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Death in Fantastic Four, and Why I love my Local Comic Shop

ff587cover_marvelstockimageI was home in this apartment tonight when it occurred to me: I didn’t even LOOK for the “death issue” of Fantastic Four. All this hype and such about it…and it wasn’t even—in the actuality of standing in the comic shop—worth my attention, apparently.

I ranted a bit about the issue from an ad a few weeks back in my post Fantastic Four, death and the return of the polybag. I would add to that list of complaints the way the publisher spoiled the story/leaked it to media on Tuesday, when ostensibly they were encouraging (“allowing?”) comic shops to sell the issue on Tuesday to allow fans and readers to get and read the issue withOUT having the story spoiled for them. Also the supposed “bonus” of random signed copies that seem to be cropping up—with a certain limited number of copies inside the polybags being signed by the writer. As if to add a further level to falsely inflate the “collectibility” of the issue.

On a much more positive side, my local comic shop was having an incredible sale on hardbacks (mainly Marvel). $10/pop. I wound up picking up Magneto: Testament (been interested in that for ages) as well as Marvels: Eye of the Camera, which I’d read the first issue back when it came out, but opted to wait for the collected volume. What better time than now? And, after going the library route to catch up on nearly HALF of the original Ultimate Spider-Man series, I’ve been morbidly interested in Ultimatum, but the libraries I frequent haven’t had it. Saw it here, figured what the hey?

So…$75 in books for only $30. And I have friends who’d be interested in reading these volumes as well, so they get increased value for multiple readers…

10dollarhardcovers

tmntatundra01Sales like this are why I love my comic shop. For lack of better phrasing…they often have “convention-level sales” at least once a month—whether it’s freshly-stocked 25-cent bins (yeah, 25…not 50!), random bargain runs ($10 for 45 of 50+ issues of the original X-Force or $15 for 60 issues of JLA, and other such deals), 50-90% off collected volumes. Sometimes these sales seem ongoing…to the point that on the “deals” side of things…I never seem to get a chance to miss going to conventions.

Also, a TMNT book I ordered from Mirage a couple weeks back came in today. Disappointed there’s no text on the spine, but it’s otherwise a great collection of the Archie Adventure Series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #s 5-10 from Tundra, from 1991.

Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1 [Review]

Just One Little Thing

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Jay Anacleto
Colors: Brian Haberlin
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Associate Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover: Jay Anacleto
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I’ve been looking forward to this series for years. I mean, we’re talking at least a decade. It’s been rumoured for many years, with apparently a couple of false-starts, and now after all this time, this series is here. Now what?

From the cover we immediately see this is different from the original. Different artist, different look…separate entity. No real attempt is made to have the cover evoke the feel of the original series–the “cover dress” with the black border/negative space over a full single image might have worked very well here, with the subtitle Eye of the Camera along the bottom.

The first page is an introduction by the main character, Phil Sheldon; and the issue’s creator credits somehow make me think of some “event” ticket, indicating who is involved for the night and all that. Not bad–I don’t think I’ve seen/held a ticket like that…well, ever–so it helps to indicate this story is not set during my lifetime.

The story follows Sheldon in the opening of the 1960s as he begins to realize that some of his “marvels” may be monsters, unlike the heroes during the war. He also considers that as a family man, perhaps he needs to lay down the freelance photography in pursuit of a steady/full job so that he knows he’s got provision for his family and isn’t still playing at his youth. Through this, we also see the arrival of the Fantastic Four on the scene and the “man on the street” reaction to the super-team’s unveiling.

The art is a very clear departure from that of painter Alex Ross from the original series. I’m not familiar with this artist at all offhand–ntohing comes to mind and I have nothing prior to compare the work to. In and of itself–and I’m sure credit must be given to the colorist in tandem here–has a look that while apparently not painted, has just the right feel to suggest painted, and very nicely captures the look of the characters I recall from the original. By itself, I’d deem this very good art; I honestly think the only thing that may keep it from that is the unfortunate fact that as a sequel, this has got to be compared to the original…and as such, the comparison to Ross must come up.

That said, I found this to be an excellent issue. It seems to be “sequel” in that it is a follow-up; though time-wise, it seems to be coming between the pages of the original story. As the first of six issues, I have no idea how the other issues will play out in that regard–are these meant to be taken as “between issues” stories from the original, between pages, or just another story from the same period, much as one could tell two independent stories that both follow the same life, the difference simply being the events chosen to focus on and unpack in each story.

Without Ross, I can think of no artist who would have done better than Mr. Anacleto; and I trust Busiek–who wrote the original series–with whatever he’s choosing to do here.

A very worthwhile issue…though with about a decade and a half of having the original story available in full under a single cover, I can’t help but wonder if this sequel will read better in the same way–as a whole, rather than split into six segments across half a year.

If the rest of the issues hold up to this one, this could be one of those rare sequels that at least matches its original.

Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 8.5/10

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