Monthly archives: January, 2010

Marvel’s Pricing and Backup Stories

Marvel has been playing a very strange game with the pricing of their comics.  They want to push the $3.99 price tag as much as they can to milk what they can out of the direct market.  The strange thing is some of the books like the recent Captain America books have been priced right at $3.99 because they each have 30 pages of new material.  Most of the $3.99 books, like the books in the Ultimate line, have only 22 pages of material which is over priced.  It seems somewhat fitting as Marvel creatively has been a mixed bag of late.  Some of the books are really great and some are just horrendously stupid.  So it’s probably no real surprise their pricing is just as haphazard.

DC on the other hand has their pricing set.  A DC book that is $3.99 will have 30 pages either as a full story or a co feature to make up the extra pages, while the 22 page books are set at $2.99.  It’s simple, it’s smart, and it doesn’t cheat the fans.  Marvel needs to fall in line with this because it is not just something that is good for the fans but it is something they will benefit more from as well.   The main reason Marvel would benefit from this also ties into one of the reasons why Disney purchased them, that being character development.  Disney wants properties they can develop in other media such as movies, TV, etc.  The better Marvel’s comics are the more Disney will have to work with. (more…)

The Ipad and what it means for comics

Apple officially announced their tablet device today, the Ipad.  Newsarama has a good write up on the technical specs of the device.  This has of course lead to all sorts of chatter about what this means for comics.  The common reaction has been that this will be the game changer and that comic shop owners should be quaking in their boots.  It is wishful thinking but the truth is the Ipad is a dud for comics.  The device is a bit of a mashup of the Ipod and Iphone,  just with a large screen.  It has the same limitations as Apple’s other devices.  Those limitations are why this will not have any real impact on the comic industry for the foreseeable future.

Rated D for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2010

Another year has passed us by, and, while 2008 was a pretty stellar year for the superhero genre of movies, 2009 proved to be a different beast entirely. If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, right up front here, it’s that movies featuring superheroes this past year were pretty terrible across the board.

Not only did Watchmen get skewered by a barrage of quite negative reviews (it received a 64% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but it ended up performing terribly at the box office, too (its domestic total topped out just north of $100 million, more than half of which was made in the opening weekend, a total that was a few dozen million short of the production budget).

On the other hand, we were given a couple movies that performed exceptionally at the box office yet were complete disasters when you look at the critical reception. X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen both found their way onto my list of the worst five movies of the year, for example. Then there’s the stuff that I don’t even feel like talking about (G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and Dragonball: Evolution, I’m looking at you).

Luckily, it’s a new year, and Hollywood is still churning out superhero movies, thanks to the successes of so many past movies with men in tights. And that’s what we’re here to discuss. Just like every single year, it’s once again time to set our attention to the year to come and toss back enough bottles of beer to wash the year that just passed fully from our collective memory.

kick ass movieFirst up, we have the big screen adaptation of Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass, a series that, as far as I know, still hasn’t completed its first story-arc. I talked about it briefly in my movie preview last year, as its release was still TBA, but I’ve changed my tune in the 365 since.

I’m looking forward to this movie immensely. Yeah, I dropped the comic after two issues, and the casting initially kind of pissed me off (a superhero movie with Nic Cage and McLovin?), but something about the trailers has made me rethink the whole thing. It looks like a lot of fun, and Nic Cage has completely redeemed himself in my eyes after his performance in “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans” (seriously, that movie is absolutely amazing). So I’m going to give this one a chance. If it sucks, I’ll only be down nine bucks anyway, so what’s the big deal?

And, come on, it can’t be any worse than “Mystery Men.” Wait. Can it? (more…)

Local shop quoted in Newsarama

Newsarama quoted Dean from Krypton Comics on Marvel’s offer to trade for unsold DC comics.

Dean Phillips, owner of Krypton Comics in Omaha, Neb., said he liked the fact that Marvel is trying a promotion, but not one this economically unfeasible. “Unless you are choking on unsold quantities of those books, it’s just not worth it,” he said. “Keep on coming up with inventive ways to promote, but do so in a way that helps the industry. Why attack others when you are in a position to help the entire market?”

Everyone is failing to point out that Marvel is offering a Deadpool variant cover to mock DC’s lame promotion.



Disassembled Avengers perhaps reassembled

So Marvel is cancelling all the Avengers books, with the obvious assumption that they’ll bring back the adjectiveless Avengers and resume the original numbering.

New Avengers and Mighty Avengers used to be two of my favorite monthly books. Then New Avengers jumped to $3.99 a month and Dark Avengers showed up. I wasn’t going to give in to the inflated price tag, so assuming that the events of Mighty Avengers would be tied in with what was happening in the $4 Avenger books, I just decided to drop Avengers books completely.

When Siege #1 was about to come out a few weeks ago, I remember feeling almost bummed. I hadn’t read anything positive about the buildup to this latest huge event, but I was still kind of sad at the awareness that I was growing away from the comics I used to enjoy so much. A few years ago, I would’ve been such a loyal Avengers comics reader that I would’ve picked up Siege regardless of whether or not it looked good — it would’ve just been the next chapter in wherever these stories were going.

Things I’m still curious about:
– Would a new “The Avengers” book retain the $3.99 price of New Avengers or the $2.99 price of Mighty?
– Which — if any, if not all — of the current Avengers titles will be used to calculate the new numbering. Will they pick up at #505? Or will they add up every New, Mighty and Dark issue and combine that with the original run?

DC Brings Back The Humor

DC today announced Justice League: Generation Lost as a 26 issues bi-weekly series.  It is the same format as the Brightest Day series announced yesterday.  Essnetially the two books with trade off each week.  The surprising thing about Generation Lost is that it will feature the classic Justice League International team, comedy and all.  It will be co written by Judd Winnick and Keith Giffen.  The two were interviewed at newsarama making it pretty clear they are going for comedy.  On top of that the original writing team of JLI, Giffen and JM DeMatteis, fresh off their entertaining Metal Men co feature in Doom Patrol will be taking over Booster Gold sometime this year.  Saddly there is no word on what artist Kevin Maguire will be doing but hopefully he will be involved in one or both of these books in some way.

I personally think all of this is great news but I honestly don’t know how well it will do.  It is banking on a nostalgia of sorts with the revival of the sitcom style superheroes.  Hopefully most are like me and are looking for something more fun and light hearted like this to help scrub away the overly serious grim and gritty elements of many superheros titles in recent years, of which most of the JLI characters took the worst of the grim and gritty abuse.  Thankfully it is structured to be separate from the Brightest Day events so people will not be force to feel like they  have to read it for continuity’s sake.  It can just be read for the sake of entertainment.

The Brightest Day

DC’s official blog the Source had quite a bit of news today announcing the Brightest Day as a fallow up to the Blackest Night event.  It will essentially be to Blackest Night what 52 was to Infinite Crisis, just with a bi weekly release of 26 instead of the weekly, that is two issues a month for one year.  It will be co written by the Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi in addition to their continued work on the Green Lantern books.  It will also be treated like something of a event to help launch the new Flash series written by Johns as well as the new creative directions for Titans, Justice League, and likely a few other books.

At first glance it does seem kind of tiresome to have even more big event things piled onto everything else DC has planned for this year.  But after reading the IGN interview with Goeoff Johns covering this news I feel pretty confident that it will be pretty good.  I have enjoyed the Blackest Night for the most part and having this fallow it sounds far more interesting then the War of the Supermen event that is set for later this year.  That is not to say the Superman event will be bad, but Superman just doesn’t have the same depth of interest that the Green Lantern related books have now.  Of course this is also further evidence that creatively speaking 2010 will just be more of the same as last year.

Doombin – Tablets Armor and more

The 2010 CES, Consumer Electronics Show, saw a flood of news about computer tablets.  PC World has a nice break down of all the major tablet related announcements.  The most notable being the HP tablet that will run on Windows 7.  It looks like HP and Microsoft wanted to strike first with Apple likely to announcement their tablet later this month.  Now these are just the color tablets.  There are also many new e-readers on the way as well.  Tech people will have quite a bit to choose from this year.  It’s going to be a “see what sticks” approach as all sorts of tech will be thrown at the proverbial consumer wall.  In a previous post I stated my belief these will have little to no impact on the comics industry for the time being, which I still hold.  We are going to be seeing quite a bit of talk about though. (more…)

The Answer is Viz Signature

While I have been finding manga that I enjoy, I have still been plagued by the problem of not knowing where to look for quality manga.  From the start I was frustrated that no one could point me in the right direction based on my interest in everything by Naoki Urasawa (Pluto, 20th Century Boys, and Monster).  I was left to just sample as much as I could and sift through that to find books that suite my tastes.  I came to the maddening realization this week that many of the books I have enjoyed the most have been put out by Viz and they all just so happen to fall under the Viz imprint called Signature, which is literally their equivalent of DC’s Vertigo line.  I feel stupid for not seeing this sooner and also angry that manga related sites have not made this clearer for people like me.  It is safe to say if you like the Vertigo line from DC you will find books you like from the Signature line at Viz.  It includes titles such as the previously mentioned work of Urasawa and the two books I have recommended here,  Inoue’s Vagabond and Real.  There are a number of other books in the line that are all geared towards a more mature audience.  You will not find anything generic like Naruto here. (more…)

Real by Takehiko Inoue

I’m slowly but surely finding my way through the endless stacks of manga.  Takehiko Inoue’s art has been by far the best I have come across in the manga that I have read or seen.  His work is the only manga that strikes me the same way that American style comics with great artists due.  The art by itself could sell his work but thankfully he also happens to be a talented storyteller.  I started reading his popular ongoing Vagabond series, which continues to impress me despite how tiresome it is to that so many manga involve swords in some form or fashion.  I suppose the sword is to manga like what spandex is to superheroes.  You just have to learn to sort of tune it out as it just part of the infrastructure.