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MMPR and Why I’m Done With Boom! Studios’ Single Issues

I was excited last week for the debut of the new Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series from Boom! Studios. I was annoyed at the SEVEN different covers for the #0 issue…but they’re all such great-looking pieces, and the property has just the right bit of nostalgia, that I was actually looking at bucking my usual hatred of variants.

I enjoyed the story of the issue, in part along with the notion of acquiring not one, but SIX to SEVEN copies of the issue, to frame and display the covers in my “comic cave.”

Unfortunately, I was only able to acquire one single cover (Black Ranger), and when I took to online retailers, no one had any of the issues in stock…and then I was BLOWN AWAY when I tried eBay…and learned that TWO of the covers were RATIOED VARIANTS.

1_50_green_ranger

The Green Ranger cover was 1:50, and the White Ranger was a whopping 1:100.

That is…for every FIFTY COPIES of the regular covers a retailer orders, they can order ONE single, solitary copy of the Green Ranger cover. A retailer would have to order ONE HUNDRED COPIES of the regular covers to be able to order ONE single, solitary copy of the White Ranger cover.

That is complete and utter BS, and I call shenanigans!

1_100_white_ranger

This is a “team book,” that is–the book stars the TEAM, a cast of more than one primary character–in this case, a team of SIX characters. ONE of those characters spent time with the powers of two different Rangers–Green and White. So while all SEVEN covers would be a great set, since the story FOCUSES on the early part of the Green Ranger even being part of the group, the White Ranger cover COULD be seen as a “bonus” cover, separate from the “set.” Bad enough each character has to have their own individual cover (rather than any sort of team cover)…but then Boom! goes and pulls this, taking arguably the most popular (Green and White) and making them not 1:7 (equal ratio), not 1:10 but 1:50 and 1:100 respectively.

Even if a retailer gets the issues at $1 each, that makes the Green cover a $50 book, and the White a $100 book. Move that price upward the more the retailer has to pay.

What would have otherwise been a fun little “exception” to my no-variants personal policy has turned into downright frustration, and frankly, at this point, I’m done with Boom!

I was “all-in” for three years with Valiant, and dropped the publisher as a whole last summer over their crap with the Legends of the Geomancer. It’s been awhile since Boom! has really had anything of any interest to me–Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was gonna be my gateway back into their product, to having something of theirs on my pull list (and through whatever house ads/etc, I’d see as a result) probably get some of their other series back in my attention.

Instead, on principle, I’ll be voting with my wallet. Instead of my buying 6-7 copies of THE SAME ISSUE now, and continuing to purchase the ongoing monthly series’ issues each month, AND whatever else would grab my attention from there…I’ll likely part ways with the copy of the issue I did buy. And going forward, I will not only not be buying the series at all, I’ll not only passively not currently be buying anything from the publisher…I’ll be actively AVOIDING the publisher’s entire output…at least as single issues. Perhaps later in the year I’ll make an exception for a collected edition (provided the collected edition itself does not have variants), but as single issues go, as “supporting the series” goes…nope.

Thanks, Boom! for operating on the short-sightedness and money grab. You’ve earned ill-will on my end.

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Munchkin: Deck the Dungeons #1 [Review]

munchkin_deck_the_dungeons_001Written by: Katie Cook
Illustrated by: Mike Luckas
Colors by: Fred Stressing, Katy Farina
Letters by: Jim Campbell
Cover by: Ian McGinty
Designer: Kara Leopard
Associate Editor: Jasmine Amiri
Editor: Shannon Watters
Published by: Boom! Box (Boom! Studios)
Cover Date: December 2015
Cover Price: $4.99

I’ve never actually READ a Munchkin comic before, though I have a couple issues I’d picked up recently that I’ve been meaning to get to. I have the game, an expansion, and several of the spin-off games (Star Munchkin, Super Munchkin, Munchkin Zombies). And at a whopping $4.99, I should have been totally opposed to this issue. But…it was a light week, the issue is extra-thick, AND it contains a card for the game…plus…’tis the season and all. I’m not buying Marvel or DC, and I was in the mood for something randomish and light, I can’t imagine there’s any serious “continuity” to the Munchkin universe, and banked on this being a standalone issue that I could read even without having read the other comics published thus far.

The issue opens in a tavern, with our hero Spyke and his friend Flower. Spyke realizes that with other adventurers and monsters alike out of the dungeon preparing for Christmas, there’s tons of loot that’ll be easy pickings, and he convinces Flower to join him. We learn that spyke hates Christmas–hence “avoiding” Christmassy stuff in favor of a dungeon crawl–and quickly find the two swept up into a Munchkin-y riff on DickensA Christmas Carol…with an unexpected ending.

I was surprised at the conclusion of the story with so many pages left…after a couple of well-placed ads I appreciated, I found we have some pages from Munchkin vol. 1…so a “preview” or such, which to me is nothing but “filler” here: if I want to read something else, I will–don’t give me a huge chunk of it “free” here and make the “new content” that much more expensive by comparison! (To say nothing of my annoyance at finding “filler” pages to begin with!)

Other than that…I enjoyed this issue. It felt a lot like a longform comic strip to me, which was not surprising. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going in, but should have expected pretty much what I got. The story was rather cheesey–I’m not a fan of constant riffs on A Christmas Carol (Public Domain or not!)–and there’s really not much “substance” to the story. But then, frankly, that’s the fun of it, and the point, as it is with the game these characters are from. I have some questions about the characters’ ability to die/come back, but I’m not too concerned there…it’s just a nitpick with me.

The art on the issue was fitting…I’m not familiar with Luckas by name or prior work (perhaps on the Munchkin series, or otherwise) so no preconceived notions. The issue looked like Munchkin, or at least it didn’t NOT look like it, and the style helped really convey that sense of this being a longform comic strip…it seems nicely cartooney and what I’d expect of a strip.

I recognize Katie Cook‘s name from other comics work, though I’m not certain if I’ve read any of it. Taking a game and managing to give the characters a bit of life and stuff to do from the game’s concept is a bit of a feat, and came off well here.

All in all, I enjoyed the issue, it wasn’t nearly as quick a read as I expected, I like the fact it includes a card for the game, and I didn’t feel like I’m missing anything not having read any other Munchkin comic(s) ever.

The price IS a bit much for any comic, and this is not some groundbreaking “key” thing or by any means some “must-read” or such. You’re not missing out on anything by not reading it. That said…if you’re a fan of Munchkin (the game) and/or want a card you can only get from this comic and/or just want a one-off “Christmas Special” to cleanse the palate from other stuff, this is worthwhile if you have the $5 you’re willing to toss at a comic.

This is part of the Boom! Box imprint–I believe aimed at a younger audience–and it fits well in that. As with anything, I’d suggest a parent confirm for themselves that they want their kid(s) reading something like this…but it’s fun for me to read as an adult, and I imagine kids would enjoy it a bit more if they’re into this sorta thing.

Having read this, I definitely want to read the couple issues I already have, and possibly seek out other subsequent issues…which I suppose is the main goal of a comic, at least on the business side of things.

Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #1 [Review]

billandtedsmosttriumphantreturn001Written by: Brian Lynch
Pencils by: Jerry Gaylord
Inks by: Jerry & Penelopy Gaylord
Colors by: Whitney Cogar
Letters by: Jim Campbell
Cover: Felipe Smith, Rob Guillory
Designer: Scott Newman
Assistant Editor: Alex Galer
Editor: Ian Brill
Published by: Boom! Studios
Cover Date: March 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I must confess: though I bought the two Bill & Ted movies on dvd awhile back, I have yet to watch those dvds, and it’s possible that I haven’t actually watched either film since my sophomore year of college more than a decade back.

I was vaguely aware that there was to be a new Bill & Ted comic, having noted some press release or headline about Boom! getting the property…but it wasn’t until a few days before this issue’s release that I was actually consciously aware of and looking for it. And even seeing it in the store, I noted that the cover specifies this is "No. 1 of 6," which translates (for me) to "serialized graphic novel." And even the title itself, the emphasis on Most Triumphant Return over Bill & Ted suggests this is a single, finite story and so whether as the comic it is or some tv/movie analogy, after this story it will no longer be a return, and so there’d be some other title there.

But the nostalgia got me, and while the characters look absolutely ridiculous on the cover, just the NOTION of something new and contemporary with Bill & Ted was something I couldn’t bring myself to pass up, at least to check out a first issue. (And in a bit of interesting timing, DC Comics is doing a "movie posters" variant theme for the month, and the Action Comics issue riffing on Bill & Ted was also released this week).

This issue opens basically seconds after the end of the film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. The guys are at the Battle of the Bands, having just won; kids in tow, the babes nearby, Station and Death hanging around, the guys’ destiny has begun. They have a hit song that will eventually bring world peace and all that, they’ve been to hell and back…so where do they go from here? We follow them in the immediate aftermath as they try to settle into some semblance of normalcy with a full apartment, kids, Station, the Good Robot Thems…and time-travelers eager to visit The Great Ones. Realizing they have no idea about their next song (let alone a whole album) or how to deal with facing a future they’re responsible for, the two acquire a phone booth and travel to the future to sit in on a Bill & Ted 101 class. Once there, they make a remarkable discovery.

The cliffhanger comes on the 16th page…but there’s a backup feature.

Bill & Ted and the Bogus Virus

Written by: Ryan North
Illustrated by: Ian McGinty
Colors & Letters by: Fred Stresing

This 6-page short does not seem to be set in any particular timeframe, but given the presence of the Good Robot Thems, presumably is during/after Bogus Journey. Essentially, the Robots get an email from the future, from the Evil Robots, and they’re corrupted to be totally bogus, prompting Bill & Ted to take them to the future where technology should exist to fix their pals. While the technology is iffy, a solution is arrived at that fixes the issue and leaves everyone content.

The art for the main story is solid, though a bit cartooney. It’s a stylized thing, and while I wouldn’t like it for a superhero comic or an adaptation of an existing on-screen thing (such as one of the films) as its own thing taking the characters and telling a new story it works very well and several times actually made me smile just taking in the (exaggerated) looks on faces, etc. I like it as the characters are recognizable and I can follow what’s going on…but it’s not at all trying to capture the actors’ likenesses. This is a comic book, a fictional story about fictional characters, and it doesn’t try to be anything else and just revels in the simple fun-ness of the property.

The art on the backup is even more cartooney/stylized, and something about it just doesn’t work nearly as well for me. It’s not bad in itself, but it’s sorta unexpected and the layouts are rather crowded and after reading the main story (perhaps specifically for following and being in the same issue with it) I don’t care for the look. It’s good art, just not as appealing for me personally.

That said, McGinty‘s style puts me very much in mind of a webcomic, and if this were a Bill & Ted webcomic I’d probably be very happy with it. The story works for what it is, fits the characters and all that, and was an enjoyable read.

The main story is a nice blend of nostalgia and new, taking the familiar and moving things forward…and I really like that this isn’t trying to be Bill & Ted Twenty Years Later, but picks up and draws directly on where the movies left off.

The primary drawback to this issue and series is that it’s not an ongoing, so I’m very resistant to buying single issues when I "know" there will be a collected volume and I can have the entire story in one book. I’m also rather frustrated that the "main" story is a mere 16 pages, and the "backup" brings the total of content pages to the "standard" 22. This is a $3.99 book, a price point I’ve long hated, and the main story doesn’t even reach the 20-page mark. At 16 pages/issue that’ll make a six-issue arc a mere 96 pages…which could easily be done in a mere 3 issues that are slightly oversized.

Competing with the $3.99 price point for me is the issue of variant covers–I’m not a huge fan of this standard cover, but I absolutely have no interest in getting one of a number of variants pushed for this one.

As a whole, this is definitely a good issue, and I’m glad I bought it to check things out. I’ll probably wait for a collected volume, though–knowing this is a finite story I just don’t like the notion of paying $3.99 for 16-page chunks of a single story.

Definitely recommended, format depends on your preference for single issues vs. collected edition.

Freelancers #1 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Hypernaturals #5 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Higher Earth #6 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Extermination #5 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

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