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AICN COMICS REVIEWS SANDMAN! IRON MAN! BATTLE ROYALE! 20th CENTURY BOYS! + MUCH MORE!!!

#26 11/5/08 #7

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) SANDMAN: THE DREAM HUNTERS #1 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #7 TERRA #1 ADAM: LEGEND OF THE BLUE MARVEL #1 JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #20 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents BATTLE ROYALE: ULTIMATE EDITION V1 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents NAOKI URASAWA'S 20th CENTURY BOYS V1 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents SOUL CHASER BETTY V1 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

THE SANDMAN: THE DREAM HUNTERS #1

Story by Neil Gaiman Adaptation & art by P. Craig Russell Published by DC/Vertigo Reviewed by Stones Throw

I never read that DREAM HUNTERS book Neil Gaiman did with Yoshitaka Amano. Probably too many words. Read all of SANDMAN, though. And that ENDLESS NIGHTS graphic novel that came out a few years ago. Damn, that’s a good book.
First of all, let me get this out of the way: In my opinion, THE SANDMAN was a good comic book. Like, better than Wizard Top Ten good. My entry point was volume three, PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, a run of four single issue stories showing some of the Lord of Dreams’ day-to-day work, including freeing a muse stolen by an idea-bereft British writer and an encounter between his sister Death and Miss Metamorpho (or whatever that element girl is called). That’s the one that contains the World Fantasy Award-winning “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Really, I think that’s the best place to start. The first sixteen issues are good, but still not anything on what comes after. I can only imagine what it was like to be reading a comic with that kind of quality and commitment monthly for almost ten years.
I think there’s only two comic book runs that are strong enough for me to often find myself thinking about them in a non-comic book context. One is Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING. Whenever I’m far enough from roads the Parliament of Trees and all that starts to crop up in my mind. Can’t think what the other one would be. Nah, it’s SANDMAN. There’s so many topics and themes covered it’s hard not to find yourself thinking of the book from time to time. Plus dreams are a pretty good subject matter for a monthly fiction comic. With the leaves falling from the trees lately, I’ve been re-reading SEASON OF MISTS, in which Lucifer sets up Morpheus by gifting him the key to Hell, making him the target of everyone from a skinny, hat-wearing Odin to the Lords of Chaos and Order.
Well, Neil Gaiman’s graduated up to THE ETERNALS and schticky Elseworlds series for Marvel, so he didn’t want to be anywhere near the 20th anniversary party. Remember P. Craig Russell, though? He used to hang around Morpheus a bit. Drew one of the best single issues for #50, “Ramadan”, and inked “Season of Mists” with Kelley Jones. Also did the Death story for ENDLESS NIGHTS. He knows his way around the character.
You don’t want to miss his art here. The guy really is one of the biggest talents we’ve got in the comic book industry. I imagine this adaptation of the folk tale-style original story has more in common with his opera adaptations. It’s pretty amazing how the guy can pay fitting tribute to Arabian Nights and Middle Eastern mythology in “Ramadan”, gothic European stuff in that Death story and then Japanese folk tales here while keeping the same distinctive style throughout.
Story-wise, I was reminded of “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” from PRELUDES & NOCTURNES. Our favorite mopey dream king makes an appearance as a giant black fox in the dream of a fox who’s fallen in love with a cursed monk.
I look forward to the next issue and the hunting of dreams! Though I suspect it might read better in trade.

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #7

Writer: Matt Fraction Artist: Salvador Larroca Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: The Ambush-able Ambush Bug

At first glance, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #7 is a fun read with a somewhat meaningful message about tragedy, survival, survivor’s guilt, and making it through a crisis. Sure, Matt Fraction handles these sobering topics well in this Spider-Man/Iron Man team-up. Fraction has proven to be a good writer. He’s shown a good range writing THE ORDER, PUNISHER WAR ZONE, the THOR specials, and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN. I look forward to reading any book by Fraction and usually do so pretty early on after coming home from my weekly comic book shopping spree.
But after I read this book I had a nagging feeling that wouldn’t go away. After a second looky-loo, I realized the reason why there were bees in my bonnet was because Fraction went and reopened the can o’ worms that is the Spider-Man conundrum and did a shitty job with it to boot. Fraction gives a good show that he has a good firm hold on what the relationship between Stark and Parker was, but upon further inspection this book just doesn’t stand up to current continuity and even goes so far as to betray the continuity of its own story. Let me try to explain.
Cave dwellers, come out from under that rock and let me catch you up. Spider-Man stupidly unmasked on national television and let the world know that he was Peter Parker in the much publicized CIVIL WAR. After Marvel promised YEARS AND YEARS of stories featuring an unmasked Webslinger, less than a year later they quickly realized the corner they painted themselves into and introduced a very unpopular storyline involving Mephisto, Mary Jane, a bullet riddled Aunt May, and a magic reset button. At the end of that storyline and after an uncharacteristic deal with the devil (A devil/THE devil…I’ll let you guys continue this debate in the talkbacks), everyone, including Peter Parker and Mary Jane, forgot that Peter revealed to the world that he was Spidey (although some believe that Mary Jane retained this information). Cue BRAND NEW DAY, Marvel’s Spidey relaunch which cancelled all of the Spidey titles save AMAZING and upped the distribution of the title to 3 times a month. It also lobbed Peter Parker back to a simpler time before he married Mary Jane. So far, I’ve really liked this relaunch, mainly because it hasn’t looked back at the shitstorm that spawned it. Instead the creators behind BND have smartly chosen to put out solidly written and drawn stories. Sales indicate that this is somewhat successful and I have to agree that Spidey is the best he’s been written in years.
Cue Matt Fraction to burst that bubble. First and foremost, Fraction seems like he likes Spidey. Hell, this issue is more of a Spider-Man story than it is about Iron Man. But since it’s a team-up issue, I guess it is alright to give a little face time to the guest star (which would be much more justified if this were a Shroud team-up or a Howard the Duck team-up, and not a character who has a thrice monthly book and appears in ten other books a month). Fraction handles the concept of Spidey very well. He gets the humor. He gets the interactions with co-workers at the newsroom. He gets Parkers awkward excuses as to why he is late. He gets Peter Parker. Maybe we’ll see Fraction on AMAZING some day. I’d probably buy that book...
…just as long as he stays away from pre-BRAND NEW DAY continuity, that is.
Here Fraction dances over the land mine field and makes more than one misstep. In this issue, somehow Peter’s new boss, Ben Urich, knows he used to work for Stark. Stark seems to remember working with Spider-Man, but doesn’t appear to know who Peter is. So…if the world knows Peter used to work for Stark and it’s still in continuity that Spider-Man worked for Stark in the Avengers, why…how…what…? I guess the question is, since when did everyone know Pete used to work for Stark, and wouldn’t that raise a lot of questions with Stark himself who knows he employed Spider-Man in the Avengers? What kind of idiots can’t put two and two together and figure out Pete is Spider-Man?!?! Stark, the smartest man in the world, that’s who. And if Peter means the monologue he spews at Iron Man when urged to give up his secret identity again, why would he tell anyone he used to work for Stark in the first place? And if Peter doesn’t remember revealing his secret identity to the world and the danger it caused to his loved ones after the big reveal, why does he so adamantly stand against it without the knowledge of the damage such an act would do to his loved ones? What makes THIS Peter Parker so much more insightful than the one Mark Millar manipulated to fit into his CIVIL WAR story? I mean…guh-fuck! I just can’t wrap my brain around it. It’s shit like this that makes me want to drop comics and take up something easy to figure out like trigonometry or astrophysics.
If the last paragraph made your head hurt, you’re not alone. Halfway through the second read after realizing the mess Fraction just spewed forth, I shut off that lobe that houses reason in my head until the end of the book and tried to enjoy the ride. Which is what Fraction will say if asked about this and what Quesada would scoff at if taken to task with the mantra “You shouldn’t take comics so seriously…”, but shouldn’t these comics make some kind of sense? Shouldn’t Fraction have a firm hold of such a sensitive subject before barreling in with such a story? And why open this barrel of monkeys in the first place when everyone working on ASM is doing his damnedest to forget OMD ever happened?
This is a fun book. If you forget any knowledge you have of Spider-Man, ONE MORE DAY, CIVIL WAR, BRAND NEW DAY, Iron Man, NEW AVENGERS, and maybe check a little part of your own soul at the door, that is.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over seven years. Check out a five page preview of his short story published in MUSCLES & FIGHTS 3 (AVAILABLE NOW at Muscles & Fights.com.) on his ComicSpace page. Bug was recently interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics about indie comics, his own artistic process, the comics industry, and other shades of bullsquat. Look for Bug’s follow-up this Fall in MUSCLES & FRIGHTS!

TERRA #1 (of 4)

Writer: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti Artists: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (co-inker) Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Prof. Challenger

What a pleasant little diversion.
This is a season in which I find myself basically uninterested in any super-hero stuff published by the two major publishers that does not include the names Johns, Abnett, or Lanning in the writer credit. So I count it as a nice surprise to find the writers of the hard-hitting and well-written JONAH HEX series presenting me with a first issue about a well-developed girl super-hero that is charming as hell.
I don’t have a clue if this version of Terra has made the rounds in the DCU recently, or if this is her “introduction,” but all the parts are in place to make her an attractive addition to the DC pantheon. She’s young, attractive, and already comfortably confident and skilled in her earth-moving abilities. As the story begins, Terra is already involved in a fistfight with a subterranean bu-fugly monster as she attempts to save some miners stuck underground with their oxygen running out.
Sometimes the hardest thing about creating a “new” super-hero in a crowded super-hero universe is conceiving of a mission or “point” to her existence. In this case, Terra is established in this issue with some sort of a mission as sort of super-liason between us surface dwellers and the endless parade of alien-like civilizations that exist under the surface and within the center of Earth. I strongly suspect, without doing the research necessary to disprove myself, that the races shown in this issue have appeared before in some long-forgotten DC stories from MY GREATEST ADVENTURE or somesuch. If that’s Gray and Palmiotti’s idea to incorporate these forgotten civilizations into the TERRA comic then I fully expect “Cave” Carson cannot be too far from the scene. As it is, though, for this first issue our two guy writers brought in Power Girl and Dr. Midnite from the JSA.
Beautiful. Tying in Terra, whose personal struggle involves a sense that she may or may not be who she thinks she is with Power Girl, who has also recently come to terms with a similar personal dilemma, is just plain…beautiful…and smart economic storytelling. Power Girl could easily serve a role as “big sister” and mentor to this new Terra. Gray and Palmiotti have yet to disappoint me since they rotated off of the HAWKMAN series and their light-hearted mix of humor and drama in this comic continued their successful work as a writing team.
Really, this is not ground-breaking stuff (pun intended), but it is good. And in light of my feelings about most stuff out there right now, I hasten to say VERY good – and this is only regarding the writing side.
Amanda Conner is hands down one of a rare breed in the industry today that I find I can’t take my eyes off of. *cough* Her ART that is. Perfectly laid out pages and panels that carry the story flawlessly from start to finish. Stylized and sensual, her women (Terra and PG especially) just exude modern powerful sexiness without looking like bimbos posing for the latest low-rent porn site. Conner has a sense of costume design that belies her own femininity in that Terra’s “costume” looks real and functional at the same time that it has the standard familiar fantasy element that makes a super-hero costume work best only in comics.
Artistically, everything works here for me from the logo design on the cover to the page-to-page storytelling, character designs, coloring, and lettering. This is really fine work and one I will also have no qualms at all about passing on to my own 11 year-old daughter.
Prof. Challenger is illustrator and "Renaissance Man" Keith Howell who is married with two kids, a dog and a cat. Headquartered in the Republic of Texas, he has a glorious ability to annoy people, the strength of ten men, and sometimes updates his website at profchallenger.com.

ADAM: LEGEND OF THE BLUE MARVEL #1 (of 6)

Writer: Kevin Grevioux Penciller: Mat Broome Published by: Marvel Reviewed by: BottleImp

I have a confession to make—I picked up this comic book fully intending to dislike it. Why? Because I read the blurb for this series on Marvel’s website, and it went something along the lines of “a supervillain terrorizing the city, the Avengers powerless to stop, the only one who could beat him was the Blue Marvel who has vanished and been forgotten, etc. etc.” Frankly, this setup seemed WAAAY too similar to the original SENTRY miniseries (before Marvel decided to ruin the character by bringing him into their regular continuity), and I was fully prepared to give Marvel a written reaming for cannibalizing their own stories. But then I read the issue (as I like to do before writing reviews, just in the offhand chance that my knee-jerk reaction is miraculously incorrect) and found a story that is not only NOT a rip-off, but is genuinely intriguing.
Here’s the gist: the Blue Marvel, America’s premier superhero of 1962…is black.
If that doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, just think about the election that we just had. You know how everyone talked about what a momentous event that was in our history? Think about how much more powerful that moment would have been had it occurred during the height of the civil rights movement, when black people weren’t even allowed to drink from the same water fountain as whites. That’s the time of the Blue Marvel, and Grevioux writes a sober, all-too-realistic reason for why he was forgotten. There’s no conspiracy or crazed-supervillain plot that makes him hang up his cape—only the U.S. government wanting to avoid a race war. Good, thought-provoking stuff.
Art-wise, this issue is so-so. Broome’s artwork is like a slightly-stylized Brian Hitch, which isn’t a bad thing, but his action sequences tend to be a little awkward—sometimes the sound effect lettering is the only thing that makes it clear that one character punches another, and there are a few pages where too much space is devoted to big figure “pin-ups” and the real narrative action is crammed into smaller panels. My only other beef with Broome is that he clearly did very little research for the time period of the story. Aside from a couple of cars and one or two halfway-decent likenesses of JFK, you don’t get a feeling that this is 1962 (the worst offenders are the “extras” in the background—especially their very un-60s hairstyles).
Nitpicking aside, I’m glad that this comic book seems to be seriously addressing the issue of race. I hope that the series continues to do so in an intelligent manner, and manages to avoid descending into negative racial stereotypes (my personal favorite example of comics trying to be socially relevant and failing miserably is that cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA where Black Lightning calls the JLA a bunch of “jive turkeys”…classic). In any case, I’m looking forward to the next issue, and I’ll recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a little social relevance in their monthly reading.
When released from his Bottle, the Imp takes the form of Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from the Northeast who's given up comics more times than he can remember. But every time he thinks he's out, they pull him back in.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #20

Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Dale Eaglesham Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

Prior to the resuscitation of the KINGDOM COME parallel earth in JSA, this title suffered from what I liked to call “serious lack of focus.” The first problem was the Special Olympics nature of the voluminous roster. Pretty much anyone with a cape could show up at the front door and Alan Scott would add extra leaves to the meeting table to accommodate them. Not every hero can be a winner, nor should they be allowed a place amongst the most august heroes of the comic medium. Granted the title would falter if it had to be carried solely on the arthritic backs of the golden Age heroes, but for a time I was expecting Jay Garrick to start inducting bicyclists simply because they wear spandex.
With the introduction of Superman from Earth-22 and his famous nemesis Magog the title has once again found a purpose, stopping the endless recruiting drive and focusing instead on saving the planet. Unfortunately, in the transition JSA has lost a quintessential element to any successful comic – action. This was not a bad issue; Johns’ ability to humanize dialogue would make it virtually impossible for him to write a “bad” comic, but on the same token he has not carried over his inexorable ability to marry both heart and action within the finite 22 page publishing constraints of comic books.
I’ll be the first to allow for heavy exposition in a series, especially when trying to follow up what some consider one of the most celebrated stories in comics. Johns had a great deal of heavy lifting to accomplish to get those readers that had never traversed the pages of KINGDOM COME up to speed, reintroduce the once decimated multiverse, and find a purpose for “Sabrina the nospacewhenshespeaks witch” and Baby Douchecat. I was truly OK with three issues of Gog basically walking because I knew by his shit eating grin it would only be a matter of time before he would overstep his bounds and a Godlike battle royale would ensue. Sadly, I hate to say that I’m still waiting. As a matter of fact, we have not seen purple hide nor horny head of Gog for several months since the story shifted focus to Earth-2 and Power Girl trying to find her place in the dark cold multiverse.
I was sure that this issue would be an infinite fest of ass kickery. You had two Justice Societies from different earths, a vast misunderstanding, and two roided out Power Girls. In the first few pages the Societies throw down, but it never feels big enough for this huge collection of power. One of the problems is that most of the fighting takes place in a library--never a hotbed of action--and secondly the grievances are resolved just way too soon.
Again, this was not a bad issue, but this storyline is starting to get very long in tooth. Two highlights worth noting though were the Guantanamo style interrogation carried out by Earth-2’s Robin and Huntress while trying to figure out why there are two Power Girls, and Starman’s explanation for why there are two Power Girls. As much as I prefer Starman being bat-shit crazy, I will forgive his lapse into sanity as he serves up one of the best explanations of the multiverse to date.
When Optimous Douche isn’t reading comics and misspelling the names of 80’s icons, he “transforms” into a corporate communications guru. Optimous is looking for artistry help, critical feedback and a little industry insight to get his original book AVERAGE JOE up, up and on the shelves. What if the entire world had super powers? Find out in the blog section of Optimous’ MySpace page to see some preview pages and leave comments.

BATTLE ROYALE: ULTIMATE EDITION VOL 1

Written by Koushun Takam and Masayuki Taguchi Illustrated by Masayuki Taguchi Published by Tokyopop Reviewed by Ryan McLelland

My first introduction to BATTLE ROYALE was through the first film. A couple years back I became a Beat Takeshi fan with my introduction to “Zatoichi”, and I began to make my way through anything I could get my grubby mitts on. “Battle Royale” was one of my true favorites and while it certainly wasn’t a ‘Beat Takeshi film’ it certainly made up for it with the plot and action.
The plot of the original manga is an exact mirror and with Tokyopop’s massive Ultimate Edition we all get a huge chunk of the story. A 632 page for $24.95 is not a bad way to spend a couple of days in my opinion, and BATTLE ROYALE brings all the mindless violence, sex, and nudity I want in a comic.
For those not in the know, the plot is in a future Japan (is anything ever in the present?) where entire classes of young students are sent to an island for an awesome television show. Its LORD OF THE FLIES meet SURVIVOR – except the only way you are getting off this island is to be the last one standing. Students are let loose on this island with a weapon and sent off to kill their fellow students. Alliances are quickly formed only to quickly dissipate as best friends quickly have to come to terms with knowing one of them could have to kill the other. The incredible story does leave little for the imagination. Kids kill each other violently and some use their bodies as weapons of their own – especially the gals over their dumb male counterparts.
Additionally, the best part of this amazing collection is not the presentation or the artwork. It seriously has to be my main man Keith Giffen being onboard. Giffen’s contribution is the English adaptation of the original script and Giffen’s touches are felt through this massive book. It’s hard to mess with a legend and Giffen lifts this book up to a classic status.
All in all it is hard to beat BATTLE ROYALE: ULTIMATE EDITION VOLUME 1. With three of these now available it is well worth the price and will have you guessing on who will survive until the end.
Ryan McLelland has worked in movies and comics journalism for the past several years before joining the @$$holes here at AICN. Ryan’s comic work has already graced comic shelves with Arcana’s PHILLY, WISE INTELLIGENCE, UPTOWN GIRL, and THE SENTINELS ANTHOLOGY. He rarely updates his blog but when he does it can be read at www.eyewannabe.com

MANGA PREVIEW: NAOKI URASAWA'S 20th CENTURY BOYS Vol 1

By Naoki Urasawa To be released by VIZ Media, February 17, 2009 Reviewer: Scott Green

20th CENTURY BOYS is the perfect title to discuss now that Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan is in the mind of many. There are streams of pop culture detritus carried forward through the passage of time such as shonen manga, movie posters, hit songs...for many, this media mass sits idly in the back of the mind, or increasingly, on an iPod. Some enthusiasts try to catalog and preserve it. For other fanatics, it becomes a John Nash obsession to piece together the significance that may emerge when connecting points in this constellation of ephemera.
Suppose your CD collection, the comics that got thrown out, and secret plans that you sketched out with your friends in grade school were the clues to unraveling a conspiracy that threatened the future of humanity...it's “High Fidelity” meets “It”.
Naoki Urasawa, best known in North America for his morality thriller MONSTER, is a masterful author of serialized stories. If manga had a Charles Dickens, it would be Urasawa.
On an arbitrary page of 20th CENTRY BOYS...two police detectives are interviewing a young-ish man carrying out the trash. He's a bit gawky looking and animated, but attention is also drawn to the fact that he's doing his errands with an infant strapped to his back. Informed that a whole family is missing, the young man's heart skips a beat. After expressing his dismay, the cops tell him to keep his voice down. Then, the young man's eyes narrow and his hunch from carrying the heavy bag of trash turns into a slouch as he realizes that the head of the missing household had run up a tab with his business.
Between the detailed context of the retail space in the background, the cartooned expressiveness of the young man, and the subtle differences expressed strictly through illustration between the rigid, fastidiously dressed younger cop, and slightly larger around the middle, crew cut and a tie is sufficient veteran, Urasawa creates a credible, breathing scene. At a glance it feels right. The impression is real people in a real place. Broken down, the alignment of small, precise design decisions in the illustration and dialog creating that reality is nothing short of amazing. As one of these interactions flows into the next, these resolutely human characters quickly begin conveying genuine thrills, humor and depth. As the stories of these people twist and turn, Urasawa's work becomes full value manga that is convoluted in the most engrossing possible way.
The evolution of these dynamic characters is written chapter by chapter and volume by volume. Consequently the impression of following the manga as it develops is not necessarily the same as the impression formed by looking at the series in retrospect. For that reason, I'm going to try to cover the introduction to 20th CENTURY BOYS as if I had only read the first volume. Maybe I'll speak to the larger series at a later point, but, I feel that blocking off everything but the opening chapters is a worthwhile way of approaching Urasawa's provocative commencement.
In 1973, Kenji Endo thought he'd at least change the world around him. He'd bring about a sort of revolution by hijacking the school's speaker system to broadcast T-Rex's 20th CENTURY BOY rather than Paul Mauriat's LOVE IS BLUE.
At the dawn of the 21st Century, the United Nation assembly is recognizing that after two World Wars and a nuclear armed cold war, humanity almost succumbed to an unexpected threat at the dawn of the new millennium. A round of applause greets the footsteps of "those who saved humanity from certain extinction."
In 1969, Kenji, and a group of friends who tended to be short, fat, bug eyed, frog faced or evil looking sit in a field, planning out a fort where they'd hide from bullies, listen to the radio, read manga, and thumb through the occasional nudie mag.
In 1979, Kenji sat against a brick wall, the only guy still strumming “Jumpin' Jack Flash”, and talked would-be bands.
The present is 1997. He's the last bachelor in his more or less incommunicado circle of friends. He's running what was the family's liquor store, which he converted to a franchise convenience store, much to his mother's dismay. His sister abandoned her baby daughter and disappeared, so that infant is strapped to Kenji's back, again much to his mother's dismay. The news of the world isn't good, with Africa suffering an unknown plague. Local news isn't particularly good either, with police coming by to ask Kenji if he has any information regarding the mysterious disappearance of a local professor, who went missing along with his family. More personally crushing news is yet to come, because Kenji is about to learn that his boyhood friend Donkey committed suicide by leaping from an upper floor of the high school where he taught science.
This is not the rock and roll life that Kenji wanted for himself, but he's committed to fulfilling his responsibilities, especially raising his niece. While he had enough to handle between the struggling store and the infant, Donkey's death does not sit right with Kenji, nor does the fact that Donkey and the missing professor had a student in common. Everywhere he turns, atoms of his youthful activities seem to be blown over the mystery. In particular, the emblem of his boyhood association, a hand with outstretched index finger in the center of an eye, seems imprinted on these events. Out of Kenji's sight, "Friend" is amassing cultish followers through a combination of stag magic and self help dogma very reminiscent of the proclamations of a group of young boys planning their heroic futures.
One of the final scenes of 20th CENTURY BOYS’ first volume captures a woman griping to her friend about what sounds like an irksomely horny boyfriend. The punch line is a bit obvious. She's actually not talking about a guy. It's a dog, used in her work as a customs officer. 20th CENTURY BOYS is evidently a mystery concerning the person from or reflection of Kenji's past that is tied to the disappearance of his neighbor, Donkey's suicide and, presumably, the millennial threat that's been foreshadowed. So far, there have been a few pieces to a jigsaw puzzle and a fuzzy image of the box. One provoked question has to be, to what extent does (nearly) ending the volume on the silly dog-boyfriend misdirection intentionally tip 20th CENTURY BOYS’ hand to misdirections yet to come?
Urasawa's MONSTER offered a mystery of similar dimensions to 20th CENTURY BOYS. In addition to the psychology behind the "who did it for what reason?", the manga provoked moral questions, starting whether all lives are equal and the responsibility incurred by saving the life of a monster. In the case of 20th Century Boys, its psychological facet borders on questions of semiotics. In one page, ex-guitarist Kenji holds his hand out to show off his no longer calloused fingers. The next page maps the gesture to a millenarian speaker, stretching out his arms for a crowd's ovation. Is it dramatic irony, justified by the plot, or suggestive of some meaning of the gesture? Morality is always a button-pusher, and it's not surprising that MONSTER attracted talks of a Hollywood adaptation. Symbols? That's very manga (which is built on a language of symbols from the panels markers and word balloons to speed lines), very geeky (refer to Genshiken - the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture's erotic image apologia), and in a way, very current (does anything generate more symbols and cartooned images than a presidential election?)
Beyond that question, 20th CENTURY BOYS offers something distinctively adult. While there has always been a solid concept of realism in Urasawa's work, from Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl (an unbeatable judo Olympic hopeful in a sports, dramatic comedy) to Master Keaton (a bit Indiana Jones, a bit James Bond, featuring a SAS master sergeant turned Lloyd's of London investigator) to Monster (a genius doctor in a fugitive scenario), Urasawa's heroes have been hyper-competent. Kenji contrasts that lineage of heroes by never excelling. He never made it as a guitarist. He's struggling as a small business owner.
A couple of qualities fundamentally set Kenji apart from an everyman. Kenji doesn't seem to be the guy who is secretly special. No one seems poised to tap him on the shoulder and tell him that he's secretly gifted with the ability to save the world. Yet, he is special, or a least significant. As a child, he drew up secret fellowships, ray guns, alien invasions, and city toppling giant robots. In some way, his Ultaman and Tetsujin 28 inspired imagination became the blueprint for future danger.
Beyond that, Kenji is neither a head-strong adventurer nor a reluctant hero. Some might grouse at the possibilities of running a convenience store and the burden of raising a sibling's children. In the manga, Kenji gets plenty of "how are you going to find a wife when you're carrying around a child grief." Yet, while this character can't really do something like other Urasawa heroes, his fierce determination to fulfill what he believes to be his responsibilities puts him on a level with those characters.
Piecing together this complex composition.... Kenji doesn't have the ability to be the One, yet for some reason, he's tied to something cataclysmic. At the same time, he's demonstrated that he's willing to fulfill a needed role. In a sense, he's the guy willing to take responsibility for his moment in history... a perfect sentiment for our time.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for close to seven years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column here.

SOUL CHASER BETTY VOL 1

Written and Illustrated by: Brian Babendererde Published by: Twilight Tangents/Brian Babenderede Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

SOUL CHASER BETTY is a great collection of the webcomic of the same name. An American Manga by Brian Babenderede (who seems to have an awesome last name which I’d probably kill trying to pronounce) the book is made for the trade paperback format, as webcomics really start to hurt my eyes after awhile. The book is top-notch from start to finish, truly deserving of a TPB, and packed full of extras. Of course, having some hottie teenager with a big-ass sword fighting baddies in short shorts is a tremendous plus.
The book centers on Betty, who is sent off to the sticks for the summer to live with her grandmother. Driving to the home Betty sees some mysterious fellow, ends up getting her taxi driver killed, winds up in dreamland, wakes up in the hospital, and ends up back at Grandma’s casa full of Ouija boards and skull candleholders.
It’s not too long before Betty ends up in dreamland once again, fending off the hooded bad soul-sucker aptly named Reaver, and meeting the other six chasers who believe Betty is the replacement of a teammate the crew just lost. So Betty is now in a strange town in East Jabip trying to make friends with the locals, learn about her mysterious powers, try to make nice-nice with the Soul Chaser crew, and kick some bad guy butt. Doesn’t sound too bad at all for a summer vacation.
Babendererde, who goes by the easier name of Bman, has crafted an incredible tale full of humor, great writing, and an incredible artistic style. It’s an engrossing read from start-to-finish and brought me straight away to the Internet to continue reading SOUL CHASER BETTY. The series finds a better home in the trade paperback format and I so welcome future volumes of the series. It’s one indy Manga book that is well worth the pick-up.

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here, once again bringing you a bag full of obscure treasures in this week’s Indie Jones. A journey into a strange land, a mystery set in the future, a mystery laced with magic, and the story of a would-be wrestler. Free your mind of the Big Two shackles and enjoy…

MORESUKINE NBM Comics Lit

Dirk Schwieger made the most of his trip to Japan. He invited readers of his blog to ask him to do anything in order to experience the Japanese culture. He had to do everything and anything people asked him to do whether he liked it or not. Accomplishing all of these tasks, Schwieger made a graphic novel of sorts chronicling all of his weird requested adventures. The results are pretty amazing. This is the type of book I would want to bring with me if I were to travel to Japan. Sure you’d want to see the normal sights and sounds, but if you’re looking for the coolest of the cool shit to do in Japan, this is the book you’ll need to carry with you. Schwieger serves as his readers’ guinea pig experiencing everything from exotic foods to sex hotels to amazing art exhibits. Travelogues like this are hard to come by. It is a personal journey, written and drawn with care, yet accomplished without a care of self injury. MORESUKINE is a genuine slice of life book; it’s just that this slice happens to be about the Japanese culture. I would love to see more travel journals of this sort exploring other cultures or maybe even see this book to inspire other traveling artists and writers to follow suit. Schwieger even promotes this sentiment by asking his fellow artist friends to write/draw their experiences with someone from Japanese culture in a section towards the back of this book. Reading this book is the perfect peek at the obscurities of a foreign culture as perceived by an absolute outsider. Schwieger’s art is loose, but does a great job of capturing authentic imagery from the Japanese culture. I especially like the way he draws the chaos and confusion that occurs during a Japanese earthquake. Packaged as an actual MORESUKINE or Japanese travel notebook, this book’s simple cover is deceptive. Inside is so much more. This was one rich experience in comic book form.

HEADLOCKED #1-2 Markosia

Sure, it might be fake and all a show, a soap opera on steroids with clothing that would make a drag queen blush, but there’s something cool about Professional Wrestling. Much like superhero comics, there are histories and origins at play in Professional Wrestling: bad guys and good guys; stories of morality, inspiration, and intrigue. Ever wonder what it takes to make it as one of the big name wrestlers? Well, this book answers all of your questions. Writer Michael Kingston does a nice job of following one would be wrestler with dreams of stardom as he sweats his way through wrestling try outs. It’s a fun twist on your typical underdog story, set to a backdrop that, whether you like it or not, is a major facet in entertainment these days. Randy Valiente does a capable job of making the odds seem tough and the characters gritty and real. Valiente shies away from overblown proportions, thankfully, and gives us a much more authentic version of what one needs to go through in order to be a Pro Wrestler. The artist also does a good job of drawing some pretty complicated wrestling moves with ease. If you like wrestling, this is a comic you’ll want to seek out.

THE DRESDEN FILES: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE HC TPB Dabel Brothers Publishing

I came across THE DRESDEN FILES: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE with absolutely no prior knowledge of the Sci Fi Channel show or the books. Sorry, I just can’t know everything. But I still gave this noir-wizardry tale a shot. In many ways, this book reminds me of Clive Barker’s underrated gem LORD OF ILLUSIONS, since both mix magic and the detective genres pretty seamlessly. I like the idea of a hard knocks gumshoe taking on minotaurs, zombies, and witches with magic and mysticism and it works very well here. I don’t know if Jim Butcher is doing a consistent adaptation of his Harry Dresden character (I’d assume so, since he wrote the books), but he’s writing an entertaining one. Paired with the fine detailings of artist Ardian Syaf and the beautiful alternate covers of Chris McGrath, this is a nicely packaged story with a character that I’d like to see more of, no matter what the medium.

MISERY DEPOT #1 miserydepot.com

Not one of the most uplifting reads, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. I really liked this book for various reasons. Mostly because the main character isn’t a buxom beauty, but an elderly woman trying to understand the world she has woken up in. I also love the way this mystery unfolds and slaps you in the face with a shocker of an ending. Writer Hermes Pique does a great job of setting up a mysterious circumstance and keeping mum about the reveal until the very end. At the same time, upon second reading, the story takes on a very different tone, which makes for an even more fulfilling reading experience. There’s an awful lot of elderly nudity for artist Juan Romera to draw, but the nudity is not gratuitous; it simply adds to the palpable feeling of dread that seeps into and around every inch of this book. This is a really intriguing debut--a one-shot that leaves quite a mark after the last page is turned.

If you have an indie book that you’d like featured in Indie Jones, send an email to your favorite @$$Hole.


GIGANTIC #1 Dark Horse Comics

I know enough about Rick Remender to always check out a book he has to offer when I see it on the shelves. His books always have the right amount of action and kooky comic book science. It may not always make sense, but it’s always one helluva fun read. GIGANTIC hangs on a really cool premise: that the Earth and its inhabitants were created solely for the entertainment for the entire galaxy. So when giant robots appear out of the blue in San Francisco, races of aliens shriek in fanboy glee at the carnage they are watching on their television-like screens. “Best episode ever” indeed. Like I said, Remender continues his streak of bringin’ the fun back to funny books. With nice art by Eric Nguyen, who draws giant robots just as cool as he does alien races. – Bug

FRANKLIN RICHARDS: SONS OF GENIUSES! One Shot Marvel Comics

I picked this up on a whim, thinking that it looked like it might be fun. Though artist/co-writer Chris Eliopoulous is clearly influenced by the fantastic “Calvin & Hobbes” comic strip (both in drawing style and character interaction), he and scripter Mark Sumerak can’t match the wit, design sensibility, or sheer creative energy of Bill Watterson. What could have been an outrageous comic romp is instead a bit of innocuous fluff. To make matters worse, I brought this up to the register without first checking the price. This comic would have been a bit of light fun for, say, two bucks. But at $3.99, I got ripped off big time. - Imp

CITY OF DUST #2 Radical Comics

In stores today, the unholy coupling of sci fi and horror continues in issue two of CITY OF DUST. Detective Khrome is questioned. Another body is found. And the evil behind it all rears their butt-fugly heads. Gorehounds waiting for Steve Niles’ trademark grue will be satiated in this issue, which ends on a very messy note. Setting the horror in a future where books, religion, and superstitious thinking is abolished makes this both an original and utterly thrilling book to read. Beautiful panel work by Zed make this one of the best Niles reads in years and probably the best book Radical has published to date. – Bug

DAREDEVIL & CAPTAIN AMERICA: DEAD ON ARRIVAL #1 Marvel Comics

Man, this was the best Marvel book I’ve read in quite a long time. Our man across the pond, Stones Throw, reviewed this a while back, but it seems it took a while before it got here to the states. This book looks to have been distributed by Marvel overseas, but turns out it’s got a leg up in the quality department over most current American Marvel Comics. Want to know what the best thing about this book? The fact that it’s refreshingly uncomplicated. No crossovers. No history to bog it down. No reference to the current status quo (it’s Steve Rogers Cap and a not too angsty Daredevil starring in this one folks). Sure, I like Bru’s versions of both characters, but there was something altogether cleansing to read this book. It made me long for comics that weren’t so mired in either their own continuity or the ego of the writer who is trying to make his own memorable stamp on the character. It’s just solid storytelling by Tito Faraci and beautiful art by Claudio Villa. Plus it’s adapted by Larry Hama, who’s not too shabby either. Get these creators stateside and have them make more comics like this one.
Sure this one was fresh as a daisy to me, but you know what was not so fresh? The frikkin $4.99 price tag! C’mon, Marvel, last I heard there was a gas shortage, not a comic shortage. Knock off the price hikes. I fell for it this time mainly because I didn’t really look at the price when I bought it, but I’m going to be sure to look at it next time and all your price hikes are going to do is sell less copies of books to this Bug. The book was good, but not 5 bucks good. I’d rather have had a Subway. - Bug

EL DIABLO #3 DC Comics

Sure there are elements of THE SPECTRE and GHOST RIDER, but there’s room for another Spirit of Vengeance in comics. Writer Jai Nitz is having a blast showcasing all of El Diablo’s powers. The action scenes are as intense as the interactions with a former Avenging Spirit named Lazarus are interesting. Plus this one’s got art by Phil Hester, who draws an ebony horse walking on the ceiling and exploding through a Mack truck like no other. This book’s a lot of fun and it’s a shame we’re not hearing more chatter about it. - Bug

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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Nice.

    by BangoSkank

    Notice how it's THE devil? Just for you Joen....

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Spidey's secret identity

    by sean bean

    Dan Slott implied in an interview that people appearing deliberately obtuse with regard to Spider-Man's secret identity is a deliberate plot point post-BND. There are certain times when it defies rationality so I guess it is intentional. How could Venom or Eddie Brock not know? How could Norman Osborn or Daredevil not have worked it out in recent comics?

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Donb't know if this will settle the argument or start another

    by Ambush Bug

    Quoth The Man: <i>"A man such as this, with power such as his, must inevitably be confronted by the most universally recognized symbol of evil on the face of the earth -- the specter of Satan."</i><br> Even so, Stan still didn't want to come right out and use the Biblical Satan as a funny-book bad guy:<br> <i>" Basically, it has always been my desire to have our stories savored for their enjoyment value primarily. Any moralistic or philosophical extras which might be thrown in are merely Marvel bonuses. Hence, I was reluctant to use the name Satan, or Mephistopheles, or Lucifer, or whatever. Names such as those would leave nothing in doubt. So I settled for a name which certainly had the sound of Mephistopheles, but we weren't coming out and saying it. Besides, Mephisto is easier to spell."</i><br> Excelsior!

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:45 a.m. CST

    My ultimate problem with Brand New Day

    by Laserhead

    Is that they've made it their stated GOAL to reduce Spider-Man to a formula, and that formula doesn't appear to permit change and growth of any kind. Instead, all these new stories are is a complete recycling of past Spidey-tropes: Mr. Negative is the Rose/Crime-Master figure; Menace is a Goblin; Jackpot is the Black Cat (just look at her ridiculously inconsequential "reveal" to gauge the amount of thought and feeling put into these new characters-- okay, she's just a girl. Any explanation for why she looks like and talks like MJ? Nope.) Forget the serious muddle this makes of the last 20 years, the whole effort is stagnant. Brevoort published a list of elements they wanted to maintain in this new series, and that list has essentially reduced Spider-Man, the first character to truly change and grow, into a simplistic formula into which you can plug any writer who's decent at penning quips.<p>Also, it's not a successful relaunch. It might look like Amazing is selling more copies because of its thrice-monthly schedule, but its been hemorrhaging readers since its launch.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Dresden Files

    by ltgalloway

    Pass on the tv series, pick up the books. They're a quick and entertaining read. The show seemed to make a lot of unnecessary changes, which made fans irritated. From what I've seen of the comic version Jim seems to have kept the storyline pretty close, but has adapted it for the more visual medium. I just got caught up with the Dresden Files and I'm waiting for the next installment due sometime next year.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Though, to be sure, there's good growth and bad growth

    by Laserhead

    Like, Peter Parker going to college, gaining self-confidence and standing up for himself against the people who want to take advantage of him= good growth. J. Michael's magic spider bullshit evolution Stacey whore retcon= bad growth.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10 a.m. CST

    "Preludes and Nocturnes" was vol. 1

    by rev_skarekroe

    "Dream Country" was vol. 3. Fact checking is hard!

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:04 a.m. CST

    I'm Pretty Sure That Preludes and Nocturnes...

    by 8footTallGopher

    ....WAS VOLUME 1.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Re: Plot for "Gigantic"...

    by Kid Z

    ...South Park did it! South Park did it!

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Actually, Stones Throw...

    by the maven

    ...you're thinking of "Dream Country." "Preludes & Nocturnes" was the first volume and dealt with Morpheus rebuilding his kingdom after a forced absence. No snark is intended here, my Padawan; just information.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Bug

    by Snookeroo

    "It made me long for comics that weren’t so mired in either their own continuity or the ego of the writer who is trying to make his own memorable stamp on the character. It’s just solid storytelling"<br><br>Beautifully stated, man. Beautifully stated.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Dresden Files...

    by Kid Z

    ...yeah, the TV series WAS on Sci-Fi, after all... despite likeable cast members, Sci-Fi (as usual) cheesed out on the budget. The books are great though... just cracking good reads that you can't put down.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Feedback for Ambush Bug on Spidey

    by mike683

    I agree with a lot of what the Bug was saying about the can of worms with Spidey and Iron Man. But there are a few reasons why you can't escape the issues and I appreciate the heck out of Matt for at least taking a stab at it. Outside of BND and related Spidey titles there are still effects from the Civil War storyline that can't be explained by ignoring them: 1) Iron Spidey suits - they are still being employed by the Initiative and Spidey actually fought them in one of those comics. That speaks volumes to the strong ties between Tony and Spider-man before their falling out 2) Spidey being in the renegade New Avengers - if Spidey was never working with Tony the Mr. Bendis needs to re-invent a whole backstory for how Spidey got on the losing side of Civil War And to answer a specific question of how this Spidey's answer to removing his mask differs from the previous one is a pretty simple one. The Thunderbolts (including not one but two insane Spidey villains) are actively hunting his ass. This wasn't the case when Spidey thought he was on the side of the angels in Civil War. Then he thought that being with the government would be protection enough and he had Tony as an example.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Is the size of your comics stack inversely proportional to the a

    by Dashing Roger

    Is the size of your comics stack inversely proportional to the amount of quality play you get? <br> <br> I ask this in all seriousness. I enjoy reading comics, but I enjoy getting laid more, and I have found that, since I don't look like Brad Pitt and my bank account doesn't even come close, I can attract higher quality women if I bury some of my dorkier qualities (e.g., reading comics, rating movies, getting into long-winded discussions about either with my friends in front of said women). <br> <br> While I'd love to share my geek passions with women I date, I have found that when I do, the only ones who find it at all interesting or even tolerate it are the ones that look like, well, you guys. I prefer not to sleep with women who have to shave... their faces. So I shamefully hide things like my complete collection of Tintin books under my bed so I remain actively engaged on top of it. Since I'm not getting married any time soon, I plan to continue with my don't ask, don't tell policy until I meet the woman of my dreams, someone who looks like Cobie Smulders and who out-geeks me. <br> <br> How do you handle it? Those of you locked in a basement who haven't seen the sky in 4 or 5 days can skip telling me how you "handle" it, thank you.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Can't help you Roger

    by Laserhead

    I do look like Brad Pitt, and my bank account's nice, so women tend to find my dorkier qualities a nice counter-balance to the testosterone-laden, alpha-male pheromone atmosphere I typically generate.<p>Best of luck to you, though.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:01 a.m. CST

    So there is new work in the Sandman series?

    by chromedome

    Loved it, but thought it was ended years ago. Will have to dig into this....

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:07 a.m. CST

    "I'm wearing my best Yoda t-shirt...

    by Snookeroo

    ...and women still ignore me"<br><br>Dashing Roger -- embrace your inner geek, but don't advertise it. Find out what interests your girl and talk about that. Women (and people in general) love to talk about themselves. There's plenty of time to reveal your "hobby" later, if a relationship develops.<br><br>Right, wrong or indifferent, comic book geeks are catagorized as "losers". As they say, "if you dress like Halloween, you're only going to attract ghouls". The same goes for the signals you send out -- if you look, act and smell like a geek, that's what you're going to attract. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but don't expect to date the Homecoming Queen that way.<br><br>ooxx,<br>Dr. Drew Pinsky<br><br>P.S. I DID marry the Homecoming Queen.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Hey Rog...

    by loodabagel

    Find some cool indy comics to talk about like Dan Clowes or OPtic Nerve. That way, if she doesn't like them, she'll at least feel miserable and unhip afterwards.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:10 a.m. CST

    It's not new exactly, chromedome...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...it's a comics adaptation of an illustrated prose book from several years ago.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Lots of attractive girls like comics.

    by rev_skarekroe

    They're not usually going to be interested in the identity of the Red Hulk, or in how Countdown ties into Final Crisis, or the intricacies behind Spider-Man's secret identity. They like good stories - my girl is very attractive and she digs Gaiman, Ellis, Ennis, Jeff Smith, Moore, etc. Younger chicks seem to be into manga these days.<p>Perhaps your problem is that you're going after the wrong type. Try the punk/goth/alteranawhatever scene.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Iron Man Spidey Team-Up

    by Skulboy

    I'm a big fan of the ol' Marvel Team Up and was interested to see what the current dynamic of the Iron Man-Spidey relationship after it got so ugly in Civil War. I have not been reading either characters' titles, but know the basics of BND. After reading this issue, I just assumed that Peter had been working for Stark in some non-Spider-Man capacity seeing as Peter Parker is a pretty smart kid. If he hasn't, then I agree, doesn't work so well. I enjoyed the comic, but my big question was, when the hell does this take place? There's not a single Skrull in sight. There's mention of "the superterror attacks" so is that the Skrull Invasion or something else. Continuity seems very out of whack.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Hey, Felix Happer

    by captaincosmos

    Yes, there is absolutely a reason to read the manga! The film does not even come close to covering what the manga does. Of the 3 incarnations of Battle Royale (novel, manga or movie), the manga series if by far the superior version of the story. You get all of the intricate back stories on all of the main characters, the result of which makes you care about them. Even the most depraved in the class garner a little bit of sympathy. And then just when you really start rooting for them and foolishly thinking, "Hey, maybe they're gonna make it out of this mess!" -- SHUNK!-- They get their face split in two with a scythe in the very next panel. There are so many, "Oh, fuck no!" moments in this manga, I can't tell you. Plus, the sheer insanity of the ultra violence and hardcore sex you see lovingly rendered by manga artist Masayuki Taguchi will positively warp your mind. You'll feel horrified and ashamed that your reading this depravity, but you'll still find yourself staring, slack-jawed at this amazing (albeit disturbing) artwork. This manga will blow you away. Definitely pick it up, Felix. If you've got the nads for it.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:38 a.m. CST

    The Battle Royale Tokyopop Manga is a bastardization.

    by themikejonas

    Giffen took the original Japanese manga (which hewed closely to the original novel) and pretty much put whatever he wanted in the word bubbles. He even shoehorned in that "TV reality show" aspect even though it doesn't appear in ANY version of Battle Royale, and makes no sense in the context of the art.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Hey now--Jackpot's not "just a girl"

    by SleazyG.

    She's just a DEAD girl.<p> Which kinda defeats the entire purpose of introducing her to begin with, and was shockingly stupid. "Hey, I know--we'll introduce a fun, attractive new character in a Free Comic Book Day issue designed to rope in young readers, then give her no real character development, use her as a red herring and kill her off!"<p> Why bother? What was the point? Why did she exist in the first place, and why on earth should I give a shit? Just an idiotic idea, top to bottom. I expect better of the editors and writers on SPIDER-MAN, but apparently Marvel prefers giving us the unexpected--i.e. lousy ideas from writers that editors don't stop, and lousy ideas from editors foisted onto writers with no choice but to do what they're told.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Got a question for all the readers out there

    by kungfuhustler84

    Should I start reading SPidey or not? I haven't touched the book in years, but I love the character, and am a huge fan of the older stuff, I'm talking the stuff in those big collections. Should I just stick with those or is there a way I can jump in at a certain point and still know what is going on? I have been thinking of starting Ultimate Spiderman from the beginning also. What do you guys think?

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Here's my advice on Battle Royale

    by kungfuhustler84

    Read the actual book instead. It's what the movie is based off of, and it's probably a lot better than any manga bollocks. Then again, I didn't read the review. Is it even the same thing or are the names just the same?

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Dashing Roger....

    by Psynapse

    Sucks to be you dude.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:10 p.m. CST

    And addressing the whole hot girls and comics thing

    by kungfuhustler84

    My girlfriend is smoking (no bias here, it's ridiculous the eyes guys give her) and I have actually managed to get her interested in the Sandman comics, Hellboy (she loves the mythology), Watchmen, and she even has read Silver Surfer Requiem (the best Silver Surfer story known to man).<p>The stereotype surrounding comic lovers has got to stop.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Amen Laserhead

    by Dragon Man

    You summed up the other aspect of what they did with Brand New Day that pissed me off. I have never hated such a sequence of events like the one that lead to the worst handling of Spider-Man ever! Aside from the ridiculous notions of unmasking and retarding the character through the whole Civil War story – which was fucking ridiculous in itself -- then deciding to "fix" their mistake by ignoring all growth and continuity Spidey had as a character for the last 20 years, they've now deliberately painted themselves into a corner where the character will not evolve. It’s like they realized “Wow, we really fucked this character up” and now they want to make sure no one else can mess the character up as bad as they did. And I’m sorry but Mr. Quesada, why is it that you have such a bug up your ass about Spidey and MJ being married? That was one of the other big “mistakes” you wanted to retcon with the One More Day excrement, and it was the wrong move! Bottom line: Anyone else who attempts to write a comic involving Spidey and Iron Man together will have to dance the same minefield and probably won't fare any better than Fraction did. How can anyone be expected to avoid such a creative clusterfuck? Down with Quesada!

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:23 p.m. CST

    I just wonder how Joe Queseda still has a job

    by Continentalop

    Seriously. As editor-in-chief at Marvel, he has taken the Marvel Universe's greatest strength and achievement, continuity, and turned it into a joke. When the DC universe has more cohesion than Marvel you know you are in trouble. <p> Despite all of Jim Shooters flaws, and he did have many, at least during his tenor as EIC the Marvel Universe was an actual shared Universe. You didn't have to worry about one comic contradicting another. <p> Oh, and I love on Quesada bans smoking in comics, but he allows super-heroes to torture, kill or be double-crossing pricks.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Queseda

    by steverodgers

    Has a job because stock price is good and Marvel sells a ton of comic books and continues to marginalize DC in the market. 50 percent of comics books sold are Marvel books. Queseda isn't going anywhere.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Quesada not Queseda

    by steverodgers

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Good question, Continentalop.

    by mrfan

    He really needs to go.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 12:59 p.m. CST

    I cringe every time I see "Franklin and Hobbes"

    by irrelevntelefant

    such a blatant Calvin rip off. <P> Barry Ween, Boy Genius was a much better book

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Personally I think...

    by optimous_douche

    Marvel has had way more continuity cohesion as of late than DC.<p> I still stand by the fact that with this whole Final Crisis event DC has set up three universes that aren't talking to one another - Morrison, Johns, Everyone else...<p> While I personally didn't love Secret Invasion (just becasue I don't read enough Marvel books to truly appreciate it), I think it was way more cohesive how it cascaded to all other titles.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Is this Terra the same Terra

    by Cash907

    as the one who appears in Teen Titans? I thought she was well and truly hosed, but did they somehow manage to bring her back or just totally reboot the character?

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Battle Royale Manga

    by ScottGreen

    Each version of the Battle Royale has its own distinctive characteristics, and the manga has an excessiveness that is particular to its version of the story. Rather than trying to be subtle or human, it lays everything on thick. Personally, I'd love to see Battle Royale 2: Blitz Royale released in English. With cute, super-flat inspired art by Tomizawa Hitoshi (Alien 9), its a real strange take on how Battle Royale was presented in the movies.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Rev_Skarekroe

    by chromedome

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Spider-Man, JSA thoughts

    by crankyoldguy

    I dropped most comics more than a decade ago and started picked up used (amazon, ebay, the local used bookstores, conventions) copies of graphic novel collections. I got back into Spider-man thank to a few libraries having the JMS collections. I like his advancing of the Peter/MJ/Aunt May relationships (yes, some of the other plot stuff was odd, but no worse, maybe better than the years of clone crap and too much Venom/Carnage (hated that). Civil War had its moments. But the deal with the devil thing/turn back time, but not really? They lost me. Maybe I'll check out an anthology or two but the wiping out of the marriage and all was like going back to a fave restaurant and getting a meal that made you sick. Do you want to go back again? Meanwhile, on the DC front, I've come to love Johns work on JSA. I'm not crazy about the multi-verse revival and two earth twos. I like the fact Supes/Bats weren't the first and Batman has a relationship with Alan Scott, who's seen as one of the founders/elder statesmen of all things masked/super. Johns is one of the true few who can write on dual levels for adults and kids (my 12 year old nephew is big on JSA too and Green Lantern as well; we've bonded nicely over it all). Since I don't read/want to spend the money on monthly or even bi-monthly titles, I wait for the collections and I'm looking forward to the JSA anthologies of further Kingdom Come arcs. Too bad neither Barnes and Noble or Borders will let you exchange without a receipt anymore. I'm stuck with some books I don't want (some bios) and no, the friends didn't include gift receipts (who does for books). Or I'd trade in the graphic novel releases. Anyone else had this problem?

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 1:59 p.m. CST

    If Quesada was at DC

    by crankyoldguy

    then Clark and Lois wouldn't be married and Dick would be a young Robin again, among other things. He only like character advancement selectively, like Daredevil. Of course some folks want the same Clark-Lois of the silver age and you have that in all-star. Spider-Man should've got a similar treatment in another different book.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Comics my girlfriend likes...

    by loodabagel

    Dan Clowes, Will Eisner, Y The Last Man and Preacher. Whoulda thunk?

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Shouldn't that say:

    by Joenathan

    Mephisto Rules? See your friendly neighborhood spider-man make a deal with A devil?<br><br>I'm pretty sure it should...

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 2:33 p.m. CST

    BND... One thing I don't understand...

    by Joenathan

    What is all this: it doesn't make sense talk? If spidey was in New Avengers how does Stark not know him? If he fought these guys, then why don't they remember? If so and so knows this then why doesn't he know that? Solid questions, EXCEPT, there's magic involved... I mean, you fuckers will accept a fucking time machine, but you can't accept a magic spell? Come on.<br><br>here's how it goes...<br><br>Everything that happened to spidey: new avengers, the secret i.d. reveal, blah, blah, blah... IT ALL HAPPENED! And then... Magic fucked it all up. Why can't any of you accept the idea that the reason some of it doesn't make sense it is because of the presense of magic? Maybe... MAYBE... its part of the storyline.<br><br>Why do you all try to twist you mind around the continuity inconsistancies (nerds) instead of just realizing that magic is fucking it all up. Thats what the spell was supposed to do. Its like that Telepath trick where the good guy masks his presense, he's not invisible, its just that no one is looking at him.<br><br>Why doesn't anyone except that? Why don't you understand that? Its called a genre trope, people. Shit like this happens all the time in comics. It can be undone. It can be the seed of a larger story.<br><br>...wait a minute... what if Dark Reign has something to do with the word... DARK! Oh fuck! What if that could mean devils, like Mephisto, like Dormannu.... hmmm... Man, I bet Arsenio is rolling in his grave...

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST

    by the way...

    by Joenathan

    the end of that paragragh was intended to be read in a really sarcastic tone... just FYI...

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Continentalop

    by Joenathan

    I don't know what planet you're on, but Marvel comics has been kicking ass consistantly under Quesada.<br><br>He still has a job, because instead of pandering to retards knee deep in four-color bullshit, he's been busy opening comics up to other markets and bringing in more business. Its because of people like him, that comics are as viable as they are. Just because he hurt your feelings by upping the quality of his product while ignoring your useless opinion, does not make him a bad guy.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Also

    by Joenathan

    DC has continuity?

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 2:44 p.m. CST

    "Dream of a Thousand Cats", as I recall...

    by Organs

    ...was not in "Preludes and Nocturnes". I think it's in the fifth volume, whatever it's called. I would like to say, though, that "Season of Mists" is my favorite by far (I've read up to vol. 6), if only for the conversations with the devil. NO ONE has conversations like that with ANYONE!

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Spider Man doppleganger

    by SpikeTBB

    I get the feeling several of the comics are concentrating on what the casual fan general public perception of their characters are in order to hook in new readers. The comic business has become such a sub culture that they are painted into a corner in a bad way. They want long time readers to stay but also new readers to be added every day, and these new readers to become long time readers. How to create immediate income growth with out threatening long term income stability? That’s the smoking gun behind a lot of the decisions, I think. There are a lot more people out there whose perception of Spider Man is based on the movies and Saturday morning cartoons. They want to lure them in and present them with a comic world not very different than the dumber, water downed version that brought them to the print version. So now they risk losing those of us who are older and want more from out comics. One of the things I loved about Spider Man was his understated authority, for lack of a better term. This guy had been all over the multiple universes. He’s dealt with bank robbers on the streets of New York and cosmic demonic gods bleeding into our world to turn us all into chanting zombies. He met Dracula face to face and had the stones and sense of humor to ask The Count if he preferred Lugosi, Lee, Langela or Oldman’s performance. (Dracula thought they all fell short of his greatness ) Spider Man, a very relatively young age, gained authority and self assurance that even ageless warhorses like Thor, Cap and Wolverine respected (even if Logan won’t tell him so). This new pretender to the Spidey name is a betrayal of all that. I grew up on comics and have been reading them for 30 years. I just have a sense of the core personalities of these characters. Yes, different writers put their spin on things but I can just sense when a comic gets them right, like Wolverine having a sense of honor and nobility beneath the professional killer exterior. Logan has the heart of a teacher, if you prove worth his time. Spider Man has always been a multilayered character as well. His humanity stays in place, he is perhaps the most kind hearted of all Marvel’s heroes yet he does what needs to be done. Spider Man makes jokes and sees the absurdity of it all NOT because he is an irreverent smart ass, but because he keeps his humanity intact. Giving the choice of protecting/saving someone or catching the bad guy, Spider Man looks after the innocent out of his sense of what’s right. THAT”S what always made Spider Man stand out to me: his authorized well earned knowledge of what was the right thing to do and the heart to do it, he was a legend that did not feel the need to throw his weight around. He EARNED his “stripes” and had become a man in the truest sense. Not to impress Uncle Ben or Aunt May or anything like that. He became this man by choice because he wanted to do the right things. He was Peter Parker, the spectacular Spider Man. This cookie cutter formula paint by numbers Saturday morning cartoon off shoot, that’s not Spider Man or Pete. I hope they will slowly mature the character again and regain some of the legend they have cut away.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Gotta give the comics industry this...

    by Snookeroo

    they're doing SOMETHING right, because sales (around 6.75 million issues last month)are UP over the same period last year, and up 5% from 4 years earlier.<br>In an economic environment where almost all other magazines/periodicals are declining and/or shutting their doors, that's not a bad achievement.<br>BTW, Marvel continues to kick DC's ass -- I'm not really sure if that's because they simply have so many more active titles, or if their product is just that much better. "Secret Invasion" appears to be the title du jour, selling 164,000 issues per month. Compare that to "Action", which only sells about 50,000 issue per month.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Darn, my bad with the titles...

    by stones_throw

    Well, actually I was referring to the copies in Lucien's Library, just like Mr. Gaiman says in that afterword. Anyway, this post did have a point, which was to say that whatever that BLUE ADAM book might suggest, Marvel was dealing with race issues at the time. Like SGT. FURY & THE HOWLING COMMANDOES had a black GI, Gabe Jones, while the Black Panther, a fully fledged African superhero, was introduced in the pages of THE FANTASTIC FOUR about midway through the 60s. And LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE was a more serious take on an African American superhero than you might expect. Personally, I can't stand Marvel series that treat the 60s and 70s like a pre-superhero past. Concepts like Iron Man and the FF haven't really moved on from their Cold War beginnings, so they're really just shooting themselves in the foot.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Hey Dashing Roger

    by Series7

    There's always rape!

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Dream Country

    by Redmantle

    Preludes and Nocturnes was the 1st Sandman Collection. A Dream of a Thousand Cats, and Calliope were in Dream Country.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 3:44 p.m. CST

    And seriously

    by Series7

    Is anyone still reading Freedom Formula? I need to hear someone else opinion of the second issue.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Battle Royale manga is excellent.

    by DarthCorleone

    I had only seen the film, and though I enjoyed it I was always a little perplexed by the level of geek worship it receives. Anyway, I've enjoyed the manga much more for the reasons stated above: increased depth of characterization, ultraviolence, and outright disturbing but entrancing artwork. I don't have much desire to revisit the movie, but I would certainly reread the manga. Recommended. Just one guy's opinion...

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Quesada

    by Continentalop

    Ok, some of you are obviously fans of Joe Quesada (or perhaps relatives) and while I respect your opinion of him, I do not agree with it. I have read many things in defense of him; well here is criticism of the man as Editor-in-Chief: <p> Under Joe Quesada Marvel dominates the comic market: Someone mentioned that Marvel sells 50% of the comic market. Hell, that is a drop than. Marvel used to sell 75% of all comics from the early 80’s up into the 90’s. So Joe has actually just inherited a company that has dominated the market for year (this is like saying that as president of Coca-cola I have made us the number one soft drink in the world; never mind the fact we already WERE the number one drink). <p> That Joe has caused Marvel’s stocks to stay high: Ok, when Marvel hit the Market, it was about $3.44 a share, now it is $27 dollars, so Joe has to be doing a good job, right. Well, someone is doing a good job but that doesn’t make it Joe. Marvel Entertain Inc. stocks starting sinking slightly in 2001 to $1 before jumping at the end of 2002 to $6 shares. What happened over 2002 to cause this jump? The Spider-Man movie. In fact, after every Marvel movie that is a hit comes out, Marvel’s stock increases (it was up to $34 share thanks to Iron Man and Hulk, and news of two more Spider-Man movies and the Avengers). In fact, the majority of Marvel’s wealth now comes in stuff not related to comics directly, but instead from movies, toys and video games. Comics are a very small part of their revenue now. <p> Joe Quesada has created new avenues for making money: Like I said above, comics are responsible for little of Marvel’s revenue nowadays. Movies, toys, games, these are Marvel’s bread-makers. And Joe has nothing to do with these parts of the Marvel Empire. That is Avi Arad (and I have some complaints about him as well, but I will skip them for now). And as I have said before, the comic market is shrinking more and more, so Joe’s success isn’t very great. <p> Well, Joe has been able to expand comic book sales: Quesada does deserve some credit for using trade paperbacks to keep comic book readers, and it was one of the things that helped bring Marvel back after being on the brink of bankruptcy following the late 90s, I still don’t think he has done much to increase comic book sales. First off, trade paperbacks cannibalize monthly comic book sales, because readers may opt to forego monthly series in order wait for the cheaper collections, not realizing that monthly sales are an indicator to publishers of interest in such collections. So he hasn’t expanded sales, he has just been having Peter rob Paul to pay Mary. <p> At least Joe has been able to get newer readers: Actually, no he hasn’t. Comic book sales are down, way down (just compare sales in the 80’s to now to see how far they have dropped). And the average age of a comic book readers have gone up over the years (an LA times article once said, “the average reader, a 12-year-old in the 50’s and a 20-year-old in the early 90’s, is now 25.” And I don’t mind older readers, but you have to realize that without fresh blood to fill up their ranks, attrition will slowly deplete your readers. So how does Joe entice new readers? He creates the Ultimate universe, which will bring in new readers because it will have gotten rid of all that history and back-story that intimidates new readers. Nice idea, except that you made the Ultimate universe so damn adult oriented (sex, violence, political statements) that the only ones who read it now are the diehard Marvel fans. Honestly, name one new reader who got into Marvel because of the Ultimate line. In fact, name one reader of the Ultimate line who is in his teens. <p> I like the direction Joe Quesada has taken Marvel: Ok, that is your prerogative and I will respect that. I, however, do not like the direction Marvel has gone (although I will admit, it is better now than during the horrible 90’s – Spider-Clones, ugh). The over emphasis on shocks and events, and his hiring of people who ever do not know or understand the characters, the lack of continuity and consistency, has prevented me from enjoying something I once loved. In fact, one title went so far off track he was forced to hit the re-set button, and even that he bungled. <p> Ok, but I understand why he banned smoking; his father died from lung cancer caused by smoking: Hey, eliminating smoking amongst kids is a noble cause, and I don’t have any problem with saying your comics should reflect the fact that smoking is dangerous. But he once stated that he felt that these characters should not be seen smoking because kids look up to them is hypocritical. Smoking is bad, but watching Captain America and the Ultimates kill people, even foes who have been defeated, is morally ok? Or to make Mr. Fantastic responsible for the death of Giant-Man, and not face legal consequences? Or to have Gwen Stacy be raped by the Green Goblin, yet have Osborn never faces any consequences for his actions? Or almost always showing anyone involved in the US military as a war criminal or jingoistic nut job (hey, I am pretty liberal and even I feel this is pretty one-side). And besides, if you wanted to show smoking is bad, show it: Have Jamison’s doctors tell him he has to quit after getting cancer; have Franklin tell Uncle Ben that his smoking is bad for him (like the Thing is going to resist his God son); have the other members of the X-Men or Avengers demand Wolverine stop smoking awful smelling cigars inside; and have SHIELD ban smoking in all facilities, forcing Nick to smoke out side. Anything is better than a blanket can’t show them smoking clause. <p> Well, at least he made the trains run on time: I don’t know about the trains, but I know many comics under his watch have missed some deadline and delivery dates. Not to sound like an angry old man, but when I was a kid I can’t ever remember a comic being delayed for MONTHS.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by Continentalop

    So you are saying that any percieved problems in the Spider-Man comics is do to "magic"? So, when Tony Stark and Reed Richard's made the Thor Clone... "Magic."

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Yes, that is what I'm saying

    by Joenathan

    neiner, neiner.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 5 p.m. CST

    Oh sure, there are attractive girls that like comics...

    by Thrillho77

    but they seem to be, without a doubt, pretty few and far between. Damn near an anomaly in a smaller town or city. <p> However, being a student in Minneapolis - I know they are out there....shopping at Source Comics & Games and Big Brain Comics.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Oh! And a tip for meeting a comic/manga loving femme....

    by Thrillho77

    If you're REALLY desperate, just go to your local Borders on a Saturday and grab a seat in view of the Comic Book & Graphic Novel section. Then play the waiting game. <p> Again, bigger cities obviously work better.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Bug, Peter remembers unmasking during Civil War

    by TallBoy66

    check out the New Ways to Die arc and Peter drops a few not-so-subtle hints that he re-covered his ID from the world and was an active participant in hiding his ID again. So the Mephisto bet was to JUST undo the marriage. The id reveal reversal was something else entirely that we don't know yet.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 5:30 p.m. CST

    TallBoy66... (RE: unmasking)

    by MisterE

    TallBoy66, Mephisto did wipe the world's memory of Peter's secret identity. When Peter and Mary Jane are discussing terms with Mephisto in the last part of "One More Day", MJ points out that Aunt May was shot because Peter had revealed his secret identity and there was no reason that the same thing couldn't happen again. Mephisto responds that he wants to destroy their "rarest love of all" and "...so if that's all it takes, consider his identity forgotten." Perhaps Mephisto magically whipped up some event to explain how the identity was forgotten, but that just adds an extra layer to the stupidity.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Good post Continentalop

    by mrfan

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 6:20 p.m. CST

    Oh, and this never gets old...

    by MisterE

    http://tinyurl.com/67cwh9

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 6:23 p.m. CST

    "Magic" my @$$.

    by SleazyG.

    "Hey, Tony, remember when I worked for you at Stark Enterprises?"<p> "Sure do, Peter! You did a helluva job on that...ummm...wait, what? I *definitely* remember you working for me, but I have no idea what it was on! PEPPER! Get me Parker's HR file!<p> "Sure thing, Mr. Stark. Why, is there something wrong? I know things were a little tense when Peter resigned..."<p> "Really? Any idea why?<p> "None at all, Tony! I mean, sure, we all know he worked here--but none of us have any idea on what, or when, or why he left! Oh well--must have been some of that crazy "magic", right Happy? Happy? Hellooo, Happy? Oh wait...I forgot that cunt Sue Richards told Tony to FUCKING KILL YOU! Ha ha, silly me! Oh well, time to go back to stealing Barbara Gordon's schtick..."

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 6:39 p.m. CST

    Girls and comics

    by gooseud

    Ok, heres are the keys (coming from a guy who married a hotty who is perfectly fine with comics): 1. Dont act ashamed. If you act like it IS dorky, then thats how it will be percieved. 2. Dont push it on them, let them come to it in their own time 3. Whatever you do, stay away from superhero comics when giving them something to peruse. No girl is THAT cool, no girl likes Thor or Captain America, period. Use this line: "Here's this comic called Local. Check it out, read the first issue, and if you dont like it, I won't ask you to read anything again". Don't worry, your safe on that one, and then you'll like like a cool MFer who is exposing her to cool stuff that she never would have seen if she hadnt met you. And then you'll get laid. Lesson over.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Magic Memory Wipe

    by Jinxo

    Maybe they are trying to play a angle on people forgetting Spider-Man's identity similar to that used on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The villain Glory had a secret identity. Whenever someone would discover her secret identity, that information would almost instantly just fall back out of their heads. Not that I care. The reboot was my exit point on SPider-Man.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Sandman, Terra, Girls and Comics

    by Homer Sexual

    Here I am staying late at work just to ask: Who in the world would buy a single issue of Sandman? I admit I USED to do that, but with them being a guaranteed TPB, and much better read in that form, it would be foolish to buy an individual issue. <p> Terra is a great character. Not familiar with her second incarnation, but the original rocked...the first and maybe only flat-chested female in comics (no wonder she was made out to be nuts). This new one isn't quite as good a character,but still a bang-up comic. IMO, Gray and Palmiotti can do no wrong. I love Jonah Hex, loved thier Wolverine/Black Cat team up, their Heroes for Hire and Shanna. Team them with Khari Evans and it's an A+ read, for sure. <p> Girls don't like super hero comics. They can be turned on to Preacher, Y, and pretty much anything that isn't your traditional super hero comic. This also applies to most people who aren't into comics...they like the stories that are good, somewhat self-contained, and NO SPANDEX. <p> Not that it makes much difference to me. No hot girls here, even though I have money, hair and (honestly) an athletic body. But, well, I am homo so there you go.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:19 p.m. CST

    But Homer...........

    by gooseud

    How do you get the gay dudes into comics? Thats the real question! I'm assuming Y:The Last Man isn't QUITE as effective as is on the ladies? Oh, and for the record, any chick that can read the Preacher Vol. 1 TPB (featuring Arseface and more blood then the elevator scene in The Shining) and actually like it is one you marry. Thats what you call a "keeper".

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Thank you for all your responses

    by Dashing Roger

    I appreciate your feedback. My conclusions: <br> <br> Laserhead: I am quite envious of you. Indeed, I can almost feel your testosterone force field from here. Any closer, I fear you might spray me in the face. <br> <br> Snookeroo: Without a doubt, the most helpful advice given. <br> <br> loodabagel: Hard for me to make anyone feel unhip, but I'll give those titles a try. <br> <br> Rev_Skarekroe: Piercings on chicks freak me out. I can deal with maybe one or two tramp stamps but any more than that and I start flashing back to prison. <br> <br> Psynapse: I'm guessing you're a complete and utter douchebag. Don't ever call me "dude" again unless I give you permission. <br> <br> Series7: That's an idea. But only if they're retarded. Don't want them pressing charges. <br> <br> Aside from finding the right woman and checking out some less mainstream titles, I think I'm sticking with my game plan. <br> <br> Thanks anyway.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Dan Slott on ID reversal and non-Mephisto 3rd party

    by TallBoy66

    Don't shoot the messenger kid, but here's Slott on New Ways to die: "Something happened and obviously Peter knows about it. Let me say again, whatever Peter did and whoever the 'We' is that he made reference to in 'New Ways to Die' chapter two, Mephisto was not part of that. Peter and his accomplice or accomplices did something and now people don't seem to know that he's Spider-Man...So Something fishy is going on here." So, yeah, Slott just ret-conned the ret-conn. So now there's that, but, for all intents and purposes, Spidey remembers his unmasking and then undoing it.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:32 p.m. CST

    shit, link here

    by TallBoy66

    My bad, full interview with Slott: http://tinyurl.com/6c6tlb

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Magic Ticket, my ass: BND thoughts.

    by Continentalop

    Why Magic is a bad answer Yeah, magic can do amazing things. And yes, magic doesn’t have to be completely “realistic”; in fact it is on the opposite side of the spectrum as realistic (although, am I the only one that seems to remember when Marvel’s magic system seemed to have “rules?”). But that doesn’t mean it should be used where it doesn’t fit. Spider-Man is not a magic-based character. He can meet magical beings, just like he can meet aliens or time travelers or even gods, but these meetings should be exceptions to his adventures and they shouldn’t be the ones dictating the direction of his storylines or his character. Doctor Strange can have everyone’s memory of his secret identity wiped out by magic, and so can Thor, but not Spider-Man. Just like Dr. Strange and Thor shouldn’t be using a Encephalon-Mnemonic Inhibitor Ray to cause everyone on earth to forget their secret IDs. <p> In fact, they could of used other things to “re-set” Spider-Man, such as a Cosmic Cube or the Infinite Gauntlet or have Immortus time travel back for him and change history, but even those would have left a bad taste in many peoples mouth. Why, because A) they don’t fit with Spider-Man’s particular milieu in the superhero world; B) it would still seem to be an lazy solution by the writers and the editing staff to try and change what Spider-Man has become over the years, instead of actually being creative; and C) it goes against his character – Would Spider-Man ever make a deal with the Red Skull? Fuck no! But now he is making a deal with evil incarnate! Someone who is worse than the Red Skull by a thousand fold! Like Spidey wouldn’t guess, “there has to be some sort of hidden clause here. This can’t work out right.” <p> My biggest problem with the BND storyline is that all of the problems (his new powers, revealing his identity, and his marriage to MJ) could have been solved with simply good writing. They didn’t need to pull this simple explanation, but instead could have been more creative. <p> To best demonstrate this, and how the writers should have handled it, let’s get a different character and apply the BND storyline to him: Batman. What if Bruce Wayne had gotten married to Vicki Vale, somehow became the Spirit of the Bat where he gained new powers, was given a new costume designed by Steel, and then revealed his identity as Batman to the world. After DC realized this was a bad direction to go in, would the writer’s have mics come up with a storyline that would have forced him to make a deal with Neron because Robin was on death’s door thanks to an assassin sent by the Penguin, and this deal would also conveniently wipeout Batman’s marriage, new powers and costume? First off I would hope the writers would never put themselves in that corner where they had to solve so many problems. But if they did, I would hope they wouldn’t use anything a ridiculous as I described to get him out of it (they could have Batman and Vicki Vale divorce or have her die; have him loose his new powers and costume, have Martian Manhunter or Superman impersonate him, so they could create an the believable lie that Bruce Wayne really wasn’t Batman; hell, have another Crisis to wipe out all the bad shit in all the comics, not just Batman’s). But for some reason, Joe Quesada and Marvel thought this was the best direction to go.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:45 p.m. CST

    I wanna start reading spiderman again

    by T 1000 xp professional

    I've been a huge fan my whole life but I've been burned by the clone saga(yeah it's been a while). I casually read a book every now and then, but all i hear is the freaking continuity issues and problematic approaches to his character. It definitely feels like I haven't been in the loop but nothing is going on that hasn't been done before( and if something new has happened they just ignore it since the writers feel they have no where else to go). It really sucks when you're either too scared to read the issues or just not interested enough to read something that been rated "decent" at best. If a kind samaritan would be willing to lend a knowledgeable hand, it would be most definitely appreciated.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:48 p.m. CST

    scratch definitely*

    by T 1000 xp professional

    new sandman? holy shnikes

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Continentalop

    by the milf lover

    you said "Someone mentioned that Marvel sells 50% of the comic market. Hell, that is a drop than. Marvel used to sell 75% of all comics from the early 80’s up into the 90’s."<p> Back then there were like only half a dozen comic publishers. Now there are dozens that are producing great quality comics by well known creators, of various topics other than just superheroes and Archie. makes sense that Marvel's share of the market would be smaller.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 8:56 p.m. CST

    Spider-man

    by Redmantle

    I wish they'd let Spider-man "man up" a bit. I like him being quippy, but he always seems to be lacking confidence. Admittely, I don't read Spider-man comics, but this is part of the reason. I tried brand new day, I really did, but is Marvel trying to tell me that with all the things that Parker has seen and done he hasn't evolved some genuine god-damn confidence by now! Come on! I actually kind of like the version of Spider-man in Spider-man and His Amazing Friends. Yeah, that cartoon had its issues, and was kind of watered down, but the Spider-Man in that was first rate. Firestar obviously had the hots for him, and Spider-man was the leader. Yeah he was quippy, and funny, but he had balls, and took the lead. That's where Spider-man should be at this point, I think!

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:24 p.m. CST

    about 'mixing' girls and comics

    by the milf lover

    I've never hidden or been ashamed of my love of comics, and it's never been an issue with any girl I've been involved with (well except one, who whenever we would fight would say I was wasting money on comics to counter my telling her she was wasting money on drugs; yeah, reading a Hellboy book is as bad as doing crack, shut up you stupid cunt). I dont see how that one thing could be a problem (unless she's a bitch, in which case you dont want to be with her), it's not like you have to share the same love of comics or Vanity Fair or Marilyn Monroe or whatever. If it's the ONLY thing that defines you, then that can be a problem. Or there could be something else wrong with you that's turning them off.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:27 p.m. CST

    Sandman

    by frozen01

    "Dream of a Thousand Cats" is really awesome (most because I just love cats, but its a great allegory for any sort of self-governance, especially the line at the end about it not working because you can never get a thousand cats to thinking something at the same time) but it's definitely not in Preludes and Nocturnes.<br>And I agree, Seasons of Mist is definitely the best, although almost all of the rest of the "volumes" (I prefer books) come really close. The whole series is great. <br><br>Of course, I may be a bit biased since I, like most women, got my introduction to comics through Sandman.<br><br>We of the female persuasion really need to get over the "comic book nerd" thing. You won't find a group of men more dedicated to pleasing you, even if they may need a few pointers :) Plus, I think it's more "cool" for guys to like comics now, and girls, too. <br><br>My favs? Sandman (which I think may have even snuck its way into my personal religious beliefs and practices, believe it or not), Transmetropolitan (!!!aw yeah!!!), Swamp Thing (surprisingly, at least to me when I first read it... the "sex" scene was amazing... I think I was seeing things in technicolor for 3 days after reading that), Preacher, Hellblazer, X (or X-1999 - amazing artwork, love CLAMP), Lucifer (brilliant Sandman spinoff - Lucifer is a great literary character, especially Gaiman's interpretation), and some of the more in-depth, less superhero-ey Spiderman comics. Oh, and a bit o' X-Men, just for nostalgic purposes (loved the cartoon as a kid).

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Milf Lover

    by Continentalop

    What you say may be true, maybe the number of quality producers has eaten into Marvel's domination of the comic book market. But by that still doesn’t mean that Marvel hasn’t lost ground to traditional rivals in the same genre. If these new competitors have hurt Marvel’s sales figures, you would expect that the would have reduced DC’s to where they were still only selling 1/3 the amount that Marvel was. But according to Diamond Distribution’s 2005 figures, DC comics controlled 32.96% of the market, while Marvel controlled 36.97% of the market (I don’t know if that 50% figure I have heard and read about before is for 2008 or for only the direct market). You just have to look at the numbers to see that DC has closed the gap tremendously between Marvel and themselves since the 80’s and 90’s. <p> Many things might have caused this lost ground to DC - bad storylines, the resurgence of DC since the 80’s, the near bankruptcy in the late 90s – and perhaps none of these are Quesada’s fault. However, my point wasn’t that he has lost so much ground in the Super-hero comic book market place, but instead that his company has dominated so much of the market place even before he took over that I can’t see how he gets any credit for Marvel’s dominance in the first place (steverodgers, 12:43:27).

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:47 p.m. CST

    okay I see what you mean

    by the milf lover

    I think Quesada gets that credit because people generally seem to agree that Marvel comics of this decade (under his EIC reign) are of better quality than they were in the 90s. Whether that's true or not is arguable of course.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:52 p.m. CST

    Some girls like superheroes.

    by Deathpool

    My girlfriend at the moment (who is delicious and wonderful and gorgeous beyond compare and is watching me type this) can get into some superheroes, though her tastes do lean towards Vertigo-ish stuff like Y the Last Man and Fables. But she digs the X-Men, likes Green Lantern, and will occasionally pick up some other superhero-y book I've got lying around. So, its not impossible. Women aren't some systematic creatures that all have sets of likes and dislikes, they come in all flavors. Though I gave her Ultimate Spider-Man and she thought it was the dumbest thing on earth, so her tastes are obviously subject to questioning (It was worth it!).

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Milf Lover...

    by Deathpool

    I would say that across the board, the comics of 2000 and up blow the stuff from the 90's out of the water, especially the mid/late 90's where it seemed like Marvel and DC were churning out mass amounts of crap and it was selling. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, people just stopped buying. I worked at a comic store once upon a time and remember my boss talking about it sometimes, how books like Thunderstrike, Force Works, Quasar and the like plummeted with only the big series' really being able to sustain anything close to sales (not that those books did gangbusters, but they were profitable). Look through those quarter bins at some of that 90's stuff sometime and be amazed at the hellish combination of horrible writing and atrocious art.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:09 p.m. CST

    I know I bought a lot of that 90s crap myself

    by the milf lover

    but back then comics were mostly under $2 each, so I didnt mind the shit as much. Now if I pay $3-4 for a comic and I dont think it's great I'm pissed!

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:32 p.m. CST

    I'm a girl and I love superhero comics

    by Spifftacular Squirrel Girl

    Sadly I just don't read them as much as I used to but I did really get into Runaways, New X-Men, Gail Simone's Birds of Prey, Ultimate Spider-Man and so on. <p> I also have a friend who checks them out occasionally but is more of a manga nerd.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 10:59 p.m. CST

    STILL WAITING FOR THE SANDMAN MOVIE.

    by alice 13

    plz.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:09 p.m. CST

    I'd be happy with a Death: High Cost of Living film

    by Spifftacular Squirrel Girl

    Or anything else be Neil Gaiman the more I think about it. Coraline should be great and I hope it does well enough for movie studios to greenlight some more of his work for films and television.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:14 p.m. CST

    Milf Lover

    by Continentalop

    While I am not a fan of a lot of modern comic books, especially the bloated event comics, I agree that most of the 90’s stuff was just God fucking awful shit. But I find myself harder to blame the editing staff of Marvel as much as I blame the current staff. The reason being that in the 90’s I think the EIC did not have nearly as much control as Quesada has now, and that the overall directions of the comic books where dictated by Ronald Perelman and other executives, who didn’t give a shit about comics just as long as they were selling a lot of them (hence the horrible alternative covers, new short lived series after short lived series, renumbering and generally bad gimmicks). Even after the new owners took over, they still had some bad ideas but at least they had the excuse that they were trying to revive a bankrupt company. In fact, while EIC’s reign was pretty bad (Onslaught, Heroes Reborn, Clone Wars, Spider-Man: Chapter 1) I will give him credit for keeping Marvel afloat and helping it regain its feet.

  • Nov. 12, 2008, 11:19 p.m. CST

    EIC during the 90's

    by Continentalop

    Was Bob Harras. I should have added his name.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 12:07 a.m. CST

    Evil

    by magsweeto

    Girls, booze, drugs, reckless endangerment, illegal downloads...none of them are as good as comics. I should have never left you for the real world, Jean Grey. And by the way, I'm pretty much a genius when it comes to language and lore, and I'm pretty sure Mephisto is AN Devil. You're Welcome. Why is spell-check underlining Mephisto? Isn't he in the OED?

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:28 a.m. CST

    Why magic works

    by Joenathan

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:40 a.m. CST

    because it does

    by Joenathan

    fucking deal with it. Its a like a jedi mind trick, man, come on. Whenever Tony starts to wonder just what peter did when he worked for him, he suddenly gets distracted by pretty lights and thoughts of boobies, thats what the spell is supposed to do. Its supposed to be awkward and crazy and not fit into the normal world. Why? Because its magic.<br><br>Now obviously this situation can't stay like this... Which one of you retards ACTUALLY thinks Spider-man will maintain this status quo? I hope the answer is none. Because between this, and all the hints at Dr. Strange build up, the side-focus on the Hood and now his connection to Dormannu... You'll see, kids, you'll see... I mean really, hasn't the hatred dark lord Quesada already show a tendency toward large stories that start slowly out of multiple spots? Hmmmm? I'm just saying... <br><br>My advice to you panty-bunched idividuals out there still agonizing over BND: If you seriously can't accept the fact that the magic spell is going to be weird and awkward and unrealistic by its very nature, then quit reading spider-man for a while. Go on... its alright, you can stop... really... its okay. Check back in a year or two and then... oh, think of how cool you can be, swaggering onto a message board and announcing that you stopped reading Spider-man years ago when all the BND shit hit (even though you secretly peak at it in your LCS... shhh... I won't tell) and then you can get behind the new direction and creative team and talk about how happy you are to see spider-man back on track... why, it'll be just like discovering that the true meaning of christmas was inside of you all along. Huzzah!<br><Br>Personally, I don't read main continuity spider-man. Its lame. Now Ultimate Spider-man? Thats awesome. Have I mentioned lately how Bendis writes circles around Geoff Johns? No? Well, Green Lantern sucks balls! Hi-Yah!

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:44 a.m. CST

    Also

    by Joenathan

    Spider-man lives in the same world as Doom and Strange, therefore, magic is a part of his world, so it fits. I know you wish it didn't, but it does. Its an accepted part of the Marvelverse. Its a known quanity. You can make all the declarations you want to, but it won't change the fact that magic is a part of spider-man's world. He may not be able to weild it, it may not be an every day facet of his world, but he certainly has a long history with it, he is certainly familiar with it.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 2 a.m. CST

    I dont have a problem with BND magic

    by the milf lover

    the problem is they had to resort to it to "fix" all the damage that had been done by years of crap writing and the stupidity of unmasking him in the first place, and to fulfill Quesada's wish of unmarrying Spidey. I agree tho that too many people knew his identity, but not all of it was bad, they actually improved Aunt May by having her finally find out. But whatever, I only buy Spider-man when John Romita Jr is the artist. New Ways To Die was a pretty good read, despite all the BND nonsense. If I want to read great Spidey stories I'll pull out my old 70s-80s comics. Someday I'll buy the Essential collections too.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 2:27 a.m. CST

    Ugh, okay. Regarding women and comics...

    by Organs

    Or, well, any geeky interest: It's not that you're into geeky things that turns off some women. It's that you don't acknowledge other activities that she may enjoy. <br> <br> If you love comics to the point where the recent presidential election barely registered with your consciousness, then yes, it'll be a turnoff. If you have a variety of interests--one of which being comics--then it'll just be another interest. <br> <br> See, ANYTHING can be a geeky interest. There are two points to be made about geek things like Dungeons and Dragons, video games, Star Trek, comics, etc. etc., and they are thus: 1) Compared with people who play basketball, go bowling, ride bikes, go to the movies, theater, concerts, and whatever else, the geek stuff is obscure and foreign, and 2) People who are really into geeky stuff are so into it that their notice of the outside world is limited at best. So, if a guy is really into Fantasy Football, then that can become an obsession that would turn a girl off. <br> <br> Illustrating my point, have you ever met someone who plays World of Warcraft? Okay, here's the thing. While unlikely, it is possible to play the game merely on occasion and lead a normal, functional life that can include girls, and even women. It's not the game; it's how people get sucked into it. <br> <br> And finally, yes, there are cute girls into all these really geeky things. I used to go to an annual anime convention, and lemme tell you: some of those girls in costumes are pretty easy on the eyes.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 3:05 a.m. CST

    Milf Lover

    by Continentalop

    I agree with what you have written above. Like you, my problem wasn’t with “magic” per say but they had resorted to using it as a lazy solution to a problem that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. Yes, anything can happen with magic, but that doesn’t mean the use of it wasn’t a bad idea. Shit, Spider-Man could have gotten a hold of the Cosmic Cube from Thanos and reshaped reality and it would still have been a lazy solution (but it would have made more sense). <p> Milf Lover, you mentioned you read 70’s or 80’s comics if you want a good Spidey story. Well my question for you is can you imagining them ever having Spider-Man make a deal with Mephisto to undo several years of bad stories (well, first off they probably wouldn’t of had several years of bad stories)? Hell no, right? They wouldn’t have let the writers solve the problem using Mephisto as some sort of dues ex machina, or in this case diabolus ex machina. They would have forced them to earn a No Prize in getting Peter Parker out of the corner that he had been painted into. <p> PS - Yeah get the Essentials. They might be black and white, but they are worth it. Also, buy the Amazing Spider-Man DVD-Rom. It has every issues up to June 2006.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 7:16 a.m. CST

    Bendis writes circles around Johns?

    by Laserhead

    Only if by 'circles' you mean 'spinning quickly in place like a retard trying to give himself a head-rush.' Slope-browed mouth-breathers who want their comic books to be pale imitations of Aaron Sorkin TV: Bendis is your jew.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:11 a.m. CST

    My two cents....

    by BangoSkank

    One: The fact that --out there right now-- there is someone who calls herself The Spifftacular Squirrel Girl, and who likes superhero comics.... Well, it makes my heart sing.... <p> Two: I hate to say it, but I agree with Joenathan. Although I despise that a deal with THE Devil was made, there's magic afoot, and I think that it's building toward something... Probably another big, messy crossover of some sort. At the end of which, Aunt May's life will be saved in a retro-retro-reboot by Peter... And, that many of the superheros will figure out that some kind of hinky magic was being used, but only a few will remember exactly what. Peter will likely carry a great deal of guilt over this, 'cause you know, that's his thing. Or, something equally retarded. <p> Finally: I never had much of an issue with the comics versus chicks debate, most thought it was goofily charming.... But I never had any success in trying to get anyone to read them, so gave it up as a lost cause.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Spiff, Bango, and Joen

    by gooseud

    Spiff: Pics or werk heh hehe heh Bango: keep the faith, man. Just throw anything Vertigo in front of a chick, its like fantasy football to guys, they cant resist! Joen: I'm not convinced you arent simply a troll, but heres the thing: everyone understands how the magic thing works. They just think its lame. "Because I said so" is weak as a driving force behind a storyline, just my 2 cents.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Spider-Man's deal with the Devil, Brand New Day bullshit.

    by Leafar the Lost

    ...was total, complete bullshit. It makes me mad for one simple reason; it was completely unneccesary. You already had a way to explain Peter Parker unmasking on TV; he was a Skrull. It would have answered that question, and then you could have had Peter Parker DIVORCE Mary Jane. Instead, you make up this bullshit deal with the Devil, and somehow everyone in the world has forgotten that Peter revealed his secret idenity on TV. Bullshit! Marvel needs to have a Crisis to fix it, because of one character. Of course, it won't happen. Hey, the sales are up, so what is the big deal? I haven't bought a Spider-Man book in years, and I do not intend too.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:47 a.m. CST

    MILF

    by Joenathan

    Who says they're "fixing" anything? This magic spell thing, to me, looks like a storyline. You'll see, it'll begin to unravel... why? Because it makes no sense, too many people should remember something (remember in the Sentry trade how his spell kept coming undone over the years? Same thing.) and soon Dr. Strange is going to come back and notice the disturbance in the force and blah, blah, blah.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Alright thats enough

    by Joenathan

    Are you guys really seriously discussing how to be a geek and meet chicks at the same time on the AICN @sshole talkback?<br><br> Stop that!<br><br> For christ's sake, have some pride.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:52 a.m. CST

    But Laserhead,

    by Joenathan

    I DO want my comics to be pale imitations of Aaron Sorkin TV...<br><br>Bendis can be my jew any time he wants.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:55 a.m. CST

    YEAH BANGO!

    by Joenathan

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Great minds, huh?<br><br>But its "A Devil" not "THE Devil", you had a typo there...

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:57 a.m. CST

    "Its just lame"

    by Joenathan

    uh huh<br><br>I think what you really mean to say is: "WAAAAAH! I MISS MARY JANE! WAAAAAAAH! PETER WAS SOOOO HAPPY! WAAAAAH!"<br><Br>And Goose, I'm not entirely convinced that YOU'RE not a troll, so there.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Girls tend to like really good superhero comics.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Watchmen, for example. But even then, their enjoyment tends to be lukewarm in comparison to Vertigo-esque material. For example, my girl enjoyed the clone saga in Ultimate Spider-Man enough that she actually geeked out when Ultimate Nick Fury showed up in the Iron Man movie. But she has no desire to see what Ultimate Spidey is up to month after month.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:33 a.m. CST

    I also have a Doktor Sleepless review

    by Laserhead

    I just read the hardcover collection, and if you missed the first 8 issues, let me fill you in. In the main, two things occur:<p>1) Various characters with identically abrasive personalities catalog the theoretical technologies Ellis is currently foaming for ("One day people will be able to plug this into their blah-blah-blah TALK to BUILDINGS and TREES blah-blah-blah can you imagine blah-blah-blah)<p>2)The main character walks around a city repeatedly reminding us that he's got big, BIG plans for this place (plans which presumably occur sometime beyond this $34.99 book). Awesome.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Ultimate Spidey

    by Slaphappy Slim

    Whoever it was asking if he/she should read Ultimate Spidey from the beginning (and I have), the answer is ABSOLUTELY. In my 30 years of reading comics I don't know if I've ever seen a title maintain such a level of consistency. Like a good many others here, I'd take a pass on main continuity Spidey until they sort out some of the clusterfuck.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 11 a.m. CST

    hahahahahaha

    by Slaphappy Slim

    Also, as usual, joenathan is a condescending douchebag to everybody he disagrees with here. And it never stops being utterly hysterical, as he is brilliant at it.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Joenathan..

    by SpikeTBB

    I hope you are right about the Faustian deal being a storyline and the spell will fall apart as Spider Man gets his spine back. That would actually make a good thread out of this tangled mess and give some good writers a lot to work with. They can even pretend they meant it that way all along. Like Pee Wee Herman and his bike wreck "I meant to do that"

  • Nov. 13, 2008, noon CST

    I heart you Slaphappy

    by Joenathan

    BIG time. Never doubt that. If for no other reason then I am in complete agreement with you about Ultimate Spider-man. You don't see a book that consistantly well down any more, shit, you barely even see a book thats consistant anymore...<br><br>Unless its by Loeb, Winnick or Liefeld, then its consitantly crappy.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Spike

    by Joenathan

    I hope I'm right too, because otherwise, not only would the whole BND thing suck, but I would be wrong and that would REALLY suck. I was wrong about their plans for World War Hulk, so... I guess it could happen a second time... anything's possible... especially where magic is concerned...<br><br>See what I did there?<br><br>Honestly, I just don't think that they could NOT be aware of the problems with this current status quo. They have to be. This is there job. Besides, Slott's acknowledged it, so... We'll see, I guess.<br><Br>Also, I don't really think Green Lantern sucks balls, it was just fun to say.<br><br><br><br>A devil

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 12:36 p.m. CST

    As magsweeto pointed out....

    by BangoSkank

    It's not "a devil" or "the Devil, but "AN Devil". <p> Though, having described himself a linguistic genius, I hope he was being as sarcastic as I am now.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:44 p.m. CST

    The problems many readers have with BND

    by Continentalop

    So you like the current storyline. Fine. And you think it will have a payoff. Great. You might be right. But that doesn’t mean the following criticisms of BND are not true: <p> 1) That Joe Quesada and the writers of Spider-Man had realized that they had taken Spider-Man down a wrong path, that they had made a character who bore little resemblance to the original and that this new direction was going to hurt the character in the future. Especially in sales and when people saw he bore little resemblance to the one in the movies. <p> 2) That the BND storyline is just an easy solution, a “diabolus ex machina” as I said above. Instead of having a story that develops organically and naturally, which has been the standard of the Spider-Man comic for nearly 50 years, they decide to have someone come along and “magically” change everything. I mean he gives up his love for MJ to save the life of Aunt May, why would Mephisto give a shit about restoring his secret identity and getting rid of his fugitive status? The answer being that it was the easy thing to do. <p> 3) That this does not fit the Spider-Man comic, since he shouldn’t be having magic as the centerpiece of a storyline that changes his fundamental character any more than Doctor Strange should have science. Wouldn’t you find it stupid if Dr. Strange asked Kang for help in erasing his memory from the world by using his Time Machine? Doesn’t fit. Well, Same thing with Spider-Man and Mephisto. There are certain things he shouldn’t be involved in. You haven’t seen Spider-Man as a Herald of Galactus, wielder of Thor’s hammer or have him take on Ego the Living Planet. Certain things don’t work for Spider-Man. <p> 4) It also doesn’t fit his character, whose mantra has always been “with great power comes great responsibility.” While he might be tempted, the Peter Parker I know would never accept a deal with a character that resembles Satan. He would realize that as much as he wants his Aunt May to live and he loves her, he would make the hard choice of letting her die because he wouldn’t want to play God, or pay the price for doing so. <p> 5) It also doesn’t fit the character of Mephisto. How often has he met Spider-Man before this? A Holiday special where Spider-Man battles to save the Spirit of Christmas is the only time I remember. So why would he show up now to deal with Spider-Man now (see #2 above for the answer)? <p> 6) That in the end this will only leave you with a bad taste. Spider-Man made a deal with Mephisto, the/a/an devil, Marvel’s comics ultimate Satanic figure, but we know he will never have to make any real sacrifice at the end of this storyline, and that Spider-Man will go back to the old status quo with only a couple illusions of change thrown in. The moral of when you make a deal with the devil is that the deal never works out and the price is always to high. Do you expect to see anything permanent and horrible happen to Peter Parker himself? No, we will only get a story where he suffers damnation and torment for one or two issues, but than Doc Strange or someone else (does Loki still owe him a favor) will come to his rescue, so in the end he will not have to face any permanent consequences for his lapse in moral judgment. Spider-Man won’t have to worry about spending eternity in hell, being cursed (Ghost-Spider anyone) or even have his happy-go-lucky personality changed by the fact that his actions might have damned others. In 5 years it will be forgotten, just another whacky adventure for Spider-Man, and not the character building events like Captain Stacy and Gwen Stacy’s deaths were. <p> So if none of this bothers you, ok. But it bothers me, and others like me. And I am waiting for someone to point out how any of these points that I have listed above are not accurate. <p> And as for the suggestion that we should just wait until a new team and creative direction, my problem with that is that I am a Spider-Man fan. I want to read a good Spider-Man comic, preferably now instead of having to wait years before that can happen. But they way things are going, I might as well stop reading him all together, which I imagine a lot of readers might be contemplating.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 2:03 p.m. CST

    it's a love-in, then

    by Slaphappy Slim

    joenathan is right on point: there's little to no CONSISTENCY with comics anymore. Different books used to have their own identities, and would be allowed to develop the characters and their worlds in a manner, and with a pacing, that made sense. Without a crisis/invasion/cross-over shitstorm to tie in with every other month. When I was growing up, Roger Stern/Romita Jr.s ASM was a perfect example. Ultimate Spidey is a throwback in the sense that it's one of the few modern titles that retains that quality, thank God. The creative teams sticking around for more than five minutes (and being on schedule) helps a great deal in this regard, to be sure.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Actually

    by Joenathan

    I wouldn't say that I "like" the storyline, because I don't read it.<br><br> My whole stance is that it is obvious to me, that SOMETHING else is going on, that BND is not a 'fix" in the way the first Crisis attempted to be. All I’m saying is that I think they are planning something. That’s all. On to your points…<br><br> 1. I bet Spider-man ends up in the same place as he was when its all said and done, maybe with an alteration or two, but back to where he was Post Civil War, but then I have absolutely nothing to base that speculation off of... much like you with yours...<br><Br> 2. This is also nothing but negative speculation on your part based primarily on the fact that you disapprove of the current storyline. If someone more tolerant were to speculate (like me), perhaps their speculation on why BND was created would go as thus: "They decided to use the magic route, obviously, because it was new and different and crazy, ESPECIALLY where Spider-man is concerned, also, there's a larger story to be told here, one that strikes right at the center of who Spider-man is: A story about Responsibility. <br><Br> 3.Ah.... Didn't we have a Cosmic Spider-man a while back? Wasn't there some magic Spider Talisman bullshit going on for a time? Spider-man often goes to Reed Richards with big problems that require Science, so why not use magic if he needs to? So why, your next question will be, didn't he go to Strange then? Duh, its because what Spider-man wanted to do is a bad thing and he knows it and he also knew that Strange (who was also missing at the time) would never allow it. Spider-man was acting rashly, IRRESPONSIBLLY even, in order to save a loved one and Strange's answer would have been that sometimes you just have to face things and take RESPONSIBILITY for your actions. (MESSAGE!)<br><br> 4. See 2 and 3<br><Br> 5. Hmmmm... maybe it fits in with a larger story, maybe the powers of Hell are marshalling and laying plans to attack and then rule in a... DARK REIGN! The signs are all there. Keep watching the sky! His coming has been foretold! Behold Goza the Gozarian!<br><br> 6. I disagree, I bet Spidey carries a lot of guilt from the aftermath of this. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to see the death of Aunt May either. The guilt thing... thats all spider-man. Its classic. Also, do you REALLY want o see Spider-man rot in hell… that weird…<br><br> So there, there are some possible answers. As for all your boo-hooing at the end there over being a fan... stop it. Be a man. Marvel owes you nothing. If you don't like the product, stop supporting it. Get down off the cross, son, someone else needs the wood.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Continentalop

    by Slaphappy Slim

    Hey, I agree with you on some, not all, of your points, and I'm just about as unhappy with ASM as I've ever been. But the truth is, all of us who don't like what's going on ARE just going to have to wait a while until things sort out/settle down. Look at it this way: you can save yourself a few bucks a month for a while, and in this economy, that ain't all that bad of a thing. I mean, I HATE not buying a Spidey comic drawn by Romita Jr., but for now them's the breaks.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 2:26 p.m. CST

    You could always get Kick Ass

    by Joenathan

    cause JRJR is certainly doing that on that title.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Kudos

    by Continentalop

    I give you a lot of credit for answering my questions very logically and thoughtfully, and you have made many good points; however, I disagree with some of your responses. I imagine that my arguments will not sway you, but I will still present them. <p> First off, you see BND as being planned and that everything going on serves some sort of well-thought out purpose; I, however, see it as being a Crisis-like attempt to simplify Spider-Man’s continuity and shed off some of the baggage. While it might develop and have a payoff, it still seems to me that the first point of BND wasn’t to take Spidey in a new direction or an interesting storyline, it was to find an easy solution to a problem (which is why I would have been just as unhappy with using a Cosmic Cube, Shaper of Worlds, or a Time Platform to solve this mess). <p> Now, in response to your responses to my questions: <p> 1) You say that Spider-Man will basically end up where he was Post Civil War, but I imagine you mean Pre-Civil War but I could be wrong. If you do mean Post Civil War, do you really believe that they will have Spider-Man be a fugitive who still has the powers from the Others? I find that hard to believe, especially since they are now trying to distance that character from that depiction. <p> 2) How else am I to look at it except as a gimmicky solution? They basically took everything that they have done in Spider-Man, all of the “brave new direction” and the “bold decision to have him unmask” , and had it undone iwith a wave of a/an/the devil’s hand. In fact, in My Cup of Joe, Quesada says that “While, we won't be making any direct references to "The Other," it's still a part of Spidey history, and it remains to be seen how Pete lost those powers.” So instead of answering the problem now, by showing how all of these amazing new powers that have fuelled the last couple of years stories have been lost, we are going to just going to have to wait and look at it as an afterthought? And you wonder why I am cynical towards them? <p> 3) Yes, there was a cosmic storyline and the Others (which I wasn’t a fan of, either). I admit I made my point rather badly here. What I was trying to get at was how you shouldn’t be using something so out of Spider-Man’s milieu as the centerpiece for something that will change his fundamental character. Yes he had Cosmic Powers, but he didn’t use them to save Aunt May from death or to bring back Gwen Stacy. Here is a storyline where he is going against his own motto, “Responsibility”, yet they are using magic, something not associated with Spider-Man normally, as a plot device. Perhaps it is my own personal bias, but if you are going to challenge Spidey’s core beliefs, if you are really going to tempt him to turn away from his most tightly held belief, I want it to be by something that is as close to his world as possible, something that can be viewed as a possible real temptation and not an outside influence that can only be viewed as aberration (“Well I don’t have to worry about this anymore because I am never going to make a deal with a devil again!”). <p> 4) You think it fits the storyline, I feel it goes against his character. I guess we have to agree to disagree. <p> 5) You think it might fit a larger storyline, and it might very well be. But to me it feels forced and out of character. And if I can’t believe that this is something he would do, it undermines my ability to believe in the story. <p> 6) No, I don’t want to see Spidey rot in hell, but my problem is that there will not be a consequence that fits the magnitude of this situation or a payoff equal to the setup. He made a deal with Mephisto, Marvel comic’s version of Satan. This isn’t a metaphoric demon or evil as an abstract concept, this is the real fucking deal, and Spider-Man has willingly entered into a deal with this being. Like I said before, would Spider-Man knowingly make a deal with the Red Skull, and if he did don’t you think such a scenario would change the fundamental nature of Spider-Man’s character? Well, so should dealing with Mephisto, but I seriously doubt Marvel will be willing enough to have Spider-Man be guilty, brooding or punished enough to match the severity of his actions. <p> My problem with all of this is that, in my opinion, it hurts Spider-Man’s continuity. I know some of you laugh at this, but one of the great strengths of Spider-Man and Marvel has long been the fact that it was a shared Universe, and that history, continuity and plausibility have been the keystones to it. As Peter David said, “A shared universe, like any fictional construct, hinges on suspension of disbelief. When continuity is tossed away, it tatters the construct. Undermines it.” <p> In closing I will add that I admit Marvel owes me nothing. Like you I do not read the current ASM, or almost any Marvel Comics for that matter. I followed your advice and took my money elsewhere, and I am not supporting their product. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t mind reading them again if they got good again. If you are a fan of the 49’ers, you might stop watching them now because they suck and you don’t like the direction is going in, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want them to get back on top so you can start following them again. <p> Oh, and as for your crack about getting off my cross, I don’t see where I ever acted as a martyr or anything other than a fan with an opinion. Have I stated how they have ruined Spider-Man or raped my most cherished memories? No, I have merely expressed a viewpoint, which many share. Plus, I could say you should stop hiding behind the Marvel Flag (“Love the House of Ideas or Leave it”), but I am above such nonsense…

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Continentalop

    by SpikeTBB

    You said it more succinctly than I did, but that was what I was trying to get to. The plot device was very weak and lame, but what bothers me more is the implications to Spider Man's character and the end results. The version of the character that emerged from the change was not Spider Man or Pete. I'm even more cynical than you in one respect: I think they did it to make him younger and more high-school like to reel in younger readers. Comics always underestimated the intelligence of its younger fans any way and dumb down the books aimed at them. But I think it is interesting that you picked The Red Skull, of all villains, in you example. There was an issue (Web of Spider Man, I think) where The Red Skull made Spider Man an offer. There was this business deal in Washington Spider Man had been tracking down and it turned out Skull was behind it. Spider Man was being hunted by the Feds at that point and Captain America.Cap had been a real dick to him earlier that day. Pete was in even worse need of money than usual and Skull offered him a brief case full of money to just walk away. So what if the government contracts in the deal went to Skull''s company instead of some other one? Why suffer and turn down money for a government that persecuted and hunted him? Pete actually considered it. Stood there with the money in his hands and agreed with Skull for a panel or two. Then he handed it back and said "No, it's not right. Despite everything its still my country and this is still wrong." Skull's reply was "There must be some aspect to patriotism that breeds stupidity. Kill him" Skull got away but Spider Man's honor stayed intact. (I'm paraphrasing but I know it went down something like that) THAT"S the hero I am lamenting, the continuity I miss. It's not so much Marvel remembering all the details of each issue and a characters history. It's the lack of understanding of that characters core personality, which should be consistent. Sure, you can put them under strain and have them make bad decisions but not violate who they are. No way is Batman going to pick up a machine gun and mow down a school yard full of kids as he tries to shoot Deadshot. The Peter Parker that emerged from making a deal with freaking Mephisto is along the same lines when it comes to character violation. It shows to me that the people responsible don't understand the nature of these characters they have been given temporary stewardship of.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 2:47 p.m. CST

    BND? BFD.

    by Joenathan

    Hey<br><Br> 1. Actually I meant Post Civil War. I’d be willing to bet: Aunt May Dead, Superheroes/villains know his identity again, world does not. Other powers gone. Well knows spider powers back. No marriage. Clean, easy, and start over-able. But then, like I said: I have no evidence to base this off and neither do you for your theory.<br><br> 2. EVERY, let me repeat that, EVERY story line/twist is gimmicky in comics. The covers are gimmicky. The entire medium is based off of the idea that at 22 pages, you wonder: Will Batman escape this time? Will the Riddle cleave him in two with his giant question mark axe? Tune in next month to find out!” Then Batman gets away. EVERY story line is gimmicky. YOU just choose to bitch about this one, because YOU don’t approve. Look, just admit that ALL of your misgivings are based SOLELY in the fact that you disapprove and NOTHING else and we’re good, because at least then you’re being honest. Also, unless you’re brand new to comics, I shouldn’t have to explain to you how malleable and transient ALL comic continuity is. Come on.<br><Br> 3. This story is a lesson/reminder in RESPONSIBILITY. The first time he was taught this was Uncle Ben, the second: Gwen. Both of those were a long time ago. Its time for Spidey to relearn his lesson. And your objection to the raison d’être of this story line, this particular facet of otherworldly craziness that is a regular everyday occurrence in the Marvel verse IS based solely in your personal taste. So you don’t like Devils, that’s fine, but in Spidey’s world it is totally reasonable for him to run into one, ESPECIALLY when he is desperate.<BR><BR> 4. I disagree, I feel that I won… but that’s just me…<br><br> 5. You don’t want to believe it, because you don’t approve. Also, Dormannu, Mephisto, Illyana? Come on, when was the DARK dimension last figured so prominently? Wait a minute… DARK Dimension… DARK Reign… do you think… could it be…. Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.<br><br> 6. Well, since you don’t want to see Spider-man rot in hell as punishment, what do you want? Oh, I get it, you just don’t want the story. And that’s fine, but it is first, last and only based in your personal tastes. As its been said before… the two have been in contact previously…<br><br> Like I said: Comic continuity is malleable and subject to the whim of the current creative team. You just have to accept that. If you don’t like it… oh well… I’m glad to see you’re voicing your displeasure where it counts though, with your wallet. That’s the only way that will ever count. Continually buying the book you hate and coming here to whine about it is the most fuck stupid thing to do on the planet. So kudos, keep it up, read some old trades, wait a bit and it will eventually come back to a place where you’ll want to read it again. I read X-men for years, since before the Fall of the Mutants, but I finally dropped them the first issue back after Age of apocalypse. Why? Because they sucked ass, they sucked so much I thought I would never return. But eventually… Grant Morrison, Joss Whedon, Warren Ellis and now… I’m back on board.<br><br> I’ll wave the Marvel flag until I die.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Continentalop

    by steverodgers

    I think you need to let it all work out. I threw a giant fit when they killed Cap. I was ready to leave work and storm the Marvel office in a fit of comic-fan terrorism. But you know what? I stuck with it because I knew that Bru was writing the shit on the comic and something good might come out of it (and eventually Cap would come back because he's Captain America!). I got rewarded with BuckyCap and his awesome metal arm bashing on AIM agents and the Red Skull's goons all over the place. Slott's a good writer who writes the shit out of Spider-Man so give it some time you just might like it; who knows what surprises he has in store for our favorite wall-crawler? Or you can just hang around and start buying Spider-Man again when it comes back as status-quo. I haven't been happy with everything under Quesada’s watch - but things are way more interconnected now, and good writers and good characters eventually win out in the end- have a little faith. So until Rocket Raccoon stops talking and whomping on evil robot space clowns - make mine Marvel!

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 4:09 p.m. CST

    ASM

    by fanboyspodcast

    Amazing Spider-Man BLOWS! Fact.

  • Nov. 16, 2008, 6:04 p.m. CST

    With Exceptions, Comics Are A Guy Thing.

    by Buzz Maverik

    Mrs. Buzz always says that when she calls me in to translate whatever weirdness that Buzz Jr. and Ajax are spouting....

  • Nov. 16, 2008, 6:06 p.m. CST

    I'll Always Be A Marvel Zombie...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...even when they suck. I think it's like a prison gang. Once you join, they have you for life.

  • Nov. 17, 2008, 8:52 a.m. CST

    There's a butt sex joke in there some where...

    by Joenathan

    I can feel it...<br><br><br><br>Oh! ...found it!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:43 p.m. CST

    by steverodgers

    tex

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:43 p.m. CST

    by steverodgers

    fx

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:44 p.m. CST

    by steverodgers

    jdksjf

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:46 p.m. CST

    by steverodgers

    bullets