Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Collection of Random Thoughts, Vol 3

Sadly, this time around I have no interesting tidbits to follow up on from the last installment. Well, Apocalypse kind of appeared in Messiah War, so there is that. I guess. Anyway, this week I am going to be talking about All Star writers, "fanboys", Greg Land, the Eisner nominations and Hercules, among other things. Hit the jump to find out more.

All Star Writers and All Star Books I'd Have Them Write

Every now and then, people like to discuss who the current "big name" writers are in comics. Peronsally, I think there are only five writers that could fall under that banner: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Jeph Loeb (sad but true), and Brian Bendis, with Millar probably being the biggest from a sales standpoint.

These are the only writers that can sell something on their name alone and put out material on a regular, monthly basis, something that excludes other "big name" writers, like Joss Whedon or Kevin Smith, from making the cut.

Why do I think Mark Millar is the biggest? In the Direct Market (yes, I'm a sales numbers guy), Civil War was the best selling event of the decade and Kick Ass is one of the highest selling creator owned books that does not originate in another media, such as the Buffy comic.

To continue with the theme of All Star Writers, I've made up a list of All Star titles I would buy using the five writers with some of my favourite artists:
  • All Star Nightwing by Bendis and JG Jones
  • All Star Superman by Millar and Bryan Hitch
  • All Star Justice League by Loeb and John Romita Jr.
  • All Star Legion of Superheroes by Morrison and Marc Silvestri
  • All Star Aquaman by Johns and Ethan Van Sciver

What, Um..."Gentleman's" Magazine Did Greg Land Trace The Images for Doctor Doom From?

Because, oddly enough, he draws my of favorite Dr. Dooms. Of course, everything else about his art is horrible. I have the third oversized hardcover for Ultimate Fantastic Four, which collects Millar's solo run, but, unfortunately, I can't ever read it again because Land drew the whole thing, making it damn near impossible to look past the 'o-faces'.

Comics Should Not Be Collectible

Every time Marvel's solicits come out, I keep seeing more and more and more variant covers and it drives me insane. They also have variant covers for trades now. Why? Because comics are "collectible", an idea that should have died out in the 90's.

Now, do I blame Marvel? No, I blame the idiots, because that's what they are, that spend more than cover price on a comic that has a different cover. It won't hold its value and comics are overpriced as it is, so spending money for a different cover, which in no way affects the contents inside, seems insane to me. Sure, stuff like Action Comics #1 and Amazing Fantasy #15 will always be worth something, but the vast, vast, vast majority of comics never will be.

That said, I do approve the way publishers, like Radical Comics, and I believe Avatar as well (I know they are doing it with Warren Ellis's Ignition City), offer each cover separately from Diamond so, if you want one over the other, you actually have a choice in the matter.

Who Is Left But The "Fanboys"?

A common tactic used by people on the internet when dealing with a creator whose Marvel or DC work they don't like is to call them a "fanboy", implying that they are a bad writer. What they fail to realize is that's pretty much the only people left who want to write for Marvel and DC.

Why else would Kevin Smith, Brad Meltzer and Joss Whedon write for them? Mark Millar is a current Hollywood success and people like Johns, Bendis and Morrison could make more money elsewhere if they wanted to. The reason why they continue to write comics for Marvel and DC is because they love the characters and medium. I mean, instead of writing Fantastic Four, Wolverine, and 1985, Millar could have been writing three more creator owned books that Hollywood may have bought the rights to before the series were even finished.

God Squad & The Renegades

I demand a God Squad & The Renegades team up book! I'd accept a mini, I'm not a greedy man, but would I love an ongoing. One of the things I loved about the early Incredible Hercules stories were the fantastic teams that formed around him. The Renegades, from World War Hulk, and God Squad, from Secret Invasion, are some of my favorite teams in comics, despite their incredibly short life spans. Marvel needs to find a way to get both of these squads back together for one big mash up.

2009 Eisner Awards

The 2009 Eisner Award nominations were released this week so I figured I'd go over them real quick. I'm dividing it up by book, not category though since I haven't read every book on the list.

Nominated for: Best Continuing Series, Best Writer (J. Michael Straczynski) and Best Penciller/Inker Team (Oliver Coipel and Mark Morales)

Nice to see Thor get a bunch of noms. Of course, this is just a reminder that I really need to get the second volume since this was one of my favorite ongoings from back when I was still reading singles. Put the TPB out faster Marvel! Don't make me buy the HC!

Madame Xanadu
Nominated for: Best New Series, Best Writer (Matt Wagner), Best Penciller/Inker Team (Amy Reeder Hadley and Richard Friend), Best Cover Artist (Amy Reeder Hadley)

My favorite new book from 2008, even though I only read three issues. Simply stunning. Amy Reeder Hadley is also becoming one my favorite artists. Her art is just fantastic. I hope the series wins everything it is nominated for. I can't recommend this book enough.

Omega the Unknown
Nominated for: Best Limited Series and Best Lettering (Faryl Dalrymple)

Usagi Yojimbo
Nominated for: Best Continuing Series

Lock & and Key
Nominated for: Best Limited Series and Best Writer (Joe Hill)

A bunch of series that I need and want to read. With the number of volumes, I don't even have a clue as to where to get started with Usagi Yojimbo. I was originally going to get Omega in singles, but decided to wait for the trade. Looked like a interesting series and from what I've heard its really good as well.

Invincible Iron Man
Nominated for: Best New Series

Not quite sure why this was nominated. Love Fraction, but this is definitely not his best work. Larocca's art is also less than great here. It's just looked off for the entire series. Of course, the book could have gotten significantly better since I stopped reading it, but it's not obvious based on the previews and reviews I've been reading.

Amulet Book 1: Stonekeeper
Nominated for Best Publication for Kids

I read Amulet after checking out some stuff by Kabuishi after I read the second volume of Flight, an anthology series. When I read it through the first time, I didn't know it was a kids book and was surprised when I read the back cover and found out that it was. Although it's nominated for a kids award, it is definitely an All-Ages kind of read and I definitely recommend at least taking a look at it. Also, it makes a great present or gift for any kids you might know.

My Space Dark Horse Presents
Nominated for: Best Anthology.

Read a couple of things from them on the web and have been considering buying a trade of the collected editions for a while. There's definitely some good stuff to found there.

Yep, Ted's Not Coming Back Now

Reader Challenge - Give Up The Addiction

My challenge for the readers is to stop buying comics for a month. Hell, just for a week. They'll be there when you return. The point of this? You'll find out just how much junk you are actually reading. When I quit reading singles I was amazed at the number of books I simply did not care about and was buying and reading out of habit.

Now, I'm not saying you should do this to buy less and save money, but to stop buying books you are not getting the most out of and using that extra cash to try something new that you may have passed over before or have heard nothing but good things about. Basically, this is an exercise in hopes of getting you to buy something you will end up enjoying a whole lot more; not something you buy 'to keep your run in tact' or out of habit.

Related Posts


Klep said...

I would never knowingly buy anything by Jeph Loeb.

Matt Ampersand said...

Wow, where is that image from?

Eric Rupe said...

The WB one? Its from their Burbank studio.

Steven said...

I'd buy things knowingly by Jeph Loeb if Tim Sale is drawing it.

I'd stick Hitch on LoSH and bring in Warren Ellis to write it.

You've placed Millar too highly though. His books sell because of the artist involved as much as anything.

He is a decent writer, although his stuff has read like Ellis-lite ever since he took over The Authority. Before that, on Swamp Thing, his writing pretty much aped his then mentor Grant Morrison (who also co-wrote the first arc with him).

Civil War didn't sell because of Millar, it sold because it was a heavily marketed "big" event. The never ending "event cycle" that Civil War spawned haven't sold as well because of reader fatigue more than anything.

Wanted doesn't make him a Hollywood success. The movie barely even resembles the source material. To call him a Hollywood success would mean Max Allan Collins, Daniel Clowes & Harvey Pekar are all as well. I'm sure he made plenty of money off of the film, but it doesn't suddenly up his cache. Moviegoers, it has been shown, don't go out and buy comics because they liked the movie.

The mere fact that Millar has books out that aren't top-sellers, all of which come out, or came out in the same time span as his other, bigger books, should show that his name alone doesn't neccessarily sell a book.

Eric Rupe said...

Millar basically works with McNiven and Hitch with Hitch being the only who I think can sell enough to bring up the numbers on Millar's books.

I don't really believe in Event Fatigue because they still sell a lot compared to your average title. Civil War sold significantly better than any other event this decade and I seriously doubt Millar didn't have some part to play in that. I sure his work on the Ultimates convinced some people to buy Civil War.

The reason why I called him a Hollywood success is because both Kick-Ass and War Heroes where optioned for movies before they even finished! In fact, filming has already started on Kick-Ass and the book isn't even done yet. Sounds like Millar is doing pretty good to me.

And speaking of Kick-Ass, it is the highest selling Icon title Marvel puts out, which Millar as to sell on his own his Marvel doesn't promote any Icon titles. It sells because of Millar and though I love JRJR's art, I don't think his name sells books.

Salieri said...

Certainly, Land's UFF cover with the Zombies was based heavily upon this statue:

So he presumably spent the money that he could have used to, say, buy a book on anatomy to get this statue and just looked at it from various angles. Or took pictures and lightboxed them.

Anonymous said...

I always looked at that SI cover with the skrull delivering the dialogue of Lrrr in Futurama's "Problem With Popplers".

'People of Earth! We all learned an important lesson today. I realize now that...DUDE. My hands are HUGE. They can touch EVERYTHING except THEMSELVES...oh, wait."

Tyler said...

My mom actually challenged me to stop all comic related material for a month, and i did. It was hard, but i made it through

Andrenn said...

Hey Eric, this was a great post. I myself have some ideas I'd like to do in a similar style of post, you wouldn't mind if I where to do something like that would you?

Eric Rupe said...

Klep - The only way I would buy anything from Loeb is if JRJR drew. Literally the only way.

Tyler - Yeah, When I quit reading singles I also had to quit reading comics for a while as well. Took me about two weeks to realize that my public library had a really good selection of trades. Caught up on a bunch of stuff from them.

Andrenn - "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." =P Yeah, its not a problem. I'm not that uptight on stuff like that.

The Dangster said...

Loeb? Circa 1995-2000. AND tim sale. I wish the All-Star line up was more interesting, I mean Nightwing is great but don't you wanna reach for All-Star Green Lantern/Hawkman/Flash? You re-did superman, why not a better All star batman team?

Andrenn said...

All right, thank you very much.

Now I must admit I'm one of those idiots who likes Variants, I have 3, or 4 I can't remember, of the Secret Invasion variants, 3 variants for Ultimates 3#1 and a variant for Captain American and 3 for Thunderbolts. I don't know why I love them, but I do, I'm crazy I know. Granted I haven't purchased a variant in a long while actually.

Klep said...

Eric & Steven - But if we refuse to buy anything Loeb writes regardless of the artist, that increases the chances that he will go away and we'll get to read stuff drawn by those artists that was written by someone competent! :D

Daryll B said...

have done that comic abstinence is called most of my books being raised to unsightly amounts for people buying more than 30 bucks a month...

lol now I down to 20 books and after This titans arc is finished i'll be down to less than 20 with some of the avengers books on the chopping block next

Daryll B said...

whoops meant that to be 30 books......sorry all

mugiwara said...

Yay for the Blue Beetle!
Readers, editors, writers are so reluctant to accept new characters and consider that they can be as interesting as Hulk, Mr Fantastic, Jerkolossus or Robin that I'm allways happy when a "young" character make it to the video games, cartoons or action figures. Especially when it's one I like very much, like Jaime Reyes or Songbird (in Ultimate Alliance)

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