Monday, December 31, 2012

Quick Comic Review - Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me

"Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me" by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman -- I was a little late to Harvey Pekar's work but I quickly fell in love with his American Splendor once I checked it out. Some of his other work hasn't connected quite as well with me but it's usually an interesting read. This book was very interesting to me. The subject matter is obviously a very delicate matter with a lot of complexity to it but Harvey boils it down to how he sees things. He's an avid reader and definitely knows more than many on the subject but perhaps not as much as we all should. But it's how sees things and that's what Harvey Pekar is all about. It's not meant to be a complete history, it's just his views. So perhaps you could argue some points but what I find interesting is that the negative reviews of this book tend to fall right in with what Harvey describes in his book. Just speaking his mind is met with so much hostility. But I'll avoid going in to a rant on that. If you want to look into the history and everything else, go elsewhere but be prepared for doing a lot of research. And be prepared to have to go through much misinformation for some very grey answers, not everything is black and white. But if you're interested in actually listening to Harvey Pekar's view then read this book. And I think it's worth at least listening to him with an open mind.

And as for JT Waldman, his art is sensational in this book. The varying styles, the details, the layouts, and the flow are all really well done.

Then there's the epilogue written by Harvey's wife, Joyce Brabner. It's a very touching piece that does tie in with the book in its own way. The day Harvey Pekar left us was truly a very sad day for comics.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quick Comic Review - Prophet Volume 1

I didn't really do my homework when buying volume 1 of Prophet, I didn't even know it was continuing the old Prophet series from Image. I just saw it on a some of the "best of 2012" lists.

Prophet Volume 1 - I can see why some people are loving this book. It's hardcore science fiction with some interesting ideas and some very different art (that seems to fit the book for the most part). But I can also see why it doesn't work for others. The ideas are kind of weird and not always easy to follow. And the art isn't really for everyone. In the end, I fall somewhere in the middle. I appreciate the work that went into it and I can see the positives. But, although I could see the positives it's not a series that really works for me. So, it might be worth taking a look at for some people but I won't be continuing with this series.

New Comics Reviews - December 26th, 2012

I went to the comic shop for Hip Flask: Ouroborous but I have to admit that I also got caught up in all the Spidey talk and decided to give Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Avenging Spider-Man #15.1. And here are my thoughts.

Hip Flask #4: Ouroborous -- This one was a long time coming, re-reading the first 3 issues probably wouldn't have been a bad idea especially given that this issue explains a lot of what happened/what's going on. It has a lot of story crammed into it and sometimes it's a little difficult to keep things straight. Even the characters themselves have a bit of a hard time with it, but you'd have to read it for yourself to see what I'm talking about. In the end, it's a finely written story with some great art and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all comes to an end in the last issue. I just hope the last issue doesn't take quite as long as this one.

Amazing Spider-Man #700 -- I'm going to try to concentrate on reviewing this comic as objectively as I can. Most people know what happens in this issue (the news spread rather quickly yesterday) and I don't really want to get bogged down in the usual fanboy love/hate thing. So putting aside my feelings about the outcome I think the story was well executed. It was written well for the most part and the art was nice. It was frustrating how obvious the whole "Otto in Spidey's body" thing seemed, especially in his dialogue. You wanted to shout "Come on people, he doesn't even sound like Spidey!" But I think that's part of the experience for the reader. We know what's happening and maybe we even hear Peter's dialogue in Otto's voice (given his word choice) but would any of the characters really think much of it? Probably not. So, I felt it was a solid issue. Was it worthy of Peter Parker's final hurrah? In that way I'd say no. But then again, people are already taking bets as to how long this status quo will last.

Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 -- This epilogue to Amazing Spider-Man felt just like that, a short epilogue that really didn't feel like a full issue on its own. I'd say it was "okay" but seemed so long and drawn out while not really giving us much story. We only caught snippets of why he's building goggles into his mask but I saw nothing about the claws in his toes. But those things seemed random and thrown in just because. I almost wish they had included some flashbacks, having Otto seeing previous Spider-Man battles in his new memories and explaining his reasoning behind the "upgrades". Even the battle with his old battle bots could have included something, but at least that part did focus on Otto's changing attitude/view towards Parker.

So, having read these two Spidey issues where does that leave things for me? One thing I can say is that having seen just a bit of the new Otto/Spider-Man it's not a character I want to read about. Right now, he's not a hero. He "killed" Peter Parker to take his place and is lying to everyone (which results in a kiss with Mary Jane that many people are focusing on). Watching him try to grow to become a hero is of no interest to me because I don't want to see him become a hero. I just want him to go away. Him being there is just a reminder of what he did to get that position and what he's continuing to do. But then again, I wasn't reading Spider-Man to begin with so no big loss there.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Quick Comic Review - The Walking Dead Volume 17

Don't worry, once the holidays are over I will be slowing down on these quite review posts. But for now...

The Walking Dead Volume 17 - The entire time I was reading this volume I was thinking that this series has run its course for me. The series started off with an interesting premise but at this point, I just don't want to read about the latest psychotic sicko that Rick and his group have to deal with. I'll admit that it ended at such a point where I was interested to see what was going to happen next (being vague to avoid spoilers) but I'm not sure I really want to spend the time/money finding out. At this point, I'd say I'm done with this comic (though I will read the Road to Woodbury novel) and I'll just stick to the TV show (for now).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quick Comic Review - Fairest Volume 1: Wide Awake

It always feels like forever between volumes of Fables. Fortunately, there are often other Fables books to fill some of that gap. This time it's...

Fairest Volume 1: Wide Awake - I'm rarely disappointed with Fables, I'd probably rank even the worst Fables volume as "very good". This one is definitely well above that level, it's pretty great. Maybe not the best but great nonetheless. I wasn't sure if this would be essential reading for Fables fans in terms of quality and in terms of the story (needing to know what happens here when reading the regular Fables book) and I'd say definitely yes on both accounts. I do think new readers could even pick up this book but you'll get a lot more out of it having read the main book. The art (pencilled mostly by Phil Jimenez) is wonderful and really matches the Fables world and this story. The last issue dealing with the Beast (not Jimenez) also has a great look to it that fits that story. In the end, it's another great Fables outing.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Quick Comic Review - Chew Volume 6: Space Cakes

Trying to keep to my promise of more comic reviews, here's my first...

Chew Volume 6: Space Cakes -- Looking back at my review of the first volume I wasn't sure then if I'd continue reading this series. I thought it was good but maybe just not for me. I don't know what changed but I'm really enjoying this series and I'm so glad I continued reading. It's got a nice combination of comedy and action with just the right amount of drama. This volume centres mostly around Tony Chu's sister, Toni Chu, with a bit of Poyo thrown in and it's pretty great. Can't wait for volume 7.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Is Almost Over

Well, another year comes to an end and it's been quite the year. It started off with me losing my job of 9 years and that was just the start of the ups and downs. But hey, I was able to finish off volume 1 of the Bluenoser so that's something right? I attended the first "Ottawa Comiccon" and really enjoyed it (was excited to meet Richard Starkings but was disappointed to miss Herb Trimpe). I thought it was well organized and I look forward to seeing how they follow up in 2013. And of course, there was Fan Expo but that's all documented here. Fan Expo will be adding sports cards/memorabilia and athletes to the line up next year which could be interesting to see how that goes. I was a collector (mostly cards) many years ago but now it just doesn't appeal to me. But the more the merrier I suppose. Especially now that they're taking over the North and South buildings.

And while we're talking about 2013, let's get to the comics of 2012 (this will make sense in a minute, I promise). There will be some books I'll be missing in 2013 as they ended in 2012. Books like DMZ, iZombie, and Scalped (which I haven't read yet, it's on my Christmas list). But there are some new (and old but new to me) books that I'll be looking for like Astro City, Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Saga, the Manhattan Projects, and I'm really looking forward to checking out Mark Waid's "Indestructible Hulk". And, of course, we still have Fables (and "Fairest"), Invincible, Walking Dead, Elephantmen, Powers, Chew, Sweet Tooth (for now), Locke & Key (for now), Atomic Robo, The Sixth Gun, and Mouse Guard among my reading list so I'm looking at having a lot to read next year. Although some of the above may not actually have another book out until 2014. And there will probably be the odd gem that gets added as the year goes on.

So what else did we have in 2012? We had Amazing Spider-Man #700 causing a ruckus (nothing that new for comic geeks). We had the "Fake Geek" stuff come up yet again, but getting that much uglier. We had the Avengers movie (which I feel Joss Whedon delivered on perfectly) and the Dark Knight Rises (I really can't get behind Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, this one was better than I thought it would be but still not really a thumbs up for me). There was "Before Watchmen" comics. More digital vs print/future of comics talk (it's gotten to the point where just thinking about the discussion makes my head hurt) and the usual behind the scenes drama that comic geeks (like me) that have no clue what's really happening (still like me) can't seem to turn away from. So all in all a pretty solid year I'd say.

And where does this leave me in 2013? Well, for one thing I will want to be more active with this blog but maybe with short blurbs/reviews. As much as I like Twitter I think it would be better for me to post some of that here so it doesn't just get lost in all the other tweeting going on. I may even have a few reviews to post before 2012 closes out (but no promises). But what I will be refraining from posting are any thoughts that come to me on the "future of comics" or "print vs digital" or whatever comics controversy comes up. I have several reasons for this which I won't go into, this post is already getting too long as it is. And no, there won't be a future post on it, it's just the way things are going to be around here. And maybe there will be some more posts about the Bluenoser. And on that note, I'll end this post with the current page I'm working on:

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


I don't know if breaking up the Bluenoser into volumes was a good thing or not. From a story perspective it sort of made sense. This first volume set the story and characters and the second volume moves on from there. And on a personal note, I needed the break. I was feeling pretty burnt out and needed the time to take a break, come up with a plan of attack for volume 2, and design/redesign some characters. But now that I need to get back to drawing it's actually been rather tough.

Now part of the problem is that volume 2 doesn't really start with a bang, action-wise at least, and that makes the pages not quite as interesting to draw. And I do regret that in a way, I think each page should pack a visual punch (literally or not). But I decided to start off with a story that just didn't have that. And who knows, the people commenting on DrunkDuck actually tend to comment more on the less action packed story pages and not so much on the action ones so maybe it won't be so bad (for the readers at least).

The other thing this gap has done is given me the time to second guess whether I should even be continuing the comic or not. That feeling has always been there, especially when some of the pages were taking up a lot of time or I notice the number of comments/feedback I'm getting dropping, and I find that when I stop it's hard for me to get going again. Just too many excuses.

But having said all that, I've started to push through the first page and I find the more I push through the better my motivation is getting. I just have to keep pushing through.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Latest Bluenoser Page

Since I haven't blogged in a while I thought this might be a good time for some random comic ramblings. In particular, I would ramble about the latest Bluenoser page. When I was coming up with the story for the "Volume 1 Finale" (the name of which I will talk about later) two moments that stuck in my head were Best Man pummelling the Bluenoser followed by Victoria's entry. They're a pretty pivotal scene for this story and will lead in to "Volume 2". But they felt important to me and they were things that really stuck in my head for a couple weeks at least. So maybe this will give you an idea of just how mental some of these pages make me, or maybe I was mental before the page... Actually, let's not think about that.

The initial thought (or assumption if you will) was that these two events would be on two separate pages. Then I started thinking that with the way I'm going with the Bluenoser (trying to put more story into each page/weekly update) they were probably going to be on the same page (starting with the pummelling and ending with Victoria driving Best Man into the ground). That had me worried. I knew that with my artistic skills it was going to be difficult for me to really give the face driving panel the visual impact that I wanted and now I was losing out on space for it.

Then I finally sat down to write out the script for the story and it hit me that the page needed to include the last little bit of dialogue between Victoria and Best Man (or I guess just Victoria in this case). This happened for several reasons but overall, it just fit better on this page. So there goes more space for the pummelling.

And then I had the idea to add the panel with a thwooshing sound effect and maybe some grass going up to try to expand on the face driving.

So finally I got around to thumbnailing the page and trying to figure out how it was all going to fit. The downside, I decided that the pummelling had to be cut short and tweeked. I had originally planned for at least 6 panels of just Best Man punching the Bluenoser while he was down (trying to build up the intensity of each punch) but I was losing space and I also decided I needed that initial panel of Best Man punching Blue down to the ground, just to give the whole story on this one page. I briefly considered making the panels even smaller somehow but I wanted to keep them large enough that the reader could really see Best Man. Keeping the Bluenoser off panel was always the plan by the way, one of those "let the readers' minds run wild on their own" sort of things. But the hands being up were also key. The panels with just his hands were also always planned, they were actually how I thought the page would end at one point.

So eventually the thumbnail was done and then it was just a matter of drawing it up:
 And lettering it:
There were still some decisions to make, like whether I wanted a sound effect in panel 6, maybe it would clarify what's happening, but I left it blank. And whether I wanted Best Man to say something or possibly growl in that second last panel (that was one I went back and forth on right until the end). Also, the "thwoosh" may have taken away some of the detail of the grass and dirt being thrown up, I wasn't entirely happy with that part. And of course, the head driving also left me feeling a little let down. I think I had built it up way too much in my head that no matter what the outcome it just wouldn't have the impact I expected. The joy of being writer, artist, and letterer, you can play with things right until the end. You also get to drive yourself insane by doing so.

And another thought I had was about the emotion of this scene. I sense that people who have been reading from the start have really wanted to see this scene from Victoria's initial face push to them finally coming to blows. So I'm hoping there's a happy feeling of "Yes! Finally! I've been waiting to see this." Yet you look back just a couple panels earlier and you remember that the Bluenoser just got his butt kicked really bad. I have mixed feelings about that myself, as maybe it takes away some of the emotion of the earlier scene but in other ways I sort of like the shift. Plus, we'll get back to the Bluenoser eventually.

So that's some of what went into this page. Getting back to the title of this story ("Volume 1 Finale") and the whole Volume 2 thing, it feels weird breaking the Bluenoser up that way. My initial plan for the book was that it would just be short story after short story yet at some point early on I lost track of that plan and it started to become a bigger story. But still, labelling it with "volume 1" and "volume 2" seems off to me. It's a webcomic and it'll remain a webcomic so there probably isn't any reason to really break it up like that. Although, it does give me an excuse to take a brief break before starting "volume 2". And volume 2 will probably feel even more like one solid story (broken up into mini-stories). But I've decided not to lose any more sleep over that and just concentrate on telling the stories I've chosen to tell.

And now you get to tell me how insane that all sounds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another Kickstarter Post

I've tried over and over again to put together a post about Kickstarter and my current thoughts on the site/system but it's just not coming together. But I do have the conclusion straight (I think) and it's this: If you don't like a Kickstarter project for whatever reason (the person behind it is wealthy, you're worried that the end result won't meet expectations, you think they are asking for too much money, they're including their own salary in the funding, they didn't give out enough of a breakdown of where the money is going, or whatever else) then don't fund it. Yes, there are some issues with funding on Kickstarter and people are free to have their own set of rules for what they will or won't fund but stop thinking your rules are to be set in stone for everyone or your opinion should be adopted by everyone.

And yes, I see the irony that this could be seen as me pushing my own "rule(s)"on others but at least I'm saying you're free to feel that way.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Fan Expo Canada 2012

I'm really doing a horrible job keeping this blog going. But in an attempt to at least keep it on life support, here's my Fan Expo Canada 2012 report.

Going in to this year's Fan Expo Canada I didn't really have a must see/do thing. In the past there were certain celebrity or comic creators that were my top priority. This year, I was planning to meet Alan Tudyk but not doing so wouldn't ruin the weekend for me. And so the sketching duels and artist alley became my priority. And unfortunately I couldn't get a decent shot of the sketches with my phone unless I was in the front row. I also didn't win any of the sketches this year and they were pretty awesome. So let's get to the breakdown, detail by detail.

Thursday was mostly a shopping day for me along with saying hello to Caanan Grall. A friend had asked me to look for some "Captain Action" stuff for him but I failed on that quest. But for myself, I picked up "You, Me, and Zombie" by Agnes Garbowska and she did this great Hulk watercolour inside:
Then got this Hulk commission from Adam Warren (of Empowered fame):

And then finished the day off attending the Esad Ribic vs Tony Moore sketching duel. They did the Joker and the banter was funny (and very crude, this one was not for the kids).

Friday started off with a duel between Bob Layton and Adi Granov. Bob definitely dominated the discussion during this duel. They decided to do several quick sketches and then end with Iron Man. They were all pretty awesome. When I discovered that Alan Tudyk was there on Friday (I thought the program only had him listed for Saturday and Sunday) I decided to skip the 2:00 duel and grab his autograph. Then I headed to the all-Canadian duel between Yanick Paquette, Jay Fabok, and Kaare Andrews (Francis Manapul had to cancel) where they drew the Hulk. Yanick's trash talking was a definite highlight but the art was all pretty stunning as well.

Saturday started off with getting Stan Lee's autograph (I had bought a ticket for a friend that was coming down for the weekend but when he couldn't make it, I decided to take advantage of it myself). The line ups on Saturday were crazy so most of my day was spent at the sketching duel room. It was David Finch vs Tony Daniel (Greg Capullo declined to draw and decided to take the microphone, taking some questions and telling stories from his youth that I probably shouldn't repeat), Jill Thompson vs Sara Richard vs Agnes Garbowska vs Chrissie Zullo (Becky Cloonan could not make it, too bad for me as I wanted a commission from her), and Ron Garney vs Dale Eaglesham vs Dale Keown. All were lots of fun. Here we have Finch's Catwoman:
 And Tony Daniel's:

For Sunday, it was the Frank Quitely vs J. Scott Campbell duel, picking up my last commission for the weekend from Bob Layton:
Then the Amanda Conner vs Darwyn Cooke duel. This was another entertaining duel with Darwyn showing up late resulting in his funny line insulting Game of Thrones fans (the suggestion Amanda settled on was a mashup of a Game of Thrones character with Squirrel Girl). In the end we had Amanda's mashup:
 And Darwyn Cooke's Wonder Woman (with Squirrel):
The last duel of the weekend was Carlos Pacheco vs Ed McGuinness. Again, it was a lot of fun as both artists powered through several sketches but Carlos definitely dominated the discussion as Ed was clearly exhausted at this point of the Expo.

And I was pretty exhausted myself. Guess I just don't have the energy I used to. But it was a lot of fun thanks to all the artists who really seemed to be having a good time with it. I keep hearing that sketching duels aren't a regular convention thing and I think that's too bad, they're usually very entertaining. Though we were pretty lucky this year with some great artist match ups and some very good personalities hosting (or whatever it's called to do the microphone thing).

So that was it for Fan Expo Canada. It was a great time and I'm already eager to see what happens next year.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I know I'm a bit late with this but here's some thoughts I had on this year's Comic-Con. First up, watching the news from it and seeing all the pictures really gets me eager for Fan Expo to get started, even if Fan Expo really can't compare. There were a few comic tidbits from the show that I was interested in, I don't really remember being interested in the comic announcements of previous years. Most of the Marvel/DC stuff just went in one ear and other the other ("Oh, more Avengers vs X-Men stuff/fallout? Yippee!", "More sneak peeks at Before Watchmen stuff? Yay!") though I am curious what Dale Keown will be doing with Marvel, I figure it has to be just covers. I will be picking up the A-Babies vs X-Babies because I'm funny that way. And I'm probably going to pick up the Red She-Hulk series (once she takes over for the Red Hulk in his book), Matt Fraction really made her more interesting to me in the Defenders book. Image announced a fair amount of books though. It's interesting to see some new creators going their way.

I think that if Image plays their cards right, and with a bunch of creators talking more and more about doing creator owned stuff, they might start giving Marvel and/or DC a real run for their money in terms of unit sales and money. The "Big Two" may not be Marvel and DC in a couple years. Though Marvel or DC could try to counter this with their own creator owned stuff (DC could make Vertigo more creator owner friendly), but who knows.

But the big news for me was Neil Gaiman returning to Sandman next year. I was going to start a Sandman re-read in the fall (once the final book gets reprinted), maybe I'll hold off so I can finish the re-read right when this volume 0 comes out in 2013.

All in all, it looked like a pretty decent Comic-Con for comic news.

Now I have to get back to reading Locke and Key volume 5.

Monday, July 02, 2012

No excuses... Okay, some excuses

I knew it had been a while since I last posted here but I didn't realize just how long it's been. I guess I use Twitter so much to post my random thoughts that I haven't bothered to collect them in a longer blog post. And with other stuff going on in my life, I guess this blog just got brushed aside. But here's a few tidbits of what's going on.

I went to the Ottawa Comic Con (it's first year) and it was a fun time. Really well organized for its first year. Sure, it had some issues but they usually got resolved pretty quickly. I saw some people complaining about the large crowds and long lines but what's a con to do? I was able to meet Richard Starkings, Neal Adams, Adam Baldwin, and Brent Spiner. All were really great and friendly. Richard Starkings even remembered this humble blog and he let me know that Hip Flask: Ouroboros is still in the works and hopefully we can expect an announcement soon.

My "to read" pile of comics has grown pretty huge. Some of the books I've read recently (or am reading):
Wonder Woman Volume 1 - I didn't really feel it was a novel story (it was okay, it just didn't knock me over) but the writing and art was strong enough to make this book interesting. I had thought I was only going to buy the first volume but it's hooked me enough to buy the second.

Comic Book Comics Volume 1 - I started reading this when it was coming out in individual issues and then somewhere along the way I just stopped getting them. I'm not sure what happened. So I picked up the trade. It's a great visual telling of the history of comics.

DMZ Volume 12 - A solid conclusion to this series. I wasn't sure about where this book was going in earlier volumes but this wraps it all up very well.

Astro City Volume 1 - I don't know why it took me this long to check out this series. It's superheroes done really Really well.

Incredible Hulk Volume 1 - I'm trying to give this book the benefit of the doubt. I actually sort of liked the Banner/Hulk dynamic here, it was different. The art was all over the place though and really bad at times. And how Hulk and Banner were separated wasn't the strongest part of the story, I thought that was pretty lame.

And now I'm off to read Jim Henson's Tale of Sand. Archaia really is knocking it out of the park recently. Their Jim Henson books are amazing.

That's it for now, hopefully it won't be so long until my next update. I have all these comic rants built up as well as Bluenoser updates yet I never get around to posting about them. Anyways, take care.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Turning 75

Well, the Bluenoser hits 75 pages tomorrow. And since Drunkduck (or "The Duck Webcomics") does milestones in 25's I guess I should celebrate this as a milestone. Here's the page unlettered:
When I first started the Bluenoser I really didn't know where I was going to go with it. I decided pretty early on to keep it to short, 5 or so page, stories to keep things moving. As it went on the page count kept going up and the stories kept coming. Eventually a story idea came to me that I decided was important enough to introduce somewhere around the 100 page mark and that I should build to it. Now I just have to get the next 20 or so pages done. :-)

But it hasn't all been smooth sailing. There have been plenty of real life issues, friends and relatives with health emergencies, loss of my job, and my usual down on myself attitude. I've definitely had times where it's been a struggle to push through (like now for instance) but if you followed along during my Divine Leap days you'll know that's nothing new.

Anyways, it's 3 more days of work and then it's time to do some job hunting... And getting some more Bluenoser pages done.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Random Ramblings

Well, it's been a pretty crazy last few weeks. I was given notice at work (March 30th is my last day) so I've been dealing with paperwork and transferring my work over to others as well as looking for a new job. But I've also been burying myself in working on the Bluenoser (possibly a little too much considering) and the 75th page of that will be up next Wednesday. Although comic convention season is about to get going so I have something to look forward to there. I'm eager to see how the first Ottawa Comiccon goes where I'm hoping to meet Patrick Stewart and Richard Starkings. I've been a fan of Elephantmen for a while now (even had some quotes from my reviews on their website) so I've always hoped he would drop by Fan Expo Canada but coming to Ottawa is even better. I'm also looking forward to making it to Fan Expo Canada again this year as well. I'll get another chance at Patrick Stewart (if I miss him here in Ottawa) but I always look forward to seeing the artist alley friends I've made (Caanan Grall, Andy Belanger, etc). But all that is a long way off, first, it's job hunting.

And now that you know where my life is currently at, let's get to some other ramblings.

Digital comics. Yeah, we're going there again. We have a new iPad, "HD" comics, Marvel/Mark Waid pushing some new digital ideas, etc, etc. Some people are still fighting it but I think that's a lost cause. Waid in particular has been getting a lot of grief from some comic shops that are upset with his digital push. I understand where that's coming from, it's their livelihood. But as callous as this sounds it's also Mark Waid's livelihood. To continue avoiding the digital world or treating it as an afterthought just doesn't make sense anymore. As a comic buyer I have a lot of friends who work at comic shops and I don't want to see them hurt by this but at the same time I want comics in general to thrive. We need to stop fighting the future and figure out a way to navigate it together.

The other thing that's on my mind is the trend of artists wanting to move away from doing commissions of characters they don't own (or owned by Marvel/DC in particular) at conventions. It's not a lot of artists mind you, or at least not to my knowledge, but there are some. They have several reasons, whether it's a recent legal decision or just personal preference or whatever else and I think I see their side of things. Though I will be disappointed not to be able to get a Hulk sketch from them I can't really fault them for it. Even if the companies say they aren't going after anyone who does it the facts show they could at some point down the road (if they change their mind, if you happen to tick them off, if you're too successful, if you happen to cross the imaginary "line" of what's okay, etc) and that can be rather scary.

Anyhow, I guess it's time for me to get back to looking through job postings. Have a good one!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Latest Marvel Event

My opinion of Marvel's upcoming event seems to change on a daily, if not hourly, basis. A few (as in quite a few) random and rambling thoughts:
  • Yes, it is too early to judge it. I haven't read it (and probably won't anyways) so judging a story before it's done is rather unfair and shows some closed mindedness.
  • However, it's yet another "event". I was definitely hit with "event fatigue" or whatever you wanted to call it, I was just tired of getting hit with where everyone's involved and everything is a tie in.
  • Having said that, if you were looking to get kids or some non-comic readers excited about an event it seems logical to be able to say "It's Avengers vs X-Men". It's really a "nuff said" event as you might be mildly curious about what causes it but at the end of the day a lot of people just want to see these guys slug it out, it's just really simple and sell-able to a wide audience. Superhero comics have always had that "who would win between" element to them, as a Hulk reader I've had more than my fair share of books where it was "Hulk vs someone". Yeah, we've seen fights like this before (Secret Wars or so many others) and we'll see it again. It's just one of those things you have to expect with superhero comics. If you aren't in to them just wait, it's not like the next 10 years of Marvel comics will be this story. Next year it'll be something else entirely.
  • Let's face it, no matter how much you love a character/writer/company/whatever they will inevitably write something (or in the character's case something will be written with them in it) that just doesn't appeal to you. It's the old "You can't please everybody all the time" thing. Some stories may be more miss than hit but that's life and that's art.
  • "It's just comics." I've often hated that expression as I see it at belittling to the medium but I have to admit, life will go on and so will the characters/stories. We'll have the comic enthusiasts going around in stereotypical fashion saying "worst idea ever" (yes, I have been one of them and will be again and again) and there's nothing wrong with having that opinion but life is full of disappointments. And no matter what you think of it there will be those who think it's better than sliced bread. Who's right? I say that's a trick question. It's art. It's comics. It's opinions.
  • So let's go negative. So let's be critical of the books before they come out. Let's play into that stereotype. Does it help the medium? I think having a calm, rational discussion of possible "event fatigue" or of the story (after it's out) can be helpful but I don't think we're ever going to see that on the Internet. Once you go to absolutes or judging without reading I think you are turning off potential readers who would help the industry as a whole.
  • That reminds me of comic clerks who are critical of certain books and those who buy them. I've had clerks mock me, insulting me for reading Hulk comics, a "one-dimensional character" in their opinion. Really? Is this how you're trying to sell your merchandise? By all means, you have every right to your opinion but don't be so dismissive of others.
  • Will I buy these books? I'm 99% certain I won't. Having the Hulk playing a part does get my attention and I may give in and check out an issue or two if he's front and center. And will I be critical of another "event" or for some other reason? Perhaps. Will I admit that my opinion is my own and doesn't necessarily reflect the true quality of the story (especially because, again, I probably won't even read it) and everyone else may disagree with me? Absolutely.
  • So will it be good? Will it be a good story? Will it sell? Will it get new readers in or send old readers out the door? Only time and history will tell I suppose, and even then I may disagree with that.
  • Will life go on? I sure hope so. It's just comics after all.