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CSBG Archive

Comics Should Be Good Mailbag for 1/7

Here is the latest installment of a weekly reader interactive segment on the blog, where I answer reader-submitted e-mails to bcronin@comicbookresources.com (and also post other e-mails that I receive).


Reader Travis asked a question I get fairly often – am I the same Brian Cronin who occasionally has drawings in the New York Times?

Sadly, the answer is no.

Well, not sadly. Only sadly in the sense that I feel as though I am disappointing people when I tell them that no, that’s not me!

That Brian does seem to be a very nice artist, though!

I may need to go by my middle initial someday (it’s J, which stands for Danger)!

Reader Perry asks:

Is there any hope for the trade-waiters like me out there in the case of the mega cross-overs Secret Invasion and Final Crisis? I intentionally waited and avoided reading anything about both series so I could treat myself to a mega Amazon trade purchase and sit down on vacation to read – trouble is, I can’t figure out what to buy (at any price) to get a complete story and the bulk of the important tie-ins. I looked through lists of collected editions at my favorite online sites, boards (even a fan site that specializes in collected editions) and I just can’t cure my ignorance – anyone willing to volunteer a collection list (including forthcoming editions – I know some things are just not out yet)?

Luckily, Perry, both crossovers were written so you can follow them FAIRLY easily just by their collected edition. Well, except for Final Crisis, but that’s an interesting case because we still don’t know what the collected edition will include. If it includes everything Morrison wrote, then you’re fine. If it DOESN’T, well, you’ll need everything Morrison wrote (not necessarily Final Crisis: Submit, but Final Crisis: Submit will definitely help).

Secret Invasion is easier – the trade (which already is out! Nicely done, Marvel! Then again, if you could rush it out this fast, you’d think they’d have it out BEFORE Christmas, no?) basically collects the meat of the story. Not exactly a ton of plot takes place in the comic. It’s only about a couple of days of time, right? So for strictly following the plot of the comic, Secret Invasion is fine, although you may want to get SI: Fantastic Four (as there is a plot point in the beginning of Secret Invasion that is ANSWERED at the end of Secret Invasion, but the SI: Fantastic Four mini-series explains it) and SI: Thunderbolts (which also gives fuller detail on a plot point). Now, if you’re going beyond just the standard plot of Secret Invasion, then you do “need” to read all the trades written by Bendis, as he uses Mighty and New Avengers to fill in back story (where and when each Skrull replaced the character they replaced plus a look at some new characters introduced for Secret Invasion).

SI: Thor was a lot of fun, but it was not necessary.

The rest of the mini-series were not necessary.

Reader Ariel S. has clearly gone insane, as he is actually REQUESTING that you good readers critique his comic strip.

Here it is (be forewarned, it’s a long one!):

He chose that one he says:

because it’s the latest I’ve done, but also because it’s kind of universal. Most of the time my humour is too “argentine”, even those which are speechless. If you’d like to check them out, however, I invite you to my deviantArt page: http://aksolut.deviantart.com

So get critiquing!

Meryl from the 92nd Street Y wrote in about the Marc Tyler Nobleman talk I wrote about the other week!

Here‘s a link to the description of the event!

Reader John asks a tough question that I was hoping you folks might know:

For some years now, I’ve been searching for a comic I remember from my childhood. It was in the early 70s, summer (likely ~ August) – probably 1972 or 1973.

It was comic of the type of Where Monsters Dwell, Weird Wonder Tales, Tales of Suspense, etc. It was almost certainly a reprint of a late 50s/early 60s story.

Story continues below

A remember a story about an advanced civilization, in which a character is talking about mass production of cyborgs. That’s what I remember about this story – a panel showwing mass produced, faceless green cyborgs.

The cyborgs looked quite like the Mad Thinker’s Android from Fantastic Four ~70-71. Therefore, I think it quite likely that the story I remember was drawn by Jack Kirby, since Kirby liked to recycle images and concepts from his earlier science fiction anthology type stories to his later superhero comic works.

If you ever come across something which sounds like it may be the issue I’m thinking of, I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know. Like I said, I’ve been searching for this, and I ordered some comics that I though was it (based on publication date, etc.), but they were not the right ones.

I got nuthin’ – how about you folks?

I believe that’s about it for this week!

Good e-mails, folks! Send more e-mails!

If you do, be sure to send me an e-mail to bcronin@comicbookresources.com with the subject heading “Mailbag” if you want to be included in next week’s mailbag!


Ariel S. comic is better than the shitty Comics Critics featured here.

I think Ariel’s comic is brilliant.

I really like the trend to vertical single column strips for the web! The format really works well in a medium where we are used to scrolling down…

Joke works too! Simple, yet effective! Thumbs up from me! :-)

This is to answer Perry’s question for the Final Crisis trades.
This site basically has run-downs on most DC trades http://collectededitions.blogspot.com/ and to follow the main storyline it seems that all you need to buy is the Final Crisis hardcover ($24.99) which collects FINAL CRISIS #1-7 and also the Final Crisis Companion trade paperback ($19.99) which includes FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM, FINAL CRISIS: RESIST, FINAL CRISIS: SUBMIT, FINAL CRISIS: SUPERMAN BEYOND #1-2 and FINAL CRISIS SECRET FILES.
This means you can understand the story pretty well. The other tie-in miniseries are collects separately. This leaves out DC UNIVERSE ZERO (which is a good introduction to all the Final Crisis miniseries plus a couple of others and is sort of FINAL CRISIS #0 as well as COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #0) & DC UNIVERSE: LAST WILL & TESTAMENT (which is pretty much a spiritual tie-in as well as a good Geo-Force/Deathstroke story with awesome Adam Kubert art). I think you’ll have to go through the back-issue bins to get these.
Other Final Crisis related stuff is:
1. FINAL CRISIS: RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS which (so far) only tangentially ties into the main storyline and is collected in the Green Lantern trade GREEN LANTERN: RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS
2. BATMAN RIP is a tie-in to Final Crisis with the last two issues in the trade (due in February) pretty well synchronised with the Final Crisis and the trade leads into Final Crisis (although those last two issues give a fair bit of Batman’s story away). Plus its written by Morrison so they should synchronise well.
Thats pretty much all.

Ariel – You’ve got your storytelling down, which is what is important for comics. Now you’ll just want to work on continuing to improve your figure work and overall craft. Some of your proportions are off on your figure work, such as the short outstretched arm in the last panel, but that sort of thing comes with time. I’d also suggest honing your inking abilities more, especially in regards to lineweight.

But that stuff’s all gravy and comes to you with time. Keep producing and you’ll be just fine!

Wow! First of all, thank you Brian, a LOT, for posting my strip! :D

I want to get critiques because I feel that’s one of the best ways to notice mistakes or things that need correction, and I know that people around here really say what they think, so why not? :D

@JackKing: Thank you… i guess! :D (Actually, I love the Comic Critics strips!)

@hangmanjury: Thanks! ^__^

@Blackjak: Thanks! I think that the web provides many advantages that should be taken into account, and unlimited vertical scrolling is one of the best.

@Rob: Thanks a lot for the advice! I’ve got a lot to improve, specially in my figure work, but sometimes it’s hard for me to notice specifically what needs improving! So thank you for pointing it out for me :D I’ll keep producing then ^__^

Ariel, I kinda think it went a panel too long…before getting to the final, I was feeling “Ok…I get the point..” Nothing I can really define though, and that might be part of the feeling you were going for.

Ariel S. comic is better than the shitty Comics Critics featured here.

You stay classy, JackKing.

Funny strip–Panels 7, 8, & 9 might have worked as two panels; it did feel about half a panel too long. I like how his plan almost works.

The strip’s great. Excellent utilization of comics storytelling elements and a lovely (well, tragic, but in that lovely way) ending.

I’m always classy, why else would I wear a monocle?


First of all, the strip is great. I like it a lot.

That said, I agree that it could have been a panel or two shorter. Panels 8 and 9 aren’t really necessary from a story telling point of view. I suppose it depends on the tone you’re going for, though- if you want an emotional, sympathetic response, then the extra panels help build that connection, and a sort of suspense. However, if you’re going for a laugh, then the shorter the better, I think (at least in this case).

Also, as others have said, the proportions are a bit off in places (the woman’s arms in panel 4 are WAY too skinny, for example), but I get the impression that that isn’t from a lack of skill on your part (she’s fine in panels 6 and 7). How much time do you spend on constructing the figures before going on to the line work? I get the impression you maybe just need to do an extra draft at this stage, to make sure all the proportions are correct. It’s annoying and feels like a chore, but it’s totally worth it when you see the finished work (I always take three passes at my stuff before inking- one stick-figure type rough for composition, one loose pencil version, and then a much tighter version where I do all the hard shit like tightening up perspective and fixing anatomy. I then doi my inks in two stages- line work, then shading- and then the final stage is looking at the finished piece and going “Oh my god what a pile of shit, look at all the mistakes I missed…”).

“I’m always classy, why else would I wear a monocle?”

That wasn’t funny.

Brian must have LOTS of presents to wrap this year!

And I thought the strip was funny. Upon reading a second time, I’d probably leave out one of the bottom two panels.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Perry finishes Secret Invasion and says to himself, “That’s it?! I wanted months for that? Damn you, Bendis. Damn you straight to hell.”

Ariel, excellent strip. wonderful execution on the emotion.

I agree on two points about the strip:

– great use of body language and the dialogue balloon

– definitely better than the Comics Critics strip

“That wasn’t funny.”

I don’t care.

Whoa, thanks a lot for taking your time to write about my strip, folks!! I really appreciate it! :D I’m very glad you enjoyed it!

About the length, now I realize that i perhaps made it too long! My intention was to do a long strip, in order to convey a little more drama and take advantage of the unlimited scrolling web features, but I think I overreacted :P I’ll have it in mind for next time!

And I’ll follow davidwynne advice too, from now on I will add one more draft step to check anatomy and proportions, and to tighten the pencils a little bit more before inking. I know I have to get rid of the impatience I often feel! Whenever I start a strip or a page, I feel the urge to see it finished as soon as possible, which leads to mistakes like the ones in this strip. I’ll try to keep that out of my mind.

Thank you a lot all of you guys, I think your critiques will be very helpful for me! :D

Yay, Brian featured my question, even though it wasn’t necessarily aimed for the mailbag. I almost missed it too, except for our pal Mike above me.

I like the strip, but admit it took me the second read through to “get it” (Oh, he can’t say I love you — yes, universal) I do agree it’s maybe a panel or 2 too long. Is it a young George W Bush? kidding!

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