Monday, June 30, 2008

Michael Turner

I don't really know what to say, he was taken far too early from this world. My condolences to his family and loved ones. Aspen is encouraging anyone wishing to make a charitable donation to send them to Michael Turner's requested charities:
The American Cancer Society
The Make-A-Wish Foundation

And I hope it's not out of place but being Canadian I'd also like to encourage other Canadians to consider donating to or getting involved with:
The Canadian Cancer Society
Make-A-Wish Canada

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 25th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

Another "busy" week for me comic-wise, what's up with that? :) A whopping 5 books to review so let's get to it.

Hulk #4 -- Yes, I'm one of those crazy comic fans who will continue to buy a series with my favourite character despite not liking it. And I continue to not like this series. A lot. The Watcher scene at the beginning? I guess some fanboys will enjoy it but I thought it was a joke and not in a good way. I thought it was childish and a bad idea on Loeb's part. I've heard that this idea of having the Hulk punch out the Watcher was one of the first things Loeb thought up when he was looking at writing a Hulk book. I think he should have left it as a thought or put it in some cartoon somewhere. Then we have the fight, not much writing there so it was going okay for a while. Then it happened, the Red Hulk wins by breaking the Green Hulk's arm. REALLY? The Hulk, who has been disembowled by Speedfreak, who had 2/3rds of his body mass ripped away by Vector, who had a hole cut open in his chest by Wolverine, passes out from a broken arm. And not only that, the Red Hulk has to carry him around as he remains unconcious or semi-concious and keep shaking him so he won't turn back into Banner. Please tell me that there's more to it, that the Red Hulk is somehow absorbing the Green Hulk's strength or something because that just seemed pathetic. The art was pretty to look at for the most part but it doesn't make up for just how bad I think the writing is here. The issue supposedly sold out so people are buying it but personally, I don't recommend it. Though in two months we get to see how Thor does against the Red Hulk. As I already said to Carl, I'm half-expecting that fight to end with Red Hulk beating Thor by kicking him in the shins.

She-Hulk #30 -- I like Peter David's work for the most part, I really do. And I think this was a solid issue. It had fun moments, it tied up some story elements well while leading to more, and it was well paced. So I'm trying to figure out why it felt a little hollow. I can't really pinpoint anything wrong with it but it didn't really make me go "wow" like some of Peter David's other work or Dan Slott's stuff (I know, I have to stop going back to the "not Slott" factor). I think the overall story just didn't have the "oomph" it needed to go on this long. For those thinking of checking the series out, this probably isn't the issue for you. But with a new art team and an X-Factor crossover in the next issue (and a Secret Invasion tie in) that might be a book you'll want to check out.

Ultimates 3 #4 -- More Jeph Loeb "fun". Honestly, I'm losing track of what's going on and I don't really care. With the Savage Land we get flashbacks that I felt were poorly executed and made reading this book even more of a chore. We have the whole "who is the Black Panther?" thing (hmm, where's Cap?), does everything need to be confusing and a mystery with Loeb? And then we get the robot Ultimates at the end who actually appear like the Ultimates during Millar and Hitch's run (ie. Thor looks like his hippy self) but seem to have two Captain Americas (one who looked like the Cap from the first few issues of this Ultimates run and one in his World War 2 getup). And that "vibrator" line, that stuck out like a sore thumb. Is that Loeb's attempt at making this book "mature"? By making 30 year old guys with the maturity of a 12 year old giggle? And it was the wrong time for a line like that, how can we be worried about a villain who equates himself to a vibrator? The best part? That there's only one more issue and then I'm done. I do have to say that just like the Hulk, the art was pretty to look at in this issue.

Runaways #30 -- Whedon's run on this book has kinda been in decline for me. I can see some of it being from the delays which made reading it really challenging, especially with the large number of characters and story elements that were thrown in with the last few issues. But mostly it's just that last part. The story quickly became a tangle of I don't know how many characters being introduced as quickly as you can and then fighting and me losing track of who's who or who I should be cheering for. Having said that, this issue actually tied up a lot of it without me needing to go back and plot out who came from where. But the real character moments that Vaughan had used to make the series great, scenes where they were just hanging out in their hide out or shopping or whatever, disappeared. Maybe for some people that may have worked but not so much for me. It was still a decent story and maybe it's better to pick it up now, without the constant delays spreading the story so many months. But I'm actually looking forward to the re-start by Terry Moore and as a Whedon fan, it hurts me to say that.

Runaways/Young Avengers Secret Invasion #1 -- It was funny how this book started with what I felt was missing from Whedon's run, a simple moment of the Runaways going out into the streets and talking. It's a good moment that gets cut short when the invasion kicks in. I was extremely curious to see how Xavin and Hulkling react and I'm happy to see neither of them turning evil (at least not yet) as I like them both. But it was also interesting to see the two reactions and how each approached it differently. The art was a cartoony style and maybe didn't fit the seriousness of the story at parts yet in some ways, it fits the Runaways and still works for me (though probably not for everyone). I do wonder if there will be some overlap in story elements with the She-Hulk/X-Factor SI crossover (it just felt similar with a "special" Skrull that's been on earth and a plan by the invading Skrulls to kill them off) but I think there's enough difference that it won't be too much of a factor. It's just funny that those will be the only two Secret Invasion stories I'll be reading. Now I can't say how important this issue will be for Secret Invasion fans (how big Hulkling's role might be or whether it's explained in the Secret Invasion series remains to be seen) but it's important for Runaways and Young Avengers fans. And I recommend picking it up if you're a fan of either of those teams. Secret Invasion fans? You may be a little disappointed, especially in the art area, that this book might not fit the tone of other Secret Invasion books.

So that's it for this week. And in case I don't get around to posting on the weekend, Happy Canada Day to my fellow canuckleheads out there.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2008 Zuda Invitational Finalists Announced

The announcement is here but I'll go through the list...
Araknid Kid -- Not really surprised by this one. Josh put a lot into it and it was a fun story that seemed to get a following (enough to get it a new home). It was on my list.

Brave Ulysses -- I was slightly hard on this one in my initial reviews but I see the potential here. I'll be eager to see what the next few pages are like.

Crooked Man -- I know this one had a very strong following. My hat is off for the amount of work that goes into it. I'll definitely be checking it out to see if the next few pages connect with me or not.

Dead in the Now -- Another book I was pretty down upon in my first review. I think it'll be good to see a bit more from it to see if it changes my mind.

Joe Comics -- Looking back, I don't think I did reviews of that month's Zuda comics. I think part of it was that I wasn't really a big fan of any of the books that month. And I think this one is a long shot to get my vote but we'll see what the new pages have to offer.

Re-Evolution -- I had a few nitpicks about this book (a lot of it had to do with the art) but it had potential for me.

Reno -- Didn't really work for me the first time around but we'll see.

The Mundane Overrated Misadventures of Spudman -- This one was on my list and I'm happy to see more mundane misadventures.

Teachers -- This one surprises me a bit but I think it worked for some people and didn't for others. But it's presence here shows the variety in the readers.

Untrue Tales -- Another one that I think shows the variety in the readers of Zuda and webcomics in general.

I am noticing that most of the books I voted for aren't on that list. It's probably because my tastes differ than a majority of Zuda readers (many of the books I end up voting for in the competitions don't win) though I suppose some of them could have been invited but opted not to take part. Who knows? In a way, that's the great thing about webcomics, there's a little bit of something for everyone. And in another way, there's the downside that books I enjoy won't continue unless they get picked up elsewhere or the creators decide to do the book without the financial backing.

So who am I voting for? Well, it's too early to tell. I'll have to wait and see what they bring to the table in their second set of pages. Though I have to admit, the front runners for my vote seem to be Araknid Kid and Spudman at the moment.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 18th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

Sorry about being so late with this week's review, I had a very busy few days. And yep, only one book to review this week...

Angel: After the Fall #9 -- So we finally get back to the main story. My disappointment with this series slowly grows even more. The art in this issue was not good and I had to double check to see if they had more than one artist because some panels came out cartoonish while others seemed to have a different style. But all in all, I did not find it nice to look at. In some panels he managed to have certain characters look like the actors but even when he did that, they didn't look good. The crosshatching alone bothered me. And when Wes' body is revealed I thought he'd been cut in half and then had his bottom half replaced with that of a giant. For me, the writing on this series has been consistent from the start. What I mean by that is I see some great story ideas and nifty twists and turns yet I find them all done rather poorly. Two jokes kinda made me chuckle (the use of one of Whedon's lines from the X-Men movie and the "... is my Master now" T-shirt) but also seemed poorly executed. The shirt joke was too in your face and jarring, it should have been a subtle joke. As an Angel fan, I'm sticking this series out but it has slid off my recommended reading list. I think fans may be better off reading the recaps after it's done.

So that's it for me for the monthlies this week. I did pick up the latest volume of the manga series Monster and I enjoyed it. I'm currently reading the Incredible Hulk novelization and then it will probably be Y: The Last Man vol. 10 (hopefully it arrives in the mail early next week) or Marvel Zombies 2.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where have I been???

Sorry I haven't been around for my usual weekly ramblings, things were pretty busy for me. I had a date that lasted a good chunk of Saturday (yay), saw the Incredible Hulk and had a father's day family get-together on Sunday, and have been dealing with playing musical offices at work (but I now have a window in my office, another yay). Even now, I don't really have much time so I'll have to keep it short. So what shall I ramble about...

First up, the Incredible Hulk. Don't worry, I'll avoid spoiling anything as best as I can. Now I enjoyed the 2003 Ang Lee movie for the most part but I understand why a lot of people didn't. This one goes a long way to make those people happy. A lot more action, a better physical threat for the climax, and less "artsy shots". There were still times where I noticed audience members shifting during the non-Hulk scenes (many of these shifters being fairly young) but really, what can you do? Now I'm not overly picky about CGI, I just want it to be good enough that I don't find it distracting. And I didn't here so I was happy. I definitely enjoyed it and recommend checking it out. And the really big comic fans will have a lot of fun finding all the little winks that are thrown in. I'm still finding out about ones I missed.

On the TPB reading front, I've polished off some more Fables as well as reading volume 9 of Invincible. I'm still enjoying Invincible but I think it'll stay on my TPB list and not my monthlies. I just find that at the rate it's going I'm enjoying it more this way. Fables on the other hand, I may be adding to my monthlies as soon as I'm caught up (reading volume 9 at the moment).

I still want to do my whole "monthlies VS TPBs VS Webcomics... The Future for me" rambling, I just need to find the time to organize my thoughts and get them out of my wee-little brain. :)

So I guess that's it for now. I know there's a lot I could actually talk about as there continues to be some shaking up going on (Final Crisis stuff, a certain writer no longer working at a certain company, etc, etc) but oh well. Tell you what, let me know what's on your mind this week. Ramble away (though try to keep it comic oriented).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 13th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

Going back to that comment I made about buying fewer monthlies, the comic world seems determined to make a liar out of me with another fairly busy week by my standards. Another 5 books. Though one was a one-shot and the Angel series is limited. I'll try to keep things very short this week.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #1 -- Something I said quite often during Pak's Planet Hulk storyline was that it seemed choppy at parts. The narrative and story just didn't seem to have a flow and I had to go back and forth to see how we got from point A to location Theta. I found that here too. There was a few "cut to sometime later" that hurt the reading of the book. And I went back forth a few times to try to figure out exactly what happened at the end. Was that boy that the Axeman smashed Skaar in another form? Is he like his father and he only turns into Skaar at some points? I'm guessing that this will be answered in later issues but some dialogue or narrative to support that guess would have been nice. And the art just didn't work for me. I liked Garney's run on the Hulk and I think it's interesting to try and go without inks but I thought the book suffered in this case. It just looked too sketchy and muddy. But that's not to say the book didn't have a lot of positives. It does look like it might be a good story and I'm looking forward to it but I'm not entirely sold on it just yet. This series is one you may want to wait for the TPB, just to be sure it's a keeper.

Angel: After the Fall #8 -- This wasn't a bad issue of some short stories but at this point, I just want to get back to the main story. Most of this book did very little for me. Even the Gunn part didn't really seem to answer too much and felt like it was going on a bit too long. We already knew Angel freed the dragon which turned the fight around, it was like being hit over the head with it here. There was a hint of something more to Gunn's story but not really enough for me. Even seeing Gunn turned into a vampire seemed off, he still seemed to have his soul or something. Hopefully that also gets explained. I seem to be saying that a lot about this series. I also hope issue 9 picks turns things around for me.

Elephantmen #12 -- I had hoped this one would pick up my spirits after the disappointing Angel book but I was a little disappointed here. It was an okay story about two workers cleaning up after the Elephantmen's release from MAPPO but it felt more like a short story that should be a backup in a giant-sized issue or something. I kept waiting for it to end and an actual Elephantmen story to start up. The art fit the mood of the story well so I can't complain about it. But overall, not a particularly strong issue for this series.

Marvel Adventures: Hulk #12 -- A fun story about the heroes facing off against the Champion of the Universe. Of course it's for kids so nothing here can be taken too seriously or anything. So it's a fun read, I mean it has the Hulk doing kung fu. I really do think they are doing a great job with the series. I'd probably drop it if I really needed to cut back but it's a fun read accessible to pretty much anyone.

Hulk: Raging Thunder -- This one seemed like a bad idea to me. We already have Skaar: Son of Hulk this week, did we really need a whole extra book built to introduce a seemingly throw away "Daughter of Hulk"? Unless she somehow comes into the present from the future. The book seemed to be billed as a clash between Thundra and the Hulk but that was pretty flat. She gets tossed around, drops some rocks on him, steals a kiss, and that's it. I just felt pretty let down by this book and I don't think it's worth the money.

Wow, I really came off pretty negative this week. Oh well, what can you do? I picked up a few more TPBs of Fables as I'm really enjoying that series. And once I'm caught up I may actually go to monthlies. It seems to be written in a way that would make it worthwhile (not all their stories are spread out over 6 issues, it actually seems like you'd get a good read every month).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Zuda Reviews for June 2008

So I'm finally getting around to doing the reviews. Have you ever wondered why I do the Zuda reviews or talk about Zuda or other web comics? Yeah, I really should explain that and when I finally get around to posting my views of TPBs VS monthlies VS webomics and what I see for the future of my comic reading hopefully it'll be a bit more clear. The short version: I like webcomics and if by mentioning sites like Zuda, DrunkDuck, SmackJeeves, or whatever else I can encourage a couple readers to check them out I would be happy. Because I think a lot of great talent is out there waiting to be discovered by readers looking for something new and exciting.

But enough about that, I want to leave something for the post I keep talking about. :) So on to the reviews...

Cursed Planet -- An interesting sci-fi/horror piece (from what I can make of it) but I found it came off a little too amateurish in terms of art and storytelling. There were a few parts I thought could have been left out (the needing new pants part and the resulting "eww") or could have been drawn better (the breathing fire for instance, that panel should have been drawn more dynamically for greater impact).

Dual -- First off, I really liked the art here. Some nice dramatic angles, rich colours, and overall beautiful stuff. At first I thought the story was pretty standard until the whole "eating" scene started. I was pretty taken aback by that and I kinda liked that feeling here. I think this is a strong contender for my vote.

Love, Lust and a Giant Killer Turtle -- The first 6 pages didn't really connect with me but the last 2 turned it around slightly. The art is a nice cartoony style that is well done. And the dialogue is pretty funny. I'm just not sure, after seeing these 8 pages, that it's something that would keep my attention for very long. Still very good work though.

Mime -- I really liked the art here. It's a great style that matches this comic well. The downside, I'm just not sold on the whole clown/mime fight and these 8 pages don't really sell the book enough. I think this book falls into a pretty usual place for me, something I see that might be interesting but the 8 pages given just aren't enough to sell it to me.

Mister Crimson -- One of the few "hero" stories this month (not that any other month has had very many of them). Again, this book relies on the intro paragraph to sell this book as something more than the 8 pages show. Because I didn't find the 8 pages really showed something new. The art has an interesting style to it but I felt it didn't really bring me into the book.

Psychopath: A Love Story -- I was actually very intrigued by this one. Maybe it's my history of reading superhero comics but I kinda liked the ideas here. Clearly the "hero" is not entirely stable and looks pretty bad off but when you look at characters like Batman, real people being heroes, you kinda expect some of them to be like this. And after just 8 pages I'm actually intrigued to see where it goes from here. It goes in my list of contenders for my vote.

Red Ice -- This one seems to be getting David's seal of approval. Unfortunately I don't feel the same way but I guess that's what Zuda is all about right? :) I just found this to be a little too choppy. I had to go back and forth trying to figure out who was talking and what was happening. Things just didn't seem to flow for me and it seemed confusing at times. But again, it might just be me. The art was solid and the style seemed to fit the story. But I don't think this makes my list of possible vote getters.

S.Type -- At first glance I expected to really like this story. I thought the idea was interesting the art was pretty good (not great but solid enough with a cartoony style that fit). But about half way through I realized it was just too "in-jokey" for me. I'm not a huge horror/zombie movie fan so their dialogue and such started going over my head. Maybe someone who's more into it than me will understand what they're saying but I thought it was a little too much. So by the end I was just looking for the next book and feeling a little disappointed by this one. But I can see it getting a core audience that it speaks to.

Sam 3.14, PI -- I have to admit that I didn't expect much going into this one. I mean, it's a book about a robot P.I. with a human brain which features ninja kangaroos. But I was actually entertained by these 8 pages. Yes, some of it comes off as cliche (by that I mean the jokes are cliches as the whole film noir P.I. thing has been spoofed many times) but it was still fun to read. Though having said that, I'd be surprised to see myself sticking with it for very long. It seems like more of a fun story for a "What the..???" type book but not something I could really get into.

Sharks+Shrinks -- Definitely the most alternative of this month's books. On the one hand, I applaud books like this and Zuda for putting them out there. On the other hand, I just can't practice what I preach as I just can't get into it enough to vote for it. I just look at each page and can't get into a flow of reading it. Which is too bad, I wish I could be more progressive but I'm still stuck liking a more classic style. So unfortunately, I'll be passing on this one as well.

So that's it, it's looking like it will be either Psychopath or Dual for me. What do you think?

Monday, June 09, 2008

I stand corrected regarding Edward Norton and the Hulk

Regarding my last post, it seems Edward Norton is doing press for the movie (according to a recent post on AintItCool which lists the things he'll be doing). I had read that he wasn't and even the director had said he walked away during the editing. But I guess the disagreement really wasn't that big a deal and I read too much into it. It's just that Edward Norton doesn't do much publicity for any of his movies. So my apologies to anyone I misled.

Weekly Recap/Rant/Ramblings/Whatever...

Well, I hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was a bit of a mix. Brunch on Saturday was a complete bust. I had hoped someone I met at the comic shop would be able to go but she had said she was busy on Saturday so it was just going to be me and my friend who works at the comic shop. Unfortunately, there was a bit of confusion on his part as to what day we were going or what day it was when he woke up. So it ended up just being me. But at least the food was pretty good. I also attended the end-of-season banquet for my ball hockey league on Saturday evening where my team named me "Team MVP" for the season. I'm flattered but it's pretty clear the only reason I won was because our top three players all missed quite a few games during the season. So it was more of a "win by default". And I ended up seeing Iron Man for the second time on Sunday. Enjoyed it just as much the second time. But enough about me...

First up, I want to talk about the latest Incredible Hulk commercial that I've been told aired during last night's basketball game. I'll try to avoid the spoilers but let's just say the commercial shows a very important cameo that I'm led to believe happens at the end of the movie. On the one hand, I can see why the studio would decide to do this. It generates interest in a movie that I don't hear too many people talking about at the moment (at least in my neck of the woods and in terms of non-comic fans). But on the other hand, it's spoiling a huge surprise. And in my opinion, the fact that not many people are talking about this movie has a lot to do with their marketing. Now I've read a bit about the whole Edward Norton disagreement and losing him for the marketing was huge. And it's one of the reasons I think the marketing is failing. Nobody seems to be taking up the torch for this movie. People I talk to about it usually reply with "Well, I didn't like the first one" and nobody seems to be getting the news that this is a reboot. New cast, new director, new approach,... all new. I really do hope this movie succeeds but I have a bad feeling at the moment.

Secondly, I had hoped to talk about TPBs VS monthlies VS webcomics and where I see my future of comic reading but unfortunately, I only have time for one rambling at the moment as work is calling for my attention. So I still plan to ramble about it but it'll have to be some other time.

So how was your weekend? :)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 4th, 2008 -- SPOILERS!!!

Just when I say I'm buying fewer monthly books I get hit with a big week. Well, big for me. Though most of them are a limitted series or books I'm just checking out. So here goes...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #15 -- This book continued on a low note for me. As I expressed in my last review, it just seemed to be playing into an all too common story element for Joss. But after that I found it picked up. The dialogue was good and even the over the top elements of the story (ie. large robotic Dawn) seemed well executed. In some ways it seems the major threat seems to have been resolved rather quickly and almost as an afterthought yet the story leaves many ramifications to the characters. It was a solid issue and storyline to a series that I already recommend but I really do hope this is the last of the "let's get two characters together and happy in a relationship only to kill one off" for Joss for a little while.

American Splendor #3 -- I haven't read too much of Harvey Pekar's work but this one comes off as the most political of what I have read. It's only a few pages of the book but it could be offputting if you don't share his political views. But then again, Harvey Pekar has never been one to hide his opinion on anything has he? :) So this issue features another solid line up of artists portraying stories from Harvey's life. The jazz discussion one wasn't really my cup of tea but I still enjoy Harvey's work.

Ultimate Origins #1 -- I didn't plan on picking up this book but I eventually broke down due to the hype I've heard. And in the end, I was actually rather disappointed. I can't really say the book is bad or anything, the writing is good and the art is okay (I say "okay" because I thought they could have done a better job of making the young Fisk, James Howlett, and Nick Fury a little more recognizable), but I was less than impressed with the overall story. I just don't like the idea of trying to merge all the superheroes in the Ultimate Universe to one single super soldier/mutant making experiment. It seems to take away from the diversity of the characters and their situations. And making Logan mutant 0 just made me shake my head. Do we really need more of a push for this character? Oh no, we need to make him even more important. *sigh* For those who are really into the Ultimate Universe they may really enjoy this. For me, someone who just dabbles here and there, it just didn't work. So I won't be adding this to my reading list.

House of Mystery #2 -- I decided to give this series another try. I found with this issue that I was starting to get more into the main story of the house and the latest visitor, Fig. But the side story presented here just wasn't for me. I didn't find it as jarring (from a reader's standpoint) as the first issue but I was still tempted to just kinda skip over that part. But I have to say that it was written and drawn well so I think a lot of this has to do with personal preference. I'm still not sold on this series but this issue may have been strong enough to make me consider issue 3. I may wait and see what else I pick up that week.

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #4 -- The artwork continues to work and not work at the same time for me. Throughout the book you had some beautiful shots but they didn't really seem to tell the story at times. And some scenes seem to go on for a while as an excuse to give us more and more big artistic shots. But having said that (and coming across as very negative) I actually enjoyed this issue more than some of the other Dark Tower issues. I still think issue 5 will be the last for me though. But I think fans of the series will enjoy this issue.

I guess that's it for this week's books. Thanks to my cold I've gotten quite a bit of TPB reading done though. I ended up finishing off Jeff Smith's series, Bone. (I had to be very careful how I said that) I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down. Though I also slipped in volume 5 of Fables and the two Whiteout books somewhere in there. All were really good.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Stanley Cup

Congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings and their fans. Even in this post-cap era they've been able to keep together a juggernaut of a team. From what I could see they did it by remaining just that, a team. No relying on one player or one line, but everyone knowing what they need to do and doing it. So my hat is off to you.

Also, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins. You have a great young team there with an incredible amount of talent. This may not have been your year but I can't see you being kept from the Cup for too long.

And lastly, a tip of my hat to the fans in Pittsburgh. I was wondering how the fans would react should Detroit win it away from home and I have to say I was pleased to see that for the most part the fans respected the team and either cheered them or at least allowed them to celebrate and enjoy their accomplishment. Sure, there was some booing at times but overall I think they themselves should be applauded for not making it an ugly situation.

So congratulations to both teams and both cities. And I look forward to seeing you both next season when the Habs are kicking your butts! ;)

Oh, and just so there's some comic stuff here, hey look Galactus in Pooch Cafe!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Zuda Competitions

What a horrible blogger I am, I completely forgot to check up on Zuda in the last little while. So congratulations to Caanan of Celadore for winning the May competition! I'm looking forward to seeing where this story goes.

And the latest competitors are up so have a look and hopefully one day I'll get some reviews posted. :)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The "Weekly" Recap/Rant -- Target Audience?

Yeah, I guess I'm going to have to give up on the Weekly Recap idea, I just can't stick to it. I actually wanted to post this rant earlier but I've been pretty sick the last few days. So here goes my current ramblings...

Last Thursday I was talking with a friend about my decision to drop Astonishing X-Men now that Whedon's run is over and how the number of monthly (if you can call Astonishing monthly) comics I pick up from Marvel or DC continues to dwindle, especially when it comes to their main line of superhero comics. He said something like "That's too bad considering you're their target audience." To which I quickly replied "No, evidently I'm not." But then I started to wonder, "am I?"

There are obvious signs that I could be part of their "target audience". I'm 32 years old with a somewhat decent paying job and not too much in the way of bills. I've been reading comics pretty much my whole life and probably will continue to do so for a long long time (assuming there are comics I want to read). I have a history with the characters and have made a connection to them (which I know sounds extremely geeky).

On the other hand, that brings some baggage with it. I'm not exactly "young" and who knows how long I'll be in the financial position I'm in at the moment. And I bring with me a lot of "comic history baggage" when I read a story. What I mean by this is that I often come into a story feeling like I know the characters well enough that I'd know how they'd react to something. And when this doesn't match what's written I can be disappointed. I may not be as bad as some when it comes to this and it varies from character to character but I have to admit there's that baggage.

So then I look at what I see happening in comics (again, I'm restricting this to the main Marvel/DC universes at the moment) and I wonder, am I part of their target audience? I see major "universe shattering" storylines crossing over dozens of titles. Or I see "X will never the same" storylines that change the character from what I know to something else (or other times they are just overhyped stories that change nothing). And over and over again I see the "undo" button being pressed. Characters coming back to life. Universes being altered to go back to the status-quo. Even the creators have taken to the opinion "it's comics, anything can happen in comics". Which, although true I suppose, kinda makes me wonder what the big deal is with "universe shattering"/"never be the same" storylines and why I should pick them up if things can indeed be the same. And I find myself losing interest in characters that I've followed for many years now as it no longer seems to be about them and more about outdoing the big shocking event by the other company.

On the one hand, I can appreciate this in some respects. Sometimes you have a great story that just can't be done without breaking a few eggs. I'm reminded that for the Watchmen, an initial idea was to use existing characters but that plan was squashed when they realized they still wanted those eggs intact. But always making copies of existing characters to fill your great story idea isn't always practical and we'd end up with a confusing mishmosh of Superman clones running around (like we don't already have that to some degree). So I see that but I also see that some of these stories just aren't that great. I hate to go back to Civil War but you look at the cloning of Thor or the unmasking of Spider-Man and you think "Why?" And Quesada et al have said, the cloning of Thor was done because they wanted to include Thor's image in Civil War and the unmasking of Spidey was to get publicity knowing they'd re-mask him in One More Day. So even the creators seem to be saying things aren't being driven by a great story but by shocking people with events that are really of no consequence.

But at the end of the day, sales for these events are up. People are buying them. And when polls are run it seems the majority of people want to see more of it. I do see a lot of people saying they are getting tired of it but I guess you're bound to hear more from the people who aren't happy (such as me). So Marvel and DC seem to be giving the people what they want.

So to try and keep this rant a reasonable length and to get back on topic, am I the target audience for Marvel and DC? On the one hand I can see why a company might want to target me and on the other, I can see why they wouldn't. But in the end, I don't know if I am. And I think that's pretty telling.

I think for my next rant I'll be discussing what I think the future holds for me comic-wise, whether it's monthly titles, TPBs, webcomics, or something else.