Reading: Nerd Links – January 21-27

Legion of Collectors:  This blog is about a guy who collects subscription boxes from Marvel, DC, and Stan Lee.  However, this reviewer isn’t just any body (like your favorite bloggers), this guy is Tony Isabella.  Mr. Isabella created Black Lightning for DC and Misty Knight for Marvel, so he brings a unique perspective to collecting.  The box he discuss strikes a memory from his days at DC and what he would have done had he taken over the reigns of Aquaman in the 70s.

New York Times is Killing It’s Comics Bestseller Lists, and the Comic World Isn’t Pleased:  Regardless of how you feel about the New York Times, having a best-selling list of comics/graphic novels was good for the industry.  Comics are still considered by many as second class literature.  While the NYT promises expanded coverage of comics, the list provided insight to what people were reading and, more importantly, a list for new readers to check out.

The Star Wars Death Star Trench Isn’t Where You Think It Is:  Sure, the super fans will say they alway new it wasn’t the huge horizontal trench all along, but I won’t.  I always though Luke and the rest of gang were in that trench.  Now, I know better.

The Power of Fandom In History’s Chame: Why we need to Demand Better Content:  The first half of the title is kind of odd, but this article does make a basic point.  The only way we are going to get stories that reflect who we really are is to only purchase those stories. We should all be tired of the “girl in the refrigerator” trope, but until we do anything about it with our pocketbooks, some writers will use it. The article also does a good job of explaining how we can like characters we hate, but that we need to remember they aren’t good people.

Reading: Saga Vol. 1-3

Yesterday, I wrote about how hoopla brings a library to your fingertips. One of the first books that I checked out was Saga by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples.

The heroes of Saga in a classic romance novel cover setting. Such a novel is important to the plot of the star crossed lovers.

The heroes of Saga in a classic romance novel cover setting. Such a novel is important to the plot of the star crossed lovers.

The story is a Romeo and Juliet story set in a back drop of a major war.  Alana is from Landfall a planet with a winged race that focuses on technological advancement.  Marko is from Wreath, Landfall’s satellite.  In true opposite form, Marko’s race uses magic extensively.  Yet, Landfall and Wreath don’t see any war action because that would be too devastating for both land forms.  Instead, the war is “outsourced” to different parts of their galaxy.  This forces worlds to pick sides.  Marko was captured in the war and Alana was assigned to the prison he was in.  They fall in love, of course, escape, and get pregnant.  That’s where we enter at the birth of Hazel, their daughter and our narrator. Because this union and specifically Hazel, both sides are after them.  The first volume sets the plot up and introduces us to the major characters.  We have bounty hunters and android royalty charged with the task of killing Marko, Alana, and Hazel,  ghost disemboweled teenagers, and a cat that knows if you are lying.  The second volume has one of the bounty hunters, The Will, rescuing a sex slave on his pursuit of Alana, Marko, and Hazel.  Markos grandparents appear allowing a framework for flashbacks where we learn more about the truly star crossed lovers.   We also meet an one eyed author who wrote a novel that inspired Alana and Marko that their love could actually work. The third volume we see investigations into Alana and Marko including from the press (or at least the tabloids). Marko’s former fiancee plays a bigger role and joins The Will on his pursuit of the couple. The Will’s outfit, as well as Prince Robot IV, all descend upon our couple in the third volume.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but there is a Volume 4 (and 5,6, and 7.  There might be more).

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Reviewing: The Paybacks Vol 1

One of the best things to happen at Space City Comic Con was meeting Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal, and Geoff Shaw. These creators have made a fantastic comic called The Paybacks. Vol 1, Payback’s a Bitch is out now. New issues for Volume 2 will be released in July.

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The plot, by Mr Cates and Mr Rahal,  is simple but ingenious. Not every superhero can be Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne.  Specifically, they don’t have those guys bank accounts. Yet, a superhero needs to have toys. What happens when they can’t keep up with the payments? I mean, saving people is nice, but do superheroes bill people after. Plus, liability insurance and other factors come into play causing this particular job not to be a lucrative one. In other words, the creative team discovers a side of being a superhero that most of us can relate to.

In this story, there is a shadowy figure who calls in superhero loans. This figure, Mr. Pierce, seizes their assets and in some cases causes others to become basically indentured servants. In other words, some superheroes become repo men. However, someone his beating these heroes to their targets and killing them. When they do, they write, in blood, “Payback is a bitch” on the wall.

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This seems like very serious stuff, and it is. However, it is also laugh out loud funny.  People get cut off before telling their origin story and a hero recite Rorschach’s line about being locked up with him right as he gets knocked out.. There is a Russian character that is treated as if he’s not all there till you find out he is entirely fluent in Spanish. He also misquotes famous movie lines in English (my favorite being the line from They Live!).

Not only is the story there, but it is also wonderfully drawn. There is an attention to detail by Mr. Shaw that I often find lacking in other books.  Lauren Affe also gives the story bright colors but with enough shadows to enhance the mood of the story being a thriller.

The only complaint is that the story ends on a giant cliffhanger. We need to know what happens. This book was published by Dark Horse Books. However, Dark Horse canceled the series, but did release the first four books as one volume and gave the creators permission to carry on the story elsewhere.  Heavy Metal will publish the next set of comics and should come out in July.

I’m letting my comic book store know to put it in my pull folder.

ComicCon-ing: Artists Spotlight For Space City Comic Con

Comic cons have evolved throughout the years. Some people will say that most aren’t comic cons shouldn’t be comic cons anymore because the focus seems to be on media guests and not the artists.  That may be but I haven’t been to a con yet that didn’t feature artists.  Every con I’ve been too has always had talented artists. Space City Comic Con in Houston is no exception.

I’ve already written a blog on Fred Van Lente and his work writing The Comic Book History of Comics. It’s an amazing book that has me looking for more comics that are works of non-fiction.

 

Darryl Makes Comics DMC No. 1

Darryl Makes Comics DMC No. 1

Darryl McDaniels, better known as DMC from Run DMC, has created his own line of comics called Darryl Makes Comics.  I’ve read issue #1, and its fantastic.  Set in the 80s, there is a vigilante going around helping people who is known as DMC. There are plenty of references to lyrics from the seminal rap group, but they never force it. In addition, it calls into question about who do superheroes answer to. In this comic, a “hero” has to answer to a shadowing rich person at the end.  I can’t wait to read all issues, especially if they are as good as the first.

 

Dave Dorman Star Wars Variants

Dave Dorman Star Wars Variants

Dave Dorman is an artist who often does work for Star Wars. We have been collecting the new Marvel Star Wars comics since they started, and Mr. Dorman has done quite a few of the variants. His work is amazing and we have a few comics for him to sign. Of course, if he has others to purchase, we will probably buy a few as well. (Probably means definitely).

 

Doug Hazlewood, Inker on The Death of Superman

Doug Hazlewood, Inker on The Death of Superman

Doug Hazlewood has been a long time inker and you can find lots of his work in hardcover and trade paperback. In fact, he was the inker for the best-selling comic book ever – the Death of Superman. The inkwork on that book is fantastic as is the work that Hazlewood did with Grant Morrison on Animal Man.

 

The Paybacks written by Donny Cates

The Paybacks written by Donny Cates

Donny Cates is a comic book writer.  I just purchased the first volume of his work The Paybacks because it sounds, well, original. It’s about a group of heroes that act as repos for other heroes who spend more than they earn.  Superheroes need all those wonderful toys, but not everyone can be Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark.  Some have to buy on credit and some over extend themselves.  Now doesn’t that sound like a great comic?  When I’m done with it I’ll write a review…unless I decide I need to read the complete set first.

These are just a few of the artists that will be at Space City Comic Con. I can’t wait to see all the artists and their work.  My budget might not like it but my Nola Nerd Couple Headquarters still needs some decorating!

 

 

Collecting: Free Comic Book Day

Top Row: Comics we collect that we purchased on Free Comic Book Day  Bottom Row: Free comics from Free Comic Book Day.  Of course, Stan Lee approves.

I wish I had read more comic books as a kid.  I read almost everything I could get my hands on, but not comic books.  Part of the reason was location.  Growing up in a small town on Bayou Lafourche, we did not have access to a comic book store.   Libraries are great, and I sure used mine, but it really was not until recently that most libraries started carrying comic books/graphic novels.  As a teacher, I would like to have a do over in my time in New Orleans Public Schools and introduce my students to comic books and graphic novels.  Comics are a great way to get people interested in reading.  They are great for people who have trouble visualizing what they read.  They often discuss difficult subjects which can lead to discussions about current issues.  Think about it, the most political movie of this decade might be Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That is why we woke up early and headed out to Metairie and New Orleans on May 2 for Free Comic Book Day.  Free Comic Book Day celebrates comic book stores by having them give out free comics.  Of course, the goal is to support comic book stores in return by buying some comic books, toys, cards, dice, and any of their other wares.  It’s a great day to entice children to read as there are many comics geared to all age levels and to kids of all ages (adults too!). Because most comic books are serial in nature, the comic book industry hopes that you will return to the stores at least monthly to purchase the next issue in the series.

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