Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 29th, 2009 -- SPOILER

These will be quickies, I'm a little under the weather so I'm eager to get back to bed.

Son of Hulk #13 -- I kinda went into this book expecting not to like it. I'm usually not into space stories, especially when they don't even feature characters I'm into. I also expected that this new "Son of Hulk" would either be someone just claiming the title or an actual son that nobody seemed to know about (which would seem odd to me, you'd think at least Caiera would have realized something before now). So I found a few bumps in this issue but overall, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It may have felt a little clumsy in parts as it tries to build up its own story but it was a decent enough start. So I'll be sticking it out for at least a few more issues to see where it goes.

The Stuff of Legend #1 -- I didn't get a chance to pick up the Free Comic Book Day book but I did see it online and ordered this shortly after. First up, the art is great for the most part. The style really fits the book well. There were a few times where I felt the layouts could have been a bit better, like some shots maybe could have been pulled back a bit and at least once I missed who was talking as the speech bubble seemed to be pointing to a blacked out figure in the foreground that I couldn't make out. The dialogue also seemed a bit off and clunky at times. Having said that, the presentation did work and the story is very intriguing with some interesting elements and twists to it. I'm really looking forward to issue 2.

Okay, maybe those weren't as short as I had hoped. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comic Con and Digital Comics (more ramblings)

So another Comic-Con is done and gone. I guess one of the perks of not going is I can follow all the stuff online through various websites while people there won't be able to make every panel and won't find out some things until they get home (or at least to a place where they can go online). Yeah, that's the story I'll be sticking to (until I get to Comic Con myself).

There were some pretty big announcements (MarvelMan was the biggest for me as I've been wanting the Moore and Gaiman stuff back in print for a long long time and I hope this is the first step in making it happen) and some interesting looking panels (Iron Man 2 panel looked pretty cool and the Guild panel seemed fun and filled with interesting developments there). But the negative discussions linger, has Comic Con gotten too big? Is it still "Comic" Con? What about the "little man/publisher/stores"? Should deodorant/Febreeze be handed out (or sprayed out) at the doors? Okay, that last one is a bit more of a stretch.

Now as someone who has never been to Comic Con (or any big convention) I'm not the best person to answer any of these but in my mind, maybe it's gotten too big for some people. But really, what can you do? As was pointed out on Valerie D'Orazio's blog, the studios and such see the "geek community" as a place to get ideas (for now) and to try and build a fan base by promoting their scifi/fantasy movies (and some that barely touch on anything sci-fi or fantasy). A big Comic Con appearance can build quite a bit of buzz. Do you really want to start drawing a line on who is and who isn't allowed at Comic Con, especially when a large amount of people have shown they want them there or the panels wouldn't be as busy as they were. Or is the problem you want the companies and the celebrities but don't want the crowds?

As for the little man/publishers/stores, I agree, it sucks. The big companies can throw around their money, grab more space, and make it impossible for these other companies to pay for their own space. It would be nice if the competition could happen on a slightly more level playing field. But then again, Comic Con may be "the" con but it's not the only one. Smaller companies do have their chances to get in there. Get talent on some of the panels, doing workshops, get artists into Artist Alley, etc. I know I just don't understand the problem or I'm being too insensitive to people trying to make a living, but I think there's a lot of routes inside and out of Comic Con for these people.

Is it still "Comic" Con? Perhaps not. Perhaps it's more like the upcoming Fan Expo Canada convention in Toronto which is actually 5 conventions (comics, sci fi, horror, anime, and gaming) merged into one. But Comic Con still has its roots in comics and it's still "the" convention for comic professionals so I think it still has that. And in the end, I think it'll continue as Comic Con even if/when the other stuff dries up.

But as for the "digital comics" part of this post, yet again I hear announcements of comics/media coming out for iPhone or XBox or whatever. Every time I hear these I kinda wince. As someone who doesn't own an iPhone or XBox or whatever I don't really like it when content is made for these, especially content that I'd like to see. But that's just the hit I have to take for not owning them. I just hope that people making stuff for those either have a plan for eventually moving the media off them or know that they're limiting their audience a bit (and could take a hit if they rely on technology that disappears... not really a problem for iPhone or XBox though). But that does highlight a positive of print comics, your audience doesn't need the latest gadget to read it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for July 22nd, 2009 -- SPOILERS

A whopping two books this week. And since I anticipate being swamped at work tomorrow, here goes. I'll only be posting one full review (and it'll be pretty short), you'll see why...

Runaways 3 #12 -- I have to admit, I was a little underwhelmed by this issue. The good: We get a bit more of the story about what's going, always a good thing. Some of the art was good. The bad: The story seemed to jump around a bit too much and at bad times. The dialog seemed a little too awkward at times. I honestly could not tell what was going on for the first few pages, I'm thinking they were trapped under the plants and such but all I saw was a blank purple background. Was I missing something? Because even the people outside of wherever the Runaways were seemed to be standing in front of a purple background. At least it ended on a decent cliff hanger. But in the end, I really felt let down by it.

Incredible Hulk #600 -- Yeah, I bought it. I'll admit, part of it was the "600" hoopla and part of it was the blurbs I've heard about Pak's Incredible Hulk series coming out of this issue. Right off the bat I was irked by She-Hulk's constant use of "Banner", she's his cousin, she calls him Bruce. And I really don't want to spend any more time on Loeb's Hulk stuff. Despite this issue being somewhat better in some regards, I still think his run has been really really bad (I'm trying not to go overboard so I'll leave it at that). The Stan Lee story was silly but I expected nothing less from him. The Hulk Gray, well that was just out of place. It's Hulk #600, give us new material instead of revisiting Loeb's other Hulk stuff. And to put in just issue #1 of a 6 issue series seems wrong to me. Put something in that stands on its own, not a teaser to make people buy that series. Honestly, I just couldn't have even been bothered to read the "new She-Hulk"/Lyra story. I might eventually but not tonight.

All in all, a pretty disappointing week for me comic wise.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 17th, 2009

And I got none. Yep, no books came out for me this week. I don't even have any TPBs sitting around on my "to read" pile. It's kinda sad really.

Speaking of TPBs, DC's The New Frontier is a pretty awesome two books (for those of us buying the two volume TPB version). There were times where I found myself slightly lost at parts, not being a big DC reader and not recognizing some of the characters I'm meant to, and other times I had a feeling of some story elements being "been there, done that" in other stories but as a whole, it was really great storytelling. I've seen it ranked pretty high on people's lists of "Top X Graphic Novels/Stories" and I think it's deserving of that praise.

So I guess that's it for reviews. See ya!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Comics I'm reading

I keep talking to people and trying to list the comics I read either monthly, in TPB, or on the web (ie. webcomics, I don't download). Mostly I just want to keep an eye on my buying trends. One problem is I keep forgetting one or two every time I try to list them. So here goes an attempt to write them down (figured I'd share if anyone was interested)...

"Monthly": Skaar, Elephantmen, Runaways, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'll be adding "Incredible Hulk", "Son of Hulk", and the Darkness/Pitt crossover when they start up.

TPB or collected: Powers, Fables, Invincible, Astounding Wolf-Man, Walking Dead, Ex Machina, Locke & Key, and Mouse Guard.

Webcomics (yes, you'll notice a lot of these are on Zuda or have a connection to Zuda): Night Owls, I Rule the Night, High Moon, Bayou, Celadore, Sam & Lilah, and Araknid Kid.

Some webcomics I'm not necessarily sold on but I'm checking out: Lily of the Valley, The Hammer, Bottle of Awesome, and Raising Hell.

And there are a few on DrunkDuck that I may go through in another post.

So yeah, the webcomic list seems to be growing. The "monthlies" went down recently and will go back to the 6/7 range when the new books start up. And the TPB is around that mark as well plus I buy the odd other non-continuing series (like DC's The New Frontier or Joker).

Most of my webcomics tend to be from Zuda and from DrunkDuck as those were two communities that seemed enticing to me. Other sites I've tried just haven't felt as inclusive and I'm just not a big fan of keeping a list of various URLs for each webcomic for the privately hosted ones. I know I could do some of them in a feed or whatnot (to let me know when they update) but I just can't seem to be bothered to do it. I guess I'm just weird that way.

Monday, July 13, 2009


It may not be worth posting (as people who read this blog post probably have seen this already) but just in case...

David Gallaher shared a tip on how to improve Zuda's load time.

As for this month's competition, there are some interesting competitors there of good quality but I had a hard time finding one that really stood out as something I'd follow. And so far, I think Vigilante Granny may be getting my vote (and yes, I know that as I type this it is currently sitting in last place... My vote seems to be the kiss of death yet again).

As for the other competitors, you never know with me. There are some winners I didn't vote for that eventually won me over (or at least have kept me interested). Lately I've been keeping an eye on The Hammer and the new instant winner, Bottle of Awesome. Not sure I'm exactly sold on either series but I'm keeping up with them.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marvel 70th Anniversary Variants

So Marvel is doing 70th Anniversary variant covers with character borders and the X-Men ones have been released. When I first heard about Marvel's plan to do the border on books as part of their 70th Anniversary I kinda liked it(as someone who collected comics the last time they did these borders with their characters). Now that I know it's only on the variant coversit's sorta meh because I ain't paying the extra money for them. Or if they're 50/50 I'm still just "meh" because I don't like multiple covers in general.

A few quick comments:
- Liefeld's isn't horrible. Sure, it's not great and you can find stuff wrong with it but for Liefeld, that's pretty darn good.

- I don't like Land's (of course), Rogue's body just looks weird to me with her big chest and shoulders, skinny arms, legs, waist, and no butt.

- Why is the Red Hulk there??? Unless Loeb is doing a switcheroo, he's the only villain on that border. And in my opinion, he doesn't deserve to be part of the 70th Anniversary stuff. Maybe if there was a second villains edition put him on that. But perhaps that's just my hatred of the character/story/writing coming through.

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 10, 2009

A whopping one book this week for me. But I also got the two volumes of "DC: the New Frontier" to read so don't cry for me. :)

Elephantmen War Toys: Yvette (or whatever the official title is) -- If you've been reading my blog you'll know I like the Elephantmen series a lot. And looking back, I think the War Toys mini-series may be my favourite books of the series (by "series" I'm just going with all the Elephantmen books whatever title they go under). I had mixed feelings about going back there. On the one hand I really enjoyed that series so I'd like to see more but on the other hand, I was a little worried it wouldn't fit in with the original. After reading this issue, I feel silly for even thinking that. This issue fits in amazingly well and is a great Yvette story. It builds on the character, filling in a bit more of the story that didn't make it into the original War Toys series. I don't really know what else to say, I just really enjoy this series issue after issue.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 2nd, 2009 -- SPOILERS

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #26 -- If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you'll know I'm a Joss fan, a Buffy fan, and a fan of this series (though I've felt some issues were stronger than others). This book felt mixed for me. The positives, the Twilight story is picking up steam after being dragged out for quite a while. Characters are coming together and acting in typical Joss fashion (witty and with plenty of issues). And we're seeing some of the previous stories (like Buffy's trip to the future) coming up again. The negatives, I felt like I was playing catch up right out of the gate here. After some length of time with slower issues I was left wondering "wait, what's happening now???" after only the first few pages. And this issue felt cramped with just too much going on. There was no time spent on what was going on, the story relied on the characters to tell you what was going on as there wasn't enough room for the art to do so and other times perhaps the art could have been stronger. Characters were jumping through emotions, seemingly rushed if the dialogue is to believed but not really rushing in the art, ... Overall, it just felt a little too rushed in several ways. And (SPOILERS HERE) I wouldn't have recognized the character at the end if he hadn't been put on the cover. In the end, I kinda liked the issue for the overall story but I think it could have been executed slightly better. I still recommend the series for Buffy fans out there.

USA Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special -- Picked this up on a whim, mostly because David Gallaher was promoting it due to the art being done by his High Moon artist, Steve Ellis (at least for the main/first part. Breaking it up in three parts, the first story was very good. It had a feel of the old stories and was well drawn by Ellis. It was definitely worth checking out. The second story was a reprint of an old Destroyer story. I find it always interesting to go back to see just how old school comics were done and how they hold up to today's comics. This one held up pretty well in my opinion but still has its share of campy/silly moments or panels. The last story was a short intro to another book which I generally dislike, and this one felt a little out of place here and didn't really get me all that interested in the series it was promoting. Overall though, the book is pretty solid and probably worth checking out.

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Comic Reviews Update

My reviews will be delayed, probably until the weekend, due to family visiting from out of town (and maybe a little to do with Canada Day).