Archive for September, 2008


Bob Howard

Three months ago Dark Horse started up a new Conan series called Conan the Cimmerian. I usually will check out new series from reputable publishers, so I picked it up not really knowing anything about Conan other than he hits things. The series was actually quite good and I’ve picked up the other issues that have come out, three in all. The narrative has mostly focused on Conan’s grandfather who is from a land called Cimmeria, though I’ve yet to find out it it’s actually supposed to be set in the lands the Cimmerians were really from, which would be what is now known as the Ukraine from 8 to 7 B.C. What I did find is that Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, wrote a poem called Cimmeria, essentially about the land of the same name, which the characters of his Hyborean World. Upon further research of the word Hyborean, I discovered that Howard had actually created a massive sword and sorcery fictional universe that was published in the pulp magazines in the 1930’s, which instantly makes him cool. I then found out that this guy was friends with H.P. Lovecraft. so okay, I’m on board.

Apparently Howard created multiple universes of pulp characters before killing himself in 1936. I was looking through Amazon, trying to find a good way to start reading him and it took a long time to coordinate what stories where were because he produced such a massive body of work. The man published hundreds of stories which amounted to dozens of thick novels of various genres. Then, nearing the end of my research when I was really liking the guy, I found that when he died he was only 30. Way to make a dude feel unproductive. Then I read about how H.P. Lovecraft was racist and I felt pretty good. I might not be talented, motivated or interesting, but I’ve never been vocal about the need of Aryan man to rise above the challenge of society.

Although pessimism permeates every pore of my body, it’s times like these that make me so happy and feel so lucky to be living in a time where we have such easy access to recorded entertainment in such vast quantities. So as soon as I have $9 I’ll probably start reading up on Howard’s stuff


X-Factor #35

Publisher: Marvel – $2.99

Written by Peter David

Art by Larry Stroman

Though it didn’t occur to me until lately, X-Factor is Peter David’s best work and although it’s lacking lately because of Marvel’s annoying need for crossovers, it’s still the best X-Men related title to be published since Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men around the turn of the century. Fallen Angel is a fantastic piece of work that’s approaching it’s 50th issue and has built a small following, but it’s probably the second strongest outing by David as a long term writer that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him complete but it’s just not as great as far as characterization and pacing as X-Factor.  Where Fallen Angel has a great story, great characters that have grown with the story and a definite vision of a future(as opposed to the unfortunately usual habit of just walking into the abyss without evidence of an ending) David consistently produces a great character book, but that’s not the miracle of X-Factor.  What he’s done that is so special is take a half dozen regular character who have existed for decades and made his own incarnations of them to the point that David, as a storyteller and monthly writer, owns the book to an extent that even the most talented writer taking over the book where he leaves it will create disappointment and disjointed movements for the characters.

This issue really isn’t proof of that greatness, but we’re coming up on three years of consecutive work on this title and if you were to sit down with all of the issues, which if you want to do so, come on over and read them, I’ll let you, you’ll see a fantastic group of characters who grow and live, who are funny and conflicted and, when Marvel isn’t fucking it up for everyone, make a fine plot move quite well.

This issue is, annoyingly and unfortunately so, a Skrull-pushing Secret Invasion tie-in, but it’s really quite readable if you’re not reading SI(and I’m certainly not) because David banks on the reader knowing the characters.  You’re given the information that Skrulls have invaded Earth, they can look like people and are impersonating important players in the Marvel universe, and we move on to the story.  Like I said, it’s not great, but it’s okay and considering this is all being done while being forced to abdicate to the big Marvel cross-over, it’s really better than okay.  This also marks a good six months or so of David not being able to do what he does because of Marvel.  First you had Messiah Complex, which was good but cost X-Factor two of it’s most dynamic characters, my favorite – Layla Miller – ended up stranded in the future in a concentration camp, and one of the most dynamic and interesting characters, Raine Sinclaire, was taken away to take part in the mediocre X-Force.  David tried as best as he could to bounce back from that and then Secret Invasion came along.  For this, I’m giving him a free pass on development until this is all over.

What I didn’t care for was the serious decrease in art quality on this issue.  Larry Stroman illustrated the majority of Peter David’s run on this very same title in the 90’s, a run that I really enjoyed and originally bought as a kid and then enjoyed once again earlier this year.  Stroman’s art wasn’t great then, but it worked to move the story along in a fashion that was slightly more interesting and creative than his contemporaries.  I don’t feel like that’s the case in this situation.  His pencils come off as sloppy and results in characters that seem almost blurry or detached from the scenes.  I hope he’s not staying on for long or, if he is, he gets his shit together.  I’d hate to see a great series get derailed by half-hearted artwork.  I want this series to last for a very long time to see what Peter David is capable of.


shameless self-promotion

hey, I’m selling stuff on Ebay to try to pay my rent and generally be more economically powerful.

if you know some emo kids who don’t know that emo means electric guitars, I’m selling 15 Bright Eyes CDs.

Right Here

If you like Cosmic Police enforcing the universe and sometimes getting to sit back and have a beer, I’m selling 3 Green Lantern books

All three Green Lantern Corps trade paperbacks

If you like zombies, bad ass suspense writing and really good characterization, I’m selling five Walking Dead trade paperbacks

The first 30 issues collected in five trades

If you like Joss Whedon or Brian K. Vaughan, I’m selling Whedon’s entire run and some of Vaughan’s work on Runaways

Runaways Volume 2 issues 19-30

if you like the Justice League or Brad Meltzer(whose book I was pimping just last month), I’m selling a whole bunch of Justice League comics by him and Dwayne McDuffie and right now it’s dirt cheap.

JLA comics are good for you

or if you like Warren Ellis, fucked up science fiction or horror comics, I’m selling two Strange Killings books

9 issues collected in two books

Feel free to pass that info on to anyone you know who is a nerd.  The auctions end around midnight tomorrow and I’m trying to bank enough money off of ebay sellings to pay this month’s rent.


Important news about the lord

Arthur Suydam, the fantastic artist and only good thing about Marvel Zombies(sorry Kirkman and Phillips, I like your other work), has completed a new cover for Alternacomics rerelease of Jesus Hates Zombies, their first anthology of Jesus and his zombie fighting adventures. This release should come out in time to coincide with the release of the second anthology, which is supposed to feature a time traveling werewolf slaying Abraham Lincoln.

If you have any sense at all, you’ve shit your pants from excitement.

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Supergirl 32 & 33

You know, I’d never thought of buying Supergirl until Previews solicited issue #34 a few months ago, announcing that Supergirl was going to be directly tied into the massive Superman event that begins unfolding in October, tying Action, Superman, Supergirl and a whole bunch of specials along with JSA together.  Then, after knowing that I was going to be reading the book soon, I decided to pick up issue #32, which was a good sort of space adventure, then I picked up #33 which was slightly better and the art was quite respectable on both issues.  Kelly Pucket did a good job of introducing the character to me, who I didn’t really know anything about.  That first issue lead me to picking up the incredibly cheaply priced Superman/Batman – Supergirl trade paperback, which reintroduces her to the DCU and sets up her origin.  It was written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by the now dead Michael Turner.  It was fantastic.  A paranoid Batman, a way too trustworthy and Kryptonian Pride Superman, a lost girl scared on a planet she didn’t understand with memories of the home Clark never knew.  Plus, Darkseid breaks shit.

I’m in.


New Comics Day

I’m going to start doing this differently.  Instead of listing all the crap, I’m just going to list what’s worth buying.  Here we go.

Out today – 10/09/08

All-Star Batman and Robin #10 should be in my home today, but a criminal said cunt and Americans are a sad sensitive bunch, so call copies are being burnt and the book is being reprinted in a neutered and bleached version.  What do you expect if you put a crazy old bastard like Frank Miller on a book?  Poor form.

100 BULLETS #95 $2.99 Vertigo

Brian Azzarello is winding down his long-running crime series and I’m starting to wish I’d bought more than three issues of the damned thing.  I might start buying up the trades soon, as I’ve been contemplating it for some time.  I think these are worth checking out if you aren’t watching your budget.


Half-naked Bat-Girl, typical Gotham business.  This title looks to get real interesting next month.


Due to some kind of government program that rewrote my memory, I forgot to buy anymore of this title after issue two and I just never got around to picking it back up.  Shame too with Rick Remender working on it.


Although I tend to gravitate towards trades, this hardcover of Joe Quesada and Kevin Smith rebooting Daredevil back in 1998 is only five dollars more than the softcover.  Add in that it’s an anniversary edition and probably has some extras packed in there and I think it’s probably worth the five dollars that you don’t have to really pay for anyway if you buy it on Amazon.


I like stephen king.  I like Peter David and I LOVE Jai Lee.  The last mini-series of Dark Tower expansion stories was considerably less entertaining or emotionally involving than the first one so I really hope this one has some bite to it.

DEADPOOL #1 SI $3.99

In the nineties I remember Deadpool being a dickface Spider-Man who made fun of Wolverine a lot.  It’s a #1, so I’ll give it a shot.

DEAD SHE SAID #3 $3.99

Bernie Wrightson and Steve Niles doing what they do best – finely drawn retro horror.


This book would have been so much more appealing if both were bound together, it would have been under 400 pages the presentation would have been so much better.  It doesn’t help that this second and final batch of Eternals stories by Jack Kirby are generally regarded as garbage because the book had lost readership by the halfway mark and he was forced to incorporate various Marvel characters to try to boost the book.  That didn’t work, but it did make the work suffer.  I’ll still be buying it but I’m much more excited about Daniel Acuna’s work on the new ongoing Eternals series.  Daniel Acuna is a BAMF.

EX MACHINA #38 (MR) $2.99 Wildstorm

Although in the later issues of this series, as it winds to it’s conclusion in a storm of mediocrity, it’s become boring, I’m still planning on riding it out until the end.  I think I should have just kept reading the trades, they seem to work considerably better than sequential issues.


Greg Rucka is dicking around with the Specter and Rene Montoya in a pretty okay sidetracked trip from Final Crisis.  I’m just glad the whole thing will clock in under 30 issues.

GEN 13 #22 $2.99

I still haven’t made up my mind about this whole World’s End event, but I’ve bought every involved Wildstorm title since the reboot two years ago and I’m still interested in what Jim Lee and company have planned.


Grek Rucka and Ed Brubaker doing crime noir in Gotham without much interference from Batman.  Lately DC has been putting out some nice hardcovers, see JLA Deluxe, so I’m completely on board.  Plus, I’ve been buying up anything that Rucka or Brubaker write lately.  These guys know exactly what they’re doing.


I decided to pick up this book last month on a whim and was pretty much unaffected.  Good enough to be read, I suppose.


FUCK. YES.  You NEED to be buying both GL books.

RED SONJA #37 $2.99

I’m thinking about starting to read this.

SIMON DARK #12 $2.99

I’m getting this, but I don’t really want to read it. Sad, really.

The same can be said about Trinity, which unfortunately is still coming out.


Watching an evil Kirk conspire against a Captain Pike with a serious case of the douches has been pretty entertaining, but it’s just making me want to see a rehash of that mirror images that Enterprise did a few years back, when Scott Bakula was a pirate-style jerkbag and the enterprise were these swashbuckling assholes keeping secrets from their own government and trying to essentially take over the empire.  Fuck, that was a great episode arc.


I’m happy to see that this issue is seeing a third printing and issue #67 is getting a second printing, not just so Mark Millar gets some well deserved money, but so that many more people can read this story because it is FUCKING PHENOMENALLY ENTERTAINING.

WONDER WOMAN #24 $2.99

Gail Simone’s run on Wonder Woman is coasting along at a decent pace but I’ve yet to see her do anything new.  Unfortunately everything she’s done on this title has been a follow-up to the previous writer’s loose ends.  I’m ready to see her make this her own now that DC has taken her off of nearly everything she was doing last year.


Nazis.  Little Magneto.  Inherently expected violence.  Game on.

YOUNG LIARS #7 (MR) $2.99

It’s a safe bet to buy anything Vertigo’s putting out.  And there’s David Lapham for support.


Ebay Flux Capacitor Adventures in Variated Timelines

Today some stuff showed up from the internet.  I usually buy some impulse comics in addition to looking for deals on various things that would fill in the enormous collection/library that I one day hope to share with many friends that I might someday attain.  This means that, barring a miracle that the USPS takes a break from their intense douche-baggery, I get old stuff every week.  This is kind of like show and tell.

I didn’t read DC or any independents in the 1990s when I was a teenager.  In fact, I didn’t really read anything that wasn’t x-men related.  I have a short year or so of Spider-man comics from around 1992, when they did the Clone Saga thing, but that threw me off of Spider-Man and I have yet to come back aboard 16 years later.  I was entirely unaware that independent comics were happening, that Dark Horse was doing all these great licensed property comics and developing their own universe, or that Image and Wildstorm were essentially creating massive story lines with great art.  I’ve yet to be able to determine why, but after the X-Men cartoon came out, I was never aware of anything but X-Men from 1992-1998 when I stopped reading comics due to an expensive obsession with music and CD collecting.  When I came back to comics in 2004, mostly due to Joss Whedon’s X-Men relaunch, it took me about six months to discover guys like Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and a huge group of English writers had been doing tons of work that I had missed out on.  This was, of course, in addition to the horrifying revelation that DC had done a ton of great content in the nineties that I had missed out on.  Some of this work was the Tangent line, an attempt to create an entire new universe using classic character names but infusing them with new abilities, personalities and settings.  This was all done through the use of one-shots, each featuring a different character.  A few of these showed up today.

the Green Lantern issue was why I really bought this lot of four issues, which also included Secret Six, The Superman and the Joker.  It was interesting and not at all related to the cosmic ideas that the Lantern comics in mainline DC continuity that has drawn me in, but it was more of a mystical revenge story written by James Robinson of Starman fame.  Along with the other issues, the art was better than the writing of this particular issue, in this case being done by J.H. Williams III, but this isn’t to say Robinson’s outing into the unknown was bad, it was just really out there without anything to fall back on.  I found it refreshing and unappealing at the same time, though I ultimately liked it.  I intend to buy the three trades that have all of these one-shots bound together, hoping that reading them in that format will tell a story that assumes some semblance of continuity and sense, not just vignettes of the unknown.

I also managed to win Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Stardust softcover for about five dollars, which is a deal considering it’s a $20 book.  I’ve been trying to go around and buy up Gaiman’s relatively small amount of DC work from the 80’s to the 90’s and this trade will make four Vertigo books of his that I now have for my graphic novel library if you don’t count the three massive Absolute Sandman books I’ve been buying as they come out. There are so many versions of this book – the trade, the mass market novelization, the big $40 hardcover illustrated, there’s even a damned movie and at some point they put it out in single issue format, but this is the only version I really need, though a few years ago I got the MMTPB for X-mas and have yet to take a peek at it.  I’m excited to dig into it.

And finally, as a continuation of my absence from DC Comics in the 1990’s, I managed to find Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, the entire mini-series that acted as both a sequel to and bridge between Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis.  The books essentially try to tie up loose ends and establish a solid time line and continuity throughout the whole of the DC Universe.  Jerry Ordway and Dan Jurgens do an excellent job plotting this out and the art is classic 90’s superhero art.  Great Stuff.

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September 2008
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