Marvel

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…

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.

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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!

In its 24th year, the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, MI outside Detroit has grown larger and attracted more fans than ever before.   A recent update on the Con’s Facebook page confirmed that over 30,000 fans attended the 3-Day show.  While it’s true that there was heavy traffic to enter the parking lot and long lines to enter the hall, indie artists reported triple the sales of last year’s show due to the high volume of people through the door.

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This is the front of the line on Saturday morning an hour before doors opened.

Here’s a rundown of the guests that this reporter had the chance to interact with.

Lloyd

David Lloyd

V for Vendetta artist, David Lloyd’s latest project is a 21-page noir thriller in Aces Weekly Volume 1.  Aces Weekly is an exclusively digital comic anthology available at http://www.acesweekly.co.uk/home.

Perez

George Perez

The Great George Perez attended the show, delivering commissions and sketching sharpie headshots in between countless autographs.  Mr. Perez’ latest released work is the cover of Legion of Super-Heroes #20, available this month from DC.

Anyone wanting to catch up on Perez’ past work need look no further than this month’s Superman Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow? Tpb and Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6 Tpb.

If that’s not enough, his influence is felt across the New 52 as characters he created may be followed monthly in the pages of Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Justice League.

Kitson

Barry Kitson

Barry Kitson is currently nailing it on Valiant’s Bloodshot title!  Issue #11, containing Barry’s artwork is out this month along with more Barry pencils in the Harbinger Vol. 2 Tpb.  Furthermore, it was just announced that Barry will be illustrating the aftermath of this summer’s Harbinger Wars event in Harbinger #15.

Kitson cares deeply for his fans and this weekend was a prime example.  When Barry saw gridlock on the road leading to the convention center saturday morning, he chose to make the journey from highway to convention hall by foot rather than keep his fans waiting!

Swierczynski

Duane Swierczynski

Speaking of Bloodshot, the writer for that title and Valiant’s big summer event, Harbinger Wars, Duane Swierczynski, was present!  Duane’s also involved with the revival of X for Dark Horse.

Clark

Matthew Clark

Notice a trend developing?  Bloodshot #11 Variant Cover artist Matthew Clark was stationed across the aisle from Swierczynski.

Manning

Dirk Manning

Horror comic writer and Bleeding Cool columnist Dirk Manning was dressed to impress while promoting his recent release of the Write-Or-Wrong column collected edition.  Dirk’s next project is a flip book called Love Stories (To Die For) containing two comic book horror stories.  The book will be available from Image Comics’ partner studio, Shadowline, in September.

McKenna

Mark McKenna

Industry veteran Mark McKenna’s new creator owned project, Combat Jacks, is about humans terraforming a planet while they’re attacked by Jack O’ Lantern monsters.

Kirkham

Tyler Kirkham

Tyler Kirkham, fresh from delivering the incentives to those that pledged to his successful kickstarter project NAWRG, set up in prime convention hall real estate.  In short, NAWRG is a story about a troll that lives with a family, but the story contains a deeper meaning on how adopted pets bring great joy to people.   Tyler’s recent work includes Red Hood & the Outlaws, Superman, Teen Titans, and Green Lantern: New Guardians.  His next project is Action Comics #22.

Paquette

Yanick Paquette

Yanick Paquette made his DC debut two years ago in the pages of Batman Inc. and continued his DC work with the New 52 Swamp Thing series.  Yanick’s next project is Wonder Woman: Earth One where he’ll reteam with Grant Morrison.   Yanick remarked on how he loves the way that Grant consistently surprises him and he never knows what Grant will put into their stories.

Hunt

Ken Hunt

Ken Hunt is an artist on the cusp of breaking through to the mainstream, currently working on a top secret cover for a future DC release.

Bisley

Simon Bisley

Englishman Simon Bisley was particularly interested in the Detroit Redwings t-shirts that local hockey fans were sporting, remarking on how cool the winged wheel design was.

Kolins

Scott Kolins

Scott Kolins recent Orang Lantern backups in DC’s Threshold title will soon give way to a Larfleeze ongoing series with his art and written by Keith Giffen.

Forney

Sean Forney

Local hero Sean Forney is in the midst of his own kickstarter project The Scarlett Huntress!  The Scarlet Huntress features Sean and his wife Stephanie sharing art and writing duties.  The story is a modern take on the Little Red Riding Hood mythos.  He’s almost at his goal and your pledge could be the one that puts him over the top!  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/838034909/scarlet-huntress-anthology

Defoy

Jay Defoy AKA Jay A.D.

Young talent Jay Defoy recently completed the first issue of his creator owned title Threadcount: The Tale of Norman Crest.  It’s about a man that gains superpowers that seem ridiculous at first but turn out to be a fun crime fighting asset as the story goes on.

Richard

Sara Richard

Sara Richard’s artwork has a fun fairytale influence to it.  She spends her days drawing adorable My Little Pony Covers.  Check her out.

Spaniards

From Left to Right: Ramon Bachs, Miguel Sepulveda, Manuel Garcia, Andrews Guinaldo, and Pere Perez

These five artists traveled from Spain to meet their fans and deliver high end commissions.  They’re pictured holding pieces that they did for comic art connoisseur Ari Shapiro’s Batman on Gargoyle themed collection.  Reportedly they were commissioned as a group since they share a common rep.  Once they started work, the artists competed with each other over whose piece was strongest and which Ari would like most.

Roadkill

Roadkill

Until next time, dear reader!

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As weekly fix drives on Frank explores another week of escapist outlets!

Howdy again folks this is another dose of your Weekly Fix, I’ve got plenty to talk about this week so listen up!

Heroclix:

This week marks the 2nd week of the 2nd of the Heroclix Online Free-League!

Heroclix Online is an interesting and affordable alternative to playing Heroclix with people in real life. It’s player base is low but seems highly dedicated, the game developers have a lot of room for improvement for the game itself, but the game has a lot of really fun features. Such as rolling Theme or Sealed Tourneys that are running 24-hours a day. However I’m here to talk about the Free League!

The 2nd Free League is an event being run by none other than one of my best friends and previous blog co-writer Norm Steadman (Sermonty on HCO). He’s provided much of the prizes for the league out of his own pocket like in the last league, what makes it even more interesting is that this time around the first prize winner will receive the Entire Batman factory set in real life! If you’re interested take a look here!

I’m going to talk about the team I took last week! Soldier squad!

Green Lantern Gravity Feed: Kilowog 145pts

Cap. America Gravity Feed: Howling Commando 40pts (dial B)

Cap. America: Nick Fury 104pts

That’s 294 pts of Soldiers! This team worked great! Nick Fury is really a bigger problem then you’d think he’d be, and everyone on my team can shoot for 4 with Kilowog’s Enhancement and his Special Power buffs up his teammates attacks! And finally that Howling Commando is just so darn good for his points. My team put down quite a few poozers this week but I still didn’t beat the top person whom went 9-1. Was fun though, we’ll hit ‘em hard again next week.

Comics:

I’m way behind on my current comics because I’ve been catching up on my topic for this week!

WE ARE VENOM!

Oh man! I love Venom! Basically in any form he’s one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe!

I loved his original arc in Spidey with Eddie Brock!
I loved his (terrible) solo comics in the 90s when I was a young turk,

I loved his crazy series in the Millennium Age of Comics. (2003)

I loved Mac Gargan Venom in the Thunder Bolts on into Dark Reign and,

I LOVE Flash Thompson Venom! He’s story is so..well terrible, he was a total ass to Peter, and then his Abusive Dad sent him into the Army, were he got his legs and attitude blown-off. After he dives into the bottle he volunteers for “Project: Re-Birth,” here is were the comic picks up the story of Agent Venom. Flash has got a lot of heart and there’s many times were you really start connecting with the big goon. I really like the redesign of the Symbiote suit to be a lot more tactical and utilitarian. It can also be said that Flash uses a lot of guns and the Symbiote often holds a few extra guns for some extra firepower, which always looks sweet! But I also love when it goes berko and get’s huge and looks like big ole’ 90′s Venom complete with his big dripping tongue! This series is out in trades now and definitely something WE would recommend you getting!

WE ARE VENOMNOMNOMNOM!

Well until next week! Don’t forget to get your fix!

Best Comics of the Week

comic books podcast review

This week’s comics featured a few huge issues with one, in particular, dominating the comic news cycle. I’m reviewing the obvious issue as well as one that’s not as obvious. Let’s get into it:

Batman Inc. #8 – The cover gives it away and it was leaked weeks ago. That said, there was a part of me still hoping it wouldn’t be so. It was a powerful and meaningful death that didn’t feel exploitative. This feels like everything Morrison has been working towards since 2006. The war with Talia and Batman has put Damian in the middle the whole time. While this war has been going on, he has evolved into one of the most complex and interesting characters created in the past 25 years. The scene with him and Dick Grayson was one that will stick with me for a long time. I’m going to really miss this character. I’ve been posting images from Damian’s past recently at www.SonOfTheBat.com Remember Damian and check it out.

*Update -  I decided to write a lot more about this in an article. Check it out here!

Avenging Spider-Man #17 - Unlike Superior Spider-Man, I feel like this title figures out what works with the new status quo right out of the gate. The main reason this seems like a better exploration of Doctor Octopus as Spider-Man is that the Peter Parker “Ghost” is nowhere to be found. You really get into his head better without the repetitive, annoying and helpless voice of Peter nagging at us. We’ve read SpiderMan before, we understand what Peter would do in the same position we don’t need running commentary. OK…rant over! Ha. Seriously, though, this title and this issue in particular keeps the fun of Spider-Man intact by the reactions of Doc Ock to other characters he would have never had mixed with before. Doc Ock learns something with every issue by being forced in positions he finds beneath him. With every team-up, Otto grows and you learn more about how he thinks. This was a really strong issue that shows the full potential of storytelling with this new Spider-Man.

hawkeye8 (1)Alright, everyone, sorry for my unfortunate lapse in posting.  Sadly, the rigors of life and a day job got in the way there for awhile.  But, here I am, so let’s get the ball rolling…

For any of you not currently reading Hawkeye, first of all, shame on you.  Get on the ball guys, this comic is one of the best week in and week out.  It actually made me take an interest in Hawkeye.   Matt Fraction has stepped away from the usual superhero formula and is giving us this weird little slice of life book following a regular guy (Hawkeye) who happens to be an Avenger.  The books is about what not-so-super hero does on his days off.  Sometimes that means stealing a videotape from ultra secret conclave of supervillains.  Sometimes that means buying an apartment building full of eccentric tenants from a bunch of really eccentric Russian mobsters in velour track suits.  Doesn’t really seem to matter what it is Hawkeye’s doing, its always intriguing and its always worth your time.  For those of you that complain, mostly warranted, that the Big Two never try anything different…well this is a comic that will restore your nerd-faith,  my friends.

Issue #8 opens with the reintroduction of a character, “Cherry”, with deeper than expected ties to the track-suited, Russian mobsters, and in a not so surprising surprise she needs Hawkeye’s help.  Matt Fraction is a guy that plays with genres and styles, often to great effect and sometimes within the same issue.  Fraction with a sort of pulp-noir vibe showing us how our femme fatale got herself into her present jam, he immediately segues into awkward romantic comedy territory when said femme fatale crashes Avengers mansion to fall right into our heroe’s arms in the presence of his ex-wife, sort of current girlfriend, and a third former love interest.

From here on out the books becomes a straight up, low rent heist/caper flick.  It’s a great read from start to finish and nobody, except maybe Brian Michael Bendis, does talking head panels quite like or quite as well as Matt Fraction.  Obviously, this doesn’t end well for Hawkeye, but just how it plays out is a big part of the fun.

Now last thing, you come for the writing, but you’ll stay for the art.  David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth are simply killing it on this book.  From a pitch perfect color palette to clever panel layouts to the ridiculously awesome silver age style covers that sprinkle this issue, it’s a crazy good to look at.  I’ve been a fan of David Aja since his work with Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker on Iron Fist.  Aja has a great hand for both the mundane scenes and the heavy action bits.  His simple, but oddly expressive style fits the tone really well.

Do yourself a favor, pick up Hawkeye.  It’s well worth your time.

9.5/10

It’s our BEST of 2012 Podcast!

That’s right, it’s the first annual Boxies! We pick:

  • Best Comic of the Year
  • Best New Comic of the Year
  • Best Super Hero Movie of the Year
  • Best Writer of the Year
  • Best Animated Show of the Year
  • Best Genre TV Show of the Year
  • Best Artist of the Year
  • Best Fight of the Year

marvel dc batman avengers x-men podcast

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What’s Your Universe?

Immortalized by the Adam Warrock song “Marvel vs. DC”, it’s a question a lot of us have asked each other for most of our lives. Which universe is better the 616 Marvel or the contemporary DCU (they tend to have reboots)?

The DC Universe is often sited as being a modern day version of Greek Mythology. Whereas the Marvel Universe prides itself on being more human and real. Superman lives in Metropolis while Spider-Man lives in New York City. Mutants are hated and feared in the Marvel Universe where metahumans of the DCU are often loved and admired. The differences are bountiful so we have to ask you: Which do YOU like better? Comment Below.

Comic to Big Screen in 2012

year end comic book boxies2012 had some big super hero movies in theaters. It didn’t have the volume of some year’s releases but the ones that did come out all had impact on the landscape of this genre. Each came with it’s fair share of baggage with some good and some bad. 2013 looks to be an even bigger year but potentially less controversial. Let’s get into what I mean now…

The Boxie goes to:

  • The Dark Knight Rises

The other nominees:

  • Amazing Spider-Man
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
  • Judge Dredd
  • Marvel’s The Avengers

The Dark Knight Rises

The first thing I thought when I left the theater at 3AM for the first showing was…”Wow, I just saw a real FILM”. Not a super hero movie but a film. Sure, Bruce Wayne dresses up like a bat in a costume and fight people but this felt different. It felt like a allegory with bigger themes going on. Soon after watching the movie, Adam and I recorded a podcast on the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy (one of our first podcasts) that you can check out here.

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This movie felt epic and not because of special effects. That’s a first for me in the modern age of super hero movies. Sure the inexplicable alien invasion in Avengers looked cool but it had no emotion behind the fight. Instead, watch the Batman and  Bane fight near the end of Dark Knight Rises. Bane’s army and the police square off in what looks like the end of a gladiator or war movie with the two generals cutting through the fight to go one on one with their enemies. The movie was shot beautifully especially in the scenes with the snow showing off Gotham.

batman bruce wayne podcast

The A to B super hero format was abandoned with this movie opting instead for a movie that made you feel the humanity of the hero instead of just his “super humanity”. The movie is no perfect but most of the major problems were due to time management of an already long movie (examples: fixing Bruce’s back, trips between Gotham and the pit, etc.). What made this the best super hero movie of the year was the exploration of the impact on a world to having a Batman in it. Often told from multiple perspectives of those affected the most by his war on crime, this movie was bigger than just Batman. Because of that we got the final installment in a world I’ll miss visiting. I feel bad for the team that has to reboot this franchise once again.

batman nolan review 2012

Marvel’s Avengers

I see Dark Knight Rises as a film with super heroes and Avengers as a super hero film. All the beats of a modern Super Hero film are in the Avengers just…better. It’s got the coolest looking heroes fighting hordes of villains with destruction and special effects with all the trimmings. The characters in this super hero team movie all get their moment to shine as well. The best thing this movie has going for it is that they finally created a shared universe that gels as well as the comic book Marvel Universe. This is no small feat. These characters are stars of their own movies but they came together in a true ensemble picture here.

iron man hulk thor

Aspects of the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America were all part of this script that used them all perfectly. Whedon should get a ton of credit for managing a colossal effort. With all the special effects and movie stars in this movie the toughest part was injecting heart. Whedon did that the way he knows best…a death of a loved character. Gregg Clark’s Agent Phil Coulson impact on this movie should not be forgotten. His role in this movie was enough to get him our choice for the hero of the year for 2012.

whedon marvel podcast

When everything is all said and done this movie will hold up for exactly what it is: escapism that puts smile on faces. The Hulk was the character that many said stole the show because of how they kept teasing his appearance before he showed up on screen. His second transformation scene would have been the most memorable scene if the movie if not for his later fight with the movie’s villain, Loki. This is the next level of super hero movie making. This game changer has both Fox Studios and Warner Brothers scratching their heads on how they can duplicate the effect of this movie. That’s pretty impressive.

Amazing Spider-Man

I feel like Adam and I said all we could possibly say about this movie on our podcast episode dedicated to the movie (episode #28 available streaming and on iTunes!). That said, we found the movie more unnecessary than bad. It’s not that it was poorly written or acted in at all (well, Gwen Stacy was WAY too convenient) it just didn’t tell a unique Spider-Man story. If Dark Knight Rises or Avengers were comics, I’d would have found them to be good reads. If the story in Amazing Spider-Man was a comic, I would be pretty bored with it. Sure, it’s an origin story (and one that’s been told in the last 10 years) but it didn’t have enough uniqueness to it to warrant it existing. Except, we know why this movie was made. If Sony didn’t make this movie they would have lost the license so they have to keep making them indefinitely or it reverts back to the now very capable hands of Marvel.

marvel sony movie 2012

I’d like to see something different in the next movie. I think it all comes down to writing. The core group of actors are actually quite good. Andrew Garfield especially did a great job capturing the essence of both Peter and Spider-Man. What needs to happen is to take some chances. Tell a Spider-Man story that’s never been told before and you’ll win me back.

Judge Dredd

The bar couldn’t have been set lower! Comparisons to the Stallone 1995 movie have to be made and are very easy to shrug off. This movie has no insights, depth, compassion, or heart and yet…it’s Dredd. This is one of those movies that’s faithful to it’s source material to a fault! It’s a throwback to the 70s and 80s action movies where you lose track of the body count, can’t identify with the protagonist, and notice that your heart rate climbs as the bullets fly. Karl Urban shows a different side to himself in this pure genre film. With the helmet firmly on at all times, he really becomes Dredd.

comic book reviews podcast

You have to have the right expectations when you see an adapted movie. Mine were of a grim and gritty comic book character who takes no prisoners and is less personable than Batman. I got that in this movie. We were also treated to stylized violence that looked more real than I thought it would for a comic book movie set in the future. Maybe this movie will help take back the line “I am the law!” from the hammed up Stallone and bring it back to its violent cold roots.

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance

This movie makes it into the top 5 because there wasn’t a true 6th super hero movie release in 2012. Was there? I’m not counting Men in Black 3 (even though that was a comic book adaptation at one point). I am sure there were some indie super hero movies that were released (let me know about them in the comments section below) but I didn’t see them. If I did, then whatever they were they would have beaten this movie.

What can I say about this that I liked? Well…let me think about that. Hmmm…I’ve got nothing! It’s not even to bad that it’s good. My expectations were super low but were raised a bit by the inclusion of the directors of the Crank movies. I thought that if this movie managed to not take itself too seriously, it could have been fun. Turns out it didn’t have that right kind of magic that allows bad movies to work. 2013 has more super hero movie releases so I feel like I won’t have to include movies like this in next year’s list. I leave you with a video from Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance.

* If Thomas Jane’s awesome short Punisher Movie, Dirty Laundry counts as a movie than it’s AT LEAST number five on this list.