Saturday, March 22, 2008


Pretty much just a filler post here, to get something new on here while I try to read my recent comics purchases.

I thought I would talk about my ritual of comic reading/buying. Every time I go to get my comics, whether it has only been a week or it has been three months, I always do the same general pattern of behavior.

First, upon entering the comic shop, I place my bag at the side of the counter. This is a hold out from when they were more strict on the no backpack policy. They have not mentioned that I needed to do it for a few years, and I don't think I have ever seen anyone else drop off their bag. I still do, though. Just seems to be best not to invite suspicion.

Next, I wander through the trades. Starting with the new trade table right inside the door, moving through the Marvel section (starting with Ultimate stuff, then X-Men, then alphabetical from there), the DC, the Neil Gaiman/Garth Ennis/Grant Morrison/Warren Ellis sections, then finally reaching the "Whatever is cool this week" and everything else trades. Frequently I will either pick a couple (as many as 4 on a trip) or mentally make notes for which ones I should track down later. Some of these mental notes turn into which comics I choose to try to read online to see if I enjoy enough to buy later.

Next, I make my way to the actual singles. There is a full all of shelves for these, with six rows of comics.I start at the front upper shelf (nearest the counter) and scan down to the end, then back again on the next shelf down, until i have scanned every title on the racks that particular visit. If something catches my eye, i will grab it. I also try to keep track of which issue si see that I should be getting in my pull list, as well as the ones I remember enjoying that I may not have added to the list yet. This is sometimes difficult, as my comic shop is good at pulling comics that tie in with something I read to add to my list, on the off chance I will want it. But, sometimes they only do that for a single issue of a new series so I have to remember to grab later issues or keep them in mind in case they issue may or may not have been pulled a second time. I have also had a couple visits where the comics from last week were late to this location but were on time at the second shop I visit (more of a game store with a small selection of comics). So, have to remember which one s I bought last week at the other store.

After this process, which usually takes around 20-45 minutes, I head back to the trades I looked at but did not grab yet. I agonize over which ones I want this time, if any. Many times recently this has been me wanting one, and choosing to wait. Some rare visits this also leads me to the back issue boxes. That only happens if I remembered my lengthy list of comics I need to fill out collections. That happens once every 2 to 3 months (more often if there was a recent miniseries I missed something from).

Finally, I go up to the counter, get my comics from my box, and buy the large pile. This runs me anywhere from $20 to $120 depending on the week and delay between visits. Because I am weak willed when it comes to dropping comics.

After this, i walk the half mile to the other comics/game store where i pick up any issues that I missed at the last store, due to forgetting or lack of stock. I also tend to pick up some sort of roleplaying game or card game at this time.

Then, off to the mall nearby to sort.

My sorting process involves me taking the huge stack of comics and dividing it into three piles. I have Marvel, DC, and Anything Else. Starting with the Anything Else pile, further dividing by specific publisher. Then I divide that stack further by which issues I am most interested in, placing the least interesting issues on top (still sorted by publisher). This takes a while, as some of the comics I like the most are from different publishers. I also try to place any series that is new to me toward the top.

Next, I sort the DC comics. I place the all ages books first on this pile, then any limited series, and then the regular ongoing. Sometimes I will slip a limited series in with the ongoings if it is particularly good. All of these are sorted by worth as above, then placed with the Anything Else comics.

Finally, I get to the Marvel comics. Again, all ages books first, then limited series (within the standard Marvel Universe), then regular ongoing series, then Ultimate line books, and finally MAX books. Occasionally, I will place an event comics at the end of the queue if it is really good (Annihilation: Conquest had that for 4 issues). Once more, they are all sorted by personal merit within their sub-groupings and placed with the rest.

What I end up with is a pile of comics starting with my least anticipated or most unsure of non-Marvel/non-DC comics on top, with progressively more interesting books sorted by publisher and sub-grouping further down until I get to the "best" Marvel book as the last comic I read.

After all of this, I grab some food, possibly watch a movie, and head home to read everything. As I read it, i review it. So, the order you see the reviews is the order in which I lace the comics on the pile. In this way, you can see the value I place on each series by where it is in the order of things on this page.

You can also see how terribly OCD I seem to be when it comes to my comics buying and reading. This pattern of behavior has been ongoing for about 5 years now with the only changes being the amount I spend and the layout of the stores themselves.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Something New

First of all, no comics for a little while (again). I am starting up college again, and had to spend what free money I had to pay tuition. Goodbye tax return.

Anyhow, I have just started a project which I have had stewing in my brain since December of 2005. A little comic project.

That's right humble (non-)readers, I am attempting to write a comic book series of my own. partially because I had the idea, which works best as a comic (or animated series). Partially because, dammit, I want to write a comic book. So, I startted to rough something out tonight. Nothing too fancy or great yet. Just a bit of establishing text and an openign scene.

It is slow going for me, as I am completely unfamiliar with the script format. I am much more of a short story or poetry guy, so attempting to write in a way that is comfortable while still managing to end up as a comic script is proving difficult. I have hope, though. Having read the Eisner books, the McCloud books, and Peter Davids book on comics (as well as browsing a small handfull of actual comic scripts and looking into a couple more books on the subject that are more for writers than artists) I feel that I have enough of a basic foundation to start working.

I would like this to eventually become more than just a fun diversion. Once i have something more solid down of paper (or computer as the case may be) I will probably start shopping around for an artist so this thing can be submitted somewhere for publishing. If needs be, I will just self publish somehow. That, however, is not anywhere near happening just yet. Right now, I experiment and practice.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Here we are, last weeks entry into my longbox.

Crossing Midnight #15: That was an odd twist in there. I liked the three levels of protection, with the wall of truth being a form of protection. The origin of the strange abilities the twins carry was unexpected, and awesome. I know there are only going to be about three more issues, and I am sad to see the series go. At the same time, it will be good to have some actual closure on the story.

Fables #70: The Farm is given a great deal, with very little in the way of a negative to it. I loved how they are all worried about going home and losing television and ipods. I'm sorry to see Blue lose his shot with Rose Red. I have been in his position one time too many, so I know the feeling. His response is the one I have wanted to have, but never managed to muster. Next issue, war were declared.

Jack of the Fables #20: Somehow, Jack managed to win in this one. He got the gold. He got Babe. He got the trifecta. He also got a kick to the junk, but we can all agree he deserved that. As usual, superb comics reading here.

Teen Titans Go! #52: Totally cool. Introduction of four "new" heroes, with a great explanation as to where they came from and why they seem so derivative of better characters. Plus, the reveal being yet another mainstream DCU character who deserves more attention.

Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #5: The end of this series, and it is a pretty predictable one. Not to say that's bad, it is just very obvious this is where it was leading. The real shock was not where it led, it was that it ended in the death of the "bad guy." Frequently, these sorts of stories end with submission, not death. Quite good.

Shadowpact #22: So glad this story is over with. Sort of sad to see a character go (especially one that wasn't Zauriel), but if that's what I need to take to end this arc I will take it. Next issue's cover shows Blur Devil. hopefully he rejoins the team. I want more of the feel of the series from the start back.

Teen Titans #56: Poor Kid Devil. He makes a bad deal to be like his hero, is nearing the end of his contract, has seen what he becomes when that happens, and is losing everyone to Blue Beetle. Then there's the party. Really not the best situation to be in. Then, to top all of that, just as he thinks he may have made a friend, the guy turns on him and he gets his ass beat.

Marvel Adventures: Iron Man #10: How sad is it that the first thing I did when i got this issue was flip to the back to see the Mini Marvels. Which was disappointing, as I had already read that one. The issue itself was decent, with some Spider-Woman and some Chameleon. Decent story, with a sudden ending.

Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #33: Poor Ben Grimm. Trying to tell a story and having Human Torch heckle him. Then the kids put him so far down their list of who is the strongest. All he wants is a bit of respect. Lucky for him, Abomination proves to be a decent enough foe to bump him up. Just not quite enough, though. Hehe.

House of M Avengers #5: Everyone gets what they deserve. Nothing more need be said. Well...except that Black Cat changing her clothes in front of everybody sort of stood out to me as a bit unnecessary. Pandering at its worst.

Young Avengers Presents: Hulking: Wow, this one was very touching. Eddie meets his father, for the first time. Captain Marvel, to his credit, takes it rather well. He does run at first, but comes back and they have a nice talk. Then end got me a little choked up.

Thunderbolts: International Incident: Kind of crap. Only good bit was Arnim Zola.

Captain America #35: Yeah, the shit has hit the fan. Tony Stark is in trouble for the rogue SHIELD agents. Red Skull has gained a very strong grip on America. Bucky as Cap is still badass. Sharon Carter is totally not doing well, and it is looking worse and worse.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #51: The Ultimate Shit is hitting the Ultimate fan here. The cube is taken by Thanos, and that's never good. Beyond that, nothing more need be said.

Ultimate Spider-Man #119: Liz freaks out about her being aflame and flies off. Iceman and Spider-Man try to catch her and calm her down. She switches abruptly from fear and confusion to joy over her freedom. Then Magneto shows up.