Friday, March 26, 2010

In Case You Haven't Heard...

It's been a banner week for fans of Brian Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim! We got a release date for the sixth and (supposedly) final volume of the awesome graphic novel series. Expect it to hit shelves on July 20th, 2010!

More details at Oni Press
As if it wasn't enough to send fans into rabid anticipation for "Finest Hour," the first trailer for the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World film has also hit the internets! I was super nervous about this adaptation. The book has some very unique elements, ones that I feared the film creators might leave out, especially the Scott-imagines-his-life-as-a-videogame-aspect. But watching the trailer has quelled those fears, and also given me confidence in Michael Cera's ability to play more than one type of character (or at least a promise of the movie being so awesome it wouldn't bother me if he was still his awkward self). Enjoy the sneak peak below! (Sidenote: doesn't Chris Evans look dreaaaamy as evil ex boyfriend Lucas?)

For future Scott Pilgrim announcements check out Bryan Lee O'Malley's website.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Free Booze (and cheap comics) Always Taste Better

As mentioned in my previous post, I have a problem with leaving comic book stores empty handed. If there's nothing new out that interests me, I'll dig through the back issues, see if I can find something to fill a gap in my collection, or just pick up a random issue based on the goofy cover. This can be a rewarding experience, but it's often an impulse to make the fruitless trip feel "worth while", and most of the time these issues end up getting filed away, unbagged and unread.

This feeling of obligation is also present when I come across comics in an unexpected place, minus the buyer's remorse. One might see a secondhand book store as a likely place to find comics, but when you do find them, they are poorly organized and often have the price stickers stamped onto their covers. (Why why WHY do book stores feel the need to devalue their product?) But upon visiting chain store  Half-Price Books to (ironically) shop for CD's, I discovered that they dabbled in the secondhand comic book market. I expected to find your run of the mill fifty cent bin selection, but they had everything from issues of  Batman, Spider-man, X-Men, Action Comics, Civil War, 52, and with dividers to organize them; to books as recent as the Kevin Smith penned Batman: Widening Gyre mini series. The sound $1.50 price tag most books carried made my jubilation all the more palpable as I dug through the bagged and boarded DC, Marvel, and Independent selections (though the latter was certainly lacking for choices - I left the Liberty Meadow and Body Bag issues for the next person to discover). I found a few gems, as seen in the photo above: two silver age Green Lanterns, and the second and last issues of the Watchmen mini series, issues that have been scarce since the comic's craptastic film adaptation turned them into must-haves.

Had I purchased these last Wednesday at a comic book store, I would be just as happy to have them, but the exhilaration of the unexpected bargain hunt made it a memorable discovery. It felt rewarding because it was part of the crazy game we call "I feel acomplished because I recognized the value of something others overlooked". Okay, not a very succinct game title, but you get the point. It was a cheap thrill, and an experience that also gave me hope for new readers. I reckon there are a lot of youngsters that will be successful in convincing mom or dad to pick up the $1.50 comics for them, and from the selection of titles at this store, they have a good chance to pick up something that may make them curious enough to visit a real comic book shop.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Comic Book Blogs That Are Better Than Mine - Part I

"Last Published on March 3rd, 2010"
Way to go. I totally deserve a pat on the back for my rampant neglect of you devoted followers. Do I have a good excuse? Not really. But I have a few theories:

Four Months worth of reading. It doesn't sound like much, but that's A LOT of catching up to do.

I can't walk into a comic book store and leave empty handed. It is a problem. With the giant stack of unread books staring at me, I choose to add to the pile. I must be bad at math, cause I can't seem to figure out the basics of addition and subtraction...
I would be a pasty-faced pussy-cove chickaleary in this case.

I'm breaking one of my rules for reading. Treating it like a necessary task. Catching up can be daunting, but only if I treat it as a job rather than an optional, albeit rewarding past time. I need to remind myself to enjoy the ride, and that I won't miss anything if it takes me longer to catch up. 
There are a lot of awesome comic blogs out there. They serve as distraction from my own writing and also serve as constant reminders that I am very new to this comic book blogging universe (I'd barely be a speck of dust in an asteroid belt around a recently formed star). Here's a rundown of what you should be reading while I continue to catch up and write:

4thletter!
A group blog that is comprised of - you guessed it - four very opinionated scribes. It's hard not to get involved in the comment sections, as readers tend to be as feisty as the writers. Comic book commentary with food 4 thought!

The Beat
It is exactly what it sounds like. A round up of news in the world of of comic books, you'll find the latest announcements from conventions, running commentary on ongoing events such as Omnnibus Dome, and other tidbits relevant to the comic book fan that follows the industry as much as the books.

Comics Alliance
You'll find a little bit of everything here from industry news to interviews to tear-inducingly hilarious features like the recent Renaming Comic Books As What You Really Say About Them. You'll also find write ups on toys, manga, games, and comic book movie adaptations. They also update like gangbusters, so there's plenty of reading here.


Covered
A gem in the world of comic book blogging, Covered offers the opportunity for artists to submit  renditions of their favorite comic book covers. There was even a recent exhibition featuring the artwork from the blog hosted by Los Angeles comic book store Secret Headquarters. Hilarity and entertainment ensues.


(Recommendations To be Continued....)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hot Hot Books - March 3rd, 2010

My first Wednesday store visit in months is exciting but also depressing since I'm still behind on my books, and also terribly broke. Luckily, I have some unused credit with one of the local stores, a benefit to trading in an unwanted rare variant cover (snicker).

Girl Comics #1
This book has gotten a lot of buzz recently on the "blogosphere" (I feel like a douche just typing that word). It's had a few mentions on Comics Alliance,  which has also dubbed this week Girl Week, a focus on female characters, creators, and a hilarious look at a long history of terrible female action figures.  This mini-series has also created a lot of unnecessary controversy over the title, which can come across as painfully sweet. When you get down to it though, it is called Girl Comics because of the all girl line up of creators, unlike Gotham Sirens, which I am pretty certain doesn't refer to Paul Dini and Guillem March.

First Wave #1
Another first issue this week, First Wave is DC's attempt to create a pulp world within the DC universe featuring Doc Savage and The Spirit. I wouldn't give much notice from me if it wasn't written by Brian Azzarello, who writes everything through a thick haze of noir. I'm thoroughly enjoying 100 Bullets (about haflway through the series now), so it should be an interesting read. If not, it's only one issue!


Green Hornet #1
Okay, lots of new series starting up this week! Released by Dynamite and penned by Kevin Smith, this book is coming just in time for the summer release of the Seth Rogen film, though this is in fact based on the unproduced script put forth by Smith. I have enjoyed Smith's previous comic book ventures, such as his Marvel Knights Daredevil run and the recent Batman Cacophony mini. Smith has learned over the years to better edit his rambling dialogue for the screen, but the long passages of exposition in his comics don't bother me in the least, and they often lead to some memorable moments. Also considering that he was really gung-ho about directing the Green Hornet film only to lose out to Michel Gondry, it's safe to assume that Smith is a big fan of the character and wants to do the franchise justice. The only problem is, I won't know which cover to choose from because there are no less than 8 covers for the first issue.


Invincible Iron Man #24
I picked up issue 23 on my last visit to the comic book store, as I've heard nothing but good things about this series. It won the Eisner Award for Best New Series of 2009, a distinction that is worth paying attention to since those guys really know what's up. Matt Fraction has been Marvel's golden boy writer for a while now, and nothing I've read has really blown me away, but   Invincible Iron Man #23 was an engaging issue as it gave us a glimpse into the comatose mind of Tony Stark. lucky for me, it was also the start of a new story arc. Artist Salvador Larroca is known for his work on the X-books, and I have found his work on X-Men Legacy to be decent; wish I could say the same for the writing of that title. Also, Larroca makes Stark look like a young Clark Gable - no complaints here. My only qualms about picking up this title will be the $3.99 cover price. The second half of issue 23 was nothing by a recap of Iron Man's recent history, which was obvious filler to make the book seem worth the higher price tag. Here's a five page preview of issue 24 from Marvel.com.

Well I've already gone over my budget for the week, and that doesn't even include the books that I subscribe to, including Detective Comics and Sweet Tooth. I have yet to venture to the store, so I may not get all of these books, but these are the ones for which I'll be keeping an eye out!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Initial Reactions + A Genuine Nerd - Part III

The books really piled up while I was away, and despite a lengthy visit to the local comic store on Friday, I escaped spoiler free! It was surprisingly easy to get back into the swing of things, and I'm looking forward to the (un)daunting task of reading four months worth of individual issues. Just a few observations from my first visit to a comic book store, stateside:

Adi Granov is Doing an Awful Lot of Marvel Covers

I'm a bit sad that we haven't seen a book of interior artwork from Adi Granov since the as-yet-to-be-finished Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas mini series, but it doesn't look like he's hard up for work. There were more than a few Granov covers on the shelf, not to mention a slew of covers to come as seen in the latest Marvel Previews. People still complain about having to wait three months for issues of Iron Man: Extremis, the infamous series relaunch from 2005, but Marvel never advertises his books as monthly titles. I was lucky enough to see some of the Extremis pages in person, as well as a digital presentation from the artist demonstrating how he inks / colors them, and let me tell you, they are worth the wait. The man is doing the job of three people - pencils, ink, and colorist in one - so you can't really say he's taking too long. A suggestion to Marvel? Give this guy a one shot issue! That way no one has to wait forever for the next issue and we get all get to enjoy something more than covers from this amazing artist.
(Black Widow: Deadly Origin Hardcover will be released this Wednesday, March 3rd)

The Walking Dead: 70 Issues, Still Delivers the Goods


This was the first book I read after purchasing my giant stack-o-books, and is in fact, the only title that I am now totally caught up. But WOW. I still think any of you out there that read this book in trade paperback form (or illegally download it) are crazy for not reading the individual issues. The cliffhangers! The free previews of other Image titles! The "Letter Hacks" column (which almost never fails to make me chortle)! It all makes it worth your money. Issue 70 was a particularly gut wrenching issue, even for TWD, in which Robert Kirkman incorporates a recent news story into the issue. It is obvious that Kirkman himself was disturbed by the story and the projection of his own feelings through this new character's reaction makes it impossible to absorb this passage without having an emotional response. I wanted to cry and throw up at the same time. I'll give anyone an award for eternal respect if they can name another series that incites that kind of reaction! Also, kudos to Charlie Adlard for creating panels that were equally engaging, a hard task for such an emotionally charged script that features a loooot of exposition whilst sitting. 

Instead of One Crappy Spider-Man Title, Now There Are SEVERAL!

I'd like to think something good has come from Brand New Day, the crappiest retcon of recent memory. Alas, I see options to buy a  retelling of the Clone Saga, more bi-weekly zaniness in Amazing Spider-Man where they pretend like he's still 20 years old, and a slew of beat-em-up-bad-guy tales offered in "Web Of" and various one-shots and minis (Spider-Man:1602? I'm sure the masses were clammering for that, and without Neil Gaiman no less). Just terrible. Convince me otherwise, and I'll give it a shot!

Now we come to another segment of A Genuine Nerd, a short little introduction to a comic book fan and their recommendation for first time comic book readers. This is the second Graham Crackers Comics employee to be featured, and Samantha LaFountain is keeping it real in downtown Chicago. She'll give it to you straight whether you ask for it or not, and you'll always walk away from your comic book shopping experience a little happier with Sam at the register. Super skills include being able to pack away a Chipotle burrito in one sitting (worth mentioning in my book), student of creative writing, and general bad-ass at face painting. Oh, and she'll never make you feel judged for your reading tastes, a rarity in the retail end of the business. Here's Sam's recommendation for those of you new to the comic book genre:
"Oh yeesh, that's such a broad question. Usually when someone asks me for a book suggestion I have to do a mini interview to get to know the person to try and suggest the perfect book. However if I could pick any book to suggest to someone to understand why comics are a medium that cannot be touched, I would suggest the first volume (and the others as well) of Animal Man by Grant Morrison. A comic book hero realizing he's in a comic book?! You can't beat that."
Sam knows what's up, and she'll tell ya!