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Comic Book Legends Revealed #524

Welcome to the five hundred and twenty-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, what comic book writer is responsible for Spider-Man having mechanical web shooters in the most recent Spider-Man films? Did Man of Steel #1 originally have a damaged space shuttle in it soon after the Challenger explosion? Finally, how did Spider-Man REALLY stop the unstoppable Juggernaut?

Let’s begin!
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Out From Under the Covers: Expectations, Decompression, and Pleasant Surprises in A-Force and Silk, or Why Am I Paying $4 for a Comic

There’s been so much chatter and criticism thrown in the way of A-Force prior to its release that I was curious about what I’d find when picking up the first issue.  The detractors didn’t bother me (I’m not going to delve into the Jill Lepore thing, because even before I read the comic, it was clear her article is woefully misinformed), and all of the internet noise didn’t shake the very likely probability I would enjoy the book.  If I had any concerns at all, it was over the weird-sounding title, so if that was my worst fear, then I had no real fears at all and every expectation I’d fall in love by the end of issue #1.

a-forceExcept that I bought it on Wednesday and read it, and I’m left feeling let down despite the fact the issue checks every one of my boxes.

  • The premise has great potential, with a female-only team of heroes serving as the protectors of their corner of Battleworld.
  • It stars characters I care about, with She-Hulk leading the team, Captain Marvel kicking butt, a spotlight on the often overlooked Miss America, and even includes the amazingness that is femme Loki (so hot).
  • The writing from Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson is solid and fun—they deliver exactly what I would expect and want from them, including some great lines (e.g., when describing Miss America: “She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’ll punch you in the face”).
  • The art is flat-out beautiful—I didn’t even realize it was Jorge Molina doing the pencils until I went back just now to look at the creator credits, and as usual, his work is a delight.

So, what’s the problem?

It hit me fairly immediately that it’s just not enough story for one issue.  I dislike feeling as though I’ve absolutely flown through a comic, especially one I’d been looking forward to for so long and is well-executed.  Let me assure you, I am not a fast reader when it comes to comics—I am deliberate in taking my time, making sure I absorb the artwork and enjoy the experience of words plus illustration.  Yet I read this book in under a minute.

It’s a four dollar title.

I hate using the word “decompressed,” and really that’s not even fair because this has only been one issue and I have no idea how meaty the remaining parts of the narrative will be, yet … that.

Because again: four dollar book.

I’m going to compare this to another $3.99 book I read immediately following A-Force, which was Silk.  I went into Silk with minor expectations—in fact, I wasn’t planning on buying the title at all.Silk  What got me to pick it up was my realization that Black Cat is in the first story arc, and I love my Black Cat (even despite her current inexplicable mischaracterization and depressing, far-fetched, unbelievable, utterly contrived turn to villainy).  So I bought the first three issues, and wow, we need to talk about this.  We need to talk about how funny, adorable, and entertaining this title is, because I’m getting something completely outside of what I signed up for.  I came on board for Black Cat, but I’m LOVING Cindy Moon.  That’s a little difficult for me to admit, because reading her in her first few issues of Amazing Spider-Man was a turn-off—she didn’t grab me, and I’m just immediately skeptical about introducing yet another love interest for Spider-Man.  I was so prepared to hate her, but damn.  Under the hands of Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee—neither of whom I was familiar with prior to this (apparently I’ve been living under a rock, but they’ve swiftly won my heart)—Cindy is smart, witty, likeable, and FUN.  What’s more, there’s a good chunk of story in each of her three issues.  Her book is fulfilling.  It satiated me when I read it, and I was acutely aware of the contrast in how I felt after reading this comic compared to A-Force.  And when I noticed they were both priced the same, I felt a little cheated.

Is it reasonable or fair to expect the same quality of content from every book?  I could safely argue both yes and no. But all of this had me wondering:  are there any books still priced at $2.99?  It struck me that I actually haven’t been paying attention, so I did a quick bit of research.  Saga, Hawkeye, Lazarus, Ms. Marvel—these are a small sample of some quality, story-packed books you can still buy for three dollars.  And when you look at a case as dense as Lazarus—that’s significant substance you’re getting for a short price.

Obviously, I am only scratching the surface of what is a much larger issue here.  There are many factors that go into the price point of a book, of which we could dissect the ins and outs for a while.  But I thought it worth noting just how different two books of the same cost can hit you as a reader as it relates to the larger issue of a comic books’ worth—the kind of worth that can’t be measured.  The kind that rests in our hearts as readers.

A-Force.  I still dislike that name, but with more issues on the way, hopefully I won’t dislike the title.

The Line it is Drawn #241 – Superhero/Rock Star Mash-Ups!

Welcome to our weekly gallery of amazing art by our great collection of artistic talent, all working from YOUR suggestions!

Go follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter (if you have Twitter, that is – if you don’t, you can go sign up). Here is our Twitter page… http://twitter.com/csbg. And here are the Comics Should Be Good writers who are on Twitter (the links go to the person’s Twitter account) – myself, Greg Hatcher, Chad Nevett, Kelly Thompson, Bill Reed, Greg Burgas and Sonia Harris

I update the blog’s Twitter account updates whenever a new post is put up on the blog, so it’s an easy way to keep up with the blog. In addition, I post new content on the blog’s Twitter account.

Now on to the bit!

So every week, I ask a question here. You reply to it on our Twitter page (just write @csbg with your reply) and our artists will each pick one of your suggestions and I will post their drawings based on your suggestions here every week. So every week you will have a new question and you will see the choices picked from the previous week. Here is an archive of all the previous editions of The Line It Is Drawn!

To qualify, you have to be following us when you reply – so go follow us and then give your answer to the following question/challenge (All suggestions due by 3pm Pacific Friday).

The topic is…

Based on a suggestion by Brendan Tobin, we’re going back to the Golden Age! Pick a modern superhero and our artists will depict said character as if they were a Golden Age comic book character.

Read on for the drawings that came about courtesy of the last question/challenge!

Based on a suggestion by Merk, mash-up a famous rock star with a comic book superhero. Mick Jagger and the Hulk, for instance.

Enjoy!
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The Line it is Drawn Addendum – Wonder Woman Coloring Book Pages!

A few of the artists for last week’s The Line it is Drawn put together high resolution black and white versions of their pieces for coloring purposes for our suggestion-giver last week, 4-year-old Amelia. A number of folks have mentioned in the comments and in e-mails that they’d like to have access to those pages, as well, so I figured I’d give the people what they want, so here they are, including a NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN piece from Nick Perks!
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1987 And All That: Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #122-130

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

PPSSM1Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #122-130 (Marvel) by Peter David (#122-123, 128-129), Roger McKenzie (#124), Danny Fingeroth (#125-126), Len Kaminski (#127), Bob Layton (#130), Rich Buckler (#122), Malcolm Davis (#122), Dwayne Turner (#123), Greg Larocque (#124), Jim Mooney (#125), Alan Kupperberg (#126-129), Jim Fern (#130), Mike Esposito (#122), Bob McLeod (#122), Art Nichols (#122-126), Vince Colletta (#125, 130), Nel Yomtov (#122-123, 127), Bob Sharen (#124-125, 128, 130), George Roussos (#126), Julianna Ferriter (#129), Rick Parker, Jim Salicrup

I went back and forth a few times while reading these issues, debating with myself about whether or not it would be better to look at this entire run (meaning every issue of this title from 1987 before the “Kraven’s Last Hunt” crossover*) or if I should simply choose a single issue/storyline and zero in on that. Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (henceforth referred to as PPSSM) is effectively a collection of Spider-Man short stories, with most of the issues being self-contained one-shots. There is a throughline that connects several of them, but it comes and goes from month to month fairly arbitrarily, separated from itself by stories that have absolutely nothing to do with it and don’t even all take place at the same time. That lack of connective tissue is a big part of why this series leaves me feeling fairly cold, so ultimately I decided it made more sense to look at these nine issues as a whole, because when viewed together they leave a slightly different impression than taken individually. Continue Reading »

Cover Theme Game for 5/20

The cover theme game works like this: I’ll show you three covers. They all have something in common, whether it be a character, a trait all three characters share, a connection between all three characters, a locale, a trait all three creators share, SOMEthing. And it isn’t something obvious like “They all have prices!” “They all have logos!” “They all feature a man!” “They are all Avengers (who ISN’T?)!” “They’re all dead (who HASN’T been killed off?)!” “They’ve all been cloned (who HASN’T been cloned?)!” “They’re all mutants!” (who ISN’T a mutant?) “They’re all orphans!” (who ISN’T an orphan?) “They’re all legacy heroes” (who ISN’T a legacy hero nowadays?)! “They’re all by the same artist!” (too obvious) etc.

In addition, please note that you must have some familiarity with comic book history to correctly guess these themes. You cannot guess the connective theme just by looking at the covers solely, you must have some knowledge beyond the covers. The connections will ONLY have to do with connections in the actual comic books (so no incidental connections like “they share the same last names of Vice Presidents,” etc. Now, if the three characters were each named Gerald Ford, that’d be another story, as that’d no longer be incidental).

If you come up with an answer that works outside of what I intended, I’ll give you credit (well, provided I think it fits, of course).

One more thing – if there are floating heads on the cover, ignore them! They don’t mean anything! Same thing with corner boxes!

If you think you know the answer, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t answer in the comments. This way, people who check in at different times of the day can still get credit for answering it correctly!

Here is an archive of all the past cover theme games, plus their answers. Before each new installment, I’ll post the answers to the previous week’s game.

Good luck and enjoy! Continue Reading »

Comic Book Questions Answered – Where Does Foggy Nelson’s Nickname Come From?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.

Reader Marijane G. wrote in to ask:

Hi, I’m hoping you can tell me why Franklin Nelson is called Foggy. Thanks!

I can, indeed, Marijane! Read on for the answer!
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The Great Comic Book Cover Homage Streak: Week 138

It occurs to me that it seems like many comic book covers are homages. Which is fine with me. I have no problem with it. It just made me think, though, how long could I go before I hit a week where NO new comic book was released that had a cover that was an homage to something? Let’s find out! Here is an archive of all the cover homages featured in the streak so far!

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Comic Book Six Degrees – Todd McFarlane to Robert Crumb

As suggested by Jenos Idanian #13, the idea behind this game is to connect two comic creators to each other through artists/writers that they have jointly worked together with, in as few links as possible.

For instance, take connecting John Byrne and John Buscema.

Byrne drew Captain America with writer Roger Stern
Roger Stern wrote Avengers with artist John Buscema.

That’s a simple one, but presumably there are more difficult ones out there.

I’ll try to keep the ground rules brief.
1. We’re only using writers and pencilers for this game. No offense to inkers, colorists and letterers, but it makes this too easy if we count them.
2. Plotting counts as writing and breakdowns/layouts count for penciling. Finishes SHOULD count, but I’m not counting them for the same basic reason of #1.
3. Alterations by another penciler don’t count as a connection to the first penciler. Basically, you’re never going to connect an artist with another artist. You can connect writers with each other, though, if they co-wrote (or plotted/scripted) a story. And obviously if an artist wrote a story, you can connect an artist with another artist in that fashion (like John Byrne can connect with Jerry Ordway from Byrne writing stories Ordway penciled).
4. Only comic book stories count. No pin-ups.
5. If a comic story contains multiple writers and artists, it’s up to you to prove that the given writer actually wrote the page in the comic that the artist drew.

Every installment, whoever connects the two creators in the least amount of turns gets to pick the next match (in the event of a tie, the winner is chosen randomly among the people who sent in challenges for the next match.

NOTE: When you folks send in your answers, please include your suggestion for the next match in the event that your answer is chosen. And demonstrate that it IS possible to connect your two suggested choices within six moves. Thanks!

Last week’s match-up was Michael Chabon to Stephen King. A couple of people got it in six moves but only Erich was able to get it in five moves. Here is how he connected them:

Michael Chabon wrote the story “The Strange Case of Mr. Terrific and Doctor Nil” in JSA All-Stars #7 with artist Michael Lark.
Michael Lark penciled Dark Tower: The Gunslinger: The Battle of Tull #1 with writer Peter David.
Peter David wrote Captain Marvel #17 with artist Jim Starlin.
Jim Starlin wrote Batman: The Cult #1 with artist Bernie Wrightson.
Bernie Wrightson penciled the Creepshow graphic novel with writer Stephen King.

Erich’s challenge is…

Todd McFarlane to Robert Crumb

E-mail me your answers at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Do NOT post your answers in the comments section!

Whoever connects the two characters in the least amount of creators gets to pick the connection for next time around (I’ll pick a random winner in the event of a tie)!

She Has No Head! – Mad Max: Feminist Template For The World

So, I am a BIG Mad Max fan. Ever since I was a kid I loved these films (Thunderdome is my favorite because A) Thunderdome and B) Aunty Entity/Tina Turner. And it’s one of the same reasons I prefer Conan The Destroyer to Conan The Conqueror – i.e. Grace Jones). But I love them all. I love them SO MUCH that of all my comics pitches my favorite of all time is something I’ve been sitting on/fiddling with for about 20 years and refer to as my “Mad Max X-Men Pitch.” Now that I’ve gotten to do some work with Marvel maybe that’s the first step toward that someday becoming a reality. Will a Mad Max revival make my comic pitch more viable or make it feel derivative? I have no idea. I just put it here to illustrate how deep and abiding my love is for Mad Max - both as a sci-fi concept and as deep nostalgia that still holds up well 35+ years later.

Furiosa 2

Imperator Furisoa

Nobody was more excited than I was to see Mad Max coming back (I was also crazy nervous because you know these things go wrong sometimes). My hopes could not have been higher.

And yet, seeing it yesterday it is everything I could have wanted in a Mad Max film and more than I ever could have dared to hope or dream as a female fan. It’s pretty exciting when something that you already love goes out and makes itself into something not only incredibly female friendly, but wildly female positive, a legitimately feminist film that it still effortlessly a “Mad Max” film, and also one of the best action movies I’ve ever seen. Proving without a doubt (there are some people that continue to have doubts I hear) that those things can walk hand in hand with ease.

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25 Greatest Valiant Stories Ever Told Master List

UNITY_KindleWorlds_Promo

Here is a complete master list of your votes for the 25 Greatest Valiant Comics Stories Ever Told! Click on any story on the list for a write-up on that story!
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Bonus Line it is Drawn – Wonder Woman Meets The Hero Business

The most recent Line it is Drawn was a special edition where our artists just drew suggestions based on ideas that a 4-year-old girl had. Former longtime Line it is Drawn artist Bill Walko is in the midst of doing a Kickstarter for a collection of his excellent web comic, The Hero Business, so I thought it would be fun to ask Bill to contribute a bonus piece (based on Amelia’s suggestion of Wonder Woman fighting dinosaurs) that could also see Wonder Woman meeting characters from Bill’s Hero Business!

Enjoy!
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To Quote a Phrase – Squirrel Girl’s Feelings Regarding Fighting Dinosaurs

This is the first in a new occasional feature where I spotlight quotes that I really like from comic books.

We begin with a great line by Ryan North in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5 (by North and artist Erica Henderson)…
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Review time! with Starve #1-5

starve1 (2)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Brian Wood had sent me digital copies of both Rebels and his other new comic, Starve, but I didn’t have time to get to the second one. Well, I still don’t have a lot of time (I’m still having issues with my Internet connection, because I might as well live in 1996 with the speed I have), but I’m going to get to it anyway!
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