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@@@@ Q&@ with Neil Gaiman! @@@@ Previews of GREEN LANTERN CORPS, DMZ, & WILDCATS! @@@@ Opinions Are Like @$$Holes: Bug on $3.99! @@@@


Well, AICN COMICS: SHOOT THE MESSENGER is your weekly one stop shop for comic book news that’s dropped in the previous week. Thanks to Newsarama, CBR, Wizard, etc. for reporting it as it breaks. Click on the links for the original stories. This column cuts the crap to run down all the vital information for those of you who don’t follow it as it comes in, and serves it all up with that special ingredient of @$$y goodness. It’s also the place for interviews, previews, and special reports.

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. Luke O’Neil had a chance to talk with Neil Gaiman about a myriad of things over at Metro Newspapers, but O’Neil had a ton more info from the interview that wasn’t used, so we thought it was something you guys would like to take a look at. Let me pass the mike over to Luke for the interview.

A lot of the time doing interviews with well known artists (particularly big time actors and musicians) can be like pulling teeth. Rotten teeth, that is, since most of the quotes you end up getting are barely passable as coherent thoughts. But every now and again you find that rare interview that's not only extraordinarily talented, but also capable of reflecting on, and talking about his or her implementation of that talent in full, thoughtful sentences. When we interviewed Neil Gaiman for the Metro Newspapers last week, he was, unsurprisingly, just that. Unfortunately the paradox with print is that when subjects actually have something to say you never have enough room to let them say it. Consider this the special bonus features from that interview, with the rest of the stuff I had to cut. Here Gaiman discusses the reason most mainstream comic titles are no good, how he ruined comic book stores forever, why there will probably never be a SANDMAN movie, and the legacy of his beloved title below.
The original interview can be found here.
With its swirling, dream-like blend of mythology, fantasy and horror, Neil Gaiman's seminal THE SANDMAN series remains one of the finest achievements in comic book history to date. When it first appeared twenty years ago it combined a literary credibility with a crossover appeal and radically changed the pop culture landscape for years to come. Metro spoke with the British ex-pat about its legacy after the recent release of the fourth THE ABSOLUTE SANDMAN COLLECTION .

LUKE O’NEIL (LO): Obviously there has been extraordinary praise for SANDMAN over the years, including from outside the comics world. How do you explain its sustained crossover appeal? NEIL GAIMAN (NG): The truth is I don't anymore because it has lasted twenty years. If you asked me while it was going on what the appeal of SANDMAN I would've talked about it not being costumes and capes, about writing something for an audience of people like me, and hoping that they were out there. But I don't think even at my most madly optimistic I would ever have predicted a future in which twenty years after the first issue it would be selling more copies with each passing year. I think at the time I thought I was doing something that was fundamentally transient. That was going to be around for a little while. The joy of SANDMAN for me now is that it wasn't something that was time specific. And that…I can't explain it, but I delight in it.
LO: Has the genre ghettoization of graphic novels and literature abated since then?
NG: Well, for a start no one would have used the phrase graphic novels because nobody knew what it meant. Today of course no one knows what it means, but we use it all the time, which is different. There was definitely a ghettoization going on back then that you don't get now. One of the most interesting thing in some ways, looking back on it, is that now, and even back then, SANDMAN was making it onto university syllabuses. You would get students forcing their professors to read it. Students would discover it, start talking about it, the professors would have no idea what they were talking about and they would make their professors read it. Now of course you have professors making their students read it, which is kind of different. When we began, SANDMAN was pirate literature. The idea that you could have a quality monthly comic with a story was strange.
LO: Do you think it was sort of a Trojan Horse, sneaking literature in through the back door?
NG: I don't think it was exactly a Trojan Horse, but whatever it was, the magic of it was that it was happening in a place that nobody was looking. We didn't get written about in the New York Times until SANDMAN had been over for ten years. Eighteen years after it began. Which is not that I ever wanted an article in NYT. I think part of the strength and the power that it had was that it existed in the gutter. Nobody looked and nobody cared, and that in itself is a wonderful and empowering sort if thing, because it gives you complete freedom. It wasn't like I was trying to sneak in literature through the back door. What was much more fun was just that I got to tell my stories, and people let me.
LO: It's almost like an underground rock band with a huge following before the money interest have taken a hold of it. It has more time to develop on its own.
NG: I think that's very true. There was a point where SANDMAN was a little indie band. It loved being an indie band. Nobody told us what to do, because nobody had done anything like this before. There weren't any rules. It was amazingly empowering.
LO: You could probably trace the explosion of more serious, or adult, imprints like Vertigo directly to SANDMAN. Then there are of course the books that are obviously indebted to your influence like LUCIFER and FABLES to name two. What do you think of the scope of your creation -- your Dreaming if you will?
NG: It's always really, really hard to figure how much real influence you had on the world. I read an article the other day on one of these online blogs called "Five Ways that SANDMAN Changed the World." And I thought 'well I don't know about that.' I'm all of a sudden much more critical and harder to impress than the people reading it. So it said 'Ok, SANDMAN started the whole neo-superheroes thing' and I thought no. I think the most important thing SANDMAN did, and it did create some important things, was that it was the first mainstream comic ever to finish a story. And I think that cannot be underestimated. The idea before that had always been that if you were writing a monthly comic, let's say Superman or whatever, you couldn't finish it. You weren't ever allowed to do the last one, to have the story mean anything. You had to turn back to the soap opera.
LO: Too profitable to stop.
NG: Exactly. The great thing bout SANDMAN was it was the very first time that anyone ever said, we have this comic, it's selling better than anything else is selling, and when it's done, it's done. And that, in many ways, changed a lot of things. On the other hand, I still get complaints from comic store owners who blame SANDMAN for the graphic novel collections, and for many ways destroying their business. They'd say, look, in the old days if you wanted to read a comic, and it was something that had been published a while ago, the only way to read it was too pay extortionate prices for back issues. These days, if you're interested in what happened, you can go and pick up a trade paper back, which is pretty much everything now that has been reprinted. When SANDMAN began, the idea that what we were doing was not going to be collected, but was going to be in print, was enough. Comics were things that if you wanted to find out what happened in an old comic, you'd rummage in the clutter bin. That was where and how you found out.
LO: There are no stakes in a Spiderman comic. You know no one is going to die.
NG: If SANDMAN changed anything, it's that we got to do things the way we wanted to do. And one of those things that we did was the idea…especially when it's a story fundamentally about stories…that for stories to be important, they have to able to finish.
LO: How have you adapted with the way producing comics over the years has changed? It must be a lot different now than mailing pages across countries…
NG: Well actually there were definitely wonderful things about the world of mailing pages back and forth across countries. Because you could use Fed Ex, as a writer, and everything had a 2 or 3 days buffer zone. These days when people say they want something now, what they mean is email it to me. You could write up to the point that the Fed Ex would come! But overall I love the instant gratification. I am writing my first mainstream periodical comic years, doing Batman, just really mostly to keep my hand in it and find out if it was fun. One of the strange things about that is that I get emailed these glorious pages, and they come in and I look at them on screen, and I think, I would have never have seen this level of detail if they had faxed them to me in the past. It's kind of cool.
LO: How will you square working with Batman with what we were talking about before about finite stories?
NG: Well, one of the things that attracted me to it was when they asked if I would be interested in writing the last Batman story, so that's what I'm doing. The last Batman story.
LO: Movie adaptations are of course a big deal lately. A potential SANDMAN film has been in discussion for years. Do you think we'll ever see it come to fruition?
NG: I think for years the biggest problem that everyone had with the film, which honestly is no less a problem today, is that it was never cheap. By its very nature a Sandman film is going to be filled with special effects. But it also has to be intelligent. You can't turn it into a regular blockbuster, and it's also much too deep. You can't do Sandman in the same way you do Spiderman and say "ok here's one of the villains." Or even Batman. “Everyone loves the Joker, so let's have fun with a Joker story.” SANDMAN doesn't really work like that. Warners has been aware for fifteen, twenty years, that they have something that is one of the jewels in their crown for filming. On the other hand I had a meeting about three years ago with the current heads of Warners studios, who were getting lots and lots of calls from people saying they wanted to make a SANDMAN movie. They wanted to know what this thing was, could I explain it to them. Could I summarize SANDMAN for them. So I went out to Los Angeles and essentially did a three hour presentations with illustrations that we had done specially, statues, all that kind of thing, and explaining the whole story. When I got to the end of the presentation, the current head of Warners, he explained to me the reason that HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS had done so well was that they had very clear cut good guys and bad guys. And they wanted to know does SANDMAN have clear cut good guys and bad guys, and I said no, not even a little bit.
LO: Do you think hundreds of years from now some of our comics will have evolved into myths that we use, the way we think about the ancient stories of gods and so forth now?
It's lovely to think so. Actually what would be even cooler is the idea that all of today's and yesterday's pop culture would evolve into the giant stew, and when they talk about our days they vaguely remember this world in which, you know, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock went to the sky, and Superman and Spiderman kept New York safe, and Batman came out at night and hurt people. And through it all, the Sandman wandered through people's dreams. That would be a lovely kind of world.

Thanks, Mr. O’Neil and Mr. Gaiman for the cool interview!

Hey folks, it’s your old pal, Ambush Bug again. OK, let’s spin ye Olde Spinner Rack and see what comes up, shall we?
First we have a preview for WILDCATS, a book I haven’t been keeping tabs on, I must admit. I think the last time I looked at it was back when Jim Lee was on the title…man, I’m old. But this one is written by Christos Gage (who is proving to be a pretty strong writer), so it has to be some kind of cool. And it’s got art by a guy who has a fun last name, Neil Googe. Check out what the Gage and the Googe have for us in issue #6.

Looks pretty damn good. And I especially like the Googe’s artwork here. Check out WILDCATS #6 this Wednesday.

Next up is Vertigo’s critically acclaimed DMZ series by Brian Wood. The book is a harsh and realistic what if… story that is closer to the world outside our window that many of us would like to think. Here’s a preview to issue #37. Enjoy.

You can check out DMZ #37 when it hits the stands on Wednesday!

And finally, here’s our monthly preview of a comic that certifies your insanity if you don’t have it on your pull: GREEN LANTERN CORPS. Peter Tomasi is kicking @$$ on this book, keeping pace and sometimes surpassing Geoff Johns’ awesomeness on GREEN LANTERN. Let’s see what issue #31 has for us.

If you’re planning on getting THE BLACKEST NIGHT crossover next year, then this book should be required reading. Pick up GREEN LANTERN CORPS #31 this Wednesday.

One More Washington

A. Bug on $3.99

I don’t want to sound like a cheapskate. Lord knows how much money I have thrown into the comic book industry what with monthly comics, trades, and other memorabilia in my 25 years of comic book collecting and reading. I’m sure if I tallied it all up the amount of money spent it would be a depressing sum. But I’m not bitter about that. I made my choice with a clear conscience and a free will. I love comics. They have been an important part of my life since I learned how to read. Hell, they taught me how to read. So my weekly trip to the comic store has been something of a ritual for me, almost like going to church.
Well, lately, my church’s collection plate has been taking a lot out of my wallet and I thought it was about time to rant about it.
It appears that, right under our noses, Marvel and DC have been putting out more and more $3.99 comics. As it is, $2.99 is a hefty price tag to pay. But it’s been like that for a while (not sure when the change actually occurred) and I’ve been somewhat ok with it. Lately, though, I’ve seen my weekly donation to the comic book collection plate rise and the amount of books I am buying lessen. After further inspection, it appears that normal issues (sometimes anniversary/special issues, sometimes not) have been upped a dollar to 4 bucks, without so much as a warning. A lot of times I don’t even notice the price hike until after I read the book when I’m home. This, my Faithful Talkbackers, sucks balls.
Now, I’m sure the companies will hem and haw about the price of nice slick paper and the cost of printing rising along with everything else. I’m sure fingers will be pointed at past Presidential decisions and current economic crises. I’m sure chipper and chubby EIC’s will point fingers and say “Well, if Marvel is doing it, we’ve got to follow suit!” and vice versa. But I’m here to say, there is no excuse for the upcoming price hike to 4 dollars for a single 22 page issue. And it’s coming, my friends. Believe me. It’s coming sooner than you think.
What Marvel and DC want to do is get the consumer used to spending $3.99 for a book. That way, like a ninja on a sleeping pirate ship, they can sneak in one comic after another until their whole line is raised a dollar and not just special issues. Comic book readers have proven to have a zombie/sheep/idiot mentality when it comes to this. Instead of making a stand, they shrug their shoulders and fork over the cash for lack of anything better to do.
So what’s the alternative? I wouldn’t want to encourage illegal comic book downloads, but look at how much the dinosaur CD industry has been hit now that it’s cheaper to download music than go out and pay for some plastic square that is hard to open, housing a disc that may or may not have 3 good songs on it. Will the price hike encourage opportunists to find a way to make a quick buck by scanning and posting the comics themselves? A mouseclick is a heck of a lot more convenient than a trip to the comic store. And a download is probably going to be a whole lot cheaper too.
But I don’t want to encourage that.
There’s something special about holding a comic in your hands. Feeling the weight of it. Risking a puncture wound from a misfolded staple or a paper cut from a rapidly turned page. Now that’s excitement!
I don’t want to suggest stop buying books. Sure, there will be some who walk away from comics. But no one wins in that situation. I don’t want to see the comics industry lose money. It’s apparent, though, that things are spiraling quickly and, Dear DC and Marvel, a price hike is not the answer. The all new, all different price tag will further insure that child readers will be as extinct as fresh air in a comic store, thus leaving the poor schlubs who’ve been collecting comics for years to buy these pricey periodicals. And if you haven’t noticed, comic book readers aren’t the healthiest of eaters. How long do you think a stagnant readership will last on a steady diet of Funyuns and Red Bull?
More people downloading comics, fewer new readers, and a fanbase dropping like flies from heart attacks and sugar comas won’t hurt bigger stores like Wal-Mart or convenience stores, but who buys comics there? It’s only going to hurt the comic book store owners--the comic book industry’s unappreciated bastard step-children who get screwed time and time again. Ask your LCS how they feel about the price hike. Any owner with sense will know rising prices makes that bankruptcy death knell they hear in the distance ring ever closer.
This impending price hike only seals the deal that the comics industry is moving further and further away from monthly books and closer to a trade paperback-centric approach to distribution. Being a monthly reader myself, I don’t like this idea. Right now, my weekly trip to the comic store is in my schedule. Take that out of my weekly routine, you better believe I’ll find something else to occupy my time. Once again, big dick to the LCS who loses business and less new readers who now will be asked to fork over 20 bucks a book rather than 3 or 4. And with books going straight to trade instead of being in monthly form, all that insures is that there’ll be more crap out there on the shelves. Do you actually think Marvel or DC are going to cut their monthly books and not have shit to distribute every week? With monthlies, I can make the mistake to pick up a badly written first issue and decide not to buy the rest of the series. With trades, you’re stuck with a shitty full series without being able to take a taste and smartly walk away. Once again, the companies win out, but after a short time, even the most zombified of readers will shamble away to more satisfying pastures.
It’s annoying to call this an accomplishment, but it is worth noting. Top Cow recently issued a press statement insuring that through 2009, they promise that the price of their regular sized books will not be raised from $2.99.
“We looked around and saw cover prices creeping up and up all around us,” noticed Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik. “It seems wrong to raise your prices on customers during these tough economic times. Once we knew we were going to hold the line on our prices, it made sense to call attention to it. Hopefully, it will encourage some fans to try our titles.”
“Our content pages will remain the same as it is now and in fact we're adding more and more added-value pages, including interviews, back-matter articles and preview art,” said Sablik. “We want to be the value and quality leader in the industry.”

Of course, this doesn’t include extra page annuals, specials, variant editions, and anything else the company deems “worth the extra buck!” But I’m glad Top Cow is doing this and it makes me more likely to check out their product for taking the extra steps taken to empathize with the reader. This is a bold move and I hope other comic companies will follow suit in this considerate stance towards the fans.
In 1977, I bought one of my first comics: STAR WARS #3. It cost 30 cents. Today that same comic, with that same amount of pages would cost $2.99 and maybe $3.99 since it is a movie tie-in. Back then, my dad would give me a buck and I would go in and buy three comics. It was damn cool. From those dollars passed from father to son, a life-long comic book reader was born. Now I don’t expect to pay 30 cents for a comic anymore, but I also think 12.5 times that price is something not unlike robbery--something some of the heroes in the comics they print would suit up and enact justice against.
This isn’t the first rant about the rising process of comics. I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’ve talked to folks who remember when comics cost a quarter and how they expressed outrage for the raise to 30 cents. Check out the prices on the covers of some of the comics in this article to see how they’ve varied through the years. I’m sure everyone has to tighten their belts (including the comic book companies) in order to keep up with these times of economic doldrums and price hikes are inevitable, but a whole dollar? Why not look for ways to compensate that don’t alienate readers?
Solutions? How about cheaper paper? I know I certainly wouldn’t mind reading a comic printed on cheaper paper if it meant that it cost less or maintained the current price. That’s just one solution that I could live with. The reason why I wrote this piece is to encourage others to discuss possible alternatives, and I hope they do so.
If you’re not on a budget and aren’t really affected by this price hike, well, congrats Richie Rich, you’ve got one up on me. But as for myself, and pretty much everyone I know, money is a bit tighter these days. Raising prices on monthly comics will only result in one thing: less comics bought. Less comics bought hurts the companies. Less comics bought hurts comic stores. Less comics bought hurts consumers who will only have the choice of reading books Wizard Magazine deems popular at the moment because quality books with lesser characters written by up and coming/tried and true comic book talent don’t meet the ever rising sales quota. Less comics bought means lesser tier comics with a steady but small fanbase like SHE-HULK, like X-FACTOR, like SPIDER-GIRL, like LEGION OF SUPER HEROES, etc., and so on, ad pukity-puke are more likely to be cancelled and less likely to even happen in the first place. Less comics bought means stagnant, boring, safe comics.
Fuck that.
I don’t want monthly comics to become extinct, but it looks like the companies are moving closer and closer to that inevitable outcome. Regular sized comics are still $2.99 right now and I hope it will stay that way for the foreseeable future so I can continue to buy as many comics as I can. But the change seems to be coming. Books deemed “important” all bear a $3.99 price tag. Guess what: pretty soon, if your favorite comic is bearing a $2.99 price tag, it’s a pretty sure bet that it’s on the chopping block. DC and Marvel think we’ll just deal with it. And we are dealing with it--just not in the way they may want. Comic books are becoming easier and easier to download (legally or not so much). Trades are on the rise. Readership and sales are decreasing. Whether these changes mean the end of monthly comics or the dawn of a new age in funny-bookdom is uncertain. Sadly, it’s in the hands of the people willing to make their product even less accessible by upping it a Washington.
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 & on his ComicSpace page. There you can also see a five page preview of his short story in MUSCLES & FRIGHTS! Bug was recently interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics.

How high is too high for the price of comics before you decide enough is enough?

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Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 8, 2008, 5:26 a.m. CST

    Men with targets for faces.

    by Shan

    Still freak me out.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 5:53 a.m. CST

    "No, not even a little bit."

    by sean bean

    Ha ha, I love Neil Gaiman.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 6:19 a.m. CST

    the sad thing is

    by DrLektor

    The big two, DC especially as Didio recently had a bit of a rant, will continue to blame illegal downloads, they have to increase the price to cover the loss made by downloads, failing to realise that an increase in price just encourages more file sharing. The solution should be yes, dropping the quality of paper and making comics affordable again, when you have event after event asking you to buy 10 comics extra a month to follow the story, comic buyers are forced to ignore other works to keep up, Blue Beetle is a prime example, fantastic series that just got axed because it couldn't cover the sales needed. Or how about fixing the official online downloads, offering them at a reasonable price and slowly bringing the digital content into legitimate territory? After all, Itunes is doing great business.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 6:24 a.m. CST

    stupid movie execs

    by Redmantle

    They're way too stupid to get the appeal of sandman, because they will never actually read it. Idiots. It only sells more and more every year but, "would never make a good movie 'cause there's no good guys and bad guys". I read David Mamet's "Bambi vs. Godzilla" and if you all want a good idea about the idiocy of movie execs, check it out. Friggin idiots.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 6:44 a.m. CST

    What is wrong with that Chewbacca on STAR WARS #3?

    by ricarleite


  • Dec. 8, 2008, 7:19 a.m. CST

    The pug nose gorilla faced chewbacca?

    by V'Shael

    That's why the comic was 30 cents or whatever. Comics sucked. (j/k)

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 7:27 a.m. CST

    GREEN LANTERN Books Are The Best Comix Going These Days

    by LaserPants

    At least from the Big Two. Hands down, the best. Nothing stupid happens, nothing gimicky, just straight up awesome, smart storytelling and action. Anyone not reading them is really missing out on what superhero comix can be and do...

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 7:58 a.m. CST

    gimmicks vs price vs out dated model

    by palewook

    marvel/dc need to realize that gimmick runs, like Batman RIP and Marvel's Secret Invasion can backfire. just because something is an event and creates sales, it may not prolong future sales. if a gimmick run is a poor story or not received well, it can hurt future sales of that title. <p> is printing spider-man 3x a month really helping? or losing customers. <p> price. as cost goes up, sales go down. simple economics. and the economy being what it is, will be real easy to price these titles out of most their current audience's monthly budgets. <P> out-dated business models can kill industries. just ask the music business. refusing to move into a digitial distribution model in the 90s allowed a generation to grow up on mp3s and now they've raised their kids on mp3s. marvel and dc need to embrace the digital distribution models, make it main stream, affordable, and control it. not let it out of their control.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 8:06 a.m. CST

    I'm done

    by Laserhead

    That's it; I'm buying Batman #683, and then no more monthlies. From now on I'll just shoplift trades from Barnes & Noble. It's really, really easy.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Don't forget your sombrero.

    by eggart

    Or your fake mustache. They will never see through your clever disguise. Or notice all the trade paperbacks missing and review the security tapes.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 8:50 a.m. CST

    The demise of print media

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I admit, as a fanboy who has held literally tens of thousands of comics in my palsied (okay, not really palsied, it's just one of those words you pick up from 70 issues of Marv Wolfman's TOMB OF DRACULA) hands, there is a thrill for me in physically purchasing and reading a comic book. But the kids today don't have that muscle memory, that physical and cultural touchstone, and they may NEVER have that. <br><br>Whoever made the point about kids being raised on MP3s was spot-on. I mean, look at the struggles that traditional newspapers are having. Its the same struggle. They are clinging to an outdated business model and ambitions that are too high. The Big Four networks had to re-adjust everything when cable television ate much of their market share. Now comics need to do the same thing that newspapers need to do, or die (ironically, just like Morpheus.)<br><br>The advantage here is that comics are not news. They're pop culture: they can take advantage of huge money in licensing to supplement their primary media. Think of comic books as "loss-leaders", that is, the underpriced thing that gets people into the "store." The more people that are hooked on the loss-leader, the more money they can make on back-end stuff, like bedsheets, bobbleheads, lunchboxes (do kids still use lunchboxes?) movies, etc, etc.<br><br>Sandman bedsheets. I would have bought them. As long as they didn't feature, you know, The Corinthian, or folks from the Cereal Convention story, and such.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST

    $3.99? Put a fork in me...

    by Psynapse

    because at that juncture I am well and truly done. To the Trade-Wait Mobile!

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Movie executives aren't stupid

    by Joenathan

    They are actually very smart and REALISTS. They make products with the idea that they will SELL to a public that is largely comprised of complete fucking morons.<br><br>If YOU think Sandman would make a good movie that would sell a shit ton of movie tickets to an American audience, then YOU are the stupid one and live in a complete fantasy world. <br><br>Sandman would make a shit movie. SHIT. It isn't written in a cinematic way. It doesn't have a "filmic" arc. Maybe it'd make a good TV show, but not really. Honestly, I think there are some things which just work best as books. <br><br>Sandman is one of those things.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:22 a.m. CST

    I don't read Comics

    by yodalovesyou

    But the pictures are nice.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:24 a.m. CST

    You want to know why I don't read Green Lantern?

    by Joenathan

    Maybe you don't... Well TOO BAD!<br><br>Anyway, honestly... I hate aliens. I just hate sci-fi aliens. I hate their three toed feet and bumpy forheads and gelatinous bodies... I HATE Aliens. I loved it when Hal Jordan killed all those little bastards. I hate them. I am totally about Humanity. <br><br>If Star Wars was real, I'd totally join the Empire and laugh as I tasered Wookies and sent Jawas and Gungans to work in the Salt Mines. I'd love to firebomb a Ewok camp. LOVE IT! <br><br>Now, I've read a lot of the recent Green Lantern trades and they're good, I'm not saying that they aren't, its just... I fucking hate aliens.<br><br>Earth First!

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST


    by most excellent ninja

    Fucking specist. The Red Lantern Corps will show up and break your face.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Haven't you seen TV, Ninja?

    by Joenathan

    Humanity ALWAYS beats the stupid Aliens. Either due to our extreme adaptibility or our knowledge of what it means to love. HUMANS UBER ALLES!

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST

    I don't think the scanners make any bucks off their work

    by Ye Not Guilty

    I download the scans of the comics. I admit it. I also buy comics and TBPs. I spend a lot of money every month (as in over $100 every month) supporting the industry, but let's face it, it would be prohibitively expensive to read everything I want to read even at $2.99 an issue, so lots of times I will read the scans on my computer and then pick up the TPB when it is released. But I don't think the scanners are making "a quick buck" off of their work. From what I can tell, they pay for the comics and then scan them and release them for free. Maybe I am wrong and someone is paying them to scan all this stuff, but I don't think so. But $3.99 a comic is just too much. I mean, does anybody think Marvel Apes was worth $3.99 an issue? I can find those issues in the clearance bin right now for half price. And then there are the delays between issues. It has been three months since the last issue of Shazam was released, and that's a Johnny DC title, for cryin' out loud.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:48 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I won't quit comics, but it will certainly make me more discerning. I'll always make my weekly trip, as long as I'm able.<br><br>There is a part of me, though, that thinks comics, much like movie rental, is a dying industry in its current form and there's just nothing you can do about it. Comics will change because they have to. If that means more trades, if that means on-line, then thats just the way the world goes. The unfortuanate casualty in this is the LCS, just like the local video store, and I will miss them, but you know what else I miss? Making mix tapes, but that time is over.<br><br>We are dinosaurs, gentleman and our world is slowly growing colder.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Basic Economics, by Ambush Bug..

    by The Nihilist

    ...yes, you raise the price of anything--ESPECIALLY DURING A RECESSION--fewer people are going to buy it, particularly a luxury item like comics. Might be OK if you're marketing a narrow interest product like Rolex watches, but comic book companies would presumably like to sell comics to everybody. Raising prices isn't the way to do it. Note also that this can be applied to the cost of everything...including the cost of work and investment, i.e. taxes. Make work and investing "more expensive" by taxing it at a higher rate and people will simply do less of it. Are you listening, Oh incoming Magic Negro?

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:52 a.m. CST


    by teethgnasher

    Release a digital download of the issue via i-Tunes or similar. Then release a trade or hardcover down the road so people have something to hold and place on a bookshelf.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 9:59 a.m. CST

    I will spend $400 on

    by teethgnasher

    a replica of Captain America's Shield or Iron Man's helmet, but I won't purchase a monthly comic book. I normally wait for a trade. $2.99 for a regular comic book is too much. I have a lot of disposable income, but I won't spend it on a monthly book.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:03 a.m. CST


    by Laserhead

    You can't arrest or convict for shoplifting based on video or any other kind of footage. In fact, the person has to be stopped and confronted before leaving the store, and even in that case, you could just deny and walk around whatever clerk is impeding your progress. Give it a shot. The publisher still gets their money, and B&N takes an insurance hit.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:04 a.m. CST

    I wish I had a Captain America replica Shield,

    by Joenathan

    I'd use it to make room on the elevator in the mornings.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Cram that cardstock cover up your ass!

    by Skulboy

    I too enjoy my comics in monthly installments, but to be honest, very few comics I read these days are worth $4. This price hike is just going to mean that I'll be leaving the LCS with less and less books each week. I too have been collecting since the 70's and work as an artist because of it so it make me sad/angry that before long I'll soon be down to a handful of comics per month. I agree, cheaper paper and get rid of those damn cardstock covers to keep the price down. Please.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:13 a.m. CST

    I don't want cheaper paper.

    by Joenathan

    I like the current paper and I'm willing to pay for it. Cheap paper sucks. We had cheap paper for fifty years and I'm tired of the yellowing, smeary shit.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Pricing perspective from an indie comic guy

    by GrantChastain

    Hi guys. Grant Chastain here. You may remember me from such comics as "Corrective Measures" from Arcana Comics, or perhaps not. Either way, here's my take on the situation.<p>This hobby we have? The weekly comic book store visit punctuated by the smell of old back-issues and the sound of fanboys arguing about which supermega crossover is lamest?<p>Those days and those times are changing. Fans are increasingly headed towards the self-contained graphic novel because they're cheaper and contain entire story arcs. Publishers are increasingly headed towards the self-contained graphic novel because the margins are a hell of a lot better than the old ink-and-staples, and allow for easier packaging when optioning the source into other media like TV and movies.<p>Indie publishers like me and the folks I run with have very few options when it comes to gaining an audience and recomping our initial printing, promotional and distribution costs. If you're not aware of how much it costs simply to be listed in Diamond's catalog -- and there are plenty of folks that think Diamond is produced solely on advertising revenue, the silly gits -- look it up sometime. The cost you give away to simply find your book in the "back half" of Diamond is a substantial amount and it can certainly discourage folks from producing their own series. In order to recomp those costs, books need to sell at around the $3-$4 clip, which is unfortunate. But there are so many hands in the cookie jar that it's hard to buck the trend and produce a book at a loss.<p>But them's the economics of the situation. When I used to produce single issues, even at print-on-demand shops, charging $2.99 per basically enabled me to break even. Indie publishers know the trend is killing the goose that lays golden eggs, but there's literally no way around it with single-issue sales.<p>Anyway, my two cents and an extra $2.98 will buy you a cup of Starbucks. Take my opinions for what they're worth.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    This dates me a bit...

    by The Eskimo

    ...but I quit buying comics round the time the went from regular $1.25 to $1.75. I was so pissed at a .50 cents increase that I just refused to buy from Marvel anymore after 10 years of collecting ASM. (They were .65 when I started BTW). I agree with the above comment that the answer is to go back to the old paper and quit with all the gimmicky cover art. Oh, and made subscriptions REALLY worth it again...istead of saving only like $9 in a year!

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:50 a.m. CST

    This seems like a good time to ask for guidence

    by Snookeroo

    from follow comic readers. First, a little history...<br>I've been a comic book fan all of my life. I grew up on Silver Age comics (and frankly, they're still my passion -- I'm a collector thereof). But my interest in comics has really waxed and waned since around the eighties -- I still picked up an issue or two here and there, but not with any kind of intensity.<br><br>Lately, the comic fever has taken me again, and I've tried to dive back into the comics scene. This weekend I made a trip to the local comic shop and was -- I must admit -- simply overwhelmed at the number of companies/titles available. It's simply staggering. The number of titles for Secret Invasion alone is incredible!<br><br>Some observations:<br>• The card stock covers and slick paper -- at least in my opinion -- do not enhance the experience enough to merit the price hike. In fact in many cases, the paper stock made it harder to read the book.<br>• In virtually every comic I purchased, there's hardly three good pages of story -- the rest of the book is excessive splash pages and empty panels. After all, these aren't movies, they're books.<br>• Some of the artwork is simply beautiful; too much of the artwork is way, way overworked (I'm a professional graphic artist, so I have some experience in that arena).<br><br>I would like to ask for the AICN community's advice here -- if someone (like myself) is reintroducing themselves to the genre, what are the best titles to concentrate on?(I like both Marvel and DC stable of characters, but I tend to lean towards the DC universe -- I know nothing about other companies' properties). What are the best trade collections that will bring me up to speed with the current state of affairs -- the current universes?<br>Thanks for any advice.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:53 a.m. CST


    by teethgnasher

    Does the average reader really oollect comicbooks and back issues? I think the hobby of collecting back issues is dying. Not quite dead yet, but slowly dying.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Sandman as a Television Series

    by mukhtabi

    Would work very well with a very serious CAVEAT: It would have to be done for a network that shows nudity, does not censor profanity, and would be willing to put out 2 -3 million per episode for a hybrid media cinematic televisual experience - I'm talking animation blended with live action work. I have personally been stewing and contemplating this idea for YEARS. I earned in A for my final project in Producing Film and Video in grad school for a seminal treatment of one of the stories from Endless Nights as a pilot for such a series. It could be done, if there existed a premier cable network that could put out that kind of money. Any ideas?

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 10:56 a.m. CST

    It really comes down to...

    by Joenathan

    deciding if its worth it to you to continue with this hobby, because really... do you honestly think there is ever going to be a DECREASE in comics? Come on. Its never, ever, ever going to happen. EVER. A corporation decreasing profits? No way. <br><br>So, how much do you want to be up on the latest? <br><br>How much is it worth it to you to come here every week and discuss? <br><br>Would you be able to stand waiting for months at a time for the trades? <br><br>These are the questions you should be asking yourself, because discussing alternatives for companies to explore in order to bring down their prices is a big waste of time.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:09 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I don't know if, in todays Big 2 universe, that there is really a main trade or two that is required. DC is a mess continuity wise and alternatively Marvel is very tight. Both situations leave someone just coming back, like yourself, in the basic same situation. So I think the answer is really...<br><br>pick a spot, dive in and start swimming. But can I recommend:<br><br>Umbrella Academy<br><br>Old Man Logan (current run of Wolverine and while isn't in trades yet, is lots of fun)<br><br>The Walking Dead<br><br>Captain America #1 to current by Brubaker<br><br>Planetary<br><br>The Twelve (also not in trades yet)<br><br>Alias<br><br>Nextwave<br><br>Just to start you off.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:10 a.m. CST

    "Oh incoming Magic Negro?" Really!?!?

    by Psynapse

    Please kill yourself now, do it for the children.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:11 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    Nextwave... not Nextw ave. Also, The Twelve kind of got mashed in with Planetary. Damn AICN TBs...

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:12 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    Don't acknowledge fuckers like that.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Having no problem with the $3.99 price

    by mrfan

    Just produce some good comics.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:19 a.m. CST


    by palewook

    "if someone (like myself) is reintroducing themselves to the genre, what are the best titles to concentrate on?" <P> i came back to comic books in the past 5 years after about a 20 year void. I can say a lot of the 90s stuff is pointless. and most of the 00 stuff is fluff. <P> things that have caught my attention and respect: JMS Silver Surfer Requiem, Garth Ennis Max Punisher series, World War Hulk (the whole collection), and Hack Slash The Series.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:19 a.m. CST

    I've given up on printed comics

    by sean bean

    They take up too much space. I used to buy 4 or 5 titles a week but I simply don't want to have piles of comics lying around anymore. I had boxes and boxes when I was growing up but they got tossed by my mum somewhere along the line and I didn't really care. I have recollected the ones I still want to read in trades or downloads. I would much rather have .cbr files on my hard drive or on CDs than the paper comics. Also, I don't live near a comic store. For me, downloading pirate comics is not so much a price issue as a convenience one. If there were a legal way to download the latest Marvel/DC comics on a Wednesday I would do it. But there isn't.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    They're just making it easier...

    by RenoNevada2000

    I was looking at next year as a time I would be cutting back on the amount I spent on comics each month. It's a decision that grows organically out of the end of FINAL CRISIS, the fact I am only reading POWERS from Marvel and the fact that after 30 years, I'm just not getting the same thrill I used to. (Some books, like GREEN LANTERN and JSA, being the exception.) While a three decade's habit is tough to break, a dollar price hike will certainly help me stick to my guns.<br><br>New York Comic Con should be interesting this year with Quesada and DiDio trying to justify all this...

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Joenathan's excellent picks notwithstanding

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I don't think those would bring a relative newbie back into the state of the union. For Marvel, just take a look at the trades for CIVIL WAR and WORLD WAR HULK, then the ILLUMINATI series, and then you're ready for the Skrull Invasion.<BR><BR>For DC, you have to be a little more selective to see what's going on, because I would not blithly condemn anyone to read all of COUNTDOWN or 52. In fact, it you REALLY want to get to the heart of DC, where things really started to change, you should pick up Meltzers IDENTITY CRISIS. That's where things really began to change. Then get someone to tell you about COUNTDOWN, but don't wast your money on that or 52. But DO pick up any of the recent trades on Green Lanterns' SINESTRO WAR, and maybe Batman FATHER AND SON, then wait for current Morrison Magnum Opus to finish and get it. Oh, if you want to actually enjoy reading something, pick up Simone's SINISTER or SECRET SIX, as well as the last few Simone penned BIRD'S OF PREY. <br><br>That's should give you a good flavor of what's up.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:31 a.m. CST

    It stopped being a hobby for me

    by DrLektor

    when I realised I wasn't reading the stuff I was collecting anymore. I had a decent pull list of about 10 titles per week but then I kept putting off reading certain comics, leaving them in an ever growing pile. I'd hate it when I'd miss an issue but started to get bored actually reading them. I had a moment of clarity and dropped everything. It literally put me off comics for about a year. I weighed up the precious few silver age and worthy comics I had against the seemingly endless boxes of X-Dudes and Spider-Fellah and I thought "fuck this". But if I sell, who's going to buy it all? The Marvel zombie is slowly starving to death, Johnny DC is forced to work as a prostitute to pay for a fix... and the stories just aren't worth 4 bucks a time.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:35 a.m. CST

    I think all graphic novels would generally increase quality...

    by stones_throw

    Let's face it: in the vast majority of cases, Marvel and DC have clearly forgotten how to do readable, fun and timely monthly comics. That's why sales are so low and prices are so high. The best stuff is coming out from publishers like Dark Horse and Mike Mignola, who does all miniseries, or series like CRIMINAL that are designed for the collection and have that level of thought and effort put into them. How about Brian K. Vaughan or Eduardo Risso's recent WOLVERINE miniseries? Or ALL STAR SUPERMAN for that matter? Moving to a more limited, standalone format would force the Big Two to focus on a wider audience for the bookstore market, and make sure what they're putting out is quality, if that much time and money is going to be invested in it. Kind of like how miniseries at the Big Two used to be an event, rather than just more fodder. Plus, graphic novels would kill off this obnoxious crossover event culture. I mean, the Wasp is the big death in SECRET INVASION? The only Marvel character to *never* have been popular, ever, with anyone?

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Rock Me

    by Joenathan

    I didn't go that route, because it seemed like he'd have to spend ALOT of money on trades just to get caught up, whichever company he chooses, and since he seems to be kind of story and art focused, I thought just some plain old good books would be a better place to start back in, as a healthy amount of Marvel's continuity heavy stuff and DC's scattershot all over the place stuff is... mmm... not always top shelf quality, you know?

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by stones_throw

    Have you read Alan Moore's ABC stuff, like PROMETHEA or LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN? It's basically Alan Moore writing his own line of comics (published through Wildstorm) around the time of the Millennium, then he got pissed off with DC in his usual fashion when Jim Lee sold Wildstorm to 'em. It's enough to get anyone back into comics. Moore's someone else who's moving to all independently published longform graphic novels, like LOST GIRLS and forthcoming LoEG volumes.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Yeah, I do

    by rock-me Amodeo

    The thing is, if someone wants to know what to read that brings them up to speed on how DC and Marvel runs its universes, THAT stack does not necessarily contain stuff that I LIKE (like Identity Crisis and about half of WWH and Civil War), but it IS an accurate portrayal.<br><br>Now, if someone asks me for stuff that they would actually ENJOY reading, well, that stack would be different. Quality always seems to be the exception. *sigh*

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:48 a.m. CST

    I think Stones is right

    by Joenathan

    trades are the way to go, because the thing that has always killed big stories for me is that the very next issue just keeps going. There's never a sense of closure, the book just keeps going. I think I prefer books like Umbrella Academy because they have a story, they start it and they end it and then we all get a bit of time to live with it and digest it. It seems special and exciting then. I've always found Batman's trade stories much more enjoyable then the monthlies and I think its because of the endings.<br><br>The Wasp's death wasn;t the point, the Dark Illuminati and return of the Supervillian was the point.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Rock Me...

    by Joenathan

    True... I just have a hard time recommending things that I enjoy, but fully acknowledge that perhaps I have a higher tolerance for its failings than a new person might.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST


    by Psynapse

    My opinion doesn't require your endorsement. Never has, never will.<p>‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 12:04 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    And all people like that require is to rile up one person who doesn't realize that their riling up is the entire point, but then... thats your hallmark, isn't it? <br><br>Also, Edmond Burke never actually said that quote.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 12:58 p.m. CST

    I don't mind waiting for trades

    by teethgnasher

    And I don't generally buy that many. 1-2 a month.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Dear Rere (aka Joenathan)

    by Psynapse

    1. Yet again, you think yours is the ONLY correct opinion in any given situation. There's a term for that: 'petty tyrant'.<p>2. Never said he did. Just can't resist attempting to put words in other people's mouths now can you?<p>3. The fake attempt at a mature attitude is most amusing coming from you of all people.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Am I the only one that hates Richie Rich?

    by Continentalop

    I always found him to be a pampered, oblivious little brat, who is always flaunting money he never earned in everyone's faces. He seems to have been created to give credence to raising the death tax, or maybe even bringing back communism.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:17 p.m. CST


    by NinjaChampion

    Maybe a solution would be going back to newsprint to make the printing cheaper. Also make it cheaper to subscribe, that way print runs could be larger, which would also make the price better. Also cut out all the variant covers. I know this is just a way to get people to buy multiple versions of the same thing but I'm sure a lot of collectors have grown wise to this and only buy one version. If a story line is good enough then go ahead and reprint it on better paper with enhanced coloring and a new cover.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:28 p.m. CST

    You don't buy comics to read and enjoy them.

    by cookylamoo

    You but them so you can read them and the go online and bitch and moan about what hacks Grant Morrison and Brian Michael Bendis are. Comics aren't about Super-Heroes anymore, they're about "Events" and your comic book is like a ticket to a football game.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:43 p.m. CST

    How do you "but" a comic?

    by Joenathan

    Also, remind me to never borrow any of your comics...

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:44 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the advice!

    by Snookeroo

    Joenathan -- I'm particularly intrigued by your Capt. America suggestion. In fact, this was one of the titles I was considering, (since I'm a long-time Cap fan)but didn't know where to start. Thanks!<br><br>Palewook -- I've watched the WW Hulk conversations on line, but didn't know if it was worth picking up. Thanks for the suggestion; I'm going to see what I can find concerning back issues of this.<br><br>Rock-Me Amodeo -- I don't know if I know enough about the current stream of affairs to be able to gather back Identity issues, but I'll definitely investigate. From what I've seen in the AICN talkbacks, Green Lantern is DEFINITELY on my new buy list. Thanks!<br><br>Stones-Throw -- Alan Moore wrote a couple of my favorite Superman stories of all time (Superman is my favorite character BTW). But I haven't read any of his independent stuff. I'll check out the titles you suggested. Thanks!<br><br>Thanks again for everyone's help -- this certainly gives me a good reference point to start from.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Keen Observation

    by cookylamoo

    From someone who can't even spell his own name.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:51 p.m. CST

    I always bought comics to keep the women away...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    ...because, you know, they were always beating down my door otherwise.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 1:51 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers

    If Superman is your favorite, go out and grab some snacks, and All Star Superman by Morrison/Quitely and just revel in the goodness.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 2:19 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    Brubaker's run restarted the title at #1 and every issue since (I think there's 40-50 now, somewhere around there.) has been completely worth it. If Cap is one of your favorites, then this is the best he's been since the Captain america and the Falcon days.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Touche cookylamoo,

    by Joenathan


  • Dec. 8, 2008, 2:21 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    Actually, All Star Superman is one of the main influences for drawing me back into the fray. I had read so many positives about the series from the AICN talkbackers that I bought the whole series off ebay. I loved the series so much that I started experimenting with other titles. But, as I mentioned before, things have changed so much that my purchases have just kind of been a crap shoot. And at $4 to $5 a pop, I have to be a little more selective -- plus, I just don't have the time to devote to this as I'd like.<br>Thank you for the advice! If there are other Superman titles that you'd recommend, I'd be especially interested.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 2:26 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    Is the Brubaker run available in any kind of collection, or would I just have to buy back issues as availability allows?

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 2:29 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    There's an omnibus of the first 25, I think and trades that go pretty much current. They're all on Amazon.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 2:35 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    I'll check my local comics dealer for the omnibus (he has an incredible inventory, and I'd like to support the cause). If he doesn't have it, I'll check out Amazon. This is a definite buy for me -- thanks very much.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 2:44 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers

    That is the only Superman comic i've read in years, so I am not sure if there is anything else out there that is worth your time and dollar. One can hope.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 2:54 p.m. CST

    To bring prices down

    by Shigeru

    Try not making 90% of your ads in books in-house, stupid, waste of space "embrace change" shit

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 3:05 p.m. CST


    by RinRockRock

    Yeah this price hike just sucks. I just starting reading comics again last year after a long break and 3.99 is not going to keep me around. I'll keep buying some core titles monthly but I can get the rest on ebay or an online seller at .99 only a few months later. I can wait thanks.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 3:07 p.m. CST

    You mean Bullwinkle and Rocky aren't

    by Snookeroo

    hocking Cheerios anymore?<br>Wow -- I HAVE been out of it.<br><br>Heh.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 3:22 p.m. CST

    I miss the hostess ads

    by Continentalop

    I mean, they made the best villain. Hotshot, The Printout Man, Icemaster, The Demolition I the only one who remembers "Bad Hair" Dayna?

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 3:34 p.m. CST

    I wonder how many DC comics

    by Snookeroo

    are worth hundreds of dollars less today because they had a .25 coupon for Pallisades Amusement Park clipped out?

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 4:41 p.m. CST

    Go after Archie McPhee

    by cookylamoo

    He still makes X-Ray Specs and that sort of thing. Spencer Gifts is another good potential advertiser.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Are Sea Moneys still around?

    by Continentalop

    Maybe you can get them to advertise again.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 6:19 p.m. CST

    Ambush Bug

    by Snookeroo

    In response to your article, just a few observations:<br><br>I agree. In tough economic times, raising the price of a non-essential item like a comic book is probably not a safe trend. My breath is taken away at the price tag on some of these things (especially when you start looking at "polystone" statues and so forth). But then again, when I started buying comics they were .12 each (but minimum wage was $1.20, so I guess it's all relative). You asked for suggestions to the comic book companies. Here's a few ideas:<br>• Focus on fewer titles, and make those comics a better value. I'd gladly pay $5 for a comic if it has a whole story in it, rather than 3 panels of story and twenty pages of "slow motion" panels. Take a look at the Green Lantern page you posted. It's outstanding artwork, but one entire page is spent on Guardians saying "yes". That's a lot of artwork expense that doesn't advance the story a hell of a lot. To a previous point of mine -- these are comics, not movies. You don't need 24 frames for one second of info.<br>• Cookylamoo made a great point -- comics aren't written to tell stories anymore; they're all "event" driven. VERY incrementally. That's ok once in a while, but if every story features the cataclysmic end of the universe as we know it, plus every character in the stable, it gets a little stale. I understand the marketing behind such a move, but at $3 and up per issue, it takes a fortune to read a story that used to be contained in a handful of issues, if not under one cover.<br>• I can see why some titles are not hitting their deadlines -- they're unbelievably detailed. I don't know how they pump that kind of work out in one month. However, more often than not, I'm seeing a lot more work than is merited -- often to the detriment of the story. And that kind of artwork isn't cheap; so amp down a little -- not everything has to be rendered in 3-D.<br>Try the Julius Shwartz concept; make covers that intrigue your buyers. I was astounded during my trip to the comic store this weekend at how many issues simply feature posing characters. Again, I think the companies have gotten so caught up in exquisite execution that they've forgotten to be interesting. That may work for your existing fanbase, but doesn't draw in potential new buyers.

  • Dec. 8, 2008, 7:52 p.m. CST

    I sincerely hope...

    by Organs

    ...that Sandman never makes it to any kind of visual medium, be it motion picture, TV series, or IMAX experience, or what-have-you. The thing is, some stories are better left in their home mediums. Movies are typically ninety minutes to two hours, sometimes two and a half hours. They typically have a familiar flow, plot outline, protagonists, supporting characters, antagonists... and the whole thing is so typical. Not to mention anyone can count on one hand the number of film adaptations that were adapted faithfully from the source material. <br> <br> The beauty of novels and comic books is there's no restraint on length or content. If "Batman: The Killing Joke" was made into a visual medium, it'd probably only be an hour long. Not to mention any film or TV producer would cringe at marketing a Batman story where a girl is shot through her spine, stripped nude, and photographed for a madman's personal use. Also, you can get (what is typically referred to as) a graphic novel like "Watchmen" or the many volumes of "Sandman" and you can savor them and read them at your own pace. If "Watchmen" were faithfully adapted to film (and I'm certain it hasn't been), it would be at least twelve hours long. "V for Vendetta" rightfully should have been much longer as well. It just goes to show that, for something to be made from a book, comic, or campfire story to film, it's going to be truncated and tweaked into something barely resembling the source material. <br> <br> Ultimately, Neil Gaiman is a boon of a creative artist. It'll be a very long while--I think--before we get another artist of his caliber started anew in the comic and/or literary industries.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 12:56 a.m. CST


    by most excellent ninja

    Damn, you know you may have been reading comics for decades but only last year did the greatest story emerge from them. Sinestro Corps War. The greatest Star Wars story since Empire(no it isn't a star wars universe story, just an analogy). Green Lantern is the book of the decade maybe last decade too.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:27 a.m. CST

    First comic story that ended?

    by krushjudgement

    I think not. Don't get me wrong, Sandman is amazing, but there were other stories that ended. For instance, Dave Sim announced very early exactly when Cerebus would be ending. (It happened to be after Sandman's ending, but it was announced before.) Other examples? Squadron Supreme. Watchmen! Half of Alan Moore's projects! You get the idea...

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 3:59 a.m. CST

    Sandman ending

    by offscauta

    What I think he's refering to is that Sandman was the first ongoing monthly that a big publisher allowed to end. There have always been comic mini series, but before Sandman when a creator left a book they just got somebody else to write it. The fact that DC didn't just hire a new guy to continue Sandman was quite a big deal at the time.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 4 a.m. CST

    Sandman ending (part 2)

    by offscauta

    The surprising thing being that they let it end even though it was selling well.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:14 a.m. CST

    Comics Have Already Changed

    by Buzz Maverik

    The medium changes all the time. Anybody who has ever taken a break from comics can tell you that. I'm pretty much on a permanent break from comics. Not because of the price, but because reviewing comics exposes you to all the medium's flaws and if you want to keep liking the medium itself, you have to step away from the product. If you look at the original @$$holes, only Bug and Sleazy are left and they are a very different Bug and Sleazy than when we started...okay, Sleazy is pretty much the same, but...

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Event Comics

    by Buzz Maverik

    The polybagged dual variant metallic covered comics of the late '00s.<p>Sorta makes you wanna crank up the ol' Wayback machine and go back to the time when trendy comics simply meant a bunch of monster and horror titles with heavy rendering and big lettering. I'm not sure about these new guys Doug Moench and Mike Ploog, but that werewolf comic rocked!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:01 a.m. CST

    I'll keep the Event Comics, if

    by Joenathan

    it means I get three dimensional characters as well. I think you guys take it too seriously if the "flaws" of comics drives you away. The only thing that drives me from a book is poor art or story. And if that happens, I just find a new book more to my liking. Its just that simple.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:36 a.m. CST


    by Fuzzyjefe

    Late piece of advice: if you love good ol' superheroics, try 'Invincible' from Image. There are 8 trades out & that'll get you within 8 or 9 issues of caught up. Awesome superhero action & contstant surprises. It's a really fresh take on classic superheroics.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis #5 looks EPIC!!!!!!

    by most excellent ninja

    Holy shit. The Gods of Apokalips not counting on Hal Jordan coming to fuck them up sounds amazing. It's up to DC's new big guns, the Green Lanterns to save the day. Had to be. The Blackest Night is around the corner.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Most excellent ninja

    by Snookeroo

    I've heard all kinds of rave reviews about Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps, etc. Green Lantern is an all-time fav (can't believe it wasn't made into a movie years ago); the reviews I've seen here on AICN are very exciting; it's definitely one of the titles I'll be picking up.<br><br>Fuzzyjefe -- thanks for the recommendation; I'll check it out. However, I've had several really great suggestions that I'm investigating already, and I can tell I'm going to have to mortgage the house to get caught up. I was looking up the Brubaker Cap A stories, and that title alone is going to cost me around 100 Washington's to get up to speed.<br><br>But hell's bells, what a great problem to have, eh?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 11:08 a.m. CST

    No doubt Snookeroo

    by Fuzzyjefe

    It's a good time to be a comic reader if you can afford it. I read more titles than I really should without reading a single main universe superhero book from either Marvel or DC. There's something for just about any taste. Welcome back.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 11:22 a.m. CST

    The Nihilist

    by frozen01

    Basic Economics. HAH. <p>People won't STOP WORKING because their taxes have gone up. They can't just go to their bosses and say, "Well, Obama raised my taxes, so can I only work 30 hours from now on?" The response would either be "No" or "Pack up your stuff and get out of here". And most people can't just quit working, no matter which tax bracket they're in. They have houses and cars to pay for, children to clothe and feed. Even business owners wouldn't decrease their productivity just because their taxes went up, because that lost productivity will cost them more money in the end! What, do you think they're just going to be like "Well, my taxes are a little higher, I give up! Better close up shop!" Please, don't insult our collective intelligence. <p>You've taken the model applied to spending on "luxury" items during a recession (people will buy less and will not pay more for the same items they used to buy) and applied it to your own argument for income vs. taxes vs. productivity (people will supposedly decrease their productivity because their taxes are higher)? And you're lecturing US about "basic economics"?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Talk about your coincidences...

    by Snookeroo

    I'm from the Midwest, but this summer I just happened to be in San Diego (first time in decades) a week BEFORE Comic Con. Ah, if only I'd been there one week later. Ships in the night, cheri. Ships in the night.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 12:18 p.m. CST

    My current suggestion list

    by Bluejack

    1. Annihilation and Annihilation:Conquest,2. Nova, 3.Immortal Iron Fist, 4. Bru's Cap Run, 5. Invincible, 6. Fables, 7. Walking Dead, 8. Secret Six, 9. Thunderbolts, 10. Dynamo 5. These are all good reads!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Suggestions part 2

    by Bluejack

    I've fallen away from DC. I was a huge JLA fan from Morrison's reboot on, but recently it is just fluffy cotton candy posing. I like most of the Avengers stuff but that can be pretty convoluted at this point.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 12:26 p.m. CST

    On Trades

    by optimous_douche

    From a cost perspective is there really a benefit to trades???<p> I totally get it from a story perspective, because you get the complete arc.<p> But cost wise, it just doesn't add up for me. Most trades clock in at about 5 issues for $15 or $20 bucks. Call me dense, but wouldn't it be the same as the weekly buy?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Ug, no editing!

    by Bluejack

    convoluted for jumping on atthis point. You would need to go all the way back to New Avengers before Secret Invasion to know what the hell was going on.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 12:44 p.m. CST


    by Shigeru

    nearly every single trade is 6 or more issues. none are 5.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:07 p.m. CST

    Ok, I have to ask the really stupid question

    by Snookeroo

    When we're referencing "trades", that is actually reprints of back issues under one cover that carry one storyline, correct? That's what I've been assuming, but I want to make sure that's correct before I amble on in complete ignorance.<br>What is the difference between that and an omnibus?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:14 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    Thanks -- your suggestions confirm some titles for me, since they have been mentioned a couple of times before. These are on my buy list: Bru's Cap A, Invincible, and Secret Six (I have the original Secret Six from 1968 -- issues 1,2, and 5 -- and yes, I DID buy them off the spinner rack when they were new). I'm interested to see how the title was updated.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:27 p.m. CST


    by Fuzzyjefe

    You are correct. Trades are collections of several issues. There are occaisionally single stories done in that format; see Alan Moore's last League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: the Black Dossier, or Azzarillo's Joker just released. But these are few and far between these days.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:41 p.m. CST

    FYI: The Fables pilot is gonna tank

    by Psynapse

    "Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner, the duo who penned the Jennifer Garner-starring “Elektra” and have been tapped to write a screenplay for “Deathlok,” are scripting the “Fables” pilot."<p>Uhh...yeah. Sadly I actually watched that twitching abortion on a DVD rental. A six-legged Go Nagai vagina demon with my grandmother's face coming out of the quim couldn't make me want to rip my eyes out more than rancid piece of shit did.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:43 p.m. CST

    "than that rancid piece of shit"

    by Psynapse

    Goddamn lack of an edit feature.....

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 2:41 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    An Omnibus is just a REALLY big trade.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Actually, Psynapse...

    by SleazyG.

    ...I still think "Elektra" is a better movie than "Daredevil".<p> Seriously.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Yo Sleazy...

    by Psynapse

    That's like comparing a solid turd to diarrhea. F'reals.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Elektra and price rape.

    by The Heathen

    Sleazy, love ya man, but Elektra is far worse than DD, but to be fair it is like choosing what flavor of doo doo is better. Elektra is on par with Ghost Rider as the worst of the Marvel movies I'd say. Debate! <br> <br> $3.99? Fuck you Marvel and DC. I know a thing or two about printing costs and it's more than robbery charging even $2.99, much less $3.99. I'm out for the most part. I'll get my Geoff Johns issues and Walking Dead and maybe something like Batman to keep somewhat in the loop, but it's going to be trade waiting for me from here on out. <br> <br> Trade waiting in itself is a pain in the ass. I don't know how many versions (paperback, HC, absolute/omnibus, 6 issue arcs, 12 issue collection, ie.) there will be and how available they will be when I want to purchase. I like HC mega collections personally. For instance, I'd like to have the Sinestro Corps War in one nice HC collection. It doesn't have to be an absolute (that would be cool though), but I don't want to buy 2-3 smaller volumes of it. So the comic book companies also need to get their collections organized too, but that isn't likely to happen. <br> <br> I'm with my Cogs on this whole thing. Arghh. Shig, the little Iron Man and Hulk ponchos they are shelling in the Marvel in house ads annoy me the most. They also look like Axel Alonso just took a cheap digital camera home and took a picture of his kid and used that. <br> <br> Good day @$$holes!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Sometimes diarrhea's preferable to a solid turd.

    by SleazyG.

    At least when you're on the giving end...

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 4:22 p.m. CST

    I'd still rather watch "Elektra"...

    by SleazyG.

    ...than either of the FF movies--dear god did they suck. And "Ghost Rider" becomes even worse on the second viewing. And the third. I dunno, man..."Elektra" was bad, but it wasn't "Rise Of The Silver Surfer" bad...

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 4:31 p.m. CST

    Rise of the Silver Surfer vs. Elektra

    by The Heathen

    Okay, I didn't have it in me to watch Ghost Rider more than once. Same for Elektra. However, I found that the first FF movie lowered that expectations so much that I actually enjoyed the second one on a popcorn level. I watched it once in theaters and once on HBO and didn't hate it either time. It's not good, but it is better than Ghost Rider and Elektra. I think it's better than DD too, but that's not saying much. I dunno man, Elektra is just so horribly bad. Ghost Rider… ughhh. Yep.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Having stepped out of the way-back machine

    by Snookeroo

    here's what I'm looking at for a first-glance pull list:<br>•Captain America #1 to current by Brubaker<br>•World War Hulk <br>•Sinestro Corps War/Green Lantern<br>•Invincible<br>•Secret Six<br><br>Follow up with:<br>•ILLUMINATI<br>LoEG<br><br>From what I've been able to discern, 52, Countdown, and identity Crisis are just too damn extensive to try to catch up on. I dunno -- the list I have already looks like 6 months' investment and a car payment, so I'll just have to see.<br><br>Thanks very much everyone for your help -- am I missing anything vital?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 4:46 p.m. CST


    by Fuzzyjefe

    You're gonna have a nice welcome back with that list. I pimped Invincible, so you know where I stand on that. I'll back up everyone that's praised the Lantern books--they have been kick ass for a while (thanks to my brother for letting me read those). Couldn't really comment on the other titles, but usually if it's praised by most on this talkback, it's usually quality. You, my good man, are about to belly up to a veritable feast of comic riches.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 5:46 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    My one regret is that it doesn't look like Superman is front line in the quality war; but if these titles are anything like All Star Superman, I can't wait!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 8:28 p.m. CST

    No offense, TheHeathen... re: printing costs

    by GrantChastain

    Printing costs are only a small slice of the entire cost of producing a comic, especially if you're a big house like Marvel or DC. In addition to printing cost, you have to factor in the distribution costs (Diamond takes at least half your cover if you're a small pub, and even Marvel & DC are paying a significant chunk directly to them); the human cost (i.e., you have to pay your artists and writers, unless you're a smaller house that's willing to weather shitloads of bad press); and the advertising and promotional cost (meaning any ads or promotional materials for books that are about to hit shelves). These things are all not free and must be paid out from the revenue earned on producing the books themselves.<p>If you think making comic books is as easy as slapping Spidey's face on a front cover and then sitting back and counting the ducats, I'm sorry to have to break this all to you. Just because you've got a cousin that works for Quebecor or you know a couple print-on-demand places doesn't make you an expert. Like Jim Breuer said in "Half Baked", it's, like, way more complicated than that.<p>Bottom line: Are Marvel & DC making profits? You'd better hope so, or that's the end of the whole comics gravy train. But as I said in a previous post, the rising costs of comics are due to a lot of mitigating market factors, and most of the factors are transparent to the reader. You only notice when the cover price goes up.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 8:57 p.m. CST

    Comics were originally considered throw-away material

    by Snookeroo

    because they were used as a way to keep the rollers clean between "real" runs of press. Reprints of the Sunday funnies; that kind of thing, of course -- no original material. Nobody ever dreamed at that time that a comic would become a whole industry unto itself.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Way -back-machine?

    by steverodgers

    You sure you don't mean future machine? Are those bullet points in a talkback and some weird question mark diamond thingers? How Snookeroo how?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:35 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    Simple -- just hold down the alt key and type 0149 -- voila! bullets •

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:36 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:37 p.m. CST

    testing 2

    by steverodgers


  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:38 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers


  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:39 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Sorry Everyone

    by steverodgers

    I'm going to go into an old Talkback and figure this shit out.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:17 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    Click the curser as if you were going to type a letter. The curser will be flashing, as usual. Hold down the alt key, and type 0149 (while holding down the alt key) -- then let off the alt key. Try that and see if it works! •<br>For a Windows machine, not a Mac, btw.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:19 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    NOTE: that's ZERO 149, not "O" 149.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:33 p.m. CST

    by steverodgers

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:35 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers

    You are the master! I blaming my computer even though its clearly user error.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:43 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    If all else fails, go to:<br>start<br>programs<br>accessories<br>system tools<br>character map<br>select teh bullet, cut and paste. Voila!<br>Good luck!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:43 p.m. CST

    dammit this TB needs an edit feature

    by Snookeroo

  • Dec. 10, 2008, 2:48 p.m. CST


    by krushjudgement

    That makes sense. I'm a moron.

  • Dec. 10, 2008, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Captain America

    by Bluejack

    This isn't your old style Cap, Snook. The title is very cerebral at times and you have to read a few issues to get the tone of the stories. I think of them as spy/war stories with cap and bucky as the stars. I've been going back and reading Brubaker's older work, and he is amazing. I need to start reading 'Criminal' but my pull list is just getting too long for this economy.