Monday, May 30, 2005

Lord, I was born a Gambling man

What a night... after a great day. My family was gone... gone to a flea market for most of the day. So, I was left to my own devices, which actually ended up being a good thing. And then Becky came home late in the afternoon. And whisked me away to the happiest place on earth. *edit* The smokiest place on earth. It was a very odd thing that happened, going towards the building, I thought, This place looks kind of small. This is comparing to a casino I had been to a few years back, for a wedding.

Then upon entrance, I was a bit swept away. it was quite crowded. I made my way to the line where you get a player's card, and I also got a hat! I have to admit I don't understand the first thing about slots, which can be an aggrivation to say the least. So, I quickly lost interest. Becky had been to this casino once before and was anxiously awaiting "her" machine. Something about Mermaids and Seashells... really bizzare. But right in front of me, and sitting beside me was a very cartoony machine. Something about sheep and explosives... anyway, it was fun just watching the guy beside me, so I thought What the hell!

I popped in what was left of my twenty dollars (out of a possible spending amount of forty). And I let it dwindle away... and then spike up a bit... and then go lower then when I started. It was a machine that seemed to like to tease me.... a little here and a little there... and then... the world got all bright and shiny. And I was swimming in something the locals affectionately referred to as Bonus Land. Bells and whistles going all around me. All together I made enought that I now had 65 dollars... and I started that machine with around 16 or so.

So, I said “Well I will dwindle it down to an even 60.“, of course consulting Becky, with which she said that sounded reasonable. So here I am ... roughly a nickel and a dime at a time. 5 lines at two cents a piece... or 10 lines at one... occasionally getting brave and doing 15 lines at two cents. But I kept winning a little bit here... losing a little there, I was never more anxious to rid myself of $5. If I got winnings of a dollar or more I would curse the machine.
Becky finally nudged me and asked, "You do realize you are the only one getting mad while winning money?" The guy across from me, who was playing the same game had apparently noticed as well, and was chuckling in amusement.

Well, it took awhile but I finally got my winnings down to 60 dollars, and pulled my card out of the machine. And sat now pretty content to just watch her (and "her" confusing machine). Soon my eyes drifted to her money amount, and she was at around 7 dollars. I said something to the effect of, "Oh, it won't be long and you will need your next twenty." And she bowed her head, I asked, "That was your next twenty?" She nodded and I shrugged saying at least she was having fun.

Then a realization hit me, I had only just won all of our money back! The house always wins.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

My Birthday... Thursday

And I need some help, I have this thing... affectionatly referred to as a one track mind. So to all my readers out there ... this is a plea. If I have ever even remotely mentioned wanting something, do tell me what it is? Because right now, all I can think about buying with what will be my limited Birthday funds... is this: I don't even like Conan, I like Alex Ross, but there is no way I would get this much enjoyment from a picture on a wall (with the exception of my Chris G drawn Daredevil).

So, pump out some ideas there folks. I am in impulse buy mode with a bad case of tunnel vision. Even if it is just a recommendation. I am not (necessarily) looking for practical, but getting my money's worth... that tops it. Thanks.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

MARVEL PREVIEWS JUNE 2005- This is almost a throw-away book. I think I discussed this some time ago. But 95% of the information in this book, I can find somewhere else for free. One of the things this does though, is remind me to place my orders, and do so in a time that my LCS would also have access to these future solicits. And for 99 cents. It is a small price to pay to insure I get everything I ask for.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #520 $2.25- This is the one title that tackles Spidey's move to the Avengers the best. There is a balance to writing Spider-Man as a character, and how he contrasts Peter Parker. It is much like the Internet surge of people with screen names pretending to be one thing. And then getting off-line to assume their "normal" identity. The mask allows him to embrace a carefree nature. He is not immature... he is not silly to be silly. The best writers show that he has a calculating scientific mind... even in combat. And JMS is one of those writers... regardless of Sins Past. I think he writes Spidey/ Peter Parker very well.

POWER PACK #3 (OF 4) $2.99- This has been a good series. In that it is not even close to being muddled in continuity. Every character is different from each other. And it has not been as formulaic with villians as I thought it would be. From reading the solicits I thought that lizard creature was going to be the main nemesis through out. Much like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shredder. That got really old really fast. This series has been surprisingly refreshing. Though I still chuckle at seeing young Katie Powers in GLA.

RUNAWAYS #4 $2.99- Well the Runaways got their man. Another teenager with powers, who is said could destroy all the heroes in the MU. But hot on their trail is a team of former teen heroes Excelsior, which is falling apart. The mystery is coming together nicely... and I have a feeling this will be the series I talk about for a long time to come.

SECRET WAR FROM FILES OF NICK FURY $3.99- Can you say "seemingly useless tie-in"... I knew you could. Bendis is telling a tale... which was all hype... a year and a half ago. And even then I can remember thinking Do we need another Secret War? And after reading the first issue, I could honestly say I was hooked. But now I find myself thinking Do I need to buy a tie-in issue? This time the answer is no, if it is not in my box, then I won't buy it.

ULTIMATES 2 #6 $2.99- Having missed out on quite a bit of the first series. I can say that this second series has been a hell of a ride. At first glance Ultimates seems like a step back all flash and not substance. But I tell you if that is your reason for not buying you are missing out. This is the kind of comic that makes you forget you are reading a comic book at all. I felt for Bruce Banner... and I felt for Thor... two characters I couldn't care less about. I wanted to scream at my comic... "Damn it Bruce, they tricked you"... and I let out a sigh of relief as his eyes turned green before he was seemingly blown up and left for dead. And Thor... the poor bastard... his team mates think he has lost his mind... and regardless of if he is. It should not have gone down like it did. So I look forward to this issue with an anticipation I never felt for these characters in the MU... I wait for the Ultimate fix I can get.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mack & Comic Zone

UPDATE: This interview, in a surprisingly fast manner, has been archived. Get over to the site and enjoy a great show. Including a couple of surprises I didn't mention in my blog.

Well I am really hoping to make this a weekly installment. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of enjoying my first live installment of the Comic Zone in a long while. And it was well worth it. I only had the idea to do an installment on the show about a half an hour before. So bear with me.

Kabuki creator and Daredevil dabbler David Mack first got to mess with the host for a moment, as they experienced technical difficulties. It was hilarious upon reflection, but I was cringing for host Vincent Zurzolo. (All of this has sadly been cut from the archived version) One of the first questions was a pretty intriguing intro. Mack told of his first comic exposure which was Daredevil from Frank Miller. It was his neighbor's and involved an angel dust story with Punisher. He stated not surprisingly that at ten years old he found it really scary and intimidating. The good guy was a contrast to what he was led to believe add to that the guest "hero" Punisher shooting people up. It broke out of the confines of what a comic was supposed to be.

He then proceeds to tell how a couple of years later he discovered the next issue. And he left that issue a few years older and much more amazed. Every element was used and utilized. At that point he began a more fervent search for anything about Frank Miller other comics, interviews, and seeking out the more intelligent storytelling that comics had to offer. Then Mack found out about Eisner's influence on Miller and devoured Comic Books and Sequential Art. It was more than safe to say that he was hooked on the medium now.

Zurzolo hit on some great questions, but the difference here, lies for the most part in Mack's answers. For instance on the topic of Mack's first comic work, David expressed that an Art Teacher recommended in sending a packet for college that he already had nine excellent pieces for his portfolio and to choose his tenth. For a final piece he chose a comic book. When the host inquired further Mack happily revealed he still has that book, a 55 page crime story. However he quickly added that it would probably never be printed. Then the discussion turned to Kabuki and the history of this title. First published through Caliber Comics Kabuki started over 10 years ago. Mack also noted that Brian Bendis and Mike Oeming started at Calibur.

Mack likes the medium because it is limitless in alot of respects. He shared a passion for the autobiographical comics, and that he loved American Splendor and other biographical books. He did Kabuki with a female character to veil the book so it would not appear to be about himself. A character that is a government operative in Japan that polices the Japan crime works and politics. It takes place in a near future, though just how near was not revealed, and basically said to be left to reader perception. The show appeared to hit rough ground at one point when Zurzolo inquired about Kabuki looking like someone he had seen Mack with on occasion, but Mack showed only a slight vulnerability about the inspiration for the character look being based on various ex-girlfriends.

From Caliber Mack (on Kabuki) and Bendis (on Powers) put the word out that they wanted a new publisher and moved to Image. Mack explained that he was in need of a more direct route to stores. Then the interview shifted more about the move to Marvel and Icon. Reminding that yet again Mack and Bendis moved together. Marvel offered that it would like if there was a creative imprint where comics by creators could be made. Mack talked about Joe Quesada and his presence and influence on the industry. Then Zurzolo mentioned that he was impressed at how Kabuki was published around the world in 7 languages. Mack independently took those offers, revealing that a perk was that he could fly out to places for signings and such.

Then Zurzolo asked about Europe comic fans compared to American. Mack only elaborated that Europe seems more open to things that are not superhero oriented. However he does enjoy the appreciation in the states. Now Zurzolo let compliments come praising Mack for his innovative page layout and that each story is still accessible to new readers. Mack added that accessibility is one thing he strives for. Looking for continuity along with different styles. Making each book something new. Also, he mentioned that Steranko was an inspiration on Kabuki.

Mack's influences are very diverse... and fall far outside of comics. Mack revealed some of his plans for the future of the Kabuki title. Also that he is heavily involved in the new movie. and is also very open to embracing a new medium of film. Zurzolo then asked about Daredevil. Mack explained that Joe Quesada said he liked Kabuki First Blood, and the he needed a creative team on certain books (before Marvel Knights and before the position for JQ as EiC) Mack declined Joe at first. Since Kabuki was new at Image and only in it's second volume. Ever persistane Joe Quesada later asked for Mack to do a follow up to the Kevin Smith arc. It was challenging in that DD was his first time writing for a title created by someone else. Mack had to consider the stories of the past, but bring a uniqueness to it. A point of view that only Mack could do, and artist Joe Quesada fused some extra qualities beyond that. In Parts of a Hole Mack tried to show a new way that DD views the world, and does his job as a crime fighter.

Zurzolo moved on "Which DC character would you like to do?" Batman. Mack then discussed his limited DC work including a few painted Swampthing covers... and then did a Transmetropolitan images. He has also done covers for Alias, and preceding that he did early projects with Bendis as Penciler and Mack on the inks.

Which led to Mack telling a fascinating story about Bendis's way into Marvel. Mack had left a copy of Torso for Joe Quesada to look at, and after praise on Mack's part, Marvel snagged Brian Bendis. Zurzolo then joked that Mack should get more credit for helping Bendis. Mack humbly stated that great talent is always discovered at some point. As a hint of wrap up Zurzolo asked about websites and David recommended run by a huge fan (who also called in) David Thornton. Jokingly adding that he was on that site daily to see what he had done, and what he would be doing.

It seems suitable to end this column as Vincent Zurzolo would: Peace Love and Comic Books.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Paperback Envy

Ok, I am a very disorganized person. I have comics, books, magazines... and the other usual crap discarded around my house. Yet I give myself the illusion of organization. For years I was a man lost in a jungle of comics. I bought what jumped at me, and what Iwas familiar with... eventually surviving on only Daredevil... regurgitating and then digesting back issues. I was surviving.

And now... now that I am home. In my hometown. Where the jungle is not surrounding me, but rather I am helping to keep it flourishing. Ok, even I am getting tired of metaphorically speaking. I now am the deciding factor in what I want to buy... thanks in no small part to the internet... and before that Marvel Previews. Where as before I would have been left sulking at having missed a DD appearance. Now if there is even a mention of DD... I probably have the title. Aside from the X-titles (which let's be honest would probably be my current budget and then some) which I do not really like. Add to that occasional minis and other characters that never held my interest. And I am getting the rest of it.

I now know about titles it seems long before my retailer. So, it makes it only a little frustrating in the respect, that he questions my preorder of a title, even after I saw it in Marvel Previews. Preordering may be a customer's way of really supporting a title, but at least here, it sucks. Which leads into the paperback envy. I love TPBs, I love HCs... I even like the little digests... to a lesser extent. But I cannot justify buying the single issue and also the TPBs. I can't even really justify buying a TPB of something I don't have. I have a great friend who also has a love of the collected format, and I am envious. But unlike this guy Jon Knutson (who has a great blog, and a nice column too) I have not seen pictures of her collection... which just in the the last few weeks has grown.

I think I need a job.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A continuation

Ok, my apologies for not including Daredevil. I never knew the public outcry would be so great.

#11: Should a comic's creative team be encouraged to visit the comic board of it's title?

You wanna risk it... go ahead. This ain't Disney, after all. Just remember ... everybody is somebody's waste of time. With any luck even you and your non-fans can share that sentiment.

#12: Who at Marvel would be your assistant and successor as the next Editor in Chief? (Writers & Artists encouraged)

I can't really say exactly. Somebody with a head for longevity... with a sense that while Marvel is an empire... every comic is somebody's first. Push your fan boy aside and consult the past. Perhaps Shooter, although then I have to wonder who would stay?

#13: What would be the most obscure Marvel character that you'd green light a miniseries for? (Creative team optional)

Madrox... Same team as the mini of course.

#14: How many "X" titles do you allow a month to be published?

1 (and of course rare minis... movie tie-ins, and the occasional focus in Marvel Unlimited)

#15: How many Spidey titles do you allow a month to be published?

Same policy as with X-Men... a little pruning helps the garden.

#16: Who would be your "pet" Marvel character, hero or heroine? (somebody you'd pick that no one else gets to touch but you.)

Anything Dan Slott wants to do... go for it. (Let the most qualified play around)

#17: Who would be the most major badass villain to run amok through a lot of Marvel Comics under your reign?

Seriously... no. You can't pick just one. I am leaving that one alone.

#18: What team title would you take a personal editorial interest in?(Basically what's your favorite team?)

I would like it to be Runaways... but Vaughan has that well in hand. Maybe New Avengers... I at least want to be there when Bendis is ready for a successor. No, I would probably either do Marvel Unlimited or the kids' line. There is going to be extra attention needed there at various points.

#19: Would you seek out more celebrity writers from the media or search the comicons for yet undiscovered talent?

They are welcome to submit and do stories for Unlimited if they wish. There are some bad celeb writers... fair is fair.

#20: What Marvel character do you push to get his/her/their own weekly television series?

Tough call. But creative teams get creative input... too much feces in the toilet as there is.

#21: What Marvel character do you push to get his/her/their own major motion picture?

Any of them. Same policy as with the TV thing. Except creative calls go with the editor even more so.

#22: Creative team is behind schedule. Do you use a fill-in inventory issue to get the book out on it's set time, or just delay the book by a number of weeks?

I would take a lesson from Conan. And do a story every 7 issues or so. That has been really effective to me as a reader. A chance to tell a story if the sub-writer can tell a story. And the regular series guys can take a break.

#23: How many delays from a creator do you tolerate before that person is removed from a title. It's a business after all.

I will leave that to the editor... or a decision made between us if need be. Not too many chances though. If you can't keep with the schedule, don't get in the game.

#24: And of course, who do you kill off?

Just titles if need be... for now mwahahaha.

There should be reviews by Monday. Or at the very least... something.

Friday, May 20, 2005

If I were a rich man... and I had control of the MU

#01: If you had to narrow Marvel Comics down to twelve titles a month, what would those twelve comics be?

Okay, this is tough, if I am playing the role TPTB (and hypothetically I am). Then diversity is the key more so then preference. I would keep Peter David's upcoming Spider title. Really Amazing has gone through the crapper... and Marvel Knights though trying for a back to the roots approach is failing. Any newcomers are not going to go by author yet, and having only one new Spider title might pull them in.

The FF are cornerstones... so the main title can stay. The Hulk would have to be there. The X-men... though I would cut off the spin-offs and let Whedon take the helm... new numbering and one title would help with newcomers too. Runaways would have to stay. And Supreme Power. I would also keep Amazing Fantasy, but not with it's current slate. I love the idea of new titles and characters being introduced in arcs of this title. If not Amazing Fantasy, then call it Marvel Unlimited... with the same purpose. Marvel Team Up could stay as well. New Avengers and Young Avengers along with a revamped Marvel kids line... at the helm is McKeever and a group of other indy children's comics writers. That's at least 12.

#02: In your opinion, what is Marvel's best creation?

The start issues... every origin issue is the best. And not only limited to our heroes... villians and love interests. Marvel knows how to make an entrance.

#03: Are sound effects really all that important any more or do they mar the artwork and insult the reader's intelligence?

Sound effects are essential. Not your pows or whams or Kabooms... but your musical notes... effects used to convey sound. Could even be a striking color(s).. I think the artist needs to make a picture sell itself... if you are doing your best... it will be shown.

#04: Do you put all the advertisements in the back of the comic after the story or spread the ads throughout the issue like commercials?

I have tended to like what Marvel did with the freebie issue. Some in the front and some in the back. That might be the best time to sell the product. So the story can flow uninterrupted.

#05: Who were the creative team of your first Marvel Comic you ever read, and if they are still with us, would you hire them on to one of your titles?

Karl Kesel and Cary Nord. Yes, Kesel is and Nord is working hard on Conan... and yes I would hire them to do anything with Marvel together or seperately. And I would read it religiously. The talent there cannot be denied... even if the sales numbers might.

#06: Of all the alternate future possible timelines for the Marvel Universe, which is your favorite? And would you elaborate upon the concept, or leave it as it is?

I like both 2099 (original) and Exiles. I would probably try a proper 2099 revival. At least leave the prospect optional in my Marvel Unlimited title. And if Exiles fans needed the book, I would bring it back with demand.

#07: Who would be your personal favorite of all Marvel writers?

No favorites... I am going to keep composure... PeterDavidBendisKeselMillarmeloveyoulongtime *ahem*

#08: Who would be your personal favorite of all Marvel artists?

Oh god... composure. JRjr... you are carrying my baby. Mack I am not worthy. Hitch and Deodato... daddy like. Nord and many others... you know I love the night life... I love to boogie. Um... right.

#09: How long should a creative team remain on a title once signing on minimum?

Longevity on a title is sacred today. Boys and girls... stay as long as you like... wait till your fingers callous. And after that stay with Marvel, you are all my favorites.

#10: Should a creator (writer or artist) be allowed to return to a title for a story arc to retcon a glitch the fans hated? (For example, if you didn't like the whole Sin's Past storyline regarding Gwen Stacy & Norman Osborne’s kids, could Stan Lee be called in to fix it?)

I would allow that. A writer should be allowed to elaborate on past stories. After all Strazynski got to... nuff said. Just don't take a crap on the mythos.

I want to thank Psi-faxx for the questions here. Usually I don't go for this sort of thing. But it was fun to be at the top. There is more and I might post them tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Riddle Remembered

I didn't grow up with the Adam West version of Batman. I grew up hearing everything about it... see when one is a comic fan, this is a generational connector for other family members (or they think it is). And really one cannot help but see the effective simplicity of the series, it was just all out fun and excitement. We can all look back now and wonder why the Batcave's biggest foe seemed to be someone with a trigger finger on a label maker. But there were characterizations... mannerisms that stuck. And I think none better than Frank Gorshin's Riddler... say what you will about the comic before the show... or the show after the comic. One thing is true Gorshin did the job superbly. Perhaps, the best thing I can think is that when my Grandmother saw Batman Forever, the one comment that stuck in my mind, "Jim Carrey doesn't hold a candle to the original... the man with the rubber face." I know others will talk about this, but I wanted to add my thoughts, as a most casual and admiring observer.

Comics to Come

CONAN #16 $2.99- Back to the norm for this title as Cary Nord returns with Kurt Busiek for the start of a fresh arc. This title is one that is easy to hold on to, even if you are not a fan of what you have experienced as Conan, this is always a solid story with highly complimentary art. Aided by DD colorist Dave Stewart this is my sleeper title. No doubt.

BLACK PANTHER #4 $2.99- Romita Jr. is the reason I get this title. This is a competant title, but it just feels to be going nowhere. Add to that, there is not enough to care where it goes. Not to long until this arc ends... I will probably make my decision then.

DAREDEVIL #73 $2.99- I am seriously loving this arc. Religious in title.... powerful in tone. A series of (thus far) done in ones about the citizens of Hell's Kitchen. And the seemingly loose connection to Daredevil. Last issue was exploratory on so many levels. Familial relationships, the effects of crime, and the use and examination of vigilante justice on a most human level. No tights... just a man with a purpose.

MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #14 $2.99- I am fond of saying that Spidey is one of the easiest characters to read. Even at the worst of the title... something you remember or are fond of remains... the foundations of the characters. Marvel has really put that to the test as of late in most mainstream stuff. Hudlin (Black Panther) seems to want Peter Parker back to his roots, a noble effort to be sure. Honestly, I am weary of the application... I am hanging in there. Yet again it is not a bad story, it is just that there is a loose grasp on the characters and developments on a whole. Let's just say Peter David and Mike 'Ringo's title can't start soon enough. That is the return to the root of Spidey that I am anxious to see.

MARVEL MUST HAVES NYX #1-3 $4.99 - I plan to get this one, I asked for this.... whether or not my shop remembered is another story. I ended up snatching a copy of NYX#1 for a dollar, and my sister loved it. So I am picking this up to... plus I have been wanting a peek at the Marvel Must Haves.

SPIDER-MAN HUMAN TORCH #4 (OF 5) $2.99- This has been a fun fun fun comic. Sadly, it is winding down. The funny thing is, that even in it's time spanning, comic crossing, done in one format. I still love it. Slott made me love the FF, I would read the FF by him. I would say give the man a Spidey title (if not for the glut) it is long overdue. Dan Slott is writing the comics I have to read. And love to read month after month.

WOLVERINE #28 $2.25- Well, this time Romita, Jr. is not the only reason I am picking up this title. Millar is doing a fantastic job, he may not pull at the heart strings, and he can be a bit showy. But this is all Wolverine, and truth be told he is a bad ass. No matter what he is franchised to be. Claremont and Byrne knew it... Millar knew it. The guy making his new movie knows it. Sure the conflict of morality in recent years is great... but just because nothing is neater to see then a bad ass with a conscience.

YOUNG AVENGERS #4 $2.99- Guess what? The newbies... the amatuers... Those youngsters whose grandparents were in diapers when Captain America was recruited to fight for all things American and Just... yeah, um they were right. And Captain America and Iron Man... well they kind of locked them in a room for their own good. Big mistake. If you aren't getting this comic... it's a shame, literally there is probably something for everybody.

TALES FROM RIVERDALE DIGEST #2 $2.39- I decided to keep getting this, even though it is not a digest I normally enjoy. I am fairly straightforward on my Archie books, I like Jughead... I try to keep it that way. If I branch out to much, I might end up picking up the whole line of digests. I loved the yearbook format of the first issue. Well done, and loaded with bits of trivial knowledge and good humor. But on the whole... I don't like titles that feature the spin off characters. I don't care for Josie and the Pussycats... or Sabrina. But it is a small price to pay to find one obscure character I will enjoy.

COMICS BUYERS GUIDE JULY 2005 #1606 $5.99- Yeah, I thought it was time for a little reminder. This is a great publication. It doesn't rely on hype to fuel it's articles... and doesn't try to fill space with fluff. This is 244 pages of awesome information. Now they may not have hype... but they also don't have Wizard's sale #'s so if you know someone who is a fan of Star Wars... or who is hooked after the film. Give them a little nudge towards CBG this month, as The Revenge of the Sith will be featured throughout.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Today's blog is brought to you by: Pulse Your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Information Site

Why do you read comics?

I think I read comics for the same reasons most people do. First and foremost is nostalgia. To be this addicted I had to have started young. I have a fondness for Spider-Man, my first comic series. And it is rare but nostalgia can occur from series to series. I have a great rememberance of Spider-Man 2099 (my first spin-off of my regular Spidey habit), of Karl Kesel's run on Daredevil, and no doubt years from now, I will be nostalgic about She-Hulk or something like that. But I read comics today, because some of the best stories are being told, and I want to enjoy them while I can. And I love the escape.

What are the things that first got you into comics and what keeps you reading?

Some of the first things that hooked me ... was the fluid and operatic storytelling. Everything was larger than life, and despite the fact that I would have been in way over my head, I would have traded places with Spidey any day. I still read today, because comics are addictive by nature, I find it takes alot for me to leave a comic. Usually a conflict of morals and beliefs. It is easy to keep me reading, just pretty hard to get me to stop.

Was there ever a time when you stopped reading comics?

The only time I have stopped entirely was because I could no longer afford to do so. That was a long time ago. In fact, it was back when I was dependent on trips to the grocery store with my mom and dad. How long ago was it that comics were lining the checkout lanes? That should give you some idea.

What brought you back?

The good times of Karl Kesel's Daredevil. And watching with pure joy the evolution of an up and comer Cary Nord. Then... dropping my jaw at the raw and sketchy pencils of Gene Colan. I don't think comics will ever be that good for me again. But they will come pretty close. Nostalgia and escape just thinking about it. *sigh*

Friday, May 13, 2005

Panel to Panel Reviews

Marvel Team-Up #8- One of my favorite things to do with people... is to let them talk it throws them off. People will say much more than they intend to, if you can keep a straight face. I have never quite read a comic like this... not really. I know Bendis likes his talking heads, but this is a bit much, this was like hearing your friend tell that same annoying story he always tells you.... and then repeating it for emphasis. This issue had Blade (The Vampire Slayer) meeting Punisher... while I can believe Punisher might not know there are vampires... I can't believe the readers of this title wouldn't. Blade was very much out of character I thought, he could have essentially been reciting from the phone book. If you were on the fence for getting this issue... don't. Wait for next month, it won't be as hard to catch up as I thought.

Marvel Adventures #3- I am not the target audience... I am not the target audience... I am not the target audience. Ok, for those who read my review of last month's issue.. you know that I had quite a few problems with it... in the aspect of it being a second issue... it made no sense. So, I won't bring that up for this issue, although it still proves a glaring flaw. There was alot of quick fixes in this issue... not surprising. Stan was a master of not only pulling a rabbit out of a hat... but he could seemingly pull several. I did laugh out loud at one point though, Spider-Man was pulled under water by Dr. Octopus while Aunt May watched on, and expressing her concern. J. Jonah Jameson only makes the comment that his cell phone finally has reception. Classic. I think I have a new phrase to pull through ... Sean McKeever is coming to write, well worth the wait.

Arana: Heart of the Spider #4- So, I had a mini rant the other day about not being able to let go of certain comics. This is one of those. It has been consistently... okay. Nothing spectacular. Which brings me to a certain web-headed cameo. Spider-Man was bound to show up at some point... plenty of foreshadowing has tied him to this title from the start. This was your classic Spider-mentor cameo, Spidey comes in for pep talk... the problem being? Well, he seemed to have a purpose for showing up... on top of that almost seeking out the young hero of this book. Yet it is never explained why... the whole issue left me less than impressed.

Fallen Angel #20- This was a finale for this series... sort of. I would like to see Marvel take on this title with Peter David, in their Icon line or something. It has already been strongly hinted that some other publisher aside from DC will pick this up. This issue served as a reintroduction for me, having only read a TPB. This title is dark... without being overbearingly so. The title bleeds corruption from all sides... and there is just enough great character interaction to make one want to follow this title to the ends of the earth. Nice finale ... if you could call it that.

Desolation Jones #1- Okay, some people just are not going to get this. No, I don't mean the comic (although that could be likely too). Some people are not going to get that this reminds me of Bogart... specifically "The Deep". Detective is contacted by an ederly rich man, detective is not your average good guy. One daughter completely full of herself, and far too out of the loop then she could ever know. And another daughter on the run and in trouble far too deep. I don't think Warren Ellis drew his inspiration from that, but I would like to think so. There are similarities, but nothing even remote to link the two. Desolation Jones is a fascinating character... in a fascinating world... tackling the most disgusting of tasks that the citizens of LA toss at him.

Mary Jane: Homecoming #3- I am surrounded with near perfect story telling. This story was aptly titled "The Regret Thing". Mary Jane has worked so hard (through two minis) for this one night. The most important night of her life... next to prom... next to her wedding... next to the birth of a child. Being the recluse that I am... I look fondly back on school dances. For several moments durning the year... these social mating rituals were life or death. Until you put it in the perspective of Spidey. I have to admit that in the little bit of time Spider-Man has in this title McKeever makes him absolutely and flawlessly shine. This is just a fun book, month in and month out.

Marvel Nemesis: The Imperfects #1- You know the strangest thing? I knew what was going on... and it is not as if anything plot wise here is a surprise. Four heroes... mutated ... again (for some). It is no secret this is a license tie-in... if the hype did not give it away... the striking resemblance of two characters to their movie counter-parts will. Are characters out of character... yeah. Is it in continuity... no idea. Was it worth it... time will tell. I will give credit where credit is due some of the art is absolutely creepy. Kudos to the artist and colorist for unexpected results here.

Heh, nice spending time with you... blame it on crappy Friday night television.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Massaging my... ego

Well, just in case there is anyone out there who has tried to comment, or wanted to comment, but did not want to get your own blog. You can now comment on my blog! Hello? Oh right... well, if any of you do happen to come here, don't trip over that tumble weed.

It's okay, Tumbles...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mi LCS es tu LCS

There is a problem with being reclusive. There are too few people to tell you that you just dropped from the edge of acceptable. I am obsessed with comics... used to be just Spider-Man and Daredevil. And I didn't realize this then, but it used to be very very limited. Now it is pretty much the entire Marvel Universe. If I am not reading about a title... I either know what is going on... or I can find out. By now, you have seen the reviews, there is not a week, where I don't have a comic waiting for me.

I like to think I am pretty limited still, I read pretty much from Marvel. And I read pretty much only what I like. Now I don't know about you, but I am beginning to find out that for me, what I like is becoming more and more relaxed by the month. And I rarely have sense enough to figure to tell myself when I am just buying a title to collect it. Not even enjoying what I read. And now... now with Free Comic Book Day... there are indies calling my name. This is the one time I am hoping my LCS is as dependent on not finding the Indy stuff as he seems.

Expect reviews on Friday... I am still resting. Oh and Happy Birthday to Michael Diaz's column, What Looks Good, now celebrating it's second year. Head over there to find out how to get some good free stuff, he is truly a more giving guy than me and maybe find out about some comics that you might enjoy. Tell him Justin sent you (he won't know who that is but) I always wanted to say that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

FCBD Part 2

Star Wars- This is an obvious choice for Darkhorse comics. No doubt there are hordes and hordes of people inticed by the final chapter in this saga. And the public needn't wait but a week before it hits theatres. It is an enjoyable story, if a bit formulaic... and yet confusing. Anakin (Darth Vader) Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi set out to find two sources to the shift of power towards the Dark Side. Anakin in his head strong attempts to attack first and think later, inadvertantly sabotages the mission. There is a sequence in which Anakin confides to Obi-Wan that he has more desire than just having peace and the dark side eliminated forever. Obi-Wan only makes the comment that these desires are very un-Jedi like. More foreshadowing continues... not much conflict... rather this teases and then sets the stage for a much bigger battle to follow. This title, and many of it's spin-off titles are readily available.

Betty And Veronica- Well, it was definetly a different approach from Archie Comics company. But I have to wonder what the pay off is. I am sure collectors snatched this up, apparently this is the first appearance of a character from a few yesteryears ago... Katy Keene. The only objective that this comic seemed to accomplish for me was to make the issue feel dated. The obvious difference between the artistic look of Katy Keene to the rest of the Riverdale girls, made her seem quite alien. I would have much prefered this story to have Bridget as a top model... as it is the story had as much inspiration as a Barbie doll. Even more puzzling was that DC merchandise filled the advertisements of this comic, with only one devoted to Archie products. I am not sure what audience Archie wanted to grab with this comic. But I hope it appealed to someone.

Festival- This was a compilation of comics from a variety of people from all over the world. Apparently all of which will be at the Toronto Comics Art Festival. The problem with comic books of such a large variety, is that sometimes the brief introduction you do get to a comic might not be enough to hook you with. There are many cute stories... thought-provoking snippets... and stunning art to be found in this title. From a story about an old comic buyer who was snooty and yet had an effect on many retailers. Another story of a young female wizard who is found out by a nosy neighbor... but eventually wins him over to the rewards of magic. A story about a man who once had a desire to fight Bruce Lee, quite hilarious. Sweet sentimental stories... tales that border the bizarre. There was an untitled project by Leslie Stien ... whose artistic flexibility astounds me as much as David Mack. There are more well-known projects such as Love As A Foreign Language. The problem lies in that this is a comic to promote a festival. Expect to do some digging to find your favorite creator's stuff, but then... a little digging never hurt anyone.

Roninhood of the 47th Samurai- This is another fine offering from Beckett. There is a trend in some of the better comics of the past few years... to have deceptively simple art. Powers being another prime example. Last year Beckett did a rather original concept on the fabled Sleeping Beauty tale. This year they take you into Japan, into the 1700s, into a story so familiar it will leave the taste of Disney and Kevin Costner strong in the back of your throat. But yet again, what you know of Robinhood, is taken and tossed on it's tail. Beckett has won me over... no doubt this and a couple of other TPBs will be lining my shelves.

Mortal Coils Presents- You have entered the Twilight Zone... well sort of. I am not sure Mortal Coils started off with the best title to begin this comic. Godpoint is some sort of time travel story. Our main characters... two women somehow know each other. And somehow know that everytime they wake up somewhere, it will be a new place, on the way to their own time and world. It would be nice to let in on any of these developments... but we aren't. And it seemingly ends as confusing as it began. Pit Stop was by far more fascinating, slightly less confusing. As we are peeking in on two travelers... one has a goal... while the other is left to wander. Upon her wanderings... one traveler comes across a man who possesses a book of some importance to the woman. Upon prying it becomes rather obvious that the man is not the person she seeks... but rather a lovesick broken hearted man... who has stolen his ex-girlfriend's property. As punishment... she shows the man... the life and love he would have had... and then twists the events of fate... so that he never finds this new love, and must live alone forever... all for stealing a book. Wouldn't you know it, she's a librarian (just kidding). The final comic brought a smile to my face... a bit of a parody on portals and alternate realities and superheroes called, "I Didn't Know This Place Had A Cellar", it should be found by following that link.

Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge- There is no denying the talent possessed by Carl Barks. There is no denying that Disney is a great outlet for kid's comics. Disney goes all out reprinting the first Uncle Scrooge comic ever published. It is the most requested reprint they recieve. Kids will find fun in it too, it may be dated, but it is the Scrooge that many of us have known for years. Yet again this year, Disney goes with a classic. And it still works on many levels.

Arcana Studios Presents- This offers up some pretty dark stuff... needless to say, it ain't for the kiddos of your household. Some pretty intriguing stuff though, particularly 100 girls. For fans of Crimson... or the Cliffhanger line from DC... this is a nice title to fill that void. So for those of you missing some of the more gothic and dark entertainment this will be a nice title to try out. I even think I might get a title from this company, though it will be one that is decidly more light-hearted and fun.

Funny Book- This is an underground and adult group of selections from Fantagraphics. Among them are a few treasures. If you have a desire to let your wings spread to the most indy of FCBD, this would most likely be it. With so many different comics highlighted, it kind of put too many hands in the pot. Although it seems stories from the series Love And Rockets dominates.

Impact University- This is yet again a book that not only highlights the making of comics. It is all about the process. And they pulled no punches, top creators like Peter David and the late Will Eisner offer there insights and tips. The art touches on a great many things from the more common comic book art style... to the increasingly popular Manga style. Yet again a company that goes for resource over entertainment, and it works so well, that I would be hard pressed not to encourage this sort of comic in monthly installments. Of course for money.

Tokyopop Sneaks- By far the most ambitious genre-spanning free comic out there. Over 150 pages of comic... for free. A seemingly confusing aspect... one side you read in a "comic book manner" as accustomed, the other is read in a "manga" manner as the author intended. While all the stories are for a teen audience. There really is quite a bit to offer to even the most discerning reader. Pick this up for an assortment of stories... an abundance of quality. For those looking for the biggest freebie out there... this is it.

Flight- Image's surprising freebie. Somehow Image caught on to the fact that storytelling is at it's most enjoyable when it can be a family activity. This comic plays off the fact that no matter how old, every adult was a child. And every child dreams, and sometimes it is nice to see what one used to believe was possible. It is nice to remember that if you have enough fantasy, enough playfulness and you set out to tell a good story. A spectacular event occurs... a child's eyes will light up, and for a moment, they don't have to grow up so fast... and neither do you.

Whew... that was pretty exhausting. Any chance you publisher's could send me next year's selection early... like now. I need all the time in the world.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Free Comics Part 1

If you missed May 7th and a trip to your local shop for some free loot. Well, then no doubt you missed out. The following will critique each of the 19 free comic books that I managed to snag during that day. A large amount for my small town... and I even missed out on a couple I could have gotten at a later time. It seems that in the local bookstore free comic day was a huge success.

Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards- This is an eye-catching cover. I am not so sure how the design of the issue itself stood out. They chose to have their booklet made in what I can only say, is a wide-screen format. Right off the bat I am pulled in with the silly "THE FOLLOWING PREVIEW HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR ALL AUDIENCES" annoying at a movie theatre ... quite original in a comic. It goes on to give a web address. For which... the tagline shares a sentiment to mirror my thinking. "Comics about scientists... what a dangerous experiment." The story is really quite involved, at times highly ficticious, and stays true to being a period piece. Great mystery to uncover in the time of the Wild West. Perhaps another favorite part to this is a behind the scenes look at the end, it cements the fact that this was truly a labor of love. And upon viewing the website, I will at least be picking up one of their projects. Mission Accomplished.

Bongo Comics Giveaway- This one is a pretty straightfoward selection from Bongo. And there is nothing wrong with that. Marvel and DC have been putting their heavy hitters to bat on Comic Day, why should the Simpsons and Futurama not be the key players in this book? One thing I am looking for in this year's selection of books is how available they make future copies to a reader. Unless you are Marvel, DC, or Image (on rare occasion) you are going to have to do a bit more than "Ask for it at your comic retailer" That is just not an effective selling point. Especially with the selections in the back of the book, which attracted me the most Roswell and Heroes Anonymous... neither of which have anything at all to do with the Simpsons. Given the option of searching the web, or going to a comic shop to inquire and then get stared at and finally given the cliche answer "I will see what I can do." I will take my chances from the comfort of my own home.

Wizard Top 100 Trade Paperbacks of all Time- This is a great resource... really. This may well be my most reused find from FCBD. There is something to be said for choosing to do a free comic book about Comic Books... and what better format than the TPB. Readily available at many many fine venues... and with a resource like this ... it is a safe bet that you get your money's worth. This is the type of thing you take with you out of town. You hit a shop or a bookstore... pull it out, and make an informed purchase. Wizard gets Kudos for giving a comic that is suitable for both the new collector or the old. Or those wanting something a bit more relaxed to accompany Tolstoy and Dostoevsky on the bookshelf.

Flare- This issue is bogged down by a rather unfortunate problem. It is absolutely dripping in the tired reasoning that "Sex Sells". and however true it may be... to have a different approach might keep a new customer. Heroic Publishing is a well-crafted attempt to cash in on the fleeting concept that once made Image popular... flashy art alone will sell a comic. There is very little originality to be seen in the first preview. In fact it is so bogged down in stuff we have seen before, that a lack of back story is hardly noticable. I don't know Flare's powers, but I assume they are in a pretty broad range... an explanation would have been nice... but it is very very far from necessary. The next two stories were a bit more fun. They both had a Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe detective feel, that I just devour. The website appears to be very helpful. But if I do purchase anything, it will have to stretch the norm alot more... I am already paying for Super Hero stories... and getting alot better stories.

Johnny Raygun Freebie FCBD Edition- This is a fun little introduction to a comic that doesn't want to be taken seriously. It is not my kind of humor, but there is alot of heart here. It seems to be a nice addition to those that like there comics to poke a bit of fun... and play with the rules a bit. The publisher page at the end made me smile... looks to be a lot of work for minimal pay-off. I might consider tracking this down. Oh, and Publishers... I know you love your retailer... the brick and mortar guys... I love mine too. But that doesn't mean you are not going to be the best chance of me getting your comic. So thanks for the web address, yet again.

Devil's Due Press- This was a pretty good selection I have to say. I am not a fan of GI Joe. So I tried to read this and inevitably gave up from lack of interest. But in a second story there is a second story, about a group of teens given mysterious "powers" being shadowed by the government and unable to tell their parents. Sound familiar. Teen comics are trying to be a growing trend in the Marvel Universe. Defex showed a pretty strong grasp on plot, art, and character interaction. And since it is creator Marv Wolfman, I might just have to seek this out. Now... on the back of this comic is another offering from Udon ... no doubt to appeal to the Manga crowd. Their comic is from a licensed property of Capcom (a video game company) .

Marvel Adventures- Okay, I have to admit that I am hoping that this worked for Marvel. Because it was very good idea in theory. Take one property of escalating box office popularity... and another property which has Marvel investors hoping it will be gaining popularity in the coming months, and give the kiddos a taste for free... of both Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four. These is probably one of the more popular comics of the Silver Age... when Spidey tries to join with the FF... he wants money and public recognition. Anyway, a nice little retelling with some good art to go along. But you know, when I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than a peek at what makes those cogs turn, I wanted to know how to do everything to make my own comic. Well, Marvel grants that wish with an additional sneak peek "behind the scenes". I think it gets the point across... in a straightfoward fashion. I know for other reviews I have been saying... they need an alternative to the "go see your retailer" This is one bunch of titles you should be able to find with relative ease. For more on what Marvel has to offer your kids visit the above website... for more on the company in general visit .

BUZZBOY ROBOY MAJOR DAMAGE TRIPLE FROSTED FUN - Long title ... Fun cover. "Who knew comics could be this much fun again?!" This is a question that appeals to both the nostalgia-riddled and the potential new customer. If Flight was my favorite surprise of FCBD... Buzzboy was the comic that met and exceeded my expectations. From the get-go this comic proved it has alot of love for animation... and simplicity. Leave it to the Speedster of the super team to constantly be doing a running commentary. The first story is pretty straightfoward... but has loads of fun. A group of kids get jumbled up in a time-traveling mess. Thanks to a bad guy from an alternate reality. Things get wrapped up in outrageous fashion... and then you are treated to a "How To Draw" segment. Even more impressive than the first story, is the one about Major Damage. A little boy abducted by aliens and turned into one of his favorite heroes. This is the story of his journey back to his own house... looking nothing like the little boy he was. It is touching and very well illustrated... it shows the down side of wanting something, and then regretting the results. A frequent lesson, but still an important one when told so well. This is most definetly a comic I will be seeking out. Yet another is the story of Roboy ... told quite well by peering through the scrap book of a supporting character... there is a Disney-esque parody. And a story of a cartoon... updated for the Techno-age. I question the comic book's Halloween setting ... but it no doubt helped to fuel Roboy's hilarity. Through each story you are treated to a "How to Draw" segment. And at the tale end is all sorts of goodies. Including a then teenage comic artist creation of a super team, and now that he is famous his jaw-dropping rendition... very inspiring. Each of the websites I have highlighted promise fun and games... and though I have not seen them yet. I have no doubt they deliver. And since they were kind enough to plug a title that I was not able to get, I will also put them here. Amelia Rules! . Also visit

Okay, this is the first installment of FCBD reviews. I hope it was informative. I guess since most retailers and even bookstores and such might be scrambling to get rid of some of their selection. I will give my top recommendation now and that is Image's offering "Flight". See ya tomorrow with a gaggle full of comic reviews.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Be Back Monday

Expect a pretty lengthy review on Free Comic Book Day. I came away with 19 different comics. And I want to be very objective on each one. Anyway, it is loads of reading, and if you did not get to go. Or if I review something you might like, it might be left over. A pretty spectacular turn-out in my small town. So, I will see you soon, after I thoroughly devour a variety of stories.

See you on Monday, cats and kitties... make sure to kiss your momma with that mouth.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Don't ask, and I might not tell

I love to talk comics. I mean seriously tell you more than you wanted to know "talk about comics". And I know when I have done that too, I can see it on people's faces. Don't say to me, "Gee I used to read Spidey (or please not X-Men) what is going on now?" Well, let's see... and I am off... talk of clones, organic webbing, secret wars, and Avengers status. And I eventually need a napkin for spittle.

Hey, you asked... and there is alot of history. I suppose I could say well have you seen the movie... it is alot like that. In truth it is and it isn't. But mostly, that would be easier on everyone involved. "Oh by the way, before she died Gwen Stacy did the nasty with Norman Osborn and concieved his children.... who have accelerated aging... so they are only slightly younger than Spidey... and at times they want him dead." One comic... one event... do you see my problem now, but I can't hide the habit. I never have been able to.

Now... House of M. I am having a tough time explaining this one to myself.... both story-wise and financially. Hi, I am Justin, and I am an addict. Step away from the spinner racks... don't go where I have been.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Comics To Come

AMAZING FANTASY #8 $2.99- This an alluring title in premise. This one comic "Amazing Fantasy" is going to be the starting point for some new talent and new characters to get their feet wet. Theoretically in the hopes that a new series is in the works. The problem as a reader being that some things are not going to hold my interest. Like the next character run involving "Werewolf by Night" Anyway, I am kind of crossing my fingers that this Scorpion arc gives me a reason to exit early. If you like espionage, twists and turns then give this arc a shot.

DAREDEVIL REDEMPTION #4 (OF 6) $2.99- This has to be the first mini in a long long time that I am not wondering when it will end, rather I don't want it to end at all. I hope this mini is a precursor to the news that Hines will be taking over on DD (if Gaydos was included on art duties) that would be fantastic. Anyway, if you are not reading this, it is one of the most surprising DD stories in some time.

GLA #2 (OF 4) $2.99- Dan Slott... one man. The GLA ... one team. By the end of this you will wonder how a universe stays together. Okay, seriously, this is the perfect book for a Dan Slott fan... because when a team is second string... the ideas can take the chance of being great... and the writer pulls no punches here. Again one of the few minis I am anxious to follow and far to aware of the impending end.

HUMAN TORCH VOL 1 BURN DIGEST $7.99- This is a case of I wish I had known then. I wish I had known when this came out that Karl Kesel was the writer. I wish that at the same time that I had passed on the flop of a Venom series and not this. I wish... I wish my town stocked these digests. This is going to be a tough one to find.

POWER PACK #2 (OF 4) $2.99- This is just a fun book. A bit too simplistic, but I am hoping it hits the target audience. You got kids pick this up... planning for kids... pick this up. I don't care how cool the issue of DD dropping Bullseye was cool when you were a kid. You will feel different when it is your kid... and comics will be much worse. So save these comics... they are few and far between as it is.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Waiting for the Pros of Cons

Well, it has been a long day. A rather long beginning to my week actually. After the wedding, well I took in a huge breath of relief. But after that things took their long-awaited and much welcomed return to normalcy. Normalcy and financial security... and a lack of talk of big events and flowers and ... oh wait, I have done that blog. Anyway, after a weekend of attempts I have finally reached a contact of the Comic Con I will be attending. He informed me that it was one day, that there would be no guests, just various vendors. So, my question to you (my two readers) is whether I should spend money on this con or wait and see if another local con comes with more comic pros later this summer?

I went to Target today, I now officially don't like them as much. There was one new comic type book that I had not gotten... Spider-Girl... so I picked it up. I am sooooo ready for the big bookstore to come to town. My wife got "Phantom of the Opera" so that was alright, Happy Mother's Day mwahahaha. Tune into Blind Justice tonight. I hope my pal Al gets to. Blog is going to be short today, got this con dilemma.

Monday, May 02, 2005


There is something to be said for family. Body heat. At least I had a couple of old radio shows to keep me company, Father Knows Best.... and Johnny Dollar... Insurance Investigator. Where I was told to buy Post Bran which is good, but so good for you. And the hot wheat breakfast with Roy Rogers on the box! Also from the Post family of products. Good times.

I am trying to plan a trip to a comic convention in two weeks, but it is really hard to plan these things with just a phone number. I cannot seem to get a hold of anyone... I am hoping one of the contacts listed has an e-mail address or something. Anyway, I figure if my best friend can go to a convention that same weekend so can I.

It was a good episode of Extreme Homemakeover last night, I thought. It was about a man who got shot and lost his sight. And needed a new home, so that he could be more independent and move more freely. Great on so many levels. This is one time I am glad my wife was not home, that guy makes all of us husbands look bad. What a sweet guy. Add to that you get to see some really neat thought processes go into the building of this home... When he walks in there is a path made of concrete and what goes off the path is a different texture, so he will know he is heading into the house. Various objects to give off sound around the yard like a windchime to know he is nearing the back yard. On a section of the walls in every room is a different surface, so that he can touch that surface and know where he is. It was all just really good, I highly recommend the follow-up program, "How'd They Do That".

Well, I will be back tomorrow. Love, Peace and Comic Books