Friday, April 20, 2007

Comics this week…

No spoilers here, but be careful if you jump to the wiki link.

Rumblings spread across the internet a few months ago that there was a very sad disjoint between the 52 braintrust’s storyline planning and the OYL factoids already on display in the current books. Having Rucka, Johns, Waid and the God of All Comics is enough for me to simply say, “Hey, they’ll build the storyline bridge some way and it’ll be great. No worries.” From the message boards at the time there was more concern than I had, but I dig all of their work independently and have loved 52, so I’m a cheap date for the future possibilities. They can write their way out of anything. This week they did their job but

First off, why is World War 3 4 comics, especially when they have to come out on the same day? Make them one big book, annual sized, and be done with it. Oh, but then it would be close to $10, and would therefore scare many people off. For $2.50 a book people will bite and then immediately pile on for the remaining three. There is also something to be said for buying 4 books and knowing you have the entire set. I’m calling it a scam nonetheless. The story also didn’t merit that high of a page count either. I can see the pitch session clearly and envision the inevitable statement: “If its 4 books then it can be a trade.”

I was initially confused as to whether I should have read 52 #50 first or plowed through WW3 first. The cover of #50 told me that WW3 begins here so I went that route. I loved that book. It covered a huge battle, showed some character changes, and had a strong resolution. No complaints. Jumping then to WW3 was such a downer. It was essentially a drawn out, less interesting retelling of the story I had just enjoyed in 22 pages. Why was Martian Manhunter’s presence looming like the Spectre usually does? I know the Spectre is MIA and it was addressed but still. Too much navel gazing. If this big event helped us fill in some of the OYL bits, and it did, why do I still have no clue about Commissioner Gordon? That little fact is nagging me. I’ll bet a Batman annual will fix that in the next few months. $4.99 I’m sure.

I love comics and more importantly never mind spending cash on books I plan on reading – it is almost always an inherently good act. Still, this feels very much like an unnecessary book. 52 #50 covered all I needed to know and about an extra 15 pages here or there would have given me the OYL info I needed. This, coupled with the pricing I noted above, makes this feel more bloated than usual.

I love 52 and I’m in for Countdown. Black Adam is one of the most interesting characters around these days but it would be nice to see him in a better set of books. I’m sure Countdown will fix that. These events, when elevated above this week’s bloated books, are very interesting and will happily resonate for the next year of infinite purchases.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Did Infinite Crisis result in newly energized sales across the board? Did the One Year Later stories catch on? On a creative level, I like some books and ideas and dislike others. Nightwing is bland when it is not terrible, Green Arrow is very cool as always, having Gordon and Harvey Bullock back is great, and I could care less about Hawkman/girl. I'm interested in JLA yet still not sold on it's big picture, though there is so much to like here and there that I'm surely in for the long haul. JSA is a blast (I love Starman), but I dig the Justice Society so much that I'm a cheap date on this one. The jury is still out with 4 weeks of 52 left, but so far a mixed bag with an uneasy sense of poor planning lingering over the OYL concepts.

On to what matters -- the sales figures. Do these numbers represent DC's storylines and events and their success (or apparent lack thereof) ? or are they harbingers of the ongoing comic marketplace's economic reality?

Its well worth a read and not as dense as it appears upon first glance.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Covered with dust in the barn I dug through box after box of books that I had decided needed to make the migration from Chicago in 2005. In hindsight at least 3 boxes should have ended up in a thrift store on the south side, probably Unique on Archer. I wasn’t as brave at the time and thought that all of those books would eventually be reread someday. A fair amount will be, but a fair amount made the trip for nothing. On Saturday I came up with two medium boxes filled with paperbacks and a few hardcovers that will soon end up at Jasper Junction. Saturday night I was disappointed that I only came up with 2 boxes so I promised to look through it all again Sunday morning. This produced another full large box, this one with many beat up Far Side collections. They are funny but I hope to buy the complete collection someday so perhaps that will speed that goal along. So many great books made the cut and will be allowed to stay until I get another bug to dig through things. All of the Hemingway made it of course. Flipping through each text produces a flutter of notes and scribbling in the margins. If I could ever see myself rereading something it could not be given away. This explains the huge box of Archie double digests that remains. I still dig those books. If it is something I could see lending endlessly I could also never give it away. That explains the piles of Sin City and DC trades. If it is anything that I would definitely buy again I could not throw away my ratty old copy in good faith. I may buy other copies, but the fraying and splitting copies of In Our Time, The Things They Carried, and A Farewell to Arms are the specific copies I know I read for the first time. How could I get rid of those?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I don’t know if it is some sort of spring fever bug or just an attempt at the endless pruning of my life, but I’m knee deep in digging through boxes and boxes of stuff (mostly books) to drop off at St. Vincent De Paul on Williamson or perhaps even ebay. I have always hoped to have no more possessions beyond what I could pack into my truck for a single trip move, but this has never happened. I’m a materialistic jerk like everybody else, and I have too many bikes – but I’m still reaching for that brass ring of simplicity and immediate mobility.

I’ll be home this weekend digging through boxes and boxes of books in the barn. All of the books are decent and I have read and enjoyed them, but some of them need to find new homes (If they weren’t jettisoned during my Chicago->Madison pruning they must have some interest, right?). I can’t promise a hardcover but how about a paperback meme coupled with some inevitable cdr evangelization (Lair of the Minotaur, Dio, Joe Coffee, etc.)?

Post away and I’ll accommodate (Salma, I know I owe you for your meme and BG) with a package containing a mystery paperback and some metal.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Word has trickled down here at the office that streaming video (no surprise there) and streaming audio (this one really hurts) is now a no-no. Even streaming radio is bad news. This stinks. Its not a distraction like video is, but rather a great way to drone out the office noise. I’ll sorely miss Chicago’s Roe Conn Show, This American Life repeats, and Milt Rosenberg archived shows. They have been replaced by a little music (Mercyful Fate, Merauder, The Jam) and lots of Rollins spoken word. There is something about hearing speech rather than music that helps the work day move quickest. Aside from lifting more often and heavier, the Rollins results remain to be seen, though a result is surely coming. I remember most of the bits and a fair amount of the phrasing but it’s interesting to go straight through and digest it as a whole.