what they are. Then again, we lose that interesting aspect of them "knowing" what most don’t, and the ability to see "parallels" play out and proactively nip situations in the bud on this Earth, having already been through the tough crap on their own. None of this really addresses the current issue I’m meant to be discussing.

Suffice it to say, I was looking forward to this (and look forward to the next) for more establishment of current canon, though this issue still left me in the dark, like I’m being "shown" stuff without really being told or getting concrete confirmation. Some of that perhaps can be blamed on various sites such as Bleeding Cool for jumping the gun and scrambling to be "First!" to draw some conclusion or post a spoiler or whatever.

I’m just in this to enjoy an overall ongoing story and characters and long-form narrative threads with issue by issue tangible story payoff and such. And I’m getting that, so I continue to be happy with these titles.


X-Men: Blue #1

xmenblue_0001I want to like the whole "original 5 X-Men in the present" thing, but it’s worn thin. I liked the concept enough initially that I actually bought into several of the original Marvel Now titles, All-New X-Men as a particular favorite of the bunch. But 4 1/2 years later–some 54 months or so, and at LEAST as many issues–it’s no longer a novelty. Jean Grey was already dead, and had been for the better part of a decade. Angel had recently been "dealt with." With/since the "arrival" of the "O5," we’ve seen major changes to present-day Beast, the apparent death of Cyclops, some shoehorning of stuff with Iceman…and generally gotten to where these "O5" largely ARE their own characters…and functionally (if not actually) seeming to serve as "replacements" for the older "original versions" of the characters.

I think I’d be more interested if this team was "scattered," but having them serve as an actual group, a team, "headlining" their own group title, there’s just something about it that doesn’t sit right with me, however much I might see potential in and while reading enjoy about the book.

I also have some problem with having my sense of nostalgia toyed with in this whole ResurrXion initiative, as well as the (meta?) fact of having trouble finding some of the issues to even TRY without it being some big multi-store, multi-city hunt, where I am NOT interested in a long-term "commitment" via pull-listing any of these titles.

The $5 price tag sucks as well, and though this is a "thicker" issue, we basically have a main story and a "backup" story. I’d personally have little/no clue as to the character in the "backup," except having read other posts online referring to the character by name and strongly suggesting that it’s an Ultimate Universe mutant character now in "the 616." Which means we likely now have at LEAST 3 "alternate" versions of a "Wolverine" character, while the actual Logan remains in character limbo, which is highly discouraging to me.

As with most Marvel titles, the price and use of ridiculous variants, and other meta/real-world factors had me intending to not EVEN try these #1s…but I gave in, compromising my stance on price point for a single-issue of each, though I’ve no intention of picking up a #2.

What I can say, though, is that I’m "interested" enough to consider collected volumes…again dependent upon pricing and format (I’ll refuse any hardcover under 12 issues, or any paperback of 6 issues or less that gets too close to $20).


While these issues were part of a pretty small week for new comics…the upcoming week looks to be quite huge, both in terms of specific issues (the start of the Batman/Flash story The Button) and in quantity. I’m definitely looking forward to some really good reads out of the coming week’s stuff!

action_comics_0977_blogtrailer

Late to the Party: On Marvel and Diversity and Sales and Such

It’s been interesting to read the various pieces over the past few weeks (from ICv2, Bleeding Cool, I’ve wound up clicking a couple links to stuff at CBR, etc) on “Marvel and Diversity” and “the Sales Slump” and whatnot. (And you either know what I’m talking about or not…if not, you probably won’t care about what I have to say here, and I’m NOT playing linky-link “name-dropping” with this post).

Why Marvel has fallen so far in MY eyes, and MY willingness to give them money on any REGULAR basis:

  1. Price
  2. Renumbering (Rebooting, Relaunching, whatever)
  3. Variants
  4. “Event Fatigue”
  5. Inorganic Change for Change’s Sake (Parker marriage, Death of Wolverine, character “replacement”)
  6. Hero vs. Hero with few villains in sight
  7. Rehashing old story elements/beating a dead horse
  8. Everything is a mini-series yet nothing is billed as such

To elaborate a bit:

#1: Price

I am a customer. I am not a shop owner, newsstand, etc. If $2.99 is not enough margin for profit, then what the HECK was $1.99 or $1.25 or $1, and other prices before?!? I’m relatively CERTAIN that the leap from $2.99 straight to $3.99 and the full-dollar increpricesments since ($4.99, $5.99, $9.99) are far BEYOND any reasonable equivalency of inflation and the like. And WHATEVER the “logic” or “reasoning” behind it, that does not change MY bottom line as the customer: I see ridiculously-high prices, I’m gonna resist, be more conservative, and be much much more discerning in what I buy than at lower price points. SINCE I am not a shop owner, newsstand, etc. I am not concerned with all the logistics…as a customer, I’m JUST looking at the price that *I* pay in exchange for leaving with the product.



#2: Renumbering (Rebooting, Relaunching, whatever)


My first issue of Uncanny X-Men was #300. First Captain America I remember was around 400. Adventures of Superman was 453, Action Comics was 651. Detective Comics was 604 and Batman was on #439. Avengers was in the late 300s. Iron Man was in the high 200s, and I’m pretty sure I remember seeing #300 hit. Marvel might try to “go back to” “legacy numbering” by “adding up” all their numbers to a huge whole (effectively leaping from #6 to #150, or #25 to #200, or #10 to #300, or whatever). But that’s merely a superficial, hollow gesture: they canNOT suddenly “get back” what they scrapped, abandoned, avoided, blew up for the last 17-20 years.

high_numbered_first_issuesa_thumb

In the late-’80s/early to mid ’90s, if I found a book at #440, I could easily backtrack and find #250, or #389, or whatever previous issue, and be fine. Suddenly jump to a “total number” system, and I’m in the same (but worse?) boat as NOW: ok, here’s #607…but, well, there’s STILL no #550-599 or such! Here’s #300, but where the heck are #s 40-299?!? Here’s #150, but where’s anything numbered 30-149? Here’s #200, but where’s anything numbered 180-199 and why is it that maybe the most recent prior story arc tops out at #23? (* arbitrary numbers for concept, I’m of NO mood to look up concrete numbers and titles!)


#3: Variants

venom_variantVariants are one thing if they’re used sparingly, and are ACTUALLY “special.” But when there are variants on virtually EVERY SINGLE ISSUE, and it’s an extreme rarity for anything to NOT have a variant, it’s too much! Worse, having NUMEROUS variants for seemingly every single title, and/or even just on several titles in one month, even multiple in one week, with crazy “ratios” on them…it’s a huge turnoff just on PRINCIPLE, regardless of my not personally caring about/for them or wanting them, etc.

And if it means taking some initial “hit” to GET AWAY FROM so many darned variants, then suck it up, cupcake, and just DO it. If you START with “inflated numbers” because of PROPPING stuff up FROM THE START with variants and rely solely on numbers based ON variants, it doesn’t seem like you’re working with accurate counts and reasonable, realistic expectations. (Though I’m not getting into nor do I necessarily care about exceptions or such). I just see a flood of variants such that it’s SPECIAL when there are NOT a ton of variants for something! Again with me being a customer, and not caring about the behind the scenes logistics or logic or reason, it’s just my feeling simply as and from the perspective of being the customer.


#4: “Event Fatigue”

Secret_Invasion_Dark_Reign_Vol_1_1I think MY tipping point was back in 2008 or so, when two “event”/”status quo header” things converged in a single issue; something like SECRET INVASION: DARK REIGN. When “events” just roll into the next event into the next event, then these so-called EVENTS just become STATUS QUO. And when numerous low-numbered and new TITLES get sucked into arc-length tie-ins, it makes the non-tie-in issues into the “special status” or rarities; I haven’t checked but for NOT following, it sometimes seems like there are more tie-ins than not these days, one event to another, such that it’s more common for an issue to BE a tie-in than to not be tying into an event of some sort.

(Might was well just embrace the “seasonal model” and say THIS season is “Civil War II” and everything can just tie to that, then THAT season can be “__________” and everything carries that banner, etc.)

At the VERY least, ONE event should be able to completely wrap up, conclude, end, be DONE and OVER, with some downtime, before REAL-WORLD there’s any teasing/hinting/hyping the NEXT event. When you’re barely HALFWAY into an event and already announcing/soliciting the next relaunch or launch or event or prologue or such (and/or any COMBINATION)…you’re doing too many and far too close together!


#5: Inorganic Change for Change’s Sake (Parker marriage, Death of Wolverine, character “replacement”)

amazing_spiderman_0544This one is certainly far less clear, and I tend to waver on various things depending on exact context, various immediate thoughts, and reasonable conversation. While I absolutely WANT there to be change and GROWTH and for that to be LASTING CHANGE (essentially 20 years now of the Clark/Lois marriage, with a several-year hiccup in the New 52 stuff…and of course, that’s a DC example, not Marvel). Just as I often wondered what it’d be like to “finally” get to the same age as Superman, similar thoughts with Peter Parker. To be years-past high school and college crap; just to actually BE an adult and into another stage of life withOUT all the “drama” FROM high school and college.

And when Marvel‘s shoehorning in a future/older Logan, a clone/daughter female stand-in, I’ve lost track of death/life status of his son, they seem to be bringing in another alternate-reality younger version…it’s like they WANT to have Wolverine, they WANT to have stuff based on that character, but they’re going outta their way to do anything BUT the actual genuine character, rather than SIMPLY dialing-back the character’s presence in EVERYTHING.

When the main/existing titles star unfamiliar characters to the familiar title, I have an issue with it–have new titles and new characters, sure. But save the classic TITLES for classic CHARACTERS. Do stuff organically, and don’t draw crap out. If Thor becomes unworthy, let us IN on it as readers, and follow that story in the course of his own ongoing title, not multiple realunches of the title. (See also: Eric Masterson in the late-80s/early-90s).

I, personally, am NOT going to buy a title specifically/solely on the starring character being “female” or “white” or “non-white” or “straight” or “GLTBQ” or any of those typical “checkboxes” and such. I’m interested in characters that are MORE THAN “just” some “characteristic.” I also don’t want to be preached at, guilted, and so on. Don’t be combative toward me, don’t insult me, don’t tell me I’m wrong or guilty for not embracing every new title and character spun off when there’s already a huge flood of titles and everything is so ridiculously PRICED!

There HAS TO be room for new stories withOUT completely, totally altering characters or changing them outright, especially in some sudden sense. At the same time, I’ll readily admit that some sudden SHIFTS might be required, major significant changes within a single story arc, perhaps…but it has to be “reasonable” and “work,” and not just feel like some “mandate” handed down or that it’s pushing some “agenda” or whatever.

Brubaker‘s Captain America felt far less “general super-hero” than it did a solid spy epic, realistic while holding to classic elements. Bringing Bucky back seemed like such a crap idea, but it was simply DONE WELL and now HAS become an integral part of the character(s). The Iron Man shift from bigger/bulkier armor that (realistically) would need a whole team to transport it was done away with by the Extremis stuff, the bio-armor or whatever it was, allowing Tony to be himself AND quickly/simply go into Iron Man mode.


#6: Hero vs. Hero with few villains in sight

civil_warsWhile I KNOW there was stuff like the Phoenix (AvX) and within that, the X-Men dealt with a new take on Sinister, and I “know” there were some other “villains” in some X-books or that I consciously am aware that there have been various villains plaguing Spider-Man or such… it seems like the biggest events have largely been hero-versus-hero, the larger conflicts being between the heroes themselves, and less of the singular villain threats. While some of this might be more “realistic” or “logical” in a “real world” sort of way…in that “real world” sense, to ME, these “heroes” would also be much more threat than not, and really WOULD themselves functionally be villain figures or legitimate threats/sources of fear for the public. It’s the suspension of disbelief, the fantasy, the larger-than-(real)-life stuff with the characters, the embracing of their being fiction, that made them escapism and entertainment and all that.

I’ll readily admit that some of the more “classic” villains and “plots” and such are “dated” and maybe don’t work as well in contemporary stories; when you have characters getting so much more well-rounded and developed, the “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I am ______ and I shall soon RULE THE WORLD!” stuff doesn’t work so well.

But it also seems like there’s an over-saturation of so FEW villains, and so much MORE of the hero-vs-hero crap or merely “situational” stuff. Of course, I’m so far outta the loop and unwilling to “come back” at any great length until my interest and trust is restored (and that’s talking years of consistency avoiding the stuff that pushes me away).


#7: Rehashing old story elements/beating a dead horse

clonageWe already had a Clone Saga. So why does that have to be brought back again (granted, as a conspiracy)? We already had a Civil War…that’s done again? We’ve had numerous “Return of the Phoenix Force” stories. Numerous “Death of _____.”

Merely digging up old story titles to “reimagine” or “sequel-ize” just doesn’t work for me. Some stuff, there’s room to play on nostalgia or have fun “nods” to past things, but being so overt and forced on stuff, it sucks.

I’m the consumer, and from THAT standpoint I don’t really CARE about logistics of new storytelling and creative teams and such, or “synergy” or whatever…I just care about having new, GOOD stories about characters I want to read and not feel like anything’s forced or pushed, and that I’m not being insulted, bullied, coerced, etc.


#8: Everything is a mini-series yet nothing is billed as such

transformers_0080I sorta tacked this point on, but it goes with points 1 & 2 (Price and Renumbering). I am glad to read and follow lengthy ongoing series, because there’s something TO eventually looking back and realizing I’ve been following _____ for 30 issues, or 68 issues, or whatever. But when it seems like Marvel RARELY gets anything past issue 20 or so, and 30 is like some ancient, mystically-high number…and there are so many Omnibus and thicker hardcover/paperback collections where an entire run of a book can be collected into a single volume, I’d much prefer THAT format. If you’re ONLY going to have 6 issues, I’d rather buy/read them in a single volume. Especially if/when I’m paying a PREMIUM for it. If the single issues were CHEAPER, I’d be fine with that, but BOTH formats are premium-priced, so let me have my freaking CHOICE, as the consumer. I don’t want to be forced/manipulated into something or required to double-dip or such!

limited_series_vs_stealth_cancelIt used to be that something intended as a “limited series” would be marked accordingly, and an ongoing/non-limited series would simply be THERE. Granted, occasionally something INTENDED to be a LIMITED series would be EXTENDED to an ongoing series or such (See the 1980s’ Transformers or 1995’s X-Man for examples).

But there wasn’t the “stealth cancelling” and stuf just put out there with NO designation as a limited run (outside of stunts like Malibu‘s Exiles thing in the early Ultraverse days).

You either expect something to last awhile, or you don’t–but you should be up-front with your customers instead of trying to sucker them!


Concluding-ish

There are so many other factors and details and combinations and whatnot. These have all been “main” things, and any/all individually or in any random combination, at a random time, with a certain sort or source of hype, can serve to frustrate me or just set me off such that I’ll drop or avoid something on principle alone, if not flat-out long-term line-wide disinterest and such.

DC is guilty of plenty, but their lower prices on single issues, their far better prices on collected volumes and size of collected volumes (with great/superior pricing) get them a better “pass” on stuff. I’d waked away from them completely for a time, and their Rebirth initiative brought me back I a surprising way and I’ve stuck with stuff. Barely a year into that initiative and they have yet to announce any significant or line-wide renumbering initiative or relaunch or whatever; and outside of their having “restored” Action Comics and Detective Comics to legacy numbering, I hope they–at this point–simply keep the “current numbering” and allow long-standing titles TO amass larger numbers again…to EARN the high numbers.

And even if I can’t exactly put my finger on a reason, Marvel has so disgusted me on so many of these in various ways that their BRAND itself is “tainted” and I just associate the name Marvel with too-high prices, ridiculous stories, variants, lack of consistency and numbering and whatnot such that outside of rare/special/nostalgic things (X-Men: Prime/Gold/Blue and such) I’m just gonna gravitate to DC or TMNT right now.

Some Recent Effective/Appealing Ads from DC

I usually try to ignore ads, or avoid them, or get past them ASAP. But some of them work, and actually ARE appealing and/or effective. Here are several recent ones that caught my attention, from Superman #20 and Action Comics #977.

dc_ads_early_april2017_thebutton

Initially, I wasn’t sure what to make of the news of The Button…it was "news" but seemed so far off. Now, lately, this ad has me chomping at the bit for the story…I’m not sure if this image is two parts of the same "lenticular cover," or if it’s an amalgamation of two, or what…but this ad itself, this split-down-the-middle image is one I really dig, and has me extremely interested and eager to get to the story!

Perhaps it’s that it still feels rather new to me (relatively speaking) to see Batman and the Flash so closely linked.

dc_ads_early_april2017_teentitans_judascontract

Then there’s the new Warner Bros. Animation animated film Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. Sure, it’s an updated "based ON" sorta thing, adapting the ’80s story to fit a 2010s-era setting (characters, versions of said characters) and to shoehorn it in to the DC Animated Universe.

But as one of THE original stories I remember being talked about for these films, way back in 2007 or 2008 or whenever it was that this line started (was it really a decade ago?!?) it’s good to see that this is finally getting a release.

Of course, it also means I’ve long passed my window for reading the original story first…something that I (shamefully) have never actually read myself.

dc_ads_early_april2017_baneconquest

I’d known Bane was getting a "limited series," AND that Chuck Dixon was back writing the character, but then I forgot again.

I really wish they’d put a cover price with ads like this…either boldly proclaim its worthiness at a certain price…or if it’s thought that the price would be a turn-off, consider a different price!

I don’t know if this will be $3.99 or "only" $2.99 offhand…at $2.99 I might follow it. $3.99 and I’ll probably check out the first issue and then wait for the cheaper collected edition(s).

dc_ads_early_april2017_revenge

I have a definite love/hate thing going on with DC and their portrayal of Zod in the Superman books. I’ve lost track of all the different Zods we’ve had, just in the last 15 or so years, so on one hand, I’m not keen on yet another.

On the other hand, the drama to this image–"everyone" knows the whole "Kneel before Zod" thing–so just SEEING the character, AND seeing Superman…well…kneel…yeah.

dc_ads_early_april2017_lazaruscontract

And finally, I have to reiterate that THIS is the way to do the multi-panel "build-an-image" thing with covers!

You do NOT force someone to buy 2, 3, 4, or more copies OF THE SAME ISSUE to form the one image!

You treat someone to a cool, larger image as a "reward" FOR following a larger set of issues (whether a crossover, story, mini-series, whatever)!

I’m tempted to check this out partly in support of that alone (we’ll see if I actually remember or feel the same way once the issues start coming out.)


Of course, there were many, many more ads and such in the two issues, but these were the stand-out ones to me.

A sort of "runner-up" would be a "post card" from a comic shop for a 4-part story in Old Man Logan…the images of Wolverine in different costumes with older comic covers making up the background is a really cool design, and probably would have hooked me…except the issues are Old Man Logan–a Marvel title, $3.99 an issue, and I’d rather read a singular story OR even just wait six months and maybe remember to read it on Unlimited.

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