comic books

50th Anniversary of The X-Men

JordanDWhite250We had the pleasure of talking with Marvel Comics Editor, Jordan D. White about everything X-Men leading up to the mega crossover, Battle of the Atom.

This crossover brings together the fractured X-Men teams against a threat from within just in time for the 50th anniversary of one of the most important franchises in comics. Jordan discusses where a number of different X-Books are and how they got there.

We also talk about how we got into X-Men comics including 90s Excaliber, Marvel trading cards, and why we love the X-Men.

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

iTunes listeners: HELP US OUT!

Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Early Christmas Gift Shopping

I just got back from New York Comic Con and I was once again over-whelmed with how many cool things there were to buy! There were a few places that looked essentially like Minecraft armories! I’m really pleased how much of a mainstream hit that Minecraft has become. I WISH I had the time to play like I use to but it’s pretty cool to see an end-cap at Target with Minecraft foam swords and plush Creepers. Let’s get into some cool stuff that I am excited about -

Marvel’s New York City Comic Con Exclusive – Rocket Raccoon Plush

NYCC-2013-Exclusive-Rocket-Raccoon-Plush-Toy-Stuffed-AnimalNew York Comic Con had quite a few different exclusives but the hottest one was the Rocket Raccoon plush from Marvel. Marvel had a few other really cool exclusives but people were in line for Rocket. Personally, I couldn’t justify the multi-hour wait in line for him. I regretted it the next day pretty hard, though. LUCKILY a friend of mine (Thank you Karl Olsen!) was able to secure one for me and I am eagerly waiting for it in the mail. Why is he so cool?

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Well, besides being limited to only 1,000 pieces, this is the first official plush for this increasingly popular furry Marvel character.He’s going to be even more popular next year with the movie but the fervor (pun intended) for him is pretty high. The Skottie Young print that comes with it is also a reason I absolutely love this. If you are looking for this, expect to about between $75-$125 on eBay.

Check out this video from Marq Romero of the Rocket Raccoon New York Comic Con experience.

New Funko Pop’s – Adventure Time & Regular Show

I have resisted getting to into Funko’s Pop Vinyl figures because the are like crack to a pop culture nut and collector like myself. This is the same reason I won’t even look at Candy Crush. I know what flares up my additions. That said, I recently bought a Finn and Jake from their Adventure Time series thinking I would only buy those two. Well, I know myself too well. I set my limit at only Adventure Time figures which means I have since picked up a glow in the dark Finn variant, a zombie Jake variant, Marceline, Lumpy Space Princess, Ice King, and the regular Finn & Jake. At New York Comic Con, I saw my first second series figure: Gunter. Now I’m on the hunt again! Besides Gunter, series two brings us BMO, Fionna, Cake, Lemongrab, and Princess Bubblegum. I really hope we get a Peppermint Butler in series three!

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Series 1

 

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Series 2

Game of Thrones Hoodies on Etsy

How come official merchandise never looks this good? I saw these on The Mary Sue and was blown away by the designs. These are available at Rarity’s Boutique starting November 4th. I’m holding out for a Greyjoy hoodie!

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More designs and images here. 

Star Trek Transporter Bath Mat and Shower Curtain

Think Geek has always had the best geek products on the webs and this is a great example of the kind of products you never knew you needed until you saw it. Get beamed away to a watery world with this TOS inspired shower curtain and bath mat set.

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Bravest Warriors Merchandise

Are you as obsessed as me about Bravest Warriors? As mentioned above, I am really into Adventure Time, but in many ways…I am more in love with Bravest Warriors. It’s a little more random, has less morals, and is aimed at an older demographic. That said, I watch every episode as it comes out on YouTube 3 times in a row! Besides the team, who doesn’t love Catbug and Impossibear???

While not as mainstream as Adventure Time, you can get some Bravest Warriors merch here and there but no one has better clothing and more than We Love Fine. A 100% must for everyone is the Catbug plush. There’s no excuse to not own this. I bet they’ve sold a million units of him.

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Check out a few of these items and see WAYYYY more here.

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Star Wars 6″ Black Series Action Figures

Star Wars has been in the toy business since the beginning and our merchandising founders. In fact, geek culture and merchandise didn’t REALLY go mainstream until George Lucas unleashed his products on thirsty addicted fans. It’s been going on since 1977 with very few lulls in-between. Which brings us to the latest line in Star Wars action figures: The Black Series. These premium figures are pretty much only for the adult collector who is looking for a line of figures with impeccable attention to detail. The smaller version of this series doesn’t quite have the same level of detail but are less expensive. That said, at $20, these aren’t a bad price at all. Series 2 is out with 3 coming in early 2014, these series are focusing on the most elite characters in all six Star Wars movies. Which means, I might have a long time to wait for the Jek Porkins I really want. Check them out at BigBadToyStore.

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Check out the review of the Boba Fett figure from Toy News International:

4 Foot Tall Legendary Scale Sideshow Collectible Doctor Doom

Just because it’s fun to have something on here that is pretty much perfect, check out Sideshow Collectibles Legendary Scale Doctor Doom! The details are off the charts on this museum quality piece. It’s FOUR FEET TALL!! Can you imagine? This would be the centerpiece in almost anyone’s collection. It’s intimidating is so cool. At $1,990.00, it’s a true high-end collectible that will have your friends drooling. I need one of these in my life.

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Tons more photos at Sideshow Collectibles.

Send your favorite geek merchandise to me so I can tell the world about all the cool stuff out there to horde!

 

Biff Bam Metaphysics

grant-morrisonIf we wanted Batman to save us all, we were doomed. Look at the world while wearing your metafiction suits and there is still no way he can reach every person calling out for help. The world is too big, too daunting. It is filled with things we have to call dreams because we fear what they say about us if we are the truth.

But for others they reject Batman. They claim it isn’t Batman. They look at the Dark Knight and don’t recognize him. Where is that old Whiff Bam Pow? Where is the grim dark ultra justice? Why is he wasting time in space when Gotham needs help? Where did the Bat-nipples go.

Morrison’s Batman run is Batman et all. It is grime meets sci-fi meets pop art meets madness meets camp meets ultra justice. He did it in one night. He did it thirty-five minutes ago. He did it while the world collapsed. He did it collapsing the world into a singularity. He did it while focusing the world around a single city. And he did it while distracting us. The Magic Batman trick.

batman2-600x507It started with a cave and it ended with a cave and all the while Batman went into caves, he built new Batcaves (complete with giant coins and costume displays). He had mysteries for the mystery fans, monsters for the monster fans, sci fi for those fans. He even played songs for the obscure indie Batman fans with their Batmanga hardcovers. And all the while he played this tune with different instruments and composers, some who faltered(1) we got an amazing symphony with bits that everyone could enjoy.

But like most classical music, it is easy to get lost. There were issues where everything faded together and I felt I was missing things. Some jokey reference. Some obscure reference. Something vitally important to the universe. Things became rougher during the intermission when these jokes became more obscure and originally I’d stopped reading there.

My original reading of Morrison’s Batsaga began with with RIP. It made no sense. Batman didn’t die. Who are all these foreign people in costumes? Why did Joker get shot in the head. And then the end – why is there stuff with Darkseid? Why aren’t things wrapped up. I put the book away in disgust. I wanted Batman’s funeral by Neil Gaiman, not THIS.

My second reading began with INC and notes. Annotations, a fresh start and the bounty of comic internet journalism made me love the series, the artists, the camp sci fi action. Hello Lord Death Man. And then comics died down for my – the universe I knew ended, the series went on hiatus and I took a comic sabbatical.

But finally I went back to the beginning for my third reading. I opened the Black Casebook stories and the heritage of Batman. I followed up with reading from the beginning of Morrison’s brief Bat-stuff in 52. Those moments where he was in Nanda Parbat. The exercising of his demons – the first villains he more or less fights in the Ghost Batman – the Ghosts of his Past, Present and Future. Maybe the gun, his failure and his ruined legacy. There I found the Morrison Batman magic with everything.

Batman-Inc-hed1And the idea of the future was recurring. The Batman 666 future – Gotham in flames, the world insane and everything collapsing. Over and over, the Batman who made the deal with the devil. The great to the x-th grandson of the man who made a deal with a devil. “Yes father I will become the Bat”. Even the son without the father born in the belly of leviathan leading to the apocalypse. The intermingling of the Bible and myths from the world into some super religion – a collapse of all faiths into one. Leviathan. It became hypnotic and confusing and tricky and it ate itself and became a bundle of snakes.

And Batman does the same, his family grows, it lives when he doesn’t. When he is dead he expands the legacy of his family. He cleanses his line. And when he returns it grows again. And then it collapses. The army he made shrinks against a larger one. He loses. He suffers loss. And he continues. Batman lives in the strangest world where everything comes together for one reason, to one point.

The biggest misconception of Batman is that he does his work for revenge. It is not revenge because Joe Chill has vanished and the drive for good has not. Batman is not there for any one person. Batman is out there for every scared child to comfort them. He teaches them, inspires them and like any parent he hopes he works out for the best.

In the end building a family, hoping the future will be better than the one before are all you can do. Batman didn’t end here. Other Batman stories will never touch the changes. The stories that can before can never affect this one and so we are locked with something completed. A complete Batman directed by many men into a single song, played many ways and it ended as it began in a cave, with a friend, with a world that still needs saving.

Batman by Grant Morrison took many names. It took us to many places. And in the end, it took us back to the beginning of the track with memories and ideas. With hope and inspiration. And even if he didn’t save all of us because of preconceptions or who Batman is, he did what he could.

 

1. Looking at you guy on Return of Bruce Wayne 4 who filled in for Cameron Stewart. Less issues with the computer guy for the Internet 3.0 issue.

My Man of Steel Review…of Sorts

(SPOILERS ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!)

It’s taken me a long time to write something outside of discussions about Man of Steel. I was conflicted in the theater and I am now. When I first saw it I had a person to the left of me (I’ll leave out names to protect them) who hated it and a person to my right who loved it. They both displayed their feelings for it as they were watching the movie a the midnight release of the movie. It was as close to having an angel and a devil on your shoulders as a person can have and yet…which was which?

Today is the day I knew I needed to commit my thoughts down to be cataloged by Google and indexed for all to find. One reason is that we recorded our Man of Steel Podcast today. I’ll post a link here once we get it up. I was pretty prepared for it because I’ve had so many discussions online as well as read articles, watched videos, and listened to other podcasts on the topic. A month later and the only thing we can all agree on is that it’s one of the most divisive movies in a long time. Most either love it or hate it and for all kinds of different reasons. What can be said is that it was wildly financially successful. So much so that today’s San Diego Comic-Con announcement (second reason for writing this now) that a Superman/Batman: World’s Finest Movie is on everyone’s lips.

I’ve decided so much has been said about this movie in-depth that I am going to just focus on a few items I liked and a few items I didn’t like. Let’s get started:

Liked

Trailer

This is my favorite trailer of all-time. It has so much emotion and is amazingly concise. The Man of Steel trailer brought an honest tear to my eye when I first saw it. I must have watched it ten times in a row when it came out and once every day after. I still think it’s pretty much perfect. Have you seen the original Superman and/or the 1989 Batman trailer? I was trying to get a feel for other super hero movie trailers and Man of Steel is about 1000 times better. Here’s what I mean:

 

Jor-El

Jor-El was awesome. The first words I said leaving the movie theater were: “I want to see a Jor-El on Krypton movie next!”. The whole world of Krypton was really well fleshed out. I felt like I understood his point of view and really connected with him as a heroic character. He was not just a man of science but a man of action and conviction. Similar to the opening sequence in the 2009 Star Trek movie (of which this movie also borrowed a lot of visual devices from), you see a hero father give everything he can to ensure his son has the opportunity to survive and you also emotionally connect with this father. It’s one of the best opening sequences in a super her movie and, like Star Trek, sets up the villain of the piece.

Lois Lane

I don’t think Lois has ever been fully realized in almost any medium. A lot of people have feelings on who she really is but every medium has just as much contradictory behaviors. She is an independent reporter in the comics and YET spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get Superman to marry her. The fact that she is constantly in need of Superman to save her from peril also doesn’t bode well for her independence. This movie did, however, do away with one of the problems that has nagged her fans from the beginning – not being able to tell that the two men she is with the most are the same person because of a pair of glasses.

Lois not knowing Clark was Superman made her an idiot to anyone watching or reading her exploits. Superman/Clark use to wink at us, the views, in the Adventures of Superman TV show to underline just how dumb she truly was. The Lois Lane of Man of Steel is a true investigative journalist. She did the work and figured out his identity before she met either Superman or Clark officially. She was capable enough to work with Jor-El to help save the Superman reversing years of her only being the damsel in distress (even though he saves her a few times in this movie too). Amy Adam’s Lois Lane is capable, smart, and someone I want to see more of in future movies. Her importance can no longer be relegated to par of a fake love triangle so there’s a much better chance for her to make a big impact on the story in another way.

Hans Zimmer

I was ALMOST looking forward to the Man of Steel score as much as I was the movie! Hans Zimmer scores are some of my favorite pieces to listen to. Like I mentioned, the trailer blew me away but a lot of that was the theme. Who in their right mind tries to follow John Williams’s Superman theme? Almost not Hans. He didn’t want to do it until Christopher Nolan prompted him to on behalf of Zack Snyder. Zack and Hans had a discussion about themes and the broad strokes of the movie and that sold him on giving it a try. The one note that Snyder gave Zimmer was “It would be cool if the theme was humble”. That’s not really a thing in composition and yet…you can hear it in the finished piece. He did it. It’s really an exceptional score that I’d argue has more heart than the actual film!

Visuals

I’ve never seen two super powered beings fight each other in a movie that looked more spectacular. The best fight between two beings of this power level in my head has been the Superman/Captain Marvel fight in Justice League Unlimited…and that as animated. This was the promise of comics realized in three dimensions. It was a spectacle that then became…something else. Still, for a while, I was enthralled.

Zod

I think this movie gave us a Zod with a real clear motivation beyond conquest for conquest’s sake. He reminded me of the Eradicator when he first appeared in Superman comics. He was built to preserve and defend the Kryptonian way of life even to the degree that he was compelled to try and take over Krypton in order to save it. Zod did things he didn’t want to because he felt he had to. He even showed moments of compassion. I was impressed with this version of the character up until the final third of the movie. I understand why he became a mad dog but…it made him less interesting.

The first Two Thirds of the Movie

Well, most of it any way. The flashbacks worked for me as a story telling device. Lois as our window into his world really worked for me too. Her looking into his past was a conduit for exposition that explained why he was doing what he was doing when we find him. Clark was very brooding but it made sense. He didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life and Jonathan Kent didn’t give him the tools he needed to decide. It was the story of a man who wanted to do good but was ruled by fear because it’s what he was taught. What came next never really paid off where this was all going.

Didn’t Like

Hope

tumblr_monfc8npX11qb5hhzo1_500Clark/Kal/Superman doesn’t deliver on the promise that Jor-El made. This promise, to me and lot of other fans is the very point of Superman. Here’s what Jor-El says:

 You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.

What does he do in this movie to deliver on any of that? The people of Earth no he’s an alien, he has immense power, and that he is willing to kill (more on that later). He never connects with the citizens of Earth while in costume other than Jenny noticing him and saying “He saved us.”…which didn’t feel very organic. He never moves his fight to a cornfield in Kansas (as Mark Waid suggested in his review) nor does he worry about debris in his LONG disastrous battle in Metropolis. He comes into town and people run in doors. His powers are his muscles and not his heart.

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He wears the Kryptonian symbol of hope but it doesn’t seem like hope is his mission. I’ve put this out there before and many people tell me this will come to fruition in the the next movie (how a Superman/Batman movie will have a focus on hope, I have no idea) but that doesn’t change the fact that in THIS movie, he offer nothing to aspire towards. He is a brute who fights another brute. Sure, this brute is fighting for us but why? What are his ideals? What can he teach us that will help us catch up to him so we can join him in the sun?

Disaster Porn

No review of Man of Steel would be complete without the use of the phrase “disaster porn”, right? I made mention that the Superman/Zod fight was the best super powered fight I have ever seen on the big screen but…did it go too far? Was there a diminished return? I think so. I was really into it for a while and then there was a point in all the devastation that I thought…doesn’t he care about the people? Why aren’t they showing him saving anyone?

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The World Machine was created by the writers in order to have a good enough excuse for Superman to be as far as way as possible to maximum amount of destruction can befall Metropolis. Combine that with Zod becoming a mad dog that wants to be put down and you have the recipe for a fight that went on so long it made me go from enjoying it to wanting it to end. It didn’t sit well with me and a lot of other movie goers.

Jonathan Kent

If I had to describe Jonathan Kent in one word it would be “Fear”. His fears were really the main lesson that molded Clark’s life. He lives his entire life going from place to place never really growing or making something of himself because his father told him humanity would reject him.

Clark Kent: My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me… out of fear. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?

Then there’s the often quoted “maybe” from Pa Kent:

Jonathan Kent: You have to keep this side of yourself a secret.

Clark Kent at 13: What was I supposed to do? Let them die?[brief pause]

Jonathan Kent: Maybe…

Was he just working this out and saying something he didn’t really mean? Maybe. But, you don’t get it a counter point to this at any other time. He doesn’t really leave Clark with any lessons other than people will fear him and the conflicting story that he was sent there for a reason. It’s too bad he couldn’t take a stab at why he might have been there (to help people?). Instead, the heavy lifting is done by a hologram of his birth  father. Some feel his death was a poignant lesson. I found it close to suicide. I hope that dog was worth it.

Humorless

On the whole, this movie is almost without any semblance of humor. It’s not a comedy; I get that. It does contribute to the “darkness” of this movie (the other ingredients are the lack of inspiration given by Superman, destruction of metropolis, and the no way out execution at the end). Marvel Studios execs have said that they want to create a world where you wish you could be a citizen of. DC has not followed this path. Their modern films are dark places of fear, isolation, and mistrust. This Superman is very much of that world. It almost feels weird when he smiles. The lack of humor in the character combined with his aimlessness at the beginning, plus his fear of people knowing who he is created a very sad person in Superman.

Bechdel Test

The movie fails it. Not something I recognized when I first watched it but true none the less. Don’t know what that means? Google it!

The Jesus Analogy

I’ve never been much for Superman as a Jesus analog (always seen him as more of a Moses and you know his creators did too!). That said, it’s not a new idea. It’s just that the subtlety was completely removed this time around. When he talks to the priest (which felt OK and made sense) the image of Jesus RIGHT OVER HIS HEAD was so in your face I thought it was an IHOP or Sears sign. That is NOTHING compared to Jor-El (the father) telling Kal (the son sent to Earth) “You Can Save Everyone” right before he falls to Earth in a crucifixion pose. My eyes rolled so slow they almost came out! That’s all fine (sort of) IF you pay it off. What’s the payoff of this Jesus-like character? He has no choice but to snap his enemies neck. It just doesn’t work as an analogy. Like a lot of things in this movie, they threw a lot of ingredients into the mixture but forgot to see how it turned out.

Overall

I liked a number of things in this movie but the feeling I had coming out of the theater wasn’t excitement, hope, or inspiration. Maybe that was never the point of this movie but those feelings were the point of the source material. It was an amazing spectacle but it never gave me joy (except the Jor-El on Krypton scenes). I just don’t think it delivered on the promise that brighter days are ahead because we have Superman to show us the way.

Well, maybe things will be different in Superman/Batman: World’s Finest. Maybe adding Batman will make the movie less dark and offer more hope!

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I’ve been collecting memes and links about this movie since I saw it so I can articulate better how I feel. Here’s a collection:

Links:

Images:

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I made this one :)

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This is a good point. I think Batman letting Ra’s die is in some ways worse because he had other options plus…he actually knew him!

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As humorless as Superman is and as masterfully light as Tony Stark is, it would be great to see these two together.

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Every other Lois is dim compared to Man of Steel’s Lois

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Batman lets Ra’s die at the end of Batman Begins. If he had snapped his neck, though, it would have gained a different reaction.

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I’m in the critics corner on both.

Comic Panels

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This never sat well with me when it came out. Superman wrestled with this for a long time after too. At least he didn’t do this during his first few hours as Superman.

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Where was THIS Jonathan Kent?

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Well the kids got what they wanted with Man of Steel

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He’s super because he finds a 3rd way.

 

Injustice: Gods Among Us & More

INJUSTICE_11

Adam talks about his experience with the game Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game features an original DC super hero story centering around the Justice League and is a classic multiple Earths story. After that they talk about where the New 52 is and what is working and what isn’t. In addition, they talk about some of their favorite books like Hawkeye, Batman, and Age of Ultron. Check it out!

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

iTunes listeners: HELP US OUT!

Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Heroclix:

I was going to talk about the first week of Fear Itself, looking at the Hammer Altar, the LEs for the week, what teams I played. But our store is running behind on that front so we’re not having our first Fear event until 2 weeks from now. So I guess I’ll talk about some:

Heroes for Hire!

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The Heroes for Hire are a broad team of Marvel All-Stars! They are low on the ‘Super Powers’ scale but high on the ‘Bad Ass’ scale.

Many of their figures have amazing dials for the points! Including and especially their members from Secret Invasion!

 

Iron First, and Human Torch are both stunning dials for their points, and for Comic Accuracy you can also grab the splendid human Elektra and Hercules from the same set. Tarantula might pale in comparison to her other teammates in that she doesn’t swing in with triple stuffed special powers boxes, but she’s a great buy if you’re going to be abusing all the Wild Cards in the Heroes bullpen, which is a bit tough within the theme team. Even with an extended comic accurate team you’re still limited with printed TAs to Defenders (good) and Avengers (Not good) which is why the Heroes come equipped with many ATA unlocking keywords. I would pick Avengers Response Unit, since it’s pretty great for the melee heavy Heroes but also because you have a lot of Avengers to keep the ATA going if one should die, so you’re not stuck without Wildcard abuse.

I would want to include Spidey here too at my venue since he’s a Hero for Hire we allow for the “Keyword House Rule.” The other thing I have been wondering about is what would constitute a “Spider-Man” family member? It’s not like any other team, were there was a clear roster. No this is a real grey area and I would really like to hammer it out with the other players at my store, cause the Spider-Man Family ATA is pretty boss, especially on this team of so many Wild Cards!

Here’s what I got at 1000 pts.
SI Hercules, SI Human Torch,

SI Elektra (Human), ASM Spiderman (#055), WoS  Black Cat, H She-Hulk (#107)
SI Iron Fist, CA Luke Cage, A Shang Chi, Tarantula and the ATA Heroes for Hire!

For This Week the Format was “1000 pts. Wheel of Death.” Wheel of Death is essetially a d12 chart that gives out a myriad of middle fingers and butt-hole cleanings to you and you’re opponent’s team. It very much lives up it’s name, many of my opponents built teams with long dials that get better over time, which was great concerning one game my team took 9 damage from the Wheel of Death results! Suprisingly I did end up making it into the finals but my many 6 clix figures were melted by the Wheel of Death and I was only left with Herc, She Hulk and Lucas Cage. My opponent easily able to mob up with Terrax!

Comics:

To honor my Heroes for Hire heroclix team I have been reading the Civil Heroes for Hire tie in, I liked Daughters of the Dragon in spite of it’s butt art and now this version of the heroes has them being hired to round up unregistered heroes and villains. It starts out well and good but obviously things are never so black and white. However the comic has a strange art creep that  when Clay Mann takes over penciling and….wow there’s some strangeness.

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This one is literally one panel after another, what is wrong with Misty’s face? Her “Youngbloods Disease” must be flaring up.badart1

This is another example, the girls are “running” from a Devil Style Dinosaur. I have no idea where or who is running from what, why is the dinosaur so low in the shot behind them? And Colleen better open her eyes and stop her thriller dance routine if she’s gonna get away from the dinosaur!
I don’t even want to talk about Misty’s detached breast problems, they look…better here? Than they do elsewhere in the same issue.

Bad art aside the HfH Civil War Tie In is ok, If you like the Heroes or an interesting take on the “Heroes for Hire” dynamic. Then I’d find this trade. It runs for 14 issues until they shut it down. But the Heroes did come back later…

Batman Loves Sitting

dc paul jenkins new 52

If you haven’t read the Bleeding Cool Article that details Paul Jenkins struggle dealing with New 52 DC Editorial, do yourself a favor and do so now. The gist of it is that former Dark Knight writer, Paul Jenkins, was given the note by editorial that he needed to change a panel he storyboarded that depicted Batman sitting. He was told he didn’t “get” the character because, according to this (for some reason unnamed) DC editor, Batman does not sit down.

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Jenkins was really surprised by this “fact” and found it pretty easy to disprove it with some very famous panels showing Batman sitting. He sits in the Batmobile, in the Batcave, when talking to the Joker, and many other times. The micromanagement by DC editors on creators keeps coming up as reasons why many are jumping ship. This seemed like an amazing example of shortsightedness.

tumblr_mo7q2zxPC31sug50so1_500Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool ended his article by asking someone to create a Tumblr with images of Batman sitting. I was eager to see what people came up with so I went right to Tumblr. I was really surprised to not find one already made. Since I have a number of Tumblrs, I figured I could put one together quick. I created “Batman Sits” shortly after and Rich updated his article to include a link to my Tumblr. I’ve since added an e-mail address where people can send me images of Batman sitting (and a number of people have already done this) as well as a Twitter account that is retweeting people talking about Batman sitting and sharing the Tumblr posts.

If you have an image of Batman sitting you want to see on Batman Sits, send it to – BatmanSits@ComicBookPanels.com .

Make sure to follow Bruce Wayne’s sitting exploits on Twitter – @BatmanSits

Celebrating Super Hero Fathers on a Cruise

I’ll be the local comic book authority for a super hero promotion for the Cleveland cruise ship “The Goodtime III” on June 16th, 2013 for Father’s Day. I was approached by a PR Agency to interact with news outlets who may cover this event as a local comic book expert. Sounds like fun! Here’s the information from the Press Release:

Superman, Captain America, Spiderman and Batman will be on the Goodtime 3 this Sunday for the Father’s Day Luncheon Cruise June 16th. (Four Cleveland actors are portraying these legendary characters). This is the summer of Super Heroes with Superman opening this weekend, Iron Man III already in theaters, and the Captain America movie shooting now in Cleveland.

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The Super Heroes will pay tribute to the real heroes which are the 200 fathers being honored today on the Goodtime
3. These men work diligently to support their families and educate their children in hard times. These fathers represent positive ways of living life.

On the ship today are more than 20 drawings of Super Heroes of the 20th Century. They include those mentioned
above, plus Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Dick Tracy, Capt. Midnight & Wonder Woman.

Nick Borelli, historian and collector of Super Heroes material, is also on board to answer your reporter’s questions of why Super Heroes are so popular now. Nick believes that difficult times such as economic recession and war account for this popularity.

A video playing on the ship shows how the Super Heroes were initially created and evolved through time. They started out innocently enough, but eventually had to face villains that were almost as powerful as they were.

The four actors playing Super Heroes will be up dancing with the fathers and their families, as this is an occasion for celebration. Your reporter may want to talk to some of these fathers about the comparison to them as Super Heroes.

My Picks of the Week

Marvel Now and The New 52 keep plugging along. Age of Ultron keeps getting better and the tie-ins have been exceptional. Superior Spider-Man’s story escalates and the repercussions of Rot World continue. It’s a Pre-Infinity and Pre-Trinity War landscape. Iron Man is on Friday and Free Comic Book Day is later this week. That’s where we’re at now let’s check out the best of the week (and one that just didn’t work).

The Best

detailX-Men Legacy #10

Marvel Comics

Writer: Simon Spurrier

Artist: Paul Davidson

The first 9 issues of this series were used to establish David Haller’s mindset and where he fits in the Marvel Universe since his father, Charles Xavier, died. The past few issues have gone a long way to establish David’s relationship with the mutant Blindfold. Everything feels like it’s been leading up to this new storyline that begins with this issue. Many who heard that Legion would be the star of his own series were very surprised and confused. With all the mutants out there more popular than him (literally dozens and dozens) how long would a book last about his adventures. It turns out that his outsider designation is exactly what propels this book. David does not see himself as a super hero and find most of them ridiculous. His biggest battles are internal ones and his attitude on his potential is far different that a more stock hero’s. This issue covers a lot of ground and works as a jumping on point for the series. I also feel as the the antagonist of this story might be something that no mutant has ever faced. You can’t call him a villain and it’s VERY easy to see where he is coming from. I think this book is exploring territories none of the X-Men books have since potentially the 90s series X-Man but this book has a much less mainstream feel to it. This feels like a Vertigo style X-Men book and I hope it continues to explore deeper territory.

file_204655_1_AgeOfUltron_7_TeaserAge of Ultron #7

Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Brandon Peterson, Carlos Pacheco, Roger Martinez

This is what I really like about alternate reality stories. A science fiction trope that ranks high in my favorites is the idea of changing the past and the ripple affect that it has from that point on. These stories from Back to the Future, Star Trek’s Mirror Mirror, and most comparatively The Age of Apocalypse. It all goes back to Ray Bradbury’s 1952 “A Sound of Thunder”. That story gives us the butterfly effect which states that a small change at one place can result in large differences to a later state. This story really is yet another Age of Apocalypse style story where the elimination of one important figure in the past yields a different world all together in the new present. In fact, Bendis’s own House of M deals with very similar ideas. I’m hoping that this is just one stop in this story that has yet to really deal with the titular Ultron. Still, fun deviation that I am sure will be mined at a later date. The art is exceptional in this issue especially with how the art chorus were broken up. Let’s all hope this is going somewhere that matters.

IM2012009_DC11Iron Man #9

Marvel Comics

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Dale Eaglesham

This is the prologue to what is suppose to be the biggest Iron Man story of the year. Since this is a year with an Iron Man movie in theaters, I’ll listen to Marvel hyperbole more than I usually do. I’ve been impressed with every issue of Kieron Gillen’s Marvel Now Iron Man and it feels like most of it has been leading up to this. I think the addition of Dale Eaglesham is a welcome one after the recent arch with Greg Land. This prologue feels like a bridge between Tony’s space adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy and an origin story. I was unsure how there could be a natural bridge until I saw the last panel of this book. Suffice to say, the next issue can’t come fast enough after this cliff hanger. Fans of the movie franchise could very well start here with the comic but you’d be missing out on the equally approachable previous 8 issues. If you haven’t been reading Iron Man, give it a shot again. You’ll find a hybrid science fiction/super hero comic that’s a real page turner.

Animal-Man_20_FullAnimal Man #20

DC Comics

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: John Paul Leon

Ever since Rotworld ended (and you could make a case during Rotworld) Animal Man hasn’t felt like the book I fell in love with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still been one of the better DC books but it’s horror/drama story that it started as was something that gave me so much hope for The New 52. Almost two years later, I’m not that impressed with much of what DC is publishing but Jeff Lemire’s work has continued to be the high water mark (for books not starring Batman). This is all preface to what I’m about to say…Animal Man #20 is one of my favorite issues of 2013. It’s a refreshing reflection on what remains of Buddy Baker’s life. I’m not going to get into much detail on how Lemire tells this story but it’s very inventive and I’m surprised I haven’t read an Animal Man story like this before. What propels this issue to the top of my list for best issues of this year is the art by John Paul Leon. I am sure many who read this will draw comparisons to David Aja’s minimal line masterpieces in Hawkeye and Iron Fist but Leon’s style is also (ironically) cinematic. Like the best comic book artists, he’s really the director (more irony) of this story. Many of the most poignant panels in this issue have no words. They don’t need any. This comic is self contained and very approachable. It also punches you in the gut. Lemire excels at these emotional stories and this has been his best issue in a while. The next issue promises a new start for Buddy Baker. This issue, however, was just what I needed to remind myself why there are stories that can only be told in Animal Man.

The Most Disappointing

Detective-Comics-20Detective Comics #20

DC Comics

Writer: John Layman

Artist: Jason Fabok

Here’s a book that has been derailed a lot recently. This sort of thing happened a lot with pre-New 52 DC books and with Death of The Family, the death of Damian, and the anniversary issue, Detective Comics has struggled to finish this story. It all ends in this issue, though for the antagonist Emperor Penguin. While his rise to power was fun to watch at the beginning, we received a pretty weak payoff in this issue. Yes, it seems that the whole point of this was to create a new colorful character to Batman’s rogues gallery but we still don’t know what makes him interesting. At first it was his philosophy of staying in the shadows and being the power behind the throne that separated him from the other villains of Gotham. That was something different. The problem is that he throws that all away very quickly in this issue leaving you with a rushed and unsatisfying ending. I also felt ripped off of a chance to see Penguin rebuild an empire from nothing. That would have been a story that could have defined him and yet that wrap up happens in just a few panels. I hope Layman gets another chance at telling a memorable Batman story because in the glut of all the other Bat-Books, this is quickly becoming the least important. I will say that the art of Fabok was consistently well done and dynamic in this book, however.

June 2013 Solicits

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We discuss the comics coming to stores in June 2013, what we think about many Marvel and DC titles, and Marvel Now vs. The New 52. We also look at some of the quotes Marvel is using to promote their books. They are so boring! Stuff like, “I Love This Book” – IGN. Seriously…you can do better.

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