comics

New York Comic Con 2013

I had the pleasure of attending the New York Comic Con once again in 2013 and it was a whirl-wind fun time. It gives me the ultimate excuse to spend a few days in NYC with my life-long friend Jason Juniewicz. As a resident New Yorker and a former Marvel employee, he is my guide in the city and the con. I haven’t been to the con since 2011 and one thing is for sure…it has grown! Estimates put attendance in 2011 at 90,000 with 2013 reaching over 130,000 which has pushed attendance past San Diego (a fact I am still wrestling with being possible). So many aspects of my experience at the show are going through my head that I think it best for me to list a few of the major things that I witnessed at the show.

Special Access Badge

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What we felt like all week.

The running joke all week between Jason and I are centered around our Special Access Badges. This is the best money I spend while at the show. The main difference between the VIP badge and the 4 day pass is that you don’t have to wait in line to get in when it opens and access to the “VIP Lounge”. Thursday is where not waiting in line really makes a significant difference. The showroom floor opened officially at 3:00pm on Thursday. We got there at 2:30pm and found out that people had been in line for 2 or 3 hours already. That must suck. We walked right in, checked our bags at the VIP Lounge (one of the main and best features of the room) and then proceeded upstairs. We were some of the first people to hit the show room floor and essentially had our choice of any exclusive we wanted. That brings me to the next experience I had. I was going to detail it here but it was such an interesting experience, I decided to dedicate a whole post to it.

Read about my Robert Kirkman Autograph experience here.

Cosplay

img_9385I hesitate to say you have to see it to believe it because it’s become such a huge part of geek culture. My feeling is that these cons should pay for these people to go because it’s an attraction. The details and passion these cosplayers have is unbelievable. Personally, I love to obscure characters or the less obvious ones because I think all that commitment for something most people won’t get is next level awesome. I sound like an old man when I say this but…”When I first started going to cons….” well, this wasn’t as big a deal. I know a lot of people who have been into geek culture for multiple decades hate how big things have got but…they’re wrong! To see so many people flying their geek flags proudly is inspiring. If you want to see some of the pictures I took, including a lot of cosplayers, check out this gallery.

 

Convergence of Fandoms

Speaking of things old timers and comic book hipsters say that get on my nerves here’s one…”It use to be just all about the comics!” Yeah well, guess what? Pop culture has decided to embrace comic books and the center of their universe. When I was reading comics in the 90s, adults would ask me: “Do they still make comic books?”. Now we rule all forms of entertainment. Keeping cons small and niche so we can feel superior in our little cocoons is not what’s going to ensure we stay on top – diversity is. If you JUST like anime, Doctor Who, My Little Pony, Adventure Time, Video Games, or whatever…this was the place for you. In my now WELL documented Robert Kirkman line experience, I was next to the huge Nintendo booth(s). People would ask me what I was in line for and I would say for Robert Kirkman. Some would say “Who?”. Now…these people aren’t big comic fans BUT that’s OK! Whatever they were into I probably didn’t know the ins and outs of but we were all together being passionate about what we love. THAT is what is cool about large modern cons.

Diversity

Not only was the types of fandoms diverse but so was this group of 130,000 people. To me, it seemed like it was almost 50/50 guy to girl. Again, 20 years ago, I would never see a single woman at a con. No way. There is so much more for women to be excited about in geek culture now because, slowly, producers of content are starting to see the errors of their ways. It wasn’t just gender diversity though. It was ethnic, age…everything! No benchmark to me is more important to something thriving than diversity. This isn’t some dieing boys club anymore. There is something for everything and you no longer need to be quiet about the things you love in pop culture.

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Sgt Slaughter

So we met Sgt Slaughter. After I got his signature and photo, I posted it on every major social media twice. It was a moment I’ll never forget. Now there are two groups different reactions I get when I show people the picture or tell them I met Sarge. In one I’m met with equal enthusiasm and then envy (this I understand). The other is either a “Who?” or “He’s still around?”. To those people I smile and said, I guess you had to be the right age at the right time. I was at that age at just the right time. I’ve never been a big wrestling fan but I was a kid in the 80s and wrestling was amazing back then. It was on after cartoons on Saturday and each character was a broad archetype that seemed right out of a comic or…a cartoon. All of them except Sgt. Slaughter who…WAS IN COMICS AND A CARTOON! Not just any cartoon either, he was in G.I. Joe as, you guessed it, Sgt. Slaughter. I mean, he was a flesh and blood Joe and the ultimate one at that. His every word in the G.I. Joe movie was epic. When he showed up, you paid attention. As a kid, I had the Triple T Tank because it was the only way to get his figure.

After seeing this commercial, how could you NOT want this??

I was talking to Jason and all of a sudden he wasn’t saying anything. This was Thursday and we were still trying to take in all there was to see. Next thing I know he’s screaming “GUYS! Check this out!!”. I look over to what he’s looking at and like him, I didn’t really understand what I was seeing. It looked like Sgt Slaughter exactly how I remembered him. I’m sure thousands walked by and either didn’t know or were like “that’s the old wrestler, right?”. Well, it was totally different for me. All the times I had watched him on TV as a cartoon or otherwise flooded into my memory and I remembered how cool I always thought he was. I walked right up to him and said I wanted a print and a photo and paid whatever they told me without even thinking about it. I got to take a photo with him and then he said, right to me: “Want me to put you in a Cobra Clutch?”. I must have looked like a slack-jawed idiot child. I was like: “Yeah….please!!”. I told my friends after – if Brad Pitt had been there I would have said: “I liked your work a lot in 12 Monkeys.” and that’s about it. Seeing Slaughter was something totally different. He was really warm but also in character. I met someone bigger than life.

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New Friends

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Brooklyn Defender – The exclusive beer of NYCC

One of the if not THE best part about cons is that I seem to always make new friends. Jason’s friend Fernando was with us a lot and you’d never know I just met him by how famously we got on with each other. Also, I was able to meet Karl Olson who I know from a private comic collecting group and he couldn’t have been nicer. There’s something really special about being part of a community and sharing experiences. I’m glad Jason had me for another year because a lot of great memories were made I’ll never forget.

 

What I Bought

So…I bought a lot of stuff! That’s what you do, right? My hats off to the people that come and walk around and just check stuff out. I don’t have that kind of willpower. I go with an agenda. The agenda includes some specific stuff I want but overall, I come to spend money. I bought things I had been meaning to buy and some things I had never seen before. I told Jason that the word “need” doesn’t mean the same thing at comic-con. Technically they are all “wants” but when you are there, it’s OK to use the word need. These are Nerd World Problems.

We Love Fine

Oh how I love this store. I’ve bought from them before but they have the rights to great properties, their thumbs on the pulse of what’s hot now, and attract the most creative designers. I’m obsesses with Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors, and Gravity Falls in a way that no other 32 year old is. I picked up the ” I Am Not Daredevil” shirt I’ve wanted ever since I saw it in Daredevil #7. We did an interview with Adam Warrock and he mentioned it again and it put it back on my radar. Well, I’ve got it now and it’s glorious. I also picked up an Peppermint Butler shirt that calls him “Dark One” (which makes sense if you watch the show). Because I am riding high on the new Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. show, I picked up a polo shirt and button up work shirt with both a shield patch and a patch that says “Phil”. We Love Fine has the best bags at the con every year and this year was no exception. I kept going back every day for a new bag!

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ONI Press

I love me some Scott Pilgrim! The hardcover color editions are so worth getting. I loved the original but this is one book that really benefits with the addition of color. Until the con, I only had Volume 1 in color and this was a perfect excuse to get caught up. I picked up the Evil Edition variant covers because when else would I have the opportunity? In addition, I bought this amazing 1-Up Coin you HAVE to see!

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Skybound

I mentioned that I picked up the Walking Dead 10 Year Anniversary Black and White NYCC Exclusive Issue #1 but that’s not all I got at Skybound. I also picked up a Walkind Dead Onesie for my future son (awww!), a Survivors logo hat, and a number of 115 variants. I love me some Walking Dead!

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Funko Pop

When did Funko’s Pop Vinyl figures decide to completely dominate every fandom? I was scared to buy one for a long time. Because they have so many properties all at the same scale and design, I didn’t know how I wouldn’t become obsessed and try to get them all. I decided that if i would get any of them it would be for Adventure Time. On Thursday I got the last figure I needed from series 1 and found out that series 2 is out (but I could only find Gunter). Either way, these figures are obviously the coolest thing around.

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Comics

Oh yeah! Did you know you can get pretty much any comic at this HUGE comic convention? Who knew! I had a very narrow plan going into this con. I was only looking for issues of Uncanny X-Men that I didn’t have. I decided that I would make an effort to obtain the entire original X-Men title from 1964′s issue #1 to today. Well, I picked up about 40 issues I didn’t have. The latest issue I need is currently 140 but I bought a number of them well before that (including a great copy of #96). Besides Uncanny X-Men, I got a the last few Villains Month 3D covers I didn’t have and the latest TMNT trade paper back from IDW.

Comic Con News

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Big news came out of this summer’s conventions.

Big Movie News:

  • Batman/Superman Movie
  • Days of Future Past
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Age of Ultron
  • Amazing Spder-Man

We also go over a lot of new comic announcements including Wolverine Origins and Villains United.

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!

Interview with Justin Peterson

of Very Near Mint

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We had the pleasure of talking to artist/writer of the indie comic, Very Near Mint - Justin Peterson. In anticipation of the release of the third volume of Very Near Mint, we talk to Justin about his process, Kickstarter, his fascinating day job, and more. This interview was really one of our favorite episodes. Justin has a really distinct view on the comic book industry and what it takes to succeed. You’re going to like this one!

More on This Interview & the Art of Justin Peterson

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!

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.

 

Promo Vs. Spoiler

Marvel-Now-teaserI have to start this off by saying I’m one of the most positive people when it comes to comics. I’m probably one of the least harsh critics of DC and Marvel. That said, the past few big crossovers for Marvel have been very anti-climactic. The reason for this is that they abandon promotion of the upcoming or current crossover in favor of the “next big thing” that follow almost immediately.

Once the first few months worth of comics have been ordered, they just start plugging away at the marketing for the next thing. That marketing push often gives away the story they are in the middle of telling. Marvel Now details gave away plot points from AvX and Angela’s appearance at the end of Age of Ultron was given away months before Age of Ultron ended (this might be because someone leaked it but Marvel jumped all over it).

angelaSara+Pichelligog6That all said, the Geoff Johns narrated Trinity War video teaser is the WORST spoiler I’ve seen yet! The timing couldn’t be more suspect either. All the orders for Trinity War are in and the Forever Evil and Villains month orders can still be made.

This “teaser” is essentially the synopsis for the entire Trinity War story and lets you know that someone is going to die and what the eventual ending will be. Reading this story will feel like just going through the motions. Here’s the video. Tell me what you think.

 

* UPDATE - I’ve since read the first part of this story (Justice League #22). I have to say, it was a really enjoyable issue. It felt big and large in scale. The Shazam/Superman fight reminded me of classic super hero meeting then getting into a misunderstanding and then fighting stories that silver age Marvel stories told so well. That fight also reminded me of the Shazam (then Captain Marvel) fight with Superman in Justice League Unlimited.

Any way…the ending would have had a MUCH bigger impact if I didn’t already know going into the story that villains are behind everything. I also find my expectations lessened by knowing that the villains ultimately win this. One issue in and I am still behind my original thought…DC and Geoff Johns hurt the experience of this crossover with the teaser video.

Hero Flip Floppers

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Sometimes a good guy goes bad. Or rather, a protagonist becomes an antagonist. Villains become heroes more often then the other way but there are times where some of the best go down a dark path. Adam and Nick discuss a few notable twists in the lives of the best heroes. Some of these number in our lists of favorite comic stories of all-time. Check out why we think these characters made these changes and why they are important stories.

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!

It’s time for another Weekly Fix!

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Heroclix:

TITANS! ON TUESDAY!

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That’s me!

The Teen Titans set is already on it’s way to your Local Gaming Store, the gravity feed has already been out for almost a week and I am EXCITED!  I have a palpable air of energy! Tuesday’s going to be BIG! Now this means I could easily jabber on forever about this set, So maybe I can just touch on specific figures in the set that are a MUST HAVE for me. Not saying I wouldn’t like the whole set but these buggers are in particular high-demand for myself.

Beast Boy Tiger!

Special Powers
MORPH: BEAST BOY: Give Beast Boy a move action that deals no pushing damage. After the action resolves, replace him with any character with this trait on the same click number.
POUNCE FROM ABOVE: Beast Boy can use Leap/Climb. When Beast Boy moves, if Beast Boy ends the movement at a lower elevation than when he began the action, after actions resolve, he may be given a close combat action as a free action.

 

I really like all of BB’s Forms since DC75th but this one is one of the newest! I love his movement power, it adds another great part of utility to that figure line.

Superboy!

Special Powers
KRYPTONIAN STRENGTH: Superboy can use Super Strength.
TACTILE TK: Superboy can use Force Blast. When he does, knocked back characters are dealt 2 damage after actions resolve.

 

Oh Boy! Remember when Superboy stopped dressing like a tool and got some great character work by Geoff Johns in Teen Titans? Yeah! It was great! I like this dial a whole lot too, he’s got trait super strength which is HUGE, and his SP is going to get a big boost when the new rules for forceblast are handing out knock-back on all attacks.

Lil’ Lobo!

Special Powers
UNFRAGGIN’ STOPPABLE!: At the beginning of your turn, you may heal Li’l Lobo 1 damage if he is adjacent to an opposing character.

 

Oh man! Remeber when all those heroes got turned into kids by Mordru? Remember when Lobo stayed a KID and joined Young Justice? Yeah AMAZING! Right!?

Shut up you Bastiches! You don’t know! It was cool!

Now Lil’ Lobo has a great trait, lots of great stats and reducers, all in a tiny 102pts package, he might be the piece to pull in sealed since he’s only an uncommon.

Bunker!

Special Powers
PSIONIC CONSTRUCTS: Terrain markers placed by Bunker are not removed until they are destroyed or until Bunker uses a power that places that type of terrain marker on the map.
PURPLE FISTS: Bunker can use Barrier, Incapacitate, and Quake.
PURPLE CONSTRUCTS: Bunker can use Barrier and Toughness.

 

OMG! Now that’s a support dial! This guy’s so good at what he does he might cause his own problems! YEAH!

Anyway this is one the many New 52 Reboot Titans that I am desperate to get my hands on. I love Miguel in the new Titans! He’s my second favorite new Titan behind…

Solstice!

Special Powers
NO PROMISE THIS IS GOING TO WORK: Give Solstice a power action and choose a square within her range that is on a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal path from her. All objects, walls, or squares of blocking terrain that would hinder or block line of fire to that square are destroyed.
DARKNESS & LIGHT: When Solstice has no action tokens, lines of fire can’t be drawn to her when it is not your turn. If the line of fire for a ranged attack targeting Solstice crosses through hindering terrain, modify her defense by an additional +1.

 

Not only is she my favorite New 52 Teen Titan she’s also got quite a unique power set, with a very NICE utility power, especially if you’re using her with a certine barrier making machine! Set up some cool barrier tricks with Senior Bunker and then Knock a clear path through with Kiran here. With her probability control, psyblast and stealth powers she’s going to be great!

 

Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandmark)!

Special Powers
GROWING DARKNESS: At the end of your turn, deal Wonder Girl 1 unavoidable damage if she is adjacent to an opposing character and did not make an attack this turn.
WONDER GIRL’S LASSO: Wonder Girl may begin the game with Wonder Girl’s Lasso assigned to her by paying the point cost. This object does not count toward your object total and is scored and removed from the game when Wonder Girl is KO’d.
PULL THEM CLOSER: Give Wonder Girl a ranged combat action as if she had a range value of 6. When she does and hits, in addition to the normal effects, place the opposing character adjacent to Wonder Girl and she my make a close combat attack as a free action targeting that opposing character.

 

Now let me say THIS first. I HATED CASSIE SANDMARK! For the LOOOOOOOooOOOOoOOONGEST time. She wasn’t Donna Troy, and as an adolescent  I hated vapid pretty girl stereotypes getting into my comics. That being said the character has grown on me when I recently read all of the Teen Titans comics in preparation for this set coming out. She’s not as bad as I remember and they haven’t made a good heroclix of her EVER. So I’m very excited to get her. Plus the New 52 Cassie is pretty neat too. They haven’t previewed if she’s gonig to be Jeans Cassie from 06′ TT or the New 52 Lazer Suit Cassie. AAAAAAaaaalll that being said, I love this figure. I love people who can start with their own relics, and I love when their good relics!

The New Teen Titans Team Base and Figures!

Holy hot damn! They released all of the Wolfman and Perez era Titans again, making some HUGE strides over their older Un-Carded counterparts, Raven and Cyborg are some of the biggest benefactors of this treatment.

 

Raven!

Special Powers
THE DARKEST MAGIC: Raven can use Phasing/Teleport. When Raven deals unavoidable damage with the Mystics team ability, she deals 2 unavoidable damage instead of 1.
I SEE YOUR FEARS…: When Raven is attacked by a character with one or more action tokens, she can use Super Senses.
DAUGHTER OF TRIGON: Raven can use Barrier. When this click is revealed, stop turning the dial and roll a d6; on a result of 5-6, turn Raven to click 7.

 

Oh Raven! You’re the only transdimentional-empath-demon-rape-love-child I need on my teams! With her great dial full to the roof of support powers and the Mystics team ability make her a real annoyance. But what makes her great is that old “Pratfall to Trigon’s will” bit near the end of her dial. Pushing her from annoying support girl to almost unignorable 2 mystics damage from trying to stop her, plus she’s got a bit of Mind Control on the back end too.

Cyborg!

Now Cyborg has had 2 figures of AWESOME power in the last year, but the old costume Vic Stone is no slouch himself. No traits or Specials Powers but his Running Shot and Enhancement hero make him a popular friend to have next to your other 80′s Titans, now he just needs a hot shot ranged attacker to back him up…

Starfire!

Special Powers
TRUE LOVE: When Starfire is adjacent to a friendly character named Nightwing, modify Nightwing’s defense value by +1 if not already modified by this effect.
TAMARAN PRINCESS: Starfire can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Invulnerability.

 

OH! EMMMM! GEEEEEEEEEH!
JUSTICE thy name is Starfire! It’s taken Heroclix a long time to make a realistic Starfire that isn’t representing that horrid ‘Brainless Sexdoll’ from that comic that isn’t something I want to talk about. And even THAT one only has Energy Shield as her defence powers, which is staggering when Starfire has gone fist to fist with Wonde Woman and Wonder Girl. Those points aside she’s a beast and a half!
Huge Range! Huge Speed! and HUGE HAIR! Make her a flying orange monster. But for every flying solar-energy-blasting-orange-space-princesses coming to Earth for good,  there’s an Evil Heel version of them trying to bring them down, their Hollywood Hulk Hogan…

Blackfire!

Special Powers
I SHOULD BE QUEEN!: Improved Movement: Ignores Characters
THE HATED SISTER: When Blackfire targets a character with the Teen Titans keyword, modify her attack value by +2.
INTENSE STARBOLTS: When an opposing character takes damage from Blackfire’s ranged combat attack, that character can’t use the Carry or Flight abilities until the beginning of your next turn.

 

Oh boy! Since JLA 52′s Enchantress, there seems to be a figure in almost every set that’s tailored to beat down anyone else in the set,  in sealed play. Blackfire is this set’s Blade, she can’t fly like her little sister but she can shoot just as hard and with Psyblast and Leadership leading off she’s going to put a huge dent in whoever she get’s her bolts on. It’s only a shame she’s the RAREST figure in the set and not a common/uncommon. Which sucks since I need both of the ‘R sisters.

Chases:

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 Those don’t look like the Toon Titans!

Now only one chase has been revealed but it’s a member of Prime’s Titans, meaning the most hated-loved-no hated!-no stupid-shut up! Super Villain in the DCU has broken free and might be breaking the power board for the set wide open. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t want a Superboy-Prime or some of his Evil Titans. I LOVED the Perez/Wolfman Crisis on Infinite Earths, I liked Infinite Crisis, I liked some of Final Crisis (when I could understand it) since it was about the New Gods some of my favorite DC characters behind the Titans! And I also loved the Tie-In Legion of 3 worlds! (Long live the LEGION!)  Johns and Perez teamed up again to make a very good run of Superboy-Prime. That being said if he IS in the set he’s going to THE piece to pull for sealed, like Terrax in Amazing Spiderman.

Missing Titans!

While the greatness of a whole Teen Titans set is undeniable the fate of many Titans remains in the “Unclixed” category. Now to be fair the only team that has had a huger roster of characters over the years is the Legion of Super Heroes, so I can understand why all 100 (or so) Titans haven’t been clixed yet. However I’m just going to toss a few names out there that I desperately wanted a new figure for.

Kole, Argent, Miss Martian, Bombshell, Dueala Dent, BETTE KANE! Mas y Menos, Lilith, Jericho and Johnny Chase. I would also loved some kind of “Teen Titans Go!” clix maybe that could have been a team base instead of the HORRIBLE Gen13 base?

COMICS:

I read ALL the issues of Teen Titans I could read over the course of the Last Month…

It was fun! I skipped the original Golden Age Titans since they weren’t something I ever really knew about until I read about them in the Wiki. The Perez/Wolfman era New Teen Titans are the strongest and longest running titans incarnation, creating a great number of likable characters. This series established all of the now classic Titans heroes and villains. This series ran straight up to 96′ when they rebooted the team with the title changing to ‘Teen Titans’ this is honestly the WORST Titans incarnation. I love some of the starting issues but the dialogue is weird and the series only last until 98′. 99′ was the Technis Imperitive which somewhat revived the original Titans to a degree bringing every Titan together (and the JLA) for a huge cross-over sandwich. This era concluded with some great new Titans books the beginning of Young Justice and the Geoff Johns Teen Titans, this took them all the way until the reboot. Though let it be said that Johns did leave Titans at some point and the quality of the series definitely took a dive. The reboot was… …weird, to the Titans? Some characters are annoying now, new characters are all cool, and the first story arc was AMAZING. I guess they fairred a lot better than ‘you know who and the we won’t says’ so I guess it worked out. If you need some Titans recommendations….here you go!

 

-Judas Contract, Who it Donna Troy?, Terror of Trigon, Graduation Day, Kid’s Game, Technis Imperative.

Well let the Titans be with you! Until next week.

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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.

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!

Hello again Fix-a-maniacs it’s another week to check out what’s happening on the selves, on the nets and in 1987.

 

Heroclix:

As the Teen Titans set looms within palpable tasting distance. I’m a huger than huge Titans fan and I’ve been reading and watching and frothing madly about the Teen Titans set which will be out in a matter of weeks, the gravity feed is actually set to drop today. However that’s a topic I’ll be saving for next week since I can’t stop once I start and there’s a lot already to discuss.  This week and the last has been a cornucopia of spoiled con-figures and the release of the Iron Man 3 Movie Set for realies. Let’s check them out! M-006-OldManLogan

 

Ok a new Wolverine from a story I’ve never read… I get this feeling a lot…. Well at least it’s not another Batman! Cool!

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Oh ho ho? Mr. Wade Wilson’s super genius super villainous alter-ego? NICE! Keep ‘em coming!

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Oh! I spoke too soon about Batmans….Oh wait! It’s Bat-Mite! That’s different. He’s pretty cool, silly but cool! NEXT!

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Oh it’s….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

What is that!? First of all this beast is in gaming terms pretty broken for 350/250.  At 250 points they have trait Super Strength and that lets them hold 2 objects and they get trait Charge….So they can do 7 Damage with Exploit Weakness with a charge or  13 with Duo Attack! Great…not to mention their other Special Powers. But the real problem with this is the poses that Wondie and Supes are…. …Just ICK! Is Superman mid-coitus? Why are his hands on her neck and back, he looks like he’s holding her against her will and is about half-way though a very horrifying smell of Wonder Woman. Superman’s Edward Cullen face aside why is are their eyes closed? Where did this even come from?

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Oh! Jim Lee drew it ok. So now it’s time to get flamed. This drawing….is weird! Even bad? Jim Lee is a legendary artist in comic books doing all the iconic X-Men designs I remember from the 90′s but, I have a better understanding now of anatomy and there’s a lot of questions I have to ask… Ok the pose is better for sure, it looks like they’re actually engaging in human-romance and not… …whatever the heroclix is doing. But where is Superman’s left arm? His huge front arm (Which is wider than Wondie’s tiny 90′s Psylocke abdomen) makes me think I should be able to see his forearm and elbow behind Wondie’s back JUST SOMETHING! ANYTHING to tell me where his left hand is coming from! And Wonder Woman is all length, she’s as tall as Supes but her only noticeable weight is in her hair and one leg. AND WHY IS HER LASSO FLIPPING OUT ALL OVER!?!! Is this a Todd McFarlane Spider-Man cover now? So here’s what they both should have learned from:

2865679-dsc03337bHoly Cow! Real anatomy! A pose for both characters that doesn’t look like soft core porn, and Wondie’s rasscley-lasso is tucked safely away from flying all over. They might need a bit more emotion in their faces, but at least they look to be having less fun than straight out orgasm or something even creepier. I don’t have a problem with a Heroclix “Couples” figure. And I understand the whole ‘throws of passion’ approach is new considering that the only previous couples are in fighting poses.   I might have reservations about the hastey slash-fic-meets-sales-stunt of Superman and Wonder Woman being romantic….with each other, but I think it needs to be handled a bit better especially in that Heroclix. The figure needs to reflect something interesting and telling of the couple themselves. You know like…

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This would make a great Heroclix!

 My LGS Tourney this week was 800 pts. ‘Age of Ultron’ the most expensive figure on your team has to have the Robot Keyword and gains Mastermind, Leadership and Perplex. My team was strong and had a lot of great synergy here it is:
6x Easy Co. Soldiers, 1 Sgt. Rock, GF:GG Kilowog, 3x Aim Renegades, 2x Red Guardians and Lex Luthor and Brainiac duo.

With the combined buffs of Kilowog and Sgt. Rock each member of my Easy Company had 11 attack, Running Shot and Willpower. Add on being able to shoot for 2-5 damage depending on their positioning with Enhancement figures my team made everyone member a threat. It’s unfortunate that my dice laid down and died for the whole tourney. But these things happen and my dice will be Rasputined later this week.

Finally Let’s Talk about

COMICS:

My pulls this week have been weird since i was diverting funds for my Fiance’s Birthday. However I would always recommend Batwoman and Wonder Woman, Wolverine and the X-Men is another title I’ve been really enjoying.  I’ve also been reading Justice League International! Which is a pretty fun series from the 80′s were everyone hates Guy Gardner, the team consists of many awesome not Superman characters like Mr. Miracle (YES!), Martian Manhunter, Dr. Fate, Fire, Ice and even Lobo the last Czarnian eventually muscles his way onto the team. I would recommend picking it up for some good laughs and you can see what people’s hair was like in the 80′s…even if it’s as old as me!

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Until next time!

Welcome to another installment of the Weekly fix, you source for all the gaming, comics, and hi-jinks I pursue each week.

This week it’s a doosey so let’s jump right into it!

 

Heroclix:

This week saw the end of the Heroclix online League, I had less than perfect results, going up against a slew of headache and mouse-smash-inducing teams but luckily I fared much better yesterday in our weekly Heroclix Tournament.

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Don’t Get MAD! Get Gladiator! (Yeah I said it.)

 

 

This week’s format was 800pts No Resources. A simple format that left a lot of possibilities open.  I had NOTHING come to mind, so I threw together a variation of my online soldier theme team with AMAZING results. Here you go:

CW034 Ares 199
GX017 Domino 69
TREK100 Warship Voyager 125
GLGF003 Kilowog 145
GG040 Gladiator 195
CA019 Yelena Belova 60
Hey! I know you’re all surprised to see Kilowog AGAIN!  But you can’t keep a good WOG down! And here he’s the heart of the team, being a super fast taxi/mobile fire base, that gives everyone near him +1 Attack, Combine that with Ares Presence of the God of War trait gives an additional +1 attack for adjacent friendlies, meaning Gladiator is swinging at 14 attack with correct positioning. Obviously the key is keeping Domino in the right place for Probability coverage which is easy with WS-Voyager pulling her around.
The Warship Voyager was amazing even if it didn’t ever hit a free critical hit with it’s Trait, shooting of Psychic Blasts and pushing to Outwit was good, and it’s Invincibility made it one of many hard targets on my team so it remained almost unscathed every game.
It also let me PAINSTAKINGLY explain it’s back-story to thrilled (angry-bored) opponents.

Comics:

This week I was reading a certain series of Venom (2011) back issues! Circle of Four!
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  Sometimes you go to Hell, Sometimes Hell comes to you.
Now I’ve talked about Venom before, and I’ve talked even about the new Venom before but now I’m speaking specifically about a story-arc featuring an AMAZING cross-over of epic-cross-over-ness.
The story features X-23, Ghost Rider (Alexandra), Red Hulk and Venom. Unwittingly turning Las Vegas into a real Sin City as Hell is literally set loose on Earth, the four heroes must confront Blackheart and stop his demonic centrifuge from pulling Earth into Hell!
It’s a brilliant series of issues, including an amazing amount of character development for all the heroes, and X-23 fans like myself love to see Ms. Kinney playing well with others plus she’s got a lot of great moments in the book, but I’ll stop there since you really need to pick these issues up! I liked it so much that I’m actually making my own custom Circle of Four Heroclix team (look for that in a later fix) They’re from last year so they could be easy to find and are also contained in a Trade as well.
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Nobody likes you when you’re X-23!