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Author Topic: Useless comics news, discussions, and recommendations  (Read 34685 times)
HaemishM
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Reply #420 on: March 02, 2016, 04:24:03 PM

Yeah, there's not really a reason for the 6-month lag other than trying to maintain that monthly revenue. They probably view the Unlimited revenue as the gravy on their monthly steak, only that steak is going to get thinner and thinner.

Khaldun
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Reply #421 on: May 15, 2016, 02:56:42 PM

Darwyn Cooke just died at the age of 53. Once again, fuck cancer.

His art is easily one of my favorite 3 or 4 comic-book artists ever. Tremendous sense of visual design and great panel layouts.
HaemishM
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Reply #422 on: August 01, 2016, 12:27:58 PM

If you haven't been reading the new Dr. Strange book that came out of Secret Wars, you should be. Written by Jason Aaron (he of the good Wolverine & the X-Men and new female Thor books) and drawn by Chris Bachalo (and if he's not to your taste, I can't help you), it's a really REALLY good take on the character. It takes great pains to demonstrate that Strange's use of magic has a physical, psychic and emotional cost that I don't think has been explored with the character before. Plus, the villain the Empirikul is an intriguing counter to magic. They just added the 5th issue to Unlimited so if you have that sub, go read it.

Khaldun
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Reply #423 on: August 01, 2016, 04:52:32 PM

Strange is maybe my favorite character ever. This take is...I like it but I also don't like it. Strange himself is being just a bit too wiseass--it reminds me of Roy Thomas' much-less competent attempt to make him funny. Some of the ideas--Strange having to eat weird stuff all the time, etc., feel interesting but strained, and very likely something that the next writer will just forget. I have to say Bachalo's art is also not my favorite. I do like the idea to give Strange's magic a cost, and to make magic be everywhere and visible to him. The bar that the wizards meet is fun too.

Empirkul reminds me a bit of Yandroth, the Super-Scientist, way back in the 1970s, who was a not terribly successful enemy for Strange. It's a bit tired, this idea of super-science vs. sorcery. It's sort of like Chaos and Order.

I was curious about whether they'd let Strange recall anything about his Secret Wars experiences but it's probably best that he doesn't, since he went some pretty dark places in the Avengers books in the run-up to it.
HaemishM
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Reply #424 on: August 01, 2016, 05:46:03 PM

The recalling the Secret Wars stuff is going to be infuriating. On the one hand, you have stuff like Contest of Champions which is quite clearly Maestro stuck in the remainder of Battleworld (now called Battlerealms) picking up minor characters to fight for him and then you have stuff like what you said about Strange, where they just completely ignore what happened.

Khaldun
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Reply #425 on: August 01, 2016, 09:43:27 PM

The struggle with Strange is to somehow work it so that he is a better man than he was--because otherwise he couldn't do magic--but not ever totally free of his arrogance and his attraction to being the best. He and Stark, more now than ever, are wonderfully similar or linked. So I like the revelation that he sometimes goes all-out, heedless of the consequences, and thinks that it's just his general awesomeness that lets him survive it all, when in fact it's Wong pawning off some of the suffering onto others. That's great. Except it's also not sustainable as a story hook. Either Strange never finds out--bad--or he does and he stops going all-out in that way. Also bad. As a rule-change about magic in the Marvel Universe, it's also kind of unsustainable. Did the Ancient One also have a battery of monks who suffered for him? Do all sorcerers?

I did very much like the long arc some years ago where Strange has to fight an alien sorcerer (that was a great idea in and of itself, because what, only Earth has magicians?) and he ends up blowing up all his artifacts and objects to deny them to the alien, which lets a whole shitload of ancient demons and enemies out of enchantments that had kept them constrained. So Strange has to work with Kaluu, the Ancient One's opposite number, and learn black magic. That was a great arc on the costs of sorcery--that the normal kind of magic Strange does has firm limits to it, and in some situations is just useless, but the cost of doing otherwise is to eventually become empty, to lose connection to humanity. Kaluu avoids that by basically whoring around, having a Cuban cigar and a steak, and not going all the way, but Strange decides he has to go all the way to stop all the stuff he unleashed.

This arc needs to find where the stopping point is: the new status quo it's setting up isn't really a sustainable dramatic situation for the character once this arc is done.
HaemishM
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Reply #426 on: August 19, 2016, 10:56:10 PM

So I'm finally starting to dig into the post-Secret Wars, all-new, all-different (read: all diverse) Marvel Universe. There are some good books and some real stinkers. The X-Men are just a goddamn mess. No one seems to know what to do with them, what their place is in the universe or what makes them interesting anymore. FFS, in one book, Storm relocates the Jean Grey School to the goddamn Limbo, then is surprised when the demons of the land attack them because Illiyana (you know, mistress of Limbo) is incapacitated in the real world. I mean, what the fuck did you think would happen? Old Man Logan seems a really well-drawn, utterly useless book. The Bendis Iron Man is decent, and the Avengers books I've read are good.

The real gem so far though is the Ultimates. This is what Johnathan Hickman thought he was doing with cosmic shit but didn't have the talent or interest in the characters to do. This is the kind of book Fantastic Four SHOULD be but somehow has not been for a very long time. It's Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Blue Marvel, Spectrum (used to be Captain Marvel/Photon/Pulsar) and Ms. America. They do the Ultimate things - in the first two issues they go after Galactus in a way that actually deals with the Galactus problem in a creative way. The art is gorgeous. I've read the first 4 issues and it's pretty damn good.

Unfortunately, Sam Wilson: Captain America is cringeworthy. The writing is so over the top, on the nose political that it's like I'm reading the Daily Kos diaries coming out of character's mouths. The only reason I've continued reading it is because I like the character.

Fordel
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Reply #427 on: August 20, 2016, 01:35:03 AM

The only good X-Men book is Wolverine, as in Laura Kinney (formerly X-23). That book is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone, comic nerd or not.

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
Jimbo
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Reply #428 on: August 23, 2016, 03:11:38 PM

How is this site able to do this? Read Comic Online http://www.readcomics.tv/

I was caught up in reading some comics, then I was like how the hell do they pay for this or how are the artist getting any money or recognition?

Ugh, well it did make me interested in DC again (I used to luv Sgt Rock and G.I. Combat The Haunted Tank issues), so I should go buy some issues since I enjoyed them.
HaemishM
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Reply #429 on: August 23, 2016, 05:11:39 PM

I'm going to guess they do it illegally without permission and the artists/publishers get jack and shit.

Khaldun
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Reply #430 on: August 23, 2016, 07:58:43 PM

DC has so far, for reasons that escape me, refused to offer a service like Marvel Unlimited. I think they'd actually collect big on it--deeper library. But they've historically been a weird company about reprints/etc. compared to Marvel, for reasons that I think have never been explained.
Sky
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Reply #431 on: September 01, 2016, 01:22:06 PM

Marvel hooked me back in with a free month of Unlimited which is now a sub. My 12" tablet is just a really nice way to read comics. I want to re-read Superior Spidey, because I like Spidey Ock, but decided to go back a few years of Spidey to get a fuller picture. Were they doing weeklies? The art is sooo uneven and there's a lot of filler stuff at the end of most issues. Crazy.

A few good moments, and a few well-drawn books, enough to keep me skimming the weaker stuff.

HaemishM
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Reply #432 on: September 01, 2016, 02:12:58 PM

I am not a Spider-Man fan - haven't been for a long time. I always hated the whiny inner monologue of the character who was constantly having to worry about Aunt May.

However, I started reading the new post-Secret Wars Amazing Spider-Man book, having not read any of the Superior stuff and only the Spider-Verse stuff from pre-Secret Wars. Holy shit. Not only is this book good, it's DAMN good. It's a refreshing, new take on the character that is both true to the spirit of the original character AND an actual innovation on the concept. Peter Parker is now a CEO, the (and this is a direct quote from the book) "Poor Man's Tony Stark." Or to put it a different way, the liberal Tony Stark who wants to help people more than get rich or feed his ego. He's actually turned the spider suit into a gadget suit of armor that makes sense given the character's work on the web shooters in the past as well as the Civil War era armor he had. Best of all, the whole thing is just well written (Dan Slott is awesome) and drawn. It makes me want to go back and read the Superior stuff since that got such good buzz.

Mark Waid's All-New, All-Different Avengers is pretty good as well, in a very traditional superhero sort of way.

Sky
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Reply #433 on: September 01, 2016, 02:47:10 PM

You should check out Superior Spidey. I started cold on issue #1 (bought the first one or two hardcover collections) and it's one of my favorites. Ock trying to be a good guy but that means overcoming his massive superiority complex as he 'upgrades' Spidey tech in a very Doc Ock way.

But yeah, upgrading the suit with tech is already happening a few years ago, before the Superior run, when he gets hired at Horizon Labs. But of course, they then completely drop it once the artist/writer move on (or as you were saying earlier, an event plot overrides the writer). Stealth suit, armored suit, etc.

Khaldun
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Reply #434 on: September 01, 2016, 03:43:55 PM

I feel the same thing about Spider-Man--the predictable aspects of the character, especially after the semi-reboot w/the erasure of the Mary Jane marriage--bored me. But the new book is a ton of fun--a good escape from the hard-luck Peter Parker but with lots of good new tensions and story hooks.
apocrypha
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Reply #435 on: September 02, 2016, 01:26:51 AM

My 12" tablet is just a really nice way to read comics.

Totally, although a couple of times when I've been reading in bed my tablet has slipped and I've smacked myself on the nose with it.

A friend pointed me at comiXology recently and gave me a few recommendations. Loved We3 and currently reading Transmetropolitan and East of West. East of West is fantastic.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
HaemishM
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Reply #436 on: September 02, 2016, 09:32:58 AM

Something I bought on Comixology recently was an Image Comic series, Satellite Sam. 15-issue series, written by Matt Fraction with art by Howard Chaykin about a television network in the 50's and its most popular program, a sci-fi pulp thing called Satellite Sam. If you like any of Chaykin's work on American Flagg or Time2 or the Shadow, you'll love the art. It's a very mature story with all the trademark stuff you liked in those series and Fraction does some of his best work here as well. Black and white like Chaykin's Black Kiss.I highly recommend it.

apocrypha
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Reply #437 on: September 02, 2016, 10:01:26 AM

Cool, I'll add it to the list. The list is already too long and will keep me busy for ages yet, there's a lot of really good looking stuff out there! Anyone read Saga? That's been highly recommended to me too.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Khaldun
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Reply #438 on: September 18, 2016, 02:50:54 PM

By the way, apropros of a number of discussions here and elsewhere at f13 about comics dying, their circulation numbers have actually spiked way up in the last year and they're approaching the 90s peak circulation figures.
Velorath
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Reply #439 on: September 18, 2016, 06:03:21 PM

By the way, apropros of a number of discussions here and elsewhere at f13 about comics dying, their circulation numbers have actually spiked way up in the last year and they're approaching the 90s peak circulation figures.


That sounded encouraging until I looked at the last couple months sales figures to see what was selling and found that it was largely the start of DC's latest relaunch and Civil War II. So a bunch of new #1s and a big crossover. You're right this does seem a bit like the 90's. These DC relaunches always lead to short-term spikes. Retailers have to order comics three months in advance so for the first three issues of a series they have to speculate on how well it's going to do. When the order numbers come out for issue #5 of a series is one of the real indicators of how well the series is actually doing since by that point the retailers will know how many people actually came back for issue #2. I'm guessing this will go the same way as the New 52 over time.
apocrypha
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Reply #440 on: September 19, 2016, 06:40:23 AM

Do the numbers include digital distribution? Because I wouldn't buy comics any other way now. I'm guessing that the downside of digital is ease of piracy.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Velorath
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Reply #441 on: September 19, 2016, 02:57:56 PM

The only comic book sales numbers I've ever seen released is Diamond's (pretty much the only comic book distributor) sales to comic book retailers. So no digital, and no numbers on sell-through. I'm sure digital has made the comic industry a lot healthier, and anyone buying a comic digitally is obviously doing it to read.
apocrypha
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Reply #442 on: September 20, 2016, 01:45:20 AM

Well I've certainly spent a sizeable chunk on digital comics over the last few months, enough that I've had to consciously rein it in. About the only media I still buy in physical form is cook books, everything else is digital now.

I miss album covers a bit, and I did used to love piles of comics, but the convenience of huge libraries taking up no space in the house is too awesome.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Khaldun
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Reply #443 on: September 20, 2016, 11:23:57 AM

I got too pissed off at Comixology when they made their big shift--they did a terrible job of helping to transfer ownership of issues I'd already bought in digital format. So I'm only happy now to rent, as in Marvel Unlimited. But I don't buy physical comics any more either--I have enough long boxes sitting in my closet now that I'll probably have to dump whenever my spouse and I move on from this house.
Fordel
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Reply #444 on: October 28, 2016, 06:49:11 PM

http://marvel.com/news/comics/26906/x-men_primary_colors

Next years X-Line might get it back on track. They claim to be moving away from the constant extinction events and going back to the more traditional super heroing and mentoring that the X-Men are known for.

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
HaemishM
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Reply #445 on: October 29, 2016, 01:43:53 AM

Sounds like they should call the relaunch X-Men: Desperate Nostalgia.  why so serious?

Khaldun
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Reply #446 on: October 29, 2016, 06:42:27 AM

I had genuinely assumed that the badness of the X-books was a genuine consequence of their on-screen ownership. The Inhumans are a completely failed substitute, at any rate. I've been dutifully reading the Inhuman books on Unlimited and they just cannot make these guys interesting. Part of the problem is the attempt to expand their mythology feels totally ham-fisted. The only attempt to change the Inhuman status quo that I really liked was War of Kings, which sent them off to be the ruling caste of the Kree--that's genuinely interesting and it should have stuck. Making them into "mutants that we own and can make movies about" has been a terrible idea from start to finish.
Fordel
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Reply #447 on: October 29, 2016, 04:20:21 PM

Sounds like they should call the relaunch X-Men: Desperate Nostalgia.  why so serious?

Pretty much yea.



I can't say that I agree with most of that Khaldun. Considering they started from 'no one but the ultra-nerd knows what a Inhuman is' to something that is starting to hit mainstream awareness, I'd say they are doing as well as can be expected in the time they've been at it. Doubly so when you have salty/rabid/insane X-Fans who are endlessly angry/upset every moment <favorite mutant> isn't front and center across 14 books blaming the Inhuman books for their woes.

The X-Books are in the shitter because they've run out of places to escalate to. 'Now we are facing extinction! Now we are facing DOUBLE-EXTRA extinction!'. Like they blew up the school, they murdered all the kids, they removed all the powers, they've had genocide after genocide after genocide. There's under dog and then there is doomed failure and THEN there is the X-Men  why so serious?

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
HaemishM
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Reply #448 on: October 30, 2016, 12:30:58 AM

Yeah, the constant drum beat of utter destruction on the mutants has really shit all over the books for a long time. Even so, they've had good times - Jason Aaron's run on the Wolverine & the X-men book was really good. It's just that they don't make sense in the wider universe. The Uncanny Avengers Unity Squad idea was a good one, a way to fold some of the interesting mutant characters into the Avengers books but it's left the X-Men books with a lack of characters with anywhere to go as characters. None of the books seem to take real ownership of any of the name characters anymore (Storm, Iceman, Angel) and what's left is either new and less interesting characters or really bad fucking book concepts like "Trap the young X-Men in present day time" or "Yet Another Mutant Assassination Squad."

I actually like both the Inhumans books that are on Unlimited right now. They are certainly better than the X-books (other than All New Wolverine).

Sky
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Reply #449 on: November 03, 2016, 09:12:56 AM

I'm up to the mediocre Black Vortex event. I've loosely been reading the All-New and Uncanny books. It's frustrating because there are definite nuggets of good ideas in there but they keep getting squashed by the tie-in nonsense where suddenly I'm jumping across 4 or more books on some lame story that derails almost everything that was going on with the individual books.

I think my favorite wasted concepts are Illiana as Dr Strange's pupil on the DL and Bobby with future ice wizard Bobby (in fact the whole nexus of future alt X-Men and the time traveled past X-Men had a ton of potential to have solid non-continuity writing).

Never liked or cared about the Inhumans. I think that whole line of nonsense came from Marvel being unable to use mutants.

edit: forgot my main point, heh. X-Men should be easy to write. It's a coming of age story. That's all. A book about being a teenager. But it's hard for old white men to write that, I guess.

HaemishM
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Reply #450 on: November 03, 2016, 09:50:35 AM

The problem with that approach to X-Men is all the teen mutants HAVE grown up, but they can't age out of the "me against the world, nobody understands me!" thing because... mutants.

Khaldun
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Reply #451 on: November 03, 2016, 02:35:30 PM

Basically, Grant Morrison was the last person to have An Idea about what to do with the X-Men, which was to treat them as the mythology had increasingly positioned them: the future of the human species. And to treat them specifically as a group that had one vision about how to do that right. He especially understood how to tell stories about the school.

Wolverine and the X-Men kind of understood how to get back to having fun with the school and using it as a story engine. But you could also see already by that point how Marvel's editors didn't want to embrace mutation as a central narrative conceit any longer--that book was full of funky shit that was more about the convoluted continuity of the X-Men as a whole and less about "mutants". After that point, they really lost it--there's nothing left to do with the idea even IF Marvel didn't want to shove the X-Men aside because they don't make money from the movies. The X-Men are either the main story of Marvel superheroics--the reason why there are so many superpowered people running around--or they are just one more "family" of people in longjohns. If they're just one more "family", then most of the Claremont-to-Morrison infrastructure stops making sense--why Sentinels? why mutant hatred? why would anybody bother to make a distinction between Spider-Man and the Angel because one's not a mutant and one is? If you de-emphasize mutation as a mythology, or make it just one more way people get superpowers amid a huge range of origins, then you either need stories where all superheroes are hated and feared or none of them are as a group or type.

Frankly, the way things are now in the comic-book Marvel U., you'd think people would love mutants compared to Inhumans--the idea of a cloud of mist suddenly flowing through your neighborhood and changing you into a freak who is supposed to respect some monarchy you've never had any relationship to before would be vastly more terrifying and infuriating to most human beings than the idea of mysteriously changing at adolescence, when you change anyway. Terrigen in the current mythos is like toxic waste: the citizens of the world should have long since demanded that the entire hierarchy of Attilan be attacked by a UN military force and detained for crimes against the world. The way the story's being told at the moment, that wouldn't be bigotry, it would be righteous retaliation for a war crime.
HaemishM
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Reply #452 on: November 03, 2016, 03:22:18 PM

I think that speaks to something Marvel has been doing wrong for years - they've been trying to have their cake and eat it too in regards to continuity.

They want this hugely connected world that can have these massive, universe-changing crossover events, but they don't really give a shit about the month to month continuity of it because that's too restrictive. So you could have Wolverine in five different teams and shit like that. And the crossovers have really hurt their entire line, IMO, as really good storylines by creative teams get interrupted by idiotic crossover events that break the flow of everything.

Sky
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Reply #453 on: November 03, 2016, 03:55:14 PM

That's my takeaway reading up on a few books over the last 3 years or so using Unlimited. Disruptive for no gain, because the stories suck.

The BLACK VORTEX (with it's goddamned font all the time even) did have a bit of potential for fun with epic Cosmic versions of heroes (and villains) but they never did anything cool with them and the ending made me want to poke my eyes out with a rusty spork. And I'm about the most forgiving person around here for shit writing (if the pictures are pretty).

HaemishM
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Reply #454 on: November 03, 2016, 04:07:10 PM

What was worse about the BLACK VORTEX story and all the changes to the characters it did was that all of that shit was completely forgotten after Secret Wars. There's no mention of cosmic Kitty Pryde (she's just Star-Lord now with her mutant phasing powers) and Gamora is cosmic but it doesn't really seem to matter much.

That one wasn't as bad as the fucking Original Sin crossover that turned Bucky into "THE MAN ON THE WALL" who was charged with protecting earth from alien threats that no one ever sees. He's back on Earth now so apparently that wall didn't need that much protecting.

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