Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kirk's Soapbox - A Collection of Random Thoughts, Vol 1

No, your eyes aren't mistaken, I've returned from my trip to Toronto for the past week (was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada) and co-opted Eric's Soapbox for my own nefarious ramblings on the past week's comic book news and events, from the Blackest Night blackout in January and Marvel's "new" digital reader to Venom statues and Wednesday Comics hardcovers.  Hit the jump to see what I thought about all of these and more!

No Blackest Night For January

I can't see me buying any of these titles.

DC announced that Blackest Night is delayed will have a skip month for January at the retailers summit this weekend and will instead publish new issues of old, cancelled comic book series, such as Starman, Catwoman and so on.  News of a big event from either of the big two being delayed skipping a month clearly shocked everyone.

My first thought was just to bring in Ethan Van Sciver to help with the art since he and Ivan Reis have similar styles, but then realized he's delayed skipping months into oblivion on Flash: Rebirth, too, making this Civil War-like delay skip month tactic the only reasonable cash grab solution.

As Blackest Night is the only major event going on at the moment, a single month long delay skip month probably won't impact the series or its sales in the least.  The real question is whether or not these resurrected series will be any good or if they are simply the cash grabs they appear to be, which I am still up in the air on.  It'd also be interesting to see if any springboard into ongoings post-Blackest Night.

On the one hand, we've got some talent attached to each, such as James Robinson reviving his Starman series or Geoff Johns on the Atom and Hawkman (wow, I wonder how a title starring those two ever got cancelled /sarcasm) book, but, on the other, it seems rushed and designed only to pick up the slack from a delay skip month, similar to the old Civil War "tie-ins", like the Captain Marvel return issues or what have you.  Time will tell on this one.

Captain America Reborn Re-Issued

Seems Captain America: Reborn got bumped up to six issues from the former five issue miniseries version.  Not sure how this affects the Who Will Wield the Shield? one-shot, but I suspect that will most likely be delayed until the conclusion of Reborn.

I've made my views on Reborn quite clear by dropping the title after the second issue, but I'm curious as to the need for a sixth issue.  So far, nothing has happened in the miniseries and Steve Rogers is just prancing around in the past, reliving various moments in his history.  Do we really need another issue of that? 


Slides shown for "Siege" included a showdown where Wolverine chokes Daken while ripping his mask off, Spider-Man holding a bloody Green Goblin mask in anguish and some kind of rebirth for Iron Man and his armor of which Gabriel said, "It won't be what you expect."

Again, another little bomb dropped at the Diamond Retailer Summit was the news of Siege's ending.  While details are scarce, it looks like it's being hyped as Serious Business and other random PR speak.  The mention of the Green Goblin mask was curious, all things considered.  Norman hasn't used it in years outside of the one random outburst in Thunderbolts.  Probably just more promo nonsense, but has me interested in whether or not he returns to the goblin costume in the future.

To be honest, after catching up on The List - Secret Warriors from last week, I wouldn't mind seeing a Nick Fury and Norman Osborn team-up book.  They could be the new buddy cop/Spy vs Spy pair where Osborn tries to kill someone on his list and Fury just drinks a beer or punches Stormin' Norman in the face every issue. 

That news was followed by a cryptic slide which read "The Heroic Age," which received no other explanation except for Gabriel noting that readers are probably getting a little sick of the bad guys always winning the Marvel U.

The other Siege news was this tidbit about the "Heroic Age".  The Gabriel in the quote was just the VP of Sales for Marvel speaking at the time for those wondering.  First thing the whole Heroic Age naming convention reminded me of was my post on the various 'Ages' of comics.  Doubt this 'Heroic Age' will mark any major change in comics, but would be interesting if things ended with a back to basics approach/rebooting of many franchises to warrant such a title that invokes feelings of the Golden and Silver Age-like mass changes to comics.

Marvel's Digital Reader 3.0

Larger image (1680x1024 resolution) can be found here. And, yes, it's still pixelated.  That's the way it looks in their crappy reader.

Marvel's upgraded digital reader reminds me of putting lipstick on a pig.  It may look prettier, but it's still a pig.  Love how it's nearly identical to the Longbox images we've seen so far.

As soon as Marvel decides to drop the clunky Flash based interface, switches to a true digital distribution model, fills in the convenient gaps of old series, which are purposely there to force you to buy a trade, and lets you view new comics online as they come out (or shortly after, at most a month later), this will continue to be the worst digital service on the internet.

When illegal scans you can get for free are better and more up to date than something you are paying for and cannot view offline and often times cannot keep copies of once your subscription runs out, there's something wrong with your model.  It's like something out of the early 90's.  And, no, this isn't promoting piracy.  It's just a simple fact showing how Marvel is doing it all wrong.  At least the people behind Longbox have their heads on straight in terms of how the internet works these days.

The Deadpool Corps

The very popular Deadpool franchise will expand even more as Marvel is doing a mini event called "The Deadpool Corps" which will be a kind of spoof on Green Lantern (i.e., they have an oath) which will feature new characters like Lady Deadpool, Kid Deadpool, Dogpool and Headpool (which is the disembodied head from the current "Merc With a Mouth" monthly). Some retailers jokingly called out "WHY?!?" when the news hit.

"WHY?!?", indeed.  There had better be an insane ratio of Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern/Deadpool jokes in this book to make up for the fact it exists. 

Marvel Women Initiative

Again, from the Diamond Retailer Summit, news came of Marvel wanting to launch a "Marvel Women Initiative".  After the recent Jeph Loeb written *shudder* Lady Liberators arc in Hulk and Marvel Divas controversy, I figured Marvel would have just given up on their female characters by now.  Will wait until we get more creator and story details before properly bashing this 'initiative'. 

It Shall Be Mine

Venom is absolutely massive at 13 inches tall, dominating the Marvel Comics Kotobukiya Collection of Fine Art Statues. He stands atop a specially-designed circular base that lights up with interior LEDs, further enhancing the display options of this amazing villain. Sculpted by Junnosuke Abe, Venom is constructed of high-quality cold cast porcelain and is a limited, numbered edition.

Found via Major Spoilers, I'm not usually one to buy statues or toys (don't actually own any), but this Venom statue looks amazing.  Can't wait to see what other statues come out of the line (Venom is their first in the Marvel villains line).

Wednesday Comics Hardcover Announced, Promptly Pre-Ordered

Just announced at the Baltimore Retailer Summit, we’ve got the details on the WEDNESDAY COMICS collection, a topic that’s been hotly debated and prognosticated by fans since the inception of the series.

The hardcover collection of the series, which will retail at $49.99, will clock in at 11 x 17 inches, which will present the series in a deluxe, big-screen format befitting the series, which was originally printed on broadsheet newspaper pages.
My biggest complaint with Wednesday Comics, aside from not seeing the need for the 'newspaper size' with how everything could have easily been adapted for standard comic size, was the cost for such a flimsy and, ultimately, throwaway format.  You couldn't save the newspaper as they don't fold up small enough, can't be bagged and boarded like other comics and will, in the end, be victims of moisture and other humidity-like problems. 

Well, looks like the 'prognostications' (who honestly uses that word in a press release? Just call it a prediction already) of an eventual hardcover version has borne fruit with DC announcing the Big Ass Hardcover™ version.  I'll gladly plop down my money for this version of the ambitious project and almost feel sorry for those that paid for the print version.

Spider-Woman Critique

"It's a solid 'B' from you," Fraction said to Bendis of "Spider-Woman." "But it's an 'A+' from Maleev."

The above quote, given by Matt Fraction to Brian Bendis at the Baltimore Comic Con, is exactly how I felt about Spider-Woman, both in motion and standard comic book form. 

Lockjaw Still Has the Infinity Gems?

Another question revolved around the Infinity Gems and when they would return. After being informed that they had come back in "Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers," Bendis said that the demise of the Illuminati - who had the Infinity Gems divided up amongst them before they became property of the Inhumans' dog - would be a big part of the Avengers next year.

From the Marvel panel at BCC, it turns out Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers was in continuity.  Always looking forward to more Infinity Gems related stories, but this is one big Yeabuwha-? for me.

Doomwar Doomed

Speaking of "Yeabuwha-?", who thought it was a good idea to have the Doomwar event and who thought it was an even better idea to have the relative newbie to comics, Jonathan Maberry, who's only real work is the current Black Panther, headline it?  The entire thing sounds like something thrown together to meet some profit margins for that quarter with a random event. 

The Second Coming is Coming; Jesus Still Dead

No real thoughts on the Second Coming other than the fact that only in comics do babies and children constantly get artificially aged to adulthood while everyone else stays the same age.  Hell, Cable, whose older than dirt and has raised Hope since she was a baby, looks identical to how he did, oh, 20 years ago.  Just make him immortal already since he clearly never ages.

Related Posts


Marc said...

Blackest Night - I don't really care about this event, but the "new last-issues" concept is intriguing. It's not at all unprecedented for DC to launch new series with numbering continued from older series - they've done it before with Flash and JSA, to name just a couple of franchises, and I wouldn't mind seeing it happen for a Rucka-written Question series too.

Venom Statue - The design of Venom's head reminds me of the way the character was depicted in some of his early-90s miniseries, particularly Venom: The Madness (art by Kelley Jones). I approve.

Pet Avengers - I don't think Bendis meant that Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers is going to play a role in his Avengers continuity...he was just trying to segue into talking about his own books by linking them to the Illuminati, who apparently will show up again sometime next year.

Klep said...

This is the first I've heard of Longbox. It looks like it could be a good service, though for my purposes Marvel DCU (I agree the new reader looks like it's ripping off Longbox) is still probably going to be more economical for books from that publisher. At $0.99 per issue, Marvel would have to be putting up fewer than 60 issues per year that I want to read, which I find unlikely.

However Longbox looks like it will be a good way for me to investigate books from smaller indy publishers at low risk without having to find shelf space for a trade I don't particularly care about (shelf space is more a premium than $15 for me). My big question is still when DC is going to get with the times and find a digital distribution model for their stuff.

As to Hope, at least she actually lived through 20 years of time (in the future!), rather than having some techno-gizmo speed up the clock, somehow imparting her with years of accumulated knowledge, personality, and maturity as it did so. It's still silly, but it could be worse.

Kirk Warren said...

@Klep - the way I looked at the Marvel DCU pricing thing is that they could keep a subscription model while still offering a proper digital solution for other users. They could even add 'essentials' and 'trades' in discounted bundle packs for much lower prices, like $3.99 for a 6 issue trade instead of 99 cents per issue. Singles could offer digital promo codes for the same issue or give away random 'back issues' that relate to the comic at hand (kind of like how some comics are printing older ones as backups to justify the $3.99 price, like Beta Ray Bill Godhunter and Ghost Riders Heavens on Fire are doing). That would push people to the online service, get them buying digital comics and promote buying the singles as well.

Older comics, with lower demand, could easily be put up in essential-sized bundles of 20-30 issues for low costs compared to newer ones that have more royalties to pay to creators.

While 99 cents is a good single issue price point, it shouldnt limit their subscription model or back catalogue either - just give more options to people.

Klep said...

@Kirk - I was comparing the proposed issue price for Longbox I saw in an article I found on cbr when I googled them. If they were to strike a deal with Marvel to sell digital comics at that price, it would still be more economical for me to stick with DCU (since I don't have a strong desire to have my own copy of every comic they put up).

I agree that Marvel should probably expand their digital comics service in the way you describe. I have to wonder if they put much thought into it at all these days, because this reader update is the first significant change to the service since they last did a major library update (500+ issues at once) around a year ago.

It's a shame there's no subscription data available for the service, because I'd love to have a look at the cost/benefit analysis of it.

Daryll B. said...

HAHA nice joke Kirk..Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers in continuity..BWAHAHA that would be like Ambush Bug you aren't laughing..O-OH...

I said it before I'll say it again BOTH Rebirth and Reborn were cash grabs obviously. However, the difference to me is while the Captain America story is written with all the main characters well "in character"; the Flash's one has taken leaps and bounds with some of the characters where they aren't recognizable to me.

Matt Fraction is a savant at times but does it with a smile on his face.

What a shock! Marvel couldn't resist ruining Messiah Complex and Dark Reign with "early hype". Didn't they see what DC did to Sinestro Corps and Blackest Night? *CLAPS* Way to go again stupid hype machines!

SIGH..Thx for making me think again Kirk!

Anonymous said...

Kirk- You take a dig at everything, like everything is a scam to get your money. Ofcourse a business is going to try and do things to get your money!

I mean reading a blog were the reviewers were actualy having to purchase there comics on budget was refreshing. You were aiming to buy the good stuff, dropping what let you down. It was a good influence too me to stop buying absolutley everything the two bigs were putting out.

But hearing you bash everything your not buying, it's getting old, quick. There's any number of sites were I can get a sarcy, cynists comic book fans oppinion. This site is capable of delivering so much more.

On a higher note thought, I still love the site. I think Random Thoughts and your rundowns of the solicitations are two of my favourite columns on the net. You also have one of the best looking sites.

Zdenko said...

DoomWar is Black Panther-centric Event, which is OK, but adding Wlverine & Deadpool there seems like a way to amass more readers... And I'm curious when DoomWar takes place, before or after Siege?

About Lockjaw being in-continuty... WTF?! I thought it was a Marvel Adventures Title...

Flip The Page said...

wolverine and deadpool aren't necessary to put into doomwar (though the inclusion of nightcrawler and colossus makes it more of an uncanny first class reunion), but outside of that i'm more than enthusiastic. Maberry's follow up to Hudlin's Black Panther arc has been pretty solid stuff and this is just a step up. though the Black Panther hiatus at the same time means I'd have to read this whether I want to or not just to continue that series' plotlines.

Lockjaw in continuity is awesome and always known (lockheed was still sad over the death of kitty) with Thanos' appearance being the only iffy thing. I am pleased.

Oh and read cable, it's quite good now. Cable's aging is iffy (he recently skipped two years with hope left behind by accident) but there's been a fair few time skips with hope. Wait i'm praising it now? uh... hmm... just don't read anything pre-gulacy.

Matt Ampersand said...

Ha! Those were my exact thoughts about DoomWar. I'm sure there's thousands of writers wanting to write Doom vs. The Marvel Universe (for free, probably), but they give it to this new guy? I hope he has a really good story, or this thing is going to tank really bad.

Lockjaw being in continuity raises a lot of question, like Thanos being alive (was Black Bolt shown too? I can't remember), and Obama being the president at the same time. I think it was a joke more than anything. The only solution would be that it was yet another Thanos clone (those do seem to get around).

From what I heard, the Marvel Women Initiative seemed to involve Marvel spotlighting women writers, not just a spotlight of the female characters.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that Blackest Night isn't a delay in Jan. It's a pause so he doesn't fall behind, they have said from the start that Jan would be skipped. Flash Rebirth is getting stupid though with all of the delays

Jonathan said...

Kirk, actually DC announced a few months back that they were fully intending on taking a skip week during Blackest Night. It seems that the "skip week" for major events are becoming the norm now a days.

Ramon Villalobos said...

Only in comics, Kirk? Clearly you don't watch enough soap operas because it happens in between episodes of All My Children so much it should be called All My Chi-whoops nevermind. Or ahem... So I'm told...

Also, call me naive but I think Jonathan is right in that it was a planned skip. It's hairbrained and makes DC look kind of bad but that's not out of the norm for DC. Ivan Reis is a work horse and not prone to falling behind schedule like JG Jones or Ethan Van Sciver so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

brandon said...

I found no news link where DC stated earlier than this past release that they had a planned skip month for BN.

In fact, previous interviews with Reis suggest he was doing everything he could to keep the series monthly.

Not saying it was or wasnt planned but I cant find evidence that it was previously announced anywhere.

Bill said...

@Ramon: I was going to mention that too. There's even a wikipedia page for the phenomenon:

Eric Rupe said...

Anonymous - I think Kirk has a fair point with all of the Blackest Night tie-ins being cash grabs since, when Didio started talking up the event, he said the number of tie-ins would be something similar to Final Crisis and that there wouldn't be that many ongoings that tied in, aside from GL and GLC.

Now there are six or seven additional ongoings that have tie-ins for several issues, seven three issue miniseries, and then eight more announced one-shots. Hell, the one-shots are two issues short of the combined issue totals of Revelations and L3W, the two main FC tie-ins.

Jonathan - The skip month was announced in September which makes it look like it wasn't part of the original plan plus the fact that they don't have all the artists lined up for the one-shots yet helps to re-enforce that idea as well. Plus, with Final Crisis, the skip month was announced before the first issue came out. Odds are Reis was behind and DC is trying to make the best out of the situation.

Jonathan said...

Eric- Was it september? I assumed it was August. But Maybe I made it seem earlier because I already assumed that they were planning a skip month for Blackest Night since Final Crisis HAD a planned skip month and Secret Invasion had a skip month as well (as did WWH).

Eric Rupe said...

Jonathan - Yeah, it's in the link I provide. It was announced at the very beginning of September.

Also, WWH didn't have a planned skip month, it was delayed, and SI was originally monthly but Marvel decided to add extra pages to issue #8 so it was pushed back a month.

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