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Catwoman and Batman

Most of the current media bemoans the fact that an increasing amount of movies and TV are based on the comic universe. We geeks and fanboys, of course, love this trend. But most of us are not mindless drones and still have the ability to separate quality from garbage. Spider-Man 1 - good. Spider-Man 2 - not so good. Spider-Man 3 - a waste of good sand. Batman Michael Keaton - good. Batman Val Kilmer - not so good. Batman George Clooney - a waste of good nipples. Heroes season one - good. Heroes season 2 - not so good. Heroes season 3 - a waste of good comic writers.

Recently, DC announced a prospective series entitled “The Flying Graysons”. Folks speculated that with an uncertain future for “Smallville”, we would need something for our superhero fix. But was Dick Grayson, before he became Robin, solving crimes traveling with the circus the best they could come up with?

So, I printed out the article from Variety and posted it at Phoenix Comics, your favorite neighborhood comic store. Now, remember, these are the same customers who wanted to lynch Marvel for the whole Brand New Day fiasco or put up a statue to Marvel for ending the Peter-Mary Jane marriage. And does anyone remember Birds of Prey? How could anyone mess up a TV show featuring three awesomely good looking girls in spandex. Couldn’t be done, could it?

Well, the polling is over and if the U.S. ran like this, we could have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Nobody liked this idea. Not one customer. Nobody. And somehow DC must have gotten the message because they have canned the idea. Obviously I am only one store but still… maybe once in awhile they do listen to us.

Read More | Variety

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Death of Captain Marvel

I wonder if there will be comics in our future. The reason for this is that it seems that no one wants to write comics anymore. No, what they want to write is the Great American Comic Novel.

As the proud owner of Phoenix Comics in beautiful Eastchester, New York (shameless plug), I have the great fortune, or misfortune, of reading just about everything that DC and Marvel publish. Back in the day, going back as far as 10 cent comics, a huge percentage of books were what we would call today, stand alone stories. Batman caught the bank robber, jewelry store heister, or murderer in one issue. Superman battled the evil monster and/or fooled Lois about his secret identity in one book. A two-issue story was a major event. Even as a youngster, I realized Superman was fighting a never ending battle against evil and we all moved on to the next story.

Starting with “The Death of Captain Marvel,” the first mainstream graphic novel, everyone seems to be writing 120-page comic novels and slicing them into six parts. Before the ink is dry on part six, the whole thing is published in a trade paperback. At least you had a good read on an airplane. But even that doesn’t seem to be enough.

Now we have continuing sagas that seem to go on forever: Crisis on Infinite Earths to Infinite Crisis to Identity Crisis to 52 to Countdown to Final Crisis to….? And don’t even start with all the tie-ins. When they hit Final Bar Mitzvah I quit.  Of course the X-Men books have been doing this for years. They even put numbers on the spine so you can keep reading, and reading, and reading and the story line goes on forever. At my age I have to keep reading the books because I would hate to miss a possible ending. Some of my customers have given up and just read the trades as they come out.

Is this progress?


Captain America

The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Marvel Studios have decided to go with Joe Johnston as the director for the Captain America film.  Johnston was the director for films such as “The Rocketeer”, “October Sky”, and “Jurassic Park III”.  According to imdb.com he is in post-production for a remake of the “Wolf Man” staring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.  “First Avenger: Captain America” is scheduled for a May 6, 2011 release.

Read More | Hollywoood Reporter

WAR

I just noticed in the latest issue of Wizard magazine that War Machine will be getting his own on-going series.  It will be written by Greg Pak who has done some amazing things on the Hulk recently.  Cool.  I wonder how long this series will last.

I say this because if you are a long-time comic book fan as I am, you know that when a supporting character gets their own on-going series, very rarely do these books last more than a year or two.  Some break the trend and do last awhile, but many last twelve issues or so and then get canceled.  Some characters don’t even deserve their own series and get canceled because nobody cares.  Marvel Comics’ Quicksilver had his own series in the ‘90s.  Why ask you?!?  Why?!?

I think a major reason why supporting characters don’t last in their own series is because the powers that be (writers/editor-in-chief/editors) don’t take the time to really develop interesting antagonists for these characters. 

Read More | Wizard Magazine

Marvel Comics

Comic shop owners, such as I, recently took quite a jolt courtesy of our dear friends at Marvel Comics. Of course that is not all that unusual, but this one was a killer.

Marvel had a program called First Looks, which, along with the regular Wednesday shipment, gave the dealers five-to-eight comics that were due to be released in the next week. These were never the biggies such as “Secret Invasion,” but there were always a few goodies such as “Captain America,” “Spider-Man,” and a few stinkers. My regulars would sniff around, but, although I could let them look at them, I wasn’t permitted to sell them… at least until my partner read them. 
 
Beforehand, Marvel e-mailed all its retailers and informed us that due to paper, ink, shipping, and other cost, the fee to be a part of the program would rise to $20 from $7 and asked us if we still wanted in. I did, but 95% of the dealers didn’t and so, Marvel canceled the entire program. Getting the books in advance was the main reason I went into this business because it certainly isn’t the money. This isn’t the first time the publishers have dissed the retailers and it won’t be the last… until Wal-Mart figures out a way to sell comics and puts us all out of business.
 


Blue Marvel

This past Wednesday, Marvel Comics released a book entitled “Adam: Legend of The Blue Marvel.”  It revolves around a superhero who appears in the early 1960s and is discovered to be (gasp) a black man. Gross injustice ensues.  In this humble comic store owner’s opinion, it’s a really good read.

Although I have a DC Comics rep, I don’t have a Marvel rep. If I did, I would be calling him everyday for the lottery numbers. Come on now, how much of a coincidence that Marvel publishes this book one day after America elects its first (gasp) black president? Sure, the book was thought out months ago, written whenever, the political leanings of Marvel staff are irrelevant, and certainly the editors can make a good guess, but it still is a remarkable piece of luck that the release date was November 5th.

Writing works of fiction is difficult enough without putting words and thoughts into the heads of real people. Some will debate how the “real” JFK would have acted had this situation risen up. In this first issue there are no other heroes floating around to pick up the slack for when the next large meteor threatens the earth and, therefore, asking his hero to stand down seems a bit far fetched but what the heck. It is, after all, a comic book and certainly doesn’t have to reflect reality. Still, my family motto is, “It’s better to be lucky than good” and when both hit at the same time… well, a good comic book comes out of it.


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