Showing posts from November, 2009

Comics I Read: Catching up #5

X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas 1-2: Well, I can’t say Marvel isn’t doing enough to promote this group: there’s this two-parter, plus they’re involved in the latest Hercules storyline (see below), then a miniseries with the (original!) Avengers in January. This story is set after “Utopia” which means Jeff Parker gets to use Namor, who has history with both teams. It’s a fairly standard fight-then-team-up plot, but Parker has a good grasp of the X-Men – for instance, after the teams reconcile Iceman makes a joke about how the Atlas members will probably be teaching at the institute in a couple of years – and you should get a decent idea of what the “Atlas” solo series is like from this. Don’t worry about the anachronisms at the end of #1; they’re explained in #2. Superman: Secret Origin 2-3: The Legion stuff in #2 is great, and does a nice job at showing both what the Legion means to Clark and what he means to them. Johns also has a little fun having the Legionnaires refer to some things th

Meeting writer Greg Cox . . . . .

THE AUTHOR SIGNINGS AT CAPTAIN BLUE HEN COMICS 11/07/2009          Opportunities to meet authors, chat with them and ask questions in relaxed and casual surroundings don’t occur often.  So, it was a real treat to be introduced to three separate writers on the same day, at the same location.           I opted to ask all three writers (Cox, Parkin and Thompson) the same opening question: At what point did you decide to pursue what you do as a career?                      For Greg Cox his youthful aspirations to become a writer came to full fruition  while enrolled in college.  As an English Literature major his pathway became clearer as he distinguished himself from his fellow classmates.  Greg refers to himself as the “token hack” of his class whom he considered to contain an abundant number of “literary snobs.”   He is also very grateful for the guidance in creative writing he received there, including instruction from renowned professionals such as Vonda McIntyre.            

Recommended Books for Younger Readers: List # 1

          As mentioned in a previous post, I’ll be devoting some space from time to time for a continuing list of recommended books for younger readers.  With the help of the fellow BC Refugees, it should be a nice resource for anyone (me, for example) who wants to persuade younger readers to investigate the worlds of wonder available in the literary/visual medium of comics and graphic novels.          The books listed here are not ranked or in order of quality or preference, but by alphabetical sequence to make things easy to follow.  I’m listing recommended ages (purely subjective on my part - - - every young reader, regardless of age,  has a different level of reading comprehension so choose according) as well as a credit to the person who suggested the book.  There are many other titles I could list here but I don’t want to include a book if I haven’t personally read it and verified it, and I would ask all contributors to follow the same guideline.  This is a work in progress.  Y

Comics I Read: Catching up, Part 4

Vigilante 10-12: This is the final story arc of the series, and it explains who the new Vigilante is and his relationship to Adrian Chase. It’s an exciting story that gives a good insight into his personality and motivation, and if the book had started with this story it might not have been cancelled. Not that I fault DC: It certainly seemed like a good marketing strategy to start with a mystery and a Nightwing/Titans crossover, but based on results it backfired. Maybe people wouldn’t have bought it no matter what, but in the end it turned out to be great work from Marv Wolfman and Rick Leonardi. Dark Reign: The List – Spider-Man: If for some reason you can only get one of “The List” specials, this is the one to pick. The seeds of the end of Norman Osborn’s “Reign” are planted here, and Dan Slott does it in an unexpectedly subtle way that I really enjoyed. I’m not sure if this is Adam Kubert’s first Marvel work since his DC exclusive ended, but it’s certainly the highest profile an

Turtles Forever

I really am risking you all thinking I’ve gone off the deep end here, but you know I have to call ‘em like I see ‘em and I had a tremendous amount of fun today watching the animated movie “Turtles Forever” on CW Kids. First, a little history: the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic started in 1984 as a B&W parody of various comics of the day (mainly Frank Miller’s “Daredevil” and “Ronin”) and evolved into a fairly serious ninja comic with some sci-fi elements. Then, in 1987 the animated series featured a silly, kid-friendly version of the turtles with multi-colored headbands and their initials on their belts. It exploded into the most popular thing in kids TV – even into pop culture – and to this day the stuff invented for the series (“Cowabunga”, pizza-loving, “Turtle Power”, etc.) is what most people think of when they think of the Turtles. Eventually, the series ended, as all fads do. A new animated series started on Fox Kids (now CW kids) in 2003, and I watched th

Video of the Week

I don’t usually post stuff like this, because I figure you can find your way to Newsarama or wherever on your own, but I couldn’t resist the above trailer for Geoff Johns’ two-hour Feb. 5 Smallville event. There are more JSA members visible – in costume! – than have been announced so far. Watching Smallville usually makes me want to chew my own arm off, but Johns’ Legion episode last season was an exception and I have high hopes for this too.

Lone Ranger #17 up for free preview..

I know there alot of guys who read the Lone Ranger series in trade paperback, but Newsarama has issue #17 up in its entirety. It's the start of a new arc, so it'll be awhile before the trade shows up. But if you're interested, here you go: Another great cover. I've personally only read the first couple of these, but man, does it look nice.

Comics I Read: Catching up, Part 3

Captain America Theater of War: Ghosts of My Country : This is my favorite of the “Theater of War” specials, even though Cap doesn't actually appear in it. It's actually a series of vignettes written by Paul Jenkins and beautifully drawn by Elia Bonetti set in various US wartimes, featuring the ideals that Cap represents. (Sometimes by counter-example, as some of the characters fail to live up to that ideal.) It's articulate and haunting, and I preferred it to the stories that inserted Cap into “real” war settings. Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance 6: Fun, although it still didn’t quite work for me. However, this issue was worth it for the panel with GL John Stewart, the female Dr. Light, and the new Firestorm where Most Excellent Superbat’s narration says “They finally sent in the Justice League to clean up. At least, they said they were the Justice League. I didn’t recognize any of them.” I’m amused that DC let Joe Casey get away with that. Flash: Rebirth 5: Worth the wa

2010 Comicon scheduled

The 11th annual Baltimore Comicon has been scheduled to occur in August 2010. More details can be found here: The 10th anniversay Comicon broke sales and attendance records, as well as raising some substantial funds for several charities. This con also hosts the annual Harvey awards and you can see the results of the awards presentation here:

A rare 3.5 stars from me for Star Trek...

Just saw Star Trek: "The new version movie" and absolutely loved it. As many of you know, I'm not good on seeing movies in the theater. I haven't checked the extras yet, but they look extensive. A couple of problems from a geek standpoint, but solid acting, good characterization and dazzling visuals made for a great movie. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to all, and you don't need alot of "Trekkie" knowledge to enjoy it. There are a couple of inside-jokes they threw in there for fanboys , but nothing too important to the story. BTW, Jeff was impressed too, so it's not me. And I did enjoy the comics prequel "Countdown", written by the same team that did the movie. IF you have a chance to pick it up cheap, read it in bookstore or library, it does shine some light on the villain's motive that the film didn't have time for. All in all, check it out if you haven't, and I think you'll be very entertained.

Previews: DC Comics - February 2010

It's back!  Sort of.  I do miss discussing previews, but I just haven't had time to really go through it lately.  I'm going to try to be better with posting here, though--either looking at previews or writing articles.  There are a few articles I'm considering, but I'm trying to decide which direction to take. Anyway!  There actually isn't too much of note with DC Comics this month--Blackest Night continues onward and a few titles return to their regular storylines after the crossovers--but there  are a few interesting things of note, and that's what we'll be looking at. Milestone Forever #1 (of 2) - DC Comics When it was first revealed that the Milestone characters would be integrated into the DC Universe, this series--something to tie up the original Milestone storylines--was suggested, but no announcement followed.  Instead, we did get the introductions of the characters--Static in  Terror Titans , Icon and the Shadow Cabinet in  Justice League of

Exploring My Back Pages (November, 2009) . . . .

THE END LEAGUE #1 – 4 (Dark Horse, 2008-2009): I’m very impressed with what writer Rick Remender has created here. It’s forced me to re-evaluate my opinion of his work. Previously, I read the first two issues of FEAR AGENT and liked them but not enough to want to follow. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the mess he made of the last four issues of THE ATOM a few years back. I’m wondering if the title was already doomed by the point he took over and he got the call to finish it off. (The Atom power and suit gets handed down to a new player - - it’s not the classic Ray Palmer in this version until the final issue.) At the very least, I may have to re-visit some FEAR AGENT books. I’m reminded of the clever ALMALGAM series of titles a few years back, featuring morphed DC-MARVEL characters (Iron Lantern, Dark Claw, etc.) that was creative, light-heartened and fun. Remender has borrowed some classic DC and Marvel archetypes and altered them while still making them reco

Comics I Read: Catching up, Part 2

Blackest Night 4: It’s a little disconcerting to have Hal Jordan yanked out of the story at this point, but it really can’t be helped (see below), and it does put an interesting spotlight on the rest of the characters. This is very much a middle chapter, but I loved all the Ray Palmer and JSA scenes and the twist with the Jason Rusch Firestorm. The Scarecrow scene, however, seemed bolted on for no apparent reason – maybe it will pay off in one of the tie-ins? (But not in “Blackest Night: Batman”, which is already done.) Green Lantern 46-47: As much as Hal Jordan is missed in “Blackest Night”, you can’t blame Geoff Johns for wanting him front and center in this book for the story he’s been building too since he revived it. The Hal/Carol/Sinestro (Green/Violet/Yellow Lantern) triangle is really great, and adding the late Abin Sur and sibling into the mix worked really well emotionally. (I love that Hal is over his regrets: “Go ahead and play the universe’s largest violin for me.”) Doug

Best X-Men run ever?

I thought Bill and Ben would especially enjoy this article. Tim Callahan of CBR makes the case that the Morrison New X-Men issues are the best run in the series ever. I am not much of an X-reader, but I find that hard to believe. Plus, I'm not a Quietly fan, so I don't agree his art is a big asset to the story. Just my humble opinion.

Youth Market: Observations and Opportunities

There are certain things that I do instinctively, sometimes on a subconscious level that I don’t become aware of until after I’ve finished.  After working ten years in a basic research function, observing, asking questions, documenting and constantly reporting opinions on new products  to a corporate marketing department I find myself sometimes going about my day 24/7 in “survey mode”, even when it involves my leisure time and/or my hobbies.  I see something.  I make a mental note. I recall it and attempt to analyze what it means. OBSERVATION:   Despite predictions (since the explosion of personal computers in the 80’s) that written literature is out of style and that “nobody takes time to read anymore”  traditional fiction continues to sell and bookstores keep staying open and making profits.  Modern marketing is sophisticated enough to identify blossoming mass interest in a specific writer, style, or type of book and then turn around and enhance that popularity by a thousand-fold t

Quick update and a question...

Hey guys, Earlier, Jeff was kind enough to add me a poster, then shortly after my old PC died. I have a library a block away, so I got to use their PC, but didn't have time to follow up here and let me tell you, taking 4 kids to the library everyday is quite a task. Anyway, a couple quick points: First, for anyone reading here that I didn't have their e-mail, I'm trying to make up for lost time by having everybody who is available meet @ the Chick-Fil-A in Downingtown Monday 11/16 at 11:30. It will be good to see everyone again. Second, BC has re-opened 8 stores with paid-up-front, long leases, including the Exton store. They are talking about selling comics there, and have asked to meet with me to discuss it. I doubt I would be interested, but I will keep you posted. Assuming I decline, would any of you be interested in running it for them? Just LMK and we'll see what happens. Third, my wife and I are both out of F/T work so I have plenty of time now if you need h

Comics I Read: Catching up, Part 1

Adventure Comics 3: Those of you enjoying “Red Robin” should definitely pick this up. You don’t need to know anything about Superboy’s ongoing story, and the scenes between Conner and Tim have been building in the DCU for years. (A simple “I believe you” was one of the most touching lines I’ve read all year.) The Legion story wasn’t my favorite of the series so far, but it does have an interesting piece of the “Legionnaires in the 21st century” puzzle. Blackest Night: Superman 2-3: Long-time Superboy fans – I’m talking to you, Shane – should definitely at least pick up #3 because there’s a surprise development for Conner that I think they’ll be pleased about. (It’s referred to in Adventure #3, which may have come out first – I’m not sure about the order because I’m catching up on the whole month at once.) #3 is also a must-have for anyone following the “New Krypton” storyline because there’s a game-changing development. It’s not clear where it fits in the ongoing Superman timeline –

Where To Go, What To Do . . . . . . . .

AUTHOR SIGNING EVENT ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7:      This Saturday, I’ll  be heading to Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, Delaware for a noon signing / meet-and-greet with three authors who specialize in the genres of popular culture that we BC Refugees enjoy.           Who will be there? - - - - GREG COX . . . .  LANCE PARKIN . . . . . and DAVE THOMPSON.    All the details, information, address, etc.  can be found here:      Of the three, I’ve only met Greg Cox before, at a previous library signing in Oxford, PA. -  where I live and so does Greg.   Greg is well-known for writing the paperback novelizations of many superhero and science fiction movies (Daredevil, Star Trek, Terminator, the upcoming Final Crisis novelization) and is currently working on some new fiction set in the Terminator universe.      Lance Parkin has authored many Doctor Who novels, as well as non-fiction about Star