Monday, December 01, 2008

What I’m Getting Thursday

So my commentary to start the week is actually about comics, as lately political and financial news has been my subject matter of most interest, but it ties into comics. The print medium is a slowly dying or at least a shrinking market place. The birth of the internet has caused big newspapers and magazines to watch circulation fall to the floor like a stone. So the online newspapers, web comics, Comic Mix, Zuda and many other ideas for online comics are out there trying to find readership and usually revenues, but how do you make money on those ideas. My thought process is that so many sites are dependent on either people just putting out content for free with no idea if a payday will ever occur or that they get advertisers. So as the economy slowly revolves around the drain, will the same amount of advertising be available to support these sites and ventures? How will even Newsarama and CBR continue to support themselves (and I have no clue what their business models are but I assume some is advertising). Just a thought that as the economy worsens we are going to see changes to our favorite industry and some of our stores maybe hit hard, some of the websites we enjoy for free will be changing and some publishers that look okay today may not make it.

The books that I’m looking forward to the most this week are:

Batman #682 – I have read a lot of negative reaction to “RIP”, but I really enjoyed the last issue and will one day soon try to pick up all the trades and read Grant’s run to date in a few sittings. I remember disliking Grant’s run on X-Men, and then read the entire run in a couple of a days and was blown away. The company line “Now that "Batman R.I.P." has concluded, the aftermath begins! If you thought mastermind writer Grant Morrison surprised you with "R.I.P.", just wait until you see what he has planned for this retrospective story. In his last hours, Alfred the Butler tells the life story of the Batman as you've never seen it before in this two-part adventure which bridges the gap between the events of "Batman R.I.P." and FINAL CRISIS. Learn the secrets of Batman's early years! Witness the nightmare of a Gotham City where Batman never existed!”

Criminal #7 – The last issue in this arc and my favorite story in Criminal to date. I wonder if the ICON line will ever do hard cover collections as Criminal maybe worthy of collecting in that format. This is definitely Ed Brubaker’s best work right now. The hype “NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS AS THIS BAD NIGHT COMES TO ITS THUNDERING END! The conclusion of “Bad Night” spins a deadly web of lies and murder, as CRIMINAL’s new expanded format keeps the hits coming! What’s left of Jacob K.’s life has been ripped apart by a chance meeting on one bad night. But when all the things he’s been running from come to the surface, we may just learn the Jacob himself is much more than what he seems.”

Justice Society of America #21 – We have had three specials and then an issue of the regular book this week. This series went from moving like molasses to a nice accelerated pace. Also as the story line has been coming to a conclusion I can now appreciated the expanded the nature of this story, but it still made the monthly books feel too dragged out. The word “The penultimate chapter of the epic "One World, Under Gog" explodes here as the Justice Society of America goes to war with one another. Torn between Gog's desire to help the world and the moral cost it comes with, it's old guard vs. the new as the line that was drawn is crossed. But Gog does not like war...”

Kull #2 (of 6) – The first issue of this mini-series was a text book in how to do a first issue right. It established the character, it gave us the set-up for the story going forward, it gave us some great action and was relatively self-contained. What’s inside “Before the blood from his last battle has a chance to soak into Valusian soil, Kull faces new threats to his throne. As representatives from all corners of his kingdom seek his counsel, the new warrior-king accepts a strange invitation from a hotheaded Pict emissary. Kull will need to discard ancient prejudices and find allies in former foes if he's to save the newly united Valusian empire from a clandestine enemy that once threatened to enslave and exterminate mankind! With critically acclaimed writer Arvid Nelson (Rex Mundi, Joker's Asylum) fan-favorite artist Will Conrad (Conan, Serenity), and coloring maestro José Villarrubia (Conan the Cimmerian) at the helm, Kull is a welcome addition to Dark Horse's Robert E. Howard comic book line--and one of the smartest new adventure series of 2008!”

Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #4 (of 6) – I was worried I would never see this book again. I’m not sure what type of contract Peterson has with Arachia Studios Press, but I would love to see DC, Marvel or IDW come in and start publishing this book. This is a modern fairly tale that is a true all ages book. The word “Deep in the subterranean weasel stronghold of Darkheather, Saxon wakes to find himself in the horrific mass grave of his fallen Guard mice from the Winter War of 1149. In the mouse tomb he must face the cages, shackles, pelts, and bones of the past. Above on the icy surface of the mouse territories Lieam and Celanawe face the one-eyed owl as they wield sword and Black Axe against the feathered predator.”

Secret Invasion #8 (of 8) – I’m not sitting on pins and needles waiting for the conclusion of this story line, but I’m obviously curious as I have followed the whole series. I hope that this ending is as good as the opening because the middle has been lame. The hype “THIS IS IT!! The truly shocking conclusion to THE comic event hit of the year. And you are not prepared for what will happen in these pages. Heroes will rise, heroes will fall...and the Marvel Universe will, and we're not joking, NEVER be the same again!”

Sgt Rock The Lost Battalion #2 (of 6) – A few of my fellow fans were less then impressed with this book, but I think they are dead wrong. For whatever reasons they went in not really knowing what Tucci was doing with this story. My favorite comment was a couple of guys saying this wasn’t Sgt. Rock done right and I laughed at them as they never followed Sgt. Rock (too young) and were basing their comments on a perception they had with no real basis or information. I loved the first issue and I’m looking forward to more this issue and I already want to hard cover version with all of Tucci’s notes and stories of how he put this series together. The company line “Sgt. Rock and Easy Co. find themselves cut off behind enemy lines and surrounded by thousands of troops. In a driving rainstorm, Easy is soon ambushed by an overwhelming and elite enemy contingent and must battle hand-to-hand for their lives – with disastrous consequences and the loss of one of their most beloved members.”

The rest of the list:

I keep changing up my format on this post to hopefully keep it a little fresh and so I don’t fall 100% into a formula, so the rest of the list will be the pictures and the company hype only.

Astonishing X-Men HC Volume 2 - This deluxe hardcover collects ASTONISHING X-MEN VOL. 3: TORN and ASTONISHING X-MEN VOL. 4: UNSTOPPABLE by the chart-topping super-team of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, plus extras. In TORN, things go from peculiar to just plain bizarre! Emma Frost's erratic behavior has the X-Men spinning in a non-stop downward spiral. Will an unlikely union be the final straw? After secretly lying in wait for months, the new Hellfire Club makes its move! Plus: The X-Man destined to destroy the Breakworld stands revealed! Who is it, and what will be their fate? And in UNSTOPPABLE, the X-Men are off to protect the Earth from its destruction at the hands of the Breakworld. And when it's all over, nothing will ever be the same! No, really, we mean it! Whedon and Cassaday prove they are more than Astonishing: They are unstoppable! Collecting ASTONISHING X-MEN #13-24 and GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1. 320 PGS.

Astounding Wolf-Man #10 - Story ROBERT KIRKMAN art & cover JASON HOWARD NOW MONTHLY! Zechariah, the Astounding Wolf-Man's former mentor has a long, dark history filled with tragedy, betrayal and murder. Now is the time for that story to be told. At long last, the secret origin of Zechariah.

Authority #5 - Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and Christos Gage; Art by Simon Coleby and Wes Craig; Cover by Simon Coleby. Locked down, Angie and a group of refugees face the Incubite threat head-on! And will one of the Authority fall prey to the horrible virus ravaging innocent victims aboard the Carrier?

Criminal Macabre Cell Block 666 #2 (of 4) - Caught. Cuffed. Convicted. Cal McDonald has had more tangles with the law in recent years than he can count, but he's never been a truly wanted man until now. Apparently all it takes is one dirty D.A. with a Cal-shaped chip on his shoulder and a horde of L.A.'s finest on his side to frame and sentence a (mostly) innocent man on a series of trumped-up charges. But what happens when the grittiest former cop in the world checks in for a long stay at the Graybar Hotel? And exactly how long do you think Cal will last in the general population before he gets thrown into solitary? Place your bets, boys and ghouls-the odds are stacked against Cal on this game, but don't expect him to fold .

Crossed #2 (of 9) - By Garth Ennis & Jacen Burrows Garth Ennis has pulled out all the stops to write the most twisted book of his career, Crossed! Cindy and her small band of survivors are facing impossible odds, dwindling resources, and a dearth of options. Nothing is going right, but this is no fairy tale; there are no magic cures on the horizon. When civilization crumbles in one terrifying moment; when people are gleefully breaking into unthinkable acts of violence all around you; when everyone you love has died screaming in agony - What do you do? There is no help. There is no hope. There is no escape. There are only the Crossed. Certain to be the most depraved and corrupt book of the year, this one is not for the faint of heart! Through ten heart-stopping chapters, Crossed is his horrifically visceral exploration of the pure evil that humans are truly capable of indulging. This gut-wrenching vision is brought to vivid (and more than a little disturbing) life by his partner in crime Jacen Burrows.

El Diablo #4 (of 6) - Written by Jai Nitz; Art and Cover by Phil Hester and Ande Parks. The death of El Diablo! Chato Santana has been possessed by a gun-slinging spirit of vengeance. But what he's keeping inside will now be the death of him! If the gangsters out for Chato's blood don't kill him, the demons hunting El Diablo will. Trapped between two worlds, he'll discover even the DCU heroes are looking to send him to Hell!

Haunted Tank #1 (of 5) - The Haunted Tank is back in action, but this time it's an M1 Abrams in modern-day Iraq! African American tank commander Jamal Stuart has his 21st century war ride in full battle rattle and is ready for anything – anything except the whistling-Dixie combat guru ghost who shows up uninvited! Of course, this isn't the first time the spirit of Confederate Civil War General J.E.B. Stuart has helped guide a tank. In times of war he makes himself available to assist his descendants in battle. Jamal Stuart, meet your forefather! It's the newest chapter in the legacy of a long-time DC icon from writer Frank Marraffino (The Dark Goodbye) and artist Henry Flint (OMEGA MEN).

Hellboy the Wild Hunt #1 (of 8) - When ancient giants begin to rise from their graves across England, Hellboy is invited to join a mysterious group called the Wild Hunt and help bring them down. But the hunt leads to betrayal, and Hellboy finds himself up against enemies as angry about what he is as what he's done. "The fading children of the earth" gather in the shadows, waiting for the promised return of the Queen of Blood, and a chance to once again "shake the trees, crack mountains, and make the daytime world weep in fear."

Immortal Iron Fist #20 - Danny Rand’s life--it all comes down to this! The job title may be “Immortal Iron Fist,” but the individuals who take on that mantle are anything but. And after his 33rd birthday, Danny found out exactly why--when he came face to face with the Ch’i-Lin, a malevolent force that kills every Iron Fist at age 33. But why? And how was his predecessor, the long-lived Orson Randall, able to escape it? Danny better figure something out fast, or he’ll be trading in his costume for a green-and-yellow body bag! It’s the pulse-pounding conclusion of THE MORTAL IRON FIST, by Duane Swierczynski (CABLE) and Travel Foreman (ARES)!

Jonah Hex #38 - Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; Art and Cover by Jordi Bernet. A former lawman, brought low by his dealings with Hex in the past, exacts his revenge. His plan is going well so far – he has beat Jonah into submission, dragged him to the desert, and is watching him die of thirst – but plans tend to go awry around Jonah Hex!

Necronomicon #3 (of 4) - By William Messner-Loebs & Andrew Ritchie A witch cult has one of the Ancient Old Ones and keeps it bound and tortured, trying to wrest its secrets. Only Henry Said, student of the Necronomicon, can save the Earth from the cult - but, in doing so, will surely unleash the vengeance of the Old Ones!

New Avengers #47 - SECRET INVASION Tie-In! Of the thousands and thousands of heroes and humans affected by the Skrull invasion, one man's horror and heartbreak rises above the rest. This is the story of Luke Cage! - Okay I said I was only adding the company hype, but why is the cover Hawkeye and the story about Luke Cage?

Noble Causes #38 - Story JAY FAERBER art & cover YILDIRAY CINAR & RYAN VERA SPOTLIGHT ON RUSTY! Years ago, Rusty was mortally wounded and Doc saved his son's life by placing his brain into a robotic body. But lately, Rusty's been acting more and more like a robot. Is he losing his humanity? Or is he falling victim to an evil plot? Find out in this issue!

Solomon Kane #3 (of 5) - With more dead bodies discovered around the fabled Castle of the Devil, the determined Puritan adventurer Solomon Kane and his new ally John Silent look for answers in a pile of ancient bones buried deep in the abbey beneath Baron von Staler's fortress. The Baroness is missing, and the Baron accuses Solomon Kane. Tempers flare, and blades are drawn-but the real monster remains unseen.

Sword #13 - Story JOSHUA LUNA art & cover JONATHAN LUNA His name is Knossos. With the power to manipulate earth, he is one of the most powerful beings alive. And he has only one weakness: The Sword. His first mistake was helping to create it. Killing the mother of Dara Brighton, the Sword's current wielder, may be his last.

Terra #3 (of 4) - Worlds collide as only our heroine, the ground-breaking Terra, can stop the carnage! Still struggling to discover the secrets of her past, Terra also has to square off against the earth-shattering might of Geo-Force and a visit from Power Girl. What is the secret of Strata? Who is the Astronaut God? And how does all this impact Terra's life? From the writing team of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti (JONAH HEX, UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS) and artist Amanda Conner (SUPERGIRL, POWER GIRL)!

Terror Titans #3 (of 6) - Written by Sean McKeever; Art and Cover by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson. Dreadbolt faces a terrible decision, and his choice could elevate him in the Clock King's eyes – but at an unthinkable cost. Meanwhile, the tournament between teen metas continues, and the fate of the winners and losers becomes clearer as the Clock King's ultimate plan comes to light. Ravager's role in the plan also becomes clearer, and she is beginning to openly rebel. So, to sweeten the deal, she is granted the honor of fighting the Dark Side Club's hidden and true champion – one she could never have expected!

Trinity #27Written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza; Art by Mark Bagley and Art Thibert, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens, Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher and Mike Norton; Covers by Jim Lee and Scott Williams and Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino. The Dark Trinity, having revealed a traitor in their midst, attempts to take the newly ordered world by storm with a new recruit by their side! Meanwhile, find out exactly where the original Trinity – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – are and what's become of them and the strange new world they inhabit!

Vixen Return of the Lion #3 (of 5) - Written by G. Willow Wilson; Art by Cafu; Cover by Joshua Middleton. As the Justice League infiltrates Zambesi and uncovers a horrifying Intergang plot, Vixen's new spiritual guide puts her recovery from near-death to the test – but can she trust either him or the Tantu Totem that's caused so much trouble lately?

X-Men Noir #1 (of 4) - Written by FRED VAN LENTE Pencils & Cover by DENNIS CALERO 'The coroner's men flipped the redheaded corpse over so Dukes and Magnus from Homicide could get a better look at her. 'Better' being a relative term in this case, with the claw marks that slashed her face into a featureless, bloody mask and turned her guts into a butcher shop explosion. 'But the tattoo -- the simple, encircled 'X' above the left shoulder blade -- remained intact, and Dukes pointed it out with the toe of his wingtip once Peter the rookie was done heaving up lunch. ''See this ink?' he said. 'Means she did time at this reform school upstate, run by this shrink, Xavier...”

This is a rather smaller list which is a function of a five week month and my continued culling of my comic list. I recently have stepped up my efforts to can mini-series as they comprise a good portion of my list. The $4 mini-series from Marvel is the toughest sell for me, followed by $4 series of any type. Also I’m trying to get very selective what I buy as a hard cover or a trade anymore. As next year progresses I believe I will continue to cut back. My view of the economy is that it is going to get worse and I have been feeling more and more of a reluctance to spend money on much of anything other then necessities.

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